Today, at a critical juncture—not just for us in Freedom Road Socialist Organization, but for the whole socialist and movement Left—we are excited to announce that we are changing our name to Liberation Road.
Over the past 34 years, our organization has maintained a consistent commitment to opposing racial capitalism and fighting for socialism and self-determination. At the same time, we have prided ourselves on remaining highly adaptable based on ever changing internal and external conditions. Recognizing the dynamic nature of the world, ideas, and organizational forms, we have not been afraid to embrace change by refining and redefining key aspects of our political and strategic line, drawing on diverse thinkers from all over the world.
In relation to our organizational history, our new name conveys both continuity and change.
OUR PATH FROM FREEDOM ROAD TO LIBERATION ROAD
Our organization began in 1985 with a merger of two organizations – and later several more – that came out of the New Communist Movement of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Responding both to ultra-left errors, and to an inattention to the key role that white supremacy played in undergirding racial capitalism, our new organization cohered around four core principles:
- That we needed to be a non-sectarian – indeed anti-sectarian – revolutionary socialist organization that is determinedly non-dogmatic
- That white supremacy, national oppression, and genocide are integral and inseparable components of (racial) capitalism, thus necessitating the need to build the strategic alliance of those forces in the quest to build socialism in the United States
- That we must take an uncompromising stand against male supremacy and hetero-sexism, and build an inclusive organization and movement, and
- That we are committed to building towards the ultimate formation of a mass-based party for socialism because we know that our organization
alonewill not be that party.
Since then our organization has grown, merged, split, and changed, but those core principles have remained the same. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the events in Tiananmen Square, and the collapse of the USSR (1989 – 1991) raised sharp questions about the successes and failures of 20th-century socialism. This led to an internal debate that created two camps within the organization, each with very different answers to those questions. Those differences became sharper and deeper. The two camps differed about with whom we should ally not only internationally, but domestically, and what principles we should follow. These differences were also felt keenly at the mass/base level: how to build workplace and community organizations and develop new leaders. It led to an organizational split in 1999.
The majority of our organization began to critically re-evaluate the history of historical and existing socialist projects, taking lessons from their successes and failures, applying them to our own work with an eye to improve upon future socialist projects in the 21st century. We sought to unite with other left forces around a new vision to refound the Left.
Since 2016, our organization has formally consolidated around a national strategy that focuses on building the independent political power of the strategic alliance through the creation of and support for mass independent political organizations (IPOs) as a part of a broader front to defeat the New Confederacy.
Central to this strategic orientation is using the electoral arena as a tool and terrain that helps left/progressive forces to build political power. This political power should not be confused with the gaining of state power by workers and the oppressed. It refers to a progressive realignment within the context of so-called democratic capitalism. This is not the final objective, of course. Our analysis is that this realignment of left/progressive forces, the building of mass independent political organizations operating both inside and outside the Democratic Party and the electoral arena, is crucial at this juncture. In embarking on this path, we have found considerable, though admittedly modest success in the building of IPOs in the South, which has been a geographic and strategic focus of our organization from its inception because of its unique role in the development of US racial capitalism.
Now, in 2019, we are changing our name to Liberation Road. In part, that choice was pragmatic—motivated by the need to differentiate ourselves from the splinter group who continue to operate under our old name. But the change also reflects exciting new developments, including our commitment to 21st-century socialism, Left Refoundation and, especially, our national strategy of building independent political organization.
LIBERATION AS THE ROAD TO FREEDOM
More broadly, our name change reflects the fact that, if freedom is our goal, liberation is the path and the process. Freedom is the destination we are headed to, a state of being. “Liberation” is the active, ongoing struggle of getting free, it is our path to freedom. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “the mission of the war was the liberation of the slaves as well as the salvation of the Union.” That’s why we have spoken of national liberation movements, the women’s liberation movement, the gay liberation movement, and indeed liberation theology. We can be free in our minds while still living in chains, but liberation is the breaking of the chains.
In this new period of our organization and under our
new name, we are excited to continue with others the process of building a
party for socialism, while equally engaging with the broader progressive
movement—globally and domestically—in the struggles to save the planet from
environmental catastrophe and defeat both neo-liberal globalization and
right-wing populism. Together, we look forward to working with others to create
a vision and reality of fundamental social transformation that will move us
down the liberation road.
 This is an alliance that needs to be constructed between oppressed nationality movements and the multi-national working class movements
 The New Confederacy is the white united front that, building up over the past 40 years, has used white supremacy, cisheteropatriarchy, and austerity to rally sectors of the white middle strata and white workers around the leadership of the most reactionary forces of capital. The Republican Party is its political instrument.