Join May First at the Left Forum!

May First/People Link
at the Left Forum
May 20 – 22, 2016

As we do every year, May First/People Link is working hard to build and support the work of our member The Left Forum: the premiere yearly left-wing conference in this country. This year we’re doing more workshops than ever and we’re making a bit of Left Forum history in the process:

We’re doing the first Left Forum workshop about the significant challenges people of color face on the Internet and around technology as well as a panel about the huge issue of women and the Internet. We are also putting on the first panel exclusively from Mexico and broadcast into the Forum on the TransPacific Partnership. And Friday night we are gathering together a stellar panel on surveillance and privacy – THE topic of the moment on the Internet – and we have a practical workshop on what you can do to stay secure.

These aren’t only presentations. They are conversations between participants and attendees: part of our ongoing conversation about how to protect our Internet and how to protect ourselves on it.

The panels aren’t scheduled yet but they are all approved. So save these dates, go to the Left Forum site to register ( and make sure you’re there. You don’t want to miss these and we really need to have you there.

Privacy, Surveillance and Secure Internet Access: Planning the Fight

Opening the Forum on Friday night!

Friday, May 20 – 5:00 pm – 6:45 pm
Room - L. 76

The almost complete destruction of privacy as a human right, coupled with severe surveillance and data confiscation has now become a major issue for social justice and revolutionary movements. For us, privacy is not about hiding personal details but about protecting our movements from disruption and repression. How do we reclaim our privacy and push back surveillance and what opportunities for broader organizing do such struggles provide? This panel and audience interaction will feature Internet activists from all over the world in person and remotely – in a conversation with attendees.

Chair: Maritza Arrastía
Nicholas Merrill – Calyx Internet
Lars Bretthauer – German Internet activist
Shahid Buttar – Electronic Frontier Foundation
Hamid Khan – LA Stop Spying Coalition
Brandi Collins – Color of Change
Joseph Torres – Free Press
Jackie Smith – INoSA


The Internet: Stopping the War on Women

Saturday, May 21, 2016 – 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Room - 1.90

From its inception and relentlessly since then, the Internet’s environment and culture have been hostile to women. From the absence of women in technology (particularly at the Administrator level), to the resistance to women’s participation in the theoretical work on technology to the literal war on women of online harassment, insult and attack – women are strongly discouraged and sometimes blocked from participating in the technology that will, without question, define our future and actually help decide whether we have one. This world-wide convergence of women who are Internet activists will take up those issues, that struggle and how to “take back the Net”.

Melanie Bush – Chair – May First/People Link, International Network of Scholar/Activists
Alice Aguilar – Progressive Technology Project
Erika Smith – Association for Progressive Communications
Elandria Williams – Highlander Center
Manisha Desai – INOSA, University of Connecticut


Attacking the Digital Plantation: Racism on the Internet and the Struggle Against It

Sunday May 22, 2015 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Room - 1.90

In the wealthier countries, particularly the United States, the Internet is controlled by white men. All you have to do is look at the roster of speakers at a technology conference – they are mostly men and almost all white. The implications of white control of the Internet are huge. Among so many other problems, it divorces the movements of resistance (which are led by people of color) from the Internet while limiting young people of color to social media. Leaders from movements of color will discuss racism and racist attack on the Internet, how to break through the “color wall” and what role the Internet plays in the struggles of people of color.

Jerome Scott – Chair – League of Revolutionaries for a New America
Mo Willis – Allied Media Projects
Ejim Dike – U.S. Human Rights Network
Jacqui Patterson – NAACP, Institute for the Black World
Michelle Metts – Agaric Design
Sphinx Eben – Indy-Media Center


Protect Yourself: Using Secure Software on the Internet

Saturday, May 21, 2015 – 5:10 pm – 7:00 pm
Room 1.90

This is no exageration! You use the Internet. It’s important to your life and your work. That’s why the government is so interested in your data. If you use gmail or Google’s search engine or Facebook or most of the popular “cloud” programs, all your communications go directly to the National Security Agency. You can protect yourself, your data and your communications and it’s not hard. We’ll show you how in this workshop. It would be helpful, although not necessary, to have a laptop computer.

Jamie McClelland – May First/People Link
Michelle Metts – Agaric Design


From Mexico: The TPP and Its Impact on Internet Freedom and Free Software

Sun May 22, 2016 - 12:00pm – 01:50pm
Room 1.90

A precedent-making, border defying workshop! While the Trans-Pacific Partnership is know in the United States, the perspective of movement people from other affected countries is not often heard. What impact will it have and what specific areas will be most impacted? One of the major areas of the TPP’s destructive impact is information technology, Internet security and access and the future of Free Software. This panel will take place in Mexico, featuring Mexican activists, and be broadcast to the Left Forum.

Juan Gerardo Dominguez Carrasco – Primero de Mayo/Enlace Popular
Jaime Villareal – Rancho Electronico
Jacobo Najera – Primero de Mayo/Enlace Popular
Estrella Soria – Tierra Comun