Why we’re requiring masks at Socialism 2023

Dear Socialism Conference attendee,

Thank you for taking time away from work, organizing, and other responsibilities to join us for a weekend of socialist politics, education, and community! We are so glad that you’ve decided to attend, and hope that you’ll have an inspiring, instructive, and energizing four days at Socialism 2023!

Last year, we were so grateful that Socialism Conference attendees kept each other safe by wearing masks indoors throughout the conference weekend, helping to ensure that the conference was accessible to immunocompromised and otherwise especially vulnerable comrades and protecting attendees from Covid transmission. This would not have been possible without a mask requirement, so this year we are once again requiring that conference attendees wear masks indoors (with the sole exception of session speakers, who may remove their masks only while they are delivering presentations from the front of the room).

We know that, in a society in which we have each been largely left to make our own individual decisions about how to navigate this pandemic and at a time when many of us are rarely, if ever, required to wear masks, this may cause surprise or even provoke questions from some attendees. Nonetheless, Covid remains rampant, conference attendees travel to Chicago from all over the world, and our priorities remain the same as they were last year. We aim to make the Socialism Conference accessible to anyone looking to share organizing lessons, learn from radical history, and build community, and—to the maximum extent possible—to ensure that no one leaves the conference having contracted Covid or another illness and suffering the resulting health and economic consequences.

Even and especially if you’re not someone who typically opts to wear a mask, we thank you for respecting our policy and helping us to enact a compassionate and collective approach to holding a large-scale gathering during an ongoing health crisis.

Free N95 masks and rapid Covid tests will be available at the registration desk throughout the conference weekend. We encourage session speakers planning to un-mask during their presentations to pick up a rapid test and test themselves 4-6 hours before their session. If any conference attendee experiences any possible Covid symptoms during the conference weekend, we ask that they please isolate themself and reach out to conference organizers at [email protected] about securing a test.

Thanks for helping us to keep one another safe at Socialism 2023!