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)


Local News Roundup

Check out these recent Socialist Worker Articles written by Seattle folks

Showdown at Suncadia

Some 200 activists turned out as the Association of Washington Business held its annual policy summit at the Suncadia resort.

Seattle protest takes on Chase
More than 200 turned out in Seattle for a protest against Chase Bank organized by Working Washington.

Tacoma teachers defy injunction to strike
Dan Trocolli, a teacher and member of the Seattle Education Association, reports on the high stakes in a struggle of fellow teachers in Tacoma 

A manufactured postal crisis
Tom Larsen looks at the crisis of the U.S. Postal Service--and how it's being used as a cover to push for massive layoffs and privatization.

Showdown for the ILWU
A battle to stop a scab grain port in Longview, Wash., has led to an old-school labor showdown--which may be a sign of things to come.



Michael Eric Dyson & Michele Alexander on Troy Davis

Excellent 6-minute clip of Michael Eric Dyson hosting MSNBC's Ed Show with The New Jim Crow author Michele Alexander discussing the Troy Davis execution.


A Personal Reflection on the Murder of Troy Davis

My sadness and anger last night was only rivaled by the nights Stan Tookie Williams was murdered by the state of California and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars started. I've been an activist for 11 years and these nights have been the hardest. The brutality, depravity, and senselessness of this system never cease to amaze me. Yet, hundreds of thousands of people were moved to action to save Troy Davis. Our only hope is to continue in Troy's foot steps and re-double our efforts in the fight for justice. We are all Troy Davis. We will never forget Troy Davis.

-- Sam Bernstein

Kevin Coval: "Troy Davis and The Need for (A)New Brigade"

This was written yesterday, before Troy was murdered, but is even more important today. Leave it to a poet to make such a powerful an eloquent call to action. Please read his whole post its beautiful, but here is a teaser:

"because, this is an issue of grand, historic inequity and current injustice, it exists at the intersection of where a new movement can be born. in the radically integrated center of the working class who knows this country is run by and for the wealthy...

WE, the people, know these truths to be self-evident: rich, racists run america. today in 2011, when the country murders a(nother) Black man, whose guilt is at least not beyond a reasonable doubt, we must begin to look for alternatives to the status quo. we must use our resources, not capital and a paid police force, but the collectivity of our mass, our bodies that can organize together. it is all we have and all we need."

Read the whole article here

ABC video and article

Surprisingly decent coverage from the mainstream press (after the fact, of course). ABC has a video which shows a lot of the protests and also an article in which they talk to Troy's sister, Kimberly.

Check it out here:

William Jelani Cobb Reports from the Prison Gates

Last night, historian and author William Jelani Cobb spent seven hours outside of the Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia, demonstrating, documenting—then mourning—the execution of Troy Davis. Excerpts from his talk this morning with Color Line's Akiba Solomon:

For some reason I didn’t think the execution was going to happen.

I know. Despite all we know about this country, you want to believe that things have changed.

You posted lots of photos and tweeted throughout the night, but you weren’t there in a professional capacity. What compelled you to go down there?

Well, it was political and personal. Politically, I felt that as a person of conscience I could not just sit back and not let my voice be heard when the state was going to execute a man [amid] damning questions about the nature of the trial. Personally, I think about this in terms of my father who left Georgia in 1941 for New York and never came back. When you’d ask him about his home state, he would spit before describing how a black man’s life had no value there. Now, I believed in this narrative of me coming back to Georgia. [Living and teaching here] was almost a way for me to prove that things had changed, that the efforts of all of our people had born some fruit. But now, ironically, I can see where my father was right. It turns out these people have no concern for justice and the judicial system is a sham. When you look at the evidence in this particular [case], this literally could be any of us.

Read the full conversation  at Colorlines.com

A Wrenching Night of Global Solidarity as Georgia Kills Troy Davis

More photos and reflections from the vigils in GA and around the world at Colorlines.com

Protesters chant Anti-death penalty slogans for Davis, hopeful he will receive a stay. Stephen Morton/AP Photo 

Could Troy Davis Save Reginald Clemons?

From Crooksandliars.com

Yes, Troy Davis has been killed, after a roller coaster ride through the end stages of an execution. But he left a message behind, which said this, in part:
This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.
I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,
I want to take him at his word, and as it turns out, right after I wrote my final post about Troy's execution, someone suggested I look at Reginald Clemons' case, pending in Missouri...

