Issues by Topic

Collections of featured articles from Socialist Worker on pressing issues
The people's history reading list
Howard Zinn's comprehensive reading list for activists interested in making their own history.

PDF's to download and print
NATURAL AND UNNATURAL DISASTERS: How U.S. policy has impoverished and devastated Haiti

The U.S. war on Afghanistan

ISR guide to The People Speak
International Socialist Review magazine provides a list of related historical articles to accompany The People Speak, a documentary inspired by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's anthology Voices of a People's History of the United States.


About Us

The ISO is committed to building a left alternative to a world of racism,  poverty, war, and environmental destruction. Socialism­ a society where people come before profit—built from the bottom up through the struggles of ordinary people against exploitation, oppression, and injustice—is desperately needed.

We have branches and members in more than 65 cities across the country whose members are involved in helping to build a number of struggles: the movement to stop war and occupation, fights against racism and anti-immigrant scapegoating, the struggle for women's rights like the right to choose abortion, opposing anti-gay bigotry, and standing up for workers' rights.

The UW ISO Branch is part of the Student Worker Coalition fighting the budget cuts at UW, we participate in S.O.L.E. & Seattle OUTProtest in the struggle for LGBT rights, contribute to Ruckus, as well as the fight city-wide against teacher layoffs and school closures

The misery that millions of people around the world face is rooted in the society we live in--capitalism, where the few who rule profit from the labor of the vast majority of the population.

In the U.S., a tiny proportion of the population enjoys fantastic wealth, while millions of people live in desperate poverty, and many more live paycheck to paycheck. Yet we have the resources to feed, clothe and educate everyone on the planet.

A world free of exploitation--socialism--is not only possible but worth fighting for. The ISO stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky in the belief that workers themselves--the vast majority of the population--are the only force that can lead the fight to win a socialist society. Socialism can't be brought about from above, but has to be won by workers themselves.

The Democratic Party, much like the Republicans, acts in the interests of Corporate America and the privileged few at the top. Therefore, we do not support their candidates.

We see our task as building an independent socialist organization with members organizing in our workplaces, our schools and our neighborhoods to bring socialist ideas to the struggles we are involved in today, and the vision of a socialist world in the future.

Where We Stand

Socialism, Not Capitalism
War, poverty, exploitation, oppression, and worldwide environmental destruction are products of the capitalist system, a system in which a minority ruling class profits from the labor of the majority. The alternative is socialism, a society based on workers collectively owning and controlling the wealth their labor creates.

We stand in the Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.

Workers' Power
Workers create society's wealth, but have no control over its production and distribution. A socialist society can only be built when workers collectively take control of that wealth and democratically plan its production and distribution according to present and future human needs instead of profit.

The working class is the vast majority of society and is the key to the fight for socialism. Workers' central role in production gives them a social power--by use of the strike weapon--to paralyze the system like no other social force.

Socialism is working-class self-emancipation. Only mass struggles of the workers themselves can put an end to the capitalist system of oppression and exploitation.

We support trade unions as essential to the fight for workers' economic and political rights. To make the unions fight for workers' interests, rank-and-file workers must organize themselves independent of the union officials.

We actively support the struggle of workers and all oppressed people for economic, political and social reforms, both as a means to improve their conditions and to advance their confidence and fighting strength. But reforms within the capitalist system cannot put an end to oppression, exploitation, or ecological devastation. Capitalism must be replaced.

The structures of the present government grew up under capitalism and are designed to protect capitalist rule. The working class needs an entirely different kind of state--a democratic workers' state based on councils of workers' delegates.

We do not support candidates of capitalist parties like the Democrats or the Republicans. We support genuine left-wing candidates and political action that promotes independence from the corporate-dominated two-party system in the U.S.

Capitalism is an international system, so the struggle for socialism must be international, uniting workers of all countries. The international working class is the only force capable of solving global problems like war, hunger and environmental destruction. Socialists oppose imperialism--the division of the globe based on the subjugation of weaker nations by stronger ones--and support the self-determination of oppressed nations. We oppose all immigration controls.

We oppose U.S. intervention in Cuba, the Middle East, and elsewhere. We are for self-determination for Puerto Rico.

China and Cuba, like the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, have nothing to do with socialism. They are state capitalist regimes. We support the struggles of workers in these countries against the bureaucratic ruling class.

Full Equality and Liberation
Capitalism divides the working class, based on sexual, racial and national distinctions. The specially oppressed groups within the working class suffer the most under capitalism.

We oppose racism in all its forms. We support the struggle for immigrants rights. We fight for real social, economic and political equality for women and for an end to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

We support the fight for Black liberation and all the struggles of the oppressed. The liberation of the oppressed is essential to socialist revolution and impossible without it.

The Revolutionary Party
To achieve socialism, the most militant workers must be organized into a revolutionary socialist party. The ISO is committed to playing a role in laying the foundations for such a party. We aim to build an independent socialist organization, rooted in workplaces, schools and neighborhoods that, in fighting today's struggles, also wins larger numbers to socialism.

For More Information
Click to download a "Where We Stand" pamphlet written by Socialist Worker columnist Paul D'Amato. With sections on socialism not capitalism, workers' power, revolution, internationalism, full equality and liberation, and the revolutionary party, it provides an introduction to the politics of international socialism and to the activities of the International Socialist Organization.


