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!