March 2012 USHRN Education Call: ESCR and Occupy

Connecting the Dots: the Occupy Movement and the Struggle for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

 The Occupy Movement, which burst on the scene in September 2011, and quickly spread throughout the United States and the world, is an expression of the growing outrage that working people of all races and nationalities have against their growing immiseration by the austerity being imposed upon them by corporations and neo-liberal governments. At its heart, the Occupy Movement seeks to not only challenge inequality, but the entire capitalist system and its ability to equitably address fundamental human needs and aspirations. The Occupy Movement is also an assertion of rights, the fundamental human right to economic justice and security, to social freedom and liberation, and to access and express culture in its varied forms.

This educational call will explore the connections between the Occupy Movement and its assertion of fundamental economic, social, and cultural rights, and make an argument for why the adoption of the ESCR framework is critical for advancing working class struggle and consciousness in the United States. It will also share some of the ongoing organizing work that many organizations and collectives are promoting as means of advancing the 99% movement in 2012 and beyond, particularly the Spring Actions being promoted by the Take Back the Land Movement, solidarity initiatives with Farmer workers and Truck drivers in Washington State being organized by the Black Orchid Collective, and militant rank and file struggles for human rights and dignity throughout the United States being supported by the Black Workers for Justice.

Presenters include:

Monica Adams, Take Back the Land Madison

Monica Adams is an organizer with the Take Back the Land-Movement, as a part of National Leadership Core, as well as a grassroots organizer with the local action group of Take Back the Land Madison. Adams has extensive experience in building the leadership and organizing capacities of most impacted communities, specifically in Black, Southeast Asian, low-income and Queer communities.  Adams brings an intersectional and multi-issue approach to campaign development, political theorization, and positive action organizing.

Marianne Mork, Black Orchid Collective

Marianne is a member of the Seattle based Black Orchid Collective (BOC). BOC is a multi-gendered, multiracial revolutionary collective attempting to develop an effective relationship between theory and practice. We are against capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, imperialism, ableism and the state. We are fighting for a direct democratic, ecologically sustainable society in which we as workers can creatively produce to fulfill human needs, not for the sake of profit. Our aims are to learn from the successes and failures of past revolutions and social movements, rebuilding and re-imaging forms of organization and developing ourselves as working class revolutionaries. A major part of this involves reviving the Marxist method as a tool for combining the best of feminist, anti-colonial, anarchist, ecological, anti-racist, and queer liberation perspectives, while discarding all that holds us back. Marianne was closely involved with the December 12th West Coast Port Shutdowns and the planning to mobilize if needed to Longview, WA to blockade EGT 's ship. She also has been in communication with Seattle port truckers who went on strike for 2 weeks in February. 

Saladin Muhammad, Black Workers for Justice

Saladin Muhammad is the Coordinator for the International Worker Justice Campaign, member of Black Workers for Justice (BWFJ), organizer with United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 150, member of the Million Worker March, and member of the Black Left Unity Network (BLUN).