Tues 3.27.12 | AIDS and Gentrification

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It's only been a decade and a half since the height of the AIDS epidemic. Yet there's profound amnesia about what happened during those years, in which hundreds of thousands of people died in this country, ignored by a government that only helped those with the disease after being forced through direct action. Writer Sarah Schulman argues that AIDS paved the way for massive gentrification in cities like New York and San Francisco.  She describes the erasure of a liberatory queer culture and its replacement with a conservative one.

Mon 3.26.12 | Revolt and Revolution

Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis at the Empowering Women of Color Conference

Daniel Rasmussen, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt Harper, 2012 (paper)

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What does revolution mean to movement elders Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis? What should it encompass, and whom should it involve? Boggs and Davis spoke recently in Berkeley. And Daniel Rasmussen tells the story of the largest slave revolt in US history, which took place in 1811 in and around New Orleans.

Wed 3.21.12 | The Punitive Turn

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What are the real reasons for this nation's unprecedented (in world history) boom in incarceration? Is the prison a tool to fight crime, or does it serve an entirely different purpose? And what about the notion of a prison-industrial complex: does that have any relation to reality? Loïc Wacquant analyzes the rise of the penal state in the context of sustained assaults on welfare and the collapse of the Black ghetto. (Encore presentation.)

Tues 3.20.12 | Two Icons and a Fresh Voice

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Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis have thought, written, and acted courageously for decades. In a rare joint presentation on March 2, they spoke about, among other things, Occupy, nonviolence, and grassroots activism. Alex Gilvarry is a relative newcomer to political thinking, but his debut novel follows an immigrant to the US who winds up at Guantanamo.

Mon 3.19.12 | Fleecing the Poor

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If you don't have the time or inclination to do your taxes, many national tax-preparation outlets are waiting to help. Or maybe "help" isn't the appropriate word. According to Gary Rivlin, instant tax-prep chains, payday lenders, check-cashing operations, and a host of other outfits are preying on -- and making billions of dollars off of -- the desperately poor. (Encore presentation.)

Wed 3.14.12 | Fear, Risk, and Breast Cancer

Robert A. Aronowitz, Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society Cambridge U. Press, 2007







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Breast cancer may be the most feared disease that women face: one out of every eight women is expected to get the illness in her lifetime. But how much of that fear is produced not by biology but society? Historian and medical doctor Robert Aronowitz has written a social history of breast cancer from the 19th century to the present. He argues that overzealous screening -- detecting cells that would never advance into full-blown cancer -- has fueled a sense of risk that serves neither patients nor the medical understanding of the disease.
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