Leading up to the United States Social Forum converging in Detroit this June, the Socialist Party of Michigan and Detroit Socialist Party will host the Summer 2010 meeting of the Socialist Party USA National Committee, taking place on June 19th-20th at Detroit’s historic Leland hotel. Convening at 10AM on both days, the SP National Committee meeting will hold session through the early evening of Saturday the 19th, and mid-afternoon of Sunday the 20th, in the main hotel conference room (entrance through the main lobby). Members of the public who are interested in observing the meeting, or any portion thereof, are welcome to attend. The Leland hotel is located at 400 Bagley St., Detroit, MI 48226, at the intersection of Bagley St. and Cass Ave.
Following the upcoming SP National Committee meeting, Socialist Party members from around the country will join tens of thousands of radical activists at the United States Social Forum, taking place at numerous Downtown and Midtown Detroit locations from June 22nd-26th. During the Social Forum, the Socialist Party will be sponsoring a total of four official USSF workshops. Details on the SP USSF workshops are below…
Socialist Party USSF Workshops:
Thursday, June 24th, 10AM-12PM: “Building International Socialist Feminism On-Line and In the Streets“.
Location: Woodward Academy, Rm. 1435 (951 E. Lafayette St., Detroit, MI 48207 [map]).
Sponsor: Socialist Party USA
Presenter: Socialist Women magazine founder Susan Dorazio
USSF Track Listings: “Capitalism in Crisis: tearing down poverty, building economic alternatives & a solidarity economy” and “International Solidarity and Responsibility: building a unified response to global crises.”
Workshop Description:“This workshop will explore the purposes of and possibilities for an on-line, activist, international socialist feminist work group. As we democratic socialists move the theory and practice of internationalism into the second decade of the 21st Century, we have the potential for bringing about broader and deeper forms of global consciousness and interdependence, ones that take the principle of solidarity to new levels. The creation of an on-line, activist, international socialist feminist work group can be envisioned in this context. Coming together at the international level, on both a personal and political basis, will enable us as to confront critical global issues—such as the climate crisis, the economic meltdown, imperialist wars and occupations, erosion of civil liberties, and the deterioration of the infrastructure of our cities, towns, and regions— in a particularly concerted and cooperative way. More structured than a network, this work group would help connect socialist feminist activists through the international coordination of movement-building projects, actions, and events. Work shop participants will share their experiences with organizing at the local, national, and international level, discuss how an international socialist feminist work group could further their personal and political work, and brainstorm the processes that would get such a work group started and keep it going.
Thursday, June 24th, 3:30PM-5:30PM: “Thinking System from the Grassroots“
Location: Wayne State University Student Center Rm. 277 (On WSU main campus – 5221 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48201 [map]).
Sponsor: Socialist Party USA
Presenters: Socialist Party of New York City
USSF Tracks:“Capitalism in Crisis: tearing down poverty, building economic alternatives & a solidarity economy” and “To the Left: building a movement for social justice: intersections and alliances across race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability… “
Workshop Description: “ Where capitalism fails to meet the needs of people, spaces are created for activists to organize alternatives that fulfill needs by empowering individuals and communities. In New York City, activists have worked to create community centers, create community supported agriculture and have struggled to create a city that meets the needs of the poor and working class. Simultaneously, activists have localized national organizing against war and militarism in order to create a more peaceful society. Such political activities work to address the immediate needs of people, but also contain alternate world-views within them, thereby challenging the larger anti-ideological trend of Saul Alinsky influenced community organizing. This panel will bring together multiple generations of activists who have engaged in radical grassroots organizing in order to discuss how they have attempted to employ larger theoretical frameworks. Panelists will address questions such as, how does theory influence the type of organizing they do and the tactics they use? What are the advantages and limitations of working within a theoretical framework when doing community organizing?“
Friday, June 25th, 10:00AM-12:00PM, “Independent Socialist Political Action, the Ballot Box, & the Labor Party Question in the U.S.“
Location: Wayne State University, Manoogian Hall, Rm. 150 (906 W. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 [map])
Sponsor: Socialist Party of Michigan
Presenters: Eric Chester (1996 SP vice presidential candidate and author of Socialists and the Ballot Box: An Historical Analysis  and True Mission: Socialists and the Labor Party Question in the U.S. ), Matt Erard (Socialist Party of Michigan State Chair, National Ballot Access Coordinator for the 2008 SP presidential campaign, and regular SP candidate), more panelists TBA.
USSF Tracks: “Capitalism in Crisis: tearing down poverty, building economic alternatives & a solidarity economy” and “Democracy and Governance.”
Workshop Description:: “This workshop will engage in a contemporary and historical examination of independent socialist political action in the United States, as well as the various efforts that have been undertaken throughout the past century to develop a mass-based labor party capable of sustainably breaking through the United States’ long-standing two-party system. Particular attention will be given to analyzing the factors underlying the historically recurrent tendency of such efforts to quickly falter back into two major parties, as well as historical exceptions to this tendency, and the comparative developments and trajectories of such efforts in other nations abroad. The workshop will also strive to identify what immediate and long-term goals independent socialist action can best be aimed at achieving, what kinds of organizational questions (if any) may have determinative impact on its success, and how efforts at independent socialist political action can most effectively relate to contemporary social movements and grassroots struggles.“
Friday, June 25th, 3:30PM-5:30PM: “Beyond the Two-Party System: Electoral Reforms that Can Make a Difference”
Location: Woodward Academy, Rm. 1436 (951 E. Lafayette St., Detroit, MI 48207 [map]).
Sponsor: Socialist Party of Michigan, other co-sponsors TBA
Presenters: Detroit Socialist Party Chair Veronica Nowakowski, other panelists TBA
USSF Tracks: “Democracy and Governance” and “To the Left: building a movement for social justice: intersections and alliances across race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability… “
Workshop Description:“As one of the only two-nations in the world lacking uniform ballot access standards for candidates and parties seeking nationally elected office, the U.S. ballot access restrictions are not only among the world’s most disparate, but also among its most restrictive. Correspondingly, to the extent that alternatives running outside the two major parties are able to gain access to election ballots, they tend to remain strongly disadvantaged by the U.S.’s plurality voting system, while being customarily excluded from most election media coverage and election debates. In response to such widespread impediments to meaningful electoral participation, a number of grassroots movements and coalitions for participatory election reform have been slowly but steadily growing over the past decade. In support of such efforts, this workshop will strive to provide an in-depth investigation into key reform measures that can significantly help level the playing-field for alternative political voices. Through the active input of participants, this workshop will then aim to develop a set of key areas for strategic focus that all participants can bring back to focus-related grassroots organizations and networks in their locales.“
The Socialist Party USA will also have a general literature table at Cobo Hall, (intersection of Jefferson Ave. and Washington Blvd. [map]), which is serving as the USSF’s central logistical headquarters.
USSF Venues Map
Socialist Party USSF Logistics Page
2010 U.S. Social Forum Main Website
USSF Program Book
USSF Leftist Lounge Party (June 25th)