Workers World Party Conference Grapples with Strategies to Overturn Dead-End Capitalism

First Secretary Larry Holmes closes WWP conference.

Workers. Youth. Detroit. Boston. These are now in the forefront of the consciousness of many of the political activists who attended this year’s Workers World Party annual national conference. It was a life-changing experience. Not just the words, but the electric atmosphere sparked early in the Nov. 16-17 weekend meeting here in New York. More than 300 attended from 20 states and dozens of cities

As the party prepared to grapple with strategy for this period of dead-end capitalism, Boston school bus unionists arrived. In the midst of their own life-and-death struggle against the Veolia transnational monopoly, a busload of Boston school bus drivers, mainly of Haitian and Cape Verdean origin, walked into the meeting hall to the cheers and shouts of the hundreds of participants, many of them young people attending their first WWP conference.

When Veolia’s management and Boston officials attacked some Steelworkers Local 8751 leaders and baited them as WWP members, it seems unlikely they had in mind strengthening solidarity between the union and the party. But that’s what happened. The drivers listened attentively to a Marxist analysis of the capitalist crisis.

At the end, conference participants approved a resolution to battle Veolia wherever possible and help the union defend its leaders and win.

From Garrett Dicembre’s introduction Saturday morning to the open-mike session on Sunday, participants could hear and feel the change in consciousness of the working class. Youths, themselves in low-paid and insecure jobs, described their own moment of realization that the U.S. “American dream” had turned into their nightmare of abuse, racism, sexual harassment and job loss — and led them to commit to a life of organized class struggle.

Minutes after the bus drivers filled three rows of seats at the front of the hall, the delegation from Cuba’s U.N. Mission arrived. This sparked another round of cheers. WWP and its friends have felt close solidarity with socialist Cuba since the Cuban Revolution first confronted U.S. imperialism.

As Ariel Hernandez Hernandez, first secretary of the mission, described Cuba’s measures to defend its socialist gains against the U.S. blockade, cheers and chants of “Free the Cuban Five” and “Cuba sí, bloqueo no” filled the room and set the mood for the conference.

Read the full article here.

6 thoughts on “Workers World Party Conference Grapples with Strategies to Overturn Dead-End Capitalism

  1. Pingback: International Unions Salute Workers World Party Conference | Independent Political Report

  2. Starchild

    This post gives me an idea for a new theme park… “Workers World”. The slogan will be, “Marxist Enlightenment for the Entire Family!”

    Instead of merely going and being entertained as spoiled consumers with rides and shows and attractions like Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm or something, visitors to Workers World will be forced to do back-breaking physical labor most of the day from dawn to dusk.

    However, the whole immersive 5-day experience at this sprawling new theme park situated on over 1,000 acres will be designed to foster a sense of revolutionary consciousness that you and your family will remember and cherish for the rest of your (possibly shortened) lives.

    Upon their early morning arrival when the park opens for the start of a 5-day cycle, visitors will be required to leave all their money, food, phones, cameras, and other valuables they brought with them in lockers located in the Great Entryway of the People, where they will gaze up in awe at a magnificent sight, the world’s largest and incredibly lifelike statue of Che Guevara.

    Next, they will be driven in red buses painted with revolutionary slogans to the Worker’s Village, an isolated community near the middle of the property consisting of ramshackle huts lacking electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, etc., where the comrade bus drivers will drop them off and wish them good luck. There is no food in the village except for stale bread, because, they will be told by a few staffers playing the role of poor villagers, the greedy capitalists have stolen it all. The elegant and palatial homes of the capitalists will be clearly visible on a nearby hill, but any guests attempting to make the trek in that direction will find their progress stymied by a large wall surrounding the foot of the hill, where surly guards at the gatehouse will tell them to get lost and get a job (without giving them any help in obtaining one except to go back to the Village and wait). Everything else except the factories in the other direction is too far to walk to from the Workers Village, and the factories are empty and locked.

    After spending the morning in the squalid Village growing steadily hungrier, tormented by the smells of the overflowing latrines and the mosquitos especially bred especially in the adjoining wetlands, and largely at the mercy of the elements, the sweatshop bosses will drive into town with their armed guards and start making the rounds and offering the guests decent hot meals if they come and work in their Factories. They make it sound like a pretty great opportunity, and also paint a dire picture of what they will have to suffer living off bread and water if they remain in the Village on their own.

    From there, the guests will go their separate ways to the various Factories, having been carefully divided up from people they know. There they will spend the remainder of the day slaving away on assembly line machinery, kept working by promises that the food is coming soon, but they won’t get any if they don’t work hard enough. Finally after dusk, the food shows up, a tepid meal of rice, gruel, and some vaguely meat-like substances in a stew. Tables are set up outside the factory for the tired, hungry guests, and after being given 45 minutes to eat and rest, the guards force them back into the factory to clean up their workstations before the gates are locked and they are allowed to depart and walk back to the Village, where they must do as best they can to search out a clean and empty cots in one of the huts to sleep for the night.

