Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Come out on New Year's Day for our fundraiser:

January 1, 2011
The Buccaneer Lounge
1368 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104

bands will start at 10 sharp

DJ Bennett will play requests for donations/feel free to bring your own music.
There will be homemade vegan cookies!

Let's build a socialist future together in Memphis.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed?

Georgia inmates' refusal to work in demand for humane treatment receives scant media coverage.

Mark Anthony Neal, TheLoop21

In September of 1971, more than a thousand prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica , NY revolted in what eventually became one of the most famous prison standoffs in American history. Before the insurrection was bloodily quelled on orders of then New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the prisoners demanded an improvement to the conditions that they were forced to live. In the midst of the Black Power Movement, Attica became a lasting symbol for demands for human and civil rights, even among the incarcerated.

In the spirit of Attica, nearly 40 years later, prisoners at six prisons in Georgia, organized a non-violent labor strike to demand better conditions for themselves. Specifically the inmates demanded a living wage for their work, educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, opportunities for self-improvement (rehabilitation), access to their families and just parole decisions.

Perhaps even more remarkable than the strike, in which inmates shared information via text messaging on phones bought from prison guards, is that the strike went virtually unnoticed by mainstream American media. That so many chose to ignore what has been called the largest strike of its nature in American history, speak volumes to how Americans continue to think of the American Prison System or what scholars and activists have more commonly referred to as the “Prison Industrial Complex.” The inmates themselves have another word for their reality: “Slavery.”

Read the entire story at TheLoop21...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Crisis and Obama's Decline

The Crisis and Obama's Decline

by Rick Wolff - 

The economic crisis that Obama rode to victory in 2008 also rode him down in the 2010 elections. Obama and his economic advisors badly "mismanaged the crisis." While the Obama team seems to have learned little from its failure, we need to draw its lessons if we are to reduce the costly social consequences of that defeat.

Obama's administration decided to handle the severe crisis inherited from Bush by following standard Keynesian economics. It undertook massive new spending. First it bailed out banks and other large corporations (AIG in insurance, GM in automobiles, etc.). Then it "stimulated" the economy by boosting spending on goods and services by all levels of government. Standard Keynesian practice also includes not taxing corporations and the richest 10% of US taxpayers to raise the money for all that new spending. Instead, the government borrows that money to cover the difference -- the deficit -- between tax receipts and increased spending. (Super Keynesians like Paul Krugman want more spending and thus bigger deficits.)

No doubt Obama's team worried that large US corporations and the 10% richest individuals would react badly if they were taxed more to enable Washington to spend more. However much they contributed to the crisis and however much they benefit from government spending, corporations and the rich want others to pay for that spending. When have those two groups ever willingly behaved otherwise? They prefer lending to Washington over being taxed by Washington. So the Obama team spent more by borrowing more (much of it from the same corporations and rich people that it had not taxed).

Whenever governments run deficits by borrowing, corporations and the rich become concerned about a resulting problem: who will be taxed to pay the interest on the government's borrowings and to pay back the lenders? To make sure it would not be them, corporations and the rich shifted a significant amount of their political and financial support to Republicans for the mid-term elections. That shift aimed to ensure that no future taxation of business and the rich would force them to pay for deficits. In a capitalist crisis, that's how economic policy works when no organized opposition exists to prevent it.

As 2009 passed into 2010 and government deficits ballooned, the worries of corporate America and the rich deepened. They saw unemployment rise and stay around 10% and a flood of foreclosures eject millions from their homes. They saw Obama losing support from his electoral base as economic conditions kept deteriorating. They feared that he might be tempted (politically compelled) to regain his base's support by taxing corporations and the rich rather than middle and poorer citizens. Then some Obama remarks blamed Wall Street for helping to cause the crisis and criticized the high executive salaries in corporations receiving government aid. In response, a significant portion of corporations and the rich decided to block Obama from moving any further in such directions.

The way to do that was clear: help Republicans. They reliably oppose taxes on corporations and the rich by blocking all tax increases. Corporations especially interested in preventing Obama from other efforts to recoup his base -- such as regulating energy companies after the Gulf of Mexico disaster -- helped the Tea Party's total demonization of Obama and Washington. Media exposure for the Tea Party -- its activities and candidates -- became extraordinary and often quite favorable. Media attitudes toward Obama became much less sympathetic. Funds shifted to Republicans and lobbying against Obama's legislative efforts ramped up.

Obama's team ignored the classic flaw in Keynesian deficit spending policy: underestimating the political struggles over taxes. Middle and lower income individuals were desperate to ease the burdens of the recession on them, while corporations and the rich had no intention of accepting such burdens. As the crisis persisted (no drops in unemployment, foreclosures, job deterioration, etc.) and deficits soared, Obama's base felt increasingly betrayed as very little improved for them. Meanwhile, corporations and the rich shifted support toward Republicans in significant numbers. By mid-2010, it was already too late for Obama. The six months before the November elections were, for many Democrats, like watching an approaching car wreck from inside the car yet powerless to stop it.

Had Obama pursued a different set of policies from the beginning, he might at least have had a chance to avoid the November 2010, electoral results. At the peak of his popularity and support early in 2009, he might have used them to blunt the resistance of corporations and the rich to pay for the increased spending needed to overcome the crisis (and thereby reduce or eliminate the deficits). Only a massive, popular mobilization could frighten (persuade) them that paying all sorts of taxes and other costs of government programs was preferable to risking a mass anger and opposition that might demand far more basic social change at the expense of corporations and the rich. After all, it was massive popular mobilization that enabled FDR to do some of that in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Nowadays, when no trade union upsurge nor sizeable socialist and communist parties exist to mobilize a left opposition, Obama himself would have had to help build one to avoid the defeat he suffered this November.

Obama missed his chance. His advisors, said to include "experts on the Great Depression," misunderstand its political economy, consequently misadvised Obama, and thereby produced a political defeat. A new political formation able and willing to mobilize a majority around its interests is required. It could win a possible exit from the economic crisis by taxing corporations and the rich to enable increased government spending. That modest program would reduce or avoid deficits. Middle and lower income people would then face fewer or no cuts in public employment and services and no need for tax increases. With that program and with government spending focused on jobs and affordable housing, Obama might also have developed into a popular hero along the lines of FDR rather than become a shaky first-term President.

