Happy New Year!

We're taking two weeks off for the holidays.

It's been a fantastic year, a year of revolt from below and struggle for the 99%. Inspiring struggles from Tunsia and Egypt to Wisconsin to Wall Street. Working people of the world have said "enough is enough" and begun to organize and fight back. 2012 should be an exciting year in its own right, building on that momentuem.

A few articles to keep you busy:
The year of revolt
Jesus the revolutionary?
The ancestors of Occupy
The Egyptian revolution continues

And, as always, these archives should help fill your holiday down time:
International Socialist Review
Socialist Worker
We Are Many

UPDATED: January meeting announcements will be posted before the new year. The first Seattle city branch meeting will be Wednesday, January 4, 2012.


Seattle students against cuts

Dan Trocolli reports on a spirited demonstration against education cuts in Seattle.
December 16, 2011

CHANTING "WE'RE the future of our nation, no more cuts to education!" high school students from all over Seattle walked out of class December 14 to protest proposed cuts in education funding. Nearly 700 students converged on the University of Washington's Red Square for a rally that challenged state lawmakers' plans for more budget cuts.

Washington faces a $2 billion shortfall this year, and Gov. Christine Gregoire called a special session of the state legislature starting November 28 to balance the budget before the regular session starts in January. After nearly $10 billion in cuts over the last three year, Gregoire is proposing over $250 million more in reductions from K-12 education and another $160 million from higher education.
The student walkout was sparked after protests against the special session in the state capital of Olympia. Unions representing state and municipal employees mobilized rallies during the first week of the session. Teachers in the Social Equality Educators (SEE), a rank-and-file group of activist teachers from the Seattle area, helped lead attempts by union and community activists to Occupy the Capitol building and disrupt the legislature.

A judge has declared that Washington's legislature is out of compliance with the state constitution mandating education funding to be the state's "paramount duty." Therefore, SEE sent a team of teachers to Olympia to make a citizen's arrest of the legislature for breaking the law. As the House session began, SEE members unfurled a giant banner reading, "Citizen's Arrest: Lawbreakers need to fully fund education" from the balcony of the House chambers at the beginning of the session.

Back in Seattle, when students at Garfield High School learned that a teacher, Jesse Hagopian, was arrested for "mic-checking" the Senate Ways and Means committee, they moved into action. Students created a Facebook page titled "Free Mr. Hagopian." Within hours, they had hundreds of students following it. When Hagopian was released later that day, students changed the group's name to "Seattle Student Walkout for Education."

On December 7, over 500 Garfield students walked out of class and marched to City Hall. Students made flyers to hand out detailing the cuts and the impact on education. Once at City Hall, they organized a speakout using the people's mic, having filled up the front steps of the building. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn came out and praised students for their efforts.
Garfield senior and Black Student Union President Obadiah Terry remarked on the support for the walkout:
You can look around your class and see you've got 34 students in a 28-student room, or your teacher has to move around the school and share rooms, or your science teacher has to buy materials for hands-on labs. You can see it all around you, and when everyone realizes it at once, we all know we need to do something about it together.


Haymarket Books for the holidays!

Haymarket Books is offering a fantastic discount for the holidays!

Fill your bookshelf or check off your holiday gift list with 40% off and free shipping through December 15 with the code OCCUPY40.

The discount applies to any title including recently released titles like Too Many People? by Ian Angus and Simon Butler, On History by Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone, and A Time to Die: The Attica Prison Rebellion by Tom Wicker.


Occupy and women's rights

Leela Yellesetty explains why the Occupy movement must embrace women's rights.
WOMEN ARE a majority of the 99 percent.

We are still paid, on average, only 77 cents to a man's dollar (that number drops to 68 cents for African American women and 58 cents for Latinas). When one takes into account the impact of childbearing and the fact the women still bear the brunt of unpaid labor in the home, this figure slides further downwards. One study measuring the cumulative impact over 15 prime-earning years found that women actually make 38 cents for each dollar a man makes.

This should come as no surprise living in one of the only countries in the world--along with Swaziland and Papua New Guinea--which does not require employers to provide paid maternity leave.

Women are disproportionately impacted by the budget cuts that are shredding the social safety net. Nationally, about two-thirds of adult recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program are women. Women and people of color are also overrepresented in public-sector jobs, and therefore are particularly vulnerable to the onslaught of layoffs and pay cuts these budget cuts entail.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, women lost 72 percent of 378,000 government posts cut between July 2009 and March 2010.

In my home state of Washington, women constitute 54 percent of individuals enrolled in the government's Medicare health care program. The governor's latest budget proposal includes $2 million in cuts to maternal and child health and $1.8 million to family planning--in addition to the complete elimination of the Basic Health Program, which provides coverage to the state's poorest residents--again, disproportionately women.

Meanwhile, the 1 percent here in Washington state continues to reap the benefits of generous tax loopholes and the most unfair tax structure in the country. We are home to four of the 23 richest people in the country: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen. There seems to be a gender imbalance on that end as well.

IVAW and Seattle ISO member Jorge on Democracy Now

“I see the struggle that’s going on with the port workers and the truck drivers down in Seattle and across the West Coast,” Gonzalez says, who was pepper-sprayed on Monday while taking part in the Seattle protest. “They deal with the same issues like mental health, homelessness. Veterans, they see themselves connected with all these issues.”

Jorge Gonzalez is the Executive Director of Coffee Strong, an anti-war, pro-soldier coffee house outside of Fort Lewis, and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.


12/15 District Mtg

THURS, Dec 15
UW Savery Hall Room 130

This Thursday we will be getting together all our comrades from the Puget Sound area for a district organizing meeting before taking two weeks off for the holidays. Our next meeting will be Thursday, January 5, 2012.

NBC report back and Dec 12th & 14th assessments
The National Branch Council, a body of representatives from ISO branches in over 50 cities across the country, will be having a conference call this Tuesday to assess the state of the occupy movement nationally.  We will assess the actions in Seattle this week, including the Dec 12th West Coast port shutdown and the Dec 14th student walkouts as well as what's next for the Occupy movement nationally.