    At dawn the next morning, the park visitors will be awakened by whistle blasts from the factories and guards walking around cheerily encouraging them to rise and shine, and promising a better meal at the factories than the ones they had the previous evening, if they will come back to work. The Village is scheduled to be the scene of a military training exercise, and it won’t be safe for them to stay.

    On getting back to the factories, the guests are immediately put to work, and again forced to wait for a meal that is repeatedly delayed until mid-day. After finally being fed little better than they were the night before, they are told them must finish the day’s shift if they want to get paid, and they’ll get some more food later as well. Late in the day, the factory owners come around to tour and inspect their factories, and the owners cheerfully tell them to work hard and be loyal and patient, and conditions will get better. They give out some pay, but less than was promised, and are told they’ll get the rest in the morning. The workers get to see the owners drive off in their expensive cars to their mansions on the hill, before “enjoying” a meager supper and cleaning their workstations and being released again after dark.

    But when they get back to the Village this night, they find among them park staff playing the roles of fellow workers who start organizing meetings and talking insurrection and revolution. On the morning of the third day, the whistles blow and overseers come around with their promises and the workers go off to the Factories again, but at certain pre-arranged signals, they are prompted to engage in mass work stoppages, despite attempts of the guards to bully them. After a few such incidents, signals are given in the various Factories for the uprising, and one by one the facilities are overrun and seized by the rebelling workers, as the frightened guards and overseers abandon the premises. The workers, led by park staff, will proceed to claim the Factories, looting and pillaging offices and vandalizing the machinery. All of them then go outside and unite with the others from the other Factories rest of the evening will be consumed by drinking, camaraderie, and singing revolutionary songs around bonfires.

    The following day, the fourth day, they will be encouraged to storm the residences of the capitalists, who have hidden behind their walls in fear. An assault of all the visitors on the gatehouse guarding the hill quickly “overpowers” the guards, and the angry visitors are soon running wild through the rich homes, gorging themselves on good food and enjoying swimming pools, billiards, and other amenities, as the capitalists flee in their cars. At noon, everyone is summoned outside by a loudspeaker, where a makeshift stage has been set up. Staffers declare that the revolution has been won, and a People’s Republic established. Speeches are made, more free liquor distributed, and elections are conducted via a complicated system that the guests do not understand, with a few of them selected to join the staff as leaders.

    Much is done to foster a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, and the guests get to vent their discomforts and stories of suffering. Soon though the proceedings are interrupted by staff who announce that an audit has revealed that the capitalists have taken most of the food with them, and there is actually very little left to eat on the hill. Therefore, the people must go and farm. This is put forth as a grand, exciting community project, and everyone marches together down the hill and out into the fields near the Village, where staff and leaders direct them for the rest of the day in various tasks of planting and harvesting and working the land with crude hand tools.

    The guests are divided into groups, and peer pressure, exhortations, and other tactics are used to get them to work hard and fill their quotas. The physical labor is just as tough as in the Factories, but the workers are treated to inspirational music piped in through a sound system, and take frequent breaks during which everyone performs mass aerobics-type exercises in synchronization and are treated to free lectures by specially-trained experts on health and nutrition. There’s hardly any food distributed, but what the visitors receive is all organically grown by previous visitors to the park like themselves, and they are very honored to be eating this produce of honest labor. At the end of the day, most of the workers are sent back to the Village — it has been discovered that the palatial houses on the hill are booby-trapped, and it is not safe to go there, so only a few workers and leaders will go and work during the night to seek out and remove the devices and make them safe.

    On the fifth and final day, work in the fields will continue much as on the previous afternoon. Guests will be entertained by listening to rousing speeches from the First Leader, and they will also have opportunities to participate in powerful and moving mass rallies against the evil capitalists who threaten this worker’s paradise.

    That final night, they will be awarded various revolutionary medals for their work and their actions in the uprising, in a kind of “graduation” ceremony, after which they are given an hour or two to enjoy the capitalists’ homes again briefly before the red buses arrive to take them back to the Great Entryway of the People, where they can pick up their possessions (minus a 10% storage fee), before departing through the gift shop. Among the items available as mementos of their experience will be grainy, black-and-white photos of them working in the Factories and Fields, and participating in the heroic Revolt, as well as CDs featuring revolutionary songs and speeches by the First Leader — and of course Che Guevara t-shirts.

    I believe Workers World is going to be a huge success. People are yearning today for a more healthy and meaningful kind of family vacation, and this one will offer not only a uniquely interactive environment in the history of theme parks, but important moral lessons and character-building opportunities for your children.

    Call and make your reservations for Workers World today, comrades are standing by!

  3. paulie

    Now if you can only fund Workers World with mega donations from foreign corporatists and kidnap visitors at gunpoint you’ll have it made.

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