Union for Radical Political Economics
2012 Annual Report

I. Membership

Membership has risen from the mid-300s to over 400 in the last five years. Membership is in two tiers: full membership, which includes subscriptions to the RRPE and the newsletter; and limited membership, which includes a subscription to the newsletter only. Both tiers come with full voting rights.

II. Activities

In 2012 we received 89 manuscripts of which we accepted 19 and rejected 53, for an acceptance rate of 21 percent. Seventy-nine percent were from countries other than the United States. The number of submissions was a 53 percent increase over 2011. Although we are not sure of all the reasons for the increase, much of it can be attributed our inclusion in the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports. We received 37 book reviews of which we accepted 35 and rejected 1, for an acceptance rate of 95 percent. (Note that accepted and rejected submissions do not sum to total received because some manuscripts are under review.)

We received 14 ASSA papers from the 2013 San Diego ASSA meetings. We accepted nine.

Total institutional subscriptions were 6,162, up approximately 1 percent over 2011.

The special issues currently being reviewed are 1) Paths to Full Employment: Industrial Policy and the Great Recession; 2) The Political Economy of the Arab Uprising; and 3) Political Economy of Sustainable Development. A call for papers has been sent out for a new special issue: The Commons and the Common.

The RRPE has joined the Post-capitalist Project (www.postcapitalistproject.org/about/). This entails our posting five papers a year, linked through their site to our site on Sage’s Website, on the subject of socialism broadly defined. This initiative was organized by Al Campbell.

The editorial board continues to produce Podcasts and the managing editor tweets on news of the journal and members of the editorial board.

The journal is functioning well with a strong editorial board. Our challenge for 2013 is to digest the implications of the increase in submissions and determine how to most effectively deal with the added burden placed on board members and the managing editor of a more than fifty percent greater workload. Whatever we decide must be done without sacrificing our goals of helping junior radical political economists gain promotion and tenure, and supporting education in heterodox economics for undergraduate and graduate students.

URPE’s role at the January 2012 ASSA meetings in Chicago was terrific! We challenged the dominance of mainstream economists in three ways: first, the organization of a program of URPE sessions; secondly, protest in support of the Hotel and Restaurant Employee’s boycott of the Hyatt Hotel; and thirdly, participation in the demonstrations against the AEA organized by Chicago activists. URPE had 16 sessions at the meetings, including three organized jointly with the International Association for Feminist Economics and one jointly with the American Economic Association. The quality of the papers was outstanding and demonstrated the wide variety of topics on which URPE economists can outshine their mainstream colleagues. Nancy Folbre (University of Massachusetts) delivered a terrific David Gordon Lecture with the title “The Political Economy of Human Capital.” Eastern Economic Association With its seventh annual "URPE@Easterns" program in 2013, URPE has once again increased its presence at the Eastern Economic Association conference by sponsoring 23 panels. Financial crisis, developing economies, poverty, inequality, gender, methodology and pedagogy are among the topics covered in these sessions. This year’s conference is held in New York at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, May 9 - 11. We are also holding a business/membership meeting at the conference hotel to be immediately followed by a reception.

Summer Conference
The 2012 URPE Summer Conference was organized in support of, and in cooperation with, the Occupy movement. Building on the momentum generated by Occupy Wall Street in 2011, the conference brought together some of the activists of this national and international movement to engage in discussions on radical political economy theory and its implications for our movement. Some of the sessions were "lively," involving the confrontation between people with different perspectives, as was expected, but the result was a building of mutual respect and pledges of future cooperation. URPE was proud to have been able to contribute to this.  

URPE at Left Forum
URPE is an interdisciplinary association of academics and activists (not exclusive categories!) devoted to the study, development and application of radical political economic analysis to social problems. While many of our presentations in the ASSAs and the Easterns have important implications for activism, they are mostly academic in form. The Left Forum is the largest yearly conference we take part in that is mostly activists (again, many of those also being academics), and whose presentations are often non-academic in form. It’s a major gathering of the activist left in the U.S.: in 2012 there were 400 panels, 1,300 speakers and 4,500 attendees. URPE contributes from 2 or 3 up to 10 panels to the Left Forum in a given year, and in 2012 we sponsored or co-sponsored 10. But beyond making our small contribution to this broad collective effort, those URPE members who go also simply get flooded with living and fighting for radical political economy.

Economy Connection
Economy Connection was Occupy inspired this year! In NYC EC facilitated Open Forums, classes, a Town Square, lunch-time discussions, a radio interview, and a day of discussions and interviews on May Day. EC sent speaker lists to Occupiers in several cities, and created an Occupy event and resource page on urpe.org. Other EC activities included talks at a senior residence, activist groups, a college, and a film festival. We also provided resources for teachers, grad students, journalists, and a songwriter. Current projects include interpreting financial documents for a Detroit campaign to fight predatory banks, a Houston radio series on Socialism, film commentaries for Occupy Queens, and student conferences in NYC and Bar Harbor.

