REVIEW OF 2017 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
BSUP2: A successful conference amidst growing resistance in the streets and popular culture
The Boston Socialist Unity Project held its second annual conference entitled: "Socialist Movements Today, Building Communities of Solidarity and Resistance." The central theme was the growing resistance to Trump's agenda and the greater capitalist system that produced him. Held at MIT on April 21-22, the conference featured several outstanding plenary presentations, workshops and cultural performances. With 15 co-sponsoring and endorsing organizations, the conference sustained a growing communication and cooperation among different Boston-area Left groups and laid the foundation for the second session of the Boston Socialist School in Fall 2017.
On Friday evening, Eugene Puryear, an organizer of the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March, gave the opening presentation on "capitalism and incarceration." Puryear described the history and centrality of opposing racism in the struggle for social change. Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, followed by emphasizing both the need for unity and planting a left pole to inspire a left vision. Performances by the political rap group The Foundation Movement and folksingers Mat Callahan and Yvonne Moore brought the evening to a successful conclusion.
Saturday presentations opened with Fred Magdoff, co-author of Creating an Ecological Society, describing the necessity of ecosocialism to deal with global warming. Sherri Mitchell, a lawyer from the Penobscot Indian Nation, spoke of cultivating true warriors and spirit-based change. She brought forth the deep roots of community and connectedness in Native American culture, critical to healing the deep wounds in US society. Vijay Prashad, author of works including The Darker Nations and A People's History of the Third World, closed with a riveting account of the history and current position of US imperialism.
The unique lunchtime panel featured six organizations giving different perspectives on electoral politics and social movements: Communist Party - Boston Club, Massachusetts Green Party, Our Revolution, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Party. Workshops included a discussion on student organizing led by the MIT Student Activist Coalition; building independent power in communities, hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization; and "The Dogs of War" which discussed the crisis in Korea and other impacts of the US drive to global hegemony.
BSUP2 enabled activists to come together and discuss ways to collaborate, strengthen movements and community, and build power. BSUP2 offered an outstanding program organized by a broad political range of socialist and left organizations. Speakers presented different strategies on electoral politics in comradely dialogue. The entire conference was put on exclusively by volunteers, including lunch provided by Food Not Bombs. Energized activists are starting early to plan BSUP3 in Spring 2018, considering additional innovations and expanding outreach. Everyone is invited to join.
digboston article: A CONFERENCE ON SOCIALISM