PSL to host National Conference on Socialism in Los Angeles, present Fighters for Justice and Champions of Freedom Awards

By: Doug Kaufmann


‘Stand up and fight back!’

On Nov. 13 and 14 in Los Angeles, hundreds of people from all over the country and the world will converge on the University of Southern California campus for a National Conference on Socialism.

people clapping at conference
2008 Conference on Socialism

The Party for Socialism and Liberation has worked tirelessly for months to promote the 2010 conference. It will be the second National Conference on Socialism organized by the PSL. The first was in 2008. This year’s conference will illustrate a growth of interest in socialism as an alternative to capitalism’s destructive course. It will also highlight the PSL’s growth over the past two years.

New PSL organizing centers have sprung up around the country in places like New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, just to name a few. PSL leaders and supporters from more than 20 states will attend the upcoming conference.

Sabrina Carollo, a Chicago area community college student, told why she is coming to the conference in L.A.: “Community college budget cuts and tuition hikes are outrageous—especially when so many are struggling. As a young person from a working-class family, I’m ready to organize for the future we need—where jobs and education are rights. I’m coming to the PSL conference to fight for people’s rights.”

Rob Sayers, a student and IT worker in Austin, Tex., told “I’m going to the National Conference on Socialism because I feel it will be a great way to learn more about the role I can play in the working-class struggle. It will also be a chance to network with other revolutionary activists outside of my local area. Only with solidarity will we achieve change, so joining with others to exchange ideas and information will be a powerful tool in our fight for liberation and equality.”

A weekend to discuss socialism

The two-day conference will feature exciting speakers, panels, organizing sessions and discussion, along with art displays, films and music. Topics will include: resisting U.S. imperialism, the class struggle in Africa, building a new workers movement, defending immigrant workers, confronting racism and bigotry, fighting the expanding police state, why socialism is necessary, the role of a revolutionary party, how to fight the bankers and billionaires for workers’ justice and more.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark will be a featured speaker. Clark will host a special awards ceremony to honor political prisoners, radical lawyers and activists who have long histories of self-sacrifice in the struggle for social justice.

The conference will also feature community leaders and activists throughout the United States, and international solidarity speakers from the Filipino, Salvadoran, and Palestinian movements.

Other sessions of the conference will focus on expanding the reach of socialist media, sharing the experiences of organizing and building the socialist movement across the United States, developing the PSL’s Spanish-language work and more. There will also be a revolutionary writers’ clinic.

In preparation, organizers have already passed out 30,000 palm cards and flyers, 15,000 stickers, and put up 3,000 posters that have lead to hundreds of pre-registrations for the conference.

When asked why she was organizing people to attend the conference, a college student and restaurant worker who asked to remain anonymous said: “I want to raise consciousness about how socialism is more vital to our society today than ever. The capitalist system has failed to provide even the most basic necessities of life such as food and shelter to the vast majority of workers. This is becoming more apparent in the most recent economic crisis. Only under socialism can we solve the problems we see around us each day.”

The National Conference on Socialism hosted by the PSL will be a truly historic event in the socialist movement. The PSL will continue to organize for the upcoming conference and hopes to connect with hundreds of workers and students from throughout the country who are ready to stand up and fight back. There is no better time for socialism than right now!

Click here to register for the National Conference on Socialism.

Followup post at PSLweb:

Featured speakers include Ramsey Clark

The National Conference on Socialism in Los Angeles is set to be a can’t-miss event. November 13 and 14 will be two exciting days of speakers, panels, organizing sessions, discussion and entertainment at the University of Southern California campus. Hosted by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, hundreds of workers, students, organizers, activists and progressive people will come together from across the United States.

2010 Fighters for Justice Award Honorees
mumia award 2010 Leonard Peltier award 2010  lynne stewart award 2010
Mumia Abu-Jamal Leonard Peltier Lynne Stewart
  cuban 5 award 2010
The Cuban Five (from left to right): Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Rene González, Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero.

The conference will begin at 9:30 am on both Saturday and Sunday. It is an all-weekend event. We encourage everyone to attend the entire conference.

On Saturday night, Nov. 13, beginning at 6:30 pm, there will be a special International Solidarity and Awards Session, featuring speakers and statements from international groups and national liberation movements in the United States.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is confirmed as a featured speaker. He will present the PSL’s first-ever “Fighters for Justice, Champions of Freedom” awards to some of the recipients, which include political prisoners, radical lawyers and longtime grassroots leaders.

Fighters for Justice

The Fighters for Justice Award will be presented to political prisoners for their decades of struggle and perseverance before and during their unjust incarceration. The 2010 award recipients are:

  • Mumia Abu-Jamal: Revolutionary journalist unjustly imprisoned since 1981. His writings and commentaries resonate with working-class and poor people across the world.
  • Leonard Peltier: Native American political prisoner and American Indian Movement leader unjustly incarcerated since 1976.
  • The Cuban Five: Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Rene González, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González. The Five are Cuban nationals incarcerated for infiltrating right-wing terrorist organizations in Miami.
  • Lynne Stewart: Radical lawyer serving an outrageous 10-year federal prison sentence. Stewart is guilty of nothing more than ardently advocating for the most oppressed and championing freedom and liberation.

Champions of Freedom

The Champions of Freedom Award will be presented to radical lawyers and longtime leaders in the struggle for justice and equality and against imperialism. The 2010 award recipients are:

  • Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo: Partnership for Civil Justice Fund
  • Carol Sobel: National Lawyers Guild
  • Muntadhar al-Zaidi: Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at then-President George Bush in 2008. Al-Zaidi was imprisoned and tortured for his anti-imperialist actions. He continues to advocate for the Iraqi people and struggle against colonial occupation.
  • Mary Harb: Palestinian American Women’s Association

There will also be a tribute to the late Lucius Walker, Executive Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

Additional Guest Speakers

Guest speakers at the National Conference on Socialism include the following well-known activists and organizers:

  • Ramsey Clark: Former U.S. Attorney General
  • Imam Mahdi Bray: Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom
  • Jollene Levid: National Chairperson, AF3IRM
  • Ron Kovic: Vietnam Veteran; author, Born on the Fourth of July
  • Ken Lerch: President, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 3825
  • Dr. Henry Clark: Executive Director, West County Toxics Coalition
  • Jim Lafferty: Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
  • Yousef Abudayyeh: National Coordinator, Free Palestine Alliance
  • Arturo Garcia: Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines

These are just a few of the speakers who will be present. Click here for a full conference schedule.

Make sure you register for the National Conference on Socialism today. Be there and bring your friends, family, co-workers, co-students and everyone you know.

Click here to register for the conference.

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