I’m excited to announce that members of Socialist Party USA are meeting today at 4:30 p.m. at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City to discuss the formation of a local chapter for Oklahoma.

I have been a dues paying member for the last 2 years (also FYI, I also am a member of the Oklahoma Green Party), but there has been a fair bit of new-found interest in the party.

To begin with, I think there has been a growing awareness of Oklahoma’s agrarian-socialist roots. Jim Bissett wrote an incredible book on the subject, Agrarian Socialism in America – Marx, Jefferson and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside. Then there is the work of Red Flag Press, which has told the sad story of Oklahoma’s first red scare during WWI (and now publishes The Revelator, a quarterly journal of progressive and original thought). And finally there was a quite good article recently in The Oklahoma Gazette by Greg Horton, “State Motto ‘Labor conquers all things’ has roots in Socialism”. And finally, someone just wrote a pretty good article on the Socialism in Oklahoma on Wikipedia.

Anyway I am cautiously excited about this development. My main concern is that a local SP chapter be inclusive of all shades of Socialism (not doctrinaire as some Socialist organizations can be) and not condescending (such as ISO can often be in talking to the public — I know some cool folks who are ISO members, but I also know some real jerks). I also hope that a SP chapter in Oklahoma can be committed to the cause of non-violence, as I think this is key to not having history repeat itself. (no matter how much you want revolution to happen, the other side always has more guns… which is why situations like the 1917 Green Corn Rebellion turn out so badly)

And most of all I hope a local Socialist chapter can develop new Socialist analysis to our problems that is rooted in our local experience in Oklahoma. This was the genius of the old Socialist Party of the 19-teens, in that they were really to find truly Oklahoma solutions to Oklahoma problems.

We’ll see how it goes. I’ll likely post pictures and news about the gathering here tonight.