Apr 28

Detroit Socialist Party Statement on UAW /
Rainbow Coalition March August 28, 2010

The United Auto Workers and Rainbow Coalition invited everyone today to relive the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are invited to relive Dr. King’s passion for social equality, economic justice, and anti-war sentiments. However, the Detroit Socialist Party calls for us to not remember the glorified and uncontroversial moderate invented by the media, but rather the dedicated radical who was a dire threat to the establishment; shunned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Democratic Party, which is well represented in this march, was not considered to be a force for progress by King, but rather a part of system he was trying to overthrow. He didn’t decide to work within the system, which he saw as corrupt, but rather to reveal the hypocrisy and injustice of the system by bringing it to the forefront in the thought of the public. He did not settle for what the establishment was willing to give up, but rather made a constant effort until that which he desired – that which was moral obligation – was realized. He did not begin and end with the civil rights movement; that was but one part of his vision. He recognized that racism was one of the tools used by the ruling class to divide those who they wished to exploit.

“ Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

We cannot accept what merely looks like reform and let the Democratic Party ride us for the betterment of their corporate masters. Rather, we must stand erect with dignity and demand revolutionary and idealistic change as King would have. We do not need a health plan which subsidizes insurance companies; we need socialized medicine! We do not need tax policies that incentivize jobs through stimulus; we need the direct creation of jobs in workplaces under democratic control! We do not need for the current laws to simply be enforced; we need new and strong legislation that reaffirms the people’s rights over corporate rights! We do not need to settle what the Democrats are willing to give us; we need real and meaningful change with working class interests in mind! We will not be contented with anything less than we deserve!

“Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Detroit Socialist Party has monthly working group meetings at 3 pm on the first Sunday of the month and monthly membership meetings at 3 pm on the third Sunday of the month. Both are held in the lobby of our office at 2937 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202. Look for the tall, rainbow colored building.

Nov 24

Vote No on Obama-care! Healthcare is Our Human Right!

Adopted by the Socialist Party USA National Action Committee

While citizens in most other industrialized nations enjoyed the benefits of publicly administered healthcare from the aftermath of WW II forward, Americans have suffered under a healthcare system dominated by private corporations. For-profit healthcare has produced negative health outcomes at all levels of the system. More than 48 million people have no health insurance, 30 million more are underinsured and 6 out of 10 Americans report that they have either delayed or deferred a necessary medical procedure in the last year. Americans are more than ready for publicly-run healthcare that guarantees access at all levels of the system.

Unfortunately, the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act (HR 3962), and the proposals being considered by the Senate will not provide the relief Americans so desperately need. Instead, these reforms were shaped and, in some cases, authored by the very same private interests who have spent decades collecting massive profits by restricting access to care. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama sensed the growing public anger about healthcare and scored many popularity points for promising “universal healthcare coverage.” Once in office, after taking millions from the healthcare lobby, his rhetoric shifted to the neoliberal promise of “choice and competition” in healthcare…

The primary problem with HR 3962 and the Senate proposals is that all of the changes they propose are made within a for-profit system. The House Bill strips the insurance companies of the right to deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Yet, it de-links the public option from Medicare reimbursement rates, thereby surrendering pricing to the private sector. The Bill removes the anti-trust exemption enjoyed by private insurers. However, it simultaneously mandates that all Americans carry some form of health insurance, thereby herding millions into low-coverage high-fee private plans. Each step in a positive direction is coupled with a restructuring that will enrich private insurance companies and pharmaceutical makers.

The bills lost further reform credentials as Democrats cut last minute deals with Republicans. Immigrants were removed from eligibility for the public option, abortions were written out of the proposal and Medicare funding was cut. The Medicare cuts are particularly cruel, since they will reduce an already compromised plan to bare bones coverage. Some of the cuts will limit private insurance profiteering, but others will slash necessary items such as exercise programs for seniors. Overall, these omissions signal that the reforms are not about providing comprehensive medical coverage, but about political expediency within the establishment political class. The next round of negotiations in the Senate is sure to produce even further regressive measures as campaign-donation driven legislators cut more deals.

