LeftRoots

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LeftRoots is associated with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It launched as a formal organization in 2014 with our first local branch in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are now working with comrades around the United States to start branches in a number of other cities. It came out of Steve Williams and N’Tanya Lee's Ear to the Ground Project.

In 2018 LeftRoots "is a national organization of 250 frontline organizers and activists, committed to politically developing their members to lead social movements across the U.S."[1]

Promising future

According to Carl Davidson, North Star 8/11/14.

"Leftroots has a promising future because, one, it has 21st century socialism as its aim, and two, because it is very multinational and largely young, those in and around the Millennial cohort, and three, because they are well-embedded in a vast net of progressive mass organizations, including unions and NGOs. They are neither dogmatists nor pure-and-simple anarchists, and they are seeking ways to contend in elections, among many other tactics. They have only formed a cadre organization that one can apply to join in the Bay Area, so far anyway. But they have a rather large national network that gathers online in 'hangouts', and a three-year plan to develop core organization in key cities across the country. Most socialist groups are too old, too white or too doctrinaire. They are a refreshing break from all three of those limitations. That's why I'm behind them. I don't see them in opposition to Philly Socialists--although if and when they set up in Philly, we'll see. It depends on how you guys want to relate to them. It's very important that the critical mass at their core are people of color, although whites are involved too. With that problem in hand, stronger alliances are possible at the base. I suggest you join some of their monthly on-line 'hangouts.'
"They have between 50 to 100 people in the Bay Area cadre group. They just decided to for the 'cadre' group out of the 'network' a few months ago, so you're not going to find any long group history. You can find the articles by Steve Williams and N’Tanya Lee, especially the one where they interviewed 100 or so organizers around the country. In the wider network they may have around 1000 people, but fairly atomized, save for the conference calls. In the records of the calls, you many find long threads of discussion around certain topics (I did one for them on strategy) or reports from the various mass groups they lead. [2]

Black Lives Matter

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"Topple capitalism"

N’Tanya Lee and Steve Williams on their vision for LeftRoots.[3]

Chilean political scientist Marta Harnecker offers a useful definition of the Left as those “forces that oppose the capitalist system and its profit motive and which are fighting for an alternative humanist, solidarity-filled society, a socialist society, the building blocks of which are the interests of the working classes. This society would be ‘free from material poverty and the spiritual wretchedness engendered by capitalism.’” Based on this definition, we begin from the standpoint that the objective of any left strategy must be to topple capitalism in order to make way for an economic system that allows for all people around the world to develop their capacities to the greatest extent possible in harmony with the planet.

LeftRoots leaders

In 2014, N’Tanya Lee, Cinthya Munoz, Maria Poblet, Josh Warren-White, and Steve Williams were members of the LeftRoots Coordinating Committee. [4]

The LeftRoots Coordinating Committee, August 2014;[5]

Subject: Celebrate LeftRoots 1st Anniversary! Become a LeftRoots Compa! /Celebrar el Primer Aniversario de LeftRoots!

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Alicia Garza, Maria Poblet, Timmy Lu, Josh Warren-White, Alex Tom, Cinthya Munoz, Steve Williams, N’Tanya Lee.

Strategy team

LeftRoots strategy team, October 2017.

Soya Jung back center. Maria Poblet front left N’Tanya Lee front center, Merle Ratner front second from right, Steve Williams, front right

Vietnam connection

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In December, 2017, three LeftRoots cadres—Merle Ratner, N’Tanya Lee, and Rose Brewer—got to spend a few weeks on women’s delegation to Vietnam, one of the few surviving 20th century socialist experiments. On April 19, 2018, the three of them, along with LeftRoots compas and fellow delegates Cathy Dang and Juliet Ucelli, hosted a national LeftRoots hangOut to talk about their experience.[6]

The delegation included US-based movement leaders from the labor movement, Black Lives Matter and national women’s organizations. It was hosted by the Vietnam Women's Union.[7]

Vietnam Women's Union President H.E. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha and the American Women's delegation

LeftRoots HangOuts

LeftRoots HangOuts are national, online political education spaces for social movement leftists - revolutionaries and radicals engaged in frontline mass organizing, movement building, people's struggles - to have dialogue about critical left ideas and inspiring movement work collectively. Past HangOuts have featured Alicia Garza on Black Lives Matter, Marta Harnecker on 21st Century Socialism, George Ciccariello-Maher on Venezuela, comrades from MXGM & FRSO on Jackson Rising, and Sandra Moran on Grassroots Internationalist Feminisms, M. Adams, a Black Queer Wimmin, dad, political theorist, movement scientist and community organizer. She is the co-executive director of Freedom Inc. and co-founder of Young Gifted and Black Coalition in Madison, WI. Biju Mathew is Secretary of the National Taxi Workers Alliance and is active in developing transnational strategy to combat the religious right. [8]

LeftRoots HangOut with Willie Baptist

Please join LeftRoots Friday August 15th (2014) for our next HangOut with Willie Baptist about the importance of leadership, leadership development and understanding who the ruling class is and what their strategies are.

