On October 9th, 2009, members of theNew York Citylocal awoke early for a trip toNewark,New Jerseyto attend the Socialist Party USA national convention.This biennial meeting of delegates from locals across the country is the highest decision making body of the party.This year, the New York State Socialist Party sent a delegation of 11 people which united NYC,Long Islandand Upstate NY.
The convention opened on Friday with a meeting of the outgoing National Committee, who set the rules and agenda for the forthcoming convention.The day continued with meetings of the Platform and Resolutions Committee and Statement of Principles and Constitution Committee.Out of these the committees came the resolutions and proposals that would make up the bulk of the debate and decision making for the rest of the weekend.Delegates wrangled over which proposals would make it to the convention.Some well-thought out ideas, such as our bottom-up structure proposal, would never even be discussed.
Saturday consisted of discussion about the party’s platform and resolutions, which was followed by the election of the new National Committee.The NYC Local sponsored a change to the platform that recognized the need for a single-payer health care system, though the language “critical support” was added.In fact, much of the platform and resolution discussion seemed more like an assembly of linguists rather than socialists as words were parsed to death.
The election of the new National Committee offered far more exciting prospects and the NYC Local played an important role.We had two members, Kristin Schall and Zelig Stern, elected to serve on the committee as well as two Alternates, Amilcar Navarro and Gretchen Van Dyck.In addition, local member, Billy Wharton was elected to serve as co-chair of the party along with Andrea Pason fromNew Jersey.On the last day of the convention the Party’s Statement of Principles and Constitution were discussed and the convention closed with the singing of the Internationale.
But the weekend was not all politics.The Convention was also a time to meet other socialists from around the country.On Friday and Saturday night the New York Citylocal also hosted an adventurous few with a trip into Manhattan.We shared one of our favorite Chinatown spots, Wo Hop (upstairs), with comrades from Memphis and our favorite local bar, Milanos, withKansas.As for the official socializing, on Saturday night there was the convention dinner where food was shared, alcohol was consumed and a good time was had.Overall, for the local, the weekend was a success and the opportunity to connect with people we had only previously known through the internet and local reports was the highlight of the convention.The task of building a serious democratic socialist political project inAmerica moves forward.