[Marxism] Fwd: Report On Socialism 2005 Conference
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Sun Jul 10 09:14:34 MDT 2005
Alex Briscoe <obeynow20001 at yahoo.com> wrote:Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 08:13:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alex Briscoe <obeynow20001 at yahoo.com>
Subject: Report On Socialism 2005 Conference
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Report On Socialism 2005 Conference
There were approximately 1,000 people in attendance at the Socialism 2005 Conference in Chicago on July 4th weekend. Most people in attendance were members of the ISO from what I could tell: mostly young, white, upper middle class energetic committed activists with a smaller layer of Black, Latino, Asian and white working class activists.
At the Greens For Democracy and Independence forum, there were about 100 people, mostly ISO or ISO/Green dual members. Howie H, Peter C, Rebecca R presented on GDI, Green elected officials, and role of the Green Party in providing an opportunity to break from the two corporate parties and even build a Left Populist/Anti-capitalist political current with more more breadth in the U.S.
Other prominent Greens in attendance were: Forrest H, Rachel O, James L. I also met Brandy B and her fiancé/fellow activist Myles H from the Charm City Green Alliance. Also Mark L from Ohio. I serendipitously ran into Josh Frank and girlfriend at the bar on Saturday night in a quite amusing encounter.
Forrest H was interested in how we could revitalize and recruit for the Illinois Green Party. Mark Lause said that he would be very interested in forming a regional Midwest Greens network to coordinate activities and political campaigns. I mentioned that I seemed to be the only coordinator in the Chicago area for member recruitment (although of course I do have support). I mentioned Jen W in Champaign as the other IGP person actively involved in recruiting. Unfortunately, I will probably be out of town for the next two months to a year and will only be able to call and email folks to try and mobilize them. I worry about having a replacement that can show up at events, coordinate, etc.
GDI members also had a caucus Saturday night. Among other things, it was suggested that we have a membership organization, focus the listserve more, support and coordinate campaigns for 2006 as a lead up for the 2008 Convention. Also, GDIers talked about playing a role in revitalizing the Campus Greens organization, starting from California. This could bring in more active Greens for movement and electoral campaign work.
Brandy mentioned that their group in Baltimore had been stymied by state level bureaucrats in forming a Green Alliance Local- the state bureaucrats wouldnt recognize a GA affiliated Local. To which I replied, declare yourself a club for now and keep organizing. Brandy also mentioned her frustration with too much discussion on the GA-US list and not enough organizing. To which I replied, thats why the CC screens posts now, and why I encourage folks to post first on what sort of GA relevant organizing theyre doing locally. At any rate, I think I got Brandy and Myles re-interested in the GA.
I have to mention that the GA table was off in a room that was originally unmarked, away from the main flow of traffic. As far as I can tell, this has been done because: half of the groups there are competing, sectarian organizations; the ISO doesnt want any competition from other groups or bookstores. This is unfortunate; hopefully it is something that can be improved upon, at least for the non-sectarian organizations and bookstores. Anyway, only about 20 people showed up during the course of my Saturday afternoon tabling and only one person signed up for more information.
The Saturday night plenary on Resisting War and Empire was very spirited and energetic. Camilo Mejia, Victor Paredes, Peter Camejo, Cindy Corrie and Ahmed Shawki spoke. There were about 1,000 people in attendance. I took photos which should be posted soon on the Green Alliance website.
One of the other forums I attended was on Revolutionary Europe 1918 to 1923. The center of the discussion was around the lack of a revolutionary party and why they were not built in Western Europe (lack of initiative in building a current inside the social democratic parties dominated by reformist bureaucrats) and what the consequences were (fascism, tens of millions dead). People there (about 30) were concerned about the topic of what we do today; some people understood that we have to reach out to the broader population through vehicles like the Green Party, other comrades seemed to think that the broader population (or a very large layer of it) could be recruited directly into the ISO.
This was an important discussion and I wish that we had more time for discussion; what Ill say is that its imperative that revolutionaries build the Green Party, recruit as many people of color and workers as possible, many of whom will think in a Left Populist framework for the time being. Some will join the ISO, Solidarity, Green Alliance etc- that is, think and act as anti-capitalists. However, the more people we can organize and educate through the Green Party, the larger an audience we will have for pro-working class and revolutionary ideas in the future.
We need to reach out in this way to the broadest layer of people possible in this way; time is growing short: economic indicators are showing that we could be facing a very bad world recession or depression and the ongoing world ecological crisis means that we may only have 20 to 60 years before humans start dying off in the billions. The more responsibility we take now for being active, political and non-sectarian, the better chance we have for helping to create a world that is sane, just and democratic.
Alex Briscoe, member
Illinois Green Party
Green Alliance USA
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