Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Report on the Socialist Party of Central Virginia - Summer 2010

By Brandon Collins

The Socialist Party of Central Virginia continues to work for justice and socialism in Virginia! May Day 2010 was a success. Attendance at our workshop was healthy; we had many inquisitive folks participate, offer radical perspectives, and we gained some new interest in our local from folks around the commonwealth. The parade itself was quite inspiring; about 300 radicals, leftists, anarchists, socialists, and activists took to the streets with huge puppets and great energy. SP-CVA met a lot of new folks, and, in the process, continued to build our relationship with the Richmond IWW. Video of our workshop and the speeches can be found on our blog, under the post "May Day 2010."

Moving forward from May Day, we endorsed and participated in "Brown Bag Vigils" in Charlottesville at Rep. Perriello's office, demanding an end to funding the Afghan War. As we began to re-evaluate directions for our local, a solid campaign to keep WTJU in the capable hands of radio announcers got underway. Ultimately victorious, we began to strengthen our relationship with the Richmond IWW (see "Save WTJU, Keep it Weird!").

As we move forward into fall we are determining where our focus should be. This is a time to analyze and build our local. So far, we have agreed to focus on bringing labor activism to parts of Virginia where worker's movements don't exist and work to bring a radical perspective to those places where there is already healthy labor organizing. We will be strengthening and continuing our anti-war work in various ways, but really need to discuss what types of action will best bring a socialist perspective to anti-war organizing. It is our hope to become involved in stopping the assault on immigrant rights in Virginia. Again, more analysis and thought needs to be done on this in the coming months, but rest assured we will be there in solidarity with our undocumented sisters and brothers. In all of these things, members of our local overwhelmingly feel more direct action is needed. Join us as we move forward through the fall and into winter in coming up with creative ways to actively assert a socialist perspective in Virginia.

We've planned a workshop, "Roads to Democratic Socialism," in Charlottesville Sept. 26; a screening of Rethinking Afghanistan and anti-war discussion in Richmond late October/early fall; the launching of workers' organizing websites for Tidewater and Charlottesville; and participation in IWW organizer training in November. Stay posted on these events and more by visiting our website and Facebook page. As always, we invite you to participate and organize with us for a democratic socialist future!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Joint Statement of the Socialist Party of Central Virginia and the Richmond Industrial Workers of the World

The members of both the Socialist Party of Central Virginia and the Richmond Industrial Workers of the World would like to extend their deepest congratulations to the announcers of WTJU and the community of Charlottesville for their recent victories in retaining democratically selected programming at the radio station, and we share in your celebration!

We wholeheartedly recognize, and respect, that this struggle was waged by the dedicated volunteers at WTJU and the listeners that support them; we are happy to have been able to contribute in some way to that effort!

Additionally, we wholeheartedly recognize, and respect, that this struggle is far from over. We stand prepared to remain in solidarity with the announcers and community supporters as they continue to ensure that WTJU remains a place where culture and education is in the capable hands of people who are intrinsically aware of the delicate and important place community run radio holds worldwide.

It is our belief that the arts are an integral part of daily life; that music treated as a commodity, produced or dispersed purely for financial gain, is antithetical to true artistry; and that attempts to make educational, cultural, and musical institutions more competitive in a commercial market is folly to the highest degree. In short, we hope you might agree that art should be produced and disseminated not for profit, but for the bettering of our lives. We acknowledge that WTJU may be the last of its kind in resisting musical hegemony, and commoditization of the arts, and we applaud your hard fought battle as being a part of a larger, worldwide, struggle to promote the arts and arts education as something being worthwhile, and a necessity for a better life for all.

Furthermore, we are inspired when we see workers (yes, volunteers are workers too) gathering in unity to better their situations and workplaces. Even more inspiring is when workers are not only exerting their authority and expertise over their own workplaces, but actively struggling for a better community and world. The announcers of WTJU have done an incredible service to musical and educational culture. Not for profit, but to better the world. Your efforts are a testament to the natural desire of humanity to live in peace and prosperity despite what their bosses want.

We urge you to continue to struggle to make this victory a long lasting one. We highly encourage you remain in solidarity with one another and to organize into some kind of organization, be it an IWW union, or simply an organization of volunteers. We also encourage you to remember this fight whenever you see workers engaged in efforts to better their lot in life. Remember all of the people who took action to support your efforts, and remember to return the favor to your fellow workers involved in struggles everywhere. Please recognize that activism and worker solidarity are worthwhile efforts and bring about changes that not only affect individual workplaces, but also better humanity and our world.

You don't have to be a union member or a socialist to enjoy the benefits of organizing, but please recognize that your struggle is a grand example of the type of organizing our two groups believe are the most important, that is that workers and communities should hold the ultimate authority over their workplaces and communities, not bosses, not corporations, not profits.

In Celebration, Unity, and Solidarity,
Richmond Industrial Workers of the World
Socialist Party of Central Virginia