Rick Wolff is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and also a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He is the author of New Departures in Marxian Theory (Routledge, 2006) among many other publications. Check out Rick Wolff’s documentary film on the current economic crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, at www.capitalismhitsthefan.com. Visit Wolff's Web site at www.rdwolff.com, and order a copy of his new book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do about It.

Red State Podcast: Episode Three

Listen to episode three of our Socialist Party of Kansas comrades' Red State Podcast.

This episode highlights perspectives rarely displayed by the media, including a constructive conversation with a Tea Party activist, a lecture on the degeneration of Soviet state capitalism in the 1990s, a discussion with Dan LaBotz on his successful campaign in Ohio, and a speech on the continuing relevance of Karl Marx given by Brian Jones of the ISO.

The Red State Podcast moves beyond slogans, soundbites and sectarianism to provide compelling political commentary.

Check out the Sunflower Socialists blog...


Press Release

Thousands of Georgia Prisoners Continue Peaceful Protest
Georgia Department of Corrections Responds with Violence

December 10, 2010…Atlanta, Georgia

Contacts: Elaine Brown, 404-542-1211, sistaelaine@gmail.com;
Valerie Porter, 229-931-5348, lashan123@att.net.

Yesterday morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners refused to work, stopped all other activities and locked down in their cells in a peaceful protest for their human rights. The December 9 Strike was the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States.

Thousands of men, from Augusta, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, went on strike to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights. They have set forth the following demands:


Despite that the prisoners’ protest was non-violent, the DOC violently attempted to force the men back to work—claiming it was “lawful” to order prisoners to work without pay, in defiance of the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery. In Augusta State Prison, six or seven inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs for several men, one man beaten beyond recognition. At Telfair, the Tactical Squad trashed all the property in inmate cells. At Macon State, the Tactical Squad menaced the men all day, removing some to the “hole,” and the warden ordered the heat turned off, and today, the hot water. Still, men at Macon, Smith, Augusta, Hays and Telfair State Prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike, one inmate stating, “We’re going to ride it until the wheel falls off. We want our human rights.”

When the strike began, prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!”

Read more from the Black Agenda Report...

Read more from the New York Times...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ohio Campaign "A Great Success"

from Socialist Webzine:

“The Socialist Party campaign for the U.S. Senate in Ohio was a great success. We won more than 25,000 votes for socialism in Ohio,” said Dan La Botz the 65-year old school teacher, writer and activist and the party’s candidate for Senator. "We didn't win in traditional terms, but this was not a traditional campaign. The corporate parties want working people to wake up think about politics only on election day, and then they want them to go back to sleep. This campaign was about creating an ongoing movement to build power to transform our society.”

Explaining his satisfaction with the outcome of the election, La Botz said, “These were 25,000 votes for ending corporate domination of our society, for ending capitalism’s booms and busts, and for creating economic security and a full-employment economy. These were votes for ending the use of coal and stopping mountain-top removal—while providing support for miners and power plant workers during a period of transition. These were votes for peace, votes to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan now. These were votes to tax the rich to pay for health, education, transportation and housing. We are very happy with the result.”

Only Socialist Party presidential candidates Eugene V. Debs in the period from 1900s to 1920s and Norman Thomas in the period from the 1920s to the 1940s won more votes for socialism in Ohio than La Botz.

Asked why the Socialist Party did so well in the election, compared to other socialist candidates in the past, La Botz said, “First, we’ve are in a terrible economic crisis and people are looking for alternatives. Then the Tea Party attack on Obama led to a great national debate about socialism. We were able to explain to Ohio voters that democratic socialism means the American people n needs of working people rather than on the needs of corporate CEOs, corporate boards, and their investors. Socialism is about rebuilding the labor unions and social movements so that working people have the power to push aside the corporate parties and run the country in the interest of the majority.”

La Botz said the party had used its resources wisely. “We used the $10,000 we raised to travel 15,000 miles around Ohio, to distribute tens of thousands of pieces of literature, to talk to thousands of Ohioans about socialism. We were able to do this because we had built an organization in cities and on college campuses throughout the state. We brought together senior citizens, working age adults, and college students. Our organization was made up of peace activists, LGBT activists, environmental activists and labor union members from teachers to teamsters. We united half a dozen small socialist groups in this campaign,” La Botz explained.

“Many people recognize that the Republicans and Democrats, representing the corporations as they do, cannot resolve the country’s problems in the interest of working people. My Socialist Party campaign was part of a long term project to build a working peoples’ party in this country. Our efforts will in the long run coalesce with those of others around the country to build a working class socialist movement. We aim to turn the country upside down, to put working people and the poor on top. And we’re going to do it.”

“The campaign is over, but the struggle continues,” said the former steelworker, truck driver and college professor. “We will continue to organize to fight for jobs, for a green economy, for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and for equality and justice for all. We will continue to resist the scapegoating of Latino immigrants, Muslims, gays, and African Americans. We will continue to fight the corporations and government policies. We continue to operate on the theory that working people make this country run, and that working people should run the country.”

Dan La Botz won almost half his votes in Ohio’s three largest cities:
Urban area
COLUMBUS - 4,257
DAYTON - 1,706
AKRON - 1,527
TOLEDO - 1,488
CANTON - 943

Dan La Botz for U.S. Senate—Ohio
DanLaBotz.com // contact@danlabotz.com // P.O. Box 19136, Cincinnati OH 45210-99

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prof. Richard Wolff: The Fed and the Great Recession That Won't Go Away

November 8, 2010


Conservatives in the US worry about the inflation potential in their ideological rush to reduce government. They pronounce homilies about inflation’s dangers in order to reduce the size of government. By cutting government spending – and thereby forcing more reliance on the private capitalist sectors – it will be possible to cut deficits, thereby reduce Treasury bond issuance, and thus relieve the Federal Reserve of the need to create money to finance the deficits. Conservatives downplay the risk of worsening unemployment by an abiding faith in the private sector’s capacity to hire everyone willing to work.

