Steve Williams

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Steve Williams


Steve Williams is Co-Director and co-founder of San Francisco based POWER. Prior to founding POWER, Williams was with Philadelphia Union of the Homeless and the welfare rights organizer of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness. He graduated from Standard University in 1992. He is the husband of Mei-ying Williams.

Background

Born at the close of the 1960s to African American parents who left their southern homelands to try to make it in the North, Steve Williams grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; and West Chester, Pennsylvania during the reign of Ronald Reagan. Steve became politicized in college around racial justice and the anti-war movement of the early 1990s. His experiences organizing against poverty and homelessness with the Philadelphia Union of the Homeless and the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness were formative to Steve’s development as an organizer and activist, along with trips to South Africa and Cuba. In 1997, Williams co-founded POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), a community-based organization of low-income and working class tenants, transit riders and workers. He served as Executive Director at POWER for 14 years.. In addition to his professional organizing experiences, he has been an active volunteer in various local, national and international social movements through his involvement with the World Social Forum process, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Right to the City, San Francisco Rising and Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). Steve lives in San Francisco with his partner, Mei-ying Williams, and their three-year-old son, Amil.[1]

Stanford

Steve Williams (A.B. 1992), Stanford University.

Cuba/South Africa

In 1997 Williams was in Cuba, and in 1998 he was in South Africa for the congress of the South African Communist Party.[2]

Center for Political Education

In 1998 the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism linked organization, the Center for Political Education hosted a forum entitled "The Workplace as a Site of Social Struggle: 1960’s and 1990’s". The inter-generational dialogue featured the following speakers:

Leo Robinson, International Longshore and Warehouse Union; Katie Quan, Vice President of International Ladies Garment Worker's Union; Frank del Campo, 25 year veteran of labor/community/Latino organizing; Margy Wilkinson, activist and officer of AFSCME; Nato Green, organizer, UFCW campaign; Joy Enomoto, temp workers organizer, Steve Williams, co-director of POWER; and Bharati Narumanchi, student organizer at San Francisco City College; moderated by Lillian Galedo, Filipinos for Affirmative Action.[3]

In 2001 Steve Williams of People Organized to Win Employment Rights; Conny Ford of OPEIU and Local 3; Lillian Galedo of Filipinos for Affirmative Action; Lamoin Werlein-Jaen of HERE and Local 2 and Joe Wilson of the Coleman Advocates for Youth gave talks entitled: "Building Labor and Community Partnerships: Potential and Pitfalls." The classes were held at the San Francisco based Center for Political Education.[3]

In 2002 Steve Williams of POWER; Sandra Alvarez of the Global Exchange; Michael Eisenscher of the Labor Committee for Peace and Justice and Rhonda Ramiro of the Center for Political Education and Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines gave talks entitled: "The Anti-War Movement and Its Links to the Anti-Imperialist Movement." The classes were held at the San Francisco based Center for Political Education.[3]

In 2006, Williams co-authored Towards Land, Work & Power- a primer on political economy for organizers and grassroots activists. He is active in several local and national efforts to build a powerful movement from the bottom up, including Grassroots Global Justice, the US Social Forum and the May 1st Alliance.[4]

“Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century”

10th Anniversary Meeting of the Black Radical Congress, “Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century” Black Radical Congress, June 20-22, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri.

Endorsers for the Congress included Steve Williams, POWER.[5]

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

Steve Williams, Executive Director POWER, was a 2007 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[6]

POWER

In 2001 Cindy Wiesner was still active in STORM and was with Steve Williams a leader of POWER- People Organized to Win Employment Rights.[7]

POWER Founders

Garth Ferguson, Patty Snitzler, Regina Douglas, Brian Russell and Steve Williams founded People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) on May 1, 1997. After the federal government’s passage of the welfare de-form legislation in 1996, the founders realized that welfare recipients and most low-wage workers would be facing a new social and political landscape with more cut-backs to public services and fewer quality job opportunities, so an organization committed to economic, environmental, racial and gender justice from the bottom-up was born.[8]

War Times

In January 2002, a group of San Francisco leftists, mainly former Maoists or involved with STORM or Committees of Correspondence, founded a national anti-Iraq War newspaperWar Times.[9]

The pilot issue of War Times, a new biweekly newspaper opposing the "war on terrorism," will roll off the press on February 14... Featuring an exclusive interview with Danny Glover and a letter to President Bush from Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, the premier of this bilingual, free publication will be distributed in several dozen cities across the country.

