Center for Political Education
The Center for Political Education (CPE) was created to fill a "void" with space and tools necessary for leftist organizers to analyze current political, economic and social trends for revolutionary change. It was founded in 1998 and has conducted over 200 classes, educational forums, study groups, and dialogues.
"What We Do"
The CPE is one of the main focal points for the San Francisco left;
- The Center for Political Education is a resource for political organizations on the left, progressive social movements, the working class and people of color.
- It is anchored by a collective of individuals active in day-to-day struggles in the Bay Area. Our political approach is non-sectarian, democratic, and committed to a critical analysis of local, regional and global politics. We believe that the current political conditions call for organizing and movement building, and that theory and ideas are important tools for movement building.
- We are committed to providing a left space and perspective for organizers and activists. We often co-sponsor events relating to left theory and strategy with other organizations.
CPE is openly Marxist;
We are a resource for political organizations on the left, progressive movements, the working class and people of color. We believe that the current political conditions call for organizing and movement building, and that theory and ideas are important tools for movement building. We are committed to providing a left space and perspective. Our collective thought is diverse and comes from a variety of political schools. We look to various revolutionary thinkers and organizers, including Marx, for inspiration and critical review. The Center for Political Education is internationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist. We believe in international solidarity and use our educational forums as one way to build support for liberation, labor, racial justice, environmental and political struggles throughout the world. We view the struggles for gender equality and against racism, sexism, homophobia, and heterosexism as integral to all forms of political struggle. The Center for Political Education is a collective whose members are active in day-to-day struggles in the Bay Area and bring their perspective to the vision of the Center for Political Education.
Communist Party origins
- The Center for Political Education began with discussions around the Sorro-Milanese kitchen table, in 1997, which included a broad range of activists from the Bay Area Left. This grouping of established community activists, organizers, cultural workers, writers and educators engaged in a series of dialogues to analyze the left movement and the future of movement-building in the U.S. and particularly the Bay Area. The need was clear: organizers did not have a consistent left space to analyze current political, economic and social trends. This affected our ability to articulate and create strong, clear organizing and political strategies that would result in revolutionary change.
- From these dialogues emerged a vision: to develop a center dedicated to building strong movements and the left through education, analysis, theory, dialogue, and activism.
Communist Party roots
Committees of Correspondence members founded CPE out of the assets of "522 Valencia", which was formerly headquarters of the local Communist Party USA. The assets were taken by the Kendra Alexander Foundation-named in honor of the late Communist Party USA turned Committees of Correspondence leader Kendra Alexander.
- 522 Valencia became a movement resource in the early 1970s, commonly associated with the Communist Party USA. The CPUSA published the national newspaper People’s World out of 522 Valencia. In 1994, a broad spectrum of left activists, most of whom were no longer in the CPUSA, took on the responsibility of the building and the associated assets. They formed the Kendra Alexander Foundation, in honor of Kendra Alexander, long-time organizer and agitator who passed away in May, 1993, to oversee this invaluable movement resource.