Liberals in the US worry about unemployment in their ideological rush to reduce the risk of worker-based anti-capitalist upsurges. They pronounce homilies on the costs of unemployment in order to support government expenditures aimed at reducing unemployment. To appease the rich and big business, they do not propose taxing them to raise the funds for government employment-generating programs. Instead they advocate borrowing those funds (chiefly from the rich and big business) to enable federal government budget deficits. This certainly pleases the rich and big business, since they prefer buying Treasury bonds (lending to the federal government at interest) to being taxed by that government. Liberals downplay inflation risk by reminding everyone that the Federal Reserve has tools to reduce as well as increase the money supply.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't Mourn, Organize!

The 2010 Election was a major setback for Obama and the Democratic Party, but it may be good for the progressive left.
The failure of Obama and the Democrats to push a progressive agenda (e.g single-payer Medicare for All) and escalation o the war in Afghanistan suppressed younger and more progressive voters.
But the Tea Party and the Republican Party are still unpopular and do not have popular support for their radical agenda of austerity and cuts to social programs like education and Social Security.
John Boehner and the Republican Congress will soon loser favor with the Tea Party and the American people.
The progressive/left must learn from the Tea Party and  build a movement for a viable third party.
As labor organizer Joe Hill said before he was killed, "Don't Mourn, Organize!"

Republican Blowout, But NO Conservative Mandate

It Didn't have to Be this Way--Progressives Must Be Bolder

7 Things Progressives Need to Keep in Mind about the "Bloodbath"

Comeback of the Republicans and the Rise of the Tea Party-Result of Democrats' Failure

Blame Obama's Phony Populism

The Myths They'll Spin About Election 2010

Norman Solomon, Back to Basics

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vote Socialist!

Dan La Botz, Socialist Party USA candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, has been endorsed by Cincinnati weekly newspaper, City Beat:

"The former history and Latin American studies professor, who currently teaches Spanish at Cincinnati Waldorf School, is running what he calls 'a campaign of justice' as the Socialist Party candidate. La Botz supports radical democracy, the democratic control of the economy by the majority of Americans instead of by a small minority." Read more in City Beat.

Dan calling for full employment and an end to the wars at a NAACP forum:

The SP-USA currently has fourteen candidates running for local, state, and national offices.

Check out some of our other candidates:

Diana Demers for University of Michigan Board of Regents:
"In contrast to the corporate management credentials touted by each of my Democratic and Republican opponents, my entry into this race comes with firsthand knowledge and experience of the immense struggles facing workers and students throughout our state from skyrocketing tuition costs, mountainous student loan debt, and the increasingly standard hiring model of cyclical ‘temporary track’ employment."

Jane Newton for U.S. House of Representatives, Vermont:
What do your grandkids think about having a socialist granny?
They think it's great. They're not embarrassed by it. They're proud of it. They come and tell everybody I got arrested. (From the Seven Days Staff Blog)

Todd Vachon for U.S. Senate, Connecticut:
Endorsed by A Few Queers on the Prowl blog: "Let’s really vote this time for what we believe in not because we are scared that one mad dog will win if we don’t vote for the other."

Peter Diamondstone for U.S. Senate, Vermont:
Does Sen. Bernie Sanders act like a socialist?
I see him as a war criminal. Everybody in the U.S. House and Senate who has voted to finance the military in Afghanistan and Iraq is in my view a war criminal. People always point to Bush but Bush is just a figurehead. He doesn't have a tank. He doesn't have a gun. He doesn't have nothing until Congress gives it to him. And Sanders has always said that his ideal of socialism is Sweden, and to me Sweden is as capitalist as the United States it's just got a little better welfare system. (From the Seven Days Staff Blog)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Ordinance Back on the Table

Once again, the City Council is contemplating the necessity for modifying its nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity under its protection. This time, Councilmember Shea Flinn is proposing the ordinance and requesting that a study be done on discrimination in the city government to find out if there is really a "problem."

Read more... Council to revisit gender discrimination

No doubt that even if those against the ordinance allow a study to be conducted, they will diminish the findings no matter what they reveal. It is unlikely that this well-intentioned study will be able to measure the effects of insidious institutional homophobia on hiring, firing and promotional practices, much less on the effects of socially acceptable and deeply-rooted bigotry in the work environment of LGBTQI city employees.

Although it is obviously not enough to "legalize gay," a failure to provide these very basic legal protections lends legitimacy to anti-LGBTQI civil rights activists and further isolates an already stigmatized minority. While the entire country is focused on the recent spate of highly publicized teen suicides--which is certainly not a new phenomenon--the City Council needs to show that yes, it does "get better," even in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Protest to Mark Nine Years of War in Afghanistan

Thursday October 7 • 5:00-6:30pm • Corner of Poplar and Highland

MEMPHIS -- The Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, the Progressive Student Alliance of the University of Memphis, the Memphis Socialist Party, and other concerned residents from across the city will gather on Thursday, October 7th to protest the immoral and unnecessary war in Afghanistan on the 9th anniversary of our invasion.

While our government fails to provide adequate jobs, homes, education and healthcare for the people of this country, the cost of our futile imperialist adventure in Afghanistan has exceeded $1 trillion. "It's outrageous that millions go jobless at home while billions are handed over to war profiteers," says Jeffrey Lichtenstein, a member of the Progressive Student Alliance.

The staggering economic cost of the war is dwarfed by its devastating social cost. More than 100,000 Afghan civilians and 2,130 coalition soldiers have been killed during the 3,285 days of Operation Enduring Freedom. Violence has increased dramatically following Obama's surge and continues to escalate. Our drone attacks and preparations for an indefinite military occupation have not improved security in the region but have instead contributed to its deterioration. Neal Gammill, Air Force veteran, explains, "I've been to Afghanistan; the people of Afghanistan need jobs, they need schools, they need infrastructure. They do not need more bombs, more troops, more U.S. interventionism."

Groups of concerned Memphians will gather to denounce the occupation of Afghanistan and call for an immediate end to this racist war for profit. We remember that OUR fight is against racism, unemployment, and poverty here at home. We call all residents of Memphis to join us and demand that not one more life—civilian or soldier—be brutally squandered in our names.

