You recently reported our convention’s motion to “to set up a committee to explore converting it from an organisation into an educational centre” as a kind of “dissolution”, and implied that we are “too small, weak, elderly, and divided to function as an organisation”.
This characterisation is speculative and inaccurate. There was no motion to dissolve Solidarity or fundamentally alter its organisational structure at the convention.
In the 2019 National Convention, Dan La Botz and other members organised a discussion around developing an educational centre for revolutionary socialism in the U.S. as a potential avenue of framing the future of Solidarity. Around twenty comrades, including some in the current National Committee, participated and contributed to some preliminary ideas.
These discussions excited many (especially younger) members, and eventually, Dan introduced the motion “to set up an exploratory committee to investigate whether Solidarity should transform itself from a membership organisation into an educational centre. This investigation should be a priority for the incoming NC.” This motion was passed at the convention.
The NC is working on next steps to organise this discussion of an educational centre with the broader membership. We emphasize that this project is not the committee’s sole responsibility — we hope that the membership, especially our at-large members, can take greater leadership and role in directing and thinking more about this project.
Dan La Botz recently drafted a document that frames these ideas. We will post more information about this initiative soon, but members with any idea, questions, or concerns can feel free to email the NC.
Promise Li, Plainsboro, NJ, on behalf of the National Committee
No alteration? That’s deceiving ourselves
I wish to go on record publicly as a former member of the last National Committee, a participant in the last convention, and someone with over 10+ years experience with Solidarity.
On 6 August the current NC issued a statement signed by Promise Li denying a report by AWL that at our last convention there was a motion to “motion to dissolve Solidarity or fundamentally alter its organisational structure at the convention”.
I believe this statement from the NC to be categorically false. Frankly, the leadership, which includes many comrades I respect, is in a very powerful way engaged in deceiving itself, the membership as a whole, and the broader left.
To suggest that Solidarity cease functioning as a membership organisation — which it has done since 1986, with close to over 200 members — is by its very nature a very substantive breach in its organisational structure.
Solidarity has never in its history been simply or mainly a magazine, a web site or a yearly Summer School event. It has for most of its history been a political organisation which sought to foster collaboration among members to intervene within social movements. The organisation is in fact being dissolved.
The changes which are being projected as part of this proposal to cease functioning as a membership organisation are part of that process. There have been clear calls within the group to dissolve Solidarity, and the individuals who have made such calls support this proposal.
Solidarity is in no way immune or insulated from the broader political and social pressures that have influenced the ISO and other organisations. The pressure to adapt politically to the enormous growth of DSA and a resurgent wing within the Democratic Party is having an impact on our organisation.
Internal dynamics relating to challenges of generational renewal among the leadership, a partial break in continuity in terms of labour work due to comrades retiring, a break down in branch functioning and tendency toward the “at-large-ification”of the membership are also taking their toll.
Revolutionaries must above all be self critical and searchingly honest. This latest NC statement manifestly fails on these accounts.
It should also have been reported that the last convention affirmed a dual approach to the 2020 elections of members participating in both the Bernie Sanders campaign and the potential Green Party campaign of Howie Hawkins.
The support for Bernie Sanders within Solidarity effectively surpasses and outweighs that of any other candidate. There is very minimal support within the organisation for any open support and organising for any sort of left alternative to either Trump or a centrist neoliberal Democrat.
Despite the challenges which do exist and are in fact real around mounting such a campaign the decisive majority of members are not seriously contemplating how to approach it. They might privately vote for a Green candidate but publicly any efforts that they make will be in support of Sanders and or other DSA type left Democrats.
I see this as a further step away from class independence, and opposition to the capitalist Democratic Party.