Read the full article at http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/could-troy-davis-save-reginald-clemons

Camapign to End the Death Penalty: "DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE!"

Today is a DAY OF OUTRAGE!
What you can still do for Troy Davis! 
Date: September 22, 2011 1:45 pm
Location: Everywhere!

DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE!  The courts and the criminal justice system have failed Troy and all of us. We know that it’s up to a grassroots movement of people who care about justice to create the change we want. Before he was executed, Troy told his supporters, “There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country."

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty has a page full of ways you can be involved in the fight for justice: http://nodeathpenalty.org/events/today-day-outrage

Death Penalty Photography Documentary Project - Photos from the Prison Grounds

Photos from the ground outside the prison on the night of Troy Davis's execution in Jackson, Georgia.

Check out the full album on Facebook 

Why did Obama let Troy die?

The first African American president of the United States knew full well there were ways to act if he wanted to stop a legal lynching.

BARACK OBAMA refused to lift a finger or say a word to stop the murder of an innocent man in Georgia on September 21.

We were told that Troy Davis was convicted of a state crime, not a federal one, and so the president couldn't commute his sentence. With minutes to go before he was scheduled to be die, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement saying, "It is not appropriate for the President of the United States to weigh in on specific cases like this one."


In the last decade alone, presidents have declared multiple wars without Congressional approval, they have defied international law through special renditions torture program, they have run a gulag at Guantánamo Bay, they have ripped up civil liberties to read our e-mails and rifle through our trash. Obama himself has just waged a months-long extra-legal war on Libya.

It defies all logic and experience to assert that the leader of the most powerful military and economic empire in the history of the world couldn't intervene to stop the state of Georgia from murdering an innocent man.

As Edward Dubose, president of the NAACP's Georgia chapter, said, "The president is the president. If he chose to intervene, he could."

After Troy Davis's Death, Questions I Can't Unask

A note from the Author, Dave Zirin, Sports editor for The Nation Magazine:
Folks - I know this is usually a sports column so I apologize. But the execution of Troy Davis has taken over my brain. In honor of Troy Davis, I gave more than I can afford to the Campaign to the End the Death Penalty. at the following link. Please do the same. http://bit.ly/qnxerv

Also, please check out and pass around today's column.
In struggle,
Dave Zirin

After Troy Davis's Death, Questions I Can't Unask
September 22, 2011 | www.thenation.com

by Dave Zirin

1. Can Troy Davis, who fought to his last breath, actually be dead this morning?

2 - If we felt tortured with fear and hope for the four hours that the Supreme Court deliberated on Troy's case, how did the Davis family feel?

3. Why did the state of Georgia need to leave him strapped to the death-gurney while waiting for the Supreme Court to rule?

4. Why does this hurt so much?

5. Does Judge Clarence Thomas, an impovershed African American son of Georgia, ever acknowledge in quiet moments that he could easily have been Troy Davis?

6. What do people who insist we have to vote for Obama and support the Democrats "because of the Supreme Court" say this morning?

7. Why does the right wing in this country distrust "big government" on everything except executing people of color and the poor?

8. Why were Democrats who spoke out for Troy the utter exception and not the rule?

9. Why didn't the New York Times editorial page say anything until after Troy's parole was denied when their words wouldn't mean a damn?

9. Why does this hurt so much?

10. How can Barack Obama say that commenting on Troy's case is "not  appropriate" but it's somehow appropriate to bomb Libya and kill nameless innocents without the pretense of congressional approval?

11. What would he say if Malia asked him that question?

12. How can we have a Black family in the White House and a legal lynching in Georgia?

13. Why does this hurt so much?

14. Can we acknowledge that in our name, this country has created hundreds of thousands of Troy Davises in the Middle East?

15. Can we continue to co-exist peacefully in a country that executes its own?

16. What the hell do I tell my seven year old daughter who has been marching to save Troy since she was in a stroller?

17. If some Troy's last words were, "This movement began before I was born, it must continue and grow stronger under we abolish the death penalty once and for all", then do we not have nothing less than a moral obligation to continue the fight?

Murdered by the American injustice system

The state of Georgia has succeeded in killing Troy Davis--but his struggle for justice will never be forgotten by those who stood in solidarity with him.

