Workers World Party

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The Workers World Party is one of the most hardcore Marxist organizations of any consequence in the US, and was founded in 1959. It has a newspaper, the Workers World whose banner line is "Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite."

They incorporate elements of Stalin, Mao and Trotsky into their revolutionary philosophy.

National leadership 2015

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  1. FreePetrenko: Meeting in New York, USA, September 2015, the National Committee of Workers World Party called for the immediate release of Red Bloc leader Grigory Petrenko and his comrades in Moldova. ¡No pasarán!

In attendance were — with Sue Harris, Richard Kossally, Scott Michael, Larry Holmes, Joe Mshahwar, David Card, Sara Flounders, Heather Cottin, Pavel Grigorciuk, Grigore Petrenco, Deirdre Griswold, Bill Dores, Betsey Piette, John Parker and Marsha Goldberg at Solidarity Center NYC.

Locals

Solidarity with North Korea

Larry Holmes, Workers World Party’s first secretary, led a three-person, party delegation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the end of July, 2013. The DPRK was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

WWP delegation, Deirdre Griswold, Larry Holmes, Elena Gilbert, at the Workers’ Party of Korea monument

Wrote Holmes;

Our trip has a history to it. We have been developing a relationship with the DPRK for more than 40 years.
We were there a full seven days. We had a few political meetings with leading members of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Usually also attending those meetings were delegations of other countries, representing not governments but left parties.

The main activity was participating in parades, ceremonies, the opening of museums, a circus, recitals and many performances, with children doing unimaginable stuff to blow your mind.
A high point for me was walking on the Pueblo [a captured U.S. spy ship]. You saw all the confessions of the spies.
The purpose of our trip was simple — it was an important occasion for the DPRK and an opportune time to reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with them. We were not the only ones from the U.S. There was a delegation from the Socialist Workers Party. Progressive attorneys Ramsey Clark and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard were there, as was the ANSWER Coalition.
This was my first time in the DPRK. They make a big impression. That military parade on July 27th, wow. And we thousands of guests weren’t the only ones from outside looking at it. There probably was a satellite up above from the Pentagon looking down at it. And the message from the Koreans was: Don’t mess with us. We want to be able to develop in peace. We want a peace treaty. We want unity. But if you think you’re going to push us around, it’s not going to go down that way.
The level of society, the cultural level, what they put into making sure that everyone is healthy, that everybody is fed, that the children have schools, that every generation is taken care of, whether in Pyongyang or outside the city, is just incredible.
A stronger movement here would take some of the burden off the shoulders of the people and party of the DPRK. Until that situation changes, they will be forced to go on with what they have. They will persevere. There is no doubt about that. They are tough and strong.
Long live the DPRK![1]

Workers World Newspaper

A weekly newspaper, Workers World isn't shy about bragging about what the Workers World Party and its various fronts have been doing. Selected issues will be profiled here in terms of WW Staff and writers, and an occasional article or photograph worth knowing about.

Staff

It should be noted that many of the staff were also writers for the paper, as well as being leaders of various WWP fronts. Over time, most of the writers who are members of the WWP will be identified as so, though it should be noted that not every contributor is known as a member of the WWP. However, their writing for a diehard communist party publication tends to indicate that they either support or are sympathetic to it.

As at 1981, the following worked for the newspaper:[2]

As at 1985, the following worked for the newspaper:[3]

Contributors

The following contributed to the December 11, 1981 issue of the newspaper:[2]

The following contributed to the December 26, 1985 issue of the newspaper:[3]

WWP Activities

Major fronts/events will be listed by their name and members/activities etc. These are regional and local activities, including conferences and forums. The reason for listing minor events is that they often have the names of WWP leaders/members with other identifications, such as a leader of an organization created by the WWP.

Dec 5, 1981 Event

A WWP event was held on December 5, 1981, in Rochester with "Over 80 activist and organizers came from the Upstate cities of Ithaca, Buffalo, Geneva, Binghamtom and Courtland as well as Rochester." Among the speakers were:

National Days of Resistance

National Days of Resistance lasted from April 24 through May 2, 1981.

National Sign the Treaty Now Coalition - 1973

A flier was distributed in January, 1973 by a NYC-based group calling itself: National Sign The Treaty Now Coalition. The flier's theme was "Nixon, You Lied! Stop the Bombing, Sign The Treaty and Get Out Now" regarding the Paris Peace Agreement that was supposed to end the war in Vietnam. The flier read in part,

"On Jan. 20, Nixon will be inaugurated for four more years as President. He was elected on the promise that "peace is at hand". But he continues the war. he has ordered the largest tonnage of bombs in history - 5 times the total dropped on Hiroshima and Nagazaki (sic) - have been dropped on Vietnam. The vast majority of the people in the world, including the American people, are more than ever outraged at Nixon's policy of war. We demand an end! We must be in Washington on inauguration day, Sat., Jan. 20, to demand that Nixon sign the 'original 9 point treaty' negotiated with the representatives of the Vietnamese people on Oct. 20. This is the treaty which Kissinger said (before the election) had only a few minor points to work out."'

The following is a partial list of the sponsors listed on the flier. This list was heavily loaded with Workers World Party fronts, not all of whom were identified as such.[4]

U.S. - Hands Off Iran! March and Rally Dec. 1, 1979, NYC

An ad appeared in the November 28, 1979 issue of the Guardian marxist newspaper announcing a protest against U.S. policy towards the Moslem extremist-dominated revolt against the Shah of Iran. The following is the complete text of that ad.

"To All Progressives - Emergency Mobilization", Stop The War Threats! U.S.--HANDS OFF IRAN! -Send the Shah back to Iran for trial! -Stop the racist round-ups of Iranian students in the U.S.! -Lift the freeze on Iranian assets!

Double Line

"March & Rally -- Sat. Dec. 1, 12 Noon, Assemble: 34th St. & 6th Ave., (Herald Square), N.Y.C."

"For more information call: (212) 255-0352 or (212) 989-3932" "Sponsored by: "Youth Against War & Fascism" (YAWF) and "Workers World Party (WWP)"

Partial List of Endorsers:


FINISH

AD HOC COMMITTEE FOR JULY 2 EMERGENCY MOBILIZATION (1983)

A two-column wide, full page length ad appeared in the May 1, 1983 Sunday edition of the New York Times (NYT) on Page E7, produced by a group known as the "Ad Hoc Committee for July 2 Emergency Mobilization", located at 19 W. 21 St., 7th Floor, NY, NY, 10010 (212) 741-0633.

This organization was sponsoring, in the ad, "A Call to Action July 2 Wash, D.C." with the them of "No Viet Nam war in Central America!". It was aimed at the Reagan policies of stopping the advance of communism in Central America and the Caribbean, where the US was later to liberate Grenada from both domestic communists and Cuban forces, as well as helping the Nicaraguan freedom-fighters trying to topple the marxist dictatorship of the Sandinistas (FLSN) in Nicaragua.

The text of the ad is as follows:

INSERT HERE "JOIN WITH US!"

"Partial List of signers"** (** organizations listed for identification only); *(coordinator)

"Workers World", December 26, 1985, p. 7

Article by Neville Edwards, NYC, "Heroes Day actions in U.S. back ANC, SWAPO" Benefit concert for the ANC, NYC, Dec. 13th, "Initiated by the U.S. Out of Southern Africa Network".

Quote: "Our dollars will help the military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, of the ANC {African National Congress]] to break the back of the apartheid regime." *Marjorie Lloyd

Detroit Special Forum, Wayne State University WSU, Dec. 14, 1985 "Defending the Freedom Struggle Against Apartheid - Tasks of the U.S. Movement"

Speakers:

Workers World Party fronts over time

A list of WWP fronts will be published below but a Keywiki page will be developed for each of them in order not to take up a lot of space in this WWP section. The two main 1970s sources of citations for these fronts will come from the HISC "The Workers World Party and Its Front Organizations", Study, April 1974, the HISC study "Terrorism: A Staff Study, Aug. 1, 1974[7], items in the "Congressional Record" during the 1970's (particularly by Rep. Larry McDonald (D-GA)) and from the fronts' own mailings and publications.

Information on WWP fronts from 1980-2013 come from the fronts themselves, articles in various newspapers, and internal security newsletters, as well as from the extremely reliable "Information Digest".

WWP Fronts:

Many of these fronts can be found in the HISC study on "The WWP and Its Front Organizations", HISC, April, 1974, Chapter IV - Fronts

Affiliations

In the December 11, 1981 issue of the Workers World, an article entitled "Rochester APC regional report-back: Upstate NY builds for Days of Resistance" was published. APC stands for All-Peoples Congress, a WWP front which was concerned with economic, labor and domestic issues.[2]

Moratorium NOW!