Serving on the War Times Organizing Committee were:

Committees of Corresondence conferences

At the Committees of Correspondence National Conference and Convention, July 25-28, 2002 San Francisco State University.

Disarmament and the Military Budget. Panelists included: Kenneth Riley, David Bacon,, Marilyn Albert, Renee Saucedo, Angela Sambrano, Cathi Tactaquin, Marty Price, Patrice Sewell, Joan Cohen, Claire Carsman, James Campbell, Peter Orris, Thelma Correll, Edith Pollach, Amaha Kassa, Harry Targ, Steve Williams, Karen Talbot, Mort Frank, David Cohen.[10]

At the 6th National Convention of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) at San Francisco's Whitcomb Hotel July 23-26 2009 a panel[11]featured responses to a "Democracy Charter" written by Jack O'Dell. Bill Fletcher Jr, editor of Black Commentator, Michael Eisenscher of US Labor Against the War, Jacqueline Cabasso from Western States Legal Foundation, Frank del Campo from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Steve Williams of POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights)addressed the "charter. Bill Fletcher, Jr. cast the Charter as a political and social guide for mass struggle.

"Social Justice in the Bay Area" open letter

An Open Letter to Men Committed to Social Justice in the Bay Area - Calling on Men in the Bay Area to Stand Up for Reproductive Justice.

Written by Rishi Awatramani and Chris Crass Friday Jan 14th, 2005.

On January 22nd, the right-wing anti-choice movement will be coming to San Francisco to shout their anti-human rights, anti-woman message in the streets. At this time when women's rights to abortion are being challenged by the Bush administration and questioned in the Democratic party, it is crucial that we as men join the sisters organizing in opposition to this right-wing march and say: REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE FOR ALL! [12]

Signatories included Steve Williams, Executive Director, POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) .

Sacramento Marxist School

On Oct 20 2005 Steve Williams lectured at the Sacramento Marxist School on Anti-Imperialism from the Grassroots.[13]

DataCenter Donor

In 2007 Annette Williams and Steve Williams were listed on the DataCenter's annual report as donors to the organization. The Oakland, California based DataCenter is widely regarded as the intellegence wing of the United States Left and has close ties to Cuba.[14]

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Steve Williams of POWER, San Francisco, CA signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.[15]

A Call to the Black Left

Back in June 2007 at the U.S. Social Forum, over 50 brothers and sisters gathered in Atlanta to discuss the state of the Black liberation movement and role of the Black Left. Most agreed that the Gulf Coast/Katrina disaster is a defining moment that requires that Black revolutionaries unite and work to build a National Black United Front. It’s initial focus being the development and support of a Gulf Coast Reconstruction Movement. This movement would be a part of a strategic flank of the wider National Black Liberation Movement.

We are inviting you to join this effort and would like to include your name on the Call as an official endorser and participant of a National Gathering of Black Leftist to be sent out to others inviting their participation. The Gathering will be held at the Sonja Hayes Stone Center for Black Culture and History on the UNC Campus in Chapel Hill, NC on May 30 – June 1, 2008. This became the Black Left Unity Network.

Endorsers included:

Study & Struggle

Catalyst Project "Study & Struggle" sessions range from small, intimate, study series, to public panel discussions and presentations. Past sessions have included:

Burning Questions: What is it going to take to get Revolution out of the Air and Onto the Ground? A discussion with Max Elbaum on lessons from the New Communist Movement and the strategic role of United Fronts. Followed by Rahula Janowski from the Heads Up Collective, Claire Tran from Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Steve Williams, an organizer with POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), on left organization, strategy and movement building. Co-hosted with the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL).[17]

Center for Labor Renewal

In 2009 Steve Williams was listed as an endorser of the Center for Labor Renewal[18].