September 22, 2011 |  www.socialistworker.org

Troy Davis
AN INNOCENT man was tortured for hours and then murdered in cold blood. That's the only way to describe the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last night.

For over two decades, Troy endured a nightmare at the hands of police, prosecutors and the court system at every level--from his arrest during a frenzied hunt to arrest a Black man for the murder of a white Savannah, Ga., police officer; to the travesty of a trial in which he was found guilty and sentenced to death; to the years he spent pleading for one judge after another to consider the evidence that proves he's innocent.

But the American system of injustice had a final sickening twist in store for Troy.

Shortly before his scheduled execution, the U.S. Supreme Court took up his lawyers' last-minute appeal for a stay of execution. The 7 p.m. deadline came and went, and Georgia officials announced they would delay the execution until the justices finished their review.

Troy's family and supporters--gathered outside the prison in Georgia, and at meetings, protests and vigils around the country--celebrated what seemed to be a reprieve, until it sank in that the delay was temporary, and could end at any moment with a decision from the high court. Thousands of people who desperately wanted Troy to live spent the next three hours in agony.

Then came the decision--a one-sentence order that the Supreme Court would not grant a stay.
The state of Georgia moved ahead with its murder quickly. It happened fast because, according to reports, Troy had remained strapped to the execution gurney the entire time.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Reflection from Colorofchange.com: "Troy Davis is dead; the movement continues"

At 11:08 pm Wednesday, the state of Georgia killed Troy Davis. Just before he was executed, Troy maintained his innocence, urged people to dig deeper into the case to find the truth, and said "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls." It's a tragic day for Troy, for his family, and for equality, fairness, and justice.

It's hard to know what to say at a time like this. In this moment, and in the days and weeks before Troy's execution, we've felt all kinds of things — anger, sadness, inspiration, hope and hopelessness. This is a time to mourn and remember Troy, to contemplate the profound loss we're facing, to send love and support to Troy's family and friends. It's incredibly important to take the time to spiritually and emotionally care for Troy's family and the amazing community that has arisen to support Troy — and it feels hard to muster the energy to do much more than that.

But before he died, Troy told us that this was about more than him — and he called on those of us who have fought against his execution to continue fighting for justice, even if we weren't successful in saving his life. Now is also an important moment to take stock of what's brought us to this point — the criminal justice system that allowed this to happen, and the movement we've built to fight for Troy and others facing injustice and oppression at the hands of that system.

Race, the criminal justice system, and the death penalty 
At every stage of the criminal justice system, Black people and other minorities face inequality and discrimination. We all know about people who've been treated unfairly by police or by the courts. When the entire system treats Black people unequally, it means that the death penalty is applied unequally too. Troy Davis' case underscores the way in which this systemic inequality can lead to a tragic miscarriage of justice.

In most cases, people who've been treated unfairly or wrongly convicted have some chance to correct the injustice. People who have been mistreated by the police can sue them. People who are wrongly serving time can be granted new trials, can be released from prison, and are sometimes entitled to compensation. As we all know, the safeguards that can correct abuse by the criminal justice system often fail, and rampant inequality persists. Usually, people can at least keep trying.

But there's no way to correct a death sentence. If Troy Davis were serving a sentence of life in prison without parole, he could continue to press the legal system to grant him a fair trial — but because the death penalty exists, he will not have that opportunity.

Troy Davis' case has sparked a national conversation about the death penalty. In the past, much of the debate around the death penalty has focused on the morality of killing people as a legal punishment — a very important question that brings out a lot of strong opinions. But even if we completely leave aside the question whether or not it can ever be right for the government to punish a murderer by killing them, there's an entirely different debate to be had — whether or not we can have the death penalty and actually avoid the possibility of killing innocent people. In a criminal justice system that routinely misidentifies Black suspects and disproportionately punishes Black people, Black folks are more likely to be wrongfully executed.

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the death penalty has been used to kill innocent people many times. Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from death row because of evidence that they were wrongly convicted. Troy Davis is one of many people who were executed despite serious questions about their guilt, and he's called on his supporters to continue working to end the death penalty.

