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Chicago conference calls for revival of socialism in US

Capitalism is criminal: fight back!

On May 15, an energetic socialism conference was held in Chicago, hosted by the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The conference was titled: "Capitalism is Criminal: Fight Back!"

People traveled to the conference from all over the Midwest, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri and Michigan. Over 100 people registered for the conference.

PSL members and friends did outreach at Chicago-area schools, drawing participants from area high schools and several community colleges and universities. Organizers from Students and Teachers Fight Back!, including Becca Luxner and Sabrina Carollo, spoke at the conference.

Before the first of four sessions of the conference, the PSL’s Ymelda Viramontes read a statement in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement for full equality and to defeat racist SB 1070. The packed hall at Centro Autonomo, the Albany Park venue for the event, rose to its feet and chanted together: "Sí, se puede!"

PSL Midwest Organizer, John Beacham, summed up the conference in his closing talk by saying: "To me the most significant thing about this year’s conference compared to the ones we held in 2007 and 2009 is the number of young people who showed up early and have stayed until the end. I think it’s a reflection of the general political development in a whole new generation of people who are looking to fight the system and get organized."

"The active participation of militant young people in so many current struggles gives us greater hope that we can help organize a movement and a party of revolutionaries here in the U.S. that can help take advantage of the growing crisis for the bankers, bosses and their high-paid servants in Washington."

To watch video of PSL Midwest Organizer John Beacham's talk at the May 15 Socialism Conference click here.

Speakers at the conference also included Brian Becker, the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; Rixio Barrios, Deputy Consul of Venezuela in Chicago; Heather Benno, Immigrant Rights Attorney; Stefanie Fisher, ANSWER Chicago organizer; and Erek Slater, a recently laid-off CTA bus driver and rank and file leader in the struggle to stop transit layoffs and service cuts.

In his keynote presentation, Becker said, "There are two roads or paths open to the movement. Some say the PSL is too radical, too unrealistic in thinking that we can have a socialist revolution in the U.S., that workers can rise up and take back the wealth of this country which is rightfully ours."

"They say that our only hope is supporting and electing liberal Democrats and forcing them and their party to the ‘left’ as the only way to make change. And that is the only acceptable path to take and anyway that it makes more sense because more people will support that path."

"We disagree. We think there is nothing more unrealistic and utopian than to think that a group of capitalist politicians are going to challenge the basic tenants of the capitalist system that are responsible for all this human suffering, racism  and inequality."

"The concrete experience of the past year, with a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress escalating the war and continuing to administer society in the interest of the banks and oil companies while giving no real aid to the millions during a severe economic crisis, is a clear example to the people that the only path that will bring change is the building of an independent mass struggle, the revival of the socialist movement and the building of a revolutionary party like the PSL."

In the lead up to and following the socialism conference in Chicago, many new people have joined the PSL and many who attended the conference are planning to get more involved with PSL.

We don’t have to live under the rule of the banks and oil companies. We can organize and fight back. The time to build the movement for socialism in now! Join the PSL.

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