The Inland Empire has emerged as an epicenter for the relentless growth/crash dynamic of global capitalism – forcing workers out of jobs, families out of homes and students out of school. This massive displacement is the context for EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Organizing Inland.
Just four years ago, you couldn’t find a better symbol of the economic boom than California’s Inland Empire—subdivisions, malls and warehouses were going up everywhere, filling in nearly every last empty spot on the map between LA and the desert. Today it’s hard to find a better symbol of what went wrong. Official unemployment is 15 percent, more than three times what it was in 2006. In the jobs that remain, wages are low and the future uncertain. State and local budgets are in tatters. Students are struggling to stay in school, while families wonder if they can keep their homes. And after a decade of explosive growth, the air quality is as bad as the foreclosure rate. But all over Southern California—from Boron to Fontana to Riverside—people are fighting back and organizing for a just and sane economy in the Inland Empire and beyond.
Part 1 – Neoliberal Appetites (March 3, 2010 at UC-Riverside)
This event, led by Brian Holmes, focused on neoliberal subjectivity – the ways in which the present economic system both encourages and is encouraged by a set of fundamental assumptions, attitudes and perspectives.
Part 2 – Public Forum (April 6, 2010 at Universalist Unitarian Church of Riverside)
Mike Davis, Victor Valle and representatives from seven organizations fighting for justice in the Inland Empire gathered in a public forum about what’s gone wrong and how we can join together to fight for a just and sustainable future.
Victor Valle (author of City of Industry: Genealogies of Power in Southern California) addresses the crowd at the Unitarian Church of Riverside on April 6, 2010.
“You are standing on valuable land…We have to have more occupations. We have to occupy the universities…We have to let ordinary people know what value is in their landscape.”
The full text of Victor Valle’s address is available here
organized by Ben Ehrenreich, Ken Rogers & Michael Wilson