Statement by the SPUSA National Action Committee passed 1/30/17
Resolution by the SPUSA National Committee passed 1/29/17
The events of the past few days have proven two things. First, that Donald Trump is fully prepared to carry out the threats he made during his presidential campaign against Muslims, refugees, undocumented workers, women, Native Americans, and other oppressed groups. Second, that we on the Left are fully prepared to fight back against these horrific policies and stand with the communities under attack.
The reaction to Trump's inauguration, as well as the millions who marched around the world the day after and the thousands who responded to support the refugees being detained and turned away at U.S. airports, are clear signs that a mass movement is being born to oppose the new administration. This mass movement has no specific ideology and is controlled by no party or organization, but is united in its opposition to the hate-filled actions of the Trump administration and in its support of human dignity and freedom from oppression.
The Socialist Party's National Committee met this past weekend and, breaking from its agenda to discuss the events unfolding, passed a resolution to state that “the position of the Socialist Party USA is that mass movements currently taking place should be advocated and supported by members and others who support our principles.” Our support for refugees, undocumented immigrants, Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQA+ community, Muslims, Native Americans, and any other group or community under attack by Trump and his alt-right supporters will be steadfast and unwavering.
The Democrats have already declared their intention to co-opt this new movement in its infancy. The detainment of refugees at U.S. airports has already seen high-profile Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker parachute in to demonstrations to win points and claim leadership.
Let us be perfectly clear: our opposition to Donald Trump cannot be built on or with the Democratic Party. Over the next four years, there will be many times in which they publicly oppose Trump and pretend to be our ally. As we move forward into this new and dark time, we have to remember who they are. They are the party that supported George W. Bush in invading Iraq, Afghanistan, and launching the War on Terror. They are the party that supported Barack Obama as governments were overthrown and thousands of innocent people died in drone attacks. Now they are the party that will claim opposition to the policies and actions of Donald Trump that they previously supported and normalized. The road to oppression is paved with their lies and the road to defeat Trump and the system that created him cannot involve them.
As we said after Trump's election and we say again at the beginning of Trump's presidency, any hope for progress we have lies with us, our neighbors, our co-workers, our communities, and our working class that has the collective power to challenge capitalism and build a new system in its place.
Statement written by International Relations Committee Co-Chair Zach Medeiros and SPUSA Vice-Chair AJ Segneri. Passed by the SPUSA National Action Committee
Late last month, Reuters and the Italian media reported that Franco Gabrielli, Italy’s national police chief, sent a written directive to police stations across the country ordering them to take "extraordinary action" before the "growing migratory pressure in an international context marked by instability and threats" to "control and remove irregular foreigners." A source within the Italian Interior Ministry confirmed the directive to Reuters and elaborated on what this extraordinary action would entail: the creation of several new detention centers. Following a January 4th uprising at a migrant reception center sparked by the preventable death of a young Ivory Coast woman and dismal living conditions, the Italian government publicly reiterated its hardline stance and further pledged to step up deportations.
It should go without saying that these are reactions based on fear, political desperation, and racist and xenophobic disregard for the lives and rights of people in need. While terrorism (from both non-state and state actors) is a real threat to the world, the answer to this problem is not mass reprisals against people whose only crime is to be undesirable in the eyes of Europe’s gatekeepers. These are the same gatekeepers who, as representatives of the capitalist ruling class, have proven themselves unwilling and unable to provide for the needs of the majority across the planet.
Socialist Party vice-chair AJ Segneri states “The is a prime example of the failure of the Grand Coalition who feel they are conducting Left politics but in reality are making neoliberal policies that further harm the people of Italy. These same policies are now harming those seeking refuge.”
The failure of then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s referendum initiative in December, followed by Renzi’s resignation and replacement by another made-to-order neoliberal politician is yet another sign of the growing rejection of the status quo by those who suffer under it. In Italy, as in Europe as a whole, the shrinking credibility of the neoliberal center provides a political opening for the far left and the far right. While the left has won victories, it is the neofascist far right that is on the rise globally. Operating under a populist mask, they are attacking immigrants, refugees, and all other “outsiders” on their path to power. In order to stave off these upstarts, the establishment appeases them by cracking down with increasing severity on the vulnerable and the most oppressed.
