Save the date! Socialism 2013 will be in Chicago, June 27–30
Registration will be open in the next couple of days. In the meantime, check out We Are Many (www.wearemany.org) for talks from previous years’ conferences.
“Millions of people have come to the understanding that capitalism is no longer working. From extreme weather caused by climate change and the relentless drive to slash workers’ living standards to the epidemic of police brutality, the signs of a society in crisis are all around us. The question isn’t whether society has run amok; the question is what to do about it.
The Socialism 2013 conference will bring together hundreds of activists from across the U.S., and around the world, to tackle the many discussions and debates that confront anyone interested in changing the world. How can women’s liberation and LGBT equality be won? What will it take to win real justice for immigrant workers? Can organized labor make a comeback? What lessons can be learned from the revolutions shaking the Middle East? Why is Marxism relevant today?
Featured speakers include teachers on the front lines of the fight to defend public education, anti-racist fighters against police brutality and the New Jim Crow, trade unionists, Marxist authors, radical historians, and much more. Start making your plans to attend.
Visit WeAreMany.org to view and listen to all of the meetings from last year’s conference!”
Save the date! Socialism 2013 will be in Chicago, June 27–30
Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless” manufacturing, offered everybody from Silicon Valley tech gurus to Chinese farm girls ample opportunities to get rich. Asia in the latter decades of the 20th century witnessed perhaps the most remarkable record of poverty alleviation in human history — all thanks to the very capitalist tools of trade, entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Capitalism appeared to be fulfilling its promise — to uplift everyone to new heights of wealth and welfare.
Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.
A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right. It is sadly all too easy to find statistics that show the rich are getting richer while the middle class and poor are not. A September study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington noted that the median annual earnings of a full-time, male worker in the U.S. in 2011, at $48,202, were smaller than in 1973. Between 1983 and 2010, 74% of the gains in wealth in the U.S. went to the richest 5%, while the bottom 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. No wonder some have given the 19th century German philosopher a second look. In China, the Marxist country that turned its back on Marx, Yu Rongjun was inspired by world events to pen a musical based on Marx’s classic Das Kapital. “You can find reality matches what is described in the book,” says the playwright.
That’s not to say Marx was entirely correct. His “dictatorship of the proletariat” didn’t quite work out as planned. But the consequence of this widening inequality is just what Marx had predicted: class struggle is back. Workers of the world are growing angrier and demanding their fair share of the global economy. From the floor of the U.S. Congress to the streets of Athens to the assembly lines of southern China, political and economic events are being shaped by escalating tensions between capital and labor to a degree unseen since the communist revolutions of the 20th century. How this struggle plays out will influence the direction of global economic policy, the future of the welfare state, political stability in China, and who governs from Washington to Rome. What would Marx say today? “Some variation of: ‘I told you so,’” says Richard Wolff, a Marxist economist at the New School in New York. “The income gap is producing a level of tension that I have not seen in my lifetime.”
Malala Yousafzai, activist for women’s rights and socialism
Saturday, April 20, 2013
SATURDAY, APRIL 20TH, 2013, NEW YORK CITY
schedule, presentations and workshops in formation
To endorse and participate in conference planning, contact Chris, email@example.com or Michael, firstname.lastname@example.org
The extreme weather of 2012 and recent news that climate change is worse than previously thought have made it a front-page issue again. The Obama campaign’s silence on the issue and worldwide government paralysis have added to activists’ frustration and fueled participation in 350.org’s historic February 17th demonstration and campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns. This has also opened the door to a more radical analysis of global warming and environmental destruction.
For a radicalizing and substantial fringe of people touched by the ideas of Occupy, an ongoing economic crisis and growing ecological crisis, they recognize that it’s not enough to limit your analysis to only fossil fuel corporations (though that’s a good start) or absolve politicians based on the lobbying power of those particular companies.
And if that’s the case, then we need far bigger goals than just limiting their investment opportunities with college endowments (though again, it’s a good place to start). Ecosocialists must quickly offer a more holistic explanation that centers round the operation of capitalism and therefore helps to explain why Obama isn’t our ally and why we need an entirely different society.
Everything about the world is driving people toward a socialist critique of the ecological crisis and the need to form alliances with workers to take on the system, rather than Democrats and billionaires.
To that end, the Ecosocialist Contingent is proposing the Ecosocialist Conference on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in New York City. We are looking for groups who agree with the Ecosocialist Statement to endorse, build and participate.
(Statement here: http://ecologicalsocialists.com/about/)
The proposed conference, like the February 17th action, represents a move to a more collaborationist left. We hope this conference and this network of left groups and publications grow into something visible enough to attract thousands of new activists towards socialism and powerful enough to push the climate justice movement toward revolutionary conclusions.
Please check back soon for more details.
For more info, contact Chris, email@example.com or Michael, firstname.lastname@example.org
Black Power Revolt of the 1960s: A Black Panther Speaks
Boston, MA, 7 March 2013
Aaron Dixon, former Black Panther Captain and Haymarket author of My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain
Aaron Dixon is one of the co-founders of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He has since founded Central House, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for youth, and was one of the cofounders of the Cannon House, a senior assisted-living facility. Aaron ran for US Senate on the Green Party ticket in 2006.
(Video) Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez calls George W Bush “the devil” in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (Sept. 2006)
Come on, though, this was AWESOME! I especially like the intonations and emphases of the woman doing the translating …
The free market is in itself neither self-correcting nor responsive to the needs of humanity.
