The Conference on Socialism and Activism

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The Maoist-oriented weekly newspaper, The Guardian of November 27, 1985, on Page 14, featured a half-page announcement about the upcoming Conference on Socialism and Activism to be held on December 6-8, 1985, at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. It was "sponsored" by "The Guardian", The Nation Institute, The Progressive (magazine), and WBAI-FM (one of the Pacifica stations).

Keynote Speakers

Partial List of Workshops

Disarmament at a Crossroads: Tactics to Stop Star Wars and the MX


Reproductive Rights: Are We Losing Them?

Food, Farms and the Future

The Ballot Box as an Organizing Tool

Lesbian and Gay Politics on the Left

Housing Struggles and Strategies

Challenging the Feminization of Poverty

Peaceful Strategies for Change

Theology of Liberation of Theology of Reform?

Combatting Racism in the Eighties

Students and South Africa: Activism on the Rise

Community Empowerment

The Politica of Health

  • Joanne Lakomnik, MD - Associate Professor of Community Health and Social Medicine at CUNY Medical

Rejuvenating the Labor Movement

Media and Influencing Public Opinion: Electronic Media

Media and Influence Public Opinion: Print Media

The Banking Crisis

This gathering at an avowedly "socialist" conference, sponsored by publications/radio network system ranging from outright marxist/communists to poseur "progressives" revealed several important manifestations of the convergence of the far-left:

  1. It showed where key members of the Hanoi Lobby went in terms of new organizations and associations (i.e. Cagan,Coffin, Jr., Lens, Braden, McReyolds, Wald, Kinoy, Mayer, Mazzochi).
  2. It showed that people who had were members of either the Communist Party USA, veteran supporters of CP fronts and united fronts, or who were members of other known marxist groups (i.e. Workers League, Monthly Review magazine, SOC/SOCEJ, the far-left wing of the Socialist Party, and the Democratic Socialists of America, still were major influences in the "socialist" movement in 1985 (Lens, Braden, Cagan, McReynolds, Kinoy, Stavis, Ehrenreich, Norman Jr., Aronowitz, Denitch).
  3. The marxist press was well represented - Bader, Ehrenreich (ITT), Aronowitz, Ryan, Lens.
  4. A surprising number of clergymen and women participated, besides the well-known supporters of communist/marxist causes (Coffin Jr., Mayer) - Atkins, Bounds, Cummings, Hopkins (The fact that 3 of the four newcomers came from the far-left "Union Theological Seminary, NYC" is not surprise because of the extremely pro-communist record of its leader John C. Bennett, but for them to participate in an openly marxist conference is unusual and disturbing.
  5. Old-line leftists from the pro-Castro movement (Armstrong), the CPUSA front, the National Lawyers Guild NLG and its creation, the Center for Constitutional Rights CCR (Stavis, Kinoy and Copelon), the street thug/far-left labor extortion movement of Haugton (Harlem Fight Back), the marxist side of the AFL-CIO (Mazzochi), and the "faux pacifists" (McReynolds, Solomon, Smith), all show how the old-line marxist-left dominated the conference in support of the rising marxists of the "New Left" originated DSA.
  6. The emergence of the Democratic Socialists of America should be noted because this was the decade in which they solidified their organization into a hardcore national marxist organization, ditching the non-marxists of the old "Socialist Party" (despite the presence of two SP members (Shakalis, McReyolds - his record of supporting communist fronts and causes is well-documented by both Congress and KW). DSA present and future leaders at the conference included Ehrenreich, Denitch, Piven, Norman, Jr.), the first three playing leadership and major influential roles well into the first decade of the 21st Century in, not only the DSA, but its clones, Progressive Democrats of America, Progressives for Obama and influencing the Progressive Congressional Caucus. NYC Councilwoman Ruth Messinger, a DSA member, had her Executive Assistant stand in for her (Brewer), though Messinger, as documented in KW, attended and/sponsored dozens, if not scores of Communist Party, SWP, WWP, and DSA fronts and causes during the past 4 decades (1970-2010).

This convergence of various marxist groups and key individuals, many of whom later joined the DSA, marked an important milestone in the development of the DSA as the largest and most important marxist party/organization in the US during the 1980s thru the present, 2011.