Socialist Students says “NO TO IMPERIALIST WAR!”

Written by Clarissa Cooney, Northeastern University student

Last week, the conflict in Syria turned a new corner when the U.S. launched a missile attack on a Syrian air base, the first time the U.S. has intervened militarily against Assad. The strikes were allegedly a response to a chemical attack on Syrian civilians, likely carried out by the Assad regime. The recent airstrikes and the chemical attacks which proceeded them are only the latest examples of violent assaults carried out by capitalists against the people of Syria.  This morning, the tensions escalated as a U.S. drone strike “accidentally bombed Syrian allies,” and killed 18 people [Washington Post].

The conflict in Syria began in 2011 with demonstrations calling for political and economic reforms and an end to government corruption, a part of a series of protests across the Arab world known as the Arab Spring. The uprising quickly turned violent after the Syrian regime brutally repressed protests. Foreign powers and domestic insurgents have seized on the chaos in Syria to assert their own agenda. Russia and Iran seek to bolster their ally Assad, while various rebel groups and terrorist organizations fight for control of patches of Syrian territory. The U.S. has provided limited support to “moderate” rebel groups in as effort to counter ISIS and other extremist organizations. In many ways the conflict has become a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia. The civil war has killed more than 450,000 people, injured more than one million and displaced over 12 million, half of Syria’s pre-war population.

The recent chemical attack in Idlib was an atrocity, and requires an international response. However, we oppose the U.S. airstrikes and must work to ensure that this does not lead to greater U.S. military involvement in Syria. Despite claims that the air strike was carried out for humanitarian reasons, the Trump administration clearly does not care about the well being of the Syrian people. If Trump was really acting out of humanitarian concerns, he would open the United States to Syrian refugees, instead of trying to ban them. In contrast, Trump likely was seeking to boost his support at home and distract from his failure to meet his campaign promises. Trump also acted without the permission of Congress and without waiting for the U.N. to asses the situation. There is not yet solid proof that the Assad administration was behind the chemical attack, and Trump’s hasty action risks becoming directly involved with a conflict with Russia, Assad’s best ally.

Socialist Students is opposed to U.S. military intervention, but does not support any of the actors in this conflict. While some leftist groups support Assad as a bulwark against U.S. imperialism, the Assad regime carried out human rights violations such as torture and arbitrary arrests even before the war, and since the conflict began it has committed war crimes such as torture, rape, the use of chemical weapons, blocking civilian access to food and water, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilian areas. Additionally, while we backed the original rebellions against Assad, many rebels groups have violated human rights and do not have our support.

The answer lies not in supporting these groups, but in forming a broad workers party in Syria which is strong enough to oppose the Assad regime and foreign imperialists. This party must bridge sectarian and ethnic divides to strengthen the entire Syrian working class in the face of capitalist violence. It must be armed with socialist ideas like the transfer of the region’s wealth into public ownership with democratic planning, defending the democratic rights of all ethnic and religious groups, and forging links with the labor movement across the region. Likewise, socialists across the world need to take a stand against the violence and repression in Syria.  It is our duty to call for an end to outside military interference in the region, an end to the war in Syria and the conflicts across the Middle East, an end to xenophobia, the provision of sanctuary to refugees, and for workers’ unity across the globe.

 

 

 

5 Reasons We’re Walking Out On Trump

1. Our generation is under attack

If we want to defend ourselves, our generation needs to build a mass movement of resistance from day 1 of Trump’s presidency. Even before Trump takes office on January 20th, the Republican controlled Congress is preparing the most aggressive right-wing, pro-corporate agenda in modern history. In just the next couple months they want to:

-Cut all funding to Planned Parenthood and block access to reproductive healthcare for millions of young and low-income women.

-Begin deporting millions of immigrants, especially targeting youth currently protected by the DACA program.

-Encourage racial profiling by the police and other security forces, especially of Muslim communities and youth of color, while expanding private prisons.

-End health-care coverage for millions of young people and low-income families.

Gut environmental protections, ramp up fossil fuel production, and expand pipeline construction over Indigenous lands, which will worsen the climate crisis and threaten global catastrophe for our generation.

2. “An injury to one is an injury to all!”

If we let Trump divide us, singling out the most oppressed communities to attack first, eventually his billionaire government will come after us all. That’s why we have to organize the strongest possible united actions to end business as usual.

