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A Progressive Activist Conference to Educate, Agitate and Inspire

Keynote Speakers, Workshops, Meet & Greet Dinner, Live Music, Story Telling, & Spoken Word 


The conference features three notable thinkers on how American democracy is being undermined: Nancy MacLean, author of the award-winning Democracy in Chains; The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Jason Stanley, author of the upcoming How Fascism Works: The Politics of US and Them, and Jim Hightower, radio commentator, author and publisher of The Hightower Lowdown.

UMKC Student Union – 5100 Cherry St., KCMO 64110 4th floor

Friday, August 10th (6p-9:30pm)
6pm – Registration and cookies
6:30pm – Welcome and Speed Dating for Activists
7-8pm – The Cultural Agitators I: Radical Poetry and Songs of Protest
8- 9:15pm – Plenary speaker Jason Stanley, Yale University, author of How Fascism Works: The Politics of US and Them
9:15 –
Preview of Saturday and adjourn

Saturday August 11th (8a-4:45pm)
8am – Registration, Coffee and Pastries
8:30 – 11:30am – Workshops
11:30-12:30 – Lunch and Cultural Agitators II including The Recipe, Spoken Word, etc.
12:30-1:45pm – Nancy MacLean, Duke University, author: Democracy in Chains, The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
2-4:45pm – Workshops

All Souls UU Church – 4501 Walnut Street, KCMO 64111

Saturday August 11th (6p-9:30p) 
6-7:30 – Jim Hightower, Nancy MacLean, Jason Stanley and Danny Cox Meet & Greet Dinner
7:00 – Doors open for Hightower speech
7:30 – Singer, Actor, Recording Artist Danny Cox followed by Hell-raising speech by Jim Hightower, Radio Commentator, Speaker, & author of Hightower Lowdown
9:30  Adjourn

Workshops – Session 1 – 8:30-9:45 AM

UMKC Econ Club: Neoliberalism: Its Economic Theory & Politics UMKC Econ Students Matthew Applebury, Tyler Feaver, and Sam Stockman explain orthodox ‘mainstream’ neoclassical’ economic theory to explain the reasoning behind neoliberalism or libertarian “Koch-type” economics. Room 401B

Trust Women Foundation: Litmus Test Candidates & Issues: Abortion Rights and Mobilizing Repro Justice Warriors. Trust Women’s Executive Director Julie A. Burkhart will discuss the disadvantages of using litmus tests on human-rights issues to those seeking elected office and strategies to win. Room 401C

KC Greens: Bringing Electoral Politics Out of the Dark: A Dialogue for the Future.  This listening session hosted by Steve Mann and Jo Crain is a structured Dialogue for Our Future asking what is our community’s vision and goals for Kansas City in 2040 and how do we envision electoral reform and the strategies to get there. Room 402

AIRR-Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation: White Supremacy in Immigration Law.  Diana Martinez and Zac Mueller discuss how our struggle to define ourselves is reflected in the history of immigration policy. They’ll expose the right wing’s anti-immigrant flank and offer strategies to defeat them. Room 419

John Brown Press: Poetry of Resistance. Fred Whitehead, poet, historian and publisher; Sharon Eiker, longtime poetry event organizer, Lucky Garcia, local poet and focus on the connection between poetry and social movements, what forms does this connection takes and is poetry even relevant. Room 420

Workshops – Session 2 – 10:00 – 11:15 AM

Unkoch My Campus: Unleveraging Dark Money in Your Backyard. Jasmine Banks and Ralph Wilson from this national organization describe the Koch network’s structure and “integrated strategy,” sharing research and resistance methods to help expose and weaken the Koch network’s leverage in MO and KS. Room 401B

Tex Sample: Understanding White Working Class Rage. Tex’s white southern working class background mixed with the perspective of a professor emeritus from St. Paul’s School of Theology give him a unique viewpoint to explain white workers’ politics. This workshop introduces Tex’s forthcoming book.  Room 401C

Military Families Speak Out: Perpetual War & Its Blowback – Everyone Loses. Mary Hladky, Infantry mother and Veterans for Peace’s Christopher Overfelt who served in Iraq and  Afghanistan link perpetual war with the decline of the American empire,  the massive military budget, the military industrial complex and war’s human cost. Room 402

Heartland Renewable Energy: The Climate Emergency-The Case for Immediate Action.  Craig Wolfe demonstrates the seriousness of the climate emergency and discusses actions we must take before the clock runs out on our window of opportunity to fight the climate crisis. Room 419