However, this form of fascism-lite will not stay lite for long. While the forces of fascism are on the upswing, drumming up fear and hatred to shift attention away from the real problems, we must all understand and be unafraid to say that the enemy is capitalism. It is the ravages of capitalism and capitalist entities that forces tens of millions of human beings to flee their home countries to find sanctuary elsewhere, often dying in the thousands in the process. The depredations of capitalism throws those people into a false, needless battle for resources with the residents of the countries they flee to.
We must fight for the human rights of those who seek refuge across capitalist borders, and stand alongside those already fighting the conditions that cause them to seek refuge in the first place. The path to a better world is not found through mass detentions and deportations, or through a retreat into ruthless nationalism, but through internationalism and socialism.
Even though we recognize the fact that a large protest in Washington DC has the potential to be impactful, the Socialist Party USA Women’s Commission is critical of the March on Washington taking place on January 21st and, therefore, does not support or endorse the event. From the very beginning, this event has proven to be a predominantly straight white event. Even the name was a blunder of appropriation, starting with One Million Women then March on Washington, two historic events organized by African Americans. Following this and additional criticism of lack of inclusivity, the organizers of the group made a general statement asking individuals of marginalized groups to join them instead of bringing in various organizations that support minorities to help plan the event. This is not radical feminism. This is classic white feminism which the Women’s Commission cannot support.
Additionally, there doesn’t seem to be any organization of continued action post the event. It is of the utmost importance that continued action be planned. An event of this size should be followed by an organizing convention so that women of the United States can plan coordinated protests and action against harmful legislation that the Trump Administration will undoubtedly bring in. This lack of organizing reduces the effectiveness of such a large event and is even wasteful of valuable time and resources.
As an alternative to this predominantly straight white event, the Socialist Party USA Women’s Commission encourages members and locals to organize and attend events locally that are taking place on January 20th. Aside from the reasons listed above, affordability and accessibility are major concerns. We do not believe that women of color or LGBTQ women will have a voice if they attend the March on Washington on January 21st. Poor under-represented groups cannot afford to travel to Washington to have their voices heard. It is because of this, that a coordinated effort among many activist groups is considered a best practice. In this way, we can refocus our efforts on bringing to light income inequality faced by women as well as give a greater voice to minorities, including individuals who identify as LGBTQ.
Anne James Wallace
(Passed unanimously by the Women’s Commission of the Socialist Party USA on January 7th, 2017)
The Socialist Party USA congratulates those activists, organizers, and allies who have stood their ground at Standing Rock, which halted the construction of the pipeline.
But the fight still continues. As this statement is being read, Energy Transfer, Dakota Access Pipeline's parent company, is looking for ways to continue with their project. From an ecosocialist perspective, this project is harming our planet and will also affect communities surrounding it. There are many reports of existing pipelines that have burst, and oil has spread into [neighboring] areas. Also, this project also does not produce any full employment; independent contractors are being brought in to work on the pipeline.
The pipeline is yet another example of how the United States relies on a market economy that does not fully consider the cost of lives and to our planet. Its only consideration is for those who profit from this project, including its investors.
Socialist Party USA encourages the people to stand alongside those at Standing Rock, and to develop local actions in solidarity. People can join the SPUSA to be involved in Commissions that organize these efforts, or join one of the many organizations that are involved in support of Standing Rock activists.
Keep Standing at Standing Rock!
Statement by the National Action Committee, passed 11/27/16
On November 25th, 1956, Fidel Castro and eighty-one revolutionaries set sail from Mexico to Cuba; a voyage whose implications would change the course of human history.
After the successful overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Castro governed the Caribbean island for nearly fifty years. During that time, Cuba became an international leader in education and health care and stood against U.S. imperialism with strength and courage that continues to
inspire liberation movements worldwide.
We do not view Fidel Castro and the government he led uncritically. At the same time, we do not subscribe to the broad-brush denouncements of the U.S. government and media that are based in capitalist self-interest instead of support for the Cuban people. The shortcomings of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution should be understood, not to endlessly criticize, but to learn and develop ourselves and our politics.
