Academics and labor activists establish free schools in Oklahoma

BY:Justin Shepherd| September 30, 2011

TULSA, Okla. – Labor leaders and activists, students, academics and community members gathered recently for the second in a lecture series on Marx’s Capital at Tulsa University. Dr. Scott Carter, a premier Marxist economist, who has published his work widely in a variety of prestigious academic journals, started the lecture series after attending a regional labor conference.

According to Professor Carter, “Many of our local labor activists and students are hungry for a deeper understanding of economic theory.  People are looking for explanations of why the United States continues to slip deeper toward depression. Unfortunately, many of the people most affected – poor and working class people – don’t have the luxury of studying economics at a four-year university.  So I figure, hell, let’s take the university to them.”

The lecture series is part of a larger initiative being taken by members and supporters of Oklahoma’s labor community. Following the success of Oklahoma Labor Fest, running now for two consecutive years, many academics are realizing the importance of taking “high theory” to the street.

Rachel Jackson, a professor and organizer for Oklahoma Labor Fest, as well as being founder of Oklahoma’s Red Flag Press, said: “The beauty of engaging with working people is that you lose all your cynicism.  I’ve learned as much if not more from being involved in the labor movement and hearing these great stories and all.”

The goal of these “free schools” is to enhance the revitalized momentum of the politicized working-class with deeper analytical insights. Judging by the recent turn out, the initiative is gaining traction.

CPUSA members are enthusiastically assisting this labor/academic initiative in many ways.

According to a 21-year old member, and student at the University of Oklahoma, “We’re doing our best to make sure everyone that wants to come to the lectures can. We’ve pooled money for gas and dinners afterward. It’s been really exciting to see so many new people – and not just students – taking an interest in Marx. Nobody really saw this coming. Kinda’ makes you think there’s hope for the ‘red states’ after all.”



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