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North Carolina

Freedom Road Socialist Organization hosts regional student conference

by staff |
April 8, 2009
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Kosta Harlan teaches economics.
Kosta Harlan from Chapel Hill, North Carolina explains the roots of the current economic crisis.

Asheville, NC - Around 25 student activists and organizers from seven cities throughout the southeast came to Asheville, North Carolina, April 4, for a conference called “The Crisis of Imperialism and Building a Revolutionary Movement.” This regional student conference was hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

“It was an amazing experience, being in a room full of student activists from all over the southeast and having conversations about what the student movement is up against and where we should go from here,” said Ryan Costello, a student from the University of Alabama who attended the conference. “We weren't just talking about theories of imperialism and economics just for fun, but in order to become better organizers, in order to change society and we left the conference inspired and ready to take what we learned back to our campuses.”

Three workshops were held over the course of the day, one on imperialism and war, another on political economy and the current economic crisis and the third on the mass line, revolutionary organization and leadership.

“We put this conference together in order to bring together some of the advanced organizers and leaders in the student movement from around the South and draw some lessons from their experiences,” said Josh Sykes, one of the conference organizers. “From that, we hoped we could help give some clarity, based on a Marxist analysis, to many of the current practical problems facing student activists today, especially in the anti-war movement and in the movement to stop budget cuts and tuition hikes.”

“I liked the presentation on political economy,” said Rachel Catlin McLarty of UNC-Asheville Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). “I thought it was explained thoroughly in a way that was easy to comprehend. It made a lot of sense in very accessible terms.”

Laura Langley, an organizer in SDS from Tuscaloosa, Alabama said, “I left Asheville not only feeling more empowered and solid in my Marxist-Leninist views, but also inspired to put those views into action. I am excited to be a part of this movement’s future, and to see FRSO’s part in that.”

Fern Figueroa came all the way from Gainesville, Florida. “The most important lesson I learned,” he said, “was how us working people should organize against a system that exploits us for the benefit of the rich and how to forge a just society where we’re in control.”