Can the economy be democratized? How can we transform it into a more socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable system? How can we combat the growing concentrations of power and wealth? What current practices point toward a participatory democratic and resilient next system?
Our Economy! Economic Democracy and System Change is a conference designed to stimulate and explore these questions, to be held April 12th, 2019 in midtown, Manhattan.
There is growing interest in forms of ownership that are meaningfully different from the traditional capitalist forms (whether privately owned or publicly traded), build equity for individuals and communities, and utilize forms of decision-making that are more empowering than representational democracy. This includes, among other forms, cooperatives (worker-, consumer-, producer-), co-determination, community land trusts, mutual housing associations, credit unions, participatory budgeting, intentional communities, and calls for basic income or a federal jobs guarantee. Many of these forms of economic democracy have been around for a long time but have never had that much impact within the larger frameworks of a liberal capitalist political economy. Are they up to the task of the present moment? How can they be updated and interconnected to take on the intensifying political, economic, technological, and ecological problems that define our chaotic unequal present?
The School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) at the City University of New York is convening a conference for academics, activists, organizers, practitioners, advocates, policy researchers, and policy makers to discuss and analyze the current state of the theories and practices of economic democracy. We want to explore the concepts and values as well as the forms, organizations and movements. (For example, what does “self-determination” mean in a volatile landscape of 7 billion interdependent humans? Inclusion? Solidarity? Sustainability? Resilience?) We seek a broad range of papers and perspectives that will help to further define and refine the language of “economic democracy” and will draw upon both historical and contemporary practices to understand the field, where it has been, where it is, and where it needs to go.
The conference will take place at The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies at 25 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036.
There are two different ways to participate in the conference: as a paper presenter or as a panel/roundtable organizer or participant. Paper presentations should be in-depth analyses of their topics. Panel/roundtables should be dialogical discussions of their topics.
Submissions may focus on:
- Theorizing the field of economic democracy and system change
- The relationships between economic democracy and the “urban” contexts in which these practices have emerged or are emerging (e.g. fearless cities, rebel cities…)
- The relationships between economic democracy and climate change in theory and practice (e.g. just transition, energy democracy, green new deal)
- The ways in which race, class, nativity/legal status, and gender power relations interact with economic democracy
- Questions of scale/proliferation
- Questions of “municipalism,” “regionalism,” (anti)globalization in economic democracy
- Questions of the role of the state and government agencies, regulations, administration in economic democracy; both in theory and in practice
- Analyses of specific forms (e.g. coops) and how they can be strengthened or connected with other processes or structures (e.g. participatory budgeting, public banks, local or digital currencies)
- Democratic Innovations in Specific Solidarity Economy Movements (e.g. Quebec, Brazil, Greece, Italy)
- The Democratic Possibilities of Technology in Political Economic Transformations (e.g. platform cooperativism, P2P, digital currencies)
- Different perspectives for framing, messaging (e.g. Solidarity Economy, the New Social Contract; Next System, New Economy, EconD)
Kafui Attoh (CUNY SLU), Evan Casper-Futterman (Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative), James DeFilippis (Rutgers University), Jessica Gordon-Nembhard (John Jay College/CUNY), Roger Green (CUNY Law), Carmen Huertas-Noble (CUNY Law), Steve London (CUNY SLU), Rebecca Lurie (CUNY SLU), Michael Menser (Brooklyn College/CUNY), Cathy Mulder (John Jay College).
Guidelines for Submission and Process for selection:
If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words to CUNYecondemconf@gmail.com. If you are interested in organizing or participating in a panel/roundtable, please send an email of no more than 500 words describing the panel/roundtable (what it would cover, who would participate, etc.) to CUNYecondemconf@gmail.com
Abstracts and organized panel inquiries must be submitted by December 1st, 2018. Responses with acceptances will be made by January 15th, 2019.