Building left unity was on the agenda in Morgantown, W.Va., where the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Solidarity Conference was held April 18. The conference was coordinated by the Left Alliance at West Virginia University. Members of the following groups in the region attended the conference: the Appalachian Left, Workers World Party, Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), Kentucky Workers League, Fairmont State Gay/Straight Alliance, FIRSTHAND Coffee Co-op, Mountaineers for Fair Labor, Gender Equality Movement, GetEqual, WV Mountain Party, Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood.
Workers World Party held a panel titled “Empire in Crisis: Uniting the Struggles to Defeat Racist State Terror, Austerity and Endless War” featuring three speakers: Sara Benjamin, Scott Williams and this writer.
The Left Alliance hopes to make this event a regular occurrence and looks forward to building a unified left movement in the region.
The following day on April 19, the Left Alliance, Appalachian Left, Kentucky Workers League, Workers World Party and FIST demonstrated in front of the Mountainlair Student Center at WVU as part of the International Day of Solidarity with Venezuela. Protesters received a great deal of favorable feedback as they waved a Venezuelan flag and held signs calling on President Obama to remove the sanctions on Venezuelan officials. The protesters also called for the U.S. to immediately cease activity aimed at undermining the Bolivarian Revolution, such as the recently defeated coup attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.