On Sept. 17, 2008, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions sponsored a rally at the Michigan State Capitol, demanding the State Legislature enact SB 1306, a two-year foreclosure moratorium bill. Represented at the rally was UNITE HERE, Change to Win, United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Teachers, Green Party of Michigan, Detroit Greens, the Cynthia McKinney presidential campaign, Students for a Democratic Society, National Lawyers Guild, Workers World Party, Food Not Bombs, Critical Moment, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, Michigan Welfare Rights, Call ’Em Out, Latinos Unidos of Michigan, Grand Rapids Latino Community Coalition, Joint Religious Organizing Network for Action and Hope, Adrian Dominican Sisters & Associates for Peace. The following led or spoke at the rally: Sandra Hines and Abayomi Azikiwe of the Moratorium NOW!; Kris Hamel; Reverend Ed Rowe, Central United Methodist Church; State Representatives Gabe Leland, Shanelle Jackson, Bettie Cook Scott and Steve Tobocman; State Sen. Martha G. Scott; Rubie Curl-Pinkins and her daughter Nikki Curl; Jerry Goldberg, people’s attorney and coalition leader; Juan Daniel Castro, Grand Rapids Latino Community Coalition; Linette Crosby; Larry Holmes, a leader of the Troops Out Now Coalition; Robert Pratt of UNITE HERE; and Rosendo Delgado of Latinos Unidos of Michigan.[8]

Moratorium NOW! is affiliated with the Bail Out the People Movement and is controlled by the Workers World Party. The organization's office is located at the Central United Methodist Church and holds meetings there.[9][10]

Solidarity with Sept. 24 FBI Raid Activists

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression lists Workers World Party as one of the organizations that has issued a statement of solidarity in support of the activists raided in the September 24, 2010 FBI Raids.[11]

Defending Iran

Several U.S.based "anti-imperialist and anti-war organizationsuary agreed on a January 17 2012, conference call to hold coordinated protests across the country on Saturday, Feb. 4. The demands will be: “No war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations against Iran.”

The ad-hoc group that took part in the call decided that although there were only two weeks to organize, it would invite anti-war forces around the world to join in, if possible, so that this emergency action could develop into a global day of action.

All agreed on the need to stop U.S. imperialism and/or Israel from launching a military attack on Iran. There was also a consensus that the new sanctions President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 31 — with the goal of breaking the Iranian central bank — were themselves an act of war aimed at the Iranian people. The political activists on the call raised the danger of a wider war should fighting break out in or around Iran.

While the organizations involved had varied assessments of the Iranian government, they all saw any intervention from U.S. imperialism in the Southwest Asian country as a threat to the entire region and to peace. Some of the people on the call who are originally from Iran and who were in touch with family and friends there conveyed the Iranian people’s anger at the recent assassination of a young scientist.

There was agreement to make “no assassinations” one of the demands to show solidarity with the Iranian population as well as to condemn the U.S. and its allies for criminal activities against Iran and its people.

As of Jan. 19, the organizations that called the actions or endorsed later included the United National Antiwar Coalition, the International Action Center, SI! Solidarity with Iran, Refugee Apostolic Catholic Church, Workers World Party, World Can’t Wait, American Iranian Friendship Committee, Answer Coalition, Antiwar.com, Peace of the Action, ComeHomeAmerica.us, St. Pete for Peace, Women Against Military Madness, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality-Virginia, WESPAC Foundation, Peace Action Maine, Occupy Myrtle Beach, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Bail Out the People Movement.

Individual endorsers include authors David Swanson, “When the World Outlawed War,” and Phil Wilayto, “In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation’s Journey through the Islamic Republic”; and U.N. Human Rights Award winner Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general.

People could follow developments on the Facebook link: No War On Iran: National Day of Action Feb 4, www.facebook.com/events/214341975322807/.

John Catalinotto represented Workers World Party on the Jan. 17 conference call.[12]

2002 Emergency National Conference

Even as the Bush administration was maneuvering feverishly to round up support for its planned war on Iraq, Workers World Party was holding an Emergency National Conference Sept. 21-22 in New York.

The agenda focused both on Bush's "endless war on terror," especially the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the growing capitalist economic crisis.

Members of the party's leading body, the Secretariat of the National Committee, keynoted the discussion in plenary sessions on the imperialist war crisis, the resistance to an anti-worker, anti-immigrant and racist offensive, and the building of the party.

Larry Holmes opened the conference by characterizing Bush's National Security Statement, released the day before, as a call to "beat up and bully everyone to get your way."

Holmes had just returned from an International Solidarity Conference in Baghdad, where 170 delegates from 80 countries expressed their solidarity with the Iraqi people. He was part of a delegation from the International Action Center, along with Teresa Gutierrez and Khadouri al-Kaysi.

Holmes pointed out that what the working-class and anti-war movement does inside the United States "has to be decisive. Everybody is depending on what we do."

Will the war crisis and the economic crisis "wake up the working class and melt away its passivity? We are obliged to act as though the answer is affirmative," said Holmes.

'Can U.S. workers stop the war?'

Sara Flounders and Brian Becker, well known as leaders of the anti-war movement in the U.S., both exposed the Bush administration's lack of popular and political support for the invasion of Iraq. Successful resistance to this war might be difficult, they said, but it is possible.

They also explained the important role of Workers World Party in the anti-war movement. Becker related what happened a year ago, following Sept. 11, 2001, and the Bush administration's rapid mobilization for war.

WWP decided quickly to confront the heavy propaganda offensive, and urged that anti-globalization actions set for Sept. 29, 2001, be turned into anti-war actions. This resolve to resist the tide of reaction emboldened courageous anti-war groups and individuals, helping to give birth to the ANSWER Coalition.

Flounders compared the current slogan being raised by some in the movement of "inspections, not war" to the slogan raised during the 1991 Gulf War of "sanctions, not war." She pointed out that "inspections ARE war" in another form, as Washington's demands for "aggressive inspections" are really meant to provoke Iraq and create a pretext for an attack.

Flounders prepared party activists to struggle within the movement on this question, at the same time as they build an anti-war demonstration on Oct. 26 that includes all forces opposing the war.

Monica Moorehead discussed the impact of U.S. intervention in Africa, and Johnnie Stevens of New York reported on the importance of the struggle for land in Zimbabwe and the need to support Robert Mugabe's initiative. Preston Wood spoke on the Palestinian struggle on Saturday; the next day Richard Becker of San Francisco presented an update on the urgent situation caused by Israel's most recent aggression against Palestinian President Arafat's compound in Ramallah.

Guest speaker Peta Lindsay, a youth organizer for the anti-war ANSWER Coalition in Washington, D.C., and a first-year student at Howard University, infused the conference with the vitality of this new movement. She has been debating her pro-government political science professor on virtually every question discussed this semester, and has been winning the argument so far as her fellow students are concerned. They're forming groups across the campus to build the demonstration on Oct. 26 against a war on Iraq.

And the working class? Nancy Mitchell from San Francisco described the struggle of the very progressive International Longshore Workers on the West Coast, who are facing a major showdown with "the biggest and sleaziest multinational corporations, hand in hand with the Bush administration," which is threatening to use troops to load ships.

Mitchell described the ILWU's active role in the anti-war struggle. She also promised that "we're going to be with them all the way" should the current labor negotiations turn into an open struggle of over 10,000 workers in 29 ports along the coast.

Dorothea Peacock of Boston described how women are forced to bear the costs of war, and raised the slogans "Not on women's backs!" and "No war, no way. It's time for the bosses to pay!"

Cleveland autoworker Martha Grevatt, a leader of the struggle for lesbian, gay, bi and trans rights in the auto industry, raised the slogan, "Out of the closets, no to the war!"

Andre Powell of Baltimore explained the just struggle for reparations for Africans and the descendants of slaves and how "socialism is the best reparation."

Five discussion groups gave everyone the chance to exchange information about their local work and deepen their understanding of the main political themes of the conference. A main focus of the discussion was how to mobilize for the national demonstrations on Oct. 26.

Activists from San Diego and New Jersey also reported a new openness among rank-and-file military personnel to anti-war leafleting. Others reported that troops and reservists had called wanting to resist military service for a war against Iraq.

The reports from these discussion groups to the entire conference made it clear that the members and friends were enthusiastic about reaching out to all sectors of the working class with the anti-war message.

Fred Goldstein opened the third plenary with a critique of Bush's National Security Statement and its attempt to mobilize the U.S. imperialist ruling class for an arrogant attempt to dominate the world both militarily and economically. Other speakers referred to the Bush doctrine also.

This naturally included discussion about the many areas of the globe where U.S. imperialism is actively intervening, either with military troops, sanctions and/or subversion.

