International conference: Organizing Equality

Event Date: March 24, 2017 to March 26, 2017

International conference: Organizing Equality

24-26 March 2017, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

Organizers and advocates for local and global social justice are the lifeblood of solidarity movements worldwide that disrupt historic projects of exploitation, violent dispossession and social fragmentation. Social and economic inequality is a global challenge of the 21st century. The Global North’s Occupy and anti-austerity movement spoke back to the 2008 financial crisis. They now confront the urgent, mass scale migrations of peoples from the Global South to the North, fleeing a colonial legacy of deprivations, militarization, wars and land grabs. Settler societies are also experiencing Indigenous re-centerings, from #IdleNoMore to the Truth and Reconciliation process, and the #BlackLivesMatter cry to enfranchise African diasporas.

It is now increasingly recognized that rising levels of inequality are linked to poverty, discrimination, illness, environmental degradation, and social unrest. It is further recognized that inequality, in turn, is conditioned by and contingent on a range of other factors, including citizenship rights, gender, race, ethnicity, age, location, and education.

But despite this recognition, social movements contesting inequality face serious problems of organization, strategy and tactics. Recent years have shown the limits of traditional trade unionism, occupy and assembly movements, vanguards and new electoral parties alike. They have also shown that anti-racism, anti-violence, LGBTQ and migrant rights movements, to name a few, face major challenges organizing in the face of violence, xenophobia, marginality, impoverishment and under threat of criminalization. Across the board, movements have to reckon with the unprecedented levels of surveillance of the digital networks which have become an important part of their organizing practices.

This conference therefore asks what forms of organization might, in today’s conditions, be most useful to movements for equality. It especially seeks contributions willing to explore new possibilities for the organization of equality struggles. [more]