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The Socialist Party of CA will have a presence at the May 1st Southern California Immigration Coalition march downtown. Join the Socialist Party of CA chapter in the march for full legalization and worker’s rights for all!
When: May 1st, 4pm
Where: Olympic and Broadway, Los Angeles
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/436522823097630/?ref=3
RSVP by email (email@example.com) for meet-up details. Let’s rock!
Then, on Saturday, May 4th, the Socialist Party Los Angeles Local will be holding the third session of the Organizing Workshop series. During this session, we will be strategizing the plan around our chosen issues.
When: May 4th, 12pm
Where: 2617 Hauser Blvd., Los Angeles
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/436522823097630/?ref=3#!/events/122902851237830/?fref=ts
Hope to see everyone there!
by Nick Svoboda
I just recently attended my college’s political debate. I had seen an article in the college paper a few hours beforehand. It was titled “Let’s Talk Politics.” It would be a debate between the three unsurprisingly right-wing contenders: The College Democrats, College Republicans, and College Libertarians. “Yes, let’s talk politics,” I thought, and spontaneously decided to go.
I walked in and sat within the audience, primed with a question for the audience Q&A after the debate. I would soon find myself tapping my foot, wanting to ask that question, and many more throughout the debate, as all three candidates would argue over government, guns and civil liberties, but had no disagreement on economics whatsoever. The two moderators were behind a Young American’s for Liberty banner, the group which hosted the debate. It was held under the notion of providing alternatives to the two-party system, but, of course, there was no voice for those who want to provide an alternative to the capitalist system.
When questioned on the PATRIOT act, the Republican debate representative said he thought it was “some kinda mix of bad-good.” He said that he was conflated, but that it was there to protect us. When asked the same question about civil liberties and defense, the Democrat praised the CIA’s clandestine activities for saving us from nuclear war (not that they almost brought us to a nuclear war with the Bay of Pigs, of course). He said that our 1984-like security was “too extreme” in Bush’s era, but that it has “come to moderation” in Obama’s. Really? I wonder if the prisoners currently on a hunger strike in Guantanamo are feeling that moderation?
I got a chance to ask the Libertarian a question, which was “Where is the left in this debate? How do you believe the US Libertarian party is different from the original left-wing libertarians?” He responded that the main difference was “They’re communalists and we’re propertarians.” The representative added that “I think they just don’t understand evolution,” playing the “capitalism is emergent behaviour” argument. An audience member, who later self-identified as a liberal to me, asked about Michigan’s recent Right to Work laws. All of the candidates, even the Democrat, thought that Right to Work was a good thing. The Republican stated “unions are a thing of the past.”
In the mingling afterwards I ran into some voluntarists/an-caps, who seemed to outnumber the College Libertarians themselves. One of them, who was from the school paper and recording the event, told me he was confused what I meant by anarchists not being right-wing. He literally thought that anarchism is and was always a right-wing philosophy. He even later wrote in an article about the event that “No real fireworks erupted between the debaters, as both Dalton [Republican] and Paynter [Democrat] were fairly centrist in their politics, making common-ground between them and Buell [Libertarian] an easy spot to find.” The other voluntarist I got to talk to believed, although he never read Marx, or even Smith for that matter, that the Labour Theory of Value is “bullshit.”
Since you’re reading this, you’re likely already a socialist and you see what’s going on here. Even if you’re not though, you should be concerned by the fact debate is being confined within a one-sided view of capitalism with no question of the alternatives. It is time to stand up and take back the word socialism from those who seek to set the debate by misusing the definition of it to their advantages, or by leaving it off the table entirely. It is time to take advantage of any platform we can to bring an accurate reality to what socialism actually means. We must also show the working-class what the US Libertarian version of “libertarianism” means for them by debating Libertarians openly. Go to your local public debate, attempt to ask questions, and represent the left by making your voice heard for socialism. Perhaps even try to start a college group or organize the local left. Even something as small as wheat-pasting can spark things, but just do something! As Eugene Deb’s said “You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.”
The horrific gang rape of a minor in Steubenville, Ohio, and the subsequent show-trial and “slap on the wrist” punishment of a fraction of those responsible has done more to cement the reality of rape culture, victim-blaming and slut-shaming than years of feminist thought and activism could ever accomplish.
Agitate by confronting sexism and discrimination around you, refuse to be pigeonholed by gender stereotypes, and ask the important questions about rape and violence against women even if they are not considered proper or polite conversation. Let others know that rape is not a joke and that silence is part of the problem. Without activists like Anonymous, occupy Steubenville, and the contributors to local leaks, many of the details of this crime may have been left uncovered.