Lydia Bayoneta of Rochester spoke on the U.S. moves to reoccupy the Philippines under the cover of the "war on terror." Rebeca Toledo of New York described the attempts to overthrow the elected government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Alicia Jrapko of San Francisco showed how neo-liberalism and the international banks had brought the Argentine economy to its knees. Berta Joubert of Philadelphia spoke of the continued struggle of the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico, to get the U.S. Navy off their island.

Teresa Gutierrez discussed the consequences of Sept. 11, 2001. Gloria La Riva from San Francisco, who addressed the May Day demonstrators in Havana this year, called for continued defense of the five heroic Cubans held in U.S. prisons for having monitored anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Miami. The prisoners sent messages of solidarity to the WWP conference.

There were also guest speakers: Khadouri al-Kaysi described conditions in Iraq; an exiled trade unionist discussed the situation for the working class in Colombia; and Yoomi Jeong of the Korea Truth Commission reported on the state of the struggle against U.S. troops in south Korea.

In reports on repression at home, Gloria Verdieu of San Diego spoke of the struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and the growth of the prison-industrial complex. Dianne Mathiowetz of Atlanta and Bev Hiestand of Buffalo described recent frame-ups of individuals from the Arab and Muslim communities in their regions.

A highlight of that session came with the introduction of Haitian immigrant Marcus Jean, a guest speaker from Boston. Union activist Steve Kirschbaum described organizing support for Jean against phony "terrorist threat" charges his boss made to combat his union activity.

The final session, led off by Workers World newspaper editor Deirdre Griswold, discussed the essential role of a revolutionary Marxist party in combating the plans of the imperialist ruling class and defending the workers and oppressed peoples worldwide.

In almost all directing bodies in U.S. capitalist society, from the U.S. Senate to the boards of directors of the major corporations, the composition reflects all the biases and special oppressions built into the imperialist system. Thus aside from a few token representatives who are women or people of color, these bodies are composed of white men, usually with Anglo-Saxon names.

For many observers, perhaps the most impressive thing about the WWP conference was that over 60 percent of the 52 people who took the podium were women, 40 percent were people of color, many were activists in the gay, lesbian, bi and trans struggles, and all were not only eloquent speakers but obviously leading organizers in many areas. It was a promise for the future.[13]

2003 National Conference

The following is a partial list of speakers for the Dec. 6-7 2003 National Conference on Socialism. Unless otherwise indicated, speakers are members of the Party.[14]

2006 “Preparing for the Rebirth of the Global Struggle for Socialism” conference

Workers World Party sponsored a national conference in New York City on May 13-14 entitled, “Preparing for the Rebirth of the Global Struggle for Socialism.” This gathering occurred only weeks after the immigrant rights demonstrations that recently swept the country, prompted by various repressive bills currently being debated in the U.S. Congress that seek to criminalize undocumented workers to one degree or another.

This conference was unique in that it consciously opened up a serious, ongoing dialog between WWP and important leaders and allies representing some of the most significant movements of the day involving oppressed peoples and the working class. These representatives included those involved in the struggles to win full rights for immigrant workers and to win justice for the survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Many of the conference speakers also reinforced the Marxist-Leninist view that capitalism is a bankrupt system that cannot be reformed and that—despite the collapse of the first attempt at socialism in the Soviet Union—only socialism can begin the process of sweeping away racism, war, poverty and other forms of inequality and oppression. A concurrent theme that generated enthusiasm throughout the conference plenary sessions was the revival of May Day 2006 in the U.S. due mainly to the intervention of the immigrant rights movement.

The opening panel of the first plenary on May 13 was chaired by Dianne Mathiowetz, an International Action Center organizer from Atlanta and a General Motors worker for 30 years. Her remarks included dedicating the conference to WWP members Pat Chin and Johnny Black, who died within the past year.

Prospects for reviving global socialism

Berta Joubert-Ceci, a contributing editor of Workers World newspaper and a WWP leader based in Philadelphia, gave a rousing talk about the rising tide of anti-imperialist sentiment throughout Latin America and parts of the Caribbean. The main sparks for this development have been the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela led by President Hugo Chávez and the move by Evo Morales, the recently elected first Indigenous president of Bolivia, to nationalize the gas and oil industries of that country.

Leilani Dowell, a managing editor of Workers World newspaper and a leader of the Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) youth group, spoke on the plight of young people and why they have no future under capitalism here and worldwide.

Fred Goldstein, contributing editor of WW newspaper and a WWP Secretariat member, cited some important points made in his pre-conference document, “Reviving Marx and Lenin.” Goldstein explained how capitalism is the main source of the world’s problems.

Larry Holmes, WWP Secretariat member and Troops Out Now Coalition organizer, opened his remarks by reminding everyone of how much the world movement is relying on revolutionaries to help revive the struggle for socialism right here in the belly of the beast, U.S. imperialism.

Holmes lauded Che Guevara as the “most important internationalist of the last half-century,” personally trying to instigate the struggle for liberation in Africa, in Vietnam, in Latin America. “He refused to limit his perspective to revolution in one country.”

Holmes went on to emphasize how the May Day uprising must spread to other sectors of the working class that were not a part of it, including the Katrina survivors and anti-war activists.

Connecting the struggles

The second panel in the first plenary session focused on “Forging Class Solidarity; Unity with the Oppressed, Overcoming Fragmentation in the Movement.” It was chaired by Monica Moorehead, a WW newspaper managing editor and WWP Secretariat member.

Moorehead reminded the audience that May 13 marked the 21st anniversary of the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia by the local and national governments as an act of racist terror.

“I propose that this conference go on record to extend our solidarity to our sisters and brothers in MOVE along with International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. One reason that Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent almost a quarter of a century on death row is because he defended the MOVE family against Philadelphia police brutality. Free Mumia! Free the MOVE 9! Free Leonard Peltier! Free the Cuban 5 and all political prisoners!”

Tony Van Der Meer, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts and co-chair of the Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee, spoke on what it will take to unite the movements for Black liberation, for the rights of the undocumented and in opposition to wars and interventions, in order to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle.

He went on to say, “Progressive and revolutionary white workers must challenge their white counterparts to encourage and support Black, Latin@ and all oppressed people of color to struggle among their own groups to develop themselves and their positions on policies that endanger their lives and those of all people.”

Larry Hales, a FIST leader and community and anti-war organizer from Denver, spoke on the need to broaden all the struggles of the workers and oppressed peoples from a Marxist perspective.

Hales raised some of the more prevalent issues in Denver, from organizing against a jail for youth to supporting Indigenous rights. “We must reject any attempts to compromise the movement by attempting to make it more vapid,” he stated, “or by pandering to sectors of either of the ruling class parties.”

Brenda Stokely, a leader of the Million Worker March Movement and New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina/Rita Survivors, opened her talk by sharing a heart-wrenching story about having to go to court that morning to support a Katrina survivor living in New York who was accused of committing fraud. She connected this story to a general viewpoint of how the movement is ill-equipped to deal with these kinds of injustices.

Stokely then talked about the need for ongoing dialog with activists here and worldwide in order to have a “true honest discussion in dealing with imperialism, the government, racism and sexism.”

Saladin Muhammad, chairperson of Black Workers for Justice, a member of Black Workers League and a UE union organizer for Virginia and North Carolina from Raleigh, stated that part of the problem of the revolutionary struggle in this country is the failure to understand the national question and its relationship to the working class in the U.S., and how the ideology of white supremacy has made it difficult for white workers to break with national chauvinism.

Muhammad explained that supporting the right to self-determination means supporting movements for the right to self-determination and that it is incorrect to view Black nationalism as a reactionary tendency. He explained that what happened on the Gulf Coast during Katrina goes deep into the history of oppression suffered by Black workers and the U.S. government continues to make its racism clear toward African American workers.

Phebe Eckfeldt, from the Women’s Fightback Network and the Committee to Defend the Somerville Five in Boston, described the case of the five Black youth who were brutalized by police and then arrested on trumped up charges. She generalized this case, referring to the epidemic of racist profiling.

Immigrant rights movement inspires all

The second plenary on May 13 entitled, “The Workers’ Struggles Have no Borders,” featured two panels. The first, on “The Signi ficance of the Immigrant Rights Movement,” was chaired by Teresa Gutierrez, a WWP Secretariat member, co-director of the International Action Center and an organizer of the New York Free the Five Committee.

Gutierrez, a Chicana, said, “Last year, the Associated Press published a survey reporting that one Mexican laborer dies every day in this country due to abominable working conditions. They are impaled, drowned or crushed every single day. Remember the case of Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant viciously killed by the NYPD? His only crime was that he was Black.”

