Lynn Lomibao (SP Los Angeles):
This was my first time at an SP National Convention, and it was a fantastic experience. It was truly an inspiration to meet so many motivated and energetic SP members from across the country. The cross section of people in attendance — from youth and women to long-time members — was representative of the diversity not only in the Party but also in the country. It was an invaluable learning experience for which I’m truly grateful.
Despite the time democracy in action can take, I felt that we accomplished a lot in a narrow timeframe — including nominating a kickass President & VP ticket for 2012!
And last but not least, I’m honored to have been elected to the National Committee and look forward to working with other NC members to forge a plan that keeps the SP thriving and growing!
Mimi Soltysik (SP Los Angeles):
Man, I had a blast. I have a lot of respect for my fellow brothers and sisters in the Party. There were a lot of folks I met at the Convention that, within minutes, I felt like they’d have my back and I theirs. The real deal. Meeting David McReynolds, Maggie Phair and Edwin Laing was a real highlight. They epitomized grace, in my opinion. I understand that I know shit. I kept telling myself that it was important to listen. And I just have to say, the work ethic of Greg Pason kicks my ass. I complain when I have to take a shower. I left the Convention feeling like I wanted to kick ass. I usually feel like I want to kick ass, but after keeping company with the rest of the SP for a weekend, I felt ready to challenge Subcomandante Marcos to a thumbwrestling match. Winner gets the pipe. It’s time to Party!!
Michelle Borok (SP Los Angeles):
After many years as a dues paying member of the party, this was my first National Convention. The housekeeping aspect of the convention wasn’t a surprise, but I could see that there were connections being made among comrades meeting for the first time that would forge relationships centered on action taken to build a stronger party.
Stephen Clarke (SP Riverside):
The SPUSA 2011 National Convention was my first, and I was proud and happy to serve as a delegate from the Socialist Party of California at the Saturday and Sunday sessions. In the 3 years I’ve been a member of the SPUSA, I’ve come to experience a genuine familial sense solidarity within the membership of the Party.
And, as with any family, ours contains its infant-members, eyes and ears taking-in everything, but not having the ability yet to verbalize their experience; its younger generation, full of energy and on-fire to reform society overnight; its ‘eccentrics’, who often frustrate and irritate everyone; and its elders, whose wisdom, experience, vpatience and skillful mediation help hold the family together. All were present in Los Angeles last weekend at our convention.
So, the Convention was exciting, stimulating, frustrating and emotionally and physically draining … and with no time for the afternooon, “senior naps” I’ve gotten used to in retirement!
But I came away with my own renewed dedication to our democratic socialist principles, to the Platform of the Socialist Party-USA and to the Party’s candidates for President
and Vice President of the United States in 2012: Comrades Stewart Alexander and Alex Mendosa.
As chair of one of the Locals, I came away with a renewed desire to grow the membership of our Local and make us visible and heard in our county. I came away with a deeper
affection and respect for all the members of this ‘family’ called the Socialist Party-USA: my fellow “newbies”; the energetic “teens” (who I can’t keep up with); the “odd” uncles, aunts and cousins; and, of course, the “elder statespersons,” without whom the family would be NO family at all. And lastly, I know I came away with a new awareness of what the glue is that holds it all together: Solidarity!
Frank Boeheim (SP Los Angeles):
I recently joined the Socialist Party USA. I have known about it for many years, mainly through Maggie Phair and our late comrade Charles Curtis. I have been registered to vote Peace and Freedom Party since 1979. I have been a candidate for California State Senate once and for United States House of Representatives twice with PFP. I never committed to any of the tendencies that are or have been in PFP until this September. I joined SP so I could better help Stewart Alexander get PFP’s Presidential ballot line for November of 2012. I also joined because I am very impressed with the young activists that are here in Los Angeles.
I went to the convention as an observer because it was in town, and I wanted to meet the SP activists from other parts of the Country. I was favorably impressed with the amount of organization and work that went into putting on this event. The process of the convention seemed to be open and inclined towards democracy. There was the usual parliamentary wrangling that goes with the formal meeting of any organized group. Indeed, there was much more cooperation, common purpose and comradeship than I have experienced at many similar Peace and Freedom Party state meetings I have attended over the years. I enjoyed the sessions that I attended, and thoroughly enjoyed the banquet on Saturday night. I think I need to be better versed in the internal dialogs and disputes within the SP USA before I can comment on what was approved by the convention. I found it to be a very good experience. I met a number of interesting and active members. I hope to further my acquaintances with them in the near future.
