I am a grad from the New School (1993) active in labor and grassroots community work. I have taught Labor and Contemporary Issues to Union Members through the Labor program at Empire State College in New York and an elective course, Labor and the Law, to high school students in New York. Both of these courses are taught from and include a radical economic perspective.
Sorry to hear the Summer Conference is being cancelled. Some of the alternatives to the summer conference that you mentioned — the Brooklyn Day Conference, The Amhearst Conference, The Left Forum (which I already go to) and the WAPE Conference might serve a similar purpose.I go to the USSF which I love.
While I understand the priorities issue, I believe the Summer Conference serves a different need, especially for those of us who are not working in academia. It gives us an intense, intimate connection that is specifically focused on radical economics and an opportunity to talk one on one with radical economists that enables us to bring it back to our communities in a way that larger conferences or day conferences do not.
I.e., I have attended 3 or 4 URPE conferences over the past twenty years. This past year at the conference I was able to talk to Al Campbell about his work with coops and the Steelworkers, informally, at one of the late night sessions. This fall, I brought up the new connection between the Mondragon Coop and the Steelworkers at a discussion with the head of the Steelworkers at a Murphy Labor Institute meeting. After the meeting, several people came up to me and wanted to know more about this. Very few people had heard or knew anything about the possible connections between the labor movement and coops. In fact, for most of the people there, the concept of coops was foreign. I then had ongoing contact with one young grad student about the possible role of coops in labor organizing. These kinds of experiences and information dissemination go on all the time and, for me, would probably not happen without the summer conference connection.
The summer conferences have been my way of staying connected to the specific question of economics so I can bring information back to my communities. Hope there will be another solution to the problem instead of just cancelling the summer conference.Maybe involving more people in the planning of the summer conference. Maybe making it every other year. Hopefully it won’t be scrapped entirely.