Building the ISO across the Puget Sound
2011 has been an incredible year for activism, and as a result the audience for socialist politics has never been greater. In addition to experiencing growth in the Seattle branches and the launching of a new Everett branch, we have met people in other cities and on other campuses. We will discuss a proposal to reach out to these areas by building study groups and speaking events culminating with the a one-day Puget Sound Socialist Conference sometime in March.

We will vote on a district goal and fundraising plans for the annual Center for Economic Research and Social Change fund drive. CERSC is the publisher of Haymarket Books and the International Socialist Review which have been key tools for arming a new generation of activists with ideas for changing the world. In addition we'll be discussing fundraising parties, trivia night, t-shirt sales and more!


12/8: UW Brainstorming for next Quarter & Doodle Poll

  This Thursday is our last meeting of the Quarter. 
Since folks are busy studying for finals we're going to keep the meeting to an hour and just do a casual brainstorm of ideas for next quarter.

Thurs 7-8pm
Savery 130

Feel free to join us even if you haven't been able to be involved yet this year, it's not too late to contribute your ideas and get involved next quarter. 

And on that note we've know a number of people weren't able to make our meetings this quarter with their class schedule, soooo it's time for the......

....Doodle Poll

We'd love to find a time that works better for everyone that wants to be involved so please fill out the Doodle Poll -- just enter your name and check off the times that work for you for a weekly meeting next quarter. 

12/8 City Mtg: What's Next for Occupy Seattle?

THURS, Dec 8
SCCC Room 4135

Looking for a UW meeting? Click here.

What's Next for Occupy Seattle?
A 72-hour eviction order has been issued to clear the encampment at SCCC by Friday afternoon. Seattle is one of the last remaining encampments in the country, but as cities elsewhere have shown "you can't evict an idea whose time has come". Whatever happens with the encampment, the movement of the 99% will continue. This will be a chance to discuss overall trajectory, the next two sections will focus on specific actions next week.

Read more:
A closed bank put to good use
Why the movement shouldn't #OccupyXMas

December 12 West Coast Port Shutdown
The Oakland General Assembly has called for a coastwide blockade of ports in solidarity with struggles of port truck drivers in LA and the ILWU in Longview. Hear about plans for the action here in Seattle.

Read more:
Why we called for a port shutdown
Labor war in Longview

December 14 Student Walkout
Students at Garfield and other high schools organized a successful walkout against cuts to education last week, and now they're organizing an even bigger one on the 14th!

Read more:
Garfield seniors to state: Don't pawn off our future
Protesting Washington's painful cutbacks

Seattle Transit Riders Union
An organizing update.

NEXT WEEK! District-wide meeting
December 15th will be our last meeting of 2011 and we would like to get all of our members and allies from around the region to come out to discuss some exciting plans, including: Puget Sound Socialist Conference! Speaking tour! Fundraising! Holiday reading plans!

Full agenda and location forthcoming, but plan to be there!


Protesting Washington's painful cutbacks

Occupy activists join with labor and community groups to demand that Washington state tax the 1 percent instead of cut services, reports Sam Bernstein.
December 5, 2011

THOUSANDS OF Occupy, labor and community activists from around Washington state converged on the Capitol building in Olympia, Wash., November 28 to protest a new slate of devastating budget cuts on the first day of a 30-day special legislative session.

Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire convened the special session in order to cut $2 billion from the $8.7 billion discretionary state budget. Since the Great Recession began three years ago, the legislature has cut $10.5 billion from education, health, human services and state employees. Just six months ago, legislators slashed $5 billion without raising a cent in new revenue. The Democratic Party controls both houses of the legislature.

The day of direct actions started with teach-ins organized by the Washington Education Association and Washington Federation of State Employees as well as a rally and march led by Occupy Olympia. While a mass rally was held on the steps of the Capitol building, two dozen teachers attempted to disrupt a session of the full legislature with a "mic check" before they were physically removed by the Washington State Patrol.

Hundreds of protesters then marched to occupy the House Ways and Means Committee meeting. Initially, state troopers would not let the protesters in. Following loud chanting, banging on the doors and minor scuffles, several dozen demonstrators broke into the hearing room.

As soon as the meeting started, Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, along with other teachers from Social Equality Educators, "mic checked" the committee. "We, the educators of Washington State, will not remain silent while the state legislature cuts the funding to our schools," they chanted. While attempting a citizen's arrest of legislators for failing to uphold their state constitutional duty to fully fund public education, Hagopian was arrested by state troopers.

The crowd of protesters continued to use the people's mic to speak out against years of painful cuts to the 99 percent's standard of living. After about 15 minutes, legislators canceled the committee meeting.

"We have campaigned, petitioned, lobbied and testified through the established political process for three years," transit activist Chris Mobley explained. "But instead of listening to us, they just slashed the budget more and more. They've given us no choice but to disrupt that process through direct action and democracy. It's time we force them to listen to us."


Study Group: Black Liberation and Socialism

Thursdays before City branch meetings
SCCC Room 4135

RSVP on facebook

*On Thursday, Dec 8, the study group will begin at 6:30PM

This is a history that you probably didn't learn in high school. This weekly round table analyzes the material roots of racism, as well as the successes and failures of movements against racism. This includes the struggles in which black and white workers united together.

How do we bring the interrelations of race and class in the United States to the forefront? Let’s discuss the relationship between anti-racist struggle, and the fight for a liberated future for us all.

Reading the book Black Liberation and Socialism is encouraged but not necessary for discussion. Topics include, but are not limited to: Slavery in the United States, Abolitionism, The Civil War and Reconstruction, and Populism.

Facilitated by Jesse Hagopian, Seattle ISO member and Garfield history teacher


UPDATED: 12/1 City Meeting: Eyewitness from Egypt!

THURS, Dec 1
NEW! SCCC Room 4135
1701 Broadway at Pine St

Looking for a UW meeting? Click here.

Eyewitness from Egypt
Seattle-based, Egyptian-born activist Yasmin Elbaradie has recently returned from Cairo. Come with your questions about the recent resurgence of protests and strikes and the upcoming elections-- results of which we may know by then.

