Why do we need socialist organization?

Alan Maass, author of The Case for Socialism, explains why the need for a democratic and centralized organization is central to the struggle for socialism.
A contingent organized by the International Socialist Organization marching against union-busting in MadisonA contingent organized by the International Socialist Organization marching against union-busting in Madison
ONE OF the strangest criticisms socialists sometimes hear is that we care about too much.
We involve ourselves in many political movements, rather than sticking to a single issue. We believe there's a connection between, say, opposing bigotry faced by LGBT people and the struggle for democracy in the Middle East. We think it's important not only to plan protests about immediate issues, but to educate ourselves about labor struggles of the distant past and hold meetings about what a future socialist society might look like.
These not-at-all-hidden facts can become the source of a lot of phony outrage when right-wing blowhards find out that, for example, a social worker organizing against budget cuts might also have marched against the Israeli war on Palestinians and thinks women ought to be free to choose to have an abortion.
But some people on the left also object to the idea that activists should view different struggles as inter-connected in various ways--in fact, quite a bit has been written about the importance of movements keeping their autonomy and separateness. There's an uglier charge sometimes associated with this thinking--that socialists don't care that much about the movements we participate in, but are there to recruit people away from them, and to our organization.
It's frustrating to hear--not only because that kind of cynicism is totally foreign to why we're committed to socialism, but because political issues in the real world never have those neat divisions.


Wed 3/30 UW & City Meeting Agendas

Hi all,
Both the UW and City branches will be meeting at UW this wed (while the city branch continues to explore options for a more permanent meeting space off the UW campus)
UW Branch: 7-9pm Suzzllo Cafe
City Branch: 7-9pm Savery Hall room 157

Both groups will discuss Libya and the antiwar movement and then get down to organizing --  When and where will we be meeting moving forward, who wants to take on which responsibilities and roles in the branch, what types of activism do we want to get involved in and what areas of movement work are we involved in and what is the extent of our commitment? Which should be priorities?  Come get involved and help shape our work as we move into the spring!

Libya and the antiwar movement
Literally on the exact 8 year anniversary of the Iraq war  and it'll be 10 years in Afghanistan this fall!) our government began raining bombs on Libya. Many well-intentioned people believe the US response to be in support of the democratic movement in Libya -- but a look at the history of so-called "humanitarian" interventions, not to mention the US' contradictory posture towards "friendly" dictators in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, suggests otherwise. Let's discuss the latest in Libya and what this means for the antiwar movement locally and nationally. 
Read more on Socialistworker.org

The imperialist scramble for Libya


Video of Seattle Clinic Defense speakout

Check out this video from yesterday's Seattle Clinic Defense speakout. Liz and Leela breakdown why the "crisis pregnancy centers" must be opposed and why real reproductive rights are under attack.

Thanks to Elliot Stoller for the video

Also here's a great article from The Stranger on CPC's


Crisis Pregnancy Center Speakout and Rally

Saturday, March 26
The Former Life Choices Pregnancy Center

Join the Seattle Clinic Defense network in front of the now-closed Life Choices Pregnancy Clinic, located at 4719 University Way in the University District, as we protest the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers and in support of greater regulation of these pseudo-medical clinics.

We invite people to bring their stories of crisis pregnancy centers, their experience with abortion and reasons that comprehensive reproductive care is important to them. We will have an open mic for people to share their experiences. 

Crisis pregnancy centers bully, lie and intimidate women out of receiving abortions. They masquerade as medical clinics but operate as unregulated centers funded and run by religious organizations opposed to both abortion and contraception. We support regulations of these centers similar to regulation recently passed in New York State that require these centers to list which services they do and do not provide, whether they have any trained medical professionals on staff and adhere to the same confidentially standards as real medical clinics.

As a wave of anti-abortion bills sweep the country, most notably the law signed in South Dakota that requires women to visit a crisis pregnancy center before receiving an abortion, the need to stand up for safe, confidential, medically-accurate and comprehensive reproductive care is more urgent than ever!

For more information on the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers please visit cpcwatch.org. 

Bring your signs and friends!

Sponsored by Seattle Clinic Defense
Join them on facebook!


3/23: City Branch Meeting

This wed we'll have our first City Branch meeting, we'll be meeting at UW this week while until we work out a new location for our City Branch...

Wed 3/23 7pm
UW Savery Hall 155


1) No nukes! (40 min)
The nuclear power nightmare in Japan has experts making comparisons to the Chernobyl catastrophe 25 years ago-- and highlights the impossibility of "safe" nuclear power. This crisis offers an urgent opportunity to rebuild a movement to demand real clean energy alternatives. Let's discuss what's happening in Japan and what we can do in Seattle!

To read: The risks of nuclear roulette
Growing worse by the hour

2) Organizing
2011 is only 3 months in, but already we know it will go down as the year that marked the return of class struggle and revolution. In this context, more and more people are open to socialist ideas about how to change the world. Let's talk about how the new community branch can reach outward in this period and grow. We'll also elect leadership for the new branch.


