As workers and oppressed peoples are being inundated with the likes of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and others running for president, Workers World Party will be countering all the early election hoopla with its annual national conference Nov. 7-8 in New York City.
A History of Struggle
Workers World Party is a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party dedicated to organizing and fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world. With branches around the U.S., WWP develops militant organizers in every struggle, from anti-racist and immigrant rights to labor, anti-war and anti-imperialist struggles.
We are active in the Black Lives Matter movement including advocating for disarming the police and other repressive state apparatus. We oppose U.S. intervention everywhere – in the Middle East, Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Indigenous lands within the United States. We oppose the ruling class agenda of austerity and their attacks on the living standards of all workers.
Workers World Party is holding its national conference at the Shabazz Center in New York City on the Nov. 7-8 weekend. We spoke with Teresa Gutierrez, Scott Williams and Monica Moorehead — some of the conference agenda organizers — to see what WWP has planned for this annual event.
First, they extended a welcome to the hundreds of members, candidate members, allies and interested friends who are coming from all over the United States to attend the conference. They say the growing resistance to deepening economic inequality, and especially to racist police attacks, has awakened not only struggle in the streets but a desire to understand what is behind the growing crisis of the capitalist system.
The main theme of the conference is “Putting Socialist Revolution on the Table.” The opening session — at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 — directly addresses that topic. It should offer a real alternative for any worker, oppressed person or activist wanting to combat the institutionalized racism, poverty and war that is plaguing the globe. What will be discussed is nothing like the kinds of “solutions” offered by the candidates of the big business parties, be they Democrats or Republicans.
The second plenary panel gets right into what WWP can do to build solidarity with some of the major struggles going on in the United States and in the world. It is called “Building Worldwide Solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Migrants” and will begin after the first panel ends. Following this, a special announcement will be made about WWP’s intervention in the 2016 national elections.
Opening plenary panel: Putting Socialist Revolution on the Table
Chair: Maggie Vascassenno
Speakers: Deirdre Griswold; Larry Holmes, WWP First Secretary; Francisco Peña; Loan Tran
Greeting: Pam Africa
Cultural presentation: Myia X
Second plenary panel: Building Worldwide Solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Migrants
Chair: Gloria Verdieu
Speakers: Sharon Black; Ramiro Funez; Monica Moorehead; John Parker
Greeting: Dionne Smith Downs, mother of James Rivera Jr., killed by Stockton, CA police
Special announcement by Teresa Gutierrez
Lunch: inside or outside the hall
Historical Overview of Socialist Movements: An Interactive Workshop
Third plenary panel: Capitalism at a Dead End: The Decline and Dangers of Imperialism
Chair: Joe Mshahwar
Speakers: Abayomi Azikiwe; Kazem Aziz; Sara Flounders; Berta Joubert-Ceci
Cultural presentation – Boston School Bus Drivers Union
Fourth plenary panel: The New Global Working Class and its Revolutionary Potential
Chair: Tova Fry
Speakers: Boston School Bus Drivers Union delegation; Tommy Cavanaugh; Martha Grevatt; Imani Henry; Brian Shea
Special presentation: Laundry Workers Center
Lessons of Greece, Detroit and Puerto Rico: Global struggle against austerity
What it means to be Revolutionary
Socialism & China: Dispelling the myths
Black Lives Matter: The leadership role of women and LGBTQ people
Fighting Imperialism means Building Internationalism
Dinner break & youth/student discussion
Social, including cultural performances, at the hall
Cultural presentation: Myia X
Fifth plenary panel: Marxist Ideology, the Elections & Socialism
Chair: Peter Gilbert
Speakers: Phebe Eckfeldt; Marsha Goldberg; Fred Goldstein; Lamont Lilly; Erica Mines-Simmons; Scott Williams
Floor discussion and breakout groups on WWP Election Campaign
Closing plenary panel
Chair: Teresa Gutierrez
Summation by Larry Holmes, WWP First Secretary
Singing of the Internationale
Solidarity statements will be read throughout the conference.
The Center is located at 3940 Broadway, which is near the corner of West 165th Street and Broadway, immediately southeast of the George Washington Bridge, in the Washington Heights section of northern Manhattan.
Subway: Take the 1, A, C trains to the 168th Street station. The A train provides express service. Bus: A number of city buses serve this location: M-2, 3, 4, 5 and 100.
Bus: A number of city buses serve this location: M-2, 3, 4, 5 and 100.
The fastest and easiest way to reach the center by automobile is to follow directions to the George Washington Bridge. Then exit onto Riverside Drive. From there, proceed south and turn left onto West 165th Street (the first left), and then cross Broadway.
From upstate New York and New Jersey After crossing the George Washington Bridge, follow signs to the Henry Hudson (also called the West Side Highway), and then to Riverside Drive.
From Westchester, Connecticut, or the East Side of Manhattan via the Major Deegan, Cross-Bronx Expressway, or Harlem River Drive approaching the George Washington Bridge, take the Henry Hudson Parkway, stay to the left and follow signs to Riverside Drive.
From the West Side of Manhattan Take the Henry Hudson Parkway to exit 15-Riverside Drive South.
The Shabazz Center does not have parking. There is parking on the street, but it can be hard to find an open spot. Be careful if you park on the street. Make sure that there is no restriction on parking (read the signs) and that you are at least 12 feet from a fire hydrant. Tickets for parking violations in this neighborhood start at $150 and are a primary source of revenue for the city.
Parking lots in New York can cost as much as an apartment. Figure it’ll be at least $20 a day and more likely it’ll be close to $40 a day. Plus the parking tax in New York City is 18.375%, which adds to the price.
The parking lot attendants make minimum wage, at best. You should tip the attendant when you drop off your car (there is no such thing as self-parking in any lots in the neighborhood) and tip the attendant when you pick up your car. Usually $2 or $3 is good.
There is a parking lot right behind the Shabazz Center on the corner of 165th and Audubon that’s $19 for 2 hours, $28 for 10 hours and $35 for up to 24 hours.
There are other lots in the area, most of them serving the Columbia University Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital. Any of the hospital lots will charge that same rate.
If you go a few blocks away (10 minutes or more walking distance), you can get a lower rate. There is a parking lot at 528 W 162nd St (between Broadway and St. Nicholas). 162nd Street is one-way going East, so you need enter from Broadway. The lot is open 24 hours. The price is $18 (plus tax) for up to 24 hours. They have an “Early Bird” special – if you are in between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and out before 7 p.m., parking is $12 plus tax.
Another block south on 161 Street (519 W 161 St. – between Broadway and St. Nicholas – enter 161 St from St. Nicholas) is also $18 for up to 24 hours. The lot is right next to the fire station.
There are other parking lots within a 15 minute walk of the Shabazz Center. The price will generally be about $18 plus tax. Use your favorite parking app to find them.