Read more:
Egypt's revolution returns to the streets
A letter from Cairo to the Occupy Movement

 Occupy Olympia
A report back from the week's actions against the special session of the legislature and building for Saturday's union rally (info and carpooling info on that action to follow).

Socialism in Everett
A report on work up in Everett pulling together a group of people interested in socialism and next steps towards building a new branch up north!


Labor war in Longview

November 30, 2011

The small city of Longview in southwestern Washington state is currently ground zero for one of the most militant U.S. labor struggles in decades.
Since May, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 has been escalating the fight in a two-year-plus battle to force the multinational conglomerate EGT Development to honor its contract and use ILWU labor at a new $200 million grain terminal in Longview. This is the first new terminal built on the West Coast in the last 25 years.
In the course of the battle in Longview, ILWU members and their supporters have blocked trains from bringing grain to the terminal and organized mass pickets to disrupt its operations. But the company is taking a hard line. Local 21 is up against multiple global corporations, police and private security, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and another union--Operating Engineers Local 701, which is providing scab labor.
Now, after a series of test runs, EGT is planning to bring in its first ship in mid-December. Separately, the Occupy movement--whose call for a general strike and day of action in Oakland, Calif., on November 2 in protest of vicious police violence shut down that city's massive port--is calling for protests at ports up and down the West Coast on December 12 in defense of the movement and longshore unionists. The ILWU has not endorsed this call.
The Longview struggle is a crucial test for labor and the wider working-class movement. In late November, Darrin Hoop interviewed Local 21 President Dan Coffman and Local 21 Vice President Jake Whiteside. In this excerpt, they about the background and significance of this modern-day labor war--for workers in Washington state and around the country.
ILWU members in Longview have confronted grain shipments headed for the new EGT terminalILWU members in Longview have confronted grain shipments headed for the new EGT terminal

COULD YOU tell us how this struggle began?
Dan: It would have been early 2009. When we heard about this elevator being constructed in our community, there were a lot of high expectations. If you look at the paper here from November 2009, it talks about how this elevator is going to create 50 new longshore jobs. The new $200 million project was going to put construction people in this community back to work, and this is when our unemployment rate was pushing right around 15 percent.
As soon as ground construction started with the building of this thing, people realized that local labor was not getting any of this action. What we found out is that Bunge was bringing in every non-union type of company to do this project. The high expectations were soon evaporating right in front of our eyes.
At the same time, the ILWU always felt confident, because we have a working agreement with the port that has been in existence for 70-plus years. We felt confident that we were going to sit down and get an agreement with Bunge.

YOU MENTIONED Bunge--that's the main one of the three corporations that make up EGT, right? The others are Itochu, based in Japan, and STX Pan Ocean, based in South Korea.
Dan: In negotiations, Bunge talked about how it had planned this for five years prior. The terminal is EGT, but if you look at it, the 51 percent controlling partner is Bunge North America, based in New York state. We negotiated for close to 14 months, and we were negotiating throughout the whole thing with Bunge. You never saw an Itochu official at the table. You never saw an STX Pan Ocean person at the table.
Bunge is part of what we call the grain cartel, which is the equivalent of the oil cartel. There's a handful of players in the grain cartel, and Bunge is one of them--along with Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Louis Dreyfus, Gavalon. Actually, if you look at it, they're probably more powerful than the oil cartel, because people have to eat, and they know that.
Itochu is a logistics firm out of Japan that has a lot of trucking and shipping interests. Then the shipping lines company they needed to haul their product was Pan Ocean. What they did was triangulate their corporations to meet all their needs, and it became a partnership.

WHY DID they pick Longview?
Dan: We're a small port. I think they probably thought that being such a small port, they could do what they've done throughout the whole world--they could come in and micromanage not only us, but the community as a whole.
Jake: I think one of the main things about Longview is the geographical location. It's the first place you come to on the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean. We're set up with a rail system. I-5 is right there. None of that is a coincidence. It was definitely orchestrated, almost brilliantly.

WHAT WERE the key issues during negotiations?
Dan: The two sticking points were straight-time pay and who was in the master console room. They wanted two 12-hour shifts for a 24-hour period. And during that 12 hours a day, they didn't want any of that to be overtime. It was going to be straight time only.
The other big sticking point was that, in a grain elevator, they have what they call the master console. He controls the flow of grain throughout that facility. Bunge didn't want any union member in that control room. We told them we don't care if you have 50 supervisors in there, there needs to be one longshoreman. We don't take orders from a supervisor. We needed that buffer between management and labor.
In the beginning, they offered us a total of three jobs in the whole facility. We finally got them to up that to four when we asked for a lead man or a general foreman. On top of that, there'd be a need for two millwrights and one electrician, for a total of seven jobs.
We started our negotiations on January 20, 2010 in Portland, Ore. We broke off negotiations, I believe, at the end of February of 2011. During our negotiations, they weren't willing to budge on one thing. I didn't call them negotiations--I called them dictations--dictations by three giant conglomerates that wanted it all their way.

WHAT IS the significance of this new terminal?
Dan: This new elevator is going to pour 40 percent faster than the last one that was built on the West Coast and have about a 30 to 40 percent decrease in the labor needed to operate this facility.
If you can imagine a Panamax ship being loaded in about a 24-hour period, that's basically unheard of. You're talking 50,000 to 60,000 metric tons of whatever product being loaded in over a 24-hour or less period. That's huge volumes at super-fast speeds. These people are recreating the playing field for the grain industry.
This new elevator is going to meet their needs logistically to supply them with an easier route to get their product to Southeast Asia and Japan. They had to set up an elevator on the West Coast to achieve that.


Updates from Occupy Olympia

On Monday, November 28th unionists, Occupiers and activists from around the state will converge on Olympia to challenge the $2 billion cuts the legislature is set to begin during their special session.

Follow us on twitter @SeattleISO for on-the-ground updates and photos!


Time to Occupy the Capitol

If the legislature wants to cut from the 99 percent, there will be no business as usual. It's time to Occupy the Capitol on November 28!