Kansas ACLU: Safe & Welcoming Kansas City. Alex Martinez will introduce the campaign to make Kansas City Kansas the first city in the metro area to pass an ordinance creating a municipal ID and protection for all residents from fear of ICE. The ID is needed by thousands of poor, homeless, ex-cons and immigrants. Room 420

Workshops – Session 3 – 2:00-3:15 PM

Steve Lopes: Taking Down the Koch Goon Squad . Lopes is a political activist and former union organizer with lots of experience taking on the right wing in Kansas. This workshop is a how-to for grassroots organizing from the Left for effective guerrilla warfare to neutralize many Koch efforts. Room 401B

Kansas Sierra Club: The Koch Brothers’ Fight Against the Science of Climate Change. Joe Spease. Chairman of the Kansas Sierra Club’s Energy, Legislative, and Fracking committees. A slide show onbrothers fossil fuel business, their financial support for denial of science of climate change and their efforts to kill clean energy projects. Room 401C

March Forward KC: Healthcare Policy 101: Medicare for All. Lori Slettehaugh, physical therapist, aerospace engineer, co-chair  March Forward will illustrate current challenges of healthcare coverage, costs and outcomes in America, and discuss how Medicare for All healthcare system can address the challenges. Room 402

Kansas City Federation of Teachers and Heartland Labor Forum: Labor Under Fire: Is It Important?  Andrea Flinders, AFT Local 691 President and Judy Ancel, Heartland Labor Forum explain how the Janus Supreme Court and right to work aim at the jugular of the labor movement, the Koch role, and the importance of resistance. Room 419

Greg Swartz: Libertarianism – When We Stop Cooperating. Greg is KKFI’s treasurer and avid student of libertarianism. This workshop explores the effects on society of Koch’s embrace of individualism, limited government and their positions on guns and net neutrality and offers tools for how to talk to others about this. Room 420

Workshops – Session 4 – 3:30-4:45 PM

Greater KC Justice Coalition: United We Stand: Collaborating for Social Change Across Issues and Communities. A panel of diverse organizations moderated by Ira Harritt that collaborate, getting us out of our silos. Participants: Rev. Ed Kail, MORE2; Ramon Valdez, Innovative Law Lab; Rev. Dr. Rodney Williams, KCMO Poor Peoples Campaign. Room 401B

Kansas ACLU: Let Kansas Vote! Micah Kubic, Executive Director and Melissa Stiehler, field organizer. An activist update and training on the ongoing fight to protect Kansans’ Voting Rights and lead a people-powered movement to sway the national conversation on increasing citizen participation.   Info on about legal battles, voting laws, and election protection. Room 401C

Missouri Jobs with Justice: Building an Economy and Democracy that Work for Everyone – Statewide Initiatives.  Jordan Young, organizer. This workshop will introduce CLEAN and RUM initiatives on the November ballot.  Explore how these issues connect to our own lives and self-interest then be trained in how to talk to voters and participate in the campaigns. Room 402

Missouri CURE: Real Justice: A Movement to Fight Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System. Rashad Lartey, middle school teacher who works with the Jerrico Amnesty Movement. Real Justice PAC works to elect reform-minded prosecutors at the county and municipal level committed to fight structural racism and defend our communities from abuse by state power. Room 419

UMKC Economics Club:  Nonprofits in the new Gilded Age  Brian Matlock is a Ph.D student in Economics at UMKC.  His research is in the political economy of the nonprofit sector and urban economic development. Room 420

Prices: Click Below To Reserve Your Seat

The Whole Shebang: Full Conference WITH Hightower Dinner & Speech: $90
The Diet Shebang: All of above EXCEPT dinner: $50 ($25 Student)
Saturday Night Shebang: Dinner and Hightower Speech: $60
The Saturday Night Only: No Dinner, Just the Hightower Speech: $20 ($10 Student)

Registration for one day of conference only available at door but may not include Saturday lunch.


All Souls UU Church, UMKC Economics Club, Friends of Community Media, Cross Currents of Culture, Service Employees International Union Local 1, Jobs with Justice, Dr Fred Whitehead—John Brown Press,  Cross Border Network, Heartland Renewable Energy Society

Free Parking 

for UMKC Student Union is in the Cherry Street Parking Garage, 5009 Oak Street only on the 5th and 6th levels.  Parking in any other area will result in a ticket. The garage which is between 50th and 51st and Oak and Cherry Street. Entry from Oak or 50th  St. side is easiest.

Take Skywalk across (south) and keep walking until you get to the big staircase coming up the hill from Oak St. Turn left up one flight of stairs, turn right into bottom floor of Student union. Make your way around the theater to the southeast corner where you’ll find the elevator. Come up to the 4th floor.

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