By David A. Hacker
Here is a provisional description of our plans for the Labor Day Weekend National Convention:
Eugene V. Debs Hall was created by SDUSA member and Buffalo NY city planner, Chris Hawley, It Is a not- for-profit social club created out of the former building that was once the whistle stop-rest area and bar for the New York Central railroad workers, whose main terminal was right up the street. Comrade Hawley named the hall after Debs, because of his background as leader of the American Railway Workers and 5- time presidential nominee of the Socialist Party. The Hall contains mementos of Debs 1912 presidential campaign, FDR and Karl Marx. The Hall can accompany over 500 people and has sleeping arrangements and air mattress for 15 people. It is located at 483 Peckham St., Buffalo N.Y. 14206.
The overall theme of the Convention will be the defense and expansion of Democracy, which is in grave danger, nationally and internationally due to the rise of the authoritarian and neo-fascist MAGA forces in the Republican Party, here in the United States; and the so-called populist authoritarian governments in Hungary, Poland, Israel, Russia, China, and a growing threat throughout Western Europe.
Day 1, Saturday September 2: The Convention will open with welcoming speeches by SDUSA’s National Chair Patty Friend, and National Secretary David Hacker. We have invited to address the Convention, via Zoom, representatives of a speaker tour of prominent Ukrainian and Russian socialist activists that is being sponsored by the Ukraine Solidarity Network, supporting Ukraine’s right to self-determination, who will be visiting Chicago at the time of our Convention. The official announcement of the tour by the Ukraine Solidarity Network, is the following:
“Resisting Russian Imperialism: Ukraine’s Struggle for Self-Determination”
“In a brazen act of imperialist aggression, Russia attempted to conquer Ukraine. But Ukrainians stopped them in their tracks, mounting a mass military and civilian resistance. Ukrainian socialist Alona Liasheva will be joined by Russian socialist Ilya Budraitskis in Chicago and New York and Russian Socialist Ilya Matveev in the Bay Area to analyze the nature of the war and argue for the left to support Ukraine’s struggle for self-determination and a progressive not neoliberal reconstruction of the country.”
Next, we plan to continue with our international theme supporting democracy against authoritarian governments with a 6 to 8 minute video introducing an invited delegation to our Convention from the Hungarian Socialist Party, that we met at the Socialist International Conference in Madrid. This would be followed by address to the Convention by members of the Hungarian Socialist Party. We also plan on having a panel discussion about the erosion of democracy in their country and how we can help campaign for democracy in Hungary and how America can be more aware of what’s going on with the rise of fascism in Europe and populism! At this time, we are waiting to hear from the delegation if they are coming.
In addition, we will have Godden Zama, a representatives of the Social Democratic Front of Cameroon to speak at the Convention.
Day 2, Sunday September 3: The morning session will consists of internal SDUSA business, including considering resolutions submitted to the convention.
In the afternoon session, we will have the following guest speakers:
- Carolyn Delvecchio Hoffman, representative, Monroe County legislature. (D)
- Eve Shippens, common council candidate Buffalo New York, (D)
- Aaron Coleman, Kansas City Kansas and former statehouse representative in Topeka. (D)
- Mary Jobaida, Democratic Socialist organizer Niagara Falls New York. (WFP)
- Working Families Party, regional organizer of the Western New York chapter of the Working Families party Victoria Misuraca.
Please be advised that throughout the day, we’ll be doing activities, different activities, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. so be prepared to hang out with us and have a cool time!
Day 3: September 4, Labor Day: Labor Day celebration both at Eugene V Debs Hall and Buffalo’s Olmsted Cazenovia Park, in South Buffalo, will host the parade. But the host of the overall parade is going to be done by New York AFL-CIO, WNY, (Western New York). The parade is going to be very busy so be prepared and ready to go by 10:30 11:00 a.m. Delegates to the convention will be marching in the parade as the SDUSA contingent, walking behind our banner. If you have a banner for the parade please feel free to bring it! We’re going to be bringing ours and carrying some handheld American flags along with social democracy flags!
The Labor Day parade is taking place at Caz Park, more details for the rally point will be given upon arrival.. And we can join the labor unions together after the parade in the park for the annual picnic! It’ll give you a chance to meet AFL-CIO New York’s most prominent member organizations, like, United Steelworkers, CWA, Communication Workers of America, SEIU, Service Employees International Union, and other unions like the United Auto Workers, and the Working Families Party as well!! Many politicians locally will be in the parade like Buffalo’s Mayor, Congress person, and State Senator and the State Assembly member, including NYS Governor Kathy Hochul.
At 3:00PM, we will return to Eugene V Debs Hall for the resumption of our formal Convention program. The main event will feature our special guest, Mark Talley as our keynote speaker, He is the organizer: of the organization “Agents for Advocacy” in Buffalo, New York.. His beloved mother Geraldine.was killed. on May 22, 2022, as one of 13 victims of a racially motivated shooting at the Tops supermarket in the predominately Black east side of Buffalo, by a white supremacist, who lived far outside of the city. All the victims were Black and 10 of the 13 were killed and 3 injured. Mr. Talley will speak on the topic: “Stomp out white supremacy, bigotry, and right-wing fascism.”
Day 4, Tuesday, September 5: Dennis King will speak on “Red and Brown: The Dangers of Extremes Meeting in US Politics”
Day 5, Wednesday, September 6 will be devoted to internal SDUSA business including further consideration of resolutions.
In addition, if time permits, we will have an excursion to Niagara Falls and other points of interest around the Buffalo area.
NOTE: However, we want our members to have a role in planning the convention. We are looking for suggestions on speakers and topics that you believe should be on the agenda of the convention. We also want you to summit resolutions to be debated for approval by the delegates to the convention. Any member who attends the convention, either in person, or via ZOOM is considered a delegate to the convention. The deadline for submitting resolutions is Monday,. August 7. 2023.
Michael Mottern, First Vice-Chair of SDUSA, is the Buffalo Local’s coordinator for the convention For information on traveling to Buffalo and accommodations, contact him at 716-279-5466 or at his e-mail address, email@example.com.
David A. Hacker is the National Secretary of SDUSA.