a better world
is probable
  1. Solidarity With the Revolutions in Egypt and Across the Middle East!

    February 8, 2011

    On Saturday, February 5th the Southeast Michigan branch of the Organization for a Free Organization, along with the Detroit Socialist Party, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, members of Existence is Resistance and members of the metro-Detroit Arab and Egyptian community held a demonstration in solidarity with the phenomenal Egyptian and Middle Eastern freedom struggle at the Dearborn City Hall.  Organizers estimate that about 60 people fought through a snow storm to stand with the Egyptian people against the US backed Mubarak regime, calling for Mubarak to immediately step down, an end to US military aid to Egypt and Israel and the immediate end to the wars on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Below is are photos from the protest and a joint statement in solidarity with the Egyptian freedom struggle drafted by the Detroit Socialist Party and the Organization for a Free Society.

    The Detroit Socialist Party and the Organization for a Free Society support the struggle in Egypt which has inspired people across the world as they fight passionately to smash the 30-year rule of the US backed dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian people have realized the limits of their government and, no longer satisfied with hollow assurances of democracy and freedom, have taken the first steps towards real democracy and actual freedom. The courage and solidarity with which they have successfully contested the Mubarak dictatorship gives us all hope that democracy and freedom can be attained by and for the power of united poor and working people.

    Mubarak’s authoritarian rule over Egypt (aided at every turn in his pact with US imperialism), has created and maintained a system of economic injustice in which the majority live and work in poverty (if they are permitted to work at all). In the face of widespread social and economic injustice, Mubarak has employed a vast apparatus of secret police goons whose sole task is to maintain the security of the wealthy elite through harassment and intimidation. In addition to the creation of oppressive domestic policies, Mubarak has also assisted in crushing the right to self-determination for neighboring Middle East nations.  This is especially true for the people of Palestine, who’s access through Egypt has been blocked largely as a consequence of Mubarak’s active support for the illegal and cruel Israeli military occupation.  The current struggle in Egypt raises our hope that the people of Egypt will not only shake the foundations of their own oppression, but will strike a blow to the oppression of the Palestinians, the Middle East, and all oppressed and exploited people throughout the world.

    US lawmakers are carefully examining the situation in the Middle East and what it holds for their empire.  President Obama and Secretary Clinton have paid lip service to the “universal rights” of the Egyptians to rebel, while continuing their policy of support for the Mubarak regime and allowing him to use US teargas, tanks and weapons to try and crush the Egyptian people’s struggle.  Therefore, to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people’s fight for a democratic government we are taking to the streets ourselves to end US support of the Mubarak regime and will continue to build the struggle for real democracy in the US.

    As capitalism continues to spiral into crisis, a wave of free-market dogmatism is rushing into the halls of US lawmakers, who are calling for a slash-and-burn spending policy aimed at every public service which intends to help the poor, working class, youth, students, women, people of color and the environment. It seems that war, empire and corporate profits are the only things that aren’t too expensive to our US lawmakers. The present US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the secretive bombing of Pakistan and military aid to Israel, is all based upon the lie that what is presently happening in Egypt and across the Middle East never happens! It is high time that socialists and all those who seek peace and freedom everywhere reinvigorate and rebuild the struggle against Western imperial adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, the Middle East and throughout the world.

    Presently, activists who have been taking responsibility to lead the anti-imperialist struggle are facing government repression tactics in the form of Grand Jury subpoenas, infiltration and spurious criminal charges.  These tactics are aimed at intimidating activists and undermining the ability for Americans to take responsibility for changing their governments policies toward finally reflecting the democratic, peaceful reputation that US political leaders speak of.  We demand that people’s right to resist and protest be respected, and that all repressive tactics to intimidate and undermine global justice activism be brought to an end!

    As revolutionary socialists in the US, we are reminded of the limitations of our own system and are inspired by the passion and determination for real justice in the struggles in Egypt and across the Middle East. We once again bear witness to the eternal truth that working people of all countries have more in common with each other than the regimes ruling over them. We all share the same aspirations to rights that would truly be universal: The right to meaningful work; to a life without poverty; to universal education; and to collectively determining the use of the resources and technology that sustain our lives and our world. In this very real sense, the Egyptians’ struggle is our struggle. Let us extend the most meaningful show of solidarity to them yet, by not simply cheering them on but in taking up their call. With the Egyptians, we too demand no less than the radical emancipation of our own oppressed, our own unemployed, our own impoverished. Working people of all counties, unite! In solidarity with this struggle, and the struggles of the people across the Middle East, we demand an immediate end to all US support to the governments of Egypt and Israel, an end to the wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an end to federal government repression of peace and justice activists.

