SWP Active Workers Conference set for June 13-15

By Janet Post
June 3, 2019

“I want to go to the conference to meet workers who are excited and prepared for the struggles ahead. I’m excited for all the learning, of course — learning in community, across generations — there’s something so powerful about that,” Kaitlin Estill, a teacher in San Francisco, told the Militant.

Estill is one of over 300 working people and youth from the U.S. and around the world who will attend the June 13-15 Active Workers Conference in Oberlin, Ohio, sponsored by the Socialist Workers Party. The conference will include major talks by party leaders, classes and panel presentations.

Estill heard about the conference from party members she met on the May Day International Volunteer Work Brigade in Cuba this spring.

This year’s conference will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party in the U.S., coming out of the victory of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The SWP’s revolutionary continuity runs from that founding — and the programmatic documents adopted at the first four congresses of the Communist International — through its participation in working-class struggles today.

SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes will give the main political report, “Party and Program Are One,” which will open the conference. Barnes has been a member of the party’s National Committee since 1963 and a national officer since 1969.

The next day Steve Clark, a member of the party’s National Committee, will speak on “The Middle East and the Jewish Question: Acting on the Communist Program.” Clark was the author of the SWP’s 2017 statement “For Recognition of a Palestinian State and of Israel.”

Clark joined other members of the SWP and Communist Leagues to participate in the International Book Fair in Baghdad in February and the 14th Erbil International Book Fair in the Kurdistan region of Iraq in April. On that second trip they were invited to present the party’s program and activities at a meeting of more than 100 unionists and others in Ainkawa in the Kurdistan region, sponsored by the Kurdistan Communist Party.

There will be two panel discussions focused on the work of the party today: “Tribunes of the People and the Turn to Industry,” which will be chaired by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters; and “Our Election Campaigns Drive the Wisconsin Turn,” chaired by SWP national campaign director John Studer. These will focus on how party members speak in the interests of all the exploited and oppressed and take the party’s program to the working class — from going door to door in working-class neighborhoods in cities, towns and countryside to its participation in the labor movement.

They will take up some of the central questions facing working people — from Washington’s wars abroad and threats against working people in Venezuela, Cuba and Iran, to the fight for amnesty for all immigrants in the U.S., to the working-class road forward in the fight for women’s emancipation.

“I have attended conferences in previous years and really appreciated what I learned,” said Pat Scott, a Walmart worker for 20 years in the Seattle area. “Those who come want what’s best for workers, and discuss the unity and solidarity that is needed. The conference helps me envision what it could be like after a revolution.”

Other conference sessions will feature Q and A sessions on the main presentations, informal discussion at buffet-style meals and evening socials. The final session Saturday night will feature reports summarizing the political themes and discussions at the conference.

The next day organized supporters of the party will meet to discuss their work designing, getting printed and promoting Pathfinder literature; making book placements at colleges, bookstores and libraries; and raising funds for the work of the party.

For more information, contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you.