Conference on Democracy and Direct Action: Documenting Indigenous Responses to Neo-Colonialism and Globalization

full name / name of organization: 
Melissa Ortiz, Xicano Development Center

Xicano, Indigenous, and Working-Class communities across the continent are finding new ways to combat and resist the increasing encroachment of global capitalism. While much lip service is paid to the idea of democracy, what we actually see is an increasing intolerance for the basic principles of citizen participation. From simple electoral participation to more complex practices of community development and political organization, most "citizens" do not even possess the basic skills for active participation in a representational Democracy. We have to ask ourselves why?

Moreover, larger questions about peoples' right to choose their own political and economic systems are deeply embedded in the continued expansion of globalized capitalist democracy. How do we understand the need for broad based political engagement, while simultaneously engaging in the demolition of existing power structures? In a society where an oligarchy constantly replaces itself, from where does the motivation for political solutions come? How does direct action (including its principles, practice and theory) affect the representational democracy in the United States and around the world? As activists, how do we theorize the relationship between action and theory in a world that teaches us not to think? At this time, we openly invite participation from community activists, labor organizers, anti-authoritarians, teachers, students, farm workers, baristas, gardeners, artists, intellectuals and anyone else interested in the radical democratic tradition and its implications on the contemporary world.

Please submit your ideas for panel presentations and abstracts of academic papers of 150 to 200 words by September 15, 2009 to Melissa Ortiz at ( Abstracts and proposals for panels can also be mailed to the Xicano Development Center, P.O. Box 6102, East Lansing, MI. 48824