Solidarity pre-convention discussion

The Solidarity National Convention is scheduled for August 21 – 22. Given the current state of the pandemic we have chosen to hold the convention digitally via Zoom.

In preparation for the convention we will be hosting a series of open ended discussions on specific questions with two goals: developing an analysis of the current period and charting a course for Solidarity. We hope these discussions will be incubators for convention resolutions on important questions for the organizational life of Solidarity. We did this because we anticipate the convention proceedings to be more brief than usual given the digital format. The conversations should be characterized by local reports and analysis with the goal of synthesizing our experiences into a coherent analysis with an eye to the future.

As always, we are committed to debate and discussion on the terms of the feminist process. We encourage everyone to reread the document and take time to consider what it describes, the ways in which you can hold yourself accountable to the process, and how we can best support our comrades as we work to build a collective analysis. Moreover, while we understand that patriarchy is not limited to men we do believe that it is especially important that cis-gendered men take the time to seriously study the document and consider how it relates to your involvement in past and future discussions.

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Proposed topics of discussion and timeline:

April 19 The US Political Situation

Since our last convention the Sanders campaign demonstrated the growth and limits of the adolescent US socialist movement electorally in its defeat and capitulation to the Democratic Party and their chosen candidate Joe Biden. Amidst a pandemic, another surge of anti-racist/ anti-police brutality, and an economic crisis the Biden campaign barely defeated Trump. In the immediate aftermath Trump and his associates initiated a campaign to discredit the results which culminated in a raid on the US Capitol by Trump’s supporters in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the election results. The Biden administration has already begun the rollback of his modest campaign promises despite the growing influence of “the squad” and those in its orbit. Despite the recent growth of the young US socialist movement it would be a gross overstatement to suggest that it is in any position at this moment to take leadership in the fight back against the right.

There are many questions to answer at this juncture: what is the class nature of the Trumpist movement and is it here to stay? What is the future of the GOP? What will the defense of voting rights look like in response to the right wing backlash against Black and Brown people?  What are opportunities for socialists to influence the current situation in the US? What social movements seem to be vehicles for radical change?

May 3 Fourth International Documents and the International Situation

This conversation will be in two parts. The first will address the documents prepared and circulated by the Fourth International and others in preparation for their World Congress. This discussion is meant to discuss the positions of those documents and familiarize ourselves with the conversations occurring in the Fourth International.

The second will discuss the international situation with special emphasis on the rise of the international hard right. Over the last decade the hard right has grown increasingly powerful culminating in the victories of Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson, among others as well as the coup attempts in Bolivia and Venezuela. This decade has also seen the rise and legitimation of hard right political parties across Europe as in the cases of  Rassemblement National (formerly Front National), Alternative für Deutschland, and Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs. In North Africa and the Middle East the Arab Spring’s future seems uncertain. The central questions that need to be asked are: What has facilitated the rise of the right and the assault on liberal democracy? Where has the socialist left been? And what are the ways out of this situation?

May 17 What is the nature and status of the anti-racist movement in the US?

The last decade has seen a significant increase in the level and intensity of activity around anti-racist, immigrant justice, and black liberation movements, most notably black lives matters and the 2020 anti-police uprising. What are we to make of the police and prison abolition demand? How robust is this movement organizationally? What is the relationship of the socialist left to these movements?

May 31 The status of the US Labor Movement

Given the teachers’ strike waves, the Bessemer Amazon organizing campaign, the UAW strike, and the taking up of the rank and file strategy in DSA it seems as though there is a potential for renewed growth and militancy in the US labor movement. That said there have also been a number of significant defeats UAW organizing in the south failed again, the state has consistently sided with gig economy capitalists, and it seems as though the party that labor has ensconced itself in, the Democratic Party, has all but abandoned them. What do we make of these trends and what interventions can the socialist left make into the labor movement?

