Crisis, Austerity, and Right-Wing Populism in Europe
Mar
6
2:00 pm14:00

Crisis, Austerity, and Right-Wing Populism in Europe

  • History Conference Room

The European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund continue to twist the screws, imposing harsh regimes of austerity and immiserating populations across the Continent in the interests of the great banks and big business. An economic catastrophe of a depth not seen since the 1930s continues to unfold, with no end in sight. In the eurozone peripheries, one after another Centrist government has fallen by the wayside while attempting to carry out the neo-liberal terms set by Berlin and Brussels. Left-wing forces have made some tenuous gains at the level of parliaments. But it is the populist right that, up till now, has been the big political winner out of the global crisis – in France, Hungary, the UK, and Germany, not to mention the United States. Our speakers will discuss the dynamism of the far right in Europe, as well as the prospects for a left-wing response, against the backdrop of a threatened decomposition of the EU.

The Age of Trump
Feb
6
2:00 pm14:00

The Age of Trump

  • History Conference Room

The election of Donald Trump has stunned the establishments of both major U.S. political parties and upended the predictions of journalists, pundits and pollsters. What may be expected in the new Age of Trump? Will we see a break with the neo-liberal politics of the last forty years and a lurch toward a populism of the right? Or is a return to rightwing Republicanism, with its tax cuts for the rich, de-regulation, and militarism actually more likely? Does the historic women’s march herald a breakthrough to a new era of radicalization or signal a fall back to the politics of Obama and Clinton? Our speakers will explore the conditions that gave rise to Trump and to Sanders and ask what political parties and movements will benefit from the historic shakeups that they have detonated.

Marxist Theory and the Politics of History in Modern Japan
Jun
2
4:00 pm16:00

Marxist Theory and the Politics of History in Modern Japan

  • History Conference Room

Basing himself on his new book, titled The Sublime Perversion of Capital (Duke University Press, 2016), Gavin Walker will examine the Japanese debate about capitalism from the 1920s to 1950s, using it as his point of departure to consider current discussions of uneven development and contemporary topics in Marxist theory and historiography. Walker locates the debate’s culmination in the work of Uno Kozo, whose investigations into the development of capitalism and the commodification of labor power are essential for rethinking Marxism today. Walker’s analysis of the Japanese debate shows how Marxist thought was globalized from the start

The Iran-Saudi Deadlock: Domestic Struggles and Geopolitical Conflict in the Persian Gulf
May
9
2:00 pm14:00

The Iran-Saudi Deadlock: Domestic Struggles and Geopolitical Conflict in the Persian Gulf

  • History Conference Room

Washington’s stereotypes are well known. Iran and Saudi Arabia are theocratic monoliths born of the same Islamist cloth. A doctrinal divide has polarized the two states and destined them to repeatedly clash. But analysts rarely peer inside these two regional powers of the Gulf to compare their elites, political projects, state institutions, and social orders. In the wake of internal unrest and geoeconomic shifts, the challenges faced by Iran and Saudi Arabia are more similar than either prefers to admit. What can we learn when we place these two nations side by side?

Marxism, Intersectionality and Queer Theory
May
5
3:00 pm15:00

Marxism, Intersectionality and Queer Theory

  • History Conference Room

Peter Drucker will present his new book Warped: Gay Normality and Queer Anti-Capitalism, exploring sources for a historical materialist approach to sexuality ranging from Lenin and Althusser to socialist feminists like Iris Young and Johanna Brenner. He will propose ways of integrating the contributions of intersectionality theory into a renewed and queered historical materialism. On this basis, he will suggest ways of enriching the study of queer history by deploying the concept of ‘same-sex formations,’ illustrating the concept with the example of late 19th/early 20th-century ‘invert-dominant’ regimes.

The End of the Chinese Miracle?
Apr
25
2:00 pm14:00

The End of the Chinese Miracle?

  • History Conference Room

China is now at a crucial turning point both economically and politically. Economic growth continues to decelerate. There is massive industrial overcapacity and the government has announced layoffs numbering in the millions. Meanwhile, protests have broken out, including in Hong Kong, to which the state has responded with intensifying repression. What next for China? And what will be the consequences for the world economy and global politics as China stumbles?