Our thoughts now are not only with the revolutionary leader who has passed on, but with everything that he achieved. The successful struggle to end apartheid in South Africa was made possible in large part due to Cuban intervention. While the United States and Western Europe ignored the Ebola crisis until it had reached their countries, Cuba was on the front lines in Africa with doctors and medical supplies. The Cuban Literacy Campaign in 1961, which mobilized over three hundred thousand Cubans to become volunteer teachers, brought the national literacy rate from as low as 60% to 96% and set the stage for future, international work by Cuba to improve literacy in other counties.
Countless people are alive and have a better quality of life as a result of Fidel Castro committing the Republic of Cuba to a focus on international solidarity.
The Socialist Party sends its condolences to the Castro family and the people of Cuba. Fidel Castro is gone, but his revolutionary fire lives on in the resilience of the Cuban people and in anti-capitalist struggles across the world. Our solidarity remains with the Cuban people, both in this time of mourning and in the challenging days ahead.
Statement Written by Zachary Medeiros, SPUSA Interntional Relations Committee Chair and passed by the SPUSA National Action Committee
Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad have unleashed a new round of hell on Syrians. On November 15, while the world was still coming to terms with the election of unhinged racist buffoon and professed Putin admirer Donald Trump, the Russian fleet stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean began to unload its payload on rebel-held parts of northwestern Syria, joined by the Russian Air Force and Assad’s warplanes and helicopters. Under the guise of targeting ISIS (which has no presence in northwestern Syria) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham/Nusra Front, they have attacked Idlib, Homs, Eastern Aleppo, and the surrounding countryside with a ferocity unseen since the start of Moscow’s farcical humanitarian pause, which ended a period of bombardment that killed more than 600 people from September 19 to October 18. Over the course of less than a week, over 200 people have been killed so far, mostly civilians. On November 19 alone, the Local Coordination Committees documented 80 deaths across Syria, with 49 killed by Russian and regime bombs just in Aleppo The White Helmets’ spokesman, Ibrahim Abu al-Laith, placed the death toll even higher, with 80 deaths in Aleppo province. That same day, Russian and regime planes took three hospitals in Eastern Aleppo out of commission, including a children’s facility. According to witnesses, they were hit by toxic gas and illegal vacuum bombs, an allegation supported by video evidence. The images of the destruction and carnage caused by this offensive are horrifying, stark proof of modern-day barbarity in motion. What we are witnessing is state terrorism, high-grade butchery of near-helpless innocents carried out in full view of the world. The Socialist Party USA vehemently opposes all aerial bombing campaigns in Syria, whether they are carried out by the United States, Russia, the regime, or any other government, and we consider all attacks on civilians war crimes that must be condemned in no uncertain terms and protested en masse. It is a fact, however, that the Russian and Assadist forces are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties in Syria . For that reason, we specifically call for an end to the murderous onslaught of Moscow and Damascus, which has already slaughtered so many and promises to slaughter many more, and we support all campaigns, but especially those organized by Syrians, to resist and stop it.
The fresh hell of the Russian-led offensive comes as the last of Eastern Aleppo’s food aid has run out, leaving its roughly 250,000 residents trapped with no supply route to the outside world, at risk of starvation with winter fast approaching. Aleppoites do not suffer alone in these conditions. The Assad regime has habitually used starvation or the threat of it as a weapon throughout the war, wielding hunger and sickness along with bombs, shells, and missiles as clubs to beat rebellious but besieged communities into submission, as they did in Daraya and so many other places. There are currently one million Syrians living under siege across Syria, predominately at the hands of the Assadist forces . In addition to an end to the bombings, we call for an end to these barbaric sieges, and the immediate emergency delivery of mass humanitarian airdrops to Eastern Aleppo, Douma, East Ghouta, and all other besieged areas. We demand that the United Nations, which is the only international agency logistically capable of providing such aid, stop coordinating all aid work with the Assad regime, which has not only continued its savage attacks on civilians, but blocked shipments of food, water, and medicine to rebel-held areas, re-directed it to its own territory, and systematically marked humanitarian workers for death, all while accepting tens of millions of dollars in UN contracts. Last September, 73 aid organizations, civil society groups, and local councils operating within Syria suspended their cooperation with the United Nations on these grounds. Despite the staggering evidence of the Assad regime’s crimes and the UN’s ongoing collusion, the UN leadership still denies the charges and proclaims its impartiality. Although the UN has always been dominated by the great capitalist powers and typically served as an agent of and vehicle for their interests, it is not immune to democratic public power. We urge all allies of the Syrian people to apply pressure on the UN and all member states, to hold Damascus (and all other violators of the lives and rights of Syrians) accountable.
