The national convention of The League of Pissed Off Voters "represents finally making the connection between Pittsburgh's young progressive movement and this national young progressive movement that's been going on," says local League organizer Khari Mosley.
The convention, titled "Smackdown 2005," and set for the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law building Aug. 4-7 in Oakland, brings together about 100 representatives from progressive groups across the country for training in how to spread the word. A movie screening and panel discussion (moderated by CP editor Chris Potter) are free to the public on Aug. 4. Other panels and workshops cost a one-time $25 fee.
The League was formed, Mosley says, to "bring young people into the civic process," whether around electoral, media or other organizing issues. He sees it as a "new multi-racial, multi-issue progressive movement," more focused on minorities and people of color than perhaps some other groups. "A lot of people in the League of Pissed Off Voters come from a hip-hop background," he says.
Panelists include organizers and agitators, writers and artists, including William Upski Wimsatt, co-editor of How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office (see interview and previews of other events below).
The League convention will also have local importance, Mosley says, helping to cement the city's progressive activism that has "happened in kind of a vacuum," he says -- from Everybody Vote and Progress Pittsburgh to "the young people involved in the [Bill] Peduto campaign" for mayor this spring. "It's part of our transformation from the Rust Belt."
League of Pissed Off Voters convention, Aug. 4-7, School of Law, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland. Schedule: www.indyvoter.org.