Chris Mobley reports on Occupy activists' plans to challenge more budget cuts.
Occupy activists rally in downtown Seattle (Erin Kohlenberg)
OCCUPY ACTIVISTS in Washington state are gearing up for the next stage in our struggle: Occupy the Capitol to oppose another round of budget cuts.

Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire has called for a special session of the state legislature to cut an additional $2 billion out of the state budget. At a recent press conference, Gregoire even admitted, "We have shredded our social safety net."

This move comes on top of $10 billion in state budget cuts over the last three years, which have resulted in furloughs and layoffs for state employees, a 47 percent increase in tuition at public universities, the gutting of social and health services, and many other attacks on the basic quality of life for the 99 percent of Washington.

What effect will this round of cuts have? Here is what has been proposed:
-- Some 13,000 legal immigrants would be cut from the state's food assistance program--their only source of food aid because they are ineligible for federal food assistance.
-- About 35,000 people would be kicked off the Basic Health Plan, ending a program that subsidizes health care for poor.
-- Another 21,000 people enrolled in the state's Disability Lifeline and ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act) programs would have their medical services cut off.
-- Two wards at Western State Hospital would be closed. These currently serve 52 patients with conditions such as traumatic brain injury or dementia.
-- Foster care, juvenile rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment programs would be slashed by $118 million.
-- A levy equalization program that helps school districts with a poor property tax base will lose half its funding, for a total of $150 million. This will dramatically increase class sizes in affected districts and could shorten the school year.
-- The budget for state colleges and universities will lose another $225 million.
-- Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs will drop by $240,000.
-- The nuclear waste site cleanup program at Hanford--the most contaminated nuclear site in the nation--will lose $581,000.
-- The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, the agency responsible for issuing budget forecasts, will be cut by $94,000. The agency warned Gregoire that a "10 percent cut will eliminate our agency, because we will not have the rudimentary necessities to fulfill our core mission."

ON NOVEMBER 21, in response to mounting pressure from social services providers, unions and the threat of a Madison-style occupation of the state Capitol, Gregoire proposed an emergency revenue measure--something she hasn't done before during three-year-long budget crisis. Her proposal would raise $550 million by increasing the state's regressive sales tax by half a cent. This would require voter approval in a special spring 2012 election.

The $550 million this measure would rise is not only a drop in the bucket relative to the $10 billion in cuts to the state budget, but it further adds to the tax burden on those who would be most affected by the cuts--Washington's poor and working class.

Because the state has no income tax system, Washington relies on regressive sales and property taxes to meet its budget needs. A study by the Sightline Institute ranks Washington dead last in tax fairness. According to the study, the bottom 20 percent of income earners pay 17.3 percent of their income in taxes of various kinds, whereas the top 1 percent of income earners pay just 2.6 percent in taxes.

The state government does have progressive funding sources at its disposal, but it refuses to use them.

Each year, the state gives away $6.5 billion via tax loopholes, mostly to big business. Washington-based Microsoft received $143 million last year in special tax breaks, and aircraft maker Boeing got $104 million. JPMorgan Chase, which took over Washington Mutual in 2008, continues to receive a $120 million tax break on interest collected on first-time mortgages. There are also loopholes for cosmetic surgery ($6.25 million this year) and private jet enthusiasts ($5 million this year).

Another option for the legislature is to tax the rich. Last year, voters rejected Initiative 1098, which would have imposed a 5 percent income tax rate on individual incomes over $200,000 per year and a 9 percent rate on incomes over $500,000 per year. It would have raised $2 billion annually to fund education and health care.

The legislature could pass such a measure outright with a two-thirds majority, or it could put the proposal on the ballot again with a simple majority vote. As the effects of the budget crisis and the worsening economy hammer away at people, voters may be in a different mood than 2010.
Instead, lawmakers have hid behind Initiative 1053, pushed by right-wing hack Tim Eyman. I-1053, which was passed by voters in 2010, requires the state legislature obtain a two-thirds super-majority to increase taxes. Many prominent legal scholars argue that I-1053 is unconstitutional, but lawmakers have yet to challenge it.

What makes this year's budget battle different is the impact of the Occupy movement. Thousands of people in Washington state have marched, protested, camped and organized. The November 28 demonstration is built around the hope that these thousands will join join public-sector workers, students and the poor in standing up for the 99 perent.

Unions and student groups are renting buses to transport people to the capitol of Olympia on November 28, when the special session begins. Acts of civil disobedience are being planned, and activists from all of the state's Occupy encampments have pledged to take over the Capitol building in protest of the cuts.

If the legislature wants to cut from the 99 percent, there will be no business as usual. It's time to Occupy the Capitol on November 28!

What you can do
For more information on the plans for the November 28 demonstration, visit the Occupy the Capitol and Occupy Olympia websites.

UW meetings & events through the end of Nov

Hello UW folks  -- with midterms and Thanksgiving coming up and several special events we won't be holding our regualr Thursday meetings until the end of the month. There's plenty going on so please join us at these upcoming events:

WED 11/16 7-8:30pm, Gowen Hall 301
Join us for our yearly Debate with between the ISO, the Young Democrats, the College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty (libertarians)!  
The topic of discussion will be the Obama administration's proposed jobs plan.
Info and RSVP on facebook

SAT & SUN 11/19-20
Northwest Marxism Conference in Portland!
With workshops on:
  • Why Marx Was Right
  • No Power Greater: Marxism and the Centrality of Class
  • The Roots of Racial Oppression
  • The Minneapolis Teamster Strike: A Case Study in Working Class Power
  • Theories of Womens' Oppression
  • Workers' Democracy: A Society Worth Fighting For  
  • Sexuality & Socialism
  • Capitalism in Crisis: A Marxist Analysis of the Current Economic Situation 
RSVP on facebook   Check out the full schedule and register online
Interested? Need a ride? Email info@seattleiso.org to carpool with us.

