Race, Politics, and the Democratic Socialist Left: Perspectives from France and the U.S

W/ GUEST PARTICIPANTS–Députée LFI de Paris Danièle Obono, Asad Haider, Philippe Marlière, Nichole Mossalam

How is the US democratic socialist left doing in matters of race/ethnicity?

Since the Bernie Sanders campaign of 2016, is this emerging left, in different cities and different regions of the country, managing to form broad coalitions and alliances in pursuit of common objectives while also embodying the constitutive diversity of social movements?

How can we understand the contemporary level of disunity within the French left, and to what extent are disagreements and misunderstandings over questions of race/ethnicity, identity, and/or culture a contributing factor to that disunity? Is there a way out of the French impasse? Are there emerging struggles that might serve to build bridges rather than contribute to more fragmentation and polarization (“culture wars”) over these questions?

What can we learn about each other’s experiences in different national contexts? For example, how do actors on the French left understand U.S. struggles over racism? Are there positive lessons that resonate outside the U.S. and that might be considered transposable? And, regarding France, what can we learn? Are the lessons mostly negative – i.e. official denial of systemic racism, denial of the existence of islamophobia even in parts of the left, refusal of race as too “American” a concept – or might there are also be a positive interest in better understanding the significance of laïcité, the French republican notion of secularism?

Députée Danièle Obono – Deputy in the French National Assembly for La France Insoumise

Asad Haider – founding editor of Viewpoint Magazine and the author of Mistaken Identity. His writing can be found in The Baffler, n+1, The Point, Salon, and elsewhere.

Philippe Marlière – professor of political science at the University of London

Nichole Mossalam – Boston DSA member, Massachusetts Democratic Party State Committee (DSC) member, founding director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Medford

SPONSORED BY – DSA IC-Europe, DSA in France, France Insoumise Canada-États-Unis, Députée LFI de Paris Danièle Obono