What: This Thursday concerned citizens from across the mid-south will come together to protest the ninth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and call for an end to the occupation.

When: October 7, 2010 • 5:00 - 6:30pm

Where: Corner of Poplar and Highland

"Operation Recovery": On 9th Anniversary of Afghan War, Veteran-Led Campaign Seeks to End Deployment of Traumatized Soldiers

Saturday, October 2, 2010

SPUSA at One Nation Together March 10-2-2010

My partner Glenn and I joined the Socialist Party USA and the Socialist Contingency at the One Nation Together March Oct. 2. It was great to finally meed the national SPUSA officers and socialist comrades from across the country.
And I finally got to meet David McReynolds!

Some of my highlights:
Driving up to the march I got into a discussion with an older white man (in his 50s) who worked in a TN rest stop. When I told him I was going to the march, he said he thought everyone should have healthcare and that he worked two jobs and had no health insurance. He even agreed that we should expand Medicare to cover everyone. This from a working class man who I was afraid to discuss my politics with because I assumed he was a right-wing conservative.

I also ran into Lt. Dan Choi, who was kicked out of the military for being gay, and he was marching with a group of young LGBT people holding signs with the pictures of the 5 young gay males who have committed suicide in the past weeek.

I got into an argument with a couple of African-American women who objected to referring to gay rights as "civil rights." They support equal rights for gays but not gay marriage and they started throwing the Bible ad religion at us. They walked off, but we had a better interaction with an older black man and his younger daughter (I think). They admitted their was a lot of homophobia (they used that word) in the black community, but the man said he told his daughter he would rather she was with a woman that loved her than a man that abused her.

The crowd was incredibly diverse, unlike the Beck-Palin neo-Nazi rally last month. Lots of discussions about issues and the upcoming elections....

We marched with the Socialists and carried signs and chanted slogans critical of Obama and the Democrats, like "Obama is No Socialist, But We Are, But We Are!"

I admit I was wrong about the Socialist Contingency and now think it was a good idea, even though I didn't agree with everything some of the other groups believe or advocate. We agree on most things, and the big things that matter--the need to replace capitalism with democratic socialism! (We just don't all agree on how to get there.)

Here are some pics I took at the March/Rally

Here are more SPUSA Pics from One Nation Together

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Memphis Emergency Protest: Stop FBI Raids and Harassment

Memphis Emergency Protest: Stop FBI Raids and Harassment
- Wednesday, September 29
- noon-1pm
- 167 North Main St. (near the federal building)

From the facebook event page:
Concerned citizens of Memphis condemn the FBI raids on anti-war and solidarity activists on Friday, September 24th, and denounce them as part of this government's ongoing assault on civil liberties and its campaign of intimidation against activists speaking out for freedom and self-determination.

We urge Memphians concerned by this outrageous fishing expedition to offer their full support to the targeted activists, and to oppose the criminalization of dissent, by gathering outside the Memphis federal building at 12 noon, on Wednesday September 29th.

* Stop the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.

* Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, birthday cards, cell phones, family photos, papers, documents, etc.

* End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.




Thursday, September 16, 2010

Help Mobilize the SP for the One Nation Working Together March!


In the past the Party has asked members which type of fundraiser they are most
likely to support. The overwhelming response was for special fundraiser with
specific purposes and for specific issues/events. Over the last few months,
you’ve probably noticed we’re had more special fundraisers than in other
times, but on each occasion members came though.

In August we had a successful National Organizing Conference and were able to
get Cindy Sheehan there and most recently we were able to keep The Socialist
printed at a union shop after our old union printer went out of business. Now
we have one more reason to ask you for a contribution.

On October 2nd hundreds of thousands of activists will be mobilizing in
Washington DC for the “One National Working Together” march and rally at
the Lincoln Monument. The forces behind the march are mostly main-stream
pro-Democratic Party organizations and originally we did not consider this
event an action to focus on (especially since it’s just after the general
strike mobilization in Europe and just before mass-student walkouts in the US),
but recently there has been a general agreement by many left and socialist
organizations to make sure our faces and message is included and we’ll be

This puts us in a bind and with a short window to organize a large SPUSA
contingent at the One National march. So here’s our plan and what your
support is needed for;
* a mailing announcing the event to many of our members in the area
* a new banner for the contingent
* lots of lit for the literature table
* white SPUSA t-shirts for all participants
* funds to cover last minute expenses

We think we can get this done. By the end of next week, we will have a website
with logistics and a RSVP form for the SPUSA contingent linked from our
homepage, but since we did not really budget for this, we need your help to
make sure we can get this done.

We REALLY need your financial support to make sure we can get banners, signs
and t-shirts to Washington, so please help us with a contribution. You can
contribute on-line at: http://socialistparty-usa.org/contribute.html
or send your contribution directly to the SPUSA at 339 Lafayette St. #303 NY,
NY 10012

If you are going- please RSVP from the link at:
http://socialistparty-usa.org/onenation102.html so we can be sure to give you
up-to-date info. There are free and low-cost buses from across the eastern part
of the US (and some from the West!) you can get this info off the march website
at: http://www.onenationworkingtogether.org/pages/transportation

Hope to hear from you soon and hope to see you in DC!

In Unity,

Greg Pason
National Secretary
Socialist Party USA

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Solidarity with the Striking Workers in Europe and Student and Worker Walkouts in the US this September and October

Passed by the Socialist Party National Action Committee, August 31, 2010

Since May of this year, workers in Greece, Italy, France and Spain have organized increasingly large strikes. In Europe, just as in the United States, workers are confronted with budget cuts, union-busting, and labor law ‘reforms’ that favor the rich. In Spain, labor unions are organizing a general strike on September 29th to coincide with a meeting of European finance ministers on September 29 in Brussels. It is expected that militant actions in other countries will also take place on this day.

Workers’ organizations and individuals in Europe have been calling others to help build September 29 into a day that will begin to awaken a response by global workers to austerity and attacks on our rights.

In the United States students and workers have called for a repeat of last year's mass actions and students walk-outs. On October 2nd and 7th actions are being called to stop budget cuts and other regressive measures which balance budgets on the backs of students, the poor and union workers.

