Left On Red: The Month of Red May, Seattle’s Vacation From Capitalism

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Seattle is a city that demands we think outside the box, and few series exemplify this idea quite like Red May. For the month of May, speakers gather to interrogate contemporary issues through the lens of Marxism, political economy, feminism, race, and philosophy. 

During a typical season, May at Town Hall would find fascinating conversations about capitalism and society making their way to our stages. We typically partner with our friends at Red May as part of their eponymous festival of radical art and thought, featuring local and national speakers helping Seattle turn red for a month. As they say, maybe we can’t move beyond capitalism by next week—but we can sure as hell take a vacation from it.

This year, while we won’t be able to keep up the tradition of bringing Red May speakers to our space, you can still take your vacation from capitalism—Red May is broadcasting their full calendar of events! Take a look at some of the highlights from this upcoming month of alternatives to capitalism:

The Antifada podcast (5/7) is a one-stop destination for “Ultra-Left-Post-Posadist-Nihilist-Anarcho-Communist-comedy and politics.” In this episode, our hosts delve into the effects of the coronavirus on our workforce and examine the future of work at a rare moment when almost nobody is working.

Negative solidarity: an aggressively enraged sense of injustice—the belief that “Because I endure lousy working conditions (wage freezes, no benefits, increasing precarity) everyone else must too.” Will this viewpoint expand in scope and intensity after the quarantine? Sit in with Jason Read, Jeremy Gilbert, Jo Isaacson, Steven Shaviro, and moderator Bruno George for a panel discussion on The Future of Negative Solidarity (5/9).

The Dig (5/15) is an acclaimed podcast from Jacobin magazine, featuring journalist and host Dan Denvir. He sits down with Holly Jean Buck from the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability for a discussion on global warming, technology, and the work ahead of us for repairing our relationship with our planet.

The Behind The News podcast (5/21) brings together Asad Haider, Jodi Dean, Leo Panitch and moderator Doug Henwood for a wide-ranging panorama of the current moment: how will the coronavirus affect our country, and what strategies should the Left follow to derail the next push for more austerity?

Dissent magazine has been called one of America’s leading intellectual journals and a mainstay of the democratic left, with a mission to cultivate the next generation of labor journalists, cultural critics, and political polemicists. They bring us an episode of their Belabored podcast (5/24), delivering punchy labor journalism from Cal Winslow and Emily Cunningham with Michel Chen and Sarah Jaffe.

In her book Capital is Dead McKenzie Wark poses a provocative thought experiment: what if we are not in capitalism anymore—but something worse? Political theorist Jodi Dean sits down with Wark with a forward-looking conversation on Communism or Neo-Feudalism (5/25).

Coronavirus has shone a harsh light on the US carceral state. Just like with nursing homes and elder care facilities, the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at jails, prisons, and penitentiaries are ideal conditions for the incubation and spread of the virus. Red May convenes a panel of local experts for a discussion on The Covid Crisis and the Carceral State (5/30).

Still curious about Red May? You can take a look at their full festival calendar on their website—or dig into previous Red May events at Town Hall with a look into our archives.

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