On May 1, 1990, the National Union of the Homeless (NUH) launched a nationally coordinated campaign taking over federally-owned houses in eight cities across the country. Willie Baptist, our guest on the next LeftRoots HangOut, was one of the organizers of the NUH.

Founded in 1985 by formerly homeless people, the Union was on the move in the late 1980s. At its height, the Homeless Union counted on 25 chapters with as many as 15,000 members. Then, through a combination of drugs, prison-sentencing and co-optation, the ruling class mounted a concerted effort to break the Union. The organization dissolved by 1993.

Willie Baptist is one of the best examples of a movement intellectual. Willie is a formerly homeless father who came out of the Watts Uprisings, the Black Student Movement and has been an organizer with the United Steelworkers as well as the National Union of the Homeless and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union. Today, Willie is the Scholar-in-Residence with the Poverty Initiative.

The LeftRoots CC: Alex Tom, Alicia Garza, Cinthya Munoz, Josh Warren-White, Maria Poblet, N’Tanya Lee, Steve Williams and Timmy Lu.[9]

Ferguson report back HangOut

Resistance in Ferguson, led primarily by young Black people, has continued for more than two months, with direct action, organizing, base-building and other forms of resistance. To date, hundreds have been arrested seeking justice—organizers want to make sure there is not only not one more Mike Brown, but also not one more Darren Wilson.

LeftRoots sent a delegation to St. Louis to lend our support to the leaders from organizations like Millennial Activists United, Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. We know that to turn this from a moment into a movement, we will need to connect our seemingly isolated fights around gentrification, workers rights, police violence, education justice and more into a strong, resilient and connected movement that can transform our communities, our country and our world.

The program will include reflections from Alicia Garza, Neva Walker, Christine Cordero, Lucia Lin and Steve Williams as well as others who participated in the Weekend of Resistance.[10]

Book talk with Jamala Rogers

518 Valencia St, San Francisco Sunday 7 February 2016, organized by Michelle Foy "Book talk with Jamala Rogers, founder of the St. Louis based Organization for Black Struggle & author of Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebel".

Jamala will explore the roots of the Ferguson Rebellion and the practical lessons for organizing.
"There is no algorithm, no theory that can predict when human rage reaches its boiling point. I wanted to expose to some and to remind others that there is another side of Ferguson, St. Louis County, USA that exists...if we work together in a respectful & disciplined way, a new Ferguson, St. Louis, & USA, is possible." —Jamala Rogers

Those signalling their intention to attend on Wherevent included Georgia Faye Hirsty, Melanie McCrea, Joe Navarro, Michelle Foy, Cynthia Fong, Gerald Lenoir, Fernando Marti, Lucia Aguilar-Navarro, Joyce Nakamura, Jeremy Gong, Jason Wallach, Andrew Rogge, Lucy Clarke, Colleen FitzSimons, Saima Hashimi, Rachel Rye Butler, Pam Tau Lee, Afomeia Tesfai, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Kari Riesgo Banuelos, Eva Martinez, Justin Tombolesi, Josh Warren-White, Kate Sorensen, Malkia Cyril, Lelia Gomez, Mark Prudowsky, N’Tanya Lee, Marcy Rein, Finley Coyl, Shina Riane, Ken Yamada, Dyan Ruiz, Nancy Wan, Sarah Jarmon, Mark McBeth, Leon Sun, Sabrina Cascos Peterson, Mary Sweeters, Eric See, Dani Gonzalez, Mashael Majid, Susan Weiss, Juan Gamboa, Jr., Amy Sonnie, Felicia Gustin, Mickey Ellinger, Betty Pazmino, Charlie Fredrick, Aimee Molina Cuellar, Becki Ming-Yoke Hom.

Sponsored by: Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad and LeftRoots.[11]

"Education for Liberation"

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Education for Liberation

Public · Hosted by LeftRoots and the Center for Political Education

Wednesday, November 15 at 7 PM - 9 PM PST

The Greenlining Institute, 360 14th St, Oakland, California 94612

Education for Liberation: The Role of Political Education in the PAIGC's Struggle for Independence and the Lessons for Today.
Center for Political Education and LeftRoots are proud to host a conversation with thinker and activist Sonia Vaz Borges. Sónia, who is of Cape Verdean descent, is a leading scholar on the education programs at the core of Amilcar Cabral's national liberation struggle in Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau during the 1960s and 70s. Sónia will help us develop a useful understanding of what militant education is, how it worked in the international struggle against colonialism in Africa, and its lessons for movement building today.

Steve Williams of LeftRoots and Rachel Herzing of the Center for Political Education will join Sónia to highlight some of the challenges and opportunities for theory, strategy, and unity facing our movements in the Bay Area and beyond.[12]

Invited on Facebook

Interested

Went

References