The 2016 Elections: Sanders and Trump Contest the Party Establishment
Apr
11
2:00 pm14:00

The 2016 Elections: Sanders and Trump Contest the Party Establishment

  • History Conference Room

Political expectations have been shaken in both the Republican and Democratic Parties by the spectacular rise of two candidates: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. What are the social bases of their respective challenges? What accounts for the timing of their extraordinary successes? Our speakers will discuss the campaigns themselves and their historical contexts, as well as their likely future trajectories.

The Social Question of Neoliberal Capitalism
Apr
1
Apr 2

The Social Question of Neoliberal Capitalism

  • UCLA Sociology Department

Today, neoliberal capitalism in the 21st Century has not just reconfigured the political economic drivers of social dislocation, exclusion, inequality and injustice, it has also erased the “social” from public discourses and imaginations with its ideology of individual responsibility and entrepreneurialism. This conference revives and repositions “the social question” and perhaps also reconstructs its meaning and politics.

Shifting into Reverse: Turkey’s Domestic, Regional, and Geopolitical Crises
Feb
4
2:00 pm14:00

Shifting into Reverse: Turkey’s Domestic, Regional, and Geopolitical Crises

  • History Conference Room

A panel session with: Aslı Bâli (UCLA, School of Law), Cihan Tugal (UC Berkeley, Sociology) and Kevan Harris (discussant; UCLA, Sociology).

With Recep Erdogan at the helm, Turkey’s AK Party has wielded power for over a decade. Its “Turkish model” of religiously tamed capitalism achieved high rates of economic growth and was widely celebrated. But now it appears to be losing its luster. The Gezi Park uprising was followed by a series of corruption scandals. The AKP has done its part to destabilize regional geopolitics, and domestic political repression has become the order of the day. Meanwhile, a new crackdown on the Kurds has begun. Whither the Turkish model today?

 Neoliberal Globalization: The German Experience
Jan
14
2:00 pm14:00

Neoliberal Globalization: The German Experience

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA

A lecture by Dieter Plehwe.

Germany’s economy has been highly successful in large part as a result of its export orientation. Professor Dieter Plehwe of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center will analyze the response of the German economy in recent decades to ever more intense international competition. He will discuss, as well, leading German economists’ interpretations of Germany’s place in an evolving world. Plehwe will focus on the work of Herbert Giersch and the activities of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy that he headed. At first an adherent of Keynesianism, Giersch came to adopt a German Ordoliberal perspective in his major works.

 The Politics of Financial Market Discipline in Latin America
Nov
19
4:00 pm16:00

The Politics of Financial Market Discipline in Latin America

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A lecture by Daniela Campello.

To what extent are the actions of Latin America’s Leftist governments constrained by international market forces? In her talk, Campello will show that the disciplining effects of global markets have varied widely over time and across countries. Examining variations in the effectiveness of market discipline in “good” and “bad” times, she will explain both Leftist moves towards economic orthodoxy in the 1990s and the resurgence of Leftist governments in the 2000s. Crucially, Campello will also illuminate the prospects for the Latin American Left after the end of the recent commodity boom.

Mexico: Narco-State, Popular Resistance, and the US
Jun
1
2:00 pm14:00

Mexico: Narco-State, Popular Resistance, and the US

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A panel session with: Daniel Hernandez (Vice News, Mexico City) and Christy Thornton (NYU, Department of History).

On 26 September 2014, forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School in Guerrero disappeared on their way to a protest in the town of Iguala. Six weeks later, it was revealed that they had been executed and incinerated in the municipal dump. Local government officials, along with a local gang allied with the mayor of Iguala, have been implicated in the crime and many of them are now in detention on murder charges. Hundreds of thousands filled the Zocalo daily in Mexico City demanding justice, transparency, and an end to police corruption, protesting the unbridled violence that has brought death to as many as 100,000 people in the last decade. The Ayotzinapa protests have come in the wake of a series of popular struggles highlighted by dramatic strikes of militant trade unionists, including teachers in Oaxaca. Our presenters will consider the multiple forms that the rebellions have taken, as well as their causes.