    WHERE WE STAND:

    • Solidarity with the people’s movement in Egypt. End Mubarack’s 30-year dictatorship!
    • US out of the Middle East. We want an immediate end to all US support to the governments of Egypt and Israel, and an end to the wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    • People’s right to resist and protest be respected, and that all repressive tactics to intimidate and undermine global justice activism be brought to an end!
    • World wide revolution to end all imperialist regimes. We want global solidarity and cooperation! International socialism for the 21st century!

    WHO WE ARE

    THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a radical democracy that places peoples’ lives under their own control – – a non racist, classless, feminist, non-heterosexist socialist society where working people own and control the means of production and distribution, through democratically-controlled committees and assemblies; where full employment is realized for everyone who wants to work; where workers have the right to form unions freely, and to strike and engage in other forms of job actions; and where the production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few. We believe socialism and democracy are one and indivisible. The working class is in a key and central position to fight back against the ruling capitalist class and its power. The working class is the major force worldwide that can lead the way to a socialist future – to a real radical democracy from below. The Socialist Party fights for progressive changes compatible with a socialist future. We support militant working class struggles and electoral action, independent of the capitalist-controlled two-party system, to present socialist alternatives. We strive for democratic social revolutions — radical and fundamental changes in the structure and nature of economic, political and social relations — to abolish the power now exercised by the few who control the economy and the government. The Socialist Party is a democratic, multi-tendency organization, with structure and practices visible and accessible to all members. Join Today!

    THE ORGANIZATION FOR A FREE SOCIETY envisions a world characterized by solidarity, equity, self-management, diversity and ecological balance. We are committed to building a movement for social liberation. We aim to transform the governing values and institutions in all spheres of social life. Through study and struggle, we have come to understand that systems of oppression condition our lives by mutually defining and reproducing our social relationships. We work to break down all systems of inequality and injustice and to create a participatory, democratic, and egalitarian society. We are dedicated organizers from diverse backgrounds who work within grassroots movements to build, take, and decentralize power in society. We believe in raising consciousness and awareness through education. We seek to build alternative institutions that challenge and undermine exploitation and domination, and instead embody in the present the values of the future. It is essential for us to live and organize as close to our vision as possible and to transform ourselves as part of the struggle for a free society.

  2. Capitalism is the Crisis! Socialism is the Alternative! Build it Now!

    January 25, 2011

    Detroit socialists march together on MLK Day, inspired by growing efforts toward socialist unity.

    “Austerity and occupation will never bring liberation!”
    “Nationalize the Big 3! Workers’ control of the factories!”
    “Capitalist crisis! What’s the solution? World-wide revolution!”

    If you were attending this year’s auto industry spectacle, the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, you would’ve heard these chants coming from the streets of the Motor City as the annual Martin Luther King Day march passed by Cobo Hall.  The march usually passes by Cobo during the Auto Show, however, this year, several socialist groups and individuals marched together as a contingent, with the aim of building regional socialist cooperation, and to raise the profile of the socialist solution to the merging economic, ecological and international crises.

    Every year on Martin Luther King Day, as in many cities across the US, Detroiters hold a rally and march commemorating the legacy of Dr. King.  The rally and march are typically very progressive, emphasizing the anti-imperialist and social justice aspects of Dr. King’s work. Many of the people involved in organizing the first march several years ago are socialists and set out from the beginning to have a strong Left tone to the occasion.

    Inspired by growing interest in socialism as well as recent successes in building socialist cooperation, local socialists came together this year to march as a bloc.  The depression, along with right wing red baiting, have been piqued many people’s interest in what socialists have to say.  To maximize the advantages of this opportunity, socialists across the country have been building efforts to increase unity and cooperation. In Ohio, so-called “Buckeye Socialist” and labor leader Dan La Botz ran a strong Senate campaign that brought together socialists, and educated thousands across the state about the possibilities of socialism.  La Botz’s campaign resulted in over 25,000 votes for a Socialist US Senator and the construction of the Buckeye Socialist Network.  Other efforts include the Socialist Contingent at the October One Nation rally in Washington, D.C., which brought together hundreds of socialists from across the country.  Efforts locally have also been building a stronger atmosphere of socialist cooperation, including regular facilitated meetings among socialist cadre to discuss local and national strategy and analysis to help strengthen socialist organizing.