Ad-Hoc Left Committee

POLITICAL HIGHS, ECONOMIC LOWS: MANAGING U.S. DECLINE

Featuring Gary Younge, Author of "No Place Like Home: A Black Briton's Journey Through the Deep South"

THURSDAY, APRIL 30 2009 St. John's Church, San Francisco

Like previous events sponsored by this Ad Hoc Committee, this program is aimed at fostering dialogue and debate among leftists who see themselves operating within the left-wing-of-the-Obama-motion political space. If there are people sharing this broad viewpoint who you believe would be interested in participating in this conversation, we encourage you to extend this invitation to them.

Ad-Hoc Left Committee: Carl Bloice, Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Michelle Foy, Juan Lopez, Calvin Miaw, Giuliana Milanese, Maria Poblet, Tim Thomas, Mei-ying Williams, Steve Williams.[19]

US Social Forum 2010

As the “Tea Party” Right rises in U.S. politics and the U.S. Empire continues to reach around the globe, there is an urgent need to build a new left that roots a creative, explicit, anti-racist, anti-imperialist politics inside working-class communities of color. In this session, Ai-jen Poo (National Domestic Workers Alliance), Steve Williams (POWER), Cindy Wiesner (Grassroots Global Justice), Ng’ethe Maina (Social Justice Leadership), and Patrisse Cullors and Eric Mann (Labor/Community Strategy Center) will engage Mann's new pamphlet, The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory, which identifies 7 core elements of social movement building that have powered grassroots organizations on their way to winning historic struggles against slavery, war, apartheid and empire. The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory is a companion to Mann’s forthcoming book, The 21 Qualities of the Successful Organizing: A Journey in Transformative Organizing (Beacon, 2011). [20]

Left Forum 2009

Left Strategy from the Grassroots:

Left Forum 2011

Transformative Organizing: The Ultimate Solidarity:

Left Forum 2013

Fighting Racism in a Post-Racial World Sponsored by: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office Participants:

Travel

Steve Williams has traveled to Cuba, South Africa and Venezuela[21];

That coupled with getting an opportunity to go outside the United States and see movements that are really vibrant and broad based. Having an opportunity to go to Cuba, to South Africa, to Venezuela, and to see places where both ordinary people have really seen the results of what happens when they join up with their neighbors and begin to trying to change their own reality.

Mapping Socialist Strategies

Mapping Socialist Strategies was convened from August 1-4 in Briarcliff Manor, NY, by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office. It brang together 100 influential progressives and leftists from across the United States, Canada, and Europe for an “un-conference” on socialist strategies.

The "Advisory Group" consistied of Greg Albo, Laura Flanders, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Rachel LaForest, Sarah Leonard, John Nichols, Frances Fox Piven, Bhaskar Sunkara, Maria Svart, Sean Sweeney, Bill Tabb, and Steve Williams.[22]

Ear to the Ground Project

The two coordinators of the Ear to the Ground Project are N’Tanya Lee & Steve Williams.

After more than two decades of on-the-ground organizing in distinct organizations, the two of us have spent the last sixteen months on a unique journey together. We conducted more than 150 interviews with movement activists, read the work of movement intellectuals, and spent a lot of time in conversation with each other— in doing so, we pushed ourselves to imagine the world, and our own work, in new ways.
The Ear to the Ground project became a national research effort and a profoundly transformative process for us as individuals. While the project led to this final report, it’s political impact lies less in the words on these pages, but in the relationships and conversations created over the last year, and the ideas for new initiatives that emerged.[23]

LeftRoots

In 2014, N’Tanya Lee, Cinthya Munoz, Maria Poblet, Josh Warren-White, and Steve Williams were members of the LeftRoots Coordinating Committee. [24]

"Towards Collective Liberation" followers

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Melanie Cervantes, follow · March 11, 2013;

