2018 Congress Day 2: Najla

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.

Najla, San Francisco Bay Area:

We opened the second day of National Congress with some energizing chants in Spanish, followed by a political Dragon Dance performed by members of our Bay Area branch to celebrate Chinese New Year. We were reminded that culture is our weapon!

To kick off our day, we also heard a shout out to some of the local caterers we had enjoyed and would be enjoying for the remainder of Congress. This felt important and reminded me of all the intentionality with which we put the conference together and the impressive feat of doing so with predominately volunteer labor. As a local cadre I had the opportunity to participate in the conference planning committee and I developed new capacities as I helped think through everything from our choice of venue and transportation plan, to the upcoming Black Panther movie screening. This Congress is for us, by us.

My favorite part of the day was the chunk of the agenda for which we were encouraged to huddle with cadres around a topic of our choice as it related to advancing our strategy for socialist liberation. Something I appreciate about LeftRoots is the space we are given as members to shape our organizational focus, and I was glad to see this practice reflected in our Congress agenda.

I stepped up to co-facilitate a conversation about gender and cisheteropatriarchy where we came up with recommendations for the organization to more intentionally address sexism when it inevitably shows up in our interactions with one another. We shared our feelings and dreamt up new ways of relating to one another.

At 8pm, eleven hours into our day together, we held a No-Talent Talent Show where we shared laughs and courageous singing. While the talent show went on, the breakfast crew that I was a part of chopped onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and cracked over 300 eggs. We are in the process of building a Left organization that treats joy, kitchen work, and relationship building with the same respect and rigor we treat intellectual debate. ❤️

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