Workers World and FIST at Left Forum
More than 1,300 speakers and thousands of activists and academics met in New York City from May 29 through May 31 for the annual Left Forum, this year with the theme “No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy.” Workers World Party and its allies in the revolutionary socialist youth organization Fight Imperialism, Stand Together and members of the United National Antiwar Coalition participated in numerous panels and debates on the major crises facing working-class and oppressed people.
The militant Boston School Bus Drivers Union, led by USW Local 8751 President Andre François, along with Vice President Steve Kirschbaum and numerous other members, connected with labor and community allies on their struggle against multinational union-buster Veolia/Transdev and the city of Boston in a panel entitled “Union Power: Boston School Bus Drivers take on Goliath.”
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire, along with Sara Flounders of the International Action Center and UNAC, Ramiro Fúnez of FIST and Honduran Resistance, and Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights and a Workers World Party Secretariat member, spoke on a panel on how to unite the struggles against racist police brutality, endless intensifying U.S. wars, and deepening budget cuts and austerity.
Bill Doares of the International League of People’s Struggle, along with Azikiwe, Lamis Deek of Al-Awda New York, and Kazem Azin of Solidarity Iran discussed the Palestine liberation struggle, relations between the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the role of ISIS and the ongoing wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
FIST organized a debate on the struggle against U.S. war and the potential for uniting groups against imperialism. Nick Maniace from New York FIST debated members of the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, along with other socialist organizations, on the defense of countries oppressed and exploited by U.S. imperialism, with particular focus on U.S. imperialism’s intervention in Syria.
Organizers of the People’s Power Assembly in New York, including Claudia Palacios, Colin Ashby and Ramiro Fúnez of FIST, discussed the importance of the question of national oppression and liberation within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. Monica Moorehead, editor of “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle,” and Workers World Party First Secretary Larry Holmes joined the panel as well, discussing the need for broader sections of the left to stand in solidarity with the movement against police brutality and against broader state repression of the movement.
There were also important panels on struggles in Latin America, the fight to free political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal, Oscar López Rivera, the MOVE 9, and many more.
While the Left Forum is often dominated by academics and left organizations that take few positions against U.S. imperialism, Workers World, FIST and allies remained a strong anti-imperialist, revolutionary socialist current at the event.