Carlos Canales, a day laborer organizer at the Workplace Project, the only organization of low-income workers in Hemp stead, Long Island, told the audience how he was forced to swim with his daughter on his back to come to the U.S. A Salvadoran, Canales was a member of FAPU, the political arm of the National Resistance, which was one of four organizations that made up the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).

Berna Ellorin, a Filipina activist with Bayan USA and Migrante International, spoke on the neocolonial relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines in terms of the immigrant rights movement. An estimated 3,000 Filipin@s are forced to leave their country daily due to austerity measures imposed on the Philippine masses by the IMF and World Bank.

Chris Silvera, chair of the National Teamsters Black Caucus and secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 808, asked why, if capital knows no borders when it comes to exploiting the workers, then why should workers have to respect borders when it comes to finding a job.

Alejandro Murrieta Ahumada, president of the Inland Empire Association of the descendants of Joaquin Murrieta and a member of the March 25 Coalition, himself a migrant from Mexico, spoke on the developing struggle of immigrant workers in Los Angeles from March 25 to May 1 that shut down southern California. He emphasized the need for the movement to reject solutions short of complete rights for migrant workers.

WWP leader John Parker, West Coast coordinator of the IAC and an organizer for the May 1 immigrant rights march in Los Angeles, said, “Black people in this country share the immigrants’ experience of racist targeting of people as criminals, denying basic freedoms that most in society enjoy, including the right to be able to live with your family and children.”

Sharon Black, a WWP leader in Baltimore and an All-Peoples Congress organizer, spoke on the leadership role of women in the immigrant rights movement. David Hoskins, a FIST leader and WW reporter from Washington, D.C., spoke on the plight of coal miners.

An injury to one is an injury to all

The second panel in the second plenary focused on the “Changing Character and Conditions of the Working Class.” Minnie Bruce Prattand i haveno stable base which is also difficult..and is hard , a well-known lesbian author and poet and a contributing editor to WW newspaper, chaired the panel and used her experiences as a participant on a recent march from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans, organized by Katrina survivors and anti-war veterans and their families, to discuss the changing character of the working class in the U.S. South.

Ruth Vela, a FIST leader and immigrant rights’ organizer in San Diego and Tijuana, spoke about what she sees almost every day living on the U.S./Mexican border. “I drive by strawberry fields where people pick the produce by day and sleep in a cave at night.”

Steve Gillis, vice-president of Steel Workers Local 8751 in Boston, introduced Frantz Mendes, the newly elected president of the same local. Mendes, who is Haitian, said, “Local 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers, represents over 800 workers--95 percent from Boston’s communities of color. We are Haitian, Cape Verdean, African American, Asian and white—the majority from Boston’s immigrant communities. For nearly 30 years we have built a proud record of struggle for justice.” He said his union, led by the rank and file, fights “100 percent for every grievance, every contract” and is united with the “communities in the struggle against poverty, racism and war.”

Leslie Feinberg, a Workers World newspaper managing editor, transgender author and lesbian activist, explained why communists must view lesbian, gay, bi and trans oppression as part and parcel of the overall struggle to liberate humanity. According to Feinberg, “Fighting all forms of oppression defends lives. And it also helps build unity in the struggle by revealing to the entire working class the social and economic inequalities that are built into the capitalist system.”

Martha Grevatt, UAW member and autoworker and organizer of Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, from Cleveland, spoke on what the Delphi workers’ crisis means for all of labor: “The fight is on, and workers aren’t waiting for the top union leadership’s permission. Since Delphi, the former GM parts division, declared bankruptcy, the rank and file has formed Soldiers of Solidarity, engaging in work-to-rule slowdowns.

“Even from a legal standpoint,” she added, “the workers have the right not only to strike but to seize the plants.”

Peter Gilbert, Raleigh FIST organizer and former union organizer, spoke on the struggle to organize workers, including immigrant workers, in North Carolina, an anti-union, right-to-work state.

Solidarity with world struggles

The “Fighting Imperialism and Building Revolutionary Internationalism” panel was the third plenary session, held on Saturday evening. Cheryl LaBash, long-time Detroit city worker, organizer for the May 20 Hands off Cuba and Venezuela demonstration and a WW newspaper writer, chaired.

Nellie Bailey, a leader of Harlem Tenants Council and the Troops Out Now Coalition, spoke of the threats to the infrastructure of the cities.

Sara Flounders, WWP Secretariat and co-director of the International Action Center, spoke on the impact of imperialist globalization on worldwide immigration and how it leads to globalizing the resistance to U.S. imperialism, which is already bogged down in military adventures, including in Africa.

Ardeshir Ommani, a founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee, spoke on the imperialist threats against the sovereign country of Iran. Joyce Chediac, a Lebanese-American activist and WW newspaper contributor, explained why the Palestinian struggle is central to liberating the entire Middle East from U.S. domination.

John Choe, a Korea Truth Commission representative, emphasized that from June 4-9, there will protests in Washing ton, D.C., to demand U.S. troops out of Korea.

Ignacio Meneses, co-coordinator of the National Network on Cuba, a co-founder of the U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange and UAW Local 174 member, spoke on how the Cuban government, led by President Fidel Castro, has deepened its roots among the masses on the island.

Meneses stressed the revolutionary obligation of the U.S. movement to defend Cuba and Venezuela by supporting an upcoming Pastors for Peace caravan of goods to Cuba and the May 20 demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Vannia Lara, a Dominican organizer from New York City who recently visited Venezuela, reminded everyone about the 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic by U.S. Marines. In response to a meeting sponsored by the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States, a people’s alternative counter-summit is being organized in the Dominican Republic from June 4-6 by anti-imperialist activists. It will include discussions on the impact of globalization on Latin American and Caribbean economies.

Arturo J. Perez Saad, immigrant rights organizer and IAC activist in New York, spoke on Puerto Rico’s rich history in resisting its status as a direct colony of the U.S. and the economic crisis that is galvanizing mass protests throughout the island.

Bryan G. Pfeifer, a contributing editor of WW newspaper from Boston, spoke on the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion of the Irish people against British colonialism led by the Irish revolutionary James Connolly.

The need for a revolutionary party

Rachel Nasca, from the Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee, Women’s Fightback Network and an AFSCME union member, chaired the fourth and final plenary session on “Building a Revolutionary Party.”

Deirdre Griswold, editor of WW newspaper and a WWP Secretariat member, reviewed the Party’s long history of support for the self-determination of oppres sed nations within the United States, quoting the Party’s founder, Sam Marcy, on why this is a necessary condition for uniting the working class in a revolutionary movement capable of defeating imperialism and beginning the transition to socialism.

Richard Kossali, a WWP leader in New York City, spoke on the need for a revolutionary newspaper and why it is important to get that paper into the hands of the workers, the oppressed and progressive movements.

Susan Farquhar, a Detroit Action Network for Reproductive Rights organizer, spoke on why working class and poor women must have a stronger voice in renewing this movement.

Yolanda Carrington, a FIST leader in Raleigh, remarked, “I am an African American queer woman who is poor. I understand that I’m part of the larger global struggle of oppressed people. I’m proud to be part of the 90 percent struggling against the 1 percent who rule the world. I’m proud to be part of a party that works to get working people to own their creations.”

She went on to say, “We need a revolutionary party dedicated to socialism in the triangle area (that includes Raleigh) that talks to homeless, single mothers in the welfare office. We need a movement that can deal and navigate through the bureaucracy of social service agencies. We need a movement that places the oppressed at the head of society and WW works toward that. Class oppression affects my life daily. I have to worry about how to put food on the table for me and my sisters. And, we need to put the struggle against gender oppression at the head.”

Carrington announced to the conference that she recently became a candidate to join Workers World Party.

John Catalinotto, WW newspaper managing editor, spoke on efforts to build close ties with international working class formations that are fighting for real social change in their own countries.

Larry Holmes made closing remarks to the conference, followed by the audience singing the International.

Among the solidarity messages sent to this socialist conference were ones from parties and organizations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brazil, Netherlands, Senegal, Italy, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal, Pakistan, Palestine, Germany, Venezuela, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, France, Britain and elsewhere and from international organizations.

Cultural performances during the conference were provided by MC Aygee Cannibal from San Diego FIST; Pam Parker, an anti-war and union activist from Washington, D.C., and Urban Essence Dance Performance Collaborative from Boston. Casandra Clark Mazariego from Urban Essence and the Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee made a special presentation at the conference on the role of culture in promoting social consciousness among youth.