What people in this country need is healthcare. It is their right as human beings. The only way to secure this right is to place the healthcare system in public hands–-to remove the profit-motive from the system. Single-payer healthcare, as embodied in House Resolution 676, would be a positive step in this direction. It would provide universal access to care to all residents of the United States by abolishing private health insurance companies. In thirteen clearly written pages, HR 676 does the things the 1,990 page HR 3962 does not. Access to care is made universal, a framework is created to make bulk negotiations with hospitals and doctors and healthcare activists would be freed to set their sights on making the pharmaceutical industry public as well.

The Socialist Party USA therefore encourages its members and supporters to continue their work in the single-payer movement and to pressure elected representatives to vote “No” on the Senate proposal and, eventually, on the merged bill. All non-violent forms of protest should be employed to prevent the passage of this legislation. The protests should clearly oppose the legislation. We do not want a stronger public option, we want what is rightfully ours–-unfettered access to healthcare services.

The passage of the weak and contradictory reform bills threaten to disgrace the notion that the public sector should play a prominent role in the administering of healthcare. Resisting the Obama, House and Senate proposals for reform not only promotes the idea that healthcare is a human right, it sends the message that people will not allow private sector campaign contributions to drive politics–-the satisfaction of our needs as humans should shape legislation.

Access to healthcare is our human right. We must build a movement to secure this right.

Say no to HR 3962!
Say no to Obama Care!
Yes to single-payer!
Yes to a socialized medical system!


The Hyde Amendment and Obama’s Health Care Bill: Two Wrongs Make a Disaster for Abortion Rights
Adopted by the Socialist Party USA Women’s Commission

A major provision of the health care bill being put forward by the Obama administration—and opportunistically maneuvered through the House of Representatives, and next the Senate, by the Democratic leadership—shows just how disregarding the US government continues to be when it comes to abortion rights.

This provision would expand the scope of the Hyde Amendment—that nasty piece of national legislation that since 1976 has prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion—to include private health insurance plans partially subsidized by the federal government. This means that additional millions of women would be denied abortion as one of their health care options. Its inclusion in the health care bill is an outrageous capitulation by the Obama administration to the Catholic Church, religious fundamentalists, and Congressional conservatives and hypocrites of both the Democratic and Republican parties. We must fight back: No national health care system that denies the right to abortion on demand! Repeal the Hyde Amendment!

Here is some background on the Hyde Amendment. Named for its sponsor, Representative Henry Hyde (R-Ill), this law began wending its way through Congress in June 1976, as an amendment to the Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Health and Human Services) budget. Designed to exclude women on Medicaid from full reproductive health services by prohibiting federal funding for abortions, it was the first direct attack on the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973. After political jockeying by Republicans and Democrats, the bill passed in September 1976, after court challenges to its constitutionality were rejected, the Hyde Amendment went into effect in August 1977. It was both a response to, and encouragement for, agitation and violence by such virulent anti-abortion groups as Operation Rescue and Army of God.

Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been inserted each year into the HHS budget, often without debate. That is, it has been kept on the books for over 40 years thanks to Democratic and Republican Congress-people and Presidents, alike. In the 1980’s, Congress widened its scope to include federal employees and their dependents, Native Americans, military personnel and their dependents, federal prisoners, and low-income residents of the District of Columbia.

Now Congress is at it again, this time using the motivation and arguments underlying the Hyde Amendment to deny even more women abortion access.

Clearly, immediate actions are called for—not only to block the anti-abortion provision of the Obama health care bill, but also to demand the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

So join us to get the word out about the Hyde Amendment and the Obama health care bill. Let’s make sure that the public is aware of how Obama and the Democratic leadership are curtailing women’s rights in the guise of health care reform. Let it be widely known that the Democratic Party has given up all pretence of being pro-choice.

The radical Left needs to offer an alternative to the liberal, mainstream organizations such as NARAL and NOW, whose placating strategies make them complicit in the ongoing assaults on abortion rights. From our position outside the Democratic Party, we can and must present the much-needed voice of socialist feminism—one that places abortion access in the context of socialized health care, human rights, social and economic justice, and independent political action.

