Why Violent Revolution was Once a Way but Organized Massmilitant Nonviolence is the Furture, Part 1

Summary: The Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions are two examples (now more than 40 years old) of successful violent revolutionary struggle. But many of the changes more recently, for instance in Eastern Europe or Arab Spring, have come about largely nonviolently and with comparatively, many fewer deaths. The earth is now being poisoned by global warming and the wars of American militarism. The militarists use the threat of violence to attempt to legitimize their much greater violence. Nonviolence in a stronger version (more organized than Gandhi or even than the Southern civil rights movement) is a way forward.

Alan Gilbert is a longstanding anti-War and anti-racist activist as well as the author of Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (2012).His activism and scholarship are two sides of a coin.

Tactics that Work: From Zapatismo to Occupy

Summary: The Occupy movement has popularized a host of effective tactics that almost everyone is now aware of. But the Occupy movement and its strategies did not come out of nowhere. As some have already done well to point out, many of the strategies deployed by the Occupy movement have their origins in the alter-globalization movement (Klein 2011; Hardt and Negri 2011; Graeber 2011). But where did the alter-globalization movement get these strategies from in the first place? It is well-known that the alter-globalization movement and one of its main organizing groups, Peoples’ Global Action, originated most directly from the first and largest global anti-neoliberal gatherings: the Intercontinental Encuentros organized by the Zapatistas in 1994 and 1996 (Notes from Nowhere 2003; Khasnabish 2008; Curran 2006; Engler 2007).

This teach-in explores the history and successful function of four tactics popularized by the Occupy movement but that have their roots in Zapatismo and before: 1) horizontal and leaderless networking, 2) consensus decision-making, 3) inclusive multi-fronted struggle, and 4) the collective use of masks.

Thomas Nail – a Post-Doctoral Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at the University of Denver and the author of Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari, and Zapatismo. As an activist Thomas has worked with Cascadia Forest Defense—a direct action campaign based in Eugene, Oregon; with No One is Illegal, Toronto—a radical migrant justice organization in Canada; and has participated in several Occupy Denver events since moving to Denver in August 2011. He is also a board member of the journal, Upping the Anti-: A Journal of Theory and Action.

Occupy Economics, Part 5: Corporate Personhood, Democracy, and Occupy

Summary: Corporations are the Frankensteins of contemporary capitalism, acting as vehicles of capitalist class power. They are the modern Trojan horse that smuggles market logic and the private power of capital into democratic spaces and practices. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010) did not establish corporate personhood, but it did lift almost all limitations on corporate cash into electoral politics. This teach-in discusses the specifics of Citizens United, the history of the corporation and of corporate personhood, as well as the perverted logic of the Supreme Court’s decision in Buckley v. Valeo (1976), which ruled that money is political speech. It also takes up the radical individualism and rights-centric nature of political liberalism to demonstrate how liberalism’s abstract understanding of politics leads to corporate personhood. Finally, we see why Occupy is a democratic alternative to this form of politics.

Dr. Chad Kautzer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Denver.

American Indians: The Other 1%

Summary: In the words of renowned American Indian scholar Tink Tinker, who is leading this teach-in: “I hope to discuss the contemporary economic repercussions of american colonial / corporate power on Indian communities across the continent. Thus, I will highlight the intense poverty of Indian communities in spite of resource rich lands that should make us the wealthiest Americans. Instead, we have an unemployment rate that is stuck at about 50%. But it’s recession proof….”

Tink Tinker is a senior faculty member at the Iliff School of Theology, where he has been teaching classes since 1985. His courses include American Indian cultures, history, and religious traditions; cross-cultural and Third-World theologies; and justice and peace studies. Tink is a frequent speaker on these topics both in the U.S. and internationally. His publications include American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (2008); Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation (2004); and Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Genocide (1993). He co-authored A Native American Theology (2001); and he is co-editor of Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance (2003), and Fortress Press’ Peoples’ Bible (2008).

Occupy Economics, Part 4: The Occupy Movement as Ideology Critique

Summary: Like class, ideology is a term that has many uses and, as with class, having a solid analysis of ideology is necessary for good social critique and successful movement building. This teach-in defines ideology, looks at how Occupy is (in practice) a critique of dominant ideologies, and, lastly, takes up two case studies in ideology: The state’s response to the foreclosure crisis, and more locally, Denver’s “urban camping” ban, which criminalizes homelessness. The crisis in Alan Greenspan’s ideology (derived from the teaching of Ayn Rand) is here used a window onto the relation of ideology, power, and class today. [For a moment it appears as if the Gods are angry at this critique of Greenspan, interrupting the teach-in with lightning and a thunderclap so powerful it shakes the building (and camera) at 16:40]. Žižek, zombies, the role of ideology in the construction of our own identities, as well as the legitimation crises of the state and capitalism are also discussed.

Dr. Chad Kautzer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Denver.