This begins with a nationally coordinated student strike on January 20th, the day Trump is Inaugurated and takes control of government. Across the country hundred of thousands of students will walk out, joining millions who will take to the streets to protest Trump’s right-wing, billionaire agenda.

 3. Trump can be defeated…

Behind his bullying strongman image, Trump enters the White House as the most hated president in modern history. Polls show a majority of Americans oppose his agenda. No one denies Trump actually lost the popular vote by nearly three million, only winning because of the un-democratic Electoral College. We also have to remember that widespread voter suppression, especially in communities of color, and the lack of an inspiring alternative to Trump meant that millions stayed home on election day.

In reality, Trump has no democratic mandate for his agenda. And we can’t afford to wait until the next election to change course. If we can unite together into a powerful mass movement, we can defeat Trump, the Republican Congress, and the billionaire class.

 4. …but only by building a mass movement

If this last election proved anything, it’s that we can’t rely on the corporate-backed politicians of either major party to stop Trump. If we look at history, from the Civil Rights movement to the struggle for women’s rights, it was always ordinary people getting organized and building mass movements that changed history. And young people have always been on the frontlines, taking the boldest action and advocating the most radical ideas – ideas that would later become become mainstream!

That’s why Socialist Students is getting organized in colleges and high schools across the country. We think that it’s not enough to just say “No” to Trump’s agenda. To inspire people into action, our movement needs an alternative vision that puts needs of people and the environment above the profit-driven agenda of big business. That’s why huge majorities of young people rallied behind self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders’ call for a “political revolution against the billionaire class,” but stayed home when Clinton offered only a “business-as-usual” alternative to Trump.

Building a powerful, united movement to stop Trump means not being afraid to openly demand what our communities need to live just, healthy, and dignified lives:

-A future free from racism, sexism, inequality, and environmental destruction!

-A political revolution against the billionaire class and a socialist alternative!

 5. Our future depends on fighting back

Our generation is coming of age in an era of global crisis. Capitalism has created a world torn apart by inequality, wars, racism, and the corrupt domination of a billionaire elite. If we allow Trump, his billionaire friends, and the Republican Party to carry out their agenda, all the problems we already face will become far worse.

We can’t let this happen. And we can take hope in the fact that, already, millions of people across the country and around the world are beginning to wake up and take action. As young people, we’ve got to realize that we can and must take our future into our own hands. We have to get organized, help each other stay woke, and get ready to build the biggest mass movement this country has ever seen.

Let’s begin the fight back on January 20th by building the biggest national student walkout in generations!

Student Walkout on Trump Inauguration Day!

NATIONAL STUDENT WALKOUT AGAINST BIGOTRY & HATE


Donald Trump and the Republican Party are preparing to unleash a storm of attacks on women, immigrants, the Muslim community, LGBTQ people, workers, and the environment. We must stand together in solidarity against Trump’s attempts to divide us!

A huge national student strike will send a clear message to Trump, the billionaire class, and the Republican Party that we reject their agenda of bigotry, hate, and division; that we reject their corporate policies to gut our social services and education.

Already we have seen the beginning of a mass fightback against Trump, with hundreds of thousands pouring into the streets after the election. But we can’t stop there, more will be needed to stand up and fight back against the onslaught of right-wing hate and corporate greed.

It’s clear we cannot rely on the political establishment or corporate politicians to fight Trump – it’s on us. That’s why high school and college students across the country are walking out of class on January 20th, Trump’s inauguration day, to demand with one united voice:

 No deportations of undocumented immigrants!

Black Lives Matter! End police brutality and mass incarceration!

Unite against Islamophobia!

Fight Trump’s sexism! Defend and extend reproductive rights!

Tax the rich! Make college free & cancel student debt!

Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline — Green jobs now! — #NoDAPL

Fight discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ community!

FIND OR CALL ONE IN YOUR CITY (more to be added):

Berkeley, CA

Bellingham, WA

Chicago, IL

Cincinnati, OH

Columbus, OH

Grand Rapids, MI

Houston, TX

Los Angeles, CA

Minneapolis, MN

New York, NY

Philadelphia, PA

Portland, OR

Santa Barbara, CA

Seattle, WA

St. Louis, MO

Worcester, MA

INSIDE LOOK: Seattle Socialist Students go up against Trump

Hundreds Protest Outside Trump Rally in Western Washington

An on the ground report from our students in Seattle, written by Ava Bravata Keating, member of Seattle Socialist Students and Seattle Socialist Alternative

Republican nominee and bonafide bigot, Donald J. Trump, held his second Washington State rally of the summer on Tuesday at the Xfinity Arena in Everett, about 40 minutes north of downtown Seattle. Socialist Alternative members joined hundreds of other protesters to challenge the presence of the least popular establishment candidate in recent memory.