MON 11/28
Occupy The Capitol! Stop Cuts, Make the 1% Pay!
Supporters and occupiers of Washington State, Unite to protest at the start of the special legislative session pushing $2.7 billion more in deadly budget cuts.

Info and RSVP on facebook  Email  info@seattleiso.org to carpool with us.

We'll resume normal meeting on Thursday December 1st!


This weekend! NW Marxism Conference

Spots still available!

Saturday and Sunday, Nov 19-20  
Portland State University

RSVP on facebook
Conference Website 

Interested? Need a ride? Email info@seattleiso.org to carpool with Seattle area activists!

Capitalism isn't working. Socialism is the alternative—a world organized for human need, not profit, where resources are controlled by and for the vast majority, instead of by a tiny rich minority. Real change depends on struggle and action by our side.

The recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have inspired struggles against injustice and austerity across the globe. Massive demonstrations have erupted across Greece, Spain, Britain - and most recently, the United States - occupying public squares and capital buildings in defiance of cuts in social services and workers' standards of living promoted by their governments.

Capitalism has never operated according to the interests of the majority of people. It has always been a system of exploitation and oppression that benefits only the wealthy and powerful. The struggles against austerity and oppression that have emerged in 2011 show that a fightback is possible, and that ordinary people can change society for the better. It's an excellent time to fight for a better world, a world free from the misery of capitalism. Join us and help build a REAL future for workers and students everywhere!

The Northwest Marxism Conference is one of many regional Marxism conferences nationwide that are dedicated to arming a new generation of activists and organizers with arguments and ideas for a revolutionary socialist alternative, learning our history of rebellion and resistance, and discussing strategies for building organization and winning struggles for real change.

Full schedule, registration and more information at the conference website!


11/7: Strikes and Occupations: A Radical History of Seattle's 99%

 Join the UW ISO for this Forum & Discussion
Monday 11/7
7-9pm, Savery Hall 132

We are the 99%! The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to over 1,000 cities in the U.S. and around the globe. Millions are discussing why this movement is important, what it's demands are and how to build it bigger. But Occupy Seattle is only the latest in an incredible history of radical struggle in Seattle.

In 1919 a General Strike of 100,000 workers saw workers run the city for 5 days. Sit-ins led to the formation of the Black Student Union at the UW in 1969. Protests against the WTO rocked the city for a week in 1999.

Join us for a discussion on what lessons we can learn today from the history of strikes and occupations throughout Seattle's radical past.


11/3: John Carlos & Dave Zirin

Instead of our normal Thursday UW & City branch meetings we'll be going to
The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World
Discussion & Book Signing

Thursday 11/3. 7pm
Northwest African American Museum
2300 S Massachusetts St.Seattle 98144
Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic images of Olympic history and the Black Power movement. Here is the remarkable story of one of the men behind the salute, lifelong activist, John Carlos.

Join John Carlos and his co-author, Nation sports editor Dave Zirin, for a book discussion and signing to celebrate the release of "The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World."

Please purchase tickets though CD Forum at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/205183 Tickets are $10 each regular and $8 if you use discount code: NAAMCARLOS

Check out this great video: John Carlos & Dave Zirin Speak at Occupy Chicago

For more information, please contact:
Brian J. Carter | 206-518-6000 x 103 | bcarter@naamnw.org


11/2: Student Walkout in Solidarity with Occupy Oakland & Protest against Jamie Dimon CEO of JP Morgan Chase

There is a lot of #Occupy action happening this Wed 11/2

12pm UW Student Walkout in Solidarity with Occupy Oakland
The Occupy Oakland general assembly has put out a call for a General Strike on November 2ccupy Oakland & Protest against Jamie Dimon CEO of to protest the brutal crackdown by cops against their movement. From Atlanta, to Chicago and now Oakland, the police are using brute force to attempt to shut down encampments. If they get away with using force to shut down Occupy Oakland, this will give the green light for the same kind of brutality to be used all over the U.S. with the same goal. We are all Oakland! Let's show them the power of the 99% standing in solidarity!

12pm - Meeting at Red Square for a speakout. Then we'll march/bus to SCCC for a rally with students and Occupy Seattle

RSVP on Facebook

Protest Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, speaking at UW Business School event
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase will be visiting Seattle, speaking at the downtown Sheraton at a UW school of business event.Yes – this is the same Jamie Dimon that called foreclosures “debt relief.” The same Jamie Dimon that called banking regulations “un-American.” The same Jamie Dimon that raked in $10,000 per hour while too many Washingtonians don’t even have jobs. The same Jamie Dimon whose company Chase helps themselves to a piece of an $86 million tax loophole and to millions from an EBT contract with the state, while we face $2 billion in budget cuts. That Jamie Dimon is coming to our city at the request of the UW Business school!

Let's show him (and the UW Business school)  what Seattle really thinks of banksters like him! We'll be taking on Dimon with 2 awesome events.

1pm: Meet at Seattle Central Community College - 1 hour speak out.
2pm: March and action at a major Chase Branch.
6pm: Meet at Westlake Park march to the Sheraton where Mr. Dimon will be speaking.

This is the perfect chance to strike back against the 1% so please join us and invite all of your friends to this Facebook event! We’re going to let Jamie Dimon know that the 99% isn’t going to stand by while greedy big banks continue to wreck our economy. That it’s time for the mega-rich to pay their fair share so our country can invest in Jobs, not cuts.


10/29 Occupy Seattle Teach-in: Another World is Possible! What Is Socialism and How Do We Get There?

SAT, Oct 29
Occupy Seattle, Westlake Park

RSVP on facebook

How do we get to a world were the 1% doesn't dominate the economy and the political debate?

As socialists we believe in the self-emancipation of the working class from the bonds of capitalism. We must organize to get to that type of world! But how? And who has the power to change society? And how do we overcome the obstacles that keep us divided?

Join us for a teach-in on why socialism. Bring your questions, bring your debates and bring your ideas!

An Occupy Seattle teach-in. For more info on other Occupy Seattle events check their calendar.

10/29 Teach CHASE a Lesson!


"Teach CHASE a Lesson"Occupy Seattle day of action!