Finally, we stand with the heroic efforts by the Syrian masses to survive, combat, and hopefully end the fascist and imperialist assaults on their country. The SPUSA recognizes the reality and legitimacy of the Syrian Revolution, and the inherent right of all peoples, including those ruled by self-styled anti-imperialist governments, to democratic self-determination and self-defense in the face of oppression. We side with the Syrian people, and share their dream of a free, just, and peaceful Syria. Let that be clear to all. We side with the Syrian people.
Statement by Stephanie Cholensky and Pat Noble,
SPUSA National Co-Chairs
There are moments in which all of you can do is turn your head in shame. This is one of those moments.
After an election cycle in which the Democrats abandoned all pretense of being progressive and the Republicans entered unchartered waters with a right-wing, populist nominee, we have made it past election day.
This election began with the understanding that, regardless of which nominee from the two capitalist parties was elected, the working class would lose out. On the Republican side, a crowded field of seventeen candidates gave rise to Donald Trump; a nominee whose hate-filled rhetoric and racist proposals have allowed the far-right to enter the political mainstream. On the Democrat side, the coronation of Hillary Clinton to continue Barack Obama and George W. Bush's fifteen year War on Terror was briefly interrupted by Bernie Sanders, but has since continued on with Sanders as one of her most vocal advocates.
Now we look to the next four years, in which Donald Trump will be the President of the United States. We look to conflicts throughout the world in which hundreds of thousands of people are dead as a result of United States foreign policy. We look to a refugee crisis of almost five million people and a country more interested in denouncements or ignorance than acceptance. We look to an increasingly militarized police force that has not been held accountable for their violence against black communities. We look to the people around us that are drowning in debt and receiving a fraction of what could be considered a living wage. We look to a climate crisis spiraling out of control and any chance of saving the planet slipping away.
We look to the new president with no hope or expectation that any of these crises will be addressed in a meaningful way.
The election of Donald Trump signals the beginning of a new and dangerous chapter in United States history. It seems surreal that sixty million people could give support to a candidate who spoke openly about sexually assaulting women, proposed unprecedented discrimination against Muslims, and advocated for deporting millions of Latinx people. Through the election of Donald Trump, the alt-right has shed the “alt” and been empowered to operate openly. The election of Mike Pence to the vice presidency, despite his disgusting positions on open discrimination against the LGBT community, is also deeply disturbing. This all underscores how toxic, hateful, and fearful large parts of American culture continue to be.
This is not to say that Hillary Clinton was a suitable option. We recognize that electing the first woman to the presidency is an important and long-overdue milestone for the United States, but it is incredibly disheartening that the first woman president would have stood in support of the status quo radical feminists have fought so hard to dismantle. Having a woman hold the highest office of government is a hollow victory if that woman perpetuates the systemic oppression that cemented women’s status as second class citizens in the first place. When political leaders slash welfare, privatize entitlements, loosen environmental restrictions, bust unions, and send poor people to fight in yet another war: the race, gender, or political party of those leaders means little to the working poor, because the result for them is still the same.
There will be strong criticism levied against the third and alternative parties that ran in the presidential election. Specific to the Left, we will hear that we are responsible for Donald Trump's election because we ran against Hillary Clinton. Let's be perfectly clear on this: The Democratic Party is not entitled to the vote of every person who does not vote Republican. Hillary Clinton ran an unapologetically pro-Wall Street campaign and secured her party's nomination through an openly rigged primary process. She supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, instigated the Libyan Civil War and subsequent regime change, and enforced a foreign policy that is directly responsible for the Syrian Civil War and refugee crisis. No legitimate socialist or socialist organization would give support to such a person without betraying everything that socialism stands for.