We stand with the European workers and our fellow workers and students in the United States, raising our fists in defiance this September and October.

As socialists, we must reject the latest onslaught of neo-liberal attacks on students’ and workers’ rights, working conditions, social services for our youth, the elderly, and people living with disabilities.

Inasmuch as we call on the US and European governments to immediately halt austerity plans that are killing our people, we also remind our sisters and brothers in the movement that we cannot settle for reforms – we must reject capitalism as a whole. Just as globalization has opened borders to exploitation, we must stand united for the transformation of our societies from the rule of the wealthy few to the radically democratic governance of the collective wealth of the many.

Together we recognize that our politics and our approaches to this mass strike ought to reflect the open, transparent and democratic qualities that are prerequisites for genuine socialist democracy. It is necessary to show unity in action as well as theoretical, tactical, and political distinction from reformist parties and labor union bureaucracies.

With one voice, American and European workers, students and all oppressed by the capitalist system must rise up and demand an end to the war on workers, an end to the imperialist occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq; and an end to capitalism’s war on humanity, thus giving substance to the words: Workers of the world, unite!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Please help the SP magazine keep a union printer!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I write to you today to ask for your support in our effort to continue printing The Socialist magazine at a unionized printer. Our long-time printer, Saltus Press, shut down unexpectedly last week just as the magazine was about to go to press. We have scrambled to find another union printer and after a flurry of calls finally found one that could match our print specifications. However, the cost will be $200 more than our deal with Saltus.

Once we get the latest issue out, we will conduct a more thorough search for a union printer that fits our budget. Your contribution will help us keep the magazine going while we look.

As socialists, we support unionized workplaces. Larger than that, we are often the folks who initiate union drives or wake sleepy bureaucratic unions from their slumber through rank-and-file action. We need to keep the Socialist at a union printer and need your help to do so.

The Editorial Board of the Socialist Party USA and the Editor of the Socialist ask that you please consider making a generous contribution to our emergency printer fund. Times are tough for all of us, but socialists have bedrock principles. Supporting union labor is one of them.

Please donate online via a credit card or PayPal:

Or send a check or money order (mark Emergency Printer Fund in the memo) to:
Greg Pason
Socialist Party USA
339 Lafayette Street, Room 303
New York City, NY 10012

Thank you in advance for your support and keep up the struggle!

In Solidarity,

James Marra
Convener, Editorial Board SP-USA

Billy Wharton
Editor, The Socialist

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Non-Discrmination Ordinance Withdrawn

The proposed amendment to the current City of Memphis Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which would have extended workplace protection to LGBTQ City employees, has been withdrawn by Councilmember Janis Fullilove due to lack of support from the Council and Mayor A.C. Wharton.

Mayor Wharton issued a statement last night saying that he is against non-merit-factor-based discrimination, but that his support lies with the decision of the City Council.

This approach is cowardly and cynical, as he certainly benefited from the votes of LGBTQ rights supporters in the election without making known his total disinterest in lifting a finger to help the community achieve those rights.

read more on Mayor Wharton's shifting position on the Grand Divisions blog...

read more on the withdrawal of the ordinance in the Commercial Appeal...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Red State Podcast!

The Socialist Party of Kansas has started recording podcasts discussing social issues, economics, current events, socialist history, etc.

Listen to their first podcast on the Socialist Webzine, featuring interviews with SP Co-Chair Billy Wharton and long-time peace advocate and former SP presidential candidate David McReynolds...

Check the SP Kansas blog for future podcasts...

Visit the SP Kansas on facebook...

Billy speaks at David's 80th birthday last year:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SP Queer Commission Statement: California Same-Sex Marriage Ban Declaired Unconstitutional

By SPUSA Queer Commission Chair Jim Sanders

On Wednesday, August 4th, Judge Vaughn Walker issued a 136 page decision declaring Proposition 8, the law that bans same-sex marriage, unconstitutional. This is great news in the long struggle for marriage equality.

From Judge Walker's decision:

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite- sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

In a socialist society, state intervention into, and authorization of, marriage could be made obsolete. Making healthcare and housing available to everyone would end the need for spousal dependence. Marriage would then become a right of personal privilege rather than an economic compulsion. Until such time Socialists need to engage in the struggle to make all equal under the laws of the current state.

While this is a welcome legal victory, there is still much work to be done. It is reprehensible that a law like this could ever be created in the first place. Opponents of same-sex marriage used the same tired local autonomy – “it should be left up to the states” – rhetoric that was used by the confederacy before the civil war, and by many long after. The “Jim Crow” laws were defended in this way. We must fight for equal protection at a federal level.

Ultimately, the arguments must be taken to the people. The law went into effect in California because a scant majority of California voters succumbed to a campaign that trumpeted long accepted prejudices and approved it in a referendum last year.

As socialists, we seek to create a world where, quoting Marx: “The free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Memphis SP Statement on the Non-Discrimination Ordinance

The Memphis Socialist Party strongly supports the proposed amendment to Chapter 9 of the City of Memphis Code of Ordinances, which seeks to add language banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Although the amendment to the non-discrimination ordinance (NDO) is limited in that it attempts to prevent discriminatory hiring and promotion practices only for those who work for the City of Memphis, businesses contracting with the City, or groups using City facilities, our local government must take this opportunity to stand up against the institutional bigotry that infects and divides our communities.

Unfortunately, legislation protecting the basic human rights of the LGBTQ community does not ensure actual equality any more than the decriminalization of LGBTQ relationships and families can ensure their safety and security. The irrational hatred and fear that is characterized by the opposition to the NDO is symptomatic of an unhealthy society; it will not be extinguished by extending job security to LGBTQ City employees, because bigotry is continually reinforced and validated by our economic system that is rooted in oppression, exploitation, and the monetary valuation of human worth. Workers are constantly pitted against each other in a battle for scarce jobs with low wages to do meaningless work that benefits only the capitalist class, who intentionally use race, gender, disability, religion and sexual orientation to maintain divisions between workers and perpetuate our alienation.