Saturday, October 29th
12 PM
Westlake Plaza (on 4th Ave. between Pine and Pike)

UPDATE: Facebook event now up: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=268835849822528

"There is a lot of money washing around the world, and obviously we are the beneficiary of that,"
CHASE CEO Jamie Dimon this April

CHASE Bank has profited through the recession that it had a big part in causing and was able to compensate Mr. Dimon, to the tune of $20.8 million dollars last year.

CHASE pays no state taxes on its in-state mortgage interest income. This loophole was created for Washington State based WAMU, but since the “housing bubble” lending binge that crashed our economy and bankrupted WAMU, it now benefits Chase and other banks. Their fair share would add nearly $100 million per year to our State’s sorely strapped budget.

CHASE acquired billions of dollars during the bailout at a near-zero % interest rate, money that they are now loaning back to the U.S. Treasury at a rate 12 times higher. They are taking more money from taxpayers, rather than investing to create jobs.

Teachers in Seattle are facing layoffs as the legislature struggles to cover its $5 billion + budget shortfall. In addition, Seattle teachers have seen their pay cut by 1.9%.

Cuts to bus routs, healthcare, homeless shelters, and other social services have made the lives of 99% of the population more difficult.

This is not a spending crisis. It’s a revenue crisis that is caused when entities like CHASE pay little to no taxes on their vast fortunes. The money to pay for social services is there. Teachers, other public employees, and the 99% are not the cause of the crisis, and should not pay for it!


10/27: UW Branch Meeting Agenda

The UW Branch will meet 
THURS 7-9pm, Savery Hall 130
(If you're looking for the city branch meeting click here)

This Week's Agenda:

1. Meaning of Marxism Discussion, One hour
Chapter Four "How Capitalism Works and How it Doesn't" on Marxist Economics.

2. Branch details--40 minutes

a.) Update on RSO registration process.
b.) Next public meeting? If we want to do it, how should we build it?
c.) Quick update on Occupy UW organizing.
d.) How do we want to set up future branch meetings?
e.) branch roles (who is doing what? are we missing anything?)

3. NW Marxism Conference  -- 20 mins
This year's NW Marxism Conference will be THE place for progressives, socialists and activists to debate and discuss. Occupy movements have roared to life in cities and towns across the US. In order to build the movement bigger and stronger we must learn lessons from other cities and share our own. We must also deepen our political understanding of the economy, the state and the power of the working class to build a new society. We'll discuss political and logistical preparation for the conference, happening in Portland, OR.

Full schedule, registration and more information at the conference website.

10/27 City Meeting Agenda

Thurs, Oct 27
SCCC Atrium
(1701 Broadway, at Pine St.)

Looking for a UW meeting? Click here

Occupy Seattle Updates, Logistics and Next Steps
Occupy Seattle, and Occupy movements around the country continue to grow and develop, but also run against real challenges. Last night, activists and demonstrators were attacked in Oakland, CA by police, who shot tear gas and rubber bullets. Earlier this week, Occupy Seattle voted to move the encampment to Seattle Central Community College this weekend. In Boston, activists with Occupy the Hood held an important demonstration the explicitly linked Occupy Boston with communities of color and took a stance against racism and police brutality.

Come discuss the latest in the movement! We will also discuss plans for the CHASE bank action and our Occupy Seattle teach-in on Saturday.

Read more:
How the 1 percent rules
Reports of Occupy Everywhere

Socialist Worker coverage of Occupy Everywhere

NW Marxism Conference
This year's NW Marxism Conference will be THE place for progressives, socialists and activists to debate and discuss. Occupy movements have roared to life in cities and towns across the US. In order to build the movement bigger and stronger we must learn lessons from other cities and share our own. We must also deepen our political understanding of the economy, the state and the power of the working class to build a new society. We'll discuss political and logistical preparation for the conference, happening in Portland, OR.

Full schedule, registration and more information at the conference website.


10/20: City Meeting Agenda

Thurs, Oct 20
SCCC Atrium
(1701 Broadway, at Pine St.)

Looking for a UW meeting? Click here

Socialists and Movements
The Occupy movements continue to grow, giving activists progressive stripes new energy. As socialists, this is exactly what we have been waiting for, what we always knew was possible and now we're seeing unfold before our eyes-- masses or ordinary people standing up, speaking out, and organizing on a scale we haven't seen in many years, and it is only growing and spreading (now on a global scale!). But how do socialists relate to movements that don't have specifically revolutionary demands? What is the relationship between reforms and revolution? And why would socialists, who explicitly want to overthrow capitalism, fight for reforms in the here and now?

Come join a discussion on the role of socialists in movements, what we have to learn from the movement and what socialists and radicals can contribute.

Read more:
Socialists and movements

Occupy Seattle Nuts and Bolts Organizing
The Occupy Seattle movement is fluid and changes daily. As the ISO, we aim to be there, supporting and building the movement. Bring your ideas as we discuss ways to strength the politics and connections of the movement!

Read more:
Occupy goes global
The Stranger coverage of Occupy Seattle


PTA needs to do their homework on Democracy, Go to an Occupation

Seattle Teachers at Occupy Seattle, Photo by Rachel Wilsey

Dan Trocolli
Seattle Teacher and member of Social Equality Educators and the Seattle International Socialist Organization

I started my Saturday morning going to the Washington State Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Legislative Assembly to assist parents in Parents Across America-Seattle, an activist group of parents, in opposing charter school legislation in Washington. It wasn’t easy waking up at 6am on a Saturday, but I knew it was important that people know the negative effect that charter schools can have on our public schools.

As a teacher, one would think that parents in the PTA, would be very interested in hearing from teachers about significant changes to Washington laws on delivering a public education to their children, particularly given the well known fact that teachers are underrepresented in PTA’s all over. Imagine my shock when approaching a group of parents in the hotel lobby with flyers only to have one woman tear the stack of flyers out of my hand in a completely hysterical rage as well as another teacher.