Stewart Alexander (SP Riverside):
Hello Comrades, It was a privilege to host the Socialist Party’s National Convention here in California. The convention helped to bring comrades together from all around the nation and we were able to strengthen our bonds and commitments to work together in unity. We did not agree on all of the issues; however, for us to succeed, we understand that we must stand in unity. The convention will always be remembered. In the midst of the most consequential election in the past 150 years of this nation, a few delegates representing the Socialist Party USA, met to assure that the voice of working people will be part of the 2012 presidential election debate, as we increase our demands on the existing system that continues to fail working people everywhere.
Scott Tucker and Larry Gross (SP Los Angeles):
We attended the Socialist Party national conference in Los Angeles as observers and as members of the Los Angeles chapter. We were glad to see our party’s tradition of democracy upheld, and are confident that the message of socialism is reaching a new generation.
Edwin Laing (SP Santa Barbara):
What matters? I mean really matters.
Amassing wealth, to seek to become as gods, at any price?
Or do all people matter: their needs and aspirations, their full realization as human beings, their planet?
I was leaving for the national convention of the Socialist Party USA being held October 14-16 in Los Angeles. I had just read The Independent article (Oct. 13 p.25) about our failed health care system, particularly the systemic, outrageous misconduct of the pharmaceutical industry.
I was angry because I knew this was just another nasty example of the common failure of our economic system– capitalism.
People are in the streets by the hundreds or thousands. In their very bones, they know systemic failure.
At the convention I met young people, folks of all races and walks of life, older people like myself, who know it too. Capitalism cannot be reformed. We know we need a movement to inform and formulate a democratic society that really does serve everyone, not just the rich and powerful.
The meeting was mainly for housekeeping purposes. Refresh our party’s vision, elect our party officers, fine-tune our structure.
But also to name our top federal candidates, a longstanding Socialist Party practice to acquaint people with socialist ideas.
A working people’s slate emerged: Stewart Alexander of California for President of the United States. Alex Mendoza of Texas for Vice President of the United States.
Any convention needs at least one parliamentary dust up! Ours was over Cindy Sheehan, a non-member who has come to an anti-capitalist viewpoint. Last minute, a member reported her willingness to serve as our vice-presidential candidate. (She was not at the convention.) Because members sign that they agree with our Statement of Principles (see our web site) and she had not, her candidacy was not placed on the ballot.
The Socialist Party USA is open, transparent, feminist, multi tendency and democratic, NOT a vanguard or democratic centralist organization.
At the top of this article I asked about what really matters. The top of our web site answers: “Our aim is the creation of a new social order, a society in which the commanding value is the infinite preciousness of every woman, man and child.”
Steve Soltysik (SP Los Angeles):
It was great to be surrounded by a group of people who, although not all on the same page, think progressively and have common goals to improve society as a whole. The Socialist Party has an altruistic spirit at heart, and puts the needs of others before its own, and it was evident that everyone there shared this same sentiment.
Rich Fuller (SP Los Angeles):
This bring my 1st convention, I had a blast. Due to family obligations I was only able to attend for a couple of hours. In that short time I was able to observe the process and it made me more invigorated to work harder. I regret not meeting more members while I was there but I hope to do so in the future.
Rustin Knudtson (SP Los Angeles):
I was impressed and filled with new optimism after seeing how many people were able to and wanted to make the trek to California. It’s a good sign of the Party’s strength and dedication.
Cindy Henderson (Peace and Freedom):
I really liked the SP Convention. It appeared to be very well-organized and it was great to see the diversity of ages, ethnicity and geography. When controversies arose, they were handled with democracy and relative calm.
C.T. Weber (Peace and Freedom):
My name is C. T. Weber and I am the Peace and Freedom Party of California State Chairperson. Since Socialist Party USA, in California is one of the socialist parties and organizations working within the Peace and Freedom Party electoral umbrella party, I felt it was important to visit with our sisters and brothers from this tendency. As you may know, I feel the socialist movement in the United States is too small and weak to compete against each other. I asked myself, why should three or four socialist parties run against each other by qualifying seperately in the same states. After all we have more in common with each other than with the capitalist parties. Building an electoral umbrella across the U. S. will be difficult. In California, it took years. However, we have been able to weave together the Internations all over again. We have anarchists of the First International, democratic socialist of the Second International, and democratic centralist of the Third and Fourth Internationals. The amazing thing is that we all work together in a fairly friendly manner. While it appears that there will be a few different socialist Presidential slates in 2012, we may be able to cross endorse each other’s candidates on the district levels. We may also be able to continue the dialogue to such a degree that socialists will be able to run a single Presidential slate. Of course, each party and organization would continue to maintain its own organization as the umbrella would only be used for our joint electoral activities.
I was most impressed by the number of younger sisters and brothers. That implies a future for an organization that is over 100 years old. I was welcomed at the convention and I had the feeling of comradery. Good luck in building the Socialist Party USA. I look forward to our working together in the near future. Thank you.
C. T. Weber
Peace and Freedom Party of California