Skip to main content

LeftRoots: grassroots struggles. strategy for liberation.

LeftRoots, an organization of Leftists engaged in mass organizing in the USA, is committed to developing individual and collective skills necessary to formulate, evaluate and carry out strategy to build 21st century socialism. Points of unity, organizing and study are integrated to strengthen efforts to challenge capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy hetero-patriarchy and create strategies for cultivating democratic, protagonist-lead and transform social movements.


Who is LeftRoots?

LeftRoots is a national organization of Leftists engaged in mass organizing in the United States committed to developing the individual and collective skills necessary to formulate, evaluate and carry out strategy to build twenty-first century socialism.

As organizers and activists in different mass movements, we recognize that we need more than our reform and resistance struggles. The members of LeftRoots have come together to build relationships across regions, sectors, and revolutionary traditions; strengthen our efforts to challenge capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, and hetero-patriarchy in the mass work we do everyday; and to create strategies for cultivating democratic, protagonist-lead, and transformative social movements.

We need a radical and grounded Left

LeftRoots is a national formation of Left social movement organizers and activists who want to connect grassroots struggles to a strategy to win liberation for all people and the planet. While mass organizations must be central features of strong and vibrant social movements, Left cadre formations are too. The U.S. Left, due in part to external assaults and in part from internal weaknesses, is at this point unable to cohere these mass struggles into an effective force for revolution. This must change if humanity has any hope of surviving, much less thriving. This is a central task of a rekindled Left, and Leftists engaged in mass organizations and social movements have a unique, but yet unfulfilled, role to play in helping to reimagine and give life to a Left that is as radical as it is grounded in mass struggles.

The historic moment

We are living in times of dangerous reaction and unprecedented possibility. A period that threatens humanity’s very existence and is characterized by overlapping crises: the crises of the economy, ecology, and empire. A period dominated by a ruling class hell-bent on intensifying imperialist war, neoliberal austerity, unfettered extraction of natural resources, and militarized crackdowns. In response, all around the world, people are rising up in search of genuine solutions. The nature of this historical moment makes fundamental change possible, though not inevitable. With others, we aim to rekindle a radical and grounded Left capable of confronting the challenges and opportunities of today.

Guided by a vision of liberation

LeftRoots intends to help pave the way for the type of revolutionary organization in the U.S. that will successfully link diverse struggles into a common quest to bring about a system which achieves freedom, equality, and self-determination for all. For LeftRoots, this means a global social and economic system based on popular participation in politics, the economy, and democratically-planned production that is in balance with the planet’s regenerative capacities. We call this system “twenty-first century socialism.”

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

Strategic Objectives

LeftRoots is both a formation and a process. We aim to help consolidate and deepen the contributions of social movement Leftists in building a movement for a new type of socialism with a transformative and liberatory vision, an effective strategy, and a strong mass base. Our work will be guided by four objectives:

  •  Develop our collective and individual capacity to answer strategic questions;
  •  Build our collective and individual capacity to effectively and humanely carry out broader strategy;
  •  Strengthen organizations and movements and their connection to a larger strategy for liberation; and
  •  Build relationships between organizers, leaders, and activists to pave the way for bold and cohesive collective action in the coming period.

For a Left that is strategic, multi-tendencied, and non-sectarian

LeftRoots is non-sectarian and aims to draw from the best ideas and practices across Left revolutionary traditions: Marxist, Anarchist, Gramscian, Anti-authoritarian, Feminist, Revolutionary Nationalist, Indigenous along with others. We aim to build on the inspiring work of past social movements. While we are informed by the lessons and struggles of those who have come before us, LeftRoots recognizes that liberation and dogmatism do not go together. We live in unique conditions, and our struggles must be rooted in a sober assessment of our specific time, place, and conditions.

The Centrality of White Supremacy

The development of capitalism and white supremacy in the U.S. are inseparable. White supremacy provided the logic that enabled chattel slavery — the primitive accumulation which enabled the birth of the capitalist class in the U.S.. White supremacy was created and used by the white ruling class to divide the oppressed classes by granting both material and psychological privileges to whites, while denying people of color basic human rights. We recognize the central role that race plays in both the development of and the survival of the capitalist system. We believe that fighting white supremacy will play a decisive role in defeating the ruling class in the U.S.

Feminism and Queer Liberation

Feminist and pro-queer politics and practice are central to LeftRoots. We believe that liberation from hetero-patriarchy must be central to any revolutionary Left strategy. Women and trans folks’ place is in the struggle and we prioritize their leadership in social movements.