After Marikana: The State, the ANC, and the Future of the Labor Movement in South Africa
May
18
2:00 pm14:00

After Marikana: The State, the ANC, and the Future of the Labor Movement in South Africa

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A panel session with: Trevor Ngwane (University of Johannesburg, Sociology), Gay Seidman (University of Wisconsin, Sociology), and Dinga Sikwebu (Coordinator of NUMSA United Front, Johannesburg).

The colloquium will be devoted to the crises and conflicts that have wracked the labor movement in South Africa in recent years and the implications of these struggles for the future of South African politics. In 2012, police from the African National Congress (ANC) government gunned down 44 striking platinum workers in what has come to be known as the Marikana massacre, a watershed moment for South Africa’s politics and its trade  unions. The speakers will consider the historic strike by 70,000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers (AMCU) that ensued, the internecine battles that have been taking place among the different sections of COSATU trade union federation. No less than the future of the South African workers movement and the nature the South African state are at stake.

Black Lives Matter
May
4
2:00 pm14:00

Black Lives Matter

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A panel session with Melina Abdullah (Cal State Los Angeles, Pan-African Studies), Michael Brown (Black Lives Matter, Long Beach), Justin Hansford (St. Louis University, School of Law), and Cheryl Harris (UCLA, School of Law).

In the face of unrelenting urban gentrification backed up by the systematic violence of militarized police forces, the further deterioration of already poor job prospects especially in manufacturing and government services, the gutting of the welfare state over decades of austerity, especially public education and health care, and the policy of mass incarceration, it is clear that the New Jim Crow is the overriding reality for a large section of the Black population. Against this background, a series of brutal police murders caught on video has catalyzed a dramatic new movement aiming to turn the situation around: Black Lives Matter.

The Challenge of Podemos
Apr
20
2:00 pm14:00

The Challenge of Podemos

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A panel session with: Isidro López (Observatorio Metropolitano, Madrid) and Raimundo Viejo (University of Girona, Political Science).

In Spain, public outrage has exploded in a series of mass mobilizations led by young people and the semi-employed, in alliance with the trade unions— notably M15 and the movement of Indignados. Nevertheless, the country’s two leading political parties, the center-left Socialist Party (PSOE) and center-right People’s Party (PP), have insisted on doing the bidding of the north European governments and financial institutions in the face of the continuing collapse of the nation’s living standards, and this has opened the way for the spectacular rise of a new opposition political force Podemos. In its little more than a year of existence, Podemos has managed to make itself into a serious political contender by focusing on a single demand — that what it calls the caste, the elite political forces organized in PSOE and PP, be expelled from power.

Syriza and the Greek Crisis
Mar
9
2:00 pm14:00

Syriza and the Greek Crisis

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A panel session with: Stathis Kouvelakis (Kings College London, French Department) and Stergios Skaperdas (UC Irvine, Economics).

The smashing electoral victory in January 2015 of the new radical left party Syriza has brought the long simmering economic-political crisis in Greece to a boiling point. Syriza is demanding relief from its debts and the cancellation of the deep austerity measures it was obliged to accept as conditions for being bailed out. The speakers will spell out the sources of the Greek economic crisis and analyze the intense social struggles that have gripped the Greek polity in its wake.

Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement in Regional Perspective
Feb
23
2:00 pm14:00

Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement in Regional Perspective

  • 6275 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095

A panel session with: Au Loong Yu (China Labor Net, Hong Kong), Joshua Wong Chi-fung (Convener, Scholarism, Hong Kong), and Jieh-min Wu (Research Fellow, Academia Sinica, Taiwan).

2014 saw sustained popular protests erupt in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In both Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement and Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement students and citizens have taken to the streets en masse to demand genuine democracy and express widespread grievances against the polarization of wealth and income, as well as crony capitalism. The “China factor” is a key impetus for the mobilizations in both places, as the hardline political turn of the Xi regime has brought the serious repression of civil liberties, while the Mainland’s economic dominance threatens the life chances of the younger generation in the local communities. This event will bring together academics and leading participants in the revolts in Hong Kong and Taiwan to discuss the movements’ past trajectories and future prospects.