Besides plenary sessions, discussion groups were held on domestic and world issues and struggles, including pre-conference documents written by Larry Holmes and Fred Goldstein. Meetings were held by FIST and lesbian/gay/ bi/ trans organizers in-between plenary sessions.[15]

2009 National Conference

Wwp conf 1126.jpg

Program Schedule for National Conference of Workers World Party: 50 Years in the Struggle for Revolution and Socialism.[16]

Saturday, November 14, 2009

  • Opening Plenary Session: The Global Capitalist Crisis, the Coming Class Struggle, the Obama Administration and the Fight for a Socialist Future

Chair: Dianne Mathiowetz; Opening: Elena Everett; Speakers: Sara Flounders, Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Larry Holmes

Chair: Sharon Eolis; Speakers: LeiLani Dowell, Julie Fry, Jerry Goldberg, Deirdre Griswold, Monica Moorehead; Cultural Performance: Nana Soul, Black Waxx Recordings Greetings and Solidarity messages

Sunday, November 15

  • Continuing Floor Discussion from Saturday Chair: Richard Kossally
  • Final Plenary Session: Building a Revolutionary Proletarian Party

Chair: Joyce Chediac; Speakers: Kris Hamel, Steve Kirschbaum, Dee Knight, Richard Kossally, Mike Martinez

Two main themes ran through the 2009 Workers World Party National Conference: the revival of serious class struggle in the United States as the capitalist crisis brutally strips the workers and oppressed of their jobs, homes and health, and the need to strengthen international workers’ solidarity in the face of corporate globalization and increasing militarism and war.

No one took these huge tasks lightly. But the many speakers resonated with confidence that WWP, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, had the experience and the program to rise to the challenges.

“Don’t be afraid of hard issues,” said Secretariat member Larry Holmes in a summation of the conference. “Surviving through years of political reaction has made us tougher. We have what the workers need. Build a workers’ world!”

The conference was held on Nov. 14-15 in New York. Even more than in previous years, this one rocked with the input of those most oppressed: African American, Latino/a, youth, lesbian, gay, bi and trans, and immigrant activists, who spoke from the stage and from open mikes in the audience. The majority of speakers were women. The diversity reflected the party’s long history of applying affirmative action internally while fighting racism, male chauvinism, immigrant bashing and oppression of LGBT people.

The youth group Fight Imperialism, Stand Together detailed how the worst economic crisis since the Depression of the 1930s was devastating young people. FIST held a workshop so youth from different parts of the country could exchange ideas on how to coordinate struggles on campuses and in the communities.

WWP founding members Milt Neidenberg, Deirdre Griswold, Jeanette Merrill, Frances Dostal, Art Rosen, Rosie Neidenberg, were in attendance..

Allies from different organizations and unions brought greetings to the conference and contributed to the discussion. A high point was a talk by Armando Robles, president of the United Electrical Workers local that carried out a successful occupation of the Republic Doors and Windows plant in Chicago. Dante Strobino of FIST, himself a UE organizer, introduced Robles. Jill White of Chicago WWP told of organizing a massive solidarity demonstration with the Republic workers.

In the opening session FIST leader Larry Hales reviewed the horrific statistics of youth unemployment and poverty, particularly in communities of color. Capitalism makes people “bruised, brutal and hurt,” said Hales, but there’s “a better world to fight for” and young people can be made into revolutionary fighters for socialism.

Teresa Gutierrez, a member of the party’s Secretariat who recently went to Honduras and then to a conference on migrants in Greece, called the waves of migration caused by lack of opportunity a “crime of capitalism” and saw the 200 million uprooted workers around the world as “an army in the making.”

Dispelling any notion that the present “recovery” will help the workers, Secretariat member and author Fred Goldstein went over the figures: more money in the pockets of the rich even as the job hemorrhage continues.

How militarism is deepening the economic crisis was addressed by Secretariat member Sara Flounders. Capitalism can’t live without the enormous Pentagon budget, but it’s dragging the system down. Even with all its weaponry and high-paid mercenaries, the U.S. can’t defeat the resistance in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Jen Waller, a young activist, saw no future for the world under capitalism, which exploits the land and the people. Julius Dykes, an autoworker with 25 years’ seniority, told of the anger and fear among workers regarding another upcoming layoff and how a friend had committed suicide. He praised the party’s work in the Pittsburgh Jobs March and Tent City, and urged a national jobs march.

People representing various struggle groups took the mike to thank WWP for its support.

Pam Africa of International Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal acknowledged the party, and particularly Secretariat members Monica Moorehead and Larry Holmes, for their work in Millions 4 Mumia and in building a massive Madison Square Garden solidarity meeting for the imprisoned revolutionary journalist.

Brenda Stokely of the Million Worker March Movement raised the need to bring the working class together for a strong May Day demonstration and the importance of education on the history of class struggle.

Ignacio Meneses of the U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange called WWP “a point of reference for the struggle in the U.S.”

Shafeah M'Balia of Black Workers for Justice in North Carolina brought greetings from her group on behalf of “the oppressed working class of the Black nation.” She told of the many programs BWFJ has initiated to bring together women, workers and youth.

Representatives of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Vancouver Mobilization Against War and Occupation were invited to the stage to deliver solidarity statements. Both groups have worked with WWP in a number of struggles. Bernadette Ellorin expressed greetings from BAYAN-USA.

Community organizer Rosie Bonds, aunt of baseball great Barry Bonds, told of homeless women sleeping under freeways while luxurious officers’ quarters go vacant at the nearby closed Alameda Naval Air Station. She is now distributing Workers World newspaper in Berkeley, Calif.

Other plenaries covered the global flashpoints of U.S. imperialist aggression and WWP’s 50 years of struggle guided by its Marxist analysis.

Monica Moorehead spoke on the task of a workers’ party to build solidarity within the broader political movement, especially defending the right to self-determination for oppressed nations. She explained the need for a workers’ party to build unity among its ranks if it hopes to win over the most class-conscious fighters.

Support for Palestine was covered by Bill Dores and Judy Greenspan. Dores recalled how back in the 1960s, when most progressives here refused to criticize Israel, WWP demonstrated in support of Palestine during the June War. Joyce Chediac talked about the struggle of Palestinians in Lebanon and the Lebanese people, who are represented by Hezbollah. All three speakers had been to the Middle East in the past summer.

Berta Joubert-Ceci, fresh from a solidarity delegation to Honduras, told how the people are struggling to take back the wealth stolen by the oligarchy and U.S. transnationals. “The coup started when President Zelaya raised the minimum wage by 60 percent,” she reminded everyone. The Honduran struggle is part of a popular upsurge in all of Latin America. A message to the conference from Juan Barahona, leader of the Honduran Resistance, was read.

Abayomi Azikiwe of the Michigan Moratorium NOW! Coalition and a contributing editor to Workers World newspaper traced the connection between the struggle for jobs and homes in Detroit and the mass dislocation and poverty in Africa caused by imperialism. Another dynamic speaker from the coalition was Sandra Hines, who called Detroit, with nearly 30 percent unemployment, “a Katrina without the water.”

Another Detroiter, Jerry Goldberg, spoke of building the party when the Midwest was a stronghold of organized labor. Autoworker Martha Grevatt of Cleveland reported how GM, Ford and Chrysler have abandoned Detroit, creating a disaster that is not “natural.” But Chrysler workers rejected recent concessions by a vote of 3-1, presaging renewed struggle in this vital industry.

LeiLani Dowell spoke of the party’s contributions to the struggle for women’s and LGBT rights, and later on Bob McCubbin introduced Stonewall rebellion participant Sebastian Pernice.

Sharon Black of Baltimore stressed how crucial Black-white unity was in building the Pittsburgh Jobs March.

John Parker of Los Angeles commended the party’s courage and commitment in fighting against foreclosures and heading off attempts to divide the working class.

Julie Fry gave examples of WWP’s long history of support for the Cuban Revolution.

China’s tremendous importance in the world was stressed by Secretariat member Deirdre Griswold, who reviewed the political struggles there and their impact on revolutionary movements. She reminded everyone that Sam Marcy, who founded Workers World in 1959, had written as early as 1950 on the profound significance of the Chinese Revolution for the world class struggle.

Tribute was also given to legendary party founders Dorothy Ballan and Vince Copeland, as well as to those founding members still living whose 50 years of experience in the party continue to enrich it today.

At a session on party organization, labor militant Steve Kirschbaum of Boston urged everyone to contribute to the WW national fund drive, while Kris Hamel of Detroit stressed getting Workers World newspaper into the hands of workers with regularity and consistency. Richard Kossally of New York and Mike Martinez of Miami stressed the importance of political education.

It wasn’t all speeches. There was revolutionary music and poetry that spoke to the heart, thanks to Miya Campbell and Nana Soul.[17]

2010 National Conference

poster for the conference

The 2010 National Workers World Party Conference was held on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 13 - 14, 2010, and had the tagline, "2010 National Workers World Party Conference".[18]

The following is the order of events.

