Other Group

Center for Political Education

Website:

https://politicaleducation.org/

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Formation:

1998

Interim executive director:

Thomas Mariadason

Type:

Far-left training group

Center for Political Education (CPE) is a radical-left Marxist, “internationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist” political activism training group. [1] CEP is a project of the Kendra Alexander Foundation. [2]

History

In 1998, Guiliana “Huli” Milanese and Bill Sorro began organizing meetings of left-wing activists in San Fransisco to study left-wing American movements and formulate plans for future socialist activism. Milanese and Sorro were a married couple who met in Cuba in the early 1970s while supporting the Communist government, [3] and they organized numerous socialist groups in San Fransisco from the 1970s until Sorro passed away in 2007. [4]

After a few years of holding meetings at Milanese and Soro’s home, attendees established the Center for Political Education to train left-wing activists based on the insights produced by the meetings. They moved their meetings and training sessions to 522 Valencia Street, a former headquarters of the Communist Party USA, and a current possession of the Kendra Alexander Foundation, a radical-left grantmaking group that offered the CPE fiscal sponsorship. [5]

Activity

Center for Political Education holds both public and private events to educate left-wing activists. Since its establishment, CPE has held nearly 650 events. [6] Events have included: “Unraveling the Right,” “Red Power, Internationalism, and National Liberation,” “¡Venceremos! 50 Years of Solidarity with Cuba,” [7] “We Have No Choice But to Resist: J20,” [8] “People Get Ready: Building Resistance in the Trump Era,” and “Averting U.S. War on North Korea: What Progressives Must Know and Do.” [9]

CPE’s most popular course is “Marxism 101,” which it holds every year. [10] Former executive director Rachel Herzing has described the public’s need for Marxist theory: [11]

If you’re prone to thinking Marxist theory is just for academics or privileged people, I’d point you toward the jungles of Vietnam or Guinea Bissau, or Cuba, or the streets of Petrograd or Johannesburg, or Mexico City, or Caracas, or Oakland where peasants, factory workers, street hustlers, prisoners, and those without any work (and many without formal education) read Marx and applied it to their struggles. If someone can read Capital in an outdoor school in the depths of Guinea Bissau during active anti-colonial fighting, I feel confident that we’re able to as well. [12]

CPE has collaborated with numerous left-wing and left-of-center groups when holding its events, including Red Nation, [13] the Chinese Progressive Association, Causa Justa Just Cause, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Critical Resistance, Third World Resistance, [14] and LeftRoots. [15]

Leadership

Rachel Herzig is the previous executive director of Center for Political Education. Herzig is the co-founder of Critical Resistance, a far-left criminal justice group dedicated to “abolishing the prison industrial complex” which has collaborated with CPE. She was a former director of research and training at Creative Interventions, a group which advocates for community-oriented alternatives to traditional policing. [16] In 2015, Herzig was given a Soros Justice Fellowship by the Open Society Foundations, the left-wing grantmaking foundation of George Soros. [17]

In 2021, Thomas Mariadason was appointed interim executive director of CPE. Mariadason was the deputy director and staff attorney at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice; program director of the Justice Project at the Advancement Project, a left-of-center civil rights group; and a staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. [18] As of January 2022, CPE still has an advertisement for co-director up on its Twitter account. [19]

References

  1. “About.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/about/. ^
  2.  “CPE needs your help to keep fueling powerful movements.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/get-involved/donate/. ^
  3. Yollin, Patricia. “Bill Sorro has passed on, but his monument is in the International Hotel.” SF Gate. September 25, 2007. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Bill-Sorro-has-passed-on-but-his-monument-is-the-2521210.php. ^
  4. “History.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/history/. ^
  5. “History.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/history/. ^
  6. “About.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/about/. ^
  7. “Programming History: 2019.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/program/2019-2/. ^
  8. “Programming History: 2018.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022.  https://politicaleducation.org/program/2018-2/. ^
  9. “Programming History: 2017.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022.  https://politicaleducation.org/program/2017-2/. ^
  10. “Programs.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/get-involved/programs/. ^
  11. “Center for Political Education.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/Center4PoliticalEducation/posts/cpes-rachel-herzing-if-youre-prone-to-thinking-marxist-theory-is-just-for-academ/2982924848401244/. ^
  12. “Center for Political Education.” Facebook. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/Center4PoliticalEducation/posts/cpes-rachel-herzing-if-youre-prone-to-thinking-marxist-theory-is-just-for-academ/2982924848401244/. ^
  13. “Center for Political Education.” Facebook. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/Center4PoliticalEducation/posts/cpes-rachel-herzing-if-youre-prone-to-thinking-marxist-theory-is-just-for-academ/2982924848401244/. ^
  14. “Programming History: 2019.” Facebook. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://politicaleducation.org/program/2019-2/. ^
  15. “Programming History: 2017.” Center for Political Education. Accessed January 7, 2022.  https://politicaleducation.org/program/2017-2/. ^
  16. “Beyond Prisons: Rachel Herzig on Political Education.” Shadow Proof. April 3, 2019. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://shadowproof.com/2019/04/03/beyond-prisons-rachel-herzing-on-political-education/. ^
  17. “Soros Justice Fellowships.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/soros-justice-fellowships?fellow=rachel-herzing. ^
  18. “Thomas Mariadason.” LinkedIn. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-mariadason-15621188/. ^
  19. “Center for Political Education (CPE).” Twitter. December 14, 2021. Accessed January 7, 2022. https://twitter.com/center4pe. ^
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