We can no longer afford to be complicit in our own exploitation. When we allow people to be stigmatized and discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, we are legitimizing our own oppression while denying our own humanity. Reforms such as the proposed NDO will continue to be necessary under capitalism, and the Memphis Socialist Party stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in the struggle for liberation, lasting equality, and a society where all people can exercise their rights to learn, work, create and love.

The first reading of the NDO will be tomorrow, August 10, 3:30-6pm.

Location: 125 N. Main Street in the City Council Chambers (to your left after you pass through the metal detectors).

Tennessee Equality Project's Facebook Event Pages:

First Reading: Tuesday, August 10, 3:30-6pm
Second Reading: Tuesday, August 24, 3:30-6pm
Final Reading: Tuesday, September 14, 3:30-6pm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Act Now to Stop the Wars and Defend Our Civil Liberties

July 28, 2010
by Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA

The recent disclosure of thousands of top-secret documents by Wikileaks and the Washington Post media project “Top Secret America,” makes one point perfectly clear – the American people need to act now to stop the US military and the growing security state. With hundreds of bases worldwide and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military constitutes the greatest threat to peace in the world. Simultaneously, a growing security state threatens to shred any semblance of civil liberties and personal freedom at home and abroad.

The Wikileaks documents that were bravely secured by Bradley Manning and published by Julian Assange reveal a US military operation in Afghanistan that has violated nearly every tenet of international human rights. Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama both openly lied to the American people about the conduct of the military and the status of the wars. The use of CIA-trained death squads, the manipulation of the puppet government of Afghanistan and the consistent use of drone bombers all reveal a war that cannot be won being carried out by a military willing to commit acts of aggression against a defenseless civilian population. These documents prove decisively that the truth is indeed the first casualty of war.

The “Top Secret America” report reveals a growing security state that is as active domestically as it is internationally. This security apparatus constitutes the single greatest threat to civil liberties throughout the world. The post-9/11 US security state is responsible for torture, extraordinary renditions, false imprisonment, racial profiling and covert assassinations. All of this has been done secretly, in the name of the American people.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the American people themselves to put an end to the military and security apparatus’ ability to operate. Building a mass movement that both demands the end of the current wars and reclaims civil liberties would be a first step in that direction. As democratic socialists, we believe that any non-violent action that seeks to disable or derail the US military machine is a just act.

Such a movement should also push for a permanent end to militarism by calling for an immediate 50% reduction in military spending as well as the closing of all American military bases abroad. The resulting “peace dividend” could be shared between necessary domestic social services and in repairing the global damage done by the US military. Once in motion, such a movement would find widespread support from peace loving people throughout the world. Only then, after the US is well along the road to disarmament, can serious discussions about global peace and reconciliation begin.

Now is the time to summon the courage of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. To protect them against the repression of the US government. To demand an immediate end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And, to put our bodies on the line in support of a vision of the future that moves beyond capitalism and the wars it fuels.
Check out the Socialist Party USA - http://www.socialistparty-usa.org/
Contact us - natsec@socialistparty-usa.org

Real News Network: Afghan shootings raise war crimes question

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Murfreesboro Activists Confront Islamaphobia

On July 14, reactionaries roused by mega-church leaders and gubernatorial candidates protested the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission's approval of the Islamic Center's plans to build a mosque with educational and recreational facilities in Murfreesboro, TN.

Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom staged a successful counter-rally in solidarity with the Muslim people of Murfreesboro, several of whom have been the target of death threats. The folks in support of religious freedom outnumbered the opposition, largely affiliated with World Outreach Church, and the Commission is so far standing by its decision to allow construction.

The opposition to the Islamic Center has garnered national attention, and the right-wingers have been collecting signatures to present to Commissioners at their next meeting on August 12.

Below is a video clip of Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey speaking at a campaign event in Chattanooga. Starting at 3:06 in the video, the fear and ignorance fueling the opposition is painfully clear in this irrational and racist diatribe against Muslims.

Regardless of the tactics used by powerful mega-churches and right-wing bigots in state government, the people of Middle Tennessee will stand up for religious freedom and not allow the Planning Commission to give in to Islamaphobia on August 12.

Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom on Facebook...

read socialistworker.org interview with Jase Short, member of Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom...

read Huffington Post response to Ron Ramsey...

watch Nashville news coverage of July 14 protests...

watch Daily Show clip on the opposition...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cindy Sheehan at the SP National Organizing Conference

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will be speaking at the Socialist Party National Organizing Conference August 14-15 in Madison, Wisconsin, along with Paul Buhle (co-author of A People's History of American Empire) and Dan LaBotz (SP candidate for US Senate, Ohio).

From Billy Wharton's interview with Cindy in this week's Socialist Webzine:

"I would think that we could move, especially in these trying times, towards socialism and away from capitalism, corporate-fascism, whatever you want to call it. I always say I’m against capitalism and all the free market people attack me and say, 'This isn’t capitalism, this is crony capitalism, this is corporatism.' I say, if you have a system that degenerates so quickly and seamlessly into fascism, then it’s not healthy. There’s no such thing as a free market. All capitalism is crony. All capitalism is profit over people."

read the full interview...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Queer Notes: Memphis Churches Oppose Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Jim Maynard, Queer Notes

It's unbelievable that a city the size of Memphis, Tennessee, with its historical role in the civil rights movement, would be one of the few major U.S. cities that does NOT protect gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people from discrimination.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Workshop Preview

At this Saturday's meeting I'll be previewing my workshop proposal for this year's SPUSA National Organizing Conference.The workshop is titled "Disaster Socialism:Combating Disaster Capitalism Locally and Globally". It focuses on disaster capitalism in the South and then works out to the global situation. It also asks the question "Is Disaster Capitalism set to become the primary impetus for capital accumulation in the 21st century?" Come join us Saturday at 4PM at Caritas Village.


t r u t h o u t: BP's Scheme to Swindle the "Small People"

Monday 19 July 2010
by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t

Gulf Coast fishermen and others with lost income claims against BP are outraged by a recent announcement that the $20 billion government-administered claim fund will subtract money they earn by working on the cleanup effort from any future damage claims against BP. This move, according to lawyers in Louisiana working on behalf of Louisiana fishermen and others affected by the BP oil disaster, contradicts an earlier BP statement in which the company promised it would do no such thing.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nix and La Botz Offer Alternatives to Financial "Reform" Bill