Two ISO Branches!

Exciting changes are afoot in the Seattle ISO. On Wed we voted to split into two branches, a UW student branch and a City branch. We'll still meet together occasionally for bigger educational forums or panels, but our weekly organizing meetings will be separate. We're still figuring out all the logistics of new meeting locations a times, here's what we know for this week:

  • The City branch will meet this Wed 3/23 at 7pm, but we are still working on a location. We'll send an announcement with the location and agenda no later than Tuesday, so be on the lookout for that.
  • The UW students have spring break this week upcoming, so won't be meeting. We'll resume meeting the following Wed 3/30, at which time we'll vote on a regular meeting time and place. We'll send an announcement with the location and agenda once we get back from spring break!


3/16: Organizing meeting: Abortion rights, actions to defend collective bargaining &Two Branches!

1) The All-out War on Women
(40 min)
This will be a political discussion on the latest attacks on funding of Planned Parenthood and various despicable state-level bills being pushed, as well as an update on the new Seattle Clinic Defense network

Some articles to read

2) Discussion and vote on splitting the branch (30 min)
We've grown a lot in this last year and have been discussing for the past month whether to split into two Seattle branches -- a student led branch at UW and a community branch that would meet elsewhere in the city. We'll wrap up the discussion and take a vote on the proposal. Then, if it passes,we'll be breaking out in the next section into our new branches rather than just committees!

3) Breakouts
 (40 min)
We'll break out into new branches or sub-committees (depending on the above vote) and discuss our organizing on and off campus. There are many very important campaigns afoot from abortion rights to police brutality and as the Wisconsin solidarity movement is morphing into a larger national struggle to defend collective bargaining rights. There are actions at the capitol in Olympia as well as cross boarder solidarity actions happening at Peace Arch at the Canada WA border to begin planing for.

4) Announcements (10 min)


Live News from Wisconsin

As of wed night you can watch a LIVE VIDEO feed from the occupation capitol in Madison 

It’s Now or Never for Wisconsin Workers

By Erik Loomis | Published: March 10, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker Puts Out Fire With Gasoline
Dave Zirin, Sports correspondent, The Nation Magazine
Posted: March 10, 2011 12:09 AM

Do or die in Wisconsin

By Lee Sustar, socialistworker.org  | Scott Walker is on the verge of ramming through union-busting legislation, and organized labor needs to step up the fight or face catastrophic defeat

URGENT: Thurs WI solidarity rally 5:30pm

Seattle is a Union town: Rally in Solidarity with Wisconsin

Facebook event

Thursday 3/10 

5:30pm Westlake (4th & Pine St)
Downtown Seattle

Stand in solidarity with unions and working people of Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Republicans just forced through a vote to end the right to collective bargaining for public sector workers. People around the country will be holding solidarity rallies in support of the protests in Madison, WI. Let's turn out and show our support here in Seattle. 

Let's show the country that Seattle is a union town. 
Bring your signs, voices, and anger, and show we support workers rights.

RSVP and spread the word on Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197642840259886&index=1

Sponsored by Social Equality Educators (SEE, a progressive caucus of the Seattle Education Association), Jesse Hagopian (teacher at Garfield H.S.),

To sponsor or endorse please email chrislmobley@gmail.com or call 206-302-9835


3/9: No to U.S. intervention in Libya & committee break outs

Wed. at 7pm 
in Savery Hall Room 155

1. No to U.S. intervention in Libya
For the first half of this week's meeting we'll discuss whats been happening in Libya and make the case for no US or international intervention.
 U.S. intervention would not save the Libyan people from Qaddafi--a dictator that Washington had learned to live with. Instead, it would become the means through which U.S. imperial control and influence would be strengthened in a country with vast oil wealth and--considering its location next to two countries, Egypt and Tunisia, that have experienced revolutions since the start of the year--great geopolitical importance.
Come discuss these important world developments -- and check out some of the below coverage and opinion from Socialistworker.org
  • With the war between the Qaddafi regime and rebels growing bloodier by the day, the U.S. is threatening to unleash its military machine. March 4, 2011
  • A veteran socialist and author imagines dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi's speech on his long-awaited "day of departure."March 3, 2011
  • The calls for "humanitarian intervention" in Libya have nothing to do with rescuing Libyans, who are proving quite capable of rescuing themselves. March 3, 2011

The Workers World Party and Party for Socialism and Liberation have refused to stand with the Libyan people in their revolt against a dictator. 

2. Committee Break Outs 
for the 2nd hour of the meeting we'll break out into our campus and off-campus committees to discuss organizing we are doing at UW and in the broader Seattle community. 

UW folks are wrapping up the quarter an planning for the spring, including organizing  a mid-east solidarity committee; and in Seattle we're working on Abortion clinic defense, anti-police brutality work, and Union organizing.

