Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Memphis International Solidarity Committee: HOME SWEET HOMELESS

Memphis International Solidarity Committee: HOME SWEET HOMELESS: "Please join the Mid South Peace & Justice Center, Radical Arts Memphis, the Center for Transforming Communities and MISC on Saturday, ..."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Self-determination for Libya!

The Memphis SP joins the people of Memphis to protest the imperialist invasion of Libya.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shut Down Wisconsin!

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

March 9, 2011 - It has just been reported that Wisconsin Republicans have approved the provision in Governor Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill that strips public employees in Wisconsin of their collective bargaining rights. Collective Bargaining is necessary to the functioning of trade unions and is a right that should be held by every worker in both the public and private sectors. As socialists, we condemn Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin.

We call on students, workers and all who are opposed to this decision to converge on Madison tomorrow to protest. We support the resolution passed by the South Central Federation of Labor (Wisconsin) that calls for a general strike of all workers in the region. We support the immediate formation of strike committees by all union and non-union workers in the state. We support all acts of civil disobedience and non-compliance to protest and reverse this Bill.

Workers and students shut down Wisconsin! As popular movements throughout the world claim their democratic rights, Walker and the Republicans have trampled on workers in Wisconsin. By building on the spirit of Tahrir Square, Madison can be the site where a new militant worker’s movement is built. Our democracy is not contained within the Assembly Houses and State Capitols; we build it in the streets!

For a General Strike of all Wisconsin Workers!
Kill the Bill!
Build Democracy in the Streets!

Get Organized! Contact the Socialist Party USA

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Womens Day 1910-2011

Women's Day
Alexandra Kollontai
full text available at marxists.org

There was a time when working men thought that they alone must bear on their shoulders the brunt of the struggle against capital, that they alone must deal with the 'old world' without the help of their womenfolk. However, as working-class women entered the ranks of those who sell their labour, forced onto the labour market by need, by the fact that husband or father is unemployed, working men became aware that to leave women behind in the ranks of the 'non-class-conscious' was to damage their cause and hold it back. The greater the number of conscious fighters, the greater the chances of success. What level of consciousness is possessed by a woman who sits by the stove, who has no rights in society, the state or the family? She has no 'ideas' of her own! Everything is done as ordered by the father or husband...

The backwardness and lack of rights suffered by women, their subjection and indifference, are of no benefit to the working class, and indeed are directly harmful to it. But how is the woman worker to be drawn into the movement, how is she to be awoken?

Social-Democracy abroad did not find the correct solution immediately. Workers' organisations were open to women workers, but only a few entered. Why? Because the working class at first did not realise that the woman worker is the most legally and socially deprived member of that class, that she has been browbeaten, intimidated, persecuted down the centuries, and that in order to stimulate her mind and heart, a special approach is needed, words understandable to her as a woman. The workers did not immediately appreciate that in this world of lack of rights and exploitation, the woman is oppressed not only as a seller of her labour, but also as a mother, as a woman... However. when the workers' socialist party understood this, it boldly took up the defence of women on both counts as a hired worker and as a woman, a mother.

Socialists in every country began to demand special protection for female labour, insurance for mother and child, political rights for women and the defence of womens interests.

The more clearly the workers party perceived this second objective vis-a-vis women workers, the more willingly women joined the party, the more they appreciated that the party is their true champion, that the working class is struggling also for their urgent and exclusively female needs. Working women themselves, organised and conscious, have done a great deal to elucidate this objective. Now the main burden of the work to attract more working women into the socialist movement lies with the women. The parties in every country have their own special women's committees, secretariats and bureaus. These women's committees conduct work among the still largely non-politically conscious female population, arouse the consciousness of working women and organise them. They also examine those questions and demands that affect women most closely: protection and provision for expectant and nursing mothers, the legislative regulation of female labour, the campaign against prostitution and infant mortality, the demand for political rights for women, the improvement of housing, the campaign against the rising cost of living, etc.

Thus, as members of the party, women workers are fighting for the common class cause, while at the same time outlining and putting forward those needs and demands that most nearly affect themselves as women, housewives and mothers. The party supports these demands and fights for them... The requirements of working women are part and parcel of the common workers' cause!

On 'Women's Day' the organised demonstrate against their lack of rights.

But, some will say, why this singling out of women workers? Why special 'Women's Days', special leaflets for working women, meetings and conferences of working-class women? Is this not, in the final analysis, a concession to the feminists and bourgeois suffragettes?

Only those who do not understand the radical difference between the movement of socialist women and bourgeois suffragettes can think this way.

What is the aim of the feminists? Their aim is to achieve the same advantages, the same power, the same rights within capitalist society as those possessed now by their husbands, fathers and brothers. What is the aim of the women workers? Their aim is to abolish all privileges deriving from birth or wealth. For the woman worker it is a matter of indifference who is the 'master' a man or a woman. Together with the whole of her class, she can ease her position as a worker.

Radical and Out!

In his new book A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds, Marty Duberman chronicles the lives of "two openly queer Americans who devoted their lives to the struggles for peace and social justice." This is an excerpt of Doug Ireland's review from Gay City News.

Lives of Courage and Commitment
by Doug Ireland
March 2, 2011

McReynolds, born in 1929 and still going strong today, was raised in Los Angeles as a devout Baptist by conservative Republican parents. But while in high school he read muckraker Lincoln Steffens’ autobiography and underwent a political conversion. McReynolds had his first homosexual experience in grammar school, and when he was 19 came out to his parents. Although he had some guilt about his “deviance,” that vanished when he was a student at UCLA after an encounter in a notorious “queer bathroom” on campus with a young Alvin Ailey, not yet famous as a dancer and choreographer.

“Alvin’s guilt-free attitude toward homosexuality became a model for David (‘I came home walking on a cloud’) and the two became good friends, though never lovers,” Duberman recounts.

By this time, 1951, McReynolds had become deeply involved with the Socialist Party. Founded in 1901 under the leadership of labor leader Eugene Victor Debs, the party reached its peak of influence in 1912, when, with Debs as its presidential candidate, it won 6 percent of the vote; had 100 elected public officials, including several members of Congress; and a press with a readership in the millions. But the party’s principled pacifism during World Wars I and II brought it government persecution and decimated its membership, and by the early ’50s the party, for decades led by Norman Thomas, was a shadow of its former self.

As a well-known, “outspoken and magnetic” campus radical “on the non-Communist side,” the handsome young McReynolds became a leader of the Socialists’ left wing, all while being open about his homosexuality with his party comrades in its somewhat Bohemian LA local, but “never taking any flack for it.”

McReynolds, already a committed pacifist, risked prison when he refused induction into the army for the Korean War, and it was then that he met Bayard Rustin, the field director of the principal pacifist organization, the War Resisters League, later famous as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington under Martin Luther King’s leadership. At the time of their meeting, Rustin had just been arrested on a “morals charge” for a homosexual encounter, and a long talk with Rustin about homosexuality helped further diminish any of McReynolds’ residual guilt feelings about his own same-sex orientation.

It is difficult to overstate the enormous courage and personal integrity required of Deming and McReynolds to be openly queer at a time in America when homosexuality was illegal, and homosexuals were condemned to barbaric tortures to “cure” them by medicine and loathed as degenerate outcasts by most of society. This was especially true in the 1950s at the height of the McCarthyite witch-hunts, when government was purging both left-wingers and homosexuals from its ranks and those of academia and the labor movement, and when homosexuality was frequently identified with Communism in the dominant rhetoric of the red-baiters.

read the entire review at Gay City News...