A group of NAACP organizers went to visit Troy in prison yesterday, and NAACP's Robert Rooks said this about the visit:
For someone that was facing death the very next day, he was just full of life and wanted to spend time talking to the younger staff, the interns, giving them direction and hope and asking them to hold onto God. And he challenged them. He challenged them by saying, "You have a choice. You can either fold up your bags after tomorrow and go home, or you can stand and continue this fight." He said it doesn’t—it didn’t begin with Troy Davis, and this won’t end if he is executed today. He just asked us all just to continue to fight to end the death penalty, if in fact he’s executed.
A powerful movement
For years, ColorOfChange members have been an important part of a growing movement to stop Troy Davis' execution. Hundreds of phone calls from ColorOfChange members to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole helped delay Davis' execution twice. Over the past year, there's been a huge outpouring of support for Davis from ColorOfChange members — more than 100,000 of us have signed petitions, and we raised more than $30,000 to run radio ads in Georgia calling for justice for Troy.

And we've been part of an even bigger movement — NAACP, Amnesty International, National Action Network, Change.org, and others have all been a major part of the fight for Troy Davis, and there are now over close to a million petition signatures overall. Prominent people from all across the political spectrum have spoken out: members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former FBI Director William Sessions, former Georgia Republican congressman Bob Barr, and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher.
This movement couldn't stop Davis' execution — but it's a movement that won't die with Troy Davis. There's no better way to honor Troy's memory than to keep fighting for justice.

Thanks and Peace,
-- Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   September 21st, 2011


Save Troy Davis

Troy Davis's clemency has been denied.
His execution is set for 7pm EST (4pm Pacific), TODAY, Wed the 21st.

Come out to speak out against this horrendous ruling and Honor Troy's Life.

WED 9/21  3:30-6pm
SCCC, Pine and Broadway Seattle, WA

Coverage on the fight for Troy Davis

Georgia Senator and the Southern Center for Human Rights Urge Execution Staff to Strike & Refuse to Kill Troy Davis

Georgia's relentless drive to execute Troy Davis exposes the racism and state violence at the heart of the system.

An innocent man could be executed in Georgia on Wednesday if no official or court intervenes to stop this travesty.


Statement From Troy Davis

To All:
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.

As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can't even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.

9/21: Rising Resistance in the US

New figures show that 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty, nearly 50 million have no health insurance and a whole generation is being lost to unemployment.  What is the government’s response?  Obama proposes cutting Medicare and Social Security and the racist Republican freak-show rolls on.  And to top it all off, on September 21, the state of Georgia plans to execute Troy Davis, an innocent African American man, falsely accused of killing a police officer.  Meanwhile, the white cop who the whole world knows murdered Oscar Grant was just released from prison after spending just one year in jail. 
But resistance is finally growing.  Riots in London, general strikes in Greece, mass demonstrations in Spain... and the Arab revolutions continue to expand, even as the U.S. and NATO try to co-opt the Libyan revolt that toppled Ghadafi.  Here at home, Verizon workers struck for two weeks, ILWU members in Washington are fighting to defend union jobs, teachers in Tacoma walked off the job and have defied court injunctions to return to work, and protests against police brutality and the death penalty are spreading.  
Join us as we discuss the current US political situation, what we can expect from working class fightback in the US, and what that means for our organizing this fall.

Wed 9/21 7pm
UW Campus
Parrington Hall,  Room 106


9/7: Organizing Meeting

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

The start of school is fast approaching, So we've pushed the Study group originally scheduled for today back a week to give us time to make some important decisions about our organizing on campus in the fall.  We'll spend the bulk of the meeting discussing Fall UW plans - how do we want to organize, will we have a separate student branch etc. And then we'll have a 30 min section on holding the Northwest Socialist Conference in Portland this year!

And Next Week We'll Continue our Summer Study Series, moving on to discuss Lenin and the Revolutionary Party

WED Sept 14: The Birth of Bolshevism through 1905
The Birth of Bolshevism by Paul D'Amato (ISR)

Main Reading:
Building the Party by Tony Cliff, Ch. 1-12
Lenin and the Revolutionary Party by Paul LeBlanc, Ch. 1-6 

Supplementary Readings 
The Myth of Lenin's Elitism by Paul D'Amato (ISR)
What is Economism? by Duncan Hallas (ISR)
Leninism Under Lenin by Marcel Liebman
Lenin's Political Thought by Neil Harding
Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done in Context by Lars Lih