Syracuse group preps for national 'Socialism 2018' conference

Marissa Gentry
Indiana Campus Correspondent

  • Members of the International Socialist Organization at Syracuse University say they are looking forward to rubbing shoulders with "radicals" and "Marxists" at this summer's Socialism 2018 conference.
  • The conference will feature more than 150 lectures over four days, including presentations discussing "white privilege," "decolonizing socialism," and whether superheroes are just capitalist "tropes."
  • Members of a socialist student group at Syracuse University are anxiously anticipating this summer’s annual national socialism conference, “Socialism 2018.”

    The four-day conference, running from July 5-8 in Chicago, was formed to “[bring] together hundreds of socialists and radical activists from around the country to take part in discussions about Marxism, working-class history, and the debates and strategies for organizing today,” and organizers encourage “everyone with an interest in overthrowing capitalism” to attend.

    "Before I went, I only knew that I cared about these various social justice issues that were going to be in the talks, and I had a vague idea that capitalism was a big part of the problem."   

    [RELATED: Profs gather to ‘fight the right’ at Socialism 2017 conference]

    The International Socialist Organization – Syracuse (ISO-S) is planning to attend the conference, and has begun posting daily testimonials on its Facebook page in which members explain why they are attending.

    One member, who has been going to the annual conference for “a long time,” mentioned how “inspiring” it is to be around such a large amount of socialist “radicals.”

    “I want to hear from incredible scholars and activists about the history of queer liberation,” she said. “I want to meet feminists and people sort of on the cutting edge of theorizing about how we can make revolution and social change that will benefit us.”

    Another member likewise discussed how much he enjoyed attending previous conferences, particularly the discussions and lectures on socialist theory and organizing.

    “I went the past couple years, and it really changed my life,” he began, explaining that “before I went, I only knew that I cared about these various social justice issues that were going to be in the talks, and I had a vague idea that capitalism was a big part of the problem, but I didn’t really have a picture of how they all fit together and what we can realistically do to effectively fight now.”

    After attending, he said, he was “so impressed by how many smart people were there,” asserting that the discussions among attendees were in some cases “even better” than the scheduled lectures.

    “These are Marxists. This is what the Marxists are,” he concluded. “I would recommend going to Socialism 2018 if you are at all interested in changing the world for the better.”

    [RELATED: Socialist students refuse to join conservative food drive]

    Socialism 2018 will feature more than 150 lectures and discussions over the course of the four days, with topics categorized under themes such as Women’s Liberation, Marxism 101, Labor History, Fascism and the Far Right, and Black Liberation.

    The first presentation, presented by social justice activist Demita Frazier, will be titled “Decolonizing Socialism: Getting Racially Organized so We can Get Free.” Using the “lens of a Black radical feminist perspective,” Frazier will be speaking about the continued impact of “white supremacist hegemony” on “efforts at radical and progressive coalition-building.”

    Similarly, a workshop called “What Do Socialists Say About White Privilege?” will explore “where the fight against racism fits in the class struggle,” as well as “offer a perspective on why and how the fight for Black liberation is central to the struggle for socialism.”

    Another presentation will address “The Political Economy of Superheroes,” specifically with regard to how socialists should react to the new “hegemons of the entertainment industry.”

    Calling it a cliche “to argue that Batman is a fascist,” the description claims that “Superheroes are one of American Capitalism’s original and most enduring tropes,” but suggests that at least some superheroes might “champion causes worthy of our support (critical or otherwise).”

    [RELATED: KU film series attacks ‘sexist and misogynistic’ U.S. culture]

    The regular cost of attending the conference is $100, but students are eligible for a discounted rate of just $50.

    The hotel that is hosting the conference is also offering discounted rooms for conference attendees, and the organizers promise that “an all-gender bathroom will be available on the second floor of the conference center for the duration of the conference.”

    Campus Reform reached out to ISO-Syracuse, but did not receive a response.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MGentzzz





    Marissa Gentry

    Marissa Gentry

    Indiana Campus Correspondent

    Marissa Gentry is an Indiana Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform. She studies Environmental Science and Policy at Northeastern University and is involved in Young Americans for Liberty and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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