Jorge is headed to Arizona !!

Seattle ISO member Jorge is headed to Arizona for the SB1070 protests.
Check back for more updates from Jorge in the next few days!

Read more about AZ and SB1070 from SocialistWorker.org

The real crime in Arizona 
Immigrants are targets of a deadly campaign of border militarization and racist scapegoating in Arizona--but activists are ready to take a stand. 

This is a fight for all of us 

Today's young activists are following in the footsteps of past civil rights struggles.

The myth of the anti-immigrant majority
Supporters of immigrant rights can make a difference by organizing and activism
With 28 percent of its players born in Latin America, Major League Baseball has a special obligation to stand up against Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070.


7/21 - Fundamentals of Marxism Discussion #1: Historical Materialism

This our first session in our summer-long Fundamentals of Marxism Study SeriesCheck out the full series and readings.

A few years ago millions of Americans voted for “change”—but instead so far we have more of the same: more war, more economic hardship, more ecological destruction. All this raises the urgent question: is real change possible and if so how?

Marxists are variously accused of being hopeless utopians or mechanical determinists, but the ideas laid out by Marx and Engels are neither.  Historical materialism, their understanding of the way human society changes, remains an incredibly relevant framework not only for understanding the world, but for changing it.

In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels discuss the role of ideas in relation to the material world, the way in which human society has transformed along with the development of the forces of production, and why they came to see the working class as a revolutionary force capable of overthrowing capitalism and founding a socialist society.

Join us to unpack and discuss these crucial ideas, their historical context, and the relevance for our work today!  

You can still join us if youv'e not read the The German Ideology -- check out this short introductory article by Phil Gasper, The Classics of Marxism: The German Ideology


7/14 - Spring Quarter assesment and Fall planning

Wed 7/14 7-9pm
UW School for Social Work Room B12 (corner of 15th N.E. and N.E. 41st)

Join us as we assess our spring quarter activities and begin brainstorming ideas for organizing in the Fall! Come and bring your ideas about what the ISO can do on the UW campus and in Seattle.


Fundamentals of Marxism Summer Study Series

For Marxists, there is an indissoluble interrelation between ideas and what we do: theory and practice. The theory of Marxism draws upon the historical experience of the working-class movement; and that theory in turn informs our practice. Practice without theory is rudderless; theory without practice is academics.

This summer join us as we dig into the fundamentals of Marxism -- grounding us in some of the basic tenets of Marx and Engel’s thought on historical materialism (Marx’s view of history and social change); on the economic structures of capitalism; and on the political and social dynamics of class struggle.

We've planned six meetings, paired with the readings below. These discussions will run on wed nights, bi-weekly for the duration of the summer, interspersed with organizing meetings.  Anyone can participate, but these are not introductory texts, so we recommend that folks familiarize themselves with some basics (listed in each section) before moving on to the main texts.

Historical Materialism
Session One: The German Ideology -- Wed 7/21

The German Ideology was the first work in which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels sketched out the framework for understanding history and society that was to guide their theoretical and practical activities for the rest of their lives. Understanding historical materialism and how change is made throughout history is key to our understanding of how we are actually capable of bringing Socialism about.

Recommended prerequisites:
Main reading:
If you prefer to buy the books: The German Ideology or The Marx-Engels Reader

Marx’s Political Economy

For most people economics is a mystery better left unsolved, but Marx rescued economics from the economists and turned it into a tool for explaining inequality, exploitation, and crisis--as well as a way to end all three. And the current economic crisis makes study of this topic even more pressing!

Recommended prerequisites:

Session Two: Value, Price and Profit -- Wed 8/4
If you prefer to buy the books: Wage-Labour and Capital and Value, Price, and Profit

Session Three: Primitive Accumulation
Wed 8/18
If you prefer to buy the books: Capital, Volume 1

The Politics of Social Classes

The Class Struggles in France was Marx’s first attempt to explain a piece of contemporary history -- the 1848 French Revolution -- by means of his materialist conception, on the basis of the prevailing economic situation.  He continues to analyze France in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, a pamphlet looking at historical events leading up to Louis Bonaparte's coup d'├ętat of December 2, 1851—from the viewpoint of his materialist conception of history. Together with Marx's contemporary writings on English politics, the Eighteenth Brumaire is the principal source for our understanding of Marx's theory of the capitalist state.

Recommended prerequisites:

Session Four: Class Struggles in France 
Wed 9/1
If you prefer to buy the books: The Class Struggles in France

Session Five: Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis
Bonaparte -- Wed 9/15
If you prefer to buy the books: The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte or The Marx-Engels Reader

Session Six: The Paris Commune -- Wed 9/29

Anyone Reading The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels can't help but be amazed at the pamphlet's relevance after 150 years. But already by 1872, on one critical point, Marx himself was convinced that the Manifesto was "out of date." The occasion for this revision, not just in the Manifesto, but in one of the fundamental tenets of Marxism, was the epic struggle in 1871 of the Paris Commune, a mass movement of workers and the poor that for the first time in history established a short-lived workers' government in Paris. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the Commune was a spectacular demonstration that the future belonged to the world's working class.

The central lesson of the Commune, which had Marx and Engels scrambling to rewrite Marxism's founding document, is of such importance that socialism is ultimately impossible without it. "One thing especially was proved by the Commune," writes Marx. "That the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes." In order for workers to govern themselves, the workers must first assure that the bourgeoisie cannot simply use their military forces to repossess what they have temporarily lost.

Recommended prerequisite:
Main Reading:
If you prefer to buy the books: The Civil War in France: The Paris Commune