Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ISO Socialism 2006 Report

This is a summarization of some of my thoughts regarding the Socialism 2006 Conference, combined with ideas from conversations and e-mails.

In general, members agree that this conference, the largest the ISO has ever had with over 1,500 in attendance, was a breakthrough. The Bush agenda since his election has hurt the working class and this has led to consciousness and radicalization. The success of the growing ISO and the large conference this year bear out these facts. More and more Americans are looking for a socialist alternative.

At the conference there were people of all ethnicities, both genders, and diverse sexual orientations, shattering the myth that socialists are all white. The majority were young, in their twenties, but there were many older folks as well and there were folks from 18-80 present and participating.

The conference was well organized with all speakers and chairs being well prepared, polite and energetic. Free childcare was provided for 4 days, and ISO branch leaders organized transportation and housing for little or no cost to members. Other members made their own connections and arrangements lending a helping hand where needed.

The overall theme revolved around linking disparate struggles on the left with each other, and providing a theoretical foundation to understand the interrelations and possible solutions. It also positioned the ISO as an activist nexus to facilitate this process and to carry the banner of socialism forward as a vanguard of the working class. A sense of a new day dawning for the ISO and the radical left was quite evident.

I was pleased to see that the ISO leadership is on guard against non-productive polemics and is very conscious of fostering a truly democratic praxis, which the left sorely needs. This will grow with time as the ISO continues to grow and accept more a diverse membership. New challenges will be presented, but also a stronger organization will be forged, one with many new and dynamic leaders and less attrition.

My experience at this, my first ISO Socialism conference, was extremely positive. All ISO members were polite, friendly, communicative and welcoming. I am very happy to be a part of this progressive organization and encourage others to join and help build a truly effective socialist alternative!

[Editorial Note: Previously contained here was a copy of an e-mail which I did not previously ask permission to put on the blog. I apologize to the comrade who wrote the original e-mail for any offense as none was intended.]

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