I wanted to let delegates in the PTA know how charters have a higher teacher turnover, unfairly exclude underperforming students and siphon money from other public schools. However, we were unable to continue handing out flyers and talking to parents about a teachers’ perspective on charter schools. The president, vice president and executive director of the state PTA all tried to assure us that they would consider approving the flyer for distribution. Never mind that the debate and vote was set to occur in mere minutes.

Turns out the vote to support legislation in Washington for the creation of charter schools passed by a mere 9 votes, despite the PTA’s own survey of members that found a majority opposed to bringing charters to Washington. In fact the influence of corporate, pro-charter forces, such as Stand with Children, at the top of the PTA have such a hold that the organization did not give delegates any information critical of charters at all.

The outcome was a difficult to face given the attacks on public education these days. However, my disappointment was short lived as I made my way to Occupy Seattle. There was an immediate contrast of the undemocratic repression I experienced at the PTA convention with the people’s democracy of the occupation’s rally and march.
The rally at Westlake Park, part of an international day of action in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, was already in the thousands when I got there. Teachers in the Social Equality Educators (SEE), a rank and file group of educators in Seattle, gathered in a contingent. We had a table with a sign-up for union members and labor supporters of the occupation. We displayed our banner, “Bail out Schools, Not the Banks!” and answered questions of protestors visiting our table.

There were people discussing all sorts of political questions all over the square, including, among other things, charter schools. Various groups had tables where they distributed all sorts of propaganda on issues like corporate greed, the war in Afghanistan and socialism. And individual protestors had many myriad homemade signs raising many social issues as well.
But this was just the beginning. On the march protestors stopped and occupied for some moments the Pike Place Market intersection. When an ambulance neared unable to get through, protestors needed no instructions and immediately parted to let them through chanting, “This is what Democracy looks like.”

When the march neared the plaza, SEE members organized an impromptu sit-in in front of the CHASE bank across the street. Thousands sat in the street, the sidewalks and the plaza listening as teachers and community members sounded off on corporate greed and what it will take to curtail it.

Later protestors re-occupied Westlake Park with over a hundred tents. The sense that it is possible to make the change we want to see in the world was palpable and that solidarity with one another is key in making that change happen. Most people coming to the occupations have a healthy rejection of free market, corporate driven solutions to public ills such as charter schools.
Like the Occupiers, most teachers recognize the undue influence of the uber-wealthy 1% on school reforms such as charter schools and merit pay. It’s these changing winds that might be frustrating the angry woman from the PTA.

The PTA should take a lesson and hold their Legislative Assembly down at Westlake Park. They may learn a thing or two from the other 99% about democracy and what’s needed to improve public education.

First published at Seattle Education


10/20: UW Meeting Agenda

The UW Branch will meet 
THURS 7-9pm, Savery Hall 130
(If you're looking for the city branch meeting click here)

This Week's Agenda:

1. Club details 10 mins
  • RSO and ECC registration club registration
  • Tabling schedule
2. Meaning of Marxism Discussion, 40 mins
Chapter Three "The Marxist View of History"

3. Occupy Movement Discussion, 35 mins
Last week we voted to discuss the following article on labor participation on the Occupy Movement:
Same struggle, same fight

4. Northwest Socialist Conference - 5 mins
Sat Nov 19th, we'll be heading down to portland for the Northwest Socialist conference, one of six regional socialist conferences nationwide that are dedicated to arming a new generation of rebels, activists and organizers with arguments and ideas for a revolutionary socialist alternative, learning our history of rebellion and resistance, and discussing strategies for building organization and winning struggles for real change. Check out all the conference details here

5. Next week's agenda - 5 mins


Occupy Seattle Video and Photos

Great Video of Jesse Hagopian Speaking at Occupy Seattle this past Saturday.

Jesse Hagopian at OccupySeattle from Elliot Stoller on Vimeo.

And check out photos albums on our facebook page
we've got albums up from the past two weeks, Oct 5th, Oct10th and Oct 15th.


10/13 UW meeting: The Meaning Of Marxism, Occupy Seattle & Fall Plans

The UW Branch will meet 
THURS 7-9pm, Savery Hall 130
(If you're looking for the city branch meeting click here)

1. For the First part of our meeting, we’ll discuss the Introduction and first two chapters of The Meaning of Marxism by Paul D’Amato (26 pages total)
  • Intro: The Relevance of Marxism
  • Ch 1: From Millenarianism to Marx
  • Ch 2: Marx’s Materialist Method
So pick up the book and join the discussion! If you need a copy of the book please contact us isouw@uw.edu

2. Occupy Seattle -- After our political discussion we’ll discuss developments in the Occupy Seattle movement, including Wed’s student walkout as well as next steps.

3. Brainstorm activities, meetings, actions etc that we may want to do this quarter!  Bring your ideas about things you want to learn, how we can spread the word on campus, and what social-justice campaigns we should to get involved in.

10/13 City Meeting: Occupy Seattle & Fall Organizing

The City branch will meet
THURS, Oct 13
SCCC Cafeteria
(1701 Broadway, at Pine St.)

Looking for a UW meeting? Click here

Occupy Seattle: Report Back and Looking Ahead

The Occupy Wall St action has become a national movement. In dozens of cities activists have camped out protesting the social inequality in this country. Spurred on by class anger, people are organizing and taking action against the richest 1%. We will discuss the latest in on-going struggles locally and nationally, and how to build the strongest movement possible.

Read more:

Support for Occupy Seattle Swells
Stepping up the struggle
Autonomy Zone on Wall St?

Fall Organizing Perspectives

In light of so much going on and exciting opportunities for activism, we will discuss the structure and organization of the branch.


Support for Occupy Seattle Swells

Story by Sam Bernstein

SEATTLE -- Occupy Seattle received a major boost on Saturday as supporters from the community and organized labor came out for a large rally and march in Westlake Plaza, the site of the ongoing encampment.

Following an antiwar rally Friday evening that brought hundreds out to mark the 10th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan, the Saturday rally brought thousands more out to show their solidarity and check out the Occupy Seattle encampment--most of them for the first time.

