Facing Our Challenges: Rescuing Democracy, Ensuring Wellbeing & Exorcizing the Politics of Fear (Or: How To Be Free)
Co-Sponsored by Western New England University School of Law and ClassCrits, Inc. www.classcrits.org
November 15 & 16, 2019
This year, ClassCrits seeks the mantle of the FREE. To be free requires that we actively face the challenges that all humanity now jointly confronts. These include the accelerating environmental degradation of the Earth's natural systems, the dramatic rise in economic inequality, the failure of our institutions, the breakdown of our communities, and the alienation from our selves (body, mind and spirit) and one another. However, these challenges cannot be met unless we rescue or even reinvent our democracy, ensure the wellbeing of all as the appropriate measure of justice, and exorcize the politics of fear. From this perspective, democracy, economic wellbeing, and fearlessness present challenges, each of which requires an appropriate response. In addition, however, these core concepts serve as commitments, methods, and practices that advance justice and engender the solidarity necessary to tackle the existential threats we now face.
Over the last few years, hope in this darkening time has been kept alive by the activism both here and abroad of young people, people of color, women, and white progressives. In the United States, the recent election of an energized, fearless, and diverse group of congress people committed to justice, equality, and the future of our planet also captures this hope. A spirit of hope and enthusiasm insists that we can rebuild our polity and contribute to reordering the world despite increasing practices of hate, fear-mongering and fear-based policy-making. We can refuse to be bounded by an anti-democratic rhetoric of liberty that is anything but freeing and animated by abuse of power, sought homogeneity, and the making and exploitation of insecurity. In this vein, ClassCrits seeks ideas, work, activities and practices that: (1) analyze and propose concrete solutions to the existential threats to humanity and planet Earth; (2) demand expansive democracy and justice; (3) embrace and seek to ensure the economic wellbeing of all across our differences; and (4) inspire courage and solidarity.