Audio and Video

Below you will find selected Audio and Video recordings of ISO events. There are hundreds of videos available online, way more than we can collect here. Please check out Sam's Chanel on YouTube he has collected  videos into 19 topical playlists for easy navigation, and he is continually updating the collection, so be sure to subscribe to his Chanel in addition to checking back here.  

Topic: History of The Civil Rights Movement
Here is a link to download or stream talks some are given by our upcoming Guest Speaker Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor other are having to do with different aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for liberation.

The Collection includes: Keeanga's talk from Socialism 2008, From Red-Lining to Sub-Prime Racism and Housing in the US; Marlene Martin on Ella Baker and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement is probably most relevant to preparing for Keeanga's meeting;  Black Liberation & Socialism is by Ahmed Shawki based on the book he wrote of the same title; Martin Luther King's Last Struggle by Brian Jones; Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary by Jesse Hagopian, The Tribune of the Oppressed, Marxism and Liberation by Hanna Fluery; and finally Outside Agitators? Socialists and Movements by Joel Gier who was a leader in the movements in Berkeley in the 1960s. He uses that experience to talk about how socialists help build reformist movements while also building a socialist movement.

Jesse Hagopian Speaking at Seattle, Oct 11 LGBT Equality Rally

Speaking on lessons of the Civil Rights Movement & the relevance of that movement for today's LGBT Movement for equal rights.

Topic: Haiti

Links to videos of the Haiti Panel at Town Hall:
If you  get a spinning icon when trying to play the videos: click on-- chose a format-- under the viewing window and chose Quicktime format, they play as they should. If you don't have Quicktime on your computer, it is a free download from the blip site where these videos appear.

Here is a link for recordings of talks on Haiti from ISO conferences that you can download or stream.

The first is John Green on Haiti and the Myth of Humanitarian Intervention from Socialism 2009. The second is Ashley Smith on Haiti: The Forgotten Occupation from Socialism 2005. And there's a bonus track -- Charles Mingus' Haitian Fight Song from 1957 -- because we all know Haiti needs a fight song right now. From Wikipedia: On "Haitian Fight Song", Mingus said "[...] It has a folk spirit, the kind of folk music I've always heard anyway.[...] My solo in it it's a deeply concentrated one. I can't play it right unless I'm thinking about prejudice and persecution, and how unfair is it. There's sadness and cries in it, but also determination. And it usually ends with my feeling 'I told them! I hope somebody heard me!'" [Mingus is on the bass.]


2009 Northwest Socialist Conference 
Audio recordings of the following workshops can be downloaded here

From Crash to Recovery? The Economic Crisis Today by Sam Bernstein, How Can Socialism Liberate the Oppressed? by Jesse Hagopian, The Democrats: a Critical History by Meredith Reese, Imperialism in the Obama Era Lee Sustar, History of the International Socialist Organization by Steve Leigh, What would Socialism Look Like? by Leela Yellesetty

This workshop was unable to be recorded but a PDF is available for download A Peoples History of Seattle (Darrin Hoop)

Evening Panel: We've only Just begun to Fight! Next Steps for the LGBT Equality Movement

Fresh from the National Equality March on Washington in October and the approval of Referendum 71 in WA state, Sherry Wolf and northwest LGBT Activists Lonnie Lopez and Camille White-Avian, discuss the way forward for the LGBT equality movement. Full Equality will only come with a break from the state-by-state approach in favor of a movement with one simple demand: full equality in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states!

More Videos coming soon!

Socialism 2009 Conference

Audio Recordings of all workshops from both the San Fransisco and Chicago conferences are now available!

Download over 80 talks including, "What is socialism?," "Rosa Luxemburg's 'The Mass Strike'," "The two souls of socialism," "How the Russian revolution was won," "Marx's 'Capital'," and many more!

First, download the following file, which is in a .torrent format:

Then, if you don't already have one, download and install a BitTorrent client. You can get one for free at the following link:

Finally, open the Socialism2009.torrent file above with your new BitTorrent client, and get access to mp3 audio for all of the talks!

Building a New Left for a New Era - Final Rally Todd Chretien & Sharon Smith

John Pilger - Obama and Empire

The birth of a new LGBT civil rights movement Panel


2008 Northwest Socialist Conference
Final Panel - Resisting Empire at Home and Abroad


Don Grinde, a 31-year crane operator at Boeing and a veteran union activist in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers*.

Elizabeth Fawthrop, Student at UW and founding member of the UW Chapter of the Campus Anti-War Network.

Tim Harris, Executive Director of Real Change News, Seattle's weekly activist publication with an ear to the street.

Allen Bradley, one of the Freightliner Five--members of the bargaining committee of United Auto Workers Local 3520* in Cleveland, N.C. who were terminated after leading a legal walkout at a Freightliner truck plant after their labor contract had expired.

James Bible, President of the Seattle NAACP

Jesse Hagopian, teacher in the Seattle Public Schools, a member of the Seattle Education Association*, and socialist activist for many progressive struggles.

Camilo Mejia, the first U.S. soldier to publicly refuse to redeploy to Iraq, and Board Chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War.