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May 9: Open the Borders: A Socialist Case for Full Equality

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 16:27

Tuesday, May 9
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

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This year has seen heightened attacks on immigrants and refugees in the U.S. While Trump spouts racist nonsense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been engaging in terrifying raids and speeding up deportations of immigrants across the country. At the same time, refugees are being abandoned and families attempting to escape imperialist wars are being portrayed as terrorists and criminals.

Marxists organize around very basic principles: everyone should have equal rights regardless of where they were born, and human beings should have the same rights as businesses to move freely. Join us for a discussion about why the socialist movement should both stand for open borders and work to build international working class solidarity.

This event is part of Red May Seattle, a month of events challenging capitalism and building towards alternatives. View the full schedule of Red May events at https://www.redmayseattle.org/schedule.

Categories: Political Parties

May 2: Understanding the Right Wing Today

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 15:55

Tuesday, May 2
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

U.S. and international politics today are highly polarized, and while there have been massive protests and widespread resistance to Trump’s agenda, the right has also grown in numbers and confidence. Some of these individuals and groups package their brand of racism and reaction in a populist veneer, others maintain an open allegiance to big business.  Join us for a discussion about right wing populism and the various forces that make up the right today. The second half of the meeting will be used for breakouts to organize various aspects of our local work.

Recommended reading:

Categories: Political Parties

April 25: How Immigrants Revived May Day

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 20:22

Tuesday, April 25
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

In 2006, massive protests for immigrants’ rights swept the country. In every major city and many smaller towns, businesses shut down and marches filled the streets. Up until that time, May Day, which began as an international workers holiday in the U.S., had not been celebrated in any large way in the United States for many years. Since 2006, May Day has been a crucial day of protest each year, and this year will be see large mobilizations again. Join us for a discussion about the history of how immigrants revived May Day. We will also devote some of the meeting time to planning for the May Day actions in Seattle.

For background reading on May Day and the immigrants rights movement, consider reading:

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Categories: Political Parties

Make May Day a day of resistance

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 20:19

From Socialist Worker:

Amad Ross writes from Seattle with a proposal for students to consider for May 1.

April 18, 2017

HERE IN Seattle, the favored topic of small talk has shifted from the clouds and rain to the president and his incompetence. Students at my high school have formed relationships with teachers on that basis alone, and it seems there is no longer any political division between instructor and student. This general agreement is important for its own sake, but especially for the potential it creates.

As high school students and teachers find common ground in their opposition to Donald Trump, the two will see new opportunities to stand up for one another politically. The first such opportunity is less than a month away.

Seattle teachers recently voted on whether to strike for the day on May Day, but failed to get the endorsement of the union, leaving an opening for high school students to carry on their struggle. On May Day, Seattle students should walk out of their schools and show support for their teachers’ efforts.

Last month, members of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) voted on whether to strike on May 1. The strike would have been a platform for teachers to demand better funding of public schools–an increasingly important issue in the age of Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos– and to voice support for the rights of immigrant and Muslim students. If a strike had been approved, the teachers would have joined a mass rally at Judkins Park beginning at 11 a.m. and culminating in a march at 1 p.m.

The union leadership did all that it could to prevent this vote from passing. They shortened the voting period and required that the decision be made a whole month in advance, voting on the proposal just nine days after it was made.

Despite this, 45 percent of SEA voters supported the strike. This means that roughly 1,500 educators voted “yes” to a strike–an extremely high number considering the difficult circumstances.

Worth noting, too, is that many SEA members work in elementary and middle schools, institutions more hesitant to enter the political arena. The proposal was far less controversial in many high schools, with many of the “yes” votes coming from schools with 60-90 percent of teachers in support. At my own high school, for example, I have failed to locate a single teacher that voted against the strike.

Here is where the students come in. As the subjects of these schools, we can give these teachers the strike they voted for by walking out on May 1 and going to the Judkins rally in their place.

This walkout would build new relationships between students and their teachers and show that we are all in this struggle together. These relationships are extremely important in the times we’re in. With Betsy DeVos as education secretary, the fate of our public schools hangs by a thread. As students, we need to organize to fight for our schools and their funding, just as our teachers have.

This action would also build solidarity among students. Seattle high schools have a large number of immigrant and Muslim students, individuals who are constantly under fire from Donald Trump’s rhetoric. A politically charged walkout would show these students that in the face of oppression, we all stand together.

For these reasons, high schools students across Seattle should organize and walk out on May 1. Through shared support of immigrant and Muslim rights, and militant defense of public school funding, teachers and students can work together to make May Day a day of resistance.

Categories: Political Parties

Video: Phil Gasper on “Imperialism in the Age of Trump”

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 18:28

Video Credit: Mike McCormick

Categories: Political Parties

April 18: Seattle ISO Working Meeting

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 20:07

Tuesday, April 18
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will be a working meeting.  We’ll be discussing the April issue of Socialist Worker newspaper and also breaking out into working groups to organize various aspects of our local work.

Categories: Political Parties

The resistance will not be branded

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 22:39

From Socialist Worker:

April 10, 2017

On January 19, 2015, Seattle teacher and anti-racist activist Jesse Hagopian addressed a rally that preceded the city’s Martin Luther King Day march. Afterward, as he walked past a line of police who were blocking a street, officer Sandra Delafuente doused him with pepper spray at point-blank range–and then continued to spray several other people.

