While you were watching fireworks and celebrating the birth of America and the freedoms it represents, self-identified activists of Socialism were practicing their first amendment freedom of assembly at the Socialism 2011 "Revolution in the Air" conference on "revolutionary politics, entertainment & debate" this weekend at Chicago's Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center—O’Hare.
"Don’t miss the chance to meet with hundreds of others like you who want to build an alternative to a system of greed, racism, war and oppression," reads the event homepage. Not surprisingly, the conference's call to supporters included references to Madison and Egypt:
"Everywhere we look in the world there are revolutions and struggles that are challenging dictatorship, economic inequality, and oppression.
From Cairo to Madison, these struggles show us that 'another world is possible.'"
For good measure, the conference even created a rousing video:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=23997308&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0 expand=1]
The event hoped to welcome more than the 1,500 new and veteran activists that attended Socialism 2010 in Oakland and Chicago. That said, Socialism 2011's Facebook page only had 2,825 "likes" as of July 5.
The 2011 conference was sponsored by the Center for Economic Research and Social Change, which publishes the International Socialist Review and Haymarket Books. The July 4 date was no coincidence, as organizers indicated "This year, the conference will take place from Friday through Monday (instead of Thursday through Sunday as in previous years) to take advantage of the July 4 holiday falling on Monday."
Topics discussed in the three-day event included: "The Iranian Revolution 1979," "Crime, cops and capitalism," "The fight for transgender rights," and "Marxism and political organization."
Audio is available from the event's discussion on "Will China Rule the World," and "The Attica Rebellion 40 years Later."
The Canadian Free Press reported that "Let’s fight like an Egyptian" served as the rally call for Socialism 2011. The event's featured guests included founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Omar Barghouti, perennial Green Party politician Todd Chretien, sportswriter Dave Zirin and bronze-medal winning Olympian John Carlos among others.