In the last year, the focus of the URPE newsletter has been to attract more contributors as well as to solicit a wider variety of submissions for print. Any URPE member in good standing can have their submission approved for print and we have printed abstracts, short research articles and opinion pieces along with our usual content of updates, announcements, and the Economy Connection report. With each quarterly deadline, a "call for content" email is sent to the listserv and pieces are then electronically submitted to the editor and approved for print after the membership status of the author is verified. The newsletter has also undergone some design changes, and so far the feedback is positive. We look forward to another year of increased participation by the membership in the newsletter.

The URPE website provides up-to-date information on URPE activities, a place to obtain or renew URPE membership electronically, and information on political economy, such as syllabi for courses taught by URPE members. In 2012, we began a redesign of the website and began encouraging URPE members to develop fact sheets for political economy topics, including courses. If URPE members are interested in developing fact sheets on a political economy topic, they should contact SC member Lane Vanderslice at lvanderslice@verizon.net The URPE website had 33,000 visitors in 2012, a number we hope to increase by publishing fact sheets accessible to a broader audience.

The blog is an opportunity for URPE members to contribute to the discussion of political economy and current events. Unfortunately it has not been much used by URPE members for their comments, though our contributions are welcome. There were 3,590 visitors in 2012, down from 4,489 in 2011. Approximately half of the visitors are from the United States and half from other countries. There are 15 registered contributors. The blog has 67 followers. You can sign up at http://urpe.wordpress.com/

Our Facebook page is open to URPE members and others for announcements and discussion on political economy topics. There were 670 members in April 2013. See it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/35494164425/

A small but valuable service URPE maintains for members is the URPE Listserve. Intended NOT as blog or discussion site (which we also have), this is a light-traffic internal communications instrument that helps keep URPE members up on events they might be interested in, recent publications (especially by URPE members), and job openings.

III. Financial

URPE has been operating in the black for the past several years and can anticipate continuing to do so for the next several years. Last year URPE had revenues of just over $160,000 and expenses of just over $130,000. URPE’s revenues derive mainly from two sources: royalties from the publishing contract with Sage for the Review of Radical Political Economics (75% of revenues) and membership dues (10% of revenue). Other sources of revenue include interest on savings, donations, conference registration fees, and other occasional income.

URPE’s largest expenses are payroll for the Office Manager and the Managing Editor, equaling approximately 50% of the total expenses. Other expenses include the operating budget for the RRPE, general administration for the national office, travel for the Steering Committee to SC semi-annual meetings and for the Office Manager, our Speaker’s Bureau, and other occasional expenses.

We have been investing in certificates of deposit and our assets have grown steadily, ending last year at $223,000 largely in interest-bearing bank accounts. URPE has also invested approximately $30,000 in shares in Equal Exchange, a business which promotes coffee and other products grown in cooperatives and under fair trade guidelines. The Steering Committee has determined that URPE should not invest more than 15% of its assets in anything other than FDIC-insured accounts.

IV. People

We would like to acknowledge the following people whose efforts make URPE possible.

URPE members
whose radical political economy analysis and other efforts to understand and change society are the reason for URPE’s existence.

The Review of Radical Political Economy editors
Hazel Dayton Gunn (Managing Editor), Enid Arvidson, Ron Baiman, Fletcher Baragar, David Barkin, Brigitte Bechtold, Firat Demir, William Dugger, Don Goldstein, Jon Goldstein, Davide Gualerzi, Christopher Gunn, Dorene Isenberg, Tae-hee Jo, Fadhel Kaboub, Marlene Kim, Tim Koechlin, Mehrene Larudee, Mark Lautzenheiser, Minqi Li, Victor Lippit, Andrew Mearman, Gary Mongiovi, Shaianne Osterreich, Bruce Pietrykowski, Paddy Quick, Ramaa Vasudevan, and Tamar Diana Wilson.

URPE Steering Committee members
Sara Burke (term expiring 2013); Al Campbell (term expiring 2015); Scott Carter (term expiring 2015); Paul Cooney (term expiring 2014); Laura Ebert (term expiring 2013); Ann Davis (term expiring 2015); Armagan Gezici (term expiring 2014); Julio Huato (term expiring 2014); Laurie Nisonoff (term expiring 2015); Paddy Quick (term expiring 2013); Chris Rude (term expiring 2013); Lane Vanderslice (term expiring 2014). (This past year, Mathew Forstater resigned from the Steering Committee and Ann Davis joined the Steering Committee.)

URPE Coordinators
Pat Duffy, National Office Manager, Fred Moseley, ASSA Coordinator, Frances Boyes, Newsletter Editor, and Ruth Indeck, Economy Connection.

URPE members willing to make a significant but manageable commitment of time and talent are urged to consider running for election to the RRPE Editorial Board or the URPE Steering Committee.

Comments by members on the Annual Report and URPE activities are welcome and may be sent to Pat Duffy at the URPE National Office urpe@labornet.org .