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A teach-in at the University of California Santa Cruz. Tracing the decline of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) in Mexico, the rise of Neoliberalism, and the election of AMLO, this teach-in asks how the failure of the Left in the past century informs Mexican Democracy in the 21st century.

Held May 11, 2018 at the University of California Santa Cruz.


Evan Hetland - Platypus Affiliated Society
Mike Rotkin - former editor of Socialist Review, former mayor of Santa Cruz
Bruce Thompson - Professor of History at UCSC
Dave Andrews - Redneck Revolt
Jasmine - Redneck Revolt


Recent school shootings and the ever-recurring instances of police brutality pose acutely the question of gun control today. Should the Left take up the demand for gun control, and if so, how? If not, why not? How is gun control related to the struggle for socialism?

Held November 15, 2017 at the University of California Santa Cruz.


Mike Rotkin, former editor of Socialist Review
Larry Cafiero, Democratic Socialists of America
Keith McHenry, Food Not Bombs
Bruce Thompson, Professor of History at UCSC


Since the Nazi seizure of power eighty years ago anti-fascism has been integral to left-wing politics. The struggle against fascists and Nazis is morally self-evident, so that political anti-fascism seems to be similarly self-evident. Yet in past periods of history, the politics of anti-fascism was completely different, as was the understanding of what it contributed to leftist politics more generally. Still certain continuity can be discerned in anti-fascism’s retention of anti-capitalist claims. Where does this come from? What was anti-fascism and how has it changed? How do the category and concept of anti-fascism help us to understand both historical and contemporary political realities? What does anti-fascism mean today in the absence of fascism as a mass movement?

Held February 3, 2015 at the University of California Santa Cruz. Moderated by Daniel Rudin.


Mike Rotkin - Lecturer in Community Studies at the UCSC
Allison Cabrera - SEIU, National Labor College
Steve Early - Labor Notes


Recently, campus-based unions have been organizing under the concept of "social movement unionism", and so we seek to ask the question - what does "social movement unionism" actually mean? The panel seeks to discuss this as a concept for campus-based organizing and situate the theory and practice of social movement unionism in relation to both the broader labor movement as well as to politics.

Panel Questions:

  1. Does the “movement” aspect of “social movement unionism” stand for the same thing as politics? If not what is the difference between movements and politics? How do you view the sectional demands of students relating to the demands of other sections of society - and how do they do so in a way that is better or worse than any other workplaces? 
  2. What kind of issues can be addressed through university unions?  Do you see university unions in any way as a “vanguard” or a strategy to revitalize left politics? As a way to restart the labor movement?
  3. How should public university unions relate to the local and national Democratic Parties?  Is a relationship necessary to preserve collective bargaining rights for state unions?  What can be said about the current frustration with fee increases?
  4. Is there something ‘politically formative' about the experience of striking, occupying, etc. that is necessary for building Left politics?  For rebuilding the labor movement?
  5. The International UAW administration prides itself on its partnership with the Big 3 and have used this as the primary message for organizing the foreign owned auto plants.  Are labor-management partnerships an organizing tool or liquidation of the labor movement?  What kind of relationship should university unions have with the administration?  What role should university unions play in directing the ‘work’ of the university?  Is this compatible with transforming the ‘work’ of the university, or with overcoming capitalism?