Opening Plenary Session: The Capitalist Elections, Economic Crisis and Struggle for Socialism: What does it mean for the left and for the working class?
Chair: Elena Everett; Speakers: Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Larry Holmes; Cultural performances by Miya Campbell and Mike Martinez

Student and youth workshop
Discuss the dynamic student mobilizations on March 4th and October 7th; the struggles against budget cutbacks and to defend public education; rising youth unemployment; the prison industrial complex and political prisoners; the struggles against racism, sexism and lesbian/gay/bi and trans oppression.

Workers World newspaper WANTS YOU!:
Come to this workshop to discuss the many ways we can maximize getting our paper to our class, and if you’re interested in volunteering to work on it.

Community and labor organizing workshop:
If you’re fighting for education as a parent or educator, immigrants’ rights, health care, jobs or for a union - or against foreclosures, evictions, or police brutality, come network and coordinate with other activists.

Second Plenary: First Panel-- The Capitalist Crisis and Role of the Working Class
Chair: Andre Powell; Speakers: Sharon Black, Phebe Eckfeldt, Martha Grevatt, Monica Moorehead, John Parker, Betsey Piette and Dante Strobino

Second Plenary: Second Panel—Youth and Students Fight Back!
Chair: Lila Goldstein; Speakers: Myia Campbell, Ben Carroll, Mike Martinez, Caleb Maupin and Megan Spencer

Third Plenary: Fighting Imperialism, Building Solidarity and Internationalism
Chair: Julie Fry; Speakers: Abayomi Azikiwe, John Catalinotto, Sara Flounders, Berta Joubert-Ceci and Steve Kirschbaum
Guest speakers, tributes and solidarity messages
Cultural Performance by Last Internationale, revolutionary anarchist group performing "Workers of the World Unite!"

Fourth Plenary: Why Workers Need a Workers Party
Chair: LeiLani Dowell; Speakers: Joyce Chediac, Gavrielle Gemma, Peter Gilbert, Deirdre Griswold, David Sole and Gloria Verdieu

Closing Plenary
Chair: Judy Greenspan; Larry Holmes: Summation; Singing of Internationale

2012 Conference

Revolutionary communists and activists filled the hall of a beautiful Indigenous community center in Manhattan Nov. 17-18 for the annual national conference of Workers World Party. The theme of this year’s two-day gathering was “Beyond the 2012 Elections: How to Get Back to the Struggle vs. the 1%.”

Several hundred party members, friends and allies traveled to the city from the West Coast, the South, New England and everywhere in between for the conference. Hundreds more observed the conference via live stream. At least a third of the participants were under 35 years old, helping to fill the conference with revolutionary energy and optimism. WWP Secretariat members Sara Flounders, Fred Goldstein, Deirdre Griswold, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Holmes and Monica Moorehead spoke on various panels.

The opening plenary session set the overall political tone for the conference, with a major focus on the worldwide capitalist economic crisis and the need for global struggle and solidarity. Gutierrez, an organizer with the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, and Larry Hales, a WW contributing editor, both gave motivational remarks on why People’s Power Assemblies are important and timely to challenge capitalist rule. Goldstein, author of “Capitalism at a Dead End,” spoke on the relationship between Marxist theory and practice. Holmes, WWP First Secretary and International Action Center co-director, spoke about the need to take the class struggle to a higher political level, including developing a global fightback perspective.

Eva Panjwani, a new member of the Durham, N.C., WWP branch and an organizer of the Sept. 1 March on Wall Street South (MOWSS), gave a moving welcome address. Tova Klein, from the San Francisco branch, chaired and read a WWP statement in solidarity with the people of Gaza who are resisting the latest round of Israeli terrorist bombing. Klein, who is Jewish, was born in occupied Palestine.

Building People’s Power

The theme of the second plenary was “Fightback and Solidarity.” Speakers included Ayende Ignacio Alcala, an Occupy Charlotte and MOWSS activist; Raul Jimenez, an organizer with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee in North Carolina; WWP national organizer Sharon Black and Southern Christian Leadership Conference Baltimore Chapter President Rev. Cortly Witherspoon, both representing the Baltimore People’s Assembly; North Carolina Student Power Union and MOWSS organizer Ben Carroll and United Electrical Workers Local 150 organizer Dante Strobino, both from the Durham branch; long-time United Auto Workers member Martha Grevatt and Moratorium Now! organizer Michael Shane, Detroit branch members; Steve Kirschbaum, former vice president of Steelworkers Local 8751 and Boston WWP member; and Eric Struch, Chicago branch member and WW writer.

Issues raised in the plenary included struggles against police brutality and racist repression; Walmart and low wages; student tuition hikes and debt; resegregation as well as the significance of the Chicago teachers’ strike; and the need for a shorter work week. Cathey Stanley, from the Durham branch, chaired and read a statement from long-time WWP member and “Stone Butch Blues” author Leslie Feinberg, which included solidarity with CeCe McDonald, an imprisoned African-American transwoman.

A resolution was passed by the conference affirming to continue the struggle for freedom of all U.S. political prisoners, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, the Cuban Five and Lynne Stewart.

The third plenary focused on “Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy: Climate Crisis, Capitalism and Socialism.” The speakers were WW managing editor Leilani ­Dowell; Deirdre Griswold, WWP founding member and WW editor; Imani Henry, a WWP national organizer and co-founder of Rainbow Flags for Mumia; WWP youth organizer and Occupy Wall Street activist Caleb Maupin; Betsey Piette, a representative of the Philadelphia WWP branch; and Brenda Stokely, a leader of the Million Worker March Movement and a founder of New York Solidarity Committee for Katrina Survivors. Peter Gilbert, from the Durham branch and an activist in the struggle against environmental racism, chaired the plenary.

Need for a fighting party

The theme of the fourth plenary was “Workers World across the Decades: Intergenerational Stories on What It Means to Be a Revolutionary.” This panel featured four members of the WWP youth fraction: Dinae Anderson from New York, Tachae Davis from Detroit, Andy Koch from Durham and Summer Smith from Salt Lake City. Other speakers were John Parker, a leader of the Los Angeles WWP branch and West Coast coordinator of the IAC, and Monica Moorehead, a WW managing editor and editor of “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle.” The speakers summarized their unique paths to joining WWP.

The fifth plenary titled “Wars without End and the Need for Internationalism” focused on the struggles against imperialism and austerity, including South Africa, Palestine, Venezuela, Iran, China and Europe. The panelists were Abayomi Azikiwe, a Detroit WWP member and Pan African News Wire editor; Kazem Azin, an organizer with Solidarity with Iran; John Catalinotto, WW managing editor; Berta Joubert-Ceci, Philadelphia WWP organizer and Mundo Obrero editor; Bill Dores, New York WWP member and vice chairperson of external affairs of the International League of People’s Struggle; Berna Ellorin, secretary-general of BAYAN-USA; Sara Flounders, IAC co-director and author of “War Without Victory;” and Fred Goldstein. The panel was chaired by Dianne Mathiowetz from the Atlanta branch.

The final plenary session was chaired by Julie Fry, a member of the New York Educational Committee. Featured talks were given by Detroit branch member Jerry Goldberg on party building and a summation by Larry Holmes. “This conference was mainly organized by young people. They basically told us when we were speaking,” Holmes stated. The conference ended with the singing of the “International” in English and Spanish and chants.

The conference included three workshops: one for youth activists, an introductory guide to Marxism and revolutionary potential in communications and information. Organized by the WWP youth fraction, break-out groups around the theme “Fightbacks and Building People’s Power” were held on the issues of labor and organizing against austerity; Occupy: What is it now and where will it go from here; repression and brutality: vigilantism, detentions, police murders; and anti-war and international solidarity.

Two open-mike sessions included a solidarity message from Mick Kelly, of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, whose members have been targeted by FBI repression; and Rene Imperato, activist in the WWP Committee for People with Disabilities. Cultural presentations were performed by Cameron Aviles from the Durham branch and Steve Gillis, Steve Kirschbaum and Frank Neisser from the Boston branch.

Following the conference, many of the participants joined their Palestinian sisters and brothers at a Times Square protest against the U.S.-backed Israeli bombing of Gaza. [19]

2013 Conference

The 2013 Workers World Party National Conference was held Nov. 16-17 in New York. More than 300 attended from 20 states and dozens of cities.

As the party prepared to grapple with strategy for this period of dead-end capitalism, Boston school bus unionists arrived. In the midst of their own life-and-death struggle against the Veolia transnational monopoly, a busload of Boston school bus drivers, mainly of Haitian and Cape Verdean origin, walked into the meeting hall to the cheers and shouts of the hundreds of participants, many of them young people attending their first WWP conference.