The Republican and Democratic Parties have consistently failed to empower or defend the interests of the working class, and in many cases are directly responsible for the attacks on them. They exist to monopolize political power and represent the interests of capitalism.
Dark days are ahead. None of us know the specifics on what laws the Trump administration will push to enact or repeal, but we have all heard his rhetoric and seen his supporters. There is nothing any of us can say to make this better. What we can do is organize. What we can do is defend our neighbors and stand with the communities that will be under attack from President Trump and his right-wing army of supporters. What we can do is organize ourselves into an effective opposition.
Any hope for progress we have lies with us, our neighbors, our co-workers, our communities, and our working class that has the collective power to challenge capitalism and build a new system in its place.
To that end, we invite you to join the Socialist Party. Together, we can work to build a mass movement built on revolutionary politics and dedicated to ending this oppressive system called capitalism.
There are a number of people that we would like to pay tribute to in this statement. Michael Anderson, who was the Socialist Party's nominee for Michigan State Representative in the 70th district, secured 5% of the vote in a three-way race. Jarrod Williams, who was the Socialist Party's nominee for United States Senate in Nevada, secured over 6,800 votes in the race to succeed Harry Reid. Seth Baker, who was endorsed by the Socialist Party in his campaign for Maine State Senate in District 27, secured 17% of the vote in a three-way race and out-polled the Republican candidate. Thank you all for your willingness to stand as advocates for democratic socialism in your respective races.
We would like to recognize Matt Erard, who serves at the Socialist Party's Campaign Clearinghouse Coordinator. Both in this election and elections past, Matt's knowledge and insight on ballot access has been a tremendous asset to Socialist Party candidates. Thank you for your continued dedication to our Party's electoral action.
We would like to recognize and thank all of the Socialist Party members and supporters throughout the country that worked on the Soltysik/Walker presidential campaign. Between ballot and write-in status work, organizing events for the campaign, and promoting the campaign on social media and in your communities, you all have made this the most positive and energetic Socialist Party campaign in recent memory.
Finally, and on behalf of the entire Socialist Party, we would like to pay tribute to Mimi and Angela for standing as our presidential ticket. The amount of time and energy that went into the presidential campaign is extraordinary and deserves to be recognized. The campaign's message of looking beyond our isolated circles and to our communities to organize for radical politics was a perspective that we desperately needed to hear. There is no question that countless people across the country will be better organizers for having come in contact with the Soltysik/Walker campaign and the ideas it put forward. Love and thanks to you both for all of your work.
Passed by the SP USA National Action Committee
The following statement is made by the Socialist Party USA in solidarity with the water protectors fighting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, American Indians, and Indigenous Peoples everywhere.
The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation of North Dakota, and thousands of their allies, have united to stand up against the corporation, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), who threatens their natural water source, the Missouri River, and sacred cultural sites with plans to build a 1,172 mile long oil pipeline that crosses three other states, dubbed the *Dakota Access Pipeline.*
According to the news agency, Reuters, a subsidiary of ETP has had more oil spills/leaks than ANY of its competitors, and is tasked to be the operator of this project. This pipeline has the risk to leak into the Missouri river and poison the water supply of the reservation and all forms of life downstream.”
As conflict around the construction of the DAPL continues, President Obama has stated, “the path of the pipeline can be diverted to avoid Native American sacred sites.” However, we condemn ANY further
“The Socialist Party recognizes the right of all people to equal treatment under the law, and to a humane criminal sanction system based on prevention, mediation, restitution, and rehabilitation rather than on vengeance, forced labor, and profits for the prison-industrial complex.”
We read the high number of arrests and the exaggerated sentences (45 years and felonies for trespassing and conspiracy charges) to be an act of desperation by the law enforcement officers of a criminal justice system acting erroneously under the pressure that weighs upon those choosing to defend capital, rather than humanity.
The Socialist Party USA’s Platform also calls for public ownership and democratic control of all natural resources in order to conserve resources, preserve wilderness areas, and restore environmental quality. It also calls for the development of alternative energy sources including solar, geothermal, wind, hydropower, and biomass to end dependence on fossil fuels.
