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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 May 2010

USA: Putting forward a Socialist Alternative in Seattle

More than 140 people came to discuss socialist ideas for changing the world at the socialism conference, organised by the CWI-affiliated organisation Socialist Alternative and held at Seattle University, which marked a big step forward for socialists in Washington State.

Socialist Alternative reporters, US CWI

The discussion "Where is the change Obama promised? - resisting war and cuts in jobs and education" featured prominent anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who set up a camp outside George Bush's Texas ranch in 2005 to ask him why her son Casey was sent to die in Iraq.

Cindy explained how she had concluded that capitalism is the root cause of wars and the economic crisis we face.

The discussion dealt with the role of the two-headed "war party", as Cindy termed the big-business Democratic and Republican parties that dominate the US political system.

Cindy spoke about how Democratic Party leaders promised her that if she helped get them elected, they would end the war. However, after they took control of Congress in the 2006 elections, they failed to follow through on their promises. In 2008 Cindy decided to run an independent, anti-war campaign for Congress against Democratic Party House leader Nancy Pelosi, coming in second place and winning an impressive 17% of the vote.

The discussion also featured Richard Curtis, an independent left-wing Washington candidate for the US Senate, as well as Philip Locker, a national organiser for Socialist Alternative. Philip explained how the working class anger has led to many opinion polls showing a growth in support for socialist ideas.

Another session, "Capitalism in Crisis and the Case for Socialism", featured Matt Gonzalez, the vice presidential running mate of Ralph Nader in 2008 who nearly became the first Green Party mayor of a major US city in 2003 in San Francisco.

Matt argued that the many injustices in society made it "easy to critique capitalism" and talked about the need to push for far-reaching reforms in society. This sparked a debate that helped clarify the need to fight for immediate reforms as well as for a socialist world.

The day finished with a debate between Tea Party blogger Keli Carender and Socialist Alternative organiser Ramy Khalil. The Tea Party movement, supported by Fox News and other corporate backers, has an echo for its ideas amongst a significant minority of Americans particularly because of their opposition to the Wall Street bailouts.

Keli made the case that capitalism is "the only moral system" for the protection of individual rights and argued that "big government" was the main problem in society. But Ramy argued that, under capitalism, the government was a tool of the corporate elite who always seek to increase their profits at the expense of working people.

The conference's success is reflected in the collection of over $1,800 in donations, and dozens of people signed up to get more information about Socialist Alternative.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 19 May 2010:

Action needed to save our services


Workplace news

Vote Roger Bannister in the Unison general secretary election

British Airways: Another intolerable court judgment


Youth fight for jobs

Youth need job creation, not job slaughter


Socialist Party election analysis

Time for the fight of our lives


Socialist Party news and analysis

Building Coventry Socialist Party after the election

Support for socialists Ian Page and Chris Flood

Packed out London meeting looks to fight against cuts

Fast news


International socialist news and analysis

Initiative for a week of European-wide protests

Italy: ControCorrente socialists support CWI

Thailand's government orders bloody crackdown on protesters

Kazakhstan: "Thanks comrades for support"

USA: Putting forward a Socialist Alternative in Seattle


Marxist analysis: history

The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution by Harold Isaacs


Obituary

Peter Hadden - an inspiring life for socialism


Socialist Party workplace news

Communication Workers Union conference: Hands off Royal Mail!

Defending the postal service

Bus workers gear up for action

RMT ballots Tube Lines workers

National Shop Stewards Network conference: International rally planned


 

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