When Veolia’s management and Boston officials attacked some Steelworkers Local 8751 leaders and baited them as WWP members, it seems unlikely they had in mind strengthening solidarity between the union and the party. But that’s what happened. The drivers listened attentively to a Marxist analysis of the capitalist crisis.

At the end, conference participants approved a resolution to battle Veolia wherever possible and help the union defend its leaders and win.

From Garrett Dicembre’s introduction Saturday morning to the open-mike session on Sunday, participants could hear and feel the change in consciousness of the working class. Youths, themselves in low-paid and insecure jobs, described their own moment of realization that the U.S. “American dream” had turned into their nightmare of abuse, racism, sexual harassment and job loss — and led them to commit to a life of organized class struggle.

Minutes after the bus drivers filled three rows of seats at the front of the hall, the delegation from Cuba’s U.N. Mission arrived. This sparked another round of cheers. WWP and its friends have felt close solidarity with socialist Cuba since the Cuban Revolution first confronted U.S. imperialism.

As Ariel Hernandez Hernandez, first secretary of the mission, described Cuba’s measures to defend its socialist gains against the U.S. blockade, cheers and chants of “Free the Cuban Five” and “Cuba sí, bloqueo no” filled the room and set the mood for the conference.

Tackling dead-end capitalism

Secretariat member Fred Goldstein presented a Marxist analysis of the concentration of service workers, now a majority of the working class, in low-paid, non-union jobs in giant chain stores that place workers experiencing similar pay and conditions in close vicinity of each other and to organizers.

First Secretary Larry Holmes, who examined the overall deteriorating economic conditions for workers in the U.S. and worldwide, urged participation in the movement of low-wage workers, specifically to support a Dec. 5 strike action already in motion. Holmes’ address will be published in the next issue.

Abayomi Azikiwe explained how Detroit had become the prime example of the banks’ move to pillage the cities.There the ruling class is using ongoing bankruptcy proceedings to transfer more billions from the workers to the banks. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is calling for a mass demonstration outside the federal court on Dec. 10 to demand rejection of a deal with Barclays Bank.

WWP Secretariat member Teresa Gutierrez discussed the impact of the crisis on migrants in the U.S. since the splendid upsurge of 2006 and that year’s May Day general strike. With 2.5 million deportations since President Barack Obama took office, hundreds of thousands of arrests and continued militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, a new leap in consciousness is taking place among migrant youths. Some have even voluntarily taken arrests in order to enter massive detention centers to organize migrant workers.

WWP Secretariat member Monica Moorehead, who chaired the opening plenary, paid tribute to USW 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union. A founder of the union and grievance committee chair, now fired, Steve Kirschbaum both explained how Veolia had broken the contract and led the crowd in singing union songs. His and the other school bus drivers’ presentation of Veolia’s union-busting tactics and their fightback drew angry chants of “Veolia must go!” and pledges to defend the fired unionists and get their jobs back.

A break-out session during lunch to discuss tactics to confront the transnational giant and win the struggle in Boston drew more than 100 participants. The session, which included remarks by Local 8751 Vice President Steve Gillis, produced the conference resolution to stand with Local 8751.

FIST and the ‘Trayvon generation’

The youth organization, Fight Imperialism — Stand Together, or FIST, was put on the map. New York’s Caleb Maupin reviewed the anti-imperialist struggle history of WWP and Youth Against War & Fascism in an earlier generation of youth activists. Detroit’s Tachae Davis and North Carolina’s Eva Panjwani brought that spirit of struggle to 2013. Colleen Davidson from Baltimore chaired, and Q Wideman of NC Heat performed her own poem.

That this second plenary title spoke of the “Trayvon generation” showed the youth’s focus on the fight against racist killings by cops and others, “stop-and-frisk” and the “school-to-prison pipeline.” FIST’s program also defends women’s and lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer rights and the struggle of migrant workers — where young people are now taking the lead. These struggles will be integrated with the fight for jobs at a living wage.

Putting these words quickly into action that Nov. 16 evening, FIST led a march and demonstration to a nearby Veolia headquarters, a Bank of America office and a McDonald’s restaurant to protest union busting, the robber banks, police brutality and low wages.

A third plenary took up establishing popular organizations independent of capitalist political parties that combined community and labor struggles. Under discussion were the People’s Power Assemblies and Workers’ Assemblies.

Summer Smith from Salt Lake City chaired. Speakers included New York’s Larry Hales and Baltimore’s Sharon Black — where the assembly movement has already participated in and led local and regional resistance. Los Angeles’ John Parker commented on defending Syria against U.S.-NATO intervention.

Peter Gilbert from North Carolina described the assault by the rightist Tea Party, which has monopolized the state government and launched attacks on workers and nationally oppressed people in the “right-to-work” (for less), anti-union state.

WWP on anti-imperialism, socialist unity

The final plenary in this intense day took up WWP’s anti-imperialist initiatives and socialist unity. WWP’s firmness on anti-imperialism set the program for the anti-war movement. Mundo Obrero editor Berta Joubert-Ceci spoke on Latin America, and International Action Center co-coordinator and WWP Secretariat member Sara Flounders spoke on Lenin’s position on fighting imperialist war.

Guest speaker Joe Lombardo, of the United National Antiwar Coalition, also described UNAC’s goal of targeting U.S. imperialism as the central unifying theme for its protests here. Guest speaker Kazem Azin, of Solidarity Iran, thanked WWP for its consistent anti-imperialist role in the anti-war movement.

WW managing editor Kris Hamel discussed how to point the way toward socialism by raising transitional demands that the capitalists are sure to reject, such as “Take it from the banks, not city workers” in her city of Detroit.

Guest speaker Joe Iosbaker, of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, targeted three years ago by a repressive federal grand jury, raised the need for continued solidarity, at this time with Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman arrested Oct. 22 in Chicago for having been jailed by Israeli occupiers 45 years ago.

WWP managing editor LeiLani Dowell, who chaired, discussed developments in Honduras and WWP’s solidarity with the resistance movement there that formed after the 2009 coup. Its candidate in the coming presidential election is leading in the polls. The next day guests Lucy Pagoada and Celina Montes from that movement addressed the conference.

Also on Sunday, BAYAN USA Secretary-General Bernadette Ellorin discussed the natural disaster exacerbated by government neglect in parts of the Philippines and U.S. imperialism’s use of the climate disaster to re-occupy parts of the country. Abayomi Azikiwe discussed developments in Africa, including increased U.S. military intervention. Activist Betty Davis spoke on the ongoing struggle to win compassionate release for imprisoned, terminally ill, people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart.

Open mike and closing session

On Nov. 17, an open mike allowed both seasoned communists and new activists an opportunity to respond to the points raised at the conference or relate their experiences in the class struggle. Tova Fry from the Bay Area and Imani Henry from New York chaired.

The closing session, chaired by Dianne Mathiowetz from Atlanta, included an analysis by WW editor Deirdre Griswold of the circumstances surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy. She explained that a coverup of the role of the far right continues to this day and reviewed WWP’s work in helping organize an independent investigation at that time.

Also, Joyce Chediac reported on the first conference meeting of WWP’s caucus of people with disabilities, how disability is a social construction and how to fight for rights for people with disabilities.

Larry Holmes appealed for people to join the party as new political leaders are sorely needed for the struggles sure to arise in the near future.

Participants at the conference approved both a resolution of international solidarity and one of solidarity with USW Local 8751.

The conference opened with rousing singing by Pam Parker, accompanied on guitar by Richard Miller, and closed with the entire conference singing “The Internationale” in English and Spanish, along with a chant demanding freedom for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.[20]

2014 Conference

Wwpconf 1013.jpg

Long Island City, Queens, N.Y. — The stage banner in a school auditorium in Queens, N.Y., said it all: “Workers World Party stands in solidarity with Gaza, Ferguson and Ayotzi! Down with capitalism! Fight for socialism!”

This theme resonated on Nov. 15-16 as the WWP annual national conference highlighted major struggles here and worldwide, including resistance to U.S. police and military occupation — from Occupied Gaza to Ferguson, Mo.

Conference attendees were multinational, with many women and youth, Black, Brown, Asian, Arab and Indigenous, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and people with disabilities. They came from every part of the country — west, south, north and east — to discuss and strategize around important issues such as the fight against union busting and privatization.

There was strong focus on support for the Boston school bus drivers’ union, under attack from the Veolia corporation; building political solidarity with the Ferguson rebellion against police terror; organizing low-wage workers and building peoples’ assemblies, especially for the Dec. 4 “Black Friday” fast food workers’ strike and the Los Angeles $15-an-hour minimum-wage campaign. Workers.org/wwp lists the many breakout groups held on Nov. 15.