Organize by connecting with women’s groups in your area to help victims of abuse, and work locally to change draconian rape and domestic violence laws. The three charged and convicted in the Steubenville rape case stated that they do not believe any of their conduct was illegal, and throughout the trial many commentators speculated on how the victim could have acted differently to avoid being raped. Misconceptions like this are still rampant in our society, and until this changes, there will be many more Jane Does. Support programs that educate young people about sexual assault, its true causes, and how to prevent it. We can turn anger into action, and together we can stand up and say NEVER AGAIN.
Written by SPUSA Co-Chair, Stephanie Cholensky, and passed by the National Action Committee on March 26, 2013.
About IWD History
1909: The Woman’s National Committee of the Socialist Party calls for a national day of protest on the last Sunday of February to support women’s suffrage in the context of the broader movement for women’s rights, workers’ rights, and social justice.
1910: The Women’s Congress of the Socialist International meets in August in Copenhagen and approves the call for an international day of protest. The specific date is left open to the participants in each country.
1913: Russian socialists begin celebrating International Women’s Day. Their intention is to organize rallies for the same day as that set in the United States, but since the Julian calendar lags several days behind the Western calendar, the events take place in early March by our reckoning.
1917: The date of March 8 for International Women’s Day gets established when tens of thousands of women, demonstrating on that day in Petrograd, the capital of Russia, spark a revolution that topples three centuries of czarist autocracy.
1979: In Tehran, women’s rights activists celebrate International Women’s Day by taking to the streets to demand equality for women and to protest the reactionary order of the Ayatollah Khomeini calling for all Iranian women to wear the veil.
About IWD and Peace
In August 1914, World War I erupted, leading to the slaughter of millions. International Women’s Day became a focal point for those calling for an immediate end to the war.
On February 23, 1917, (March 8 on the new calendar), tens of thousands of Russian women celebrated International Women’s Day by surging onto the streets of Petrograd demanding peace. These militant protests led to the downfall of the czar and, soon afterward, Russia’s decision to leave the war. Senseless war continues. Once again we are told that military action in Iraq and Afghanistan is intended to promote freedom and peace, and once again we know the real reasons are about power and wealth.
As we demonstrate our opposition to war and occupation this and every International Women’s Day, we commemorate the heroic actions of the women in Petrograd in 1917 and the women in Tehran in 1979. In doing so, we maintain an unbroken link in the struggle for peace, justice, and equality.
About IWD and Power
International Women’s Day is about power: theirs and ours.
Their power puts courts and legislatures in charge of whether or not a woman can have an abortion. Our power leaves this decision where it belongs: with the woman herself.
Their power dictates a profit-driven “managed care” health care system, at the service of the health insurance industry and transnational pharmaceutical companies. Our power lies in grassroots organizing, for a national system of universal health care under community control.
Their power rests in greedy corporations owned by an ultra-wealthy few that deplete the world’s resources and exploit its people. Our power depends on building a mass movement for a new society rooted in cooperation, equality, and workers’ control.
Their power dumps toxic waste sites in our poorest communities-of-color, and builds dams that destroy the livelihoods of countless farmers in our poorest countries. Our power demands environmental justice.
Their power busts unions. Our power is at our work sites, talking with our co-workers about the connections between workers’ rights, human rights, and women’s rights.
Their power is “welfare reform” that pushes women into low-paid, dead-end jobs, and their children into inadequate child care. Our power is the fight for the creation of good jobs with pay equity and benefits, and the full funding of quality child care, education, and social services.
Their power dupes young men and women into signing away their rights and often their lives for the sake of U.S. imperialism. Our power gets the word out on alternatives to “jobs” in the military and calls for huge cuts in the military budget.
Their power blames hunger and poverty on over-population. Our power blames hunger and poverty on policies and practices consciously designed to protect and enrich the global capitalist class, in particular the agribusiness of the most developed countries.
Their power gets channeled through politicians whose primary allegiance is to the economic requirements of global capitalism. Our power gets exerted through political action completely independent of both mainstream, capitalist parties.
Their power resides in exploitation, inequality, domination, violence, and deception. Our power resides in cooperation, compassion, respectful communication, justice, and collective action.
March 8th — International Women’s Day — is our day. It’s our opportunity to come together to speak out for a world where democratic socialist feminist values and programs enable people to live lives in ways they never will be able to under capitalism and patriarchy. That’s the truth. That’s our power.
On one hand we complain about the influence of money, and on the other we measure the viability of a candidate by how much money they raise.
I am not taking any money from anyone because money doesn’t win elections, people do. I am the independent candidate that will bring an unprecedented level of transparency to City Hall. We should know where our tax dollars are and how they are being spent, and that is exactly what I would do as City Controller.”