In The Nation's The Beat blog, Socialist Party USA candidates Nicholas Nix (U.S. House of Representatives, Texas) and Dan La Botz (U.S. Senate, Ohio) describe their alternatives to the limited reforms contained in the current version of the financial regulatory reform bill, which is likely to be voted on by the Senate and possibly signed into law in the next couple weeks.

read "Is the Financial Regulation Bill 'Socialist'? Don't Make the Socialists Laugh" in The Nation...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Facebook Cracks Down on Leftist Groups and Profiles

From Leftists in the U.S. South:

In a move to censor the voices of solidarity and human rights, Facebook shut down the “Free Ricardo Palmera!” page on June 30th, claiming it violates their terms of use. On July 7th, the profiles of the three administrators of that group, Josh Sykes, Angela Denio, and Tom Burke, were disabled by facebook with no reason given.

Read the full post.

Join the Facebook group Facebook, reinstate the profiles of Josh Sykes, Angela Denio, and Tom Burke.

Join the Facebook group Stop Facebook Assault on Progressive Causes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Merton & Princeton Garden

In 2009, the Memphis SP helped to establish and fund a garden at the corner of Merton & Princeton, which has become an open community garden, with planting space and food available to anyone interested fresh produce and organic gardening methods.

We can always use help from anyone interested in weeding, mowing, mulching, or otherwise tending to the plants. Feel free to stop by anytime to pull a few weeds, and be sure to take some cucumbers, butternut squash and basil! If you would like more information on what you can do to help, please email us at memphissocialist@yahoo.com.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

BP: The Case for Public Ownership -- In These Times

BP: The Case for Public Ownership -- In These Times
Article by SPUSA Co-chair Billy Wharton

RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism

It’s not the Crimes, It’s Capitalism: The Gulf Oil Spill

by the Socialist Party USA National Committee - June 20, 2010

By now, nearly everyone on the planet is aware of the creeping disaster that is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Many call the oil spill a crime. People are rightfully outraged and many are calling for criminal prosecution of the British Petroleum Corporation. Many blame the problem on corporations. While it is clear by now that crimes were committed, this is not the issue. The fundamental problem isn’t the crimes. The problem is capitalism.

Workers and the environment are perpetually exploited by corporations for profit, but the true nature and functions of corporations must be understood. Corporations are no more than tools of capitalism. While it is important to recognize and disable the tools of exploitation, it’s even more important to recognize who wields those tools: the capitalist class.

Even without these tools, this would still be happening under capitalism. Before there were corporations as we know them, labor was mercilessly exploited (often under deadly conditions), poisons were dumped into the waters, forests were mowed down, and the skies were blackened with industrial waste. Corporations don’t destroy people and the environment; capitalism does.

This is because the capitalist system is a continuous race, because the failure to keep up means destruction by the competition. Capitalists are forced to seek every advantage to make a profit. This, not simply greed, is the reason why capitalists are forced to crush unions, slash wages, increase hours, cut corners and lower safety standards. This, not greed, is why the capitalist fights against regulations, and ignores them when he can.

British Petroleum is only one of many corporations that evade basic safety standards. Only a few months ago we saw the deaths of dozens of miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine for the same reasons. On the Deepwater Horizon, eleven workers were killed, seventeen injured. While this disaster never should have occurred, under capitalism, these disasters are inevitable.

The supply of energy in all its forms is held hostage to a system that must put profits above everything. Held hostage by corporations, Congress betrayed the public by capping damages arising from environmental catastrophes. Government regulators are held hostage too by capitalism, betraying the public by looking the other way or even aiding the capitalists.

The Socialist Party USA calls for the immediate socialization of all energy companies and the creation of a publicly owned entity that can meet energy requirements while being operated under community and worker control. These corporations should be transferred to the public sector without compensation. Because of the inherent danger in deep water drilling, the SPUSA calls for the total ban on offshore exploration, drilling, and for immediately phasing out of existing off shore wells.

The United States must reverse its dependence on oil and gas. The SPUSA calls for free mass transit and a massive program to greatly expand light rail in urban areas and build a network of inter-city fast rail. Electrical energy needs should be met through the use of renewable resources such as wind and ocean power.
The oil spill is indicative of the necessary disregard of human life and our environment that is fundamental to the capitalist market economy. Efforts to tinker with this system, attempting to regulate capitalism, are bound to fail. Only the abolition of the for-profit, market system and its replacement with a democratic, socialist society can prevent more catastrophic ecological disasters.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recent Statements

Statement on Gay Pride 2010
by the SPUSA Queer Commission June 9, 2010

On June of 1969 fed up queers fought back when police began harassing them at the Stonewall Inn bar on Sheridan Square in New York City. By most accounts the most oppressed, drag queens and lesbians, lead the charge. This was a flashpoint in a long history of struggle. The homophile movement, the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis laid the groundwork for the uprising. Stonewall was also influenced by the feminist movement, the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and the struggle against the war in Vietnam.

The first organized group that sprang from the Stonewall Riots was the Gay Liberation Front which was consciously named after the Vietnamese Liberation Front and included socialists, communists, anarchists and other radicals.

The Socialist Party USA stands with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning people for liberation and full and equal participation in society. LGBTQ people deserve the same rights of marriage as heterosexuals, including the right to adopt children. LGBTQ people who chose to enter the military should have every right to live openly without penalty or harassment, and have every right that their heterosexual peers have.

Gay Power and Gay Liberation were the rallying cries of Stonewall. The Stonewall riots demonstrate the power of resistance and confrontation against injustice. Socialist liberation goes beyond rights and demands full empowerment and participation. The Socialist Party USA celebrates the legacy of Stonewall and the movement for LGBTQ liberation.

Statement on Israel's Latest Outrage
by the SPUSA International Commission- June 7, 2010

It is almost beyond belief that Israel could again shock us, after the siege and blockade of Gaza, the destruction of Lebanon, and decades of brutal colonization of the Palestinian people. Yet, in the early dawn hours of May 31, military forces of Israel attacked an unarmed aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip, massacring between nine and sixteen civilians, injuring as many as sixty. The convoy intended to breach the illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, delivering humanitarian aid supplies to the Palestinian people. The ships were attacked and seized in international waters, in violation of international maritime law.

