Celebrating 100 years ‘on right side of history’

By Janet Post
July 8, 2019
Militant photos: Above, Mike Shur; inset, Arthur Hughes

OBERLIN, Ohio — More than 300 workers and young people from the U.S. and around the world attended the 2019 International Active Workers Conference sponsored by the Socialist Workers Party June 13-15 here. A large banner above the stage at the main sessions read, “Celebrating 100 Years ‘On the Right Side of History,’” stressing the party’s revolutionary continuity with the 1919 founding of the Communist Party after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

In the opening political report SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, inset, explained, “Communism is not a doctrine, but a movement; it proceeds not from principles, but from facts.” This is a quote from an 1847 polemic by Frederick Engels, one of the founders of the modern revolutionary working-class movement along with Karl Marx.

For the first time in human history, Barnes said, there is a social class — the working class — who can find the road to fight for independent political action, take political power and end class exploitation and oppression once and for all.

A second banner above the stage read, “Advancing Along the Line of March of the Working Class; Act on Imperialism’s Deepening Political Crisis; Build the Labor Movement; Build the Socialist Workers Party.”

“This conference gives confidence to do more work organizing, discussing the road forward with workers on their doorsteps and at labor and social battles,” Nicholas Eddington from Seattle, told the Militant at the conference. Eddington had met the SWP, gone with party members to Cuba this year on the May Day Brigade, and joined the party.

He spent five years in the U.S. Army, and while stationed in Afghanistan read The Communist Manifesto and some books on the Cuban Revolution. “I wanted to find a party that would fit with what I had read,” he said.

Full coverage from the conference will appear in coming issues of the Militant.