2018 Congress Day 3: Romeo

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.

Romeo, New York City:

Waking up early after an organizational talent show (filled with both decades of impressive skill being showcased, and some self-admitted shenanigans) went late into the night, I woke up early on the final day of our organization’s formal gathering. The day was the end of the beginning for many members, given the understanding that what we achieved in our first congress is only the start of the hard work we’ll have to put forward as revolutionaries. The previous days proved to be filled with joy and camaraderie as we built with cadres we’ve never met or have only spoken to online, but also with the discomfort necessary to grow as revolutionaries and as an organization.

The day started with a breakfast organized by dozens of comrades, as they’ve been doing throughout the congress, to feed the hundreds of us that made it out. The many ways the congress came together is a testament to the growth the organization is experiencing, given that an effort like this would have not been possible perhaps even a year ago. Like the two before, the day was filled with discussions of the insights and challenges cadre members are having across the nation with their social movement work, with their LeftRoots branches, with their personal relationship to the struggle, and with how to move forward and integrate the many different perspectives and experiences we all bring. The reflection continued through the day as we all took some time to discuss the goals and progress of our congress, which was to further our strategy-development process and our development as strategists—the first step in allowing us to build power as both a leftist organization, and alongside the broader left in the US and around the world.

The bulk of the day was composed of various working meetings on topics like how to build core leadership in the organization from communities that will be critical to the future of the struggle, or how to assess where the environmental movement is and what LeftRoots’ unique contribution to the movement could be. Cadres’ myriad kinds of meetings about different movements was a constant reminder of just how varied and grounded the work we’re doing is. That was then followed by having the branches—both the in-person ones across the country and the online ones—each come together to discuss the insights and commitments cadres had made over the course of the congress and how they would impact our growth and work in the future.

The hundreds of us who were able to make it out to the congress, while holding those who couldn’t in our hearts, came together to close out the congress with an intergenerational homage. We moved into the large sanctuary room of the community church we’ve called home in the order of our “movement birthdays”, with those os us who have been in the struggle for over five decades filing in first, there to greet the rest os us as we made our way in. For younger members like myself, getting to celebrate those who have formed and continue to form a path and an example for us while also being celebrated and carrying the torch of the struggle was a testament to how LeftRoots is on the right track to building an organization the left needs.

The beauty of that activity led to our singing and jamming together to finally close out the congress, to finally start the end of the beginning for the organization’s first foray into not just building strategy, but implementing strategy for liberation. To proceed into the future of an organization that I’m very grateful and proud to be a part of.

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