2018 Congress Day 3: Andrés
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.
It’s crazy to think of being at the end of our first Congress. So much of my experience in the organization has felt like a big drumroll up to this moment; our success as a collective at raising enough money to get everyone here felt like a climax that didn’t leave much room to imagine what being here, together, would feel like. And yet, being here now, today has simply felt like a step into what to us as revolutionaries must be inevitable—a necessary transformation.
It was helpful to hear our staff acknowledge first thing that YES, we’re all tired and perhaps spent, but that it is necessary of us to continue engaging in rigorous camaraderie, and to show up fully. As we thanked the folks who held down our space, our logistics, and our food, it felt like a celebration of what was once thought of as impossible; a true political act.
I participated in a break-out workshop on cadre care and culture, which was awesomely facilitated and provided a really insightful platform for thinking collectively about what are all the dimensions of truly becoming cadres, blending support with rigorous accountability, grounded in emotional intelligence. It was really moving to spend time with other folks imagining in detail what our interpersonal and systemic relationships would look like in a liberated society, and to begin chiseling down concrete steps in building towards that now.
I also spent my lunchtime meeting with folks in my praxis circle, also looking toward the future and feeling a sense of both excitement and anxiety: what are we going to build in this new period of experimentation? How can we make this space relevant for the continued political development of folks in our sector?
After a riveting presentation on our collective tech capacities, and fantastic New Wave rendition of Minecraft by our Lil’Rooters, we moved into a conversation with folks in our Branch, to grapple with what does it mean for us in Philadelphia to enter this new period, what will we hold ourselves to, and how do we continue building our capacity for rigor and collective accountability. This question has been heavily on my mind throughout the Congress, and it has been really hard to wrestle with other comrades through our liberalism and deformity. If yesterday (day #2) showed us anything, it is that YES we built this, and we have a long way to go in answering this question in particular.
This is why I felt such deep emotions as we closed out the Congress with a call from our national staff for revolutionary rigor in this new moment: this will be hard, and there is no other way than to push right through it. Here we go.