Program Archives

Mon 7.06.15 | Wilhelm Reich and the Sexual Revolution

Christopher Turner, Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011





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Wilhelm Reich fused Marx with Freud, had an enormous influence on the New Left and the counterculture, and provided the intellectual underpinnings for the sexual revolution. Yet he's almost forgotten today. Writer Christopher Turner discussses the complexities of the psychoanalytic pioneer, who invented the infamous orgone accumulator box -- used by William Burroughs and Norman Mailer amongst others -- and examines his legacy in hindsight.

Wed 7.01.15 | Three Perspectives on Marriage Equality

Dean Spade and Craig Willse, “Marriage Will Never Set Us Free” Organizing Upgrade

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Sherry Wolf, Sexuality and Socialism Haymarket, 2009

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Not everyone on the Left celebrated the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage. A number of radical thinkers and activists, including Dean Spade and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, have decried the focus on marriage equality. On the other hand, Sherry Wolf viewed same-sex marriage as a key reform worth pursuing.

Tues 6.30.15 | The Rise and Fall of Socialist Humanism

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Socialist humanist ideas were broadly championed by key thinkers in the mid-20th century, like Fanon, Marcuse, and Fromm, but have now disappeared, seemingly without a trace. Barbara Epstein and Kevin Anderson explore socialist humanism's rise and fall, in part as postmodernism took center stage as an ideological current. They argue that the Left is not better off without it.

Mon 6.29.15 | Whitman on Democracy

John Marsh, In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself Monthly Review Press, 2015




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Democracy today is in a sorry state. Can Walt Whitman help us resuscitate it? John Marsh thinks so; he reveals how the thousands of visits Whitman paid to sick and wounded soldiers in Civil War army hospitals restored the poet's faith in ordinary people's ability to fashion a robust democracy. Marsh also shows how Whitman modeled an ethics of comradeship and affection in his poetry.

Wed 6.24.15 | Indymedia and the Cyber Left

Todd Wolfson, Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left U. of Illinois Press, 2014





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Often disparaged, the internet has become both a key tool for social movements and a way for activists to tell their own stories. Inspired by the Zapatistas, media activists blazed a trail, and transformed journalism, with a network-based model of grassroots independent media centers around the world. Todd Wolfson discusses Indymedia's rise and fall, and that experience's lessons for today's social movements.

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Tues 6.23.15 | When Soviet Welfare Ended

Roelvink, St. Martin, and Gibson-Graham, eds., Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies U. of Minnesota Press, 2015




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Welfare supports were a fundamental feature of the Soviet Union. But then the USSR collapsed, leaving millions of Russians without either good-paying jobs or state assistance. Marianna Pavlovskaya reveals how Russian families resorted to household and other informal economic practices to cope, adapt, and survive in an era of relentless privatization and neoliberalization.

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