Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Ceasar Chavez Day

Today is Ceasar Chavez Day, marking the birthday of the late United Farm Workers organizer and activist.

Chavez was also the first civil rights leader to publicly support LGBT civil rights. I remember hearing him speak at the 1987 LGBT March on Washington, it was the largest crowd he ever spoke to. He also walked in the march.

“Sí Se Puede” – “Yes We Can!"

In Defense of "Socialism"

The term "socialism" has long been thrown at liberals by their right-wing opponents, even when liberals act to reform and save capitalism. Barack Obama has been labelled a "socialist" and his "insurance reform" is being attacked as "socialized medicine," even though it is basically a Republican plan to mandate people buy private insurance and keeps the failing for-profit healthcare system in place.

Socialists must educate the public about what is and is NOT socialist. While liberals diligently reject the socialist label and side with conservatives to defend capitalism, we must assert that DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM is, in the words of Michael Harrington, the only "hope for human freedom and justice under the unprecedented conditions of life humanity faces in the twenty-first century."

Frances Moore Lappe, Why Are We Afraid of Saying "Socialism"

Billy Wharton, Obama's No Socialist

Actual Socialist Weighs in on "Socialist" Health Bill

Socialism? Not Quite, Say the Socialists

Monday, March 22, 2010

Socialists Oppose Democratic Health Insurance Bill

Socialist Party USA Co-Chair Opposes Obama Healthcare Bill

March 22, 2009- Co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, Billy Wharton, opposes the healthcare bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives and scheduled to be signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Wharton’s opposition is based on the belief that this bill is not a reform. Instead, it is a corporate restructuring of the health insurance industry created to protect the profit margins of private insurance companies.

The bill passed by the House yesterday would mandate all Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a fine. It would also create health insurance exchanges, an idea crafted by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, where people would purchase insurance from private companies. Those not eligible for Medicaid but who still could not afford to purchase insurance would receive public funds from the federal government to purchase bare bones coverage insurance plans from private insurers.

Wharton opposes this restructuring on the grounds that the mandates allow private insurers to use the coercive power of the state to enhance their private profits. Insurance credits will serve as a public subsidy to private companies. It is yet another case of public money that could be used for necessary social programs being funneled towards companies that engage in practices that are abusive and detrimental to the overall society. He believes the bill is also a demonstration of how deeply corporate lobbyists and campaign contributions have infected the country’s political system.

“This is not a healthcare reform bill,” says Wharton, “It is instead a corporate restructuring of the American healthcare system designed to enhance the profits of private health insurance companies disguised with the language of reform”

Instead, Wharton believes that public funds would be better spent in creating a national single-payer system. Democratic socialists see such a system of open access to care as one part of a larger transition toward making healthcare a guaranteed human right for all. Wharton calls for people to take power into their own hands by supporting the demand for single-payer health insurance and by conducting a red and green rebellion at the voting booth and in the streets to claim our human rights.

Wharton encourages people to visit the website of the Socialist Party USA to gain more information about the struggle for healthcare and the organization’s broader vision of a democratic socialist society.

Salon: Actual Socialist Weights in on "Socialist" Health Bill

SPUSA Healthcare Campaign Website

Monday, March 15, 2010

In The Great Recession, Socialism Sells

In The Great Recession, Socialism Sells
By Shareen Pathak

The Socialist Party’s chapter in New York City has a brand new member. Kimberley Ortiz, 25, is a single mother from the Bronx who had never heard of socialism until six months ago, when her co-worker handed her a piece of paper with the details of the Socialist Party’s next meeting.

“He told me, there is a word for what you believe in,” she says. “Socialism.”

Ortiz attended the meeting, and the one after that, and the one after that. She became an official member of the party on Feb. 12.

The economic crisis may have sounded a death knell for investment banks, construction companies and countless small businesses, but there are some groups that are benefittng from the general malaise. Alternative political movements such as communism and socialism are hoping that some Americans will go outside the mainstream and adopt a socialist ideology, breathing new life into these organizations.

“I want to put a normal face on socialism, which looks like this big scary thing for most people,” says Ortiz, who has been working alongside party members, translating fliers into Spanish and handing them out. She says that she has been seeing a steady increase in the number of new faces at every meeting.

“I want more people like me to join, single moms and regular people, y’know?”

Officials from the Communist Party USA and the Socialist Party USA say they have never seen such interest from Americans as they see today. A poll conducted by Rasmussen in 2009 showed that 20 percent of Americans favor socialism over capitalism, with more support among younger people. Of adults under 30, 37 percent of them said socialism was the better choice.

Though Ortiz had never heard of socialism, she thinks that in her own way, she had always been championing its cause. “I had been inquiring about a union at my workplace, and pointing out unjust and unfair treatment,” says Ortiz, who works in food services at the Statue of Liberty. “I work my tail off at this job and I don’t get paid what I deserve, and being a woman doesn’t help my chances at promotion either.”

read the full article at:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

International Women's Day

On Monday, March 8th, the Memphis Socialist Party celebrated International Women's Day by preparing an IWD lesson for our art class at Bent Tree Apartments. A wonderful couple runs an after-school tutoring program in the rent subsidized apartment complex, and we help out as much as we can through tutoring and with our weekly art class.

Our lesson explained the background of IWD along with its relevance today as working women continue to be the caretakers of and providers for our families and communities, while struggling to attain political, economic and social equality.

Bennett and Melanie introduced the work of a few women artists: Kahlo, Morisot, Cassatt, O'Keefe, and the photography of Annie Leibovitz.

The girls enjoyed drawing self-portraits with pastels in the style of these artists, but clearly the most fun was taking black and white photos of each other.

The Memphis SP has few resources, but we promote the socialist principles of love, solidarity and equality through our work by sharing our skills and time in ways that are useful for our community.

We hope to expand our celebration next year outside of the art classroom to educate more mid-southerners about International Women's Day--happy 100th anniversary!

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day 2010

The SPUSA celebrates International Women's Day 2010

Commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day by honoring both its socialist founders and today’s socialist feminist activists.

SPUSA IWD website

The Socialist IWD Special Issue