Monday, 13 October, 2008
Naomi Klein and Democratic Reconstruction

When you scroll through the Aurora Forum archive, you find that we regularly present conversations with investigative journalists such as Rebecca Solnit, Lewis Lapham, Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, and Dahr Jamail, whose writings are motivated by a passion for social justice. This coming Thursday, October 16 we welcome another such journalist, Naomi Klein, for a conversation that grows out of her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007).

Naomi Klein first arrived on the scene with No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (2000), an international bestseller that examines the way our affluence is a by-product of globalization's devastating effects on the world's poor. In between No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, she and her husband, Avi Lewis, produced The Take (2004). This film chronicles events in the wake of Argentina's economic collapse in 2001, after which unemployed workers took over factories abandoned by the multinationals and got them running again.

Naomi and Avi wrote about the Argentine struggle for democratic reconstruction in The Nation: "The legal and political case for worker control in Argentina does not only rest on the unpaid wages, evaporated benefits, and emptied-out pension funds. The workers make a sophisticated case for their moral right to property...based not just on what they're owed personally, but what society is owed. The recovered companies propose themselves as an explicit remedy to all the corporate welfare, corruption, and other forms of public subsidy the owners enjoyed in the process of bankrupting their firms and moving their wealth to safety, abandoning whole communities to the twilight of economic exclusion."

Does the case in Argentina offer lessons for what we face now in the United States, where we've also seen a massive transfer of public wealth to private hands through crony capitalism fueled by unchecked greed? Naomi Klein thinks it does, and her books are filled with stories of similar devastation and of courageous people who wake up from the shock and find ways to work together to preserve democratic ideals.

I look forward to seeing you there.

From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General

Joycelyn Elders with LaDoris Cordell

Monday, April 14, 2003 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Joycelyn Elders entered college at age 15 after growing up in a sharecropper’s shack. She attended medical school on the G. I. Bill and became a pediatrician and professor. In 1993, she was appointed Surgeon General of the United States.
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Your Body on the Line?

Julia Butterfly Hill with Rebecca Solnit

Monday, June 2, 2003 | 7:30 - 9:00 | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In December 1997, Julia Butterfly Hill, then age 23, climbed up “Luna,” a thousand-year-old redwood in Humboldt County, California, and did not touch ground for two years. Her dangerous and inspiring action protected this ancient redwood and the trees around it. Would you put your body on the line for something you believe in? What might each of us do to protect and celebrate the wild world that is our home? Join us as Bay Area writer Rebecca Solnit discusses these and other questions with Julia Butterfly Hill.
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The American Soul:
Founding Ideals and the American Dream

Jacob Needleman and Scotty McLennan

Monday, January 26, 2004 | 7:30 – 9:00 | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In his recent book, The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders, Jacob Needleman writes: America is … a philosophical identity composed of ideas of freedom, liberty, independent thought, independent conscience, self-reliance, hard work, justice. That is both the weakness and strength of America. To love America is not to love one’s roots&mdashit is to love the flower that has not yet blossomed, the fruit as yet unripened. In order to deepen our conversation about the American story, Needleman urges attention to iconic figures such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman, who remind us of founding ideals which may inspire our actions today. We must, he says, remythologize the idea of America. But how?
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Democracy Matters:
An Evening with Cornel West

Cornel West

Thursday, September 30, 2004 | 7:30 -9:30pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University, discuss themes and ideas from his latest book, Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism. The usual format for the Aurora Forum is on-stage conversation that opens to audience participation. Tonight we break precedent by inviting Dr. West to present a lecture followed by a question-and-answer period. As always, our intention is to inspire conversation, and we hope you will share insights generated by this discussion with members of your family, neighbors, and colleagues.
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Arbitrary Convictions:
Capital Punishment in the United States

Sister Helen Prejean and Lawrence C. Marshall with William F. Abrams

Thursday, October 27, 2005 | 7:30 – 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

As of October 2004, 117 wrongfully convicted persons from twenty-five states have been released from America's death rows, and the number continues to grow. How do such serious mistakes occur in what some call the best court system in the world? And how can fifty states, each bound by the same Constitution and Supreme Court guidelines, implement the death penalty so differently? Should justice in a democratic society be an arbitrary matter? You are invited to join this conversation about one of the most important civil rights issues of our day.
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On the Pursuit of Happiness:
An Evening with Robert Thurman and Pico Iyer

Robert Thurman and Pico Iyer with Mark Gonnerman

Monday, April 28, 2008 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Novelist and travel writer Pico Iyer joins Robert Thurman, Columbia University professor and founder of Tibet House in New York City, for a conversation on the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, education, life on the road, and things that contribute to happiness and human well-being.
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A Conversation with Naomi Klein:
Disaster Capitalism and the Rise of Democratic Reconstruction

Naomi Klein with Terry Karl

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, journalist Naomi Klein exposes the strategies of powerful people who cash in on chaos and exploit catastrophe to remake our world in their image. But this is not the whole story: popular renewal and repair movements are gaining the strength not only to take back state power but to change the power structures of the state. Join us for a conversation that presents a new paradigm for understanding global politics and celebrates those who continue to work for justice against great odds.
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