Four decades of survival as a revolutionary party is certainly nothing to sneeze at — in fact, it calls for celebration and recognition.
The 40th anniversary gathering of the Freedom Socialist Party in January, my first convention, was an exciting personal experience, allowing me to meet comrades from across the U.S. and from Australia. It was great to be able to put faces to names I had seen in the pages of the FS, where I contribute as part of the production staff.
But more than that, the gathering was a learning experience. It showed me what has sustained the FSP: our theory and program, the commitment of members and supporters, and our accomplishments.
Our multi-issue program shone through clearly, with panels covering the wide range of issues influencing the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world.
We heard from comrades who traveled to Latin America to make connections with other radicals and unionists fighting tooth and nail against CAFTA, the U.S. “free trade” agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic. We reviewed the efforts of members who traveled to New Orleans to contribute to grassroots organizations helping displaced and forgotten people of the Gulf Coast. We analyzed the state of the anti-war movement and made plans for new initiatives in our union work.
We realize as a party that it is important to fight on many platforms, because issues such as racism and women’s rights all lead to the same fight: the workingclass fight against a murderous system that caters to the rich and feeds off the poor. This is why we encourage leadership of women, people of color, and all those who are most oppressed in the world.
The convention itself was a testament to the dedication of comrades and friends. The Portland FSP branch, with the help of many Radical Women (RW) members and supporters, outdid itself in organizing and hosting a beautiful and well-run four-day event.
The convention also spotlighted party achievements. Discussions of recent FSP electoral campaigns showed that each campaign has been more effective than the last in raising people’s consciousness, sometimes one by one, about the capitalist problem and the socialist solution. And reports on the activities of the joint National Comrades of Color Caucus of the FSP and RW showed that the caucus has grown by leaps and bounds, sprouting new leaders. Members have organized successful actions against Nazis, against the anti-immigrant Minutemen at the California-Mexico border, and in defense of abortion rights.
The convention, which featured glimpses into party history in reports, a banquet talk, and displays, showed me how members have seen the political tide ebb and rise. Our 40th anniversary assembly was proof that there remains a living, breathing movement against capitalism within the belly of the beast.
National Comrades of Color Caucus member Yvonne Wright-Alley was most recently a featured speaker at Seattle FSP’s Black History Month celebration in solidarity with the people of the Gulf Coast.