From author Chris Crass: " When I first imagined a poster promoting my new book, Towards Collective Liberation: anti-racist organizing, feminist praxis,and movement building strategy, the images that came to mind were the people in Melanie Cervantes’ “We are the 99%” posters, coming together to build the multiracial, feminist, working class-based movement for collective liberation that we need. M... See More — with Carla F. Wallace, Mari Mujica, Steve Williams, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Ingrid Chapman, Dawn Haney, James Haslam, Cindy Wiesner, Marquez Rhyne, Jayanni Elizabeth, Malachi Garza, Miguel CarItu, Chris Crass, Carl Patrick, Abbey Lolcano, Maria Poblet, Kate Cardona, Z. Lula Haukeness, Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Elandria Williams, Harsha Walia, Marc Mascarenhas-Swan, Jason Lydon, Jardana Peacock, Chris Dixon, Gabriel Haaland, Betty-Jeanne Ruters-Ward, Mel Baiser, Nisha Anand, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Becki Winchel, T. Gonzales, Rahula S. Janowski, Dani Burlison, Harjit Singh Gill, Leah Jo Carnine, Karly Safar, Emily Han Zimmerman, Alicia Garza, Sistufara W. Muhammad, Pamela Jean McMichael, Caitlin Elly Breedlove, Kate Kanelstein, Mei-ying Williams, James Tracy, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Shannon Garth-Rhodes and Cindy Jeanne.

Solidarity Summer School 2015

Solidarity Summer School 2015 workshop;

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Grassroots Organizing and Non-Profits

In their 2007 book, The Revolution Will Not be Funded, INCITE: Women of Color Against Violence presented a collection of essays that raised an alarm about the “non-profit industrial complex” which, they argued, posed clear and present dangers to grass-roots organizing projects. Yet, community-based non-profit organizations, from workers’ centers to immigrant rights and environmental justice groups, are organizing some of the most exciting struggles and taking on the most pressing issues facing working-class people. This workshop will be an opportunity for participants to confront the challenges that INCITE has posed and to identify the organizational and strategic elements of transformative organizing work.

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those invited, on Facebook included Steve Williams.[26]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward

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Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those invited, on Facebook included Steve Williams.[27]

"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.[28]

References

  1. to the ground, accessed may 2015
  2. [Dialogue & Initiative 2014By CoC Ed Fund]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Center for Political Education website: Past Classes (1998 - 2007)
  4. http://www.peopleorganized.org/article.php?list=type&type=38
  5. Info Exchange, 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Black Radical Congress, June 20-22, 2008
  6. [1]
  7. http://www.politicaleducation.org/programs/past-classes-1998-2007/
  8. Just Cause history, accessed November 8
  9. WAR TIMES January 29, 2002
  10. [The Corresponer Vol 10, number 1, June 2002 http://www.cc-ds.org/pub_arch/CorresponderX1-2.pdf]
  11. http://www.cc-ds.org/convention_2009/Socialism_and_the_Emerging_Progressive_Majority.pdf
  12. Indymedia, Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Womyn An Open Letter to Men committed to Social Justice in the Bay Area by Rishi Awatramani and Chris Crass Friday Jan 14th, 2005 4:48 PM
  13. http://www.marxistschool.org/default.aspx?page=allspeakers
  14. DataCenter 2007 Annual Report
  15. Open Letter to Obama on Iran
  16. BlackLeftUnity › Black Left Meerting A Call to the Black Left
  17. & Struggle sessions, accessed November 2015
  18. http://www.centerforlaborrenewal.org/?P=EN
  19. From: Ad Hoc Left Committee To: adho...@earthlink.net Sent: 4/16/2009 9:41:33 PM Subject: Invitation for April 30: 'Political Highs, Economic Lows'
  20. US Social Forum program
  21. http://havefundogood.blogspot.com/2006/07/big-vision-podcast-steve-williams-from.html
  22. SOCIALIST STRATEGIES, accessed November 6, 2014
  23. Ear to the Ground, About, accessed Nov. 12, 2015
  24. A TRANSFORMATIONAL STRATEGY by N’Tanya Lee, Cinthya Muñoz, Maria Poblet, Josh Warren-White, and Steve Williams on behalf of the LeftRoots Coordinating Committee
  25. Solidarity Summer School 2015: Program
  26. FB Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing Went 109
  27. [2]
  28. [3]