Signs read everything from “Keep Homophobia out of the White House” to “‘Fat, Ugly, Stupid, Disgusting Bitches’ for Hillary,” a reference to Trump’s sexist statements, to “Jill, Not Hill,” reflecting the growing support for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The political polarization, even among the protesters, was plain to see.

Proteste14102577_10208491918350152_8422873360587604753_nrs gathered at a nearby park only a few blocks away from the entrance to the arena, and some held a press conference at which the Mayor of Everett and others spoke. Shortly thereafter, hundreds marched on the Trump rally, picketing across from rally goers and a collection of bicycle police officers from multiple Western Washington precincts. Trump supporters chanted “USA” in an attempt to drown out the protesters’ calls of “Love Trumps Hate” and “Donald Trump: Go Away! Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay!”

The mood was tense but peaceful, even in light of a few Trump supporters who verbally harassed dissenters yelling “Dump the Chump, Vote for Trump” and other similar sentiments. Several protesters were ejected from inside the rally to the cheers of other anti-Trumpers, and two were arrested at the counter-rally.

Socialist Alternative was there in full force, with seasoned organizers, new members and socialist student representatives, selling newspapers and talking with folks of all political ideologies about building a new party of the 99%. We responded to requests for interviews from local media outlets, fielding questions that ranged from what millennials are thinking in this circus of an election season, to why third party politics are needed in a truly democratic system. We answered by underscoring the importance of an independent party of the people–a socialist political presence that will answer to the needs of working class folks who are the wind in the sails of the US economy.

Fellow protesters had a range of reactions to our socialist ideas. Knowing that we do not support Democratic Party candidates who put the interests of corporations over those of working people, the individuals in charge of the anti-Trump press conference insisted that we move our table further back under the auspices that they were not in favor of endorsing any single candidate for president. Later on, they unflinchingly voiced support for Clinton.

Most challenging, perhaps, were some folks’ reaction to Socialist Alternative’s support for the candidacy of Dr. Jill Stein, whom many viewed as a surefire route to electing Trump to the White House. Though we strongly agree with the need to stop Trump, a historically grounded analysis shows that succumbing to lesser evilism and voting for Clinton is not a sound strategic move. Clinton is the epitome of Wall Street controlled establishment politics, which has given rise to the Trump phenomenon and paved the way for right-wing populism.

In the absence of a true left alternative, the strength of the far right will only grow, further alienating marginalized communities and the 99%. We explained that if the Democratic Party establishment really cared about keeping a Republican demagogue out of office, they would have thrown their support behind Bernie Sanders, who consistently polled much better against Trump than Clinton. That’s why Socialist Alternative emphasizes that building a left political alternative is the most effective way to undercut support for Trump and right-wing politics.

14183724_10208493333945541_1127407948547151450_nMany of the protesters we spoke with understood that building an independent political party that answers to working people and continuing to grow our movement is the most important thing we could do in this election season and beyond.

Others were taken with the ideas of socialism, especially when we put them in terms of real victories made for working people in Seattle–the victory in the fight for $15, the unionization drive of REI workers, and the fight for paid family leave, for example. Paper sales and interest in joining our organization were strong.

Although the state of Washington has not gone Republican in a presidential election since 1984, the turnout to see Trump speak was surprisingly robust. T he line stretched for over 10 blocks, and nearly filled the 10,000-person arena in Everett. Trump is a multi-billionaire capitalist and has time and again benefitted from the rigged economic system, but he is falsely portrayed as “political outsider.” He uses this skewed anti-establishment perception to push a racist, sexist divide-and-conquer defense of capitalism to people who have been swindled by politics as usual.

The high attendance at his rally in a solidly blue state speaks to the anger and disillusionment many working class people feel as a result of failed capitalism and the antics of Washington D.C., not the sudden move of the 99% to the far right. As we work to build an independent left that empowers the working class of this country and struggles against the oppressive systems that divide it, we must fill the space that has been created by decades of Democratic and Republican political monopoly.