On June 24, a packed forum celebrated the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s seventh year of socialist struggle in Los Angeles. The PSL celebrated with speakers, solidarity statements, political discussion a slideshow, food and drinks. The room was filled with PSL members, friends and allies. One table contained old flyers, posters and palmcards from events and activities organized by the PSL throughout the years. Also on display were original editions of “Who we are, what we stand for,” Socialism and Liberation magazine and the first ever Liberation newspaper.
Arturo Garcia from the Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines kicked things off. Another solidarity speaker, Angela Bartolome from AF3IRM, talked about women’s oppression and the shared struggles of AF3IRM and PSL. Juan Jose Gutierrez, Coordinator of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, also came to express his congratulations to the PSL on its seventh anniversary.
Rochelle Pittman, the mother of Jeremy Marks, sent a statement expressing gratitude for the hard work of the PSL in keeping her son out of jail. The PSL worked tirelessly to secure a victory for Rochelle’s son from December 2010 to May. Another statement from Suyapa Portillo of the Comite Solidario Graciela Garcia expressed gratitude for the PSL’s ongoing solidarity work with the people of Honduras.
PSL member and Pasadena City College student Yvonne Bonilla spoke about why she joined the PSL. She discussed the struggles that her family faced when they came to Los Angeles from El Salvador and the devastating effects of gentrification on her community as significant factors that pushed her toward revolutionary consciousness and the PSL.
A slideshow presentation documented the party’s history before PSL leader Ian Thompson gave a broad overview of the PSL’s history. Thompson discussed the PSL’s publications apparatus, the considerable growth of the Party throughout the country, and the party’s participation in the anti-war movement and other social justice movements. Quoting from the 2004 edition of “Who we are, what we stand for,” Thompson stated, “There are really only two choices for humanity today: an increasingly destructive capitalism, or socialism.”
During discussion, PSL members and allies gave testimonials and made comments about why the Party is important to them and to the overall struggle for a better world. The meeting was a celebration, but also a validation of the PSL’s hard work in the working-class struggle.
The PSL formed in June 2004 by a core of members who believed that economic crisis would come because it is built into the capitalist system. Capitalism and its symptoms of exploitation, racism, sexism, anti-LGBT bigotry and police violence are the struggles of the working class as a whole. The PSL has participated in and given leadership to those struggles in a major way during its short history as a revolutionary Marxist party.
2011 is not the last year for the PSL. We are still in the beginning phase of struggle. As we grow and move forward, the PSL will continue to participate in the inevitable struggles that emerge from the contradictions of capitalism and continue to build an organization of working class leaders fighting for socialism.
Long live the Party for Socialism and Liberation!