Join the discussion and organizing, this is a great time to get involved!


Outcry in Seattle over whitewashing of killing

 | March 7, 2011 www.socialistworker.org

SEATTLE--Despite a public outcry and damning evidence, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced on February 16 that he would not press charges against officer Ian Birk for the shooting death of Native American woodcarver John T. Williams.
In recent weeks, public outrage over Williams' death has grown, as more evidence--in police reports, dashboard video footage, forensic samples and numerous eyewitness accounts--has come to light.
On August 30, 2010, Birk saw Williams, a Seattle resident and a Ditidaht member of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations of Canada's Vancouver Island. Birk pulled his patrol car over and shot Williams five times within a span of 4.6 seconds. This was the amount of time Williams--who had been peacefully carving a block of cedar wood as he walked down the street--had to respond to Birk's order to put down his legal three-inch carving knife, found folded shut at the scene.
Williams died moments later from his wounds. Friends have testified that Williams was partially deaf, and may not have been able to even hear Birk's commands. Numerous eyewitnesses testified that Williams wasn't acting in a threatening manner when he was shot to death.
Satterberg said his decision was dictated by state law, which states, "A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good-faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section."

Seattle Abortion Clinic Defense update

Sunday's clinic defense meeting was a great start to a new network of folks who feel that clinic action is both badly needed and exciting If you're interested in getting involved join the google group (for email updates) and/or facebook group for info on future meetings and actions

Informational picket outside of Life Choices Pregnancy Clinic

When: Saturday, March 19 at noon
Where: Life Choices Pregnancy Center at 4719 University Way between 47th and 50th on the Ave
Why: Because CPCs bully and intimidate women out of receiving comprehensive reproductive care and in support of WA State legislature that would regulate these centers. 
You can read more about crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) at cpcwatch.org.

And check out the following articles from Socialistworker.org

The Republican Party is leading an all-out attack on women's right to choose at the federal level and in the states. But a resistance is stirring
For two days, the pro-choice community in Denton, Texas, verbally combated the racism and misogyny of the anti-choice bigots.
Some 40 protesters, many of them students, turned out to protest an anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy center" in Greensboro, N.C.
The anti-choice deception

So-called "crisis pregnancy centers" prey on women looking for options--in order to bully and terrorize them against having an abortion.


3/3 - Eyewitness to the Class War in Wisconsin: the Working-Class Fights Back Against Austerity

Re-Scheduled from 2/23 which was canceled due to inclement weather
For weeks now, hundreds of thousands of union members, students, workers, and supporters have rallied outside the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison while thousands have occupied the inside of the building, all in opposition to the draconian anti-union legislation put forward by Republican Governor Scott "Pharaoh of the Midwest" Walker. 

Walker's bill would end state employee's collective bargaining for anything other than wages; limit wage increases to the CPI; end the automatic payment of union dues and compel unions to hold votes each year to re-certify their status as bargaining units; as well as force public employees to significantly increase their share of health insurance and pensions.

If Walker and the Republicans win, it would devastate, if not kill, public sector unions in Wisconsin and open the door to similar scorched earth assaults on unions around the U.S. The Wisconsin unions are fighting on behalf of the entire U.S. working class. And following closely on the heels of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, this is showing to students and non-union workers everywhere that the organized working class has the power to stand up to bosses and politicians who are set on making US pay for THEIR economic crisis.

Joins Us  for this 
crucial discussion
Thurs 3/3 7pm
University of Washington
Room 216 Denny Hall (map)

Featuring: Dan Trocolli
a Seattle teacher & participant in Saturday’s 100,000 person march in Madison, WI.

Dan, a founding member of Seattle Equality Educators a rank-and-file caucus within the Seattle Education Association, will sepak about his experience at this past weekend’s massive march in Madison as well as the attacks on unions and the broader cuts to social services in Washington State.

Check out the special section at Socilaistworker.org

The war for our rights in Wisconsin
A collection of eyewitness reports from the fight in Madison, along with articles that set out the background to this crucial struggle.

3/6 - Seattle Clinic Defense Planning Meeting

With right-wing attacks from Ohio to South Dakota and beyond the need to organize has never been greater! Just today, members of the Ohio legislature, who are seeking to outlaw abortion after the first medically-detected heartbeat, scheduled the testimony of a fetus. In South Dakota, moves to legalize the murder of abortion providers has been shelved for now. Hundreds of us responded this past weekend to stand up to the attacks on crucial reproductive services at clinics across the country. In Washington, major reproductive rights organizations are pushing for a bill to regulate so-called crisis pregnancy centers.  

Please join us to keep organizing and bring your ideas!
Sunday, March 6
Capitol Hill Library Meeting Room

RSVP on Facebook
The Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library is located at 425 Harvard Ave E, at the corner of Harvard Ave E and E Harrison St, behind the QFC. Click here for a map. The meeting room is on the second floor.