The International Commission of the Socialist Party USA strongly condemns this act of piracy and murder. We join tens of thousands around the world in demonstrating against Israel's crimes at all Israeli consulates and embassies. We demand Israel immediately end the cruel and inhuman blockade of Gaza and withdraw from the Occupied Territories. Until this is done, we call for all to join in the international boycott of Israel and Israeli goods. We demand an end to all American military aid to Israel. We demand an international tribunal to pursue the crimes against humanity committed by Israel. The seized goods must be delivered to Gaza and restitution must be made to the injured and the families of the slain.

Israel is not alone in blame. The United States is also at fault. Without the five billion dollars that the American taxpayer annually gives to Israel, the Israeli military would not be capable of such murderous disregard for human life. It is through this payoff that the American ruling class maintains its grip on the politics of the Middle East through division of the workers. It is through this payoff that Israel is able to ward off its enemies and international criticism of its policies. It is through this payoff that Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine and the Golan Heights of Syria. It is through this payoff the Palestinian people are colonized. This donation, taken from the American workers to divide their brothers and sisters in the Middle East, must cease.

Israel's continuing colonization of Palestine and the resultant war crimes and crimes against humanity are the fundamental reasons that peace does not exist in the Middle East. The Israeli military must withdraw from Palestine.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Which Side Are You On?

It's time President Obama, the Democrats, and the American people choose between populism and corporatism. There is a class struggle between the corporate rich and "the people" (workers, poor, etc.) Unfortunately, the Obama administration and the Democratic Party can't seem to make a decision on which side to fight for.

The Democratic Party establishment, including Bill Clinton and the Obama administration, tried to STOP progressive candidates from challenging their established (corporate) Democratic candidates in primaries last week. Bill Clinton himself tried to persuade Joe Sestak not to run against former Republican Arlene Specter in PA, and campaigned for corporate whore Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.

President Obama refuses to take a hard stand against BP in the Gulf, or STOP oil drilling off the coast, to placate "moderate" Republicans and Democrats, just as he refused to push for single-payer health insurance.

With the threat of another recessionary dip in the economy, Obama refuses to push for a bold progressive economic agenda, and is caving in to the "deficit hawks" who want to slash government spending and are pushing for cutting Social Security and Medicare.

When will Obama and the Democrats learn how to fight for workers? Will they side with workers ("the people") against the corporate elites? Not likely, since the Democratic Party, including Obama, are in bed with the corporate elites as much as the Republican Party.

Obama Needs to Decide Which Side He is On: Corporatist or Populist

Robert Reich: Why We're Falling into a Double Dip-Recession

Long-Term Unemployed Now 46% of Unemployed (Highest on Record!)

Obama Warns of Massive Layoffs of Teachers, Police & Firefighters (Congress refuses to Act)

The Do-Nothing 44th President

Monday, May 31, 2010

TONIGHT: Vigil for the Gaza Flotilla

Last night, Israeli soldiers shot at and boarded a ship in international waters, which was part of a small fleet headed for Gaza carrying aid workers, activists, and humanitarian supplies. After hoisting a white flag and offering no resistance, around ten unarmed civilians on the ship were killed and at least thirty wounded.

NY Times


Live Report and Footage from Ship as Israel Attacks

Please attend the vigil tonight at Poplar and Highland: We will not tolerate Israel's aggression towards international aid workers and peace activists, nor will we tolerate continuous acts of violence towards the people of Palestine. End the illegal siege of Gaza, end US military aid to Israel, and end the occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem NOW.

Poplar & Highland
Today, Monday May 31, 2010

Any questions about tonight, please email: memphissocialist@yahoo.com

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is not about sales and buy new a new matress, and it should not be about glorifying war and jingoistic national patriotism. We should remember why war is bad, and remember the dead who speak to us from their graves:

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,718

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,789

Cost of War in Iraq Afghanistan

Falling Off the $1 Trillion Cliff

10 Things to Remember on Memorial Day

MLK vs. War

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke against the Vietnam War and American imperialism and tied the war in Vietnam and war spending to the neglect of the poor in the United States.

"Silence is Betrayal"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Capitalism vs. Socialism: Big Surprise in New Polls

Capitalism: Big Surprises in Recent Polls

A new Pew Poll shows widespread skepticism about capitalism and hints that support for socialist alternatives is emerging as a majoritarian force in America’s new generation.

Carried out in late April and published May 4, 2010, the Pew poll, asked over 1500 randomly selected Americans to describe their reactions to terms such as “capitalism,” “socialism,” “progressive,” “libertarian” and “militia.” The most striking findings concern “capitalism” and “socialism.”

Pew summarizes the results in its poll title: “Socialism not so negative; capitalism not so positive.”

“Capitalism” is still viewed positively by a majority of Americans. But it is just by a bare majority. Only 52% of all Americans react positively. Thirty-seven percent say they have a negative reaction and the rest aren’t sure.

A year ago, a Rasmussen poll found similar reactions. Then, only 53% of Americans described capitalism as “superior” to socialism.

Meanwhile, 29% in the Pew poll describe “socialism” as positive. This positive percent soars much higher when you look at key sub-groups, as discussed shortly. A 2010 Gallup poll found 37% of all Americans preferring socialism as “superior” to capitalism.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a “Center-Right” country but a populace where almost 50% are deeply ambivalent or clearly opposed to capitalism.

More interesting, in the Pew poll, just 43% of Americans under 30 describe “capitalism” as positive. Even more striking, the same percentage, 43%, describes “socialism” as positive. In other words, the new generation is equally divided between capitalism and socialism.

The Pew, Gallup and Rasmussen polls come to the same conclusion. Young people cannot be characterized as a capitalist generation. They are half capitalist and half socialist. Since the socialist leaning keeps rising among the young, it suggests—depending on how you interpret “socialism”—that we are moving toward an America that is either Center-Left or actually majoritarian socialist.