The history of the free market is slavery, war, oppression, genocide, child labor, industrial hell, ecological catastrophe, sweatshop labor, all of which has immensely benefited those few who have dominated the market, i.e., control capital.
The only way that humanity has been able to wrest anything worthwhile out of the wretched system is in the degree to which workers and oppressed people have fought against the logic of the market, with its “freedom” for the wealthy elite to make a profit without consequence or accountability.
Thus, a single mother with two children should be provided MORE (not equal) wealth than a childless white male working a yuppie job. Providing equivalent amounts of wealth to a disabled retail worker as to a nondisabled lawyer is actually, in practice, highly unequal. The former should have access to more wealth than the latter owing to the individual differences in the demands of their life-circumstances.
As Marx wrote, communists should inscribe upon their banner, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”
A society organized around such a principle remains today the purview of aspiration, for the capitalist societies of modern history have proven unwilling — and the so-called “Communist” societies of recent history have proven either unwilling or unable — to fully introduce such a radically just and democratic notion into human affairs.
A friend responded to this:
“In this world then, what incentive is there to work toward being a lawyer? I mean, 8 years of rigorous schooling and sexual responsibility so you can earn less than an uneducated mother with 4 kids who can’t grasp the idea of contraception? You would find in practice that the ABILITIES of each would magically diminish while their NEEDS would inexplicably skyrocket.”
To which my response is:
i actually think the world would be a lot better off with far fewer lawyers. aside from that, i think that anyone who becomes a doctor or professor or whatever exclusively for the money needs to be done away with anyway, and make room for someone who does it because they enjoy it and would be happy making a modest amount of money doing it (fortunately, i know that such people exist, having worked for 6 years in the health care sector).
on the other hand, think about all the people who work hard at important jobs such as nurses, teachers, public transport, etc., who get paid shit. these people would actually see an increase in the compensation they receive for their work under a more just society, while those who engage in truly pernicious labor today yet receive lots of money — such as lawyers, advertisers, stock brokers, etc., should be compensated far far less. if this discourages people from getting into such industries, then all the better!
Despite the swipe at “the dreaded socialism” in this video, still useful in explaining why socialism is so necessary owing to the plutocratic tendencies inherent to capitalism.
The issue of wealth inequality across the United States is well known, but this video shows you the extent of that imbalance in dramatic and graphic fashion.
The video, which started going viral on Friday and whose traffic continues to climb on YouTube — reflects the facts as seen from many different sources. We present it without comment, letting you, our readers, be the judge.
Capitalism Is Killing the Planet: How Can We Fight Back (by WeAreManyMedia)
This is a recording of a panel discussion held in Washington, DC the evening prior to the February 2013 Forward on Climate Rally, a mass demonstration against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The event was sponsored by the Ecosocialist contingent to the rally, a coalition of socialist organizations which marched together at the demonstration to make the case for a united and independent grassroots movement that does not look toward the Democratic Party for solutions or help to the climate crisis. For more information about the contingent, visit this website: http://ecologicalsocialists.com/
Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party presidential candidate
Chris Williams, activist and author of Ecology and Socialism
Nick Davenport, activist with Solidarity
In November 1919, two years after the Russian Revolution and the establishment of a workers’ state, Marxists Internet Archive.looked back on the gains, particularly regarding the liberation of women, in this article for Pravda. This text is republished from the
The bourgeoisie and its supporters accuse us of violating democracy. We maintain that the Soviet revolution has given an unprecedented stimulus to the development of democracy both in depth and breadth, of democracy, moreover, distinctly for the toiling masses, who had been oppressed under capitalism; consequently, of democracy for the vast majority of the people, of socialist democracy (for the toilers) as distinguished from bourgeois democracy (for the exploiters, the capitalists, the rich).
Who is right?
… There cannot be, nor is there nor will there ever be “equality” between the oppressed and the oppressors, between the exploited and the exploiters. There cannot be, nor is there nor will there ever be real “freedom” as long as there is no freedom for women from the privileges which the law grants to men, as long as there is no freedom for the workers from the yoke of capital, and no freedom for the toiling peasants from the yoke of the capitalists, landlords and merchants.
… In the course of two years Soviet power in one of the most backward countries of Europe did more to emancipate women and to make their status equal to that of the “strong” sex than all the advanced, enlightened, “democratic” republics of the world did in the course of 130 years.
Enlightenment, culture, civilization, liberty—in all capitalist, bourgeois republics of the world all these fine words are combined with extremely infamous, disgustingly filthy and brutally coarse laws in which woman is treated as an inferior being, laws dealing with marriage rights and divorce, with the inferior status of a child born out of wedlock as compared with that of a “legitimate” child, laws granting privileges to men, laws that are humiliating and insulting to women.
The yoke of capital, the tyranny of “sacred private property,” the despotism of philistine stupidity, the greed of petty proprietors—these are the things that prevented the most democratic bourgeois republics from infringing upon those filthy and infamous laws.
On February 17, tens of thousands of people will gather at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the “Forward on Climate Rally”, called “to tell Barack Obama it’s time to lead in the fight against climate change, beginning with the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.” From the fight against fracking to demands for indigenous rights to the struggle to stop the catastrophic climate change, activists will send a message to the Obama administration that the time has come for real action on environmental issues.
An Ecosocialist Contingent—sponsored by Solidarity and the International Socialist Organization (the publisher of SocialistWorker.org), with an endorsement list in formation—will be a part of this historic event and offer a focal point for those interested in building an independent, grassroots fight for a world where human needs are a priority over profit and corporate greed. In this statement, organizers of the contingent explain what they are fighting for.