‘Rage, Rebellion, Revolution’: Left Forum kicks off in NYC (VIDEO)

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While the two powerhouses of American politics get ready to host their national conventions in July, the Left Forum is beating them to the punch by celebrating the country’s radical and revolutionary side this weekend.

Conceived as “something fundamentally different from conventional politics and presidential election mainstream media hype,” 4,500 people are expected to descend on the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Underway since Friday afternoon and continuing until Sunday, speakers include left-wing rock stars such as Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, journalist Chris Hedges, Socialist Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant, the Green Party's Jill Stein, and public intellectual Slavoj Žižek.

Stay connected to RT throughout the weekend for highlights and live streams of the best events.

Click here for the complete schedule

This year’s theme is Rage, Rebellion, Revolution: Organizing our Power.

One of the more provocative panels, Exonerate Ethel Rosenberg, features Robert Meeropol, son of the woman executed by the US for allegedly conspiring to leak atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, even though he believes the government fabricated the evidence against her.

Organizers say the conference aims to "share, discuss, and debate" alternatives to "contemporary capitalism and the mushrooming social problems it worsens."

Noam Chomsky, Rev Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore, Cornel West, Angela Davis, and Naomi Klein have all been speakers during previous forums.

Around 400 panels will be held over the weekend with a number discussing the role of Bernie Sanders and his ‘groundswell,’ particularly the effect his increased popularity has on unifying the left and how it has shed light on a number of otherwise ignored or under-reported issues.

Europe’s refugee crisis, TPP, TTIP, drones and "targeted killing", "transparency" around 9/11, and "the Saudi regime and its victims" will also be discussed.

"We reject the corporate dominance that corrupts our politics while delivering endless cycles of depressions, unemployment, and austerities," says program coordinator Marcus Graetsch. "Our fellow citizens share our horror at the grotesque inequalities of today’s corporate system: Its discriminations against and oppressions of vast populations and its destruction of our environment,” he adds.

The Left Forum has its roots in the 1960s Socialist Scholars Conference, but over the decades has evolved from a conference of left-leaning academics to a larger gathering of activists, scholars, politicians, writers, and filmmakers.

After re-launching in 2005 with its current name, its themes have included ‘No Justice, No Peace’,  ‘Reform and/or Revolution’, and ‘Occupy the System.’