The conference agenda included two demonstrations. Before a lunchtime picket of nearby Goodwill industries on Nov. 15, Edward Yudelovich, a national organizer with the WWP Peoples with Disabilities Caucus, gave an orientation on why it was important to protest the organization’s super-low wages for workers with disabilities.

That evening a demonstration was held in front of the Veolia headquarters in Manhattan to expose this corporate giant’s attempt to break the United Steelworkers Local 8751 bus drivers’ union in Boston. Dozens of the mainly Haitian and Cape Verdean union members led the protest, which was joined by other conference delegates.

Developing a revolutionary perspective, solidarity with most oppressed

The Saturday opening plenary session, featuring three members of the Party Secretariat — Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez and Larry Holmes — helped set the political tone for the entire conference. It was chaired by Colleen Davidson, a youth leader of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together from Baltimore. As part of her welcoming remarks, Davidson asked the many FIST members to stand and be recognized.

Goldstein, the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End,” spoke on Marxism and revolutionary socialism as the only way to overcome all capitalist inequality. Gutierrez, a co-coordinator of the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, spoke on solidarity with the struggles in Latin America, including the recent migrant caravan from New York City to the Texas/Mexican border. Holmes, WWP’s first secretary, spoke on the relationship between national oppression and the current global capitalist economic crisis.

This plenary included three special solidarity presentations. Fatin Jarara, of the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, gave special mention to the struggle to free Palestinian political prisoner Rasmea Odeh, newly imprisoned in the U.S.

Ariel Hernandez Hernandez, first secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations, was introduced by Cheryl LaBash, co-chair of the National Network on Cuba. Hernandez spoke on Cuba’s solidarity with West Africa around the Ebola health crisis and the ongoing campaign to free all the Cuban Five.

Team Solidarity leaders Georgia Scott, Andre Francois and Steve Gillis, along with 30 other Boston school bus drivers, received a thunderous ovation after an introduction by Sharon Black, an organizer of the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly. The three Boston militants spoke of their unwavering support for union founder Steve Kirschbaum, who is facing criminal charges trumped up by the Boston police at the behest of Veolia, which seeks to drive communist leadership out of the union. Kirschbaum goes on trial Nov. 24 in Dorchester, Mass.

The union local may go on strike in the coming months for a decent contract and to demand the rehiring of fired union leaders Kirschbaum, Francois, Gillis and Garry Murchison.

Workers fighting cutbacks

LeiLani Dowell, a WW managing editor, chaired the second plenary on the low-wage worker uprising against austerity and the global capitalist crisis. On the panel were Tommy Cavanaugh, a low-wage worker in Rockford, Ill., and a leader of FIST; Betsey Piette, a WW contributing editor and writer on the cutbacks in Philadelphia; John Parker, WW West Coast editor and an organizer of the Fight for $15 minimum-wage campaign in Los Angeles; Jerry Goldberg, a fighter against the Detroit bankruptcy crisis and attorney in a lawsuit against the city of Detroit that demanded no cuts in workers’ pensions; and Steven Ceci, an activist with the We Deserve Better Baltimore Workers’ Assembly.

A solidarity message was read from Clarence Thomas, co-chair of the Million Worker March Movement and a rank-and-file longshore worker and unionist.

The right of oppressed youth to resist

The third plenary that day addressed “Lessons of the Ferguson Rebellion against Police Terror.” Rebeca Toledo, an organizer of the migrant solidarity caravan, chaired. Panelists were Monica Moorehead, WWP Secretariat member and editor of “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle”; Lamont Lilly, an organizer with the Durham, N.C., WWP branch and contributing editor for Triangle Free Press; Larry Hales, organizer of the People’s Power Assemblies movement and a WW contributing editor; and Imani Henry, an organizer against racist police brutality and gentrification, with a major focus in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Moorehead, Lilly and Henry recently traveled to Ferguson and St. Louis for the Oct. 11-13 weekend of resistance.

Worldwide unity against imperialism

The theme of the fourth plenary on Nov. 16 was workers and oppressed of the world unite against imperialism. Tova Fry, an organizer with the WWP Bay Area branch and an activist against police abuse, chaired and spoke on anti-apartheid solidarity with Palestine.

Other speakers included Sara Flounders, WWP Secretariat member and co-coordinator of the International Action Center; Abayomi Azikiwe, WW contributing editor and editor of the Pan African News Wire, who has written on the Ebola crisis in West Africa; Berta Joubert-Ceci, a Puerto Rican revolutionary and editor of WW newspaper’s Mundo Obrero section; Ramiro Funez, a leader of FIST, an activist with the Honduran Libre Party and an organizer of the migrants’ caravan; Greg Butterfield, a WW contributing editor who has written on the U.S.-backed right-wing coup in Ukraine; and Caleb Maupin, a leader of FIST and an editor of its new Red Flag publication.

Deirdre Griswold, a WWP Secretariat member and WW editor, spoke on the political importance of the party’s national fund drive. Jefferson Azaredo, from the WWP Los Angeles branch, read a tribute to the late founder of the American Servicemen’s Union, Andy Stapp, from draft resister Eddie Oquendo, who went to jail rather than be drafted to go to Vietnam war.

Maggie Vascassenno, from Los Angeles, chaired a panel on solidarity with Lucy Pagoada, a founder of Honduras USA Resistencia; Charles Jenkins, president, New York Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Kazem Azim, SI-Solidarity with Iran; Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN USA; Mick Kelly, Freedom Road Socialist Organization; Victor Toro, a founder of Chile’s Movement of the Revolutionary Left, who won the right to live in the United States after facing the threat of deportation; and Joe Lombardo, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition.

Eva Panjwani, an organizer with the Durham WWP branch, chaired the closing plenary. Larry Holmes gave a summary. The conference adjourned after singing the communist anthem, The Internationale, in English and Spanish.

Spoken word presentations were given by Tony Chia-Ren and Sara Benjamin.[[21]

External links

References

  1. WW What workers need to know about Korea By Larry Holmes on August 28, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Workers World, December 11, 1981, Vol. 23, No. 50
  3. 3.0 3.1 Workers World, December 26, 1985, Vol. 27, No. 52
  4. The Workers World Party and Its Front Organizations, A Study, House Internal Security Committee, April 1974, GPO # 28-301 O
  5. Ad, The Guardian marxist weekly, dated approximately November 29, 1983?) entitled "An Urgent Public Meeting on "The U.S. and The Palestinians", PSC, and an earlier ad by the WWP and its youth arm, Youth Against War and Fascism], Guardian, Nov. 28, 1979, entitled "To All Progressives - Emergency Mobilization, Stop the War Threats, U.S. - Hands Off Iran!, Rally. Dec. 1, 1979, NYC
  6. Congressional Record, Sept. 23, 1975, pp. E4927-4930, "Attacking the Intelligence Community: The National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee(NECLC; Cong. Rec., May 9, 1970, pp. E2170- 2177, "The National Lawyers Guild Reaffirms Support for Revolutionary Terrorism", and Cong. Rec. Dec. 9, 1981, pp. E5725-5730, "National Lawyers Guild: Part II - Organizational Support for Terrorism"
  7. Terrorism: A Staff Study, House Internal Security Committee, HISC, August 1, 1974, p. 94
  8. International Action Center - Boston: People tell Michigan legislators: ‘MORATORIUM NOW!’ (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  9. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition attending a meeting at the Central United Methodist Church on Nov. 20 in Detroit, Nov. 20, 2010 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  10. International Action Center - Boston: People tell Michigan legislators: ‘MORATORIUM NOW!’ (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  11. Committee to Stop FBI Repression: Solidarity Statements (accessed on Oct. 6, 2010)
  12. Workers World, Feb. 4 anti-war actions called to stop imperialist threats to Iran, By John Catalinotto Published Jan 21, 2012
  13. WW WWP conference maps struggle against capitalist war Oct. 3, 2002,By John Catalinotto New York
  14. WWP website: Partial List of Speakers for Dec. 6-7 National Conference on Socialism, Dec. 1, 2003 (accessed on Nov. 17, 2010)
  15. Movement leaders open a dialog By Monica Moorehead New York Published May 19, 2006
  16. http://www.workersworld.net
  17. WW Revive class struggle, strengthen international solidarity, By Deirdre Griswold, Published Nov 18, 2009
  18. WWP website: Program Schedule for 2010 National Workers World Party Conference (accessed on Nov. 18, 2010)
  19. Global crisis needs global fightback By Monica Moorehead December 2, 2012
  20. WWP Conference grapples with strategies to overturn dead-end capitalism Posted on November 20, 2013 by John Catalinotto
  21. http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/11/19/wwp-national-conference-capitalism/WW, WWP National Conference: ‘Down with capitalism!’ By Monica Moorehead on November 19, 2014]