The rally was planned months in advance to commemorate Indigenous Peoples' Day, but as soon as Occupy Seattle sprung up, organizers opened it up to the Occupy Seattle movement. As labor unions and community groups began endorsing Occupy Seattle, they made this rally the first focal point for mobilizing their memberships in support of Occupy Seattle.

SEIU Local 925, representing 23,000 workers in Washington State--mostly at the University of Washington, sent an email to their entire membership urging them to get involved. "These courageous young activists have given us all a shot of inspiration and hope that we can indeed turn this country around," they wrote. The King County Labor Council also urged its 75,000 members to participate.

"Labor organizations have a huge responsibility in stepping up and helping out people that don't have a voice," Pedro Espinoza, a member of the carpenters union, told Q13 Fox News.

Occupy Movement - What's the message?

The mainstream media cant stop repeating the same talking point "what's the message?" "There's no message?" etc.. Well in this fabulous video, P.J. O'Rourke gets his ass handed to him by Alan Grayson who articulates is brilliantly!


SAT: Occupy Seattle Rally - We are the 99%

We are the 99%!

The spirit of the Occupy Wall Street protest is spreading throughout the country. There are now Occupy protests in every state in the country. From San Francisco to Washington, DC people are gathering together, united around frustration and anger over the richest 1% controlling the political debate, economic decisions and the media outlets that influence them. Over 8,000 people marched in an unpermitted march in Portland, OR last night. In Los Angeles, United Teachers Los Angeles voted to stand in solidarity with the protesters, marking important connections with labor. In New York, the occupation continues to grow after tens of thousands marched on Wednesday.

Organizers with Occupy Seattle have called for a rally tomorrow, Saturday, Oct 8 at Westlake Plaza beginning at noon.

The King County Labor Council has come out in support of Occupy Seattle The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with over 42,000 members statewide, has also set statements of solidarity and support. The Stranger and other news outlets are promoting tomorrow's action heavily. The will be the biggest action of Occupy Seattle yet. 

The Seattle ISO will be there, in solidarity and to help organize. Please join us!

Read more:


10/6: City Organizing Meeting

City Organizing Meeting
THURSDAY, October 6th
SCCC Cafeteria (1701 Broadway, Capitol Hill)

Please note: we are now meeting on Thursdays!

Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Seattle (45 min)
The Occupy Wall Street movement is spreading! Thousands marched in New York this weekend, while hundreds gathered at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle to demand that the rich pay for the economy they destroyed. We will discuss the rapidly evolving movement and how we can build it bigger and stronger in Seattle.

Check out these articles:
Raising the voice of protest
Declaration of the occupation of New York
We are the 99 percent
Continued updates at Occupy Wall St

Socialist Worker (3o min)
Socialist Worker is the voice for our side. Published daily online, it provides unapologetic pro-working class coverage and analysis of world news and politics. We will discuss our use of the paper at tablings and events.

Planning for City Kickoff Meeting (30 min)
Our city branch fall kickoff is just around the corner. Join our discussion of how to build for this important meeting!

10/6: UW Fall Kickoff Meeting

Join the UW Socialists for a  forum & discussion on
The International Youth Revolt &
Why Socialism is back on the Agenda
Thurs 10/6 7pm 
UW, Savery Hall 130
RSVP on Facebook 

"We are the 99%". This sentiment highlights the feelings of millions of people in the U.S. that stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests taking place in New York City and around the U.S. The super-rich destroy the economy and receive $16 trillion in bailouts. Wars for oil are fought for the rich, not the rest of us. Whether it's the racist execution of Troy Davis, restrictions on women's right to an abortion or the continued denial of gays and lesbians the right to marry, the rich and their government use oppression to keep people down and to attempt to prevent the "99%" from uniting. However things are changing. From the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, to mass student protests in Britain, Spain and elsewhere, to the protests in Madison, WI, to the Occupy Wall Street protests, millions of people around the world are fighting back.

As socialists we want to help lead these struggles, but also understand how the problems in this world stem from the system of capitalism. We need to end capitalism. This can only be done by the active participation of millions upon millions of workers and students around the globe. We aim to build an organization of revolutionaries with these goals in mind. Join us for a discussion about the growing international revolt against the injustices of capitalism and why we think the fight for a socialist society is back on the world agenda! 
There will be a short presentation followed by group discussion & refreshments! 


Welcome Back UW Students!

We had a great time tabling at Dawg Daze this week, thanks to everyone who came out for a shift at the table.

And WELCOME to all the new folks we met. Our Kick-Off Meeting info is posted below, but take a few minutes to explore our site.  We have two branches of the ISO in Seattle, one in the city and the student club at UW so this site gives info about both.

Check out our About Us page for more info on our politics and browse the blogroll in the right column to see past meetings and commentary.

If you missed us at the Dawg Daze Student Activities Fair this week we'll be at the Common Spaces Brunch on Saturday which is essentially a mixer of social and environmental justice groups on  campus and in the community. Come on out to participate in discussions on how to build multi-issue and intersectional movements!
We hope to see you Thursday at our kick-off, but in the meantime if you have questions or want to meet-up to talk more about our politics feel free to contact us at isouw@uw.edu or 206-309-7274.


9/28: Final Summer Study Series: Lenin & the Revolutionary Party

Wed 7-9pm
UW Campus
Parrington Hall, Room 106

In part two of our discussion we’ll explore the development of the Bolshevik Party in the years leading up to the 1917 Russian Revolution, specifically the period following the "dress rehearsal" revolution of 1905. If you have not yet read Building the Party by Tony Cliff you should begin with that. Folk's who have already read Cliff's book will read Lenin and the Revolutionary Party by Paul LeBlanc, or one of the other books listed under the supplementary reading.

WED September 28: Lenin & the Bolsheviks 1906-1914
Main Reading
Building the Party by Tony Cliff, Ch. 13-20
Lenin and the Revolutionary Party by Paul LeBlanc, Ch. 7-10

The Birth of Bolshevism by Paul D'Amato (ISR)

Supplementary Readings:
The Myth of Lenin's Elitism by Paul D'Amato (ISR)
What is Economism? by Duncan Hallas (ISR)