2018 Congress Day 2: Kat

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.

Kat, Philadelphia:

After an incredible and dense first day, we kicked off day two. In a lot of ways, conveying my feelings into a blog post about this day has felt really difficult. If day one had my brain ready to explode from the sheer amount of processing I needed to do to engage in the conjunctural analysis as well as ready to bawl my eyes out as the weight of this moment hit me again and again, day two definitely struck a different chord with me and among many at the congress that yet feels impossible to put down in a few paragraphs.

Day two kicked off with a spectrogram to test out where cadres were on various significant issues that arose in the Strategy Get Down and to begin the hard work of engaging in principled struggle. From there we held various break out groups on topics cadre had proposed that ranged from discussing the role of gender in the document all the way to the particular challenges and realities of being an Executive Director of a movement organization and a cadre member. We re-elected our amazing national secretary, Steve, and held a consulta to hear assessments and recommendations about the organization from any cadre who wanted to put something forward.

All of that sounds pretty straightforward but in practice, it drew out a series of emotions in me (and others) that at times did not feel pleasant. As a member of the Cadre Care local committee and praxis circle, a Philly CC member, and someone still grappling with my own political underdevelopment and all the shit that comes with it as a young Black Leftist, I would argue that the majority of my time in LeftRoots has been about moving through a whole host of unpleasant feelings as I continually transform to be able to do what is necessary to win in these coming periods.

As we prepared to engage in the spectrogram, we were reminded that now we had to learn to put niceness aside and learn to struggle with one another. As Steve spoke to us about why we should re-elect him, he made a call for all of us to see this organization as ours and to build it. That we should not vote for him unless we were willing to step into greater transformation and be accountable to that collectively in this new period. As we fight day in and day out against the fucked up shit this system causes, we can often assume that in our spaces with our folks, things should feel easy and effortless. In practice, we are struggling individually and collectively against too many years of white supremacy, heteropatriarchy and capitalism, and inherent in that is the fact that struggle is hard. It is not fun. It brings up infinite feelings that at times we’d rather not deal with and yet it is beyond necessary to move through to grow stronger and reach beyond what currently exists.

So while I wish I could write about how exciting the second day was, that shit was hard for me and that is ok. The second day underscored the mundane and heavy reality of the work we have ahead of us. It reminded me that through that work of struggle and collective transformation, we can build the deeper comradeships and capacities we desperately need to win. That there is no other way to get to 21st century socialism but through, no matter how hard it gets. With so many others counting on us, there is no other option than to continue digging in. And as I moved through all these emotions and talked with other comrades, I am reminded of how deeply I am committed to this organization, this work and to seeing the vision we have put forward become the reality.

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