For protagonism and against vanguardism

LeftRoots does not seek to replace or control the work of existing campaigns or mass organizations. We believe that social movements and mass organizations should be independent and authentic. Challenging the practice of many 20th century cadre organizations on the Party Left, we reject the vanguardism and the associated practices of operating secretly within mass organizations while trying to control them; creating front groups; or being opportunist and leaching onto authentic mass struggles to avoid doing the long hard work of building a real base.

Build up cadre

LeftRoots is focused on developing the skills and analysis of cadre from the ranks of social movement organizers; strengthening organizations and movements; breaking down the barriers that have divided the organized Left and modern mass social movements; and weaving relationships between movement cadre to take strategic and cohesive, collective action.

Socialism is the future. Build it now.

LeftRoots wants to contribute to the development of a Left that we believe is both possible and necessary. The Left that we envision will be skilled and engaged in day-to-day struggles; humble and boldly committed to winning genuine liberation; sexy and non-sectarian; and capable of holding differences in a spirit of healthy and productive debate and discussion. There is much to be done, and we hope that LeftRoots can make a contribution to moving our struggles forward. We look forward to working with you to make it so.

The members of LeftRoots are united by the following points of unity:

Capitalism must go if humanity is to survive and if liberation is to be achieved. This crisis-ridden system of excess and exploitation lies at the root of all income disparity, environmental degradation, imperialist war and human alienation. It is poisoning our future. We will work to support and strengthen popular struggles that confront and weaken the logic, institutions and very system of capitalism. We will also support experiments that seek to form the foundations of socialist alternatives that foster solidarity, justice and equity. There is a better way.

White supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia and other forms of oppression are deeply embedded in modern capitalism and will not simply wither away once we have tossed capitalism into the trash-bin of history. Throughout history, these oppressions have and continue to distort society’s development, degrade people’s humanity and undermine efforts to create a bloc with revolutionary potential. Any liberatory movement of movements has to reflect the faces, histories and interests of the people who experience the savagery of white supremacy, patriarchy and homophobia first-hand, while we struggle to destroy and dismantle the systems themselves. A commitment to end systematic oppression is necessary if we are to achieve the lasting dignity of human solidarity.

Liberation will only be achieved as a result of the power of the people. Current conditions in the United States, most notably the lack of a unified social bloc who sees revolutionary change as its objective, suggest that reform struggles and survival projects will be two important expressions of popular struggle. It is the task of Leftists to support struggles and help guide them away from reformism and towards strategic challenge and fundamental break from the existing system. This process will require a myriad of organizational forms including mass movements of the popular classes and organized formations of Leftists working together, working collaboratively to unleash the power of the people, to achieve and consolidate revolutionary breakthroughs.

The planet is not a commodity to be possessed, owned and exploited by humanity for our own purposes. Humans must serve as good stewards, so that our interdependence with nature can be continued by future generations. We are guided by a commitment to build a society that based on ecological balance.

All peoples around the globe have equal claim to justice and liberation. Wealth and prosperity in the United States grows from the dispossession and subjugation of the peoples and lands in other parts of the world, especially the Global South. A liberatory movement of movements based inside the world’s imperialist power must confront the institutions, ideology and legacy of empire, imperialism and U.S.-exceptionalism in order to make real ties of global, human solidarity.

The current order alienates us all from our ourselves, from our labor, from others and from the planet. The struggle for liberation must not only aim to transform society and its institutions; it must aim to transform us as agents of change, empowering us with the opportunity to develop the capacities capitalism has denied us.

Revolutionary movements must reflect the unique conditions of the nations in which they operate, which means that all effective movements must innovate. While we will employ the tools of analysis that we inherit from Marxism and other radical traditions, we will not dogmatically mimic the efforts or perspectives that guided other social movements. We will develop strategies to inform and strengthen struggles for liberation, keeping our focus on both our vision of a liberatory future and on a sober and ongoing assessment of the existing conditions confronting us.

LeftRoots currently has two levels of participation: Cadre & Compa.

Cadre are active, dues-paying and voting members of LeftRoots branches. The founding cadre are in the Bay Area Branch, and others are in the process of development.

Compas are the committed supporters and friends of LeftRoots who agree with the LeftRoots Points of Unity, and make an annual/monthly financial contribution to help ensure the success of this political project. Compas receive special invitations to LeftRoots programs, including our national LeftRoots HangOuts – online, virtual political education events featuring live interviews with movement intellectuals.