June 14 Organizational status of the US Left

DSA has opened up a lot of space and has drastically altered the terrain that revolutionary socialist groups have operated on since the 1980s. Additionally, there has been a further disintegration of the 20th century left especially regarding trotskyist formations. This raises serious questions about how the revolutionary left should recompose and integrate itself into the 21st century socialist movement.

June 28 Solidarity past, present, and future: where have we been and where are we going? 

The goal of this conversation is to give a thorough going and critical assessment of what Solidarity has contributed to the revolutionary socialist movement and what our capabilities are now. We hope to construct a balance sheet of Solidarity’s history from 1986 to the present.

July 12 Ecosocialist movement

With fires and hurricanes demonstrating the reality of climate change, millions have been attracted to the stance of Greta Thunberg and other youth. She stated that we are in the beginning of a mass extinction while politicians continue to spin fairy tales of eternal economic growth. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow this November, how can socialists help build a broad climate justice movement that challenges the capitalist mode of production in its fundamental inequality and unstoppable drive for accumulation at any cost?

July 26 What is Solidarity’s future?

This section is meant to synthesize the prior conversations in the context of clarifying our future as an organization. The hope is that this conversation will result in a convergence of opinion that can be turned into a resolution for the convention by a committee created at this meeting. If there is not a convergence then the primary tendencies should craft proposals to be debated at the convention. We should also take up the question of forming a slate and the nature of Solidarity’s national committee.


The structure for these discussions is as follows, but it can be amended:

 Pre-meeting discussion:

  1. Following the announcement of this series of discussions we encourage everyone to actively discuss the proposed topics on the listserv to help each other develop an understanding of what the different positions are within our organization.
  2. The NC will provide a general outline of the topic as well as some questions for consideration as a means of prompting the discussion.
  3. There will be no constraint on which topics can be discussed, but the discussion should mostly be focused on topics that will be discussed in the near term.

Structure of the discussions:

  1. The discussions will be two hours.
  2. They will begin with a brief statement by the moderator describing the conversation that has been had already, the plan for the discussion, and the ground rules for the discussion.
  3. Comrades will be expected to “share the air,” so we hope to keep statements limited to 5 minutes for their first statement and then 3 min for subsequent statements.
  4. We will also prioritize people who have not yet spoken and those belonging to oppressed groups.
  5. Discussion will close with a brief summary of what has been said in the meeting.

Between discussions:

  1. Discussion should continue as described above on the listserv.
  2. Discussion of past topics is permitted, but we do hope that the conversation had on the listserv focuses on upcoming topics
  3. The NC will send out a general outline of the topic.

After the completion of this series:

  1. Discussion should continue up through the convention.
  2. At this time we hope that comrades will formulate and submit resolutions to a committee in charge of collating and reconciling them in anticipation of the convention.
  3. We also strongly encourage all comrades interested in volunteering to be on the next NC slate or nominating candidates for the slate to submit them to the same committee.

Already held discussions

April 5 Independent political action: what does it mean and what is its balance sheet over the last four years?

The goal of this conversation is to clarify what the membership of Solidarity means when we talk about independent political action. The last two national election cycles have raised many tactical and strategic questions regarding ballot lines, what is meant by independence, and the goals of socialist candidates in the US system.

March 22 Growth, changes, and growing pains of the DSA

Many comrades have become dual members with Solidarity and DSA. We should assess our experience as revolutionary socialists in and around the DSA. This conversation should take up questions regarding race and DSA, its structure and seeming bureaucratization, its electoral strategy, the relationship between local and national branches, and what the future looks like for the organization.

 

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Details

Topic: Pre-Convention Discussion Series
Type: Recurring
Hosted By: Stephen
Next Occurence: Monday, May 3, 2021 08:00 PM
Click to See All Meeting Occurrences
  • Monday, April 19, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, May 3, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, May 17, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, May 31, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, June 14, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, June 28, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, July 12, 2021 08:00 PM
  • Monday, July 26, 2021 08:00 PM
Category: Pre-Convention
Timezone: America/New_York

Note: Countdown time is shown based on your local timezone. Meeting time has 1 hour threshold before another occurrence is shown.