About

Who We Are

The Center for Political Education began when a group of established community activists, writers and teachers engaged in a series of dialogues to analyze the left movement and the future of movement-building in the U.S. and particularly the Bay Area. The need was clear: organizers did not have the space or the tools they needed to analyze current political, economic and social trends. This affected their ability to articulate and create strong, clear organizing and political strategies that would result in revolutionary change.

From these dialogues emerged a vision: to build and develop a center dedicated to building strong movements and the left through education, analysis, theory, dialogue, and activism. In 1998, the Center for Political Education was born.

Since then, the Center has conducted over 200 classes, educational forums, study groups, and dialogues.

CPE is a fiscally sponsored project of the Kendra Alexander Foundation and is supported by grants from KAF, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco and many individual supporters.

What We Do

The Center for Political Education is a resource for political organizations on the left, progressive social movements, the working class and people of color.

It is anchored by a collective of individuals active in day-to-day struggles in the Bay Area. Our political approach is non-sectarian, democratic, and committed to a critical analysis of local, regional and global politics. We believe that the current political conditions call for organizing and movement building, and that theory and ideas are important tools for movement building.

We are committed to providing a left space and perspective for organizers and activists. We often co-sponsor events relating to left theory and strategy with other organizations.

Points of Unity

The Center for Political Education is dedicated to helping build the movement and expand and unite the left through education, analysis, dialogue and action. Our political approach is non-sectarian, democratic, and committed to a critical analysis of local, regional and global politics.

We are a resource for political organizations on the left, progressive movements, the working class and people of color. We believe that the current political conditions call for organizing and movement building, and that theory and ideas are important tools for movement building. We are committed to providing a left space and perspective.

Our collective thought is diverse and comes from a variety of political schools. We look to various revolutionary thinkers and organizers, including Marx, for inspiration and critical review.

The Center for Political Education is internationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist. We believe in international solidarity and use our educational forums as one way to build support for liberation, labor, racial justice, environmental and political struggles throughout the world. We view the struggles for gender equality and against racism, sexism, homophobia, and heterosexism as integral to all forms of political struggle.

The Center for Political Education is a collective whose members are active in day-to-day struggles in the Bay Area and bring their perspective to the vision of the Center for Political Education.

History

“People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.” ~James Baldwin, radical writer, from Notes of a Native Son

The Center for Political Education began with discussions around the Sorro-Milanese kitchen table, in 1997, which included a broad range of activists from the Bay Area Left. This grouping of established community activists, organizers, cultural workers, writers and educators engaged in a series of dialogues to analyze the left movement and the future of movement-building in the U.S. and particularly the Bay Area. The need was clear: organizers did not have a consistent left space to analyze current political, economic and social trends. This affected our ability to articulate and create strong, clear organizing and political strategies that would result in revolutionary change.

From these dialogues emerged a vision: to develop a center dedicated to building strong movements and the left through education, analysis, theory, dialogue, and activism.

Political History of 522 Valencia

522 Valencia became a movement resource in the early 1970s, commonly associated with the Communist Party USA. The CPUSA published the national newspaper People’s World out of 522 Valencia. In 1994, a broad spectrum of left activists, most of whom were no longer in the CPUSA, took on the responsibility of the building and the associated assets. They formed the Kendra Alexander Foundation, in honor of Kendra Alexander, long-time organizer and agitator who passed away in May, 1993, to oversee this invaluable movement resource.

The Sorro-Milanese kitchen table

Guiliana “Huli” Milanese and Bill Sorro, nurtured and incubated countless projects, movement-building ventures, electoral campaigns and, not to mention, individual freedom-fighters at their home in Bernal Heights, San Francisco. CPE has mad love and appreciation for the Sorro-Milanese family and greatly misses the beloved Bill Sorro, who passed away in August 2007.

We at CPE honor and celebrate the life of Bill Sorro, a comrade that will truly be missed.

Bill Sorro, Presente!

Building powerful movements from below and the left through education, analysis, theory, and dialogue