The American Indian Student Association asks you to support the people of Standing Rock and protect the environment. Consider the role the Lakota and other tribes at Standing Rock are playing as it asks people to consider that water is life—not only in the global environmental sense which cautions the need to preserve this as a resource for people of the future—but also that in this immediate moment water is living, is a part of our bodies, is life.
Love water, not oil!
 Thanks to the Central American United Students Association at Cal State Northridge for their input on this statement.
passed by the National Action Committee 7/19/2016
On the night of July 15, Turkey was attacked yet again, not by the inveterate bogeymen of Daesh, but by the oldest scourge of Turkish democracy: the military. For the fifth time in the past 56 years, factions within the armed forces attempted to seize control of the country, commandeering the airwaves and deploying tanks and aircraft throughout Istanbul and Ankara.
Unlike the previous coups, however, this one failed within hours, thanks to the incompetence of the plotters, a lack of support from within the rest of the Turkish state, and most critically, steadfast opposition from the Turkish masses. We salute the people of Turkey who recognized this putsch for what it was, roundly rejected it, and put their bodies on the line to defeat it. We recognize that their victory was a victory for democracy and popular power, and a bold example of what mass action
against reaction can achieve. Their bravery will not be forgotten.
It was also a victory for Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP government. Always right-wing and neoliberal, Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian in recent years, cracking down on the press, civil society, and particularly progressive and revolutionary forces and consolidating further power. They have also reignited the savage, chauvinist war against the Kurds, which has taken the lives of hundreds of civilians in its latest incarnation. These dangerous and criminal practices must be loudly condemned. That said, if the history of modern Turkey has taught us anything, it’s that there is a deep and abiding tendency towards fascism in the Turkish deep state, and particularly within the military. A successful coup would have certainly meant the bloody acceleration and escalation of the AKP government’s most reactionary policies, and given the mass base the AKP still commands, a probable civil war. As in Egypt, the military would not have saved Turkey from the imperfections of bourgeois democracy, but ushered it back into the death-grip of dictatorship, at an immense cost to the working class and minorities of all stripes. The fact that this possibility was quashed in its infancy is worth celebrating, but what follows will not be. Emboldened by the backing of most of the state forces, the public, and even the political opposition, a resurgent Erdogan will take advantage of this golden opportunity to clean house. The government will almost certainly widen the circle of repression beyond the plotters and their accomplices, using the coup as an excuse to accumulate more power and further erode Turkey’s well-earned democratic gains. Furthermore, there are reports that some of the government supporters are carrying out acts of opportunistic violence and abuse against Syrian refugees, women, and others. We support all of our comrades in Turkey who will fight the inevitable backlash and such unacceptable vigilantism, and continue the struggle for a truly free and just society.
Down with oppression, whether in uniform or suits, and up with the Turkish and Kurdish people! The only army worth a damn is the people’s army!
Written by the Labor & Living Wage Commission and passed by the National Action Committee
The Socialist Party stands in solidarity with the 40,000 Verizon workers who are currently on strike on the East Coast. At a time when Verizon is reporting billions of dollars in profits and compensates its corporate executives with tens of millions, the idea of trying to force workers into reductions in health care and retirement compensation is disgusting.
The hardship faced by the workers bravely standing on picket lines is indicative of a larger problem, one that cannot be solved by a signed contract or pay raise. That problem is capitalism – and the solution is socialism.
We support the right of workers to organize themselves and ultimately take control of their workplace and industry through democratic organization. Had the Verizon workers been able to cooperatively own and run their workplace, the issues that forced a strike would not exist. There would not be a CEO receiving $18.3 million dollars while asking workers to accept less. There would not be a corporation funneling over one billion dollars a month in profits away from the workers whose hard work created those profits. There would not be spouses and parents standing on a picket line while scabs are brought in to do their jobs. Instead, there would be economic democracy and prosperity for all workers.
Instead, there would be socialism.
The argument put forward by the corporate media that Verizon workers are to blame is completely false and only serves to divide us. Rather than denouncing our sisters and brothers for defending their livelihood, we should be standing with them.
We call on our local and state parties on the East Coast to support the striking Verizon workers in anyway possible. We also call on Verizon to
immediately cease its attack on working people and instead agree to a contract that is reflective of the billions of dollars in profits that could only be possible with the strength of Verizon workers.