    Efforts like those listed above are urgently needed if we are to ensure that the converging economic, ecological and international crises are exposed, that an alternative pathway from oppression and exploitation is illuminated, and that the Left become a relevant force once again.  This urgency led to issuing the call for forming a socialist bloc this year, first issued by members of the metro-area branch of the Organization for a Free Society (http://afreesociety.org).  The call was sent to several area revolutionary socialist and anarchist groups including Solidarity (http://www.solidarity-us.org), the Socialist Party of Michigan (http://www.spmichigan.org), Workers’ World Party (http://www.workers.org) and more.  The call was enthusiastically answered.  Members of the march’s steering committee were also very supportive of the formation of a socialist contingent.

    The call asked socialists to come together under the banner of “socialism for the 21st century,” a popular phrase among Leftists across the globe, especially in Venezuela.  This was partly an act of solidarity with the revolutionaries of Latin America, but also a call to revitalize the socialist tradition and reinvigorate the revolutionary imagination – to clarify the vision of a classless, socialist society and the pathway to it. The call also relevantly emphasized Dr. King’s own socialist and anti-imperialist sympathies, especially from his Riverside Church speech on Vietnam, where King said that,

    “If we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

    The rally on Martin Luther King Day had already set a radical tone. Every year the rally is at Detroit’s Central United Methodist church whose congregation has a long history of peace and justice activism in the city. The church’s Reverend Edwin Rowe spoke first, giving a fierce speech calling for economic justice and democracy.  Reverand Rowe was followed by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee veteran Willie “Mukasa” Ricks, whose passionate (to say the least) speech set the stage for a very energetic march.

    All members of the socialist contingent were encouraged to show up to the church early to help prepare for the rally and march.  During the rally, contingent members were helping seat attendants, handing out programs, and later handing picket signs to eager marchers.  As marchers left the sanctuary, contingent participants were being handed pieces of red felt to safety-pin to their coats and jackets.

    As the march began, members of the contingent began to chant, “Austerity and occupation will never bring liberation! That’s bullshit! Get off it! The system is for profit!”  Members of the contingent held signs addressing a diverse range of specific issues, but all related to the need for radical social change and marched behind the banner of “Socialism for the 21st Century.”  Participants called for an end to the illegal, US backed siege on Palestine and for the immediate withdrawal of US and all occupying forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Signs and chants largely focused on the growing call for austerity measures being pushed by both GOP and Democratic lawmakers in hopes of reducing national and state budget deficits, and ending the capitalist crisis.  Signs read: “Capitalism is the crisis,” “No cuts for capitalism,” “Workers pay while corporations play.”

    Finally, marchers also called explicitly for socialist solutions to the capitalist crisis.  As marchers passed by the International Auto Show (which was framed as a “comeback” for American automakers, but it is everything but for their workers), the socialist contingent began chanting “Nationalize the Big 3! Workers’ control of the factories!” while marchers held signs reading “Socialism is the alternative – Build it now,” “Socialism = Economic Democracy For All!” or “The People Should Plan the Economy.”

    Participants in the march and in the contingent were excited by the energy and turnout of the socialist bloc.  Individuals attending the march approached contingent organizers as marchers reconvened at the Central United Methodist asking for the red patches that socialist marchers were wearing.

    The broad goals of the contingent were met, and further actions such as this one should be taken in the near future to continue to build regional cooperation among revolutionaries and unity.  Efforts at building unity however, shouldn’t just mean that we periodically march together from time to time.  Socialists here in the Motor City, and all over the country, should be taking practical action together, while also engaging in spirited and dynamic debates and discussions about how to best reinvigorate the socialist movement, the nature of our society and contemporary crises, and the visionary goals of our growing movement.  Struggling over our differences while taking action together is the best way for us to grow our movement, fight the right, and build toward socialism.