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.
I arrived at LeftRoot’s National Congress to find the Oakland church space buzzing – folks flooding the registration table, children darting between people’s luggage, longtime-comrade-hugs and nice-to-meet-you hugs. The kind of buzz when people there with a purpose. Kind of buzz when you’re trying something new.
Soon all 200 seats were filled and our attention grounded. Our bodies warmed the room – someone cracked a door to the breeze outside. Among the agendas and logistics up on the walls hung portraits of Leftists, movement leaders, and cultural warriors, strung together in room-sized necklace. A picture of Karl Marx perched in a corner behind Angela Davis, W.E.B. Du Bois, and dozens of other revolutionaries of color. Embraced by our movement ancestors, we welcomed each other.
The children were welcomed first. A whole committee of kids occupied the stage, dancing, playing, and being willful. We honored the Indigenous peoples that first stewarded the land. Then the people that brought us here – ancestors, communities, and support systems. Welcomed queer and trans comrades. Welcomed folks that came into the movement during the 1960s and 1970s – and folks that came in the last 5 years. Shouted out the under 30s, the over 50s and all in between. We represented 22 states and 42 cities, across sectors and issues – labor organizers, housing rights, and climate justice to healthcare workers, Black Liberation, and immigration justice folks.
With each welcome swelled larger and larger cheers. And in that vibration of the room I felt the magnitude of our task – to hold the seriousness of the crises we face while advancing toward liberation – to care for each other while doing the hard work of developing revolutionary strategy. To envision a fair, socialist economy and pave paths toward it together.
LeftRoots seeks to help overcome the fragmentation among the U.S. Left – to build bridges between our movement silos, honoring our different experiences and traditions. Congress is only one step on the road, but even in the those first moments I felt the power of bridges. The power of communion around revolutionary possibility.
The welcomes ended and we got to work. A facilitator summed it up, “relationships make new things possible; things we can do together we can’t do on our own.”