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Non-Discrmination Ordinance Withdrawn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Memphis Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which would have extended workplace protection to LGBTQ City employees, has been withdrawn by Councilmember Janis Fullilove due to lack of support from the Council and Mayor A.C. Wharton.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