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 Post subject: The Nov 5th. SEP conference, a physically threatening event.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:46 pm 
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To dive right in to it, upon leaving the main conference room, DM myself and two others who were sympathetic to what I had to say at the conference were surrounded by roughly 20 or so SEP cadre. They pretty immediately began shouting at us and denouncing us as clinton supporters or anarchists, or anything they could think of to categorise us as and quickly dismiss us. Very quickly we found ourselves isolated from one another, in the ensuing 'conversations' we had each been individually encircled by 4-5 people who were, for the most part, all simultaneously, when they were not taking turns, yelling at us and dropping the sort of snide remarks you'd expect to see upvoted on /r/socialism. We extracted ourselves from the situation when we realised just how close to a physical altercation we were coming to. Honestly, DM and myself feel completely unsafe in this environment and considered returning home (a very long drive) without staying the night at the hotel that was also housing most of the attendees from the conference.

So what the hell did we do to cause this reaction?

At the close of the conference, they took Q&A/discussions, which was just a bunch of SEP members giving speeches about the SEP. I went up to the mic and asked how they could recouncile the fact that their participation in the 2016 election serves to legitimise the election which is currently being used to justify an injunction against striking transit workers in Philadelphia. Their dodge was to deny that their participation in the election served to legitimise said election. From there he moved to accuse me of denying the working class any political content because I contested the strategy of electoral politics. I'm assuming this will all be online so you can view it yourself when it is up.

Those are the low points. The three high points were that we found someone at the lunch break to speak to who was very down to earth and receptive to an actual conversation about the conditions facing the working class. The next was the two already mentioned comrades who stood in defense with us against a very real physical threat to us. They very kindly gave us a ride to our vehicle. Lastly, we found two folks back at the hotel that were as shocked as we were at the behaviour exhibited above.

All in all this serves as a reaffirmation of the old left communist joke. What's the difference between a stalinist and a trotskyist? The trotskyist waits until seizing power to betray the working class.

As for the actual content of the conference? I can sum it up in three words. Join the SEP.

Those who I met at the conference and wish to post their experience there are invited and encouraged to do so. Hope to be seeing you around.

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 Post subject: Re: The Nov 5th. SEP conference, a physically threatening ev
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:13 pm 
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I also want to share my experience at my first political conference. I did not know what to expect and I kept an open, but critical mind of all the "speeches" made by the SEP. After Broletariat asked his question

Broletariat wrote:
I went up to the mic and asked how they could recouncile the fact that their participation in the 2016 election serves to legitimise the election which is currently being used to justify an injunction against striking transit workers in Philadelphia. .


The response by the SEP of accusing Broletariat of being an anarchist who wants to remove the political system and take away any opportunity of the working class to have political rights was shocking to me. In a matter of minutes I formulated my own response to this answer. I made the following comment: You are saying the working class needs to unite regardless of being white or black or gay, but if you are what you call "anarchist" then you are not welcome to be part of the working class? An "anarchist" is part of the working class and struggles the same. The common factor is that they are working class. By labeling them as anarchist you are alienating people instead of uniting them under a practical working class common struggle".

I'm no writer and I wrote this in a matter of minutes. I didn't spend too much time on the grammar. I just hoped to convey the need to unite the working class.

Their response was that the other things I had mentioned were identity politics and anarchist is a rejection of politics.

To me it seemed like they were only willing to accept working class under the SEP conditions. However the working class is diverse and has different political or not political viewpoints, but what is common is their working class struggles.

After we (Broletariat and I) were leaving the conference we met two fellows who said they supported what I said in there. We started talking for a little bit and soon we had a crowd of people around us. Soon I got separated from everyone else and isolated. Before I knew it I was being yelled at by an fervent supporter of the SEP. He refused to let me talk and was just accusing me of not understanding the working class and the struggles. How did he know what I thought if he didn't even let me talk? At one point he started yelling and closed the distance between us. I am a pretty short person and he towered over me, so as soon as I saw that this was no longer a discussion (it hadn't been since the beginning) I quickly disengaged as soon as I felt my life was in danger. I regrouped with everyone else. I was terrified at that moment and realized that that person isn't for the working class. That he is so entrenched in his "idealized" political beliefs that he almost wanted to beat me up to "defend" his ideas.

However not all people attracted by the SEP are like this. It is important to note that some of the people we met there had heard about the SEP through a friend or a connection and wanted to see what they had to offer. For some people they probably had never had any socialism exposure and this was their first time hearing about socialism. Unfortunately some people will hear what the SEP offers as socialism, which is basically join the SEP, donate to the SEP, fight against capitalism system...... Fight against capitalism? It was all abstract thinking with no practical applications that fit the working class needs.


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 Post subject: Re: The Nov 5th. SEP conference, a physically threatening ev
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:12 pm 
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Helluva first experience, but it does pretty well sum up who the SEP is-- wannabe goons.


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 Post subject: Re: The Nov 5th. SEP conference, a physically threatening ev
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:06 pm 
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I was also at the conference, and I have to say that I thought the speakers from the Socialist Equality Party dealt very well with the questions raised by Broletariat and DM. I was impressed that the SEP speakers identified the questioners as anarchists, even though they did not state their political affiliation when they spoke. I thought the answer given by the SEP panelist (I forget his name) about how the SEP participates in presidential elections because it seeks to reveal the anti-democratic and anti-working class character of the US elections was really convincing. Why wouldn't you participate in an election to give the working class an option to vote against Trump and Clinton and Johnson and Stein? Seems obvious to me.

Anyway, I don't know what Broletariat and DM are talking about when they act like they got a response from the crowd. I remember there being overwhelming applause from the audience when the SEP gave their reply. The questions actually seemed really provocative to me. I have read about COINTELPRO and how the police try to provoke disagreement at meetings and try to use anti-communism to make socialists seem like they are violent.

Overall I was really impressed by the meeting, which was about building opposition to war. There were a lot of workers there, including auto workers and miners and I was given hope that we can build a movement against war in the working class. There were speakers from all over the world, I think Sri Lanka and Germany and other countries too. Anyway I guess the people who had questions certainly had a right to ask their questions but it seemed dishonest to me that they didn't state their political allegiance and I felt like they were trying to take away from the anti-war message of this meeting.

EDIT--long time lurker but I saw the first posts on this thread and felt like I had to register and reply.


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 Post subject: Re: The Nov 5th. SEP conference, a physically threatening ev
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:32 am 
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Tell us Rosa, was this your first SEP conference? Have you attended SEP meetings? Are you a member of the SEP?

Quote:
I was impressed that the SEP speakers identified the questioners as anarchists,


But Broletariat is not an anarchist, so what impressed you is use of "anarchist" as a category to condemn someone or something; not an understanding of the political content that is at issue.

EDIT:
Quote:
nyway I guess the people who had questions certainly had a right to ask their questions but it seemed dishonest to me that they didn't state their political allegiance and I felt like they were trying to take away from the anti-war message of this meeting.


You guess? You're not sure? What political allegiance? I think this is the first organized conference Broletariat has attended. I don't know of any organizational or ideological either Bro or DM has, so what seems dishonest to you is probably your own organizational allegiance. Take away from the anti-war message of the meeting...by asking questions about a position the organization has, and publicizes, and makes part of the conference?


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 Post subject: Re: The Nov 5th. SEP conference, a physically threatening ev
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:00 pm 
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redrosa wrote:
I have read about COINTELPRO and how the police try to provoke disagreement at meetings and try to use anti-communism to make socialists seem like they are violent.


I would, in the future, recommend not using your university e-mail address to register for webforums that you think may be run by the police.

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