Video of the unprovoked attack was shared widely–and last week, an image from it went viral as part of a meme responding to the appalling campaign by Pepsi that tries to profit off the Black Lives Matter movement. In an article published at his I Am an Educator blog, Hagopian explains the story behind the image.

ON APRIL 5, I woke up to find out I was a meme gone viral.

The hilarious meme by @ignant_ was in reference to the shameful ad that Pepsi produced–and quickly took down–depicting model Kendall Jenner diffusing tensions between protesters and cops by handing one officer a refreshing can of Pepsi. When the officer cracks open the can, the protesters are overjoyed and the officer gives an approving grin. Peace on earth prevails because of commercialism and sugar water.

Hundreds of thousands of people have liked and shared the hilarious meme that mocks the ignorance of the Pepsi ad. The meme was made from an image taken of me at the 2015 Martin Luther King Day rally in Seattle.

But here’s what folks who shared the meme might not know about that photo: The image is a still taken from a video that shows me on the phone, walking on the sidewalk, when Seattle police officer Sandra Delafuente, totally unprovoked, opens up a can of pepper spray in my face. If only Kendall had been there with a cold can of Pepsi!

Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad

Many people asked if the photo was real or photo shopped. It’s real. Too real. I wasn’t on the phone with Kendall, but I was on the phone with my mom giving her directions to come pick me up because it was my 2-year-old son’s birthday party later that day. That’s when a searing pain shot through my ear, nostrils and eyes, and spread across my face.

My mom soon arrived and took me back to the house. I tried to be calm when I entered so as not to scare my children, but the sight of me with a rag over my swollen eyes upset the party. I spent much of the occasion at the bathtub, with my sister pouring milk on my eyes, ears, nose and face to quell the burning.

In the aftermath, I filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department–which is under a federal consent decree by the Department of Justice because of its demonstrated excessive use of force–and I helped organize rallies and press conferences with other victims of police brutality. This pressure helped Seattle’s Office of Professional Accountability rule in my favor and recommend a one-day suspension without pay for officer Delafuente. Not much of a reprimand, but at least it was an acknowledgment of wrongdoing. However, Seattle’s chief of police, Kathleen O’Toole, directly intervened to erase that punishment. Maybe I should have tried handing her a can of Pepsi before I asked for justice?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Jesse Hagopian after being pepper sprayed (Jesse Hagopian)

AFTER MORE than a year of stressful litigation, I reached a $100,000 settlement. This was in no way justice. Justice would have been making the officer who assaulted me account for her crime. But I was determined to make sure some good came out of the pain and I decided to use settlement money to start the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award to honor Seattle youth who pursue social justice and organize against institutional racism. Nominations for this year’s award are currently open.

I gave the first three awards out last year to some incredible young activists:

Ifrah Abshif, whose work founding the Transportation Justice Movement for Orca Cards secured travel funding for all low-income Seattle Public School students who live more than a mile from their schools;

Ahlaam Ibraahim founded the “Global Islamophobia Awareness Day” event at Seattle’s Pike Place Market;

Marci Owens has been a health care and Black Lives Matter activist and is a transgender student who has become a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community.

We need to support young change-makers like these because commercialism won’t save us. Corporations like Pepsi will always be in the business of trying to brand rebellion and profit from protest. But while they shamefully try to get their conglomerates “in the black” off of the image of the Black Lives Matter movement, we will be building that movement and fighting for a world where the wealth is used for the common good.

But for now, I’m just glad that one of the most painful moments of my life has been turned into stinging satire that makes me laugh out loud.

First published at I Am an Educator.

Categories: Political Parties

Seattle Socialism Conference Video – Building the Socialist Movement in the Age of Trump

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 17:21

Video of the first panel from the Seattle Socialism Conference, titled “Building the Socialist Movement in the Age of Trump.”

Credit: Mike McCormick

Categories: Political Parties

Seattle Socialism Conference Video – Making Seattle a Center of Resistance

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 17:21

Video of the first panel from the Seattle Socialism Conference, titled “Making Seattle a Center of Resistance.”

Credit: Mike McCormick

Categories: Political Parties

April 11: Imperialism in the Age of Trump

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 23:03

 

Tuesday, April 11
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

America is the world’s reigning imperialist power – constantly invading and attacking other countries for economic gain but in the guise of “freedom” and other humanitarian reasons. In 2016, America’s military budget was by far the greatest, exceeding the combined budgets of the next ten largest military budgets in the world.

Trump, despite his economically nationalist attitude, now wants to increase the military budget by 10% and extend America’s Imperial legacy.

Sit in and learn more about modern imperialism in the age of Trump.

Talk by: Phil Gasper
Professor in Philosphy and editor of The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History’s Most Important Political Document (Haymarket Books)

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Categories: Political Parties

April 4: Seattle ISO Working Meeting

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 22:56

Tuesday, April 4
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will be a working meeting.  We’ll be discussing some background on Seattle city politics and Nikkita Oliver’s campaign for mayor of Seattle.  We’ll also have breakouts into working groups to organize different aspects of our local work.

Categories: Political Parties