2018 Congress Day 1: Pam

On February 15, 16, and 17, LeftRoots is holding its first national congress. Members from across the country are gathering to identify, discuss, and debate the key features of the current moment, the strategic implications of those conditions, and how LeftRoots and its members can continue to develop and grow to make decisive interventions to push the moment closer to 21st century socialism.

After each day of the congress, a few LeftRoots cadres will blog about their experiences that day in hopes of giving those interested a peek at what we’re doing in California and why we’re so excited about it.

Pam, San Francisco:

At 6 am, I woke up eager to get ready for Day 1 of the Congress. Yes, that is early, but I wanted to make sure I had my readings, photos for the altar, breakfast, and quiet time to focus and mentally prepare myself to be fully present for this long awaited day. I was also excited to pick up longtime comrades from out of town and be reunited with them as cadres in LeftRoots. Driving over the bridge, I could not wait to finally meet cadres from all across the country who I’ve met virtually on “zoom”, others who I’ve crossed paths with in the past, and the young people who I’d yet to meet.

We made our way to the church and right away I could feel and see the camaraderie among folks who most likely had just met for the first time; checking us in, welcoming us inside, setting up the food station, distributing interpretation equipment and swag, and folks leaning over flip chart paper making last minute posters. It was a good hour and a half before Day 1 was to begin but already the room was filled with folks arriving early to help, mingle, and settle in. Have you ever been in a room where absolutely everyone was happy as heck to be there? Well that’s what it felt like this morning.

Aside from this early morning dose of great LeftRoots energy, the side walls were adorned with maybe 100 photos of revolutionaries past and present. These were not only a welcoming and beautiful sight but it was as if their spirits were in the room with us. I took a walk and visited with every photo, most I knew and some I didn’t. Some like Berta Cáceres held special meaning for me, and I spent more time to embrace her memory, commitment, and achievements. If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to take this same stroll and feel the magic.

I am of the belief that staying healthy includes at least 8 hugs a day and many many belly laughs. Well, today was a very healthy day! Also, LeftRoots cadres are very funny people! I got my fair share of hugs but what put it all over the top was children, lots of children! Children from 6 months and up. I was impressed to see that the childcare had rooms and activities set aside by age but if they wanted to visit mom or dad, they were free to do so. Thumbs up!

Finally, the agenda. There was a good mix of presentation and interactive learning and “practice” activities. The “practice” activities challenged us test our skills at analysis, challenging hegemony, and articulating our vision. These were an engaging and fun space where we got to listen and work with each other. At the end of one of the activities we were asked to name a challenge that had come up during the activity. The challenge I had was trying to “keep my mouth shut!” It was so engaging and energizing I needed to practice restraint. To be honest, I don’t think I did a very good job.

Well, it’s 12:58 am, I’ll close here. I look forward to Day 2 and getting to meet more cadres, deepen my understanding of the strategy, and explore the various options for how we will engage in practice together. Good night.

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