January 13, 2005 – A Public Forum on the Bush Presidency, Neo-conservatism, and Opposition

Thursday, January 13 / 7 PM / Classroom Unit ll


This meeting will focus on agendas for analysis and political work during the second G.W. Bush administration. William Bennett is not the only powerful Republican who has found in the election a mandate for a successful conclusion to the culture wars, whose targets include higher education. We in the university will probably have no choice but to join this battle. But much more is at stake than an assault on universities. The coming years may see continued crisis in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and a speeding up of political and economic restructuring in the U.S. We want to begin a discussion at UC Santa Cruz that can lead to a better understanding of the present, of the new shape of politics, and of what we can do.

This forum is intended to foster better analysis of and fresh thinking about the nature of political power, the new political role of evangelical Christianity, the cluster of issues and obfuscations represented by the term “values,” the limits and possibilities of elections and electoral politics, the culture wars, the political and economic character of the present orientation, the contestation over the Hispanic vote, the mounting assault on women’s rights, the threat to the principle of equality, the accelerated push toward privatization and the ownership of risk, the anti-gay/lesbian mobilization, the political character of popular culture and the media, and many more topics.

Our speakers, from the departments of American Studies, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, History of Consciousness, Latin American and Latina/o Studies, Literature, and Politics, have wide-ranging expertise in these and other areas, and have generously offered to help us stimulate discussion of the issues we face. We all recognize that slogans, repetition of familiar truths, and affirmations of our political virtues will not be enough. We need good, deepening, and continuing analysis, serious discussion about mobilization and politics, and new thinking.

Our panelists will give short presentations, followed by panel discussion and audience participation.

ANGELA DAVIS Professor of History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz is one of the country’s foremost activist-intellectuals. Trained as a philosopher, she has written on African American culture, politics, feminism, and music. Her latest book is Are Prisons Obsolete?.

SUSAN HARDING, Professor Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, has done extensive fieldwork on evangelical Chrisitanity. Her research, long referenced by a range of authors working in the field, culminated in the 2000 publication of The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics.

RONNIE LIPSCHUTZ, Professor of Politics at UC Santa Cruz, is the author of many books on enviornmental and ethnic politics, and on political conflict. He also writes a weekly newspaper column on national politics.

GEORGE LIPSITZ, Professor of American Studies at UC Santa Cruz, is an activist and scholar who has written on popular culture, oppositional cultural movements, race, and urban culture. In 1998 he published The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From Identity Politics.

ROBERT MEISTER, Professor of Politics at UC Santa Cruz, is a prominent political theorist. Since the 1990 publication of the pathbreaking Political Identity: Thinking Through Marx, he has written and spoken widely on human rights, victimization, and on the US global posture since Septermber 11.

HELENE MOGLEN, Professor of Literature at UC Santa Cruz, in addition to many publications on English and American Literatures, has for many years been a feminist activist and organizer. Currently, she is director of UCSC’s Institute for Advanced Feminist Research.

MANUEL PASTOR, Professor of Latina/o and Latin American Studies at UCSC, is a community activist and a scholar of political economy and community. He recently published Regions that Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together.

ALAN RICHARDS, Professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, has published widely on environmental politics and economics, with particular expertise in the Middle East. Recently, he has been invited by the US Army to share with its officers his dissenting views on the US role in the region. 

MODERATOR: CHRIS CONNERY