More travesties like the Hyde Amendment and the anti-abortion provision of the Obama health care bill will be perpetrated unless we continue to demand an end to restrictive state and federal laws, to the wholly inadequate number of abortion facilities and providers, and to health care discrimination levelled against young, low-income, and immigrant women, and women of color.

Only our persistent and militant grassroots efforts will bring about the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and the defeat of the Obama health care bill. Through collective action, we can achieve our fundamental objective: a comprehensive system of socialized health care within a society that guarantees the right to reproductive freedom and health care justice and equity, and that ends all forms of violence against women.

November 20, 2009

May 15

Socialist Party of Michigan Condemns Corporate Parties' Stratified Assault on State Budget

Adopted May 9, 2009

The Socialist Party of Michigan expresses its strongest condemnation of the $304 million cuts to the state budget imposed through an executive order by Democratic Governor Granholm, and immediately passed by the State House and Senate Appropriations Committees on Thursday May 7th. In a period of depression-level unemployment figures, rampant school closures, and financial starvation of critically essential state and municipal services, state lawmakers from both corporate parties have once again acted to balance the budget on the backs of Michigan’s working class and poor without regard for the degree of social devastation underlying or imposed by their actions…

Under the state Democratic Party-initiated cuts, the Department of Human Services will be slashed by over $92 million, including cuts of nearly $12 million dollars from welfare programs and nearly $40 million from childcare services. Despite massive layoffs presently resulting in another 1,500 Michigan residents becoming uninsured every week, the budget of the Michigan Department of Community Health will be cut by over $53 million, including cuts of $16 million from the state Medicaid fund, with a resulting loss of 36.8 million federal matching dollars to follow. With school districts around the state already facing the inability to maintain minimally essential operations, education and school aid funding will be cut by nearly $7.5 million.

Within two days following the budget order, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced the impending closure of twelve state campgrounds as a result of a nearly half-million dollar loss to its operations, alongside a cut of over $5 million to the Department of Environmental Quality. Michigan’s strapped municipalities will be hard pressed to fill the gaps for any such losses. While already confronting widespread economic emergencies of their own, Granholm’s order will deal city budgets a second blow with $40 million in cuts to local shared revenues.

With “law and order” an even higher priority for the ruling elite in the present economic climate, the state corporate media has overwhelmingly centered the focus of its coverage of the Governor’s order on the inclusion of cuts to the State Department of Police. None of such press stories, however, have apparently found it worthy to mention that the comparatively minuscule cut of $9 million to State Police Department constitutes only two percent of its bloated $566 million budget. The order’s $10 million cut to the Department of Corrections is similarly trifling when compared to the $2 billion (one fifth of the total budget!) the state spends on Corrections at present. Careful to avoid any perceptible reduction in funding for the state’s prison-industrial complex, over 90% of the order’s cut to the Corrections budget will be made through employee “furlough days” to reduce the labor cost of the 1/3rd all state workers whom the Corrections Department employs.

Predictably, Granholm’s budget overhaul order also spares the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) from facing even a $10 million reduction to its budget. The MSF is the hat the state of Michigan wears for purposes of legally financing the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – the primary body overseeing the various state government programs established to dole out multi-million dollar corporate welfare grants to corporations that conduct some portion of their operations in Michigan. Describing itself as, “a corporation, not a bureaucracy…matching up resources and services with the needs of our business customers,” the MEDC is run by an Executive Committee chaired by Rock Enterprises CEO Matthew Cullen and comprised of a gang of corporate executives with full authority to distribute state tax dollars among the state’s corporate elite.

The Socialist Party of Michigan seeks to provide a genuine working people’s alternative to the relentless betrayals and ever more intolerable assaults from the twin corporate parties. The SPMI Platform outlines an extensive program providing a path and vision for a truly democratic workers’ state government run by and for the state’s majority, rather than its richest one-percent. Along the way of this path, the Socialist Party of Michigan calls for an immediate end to all forms of corporate welfare, a steeply graduated state income and estate tax, the abolition of regressive sales, sin and property taxes, and a 100% capital flight tax on corporations that attempt to cut labor costs by leaving the state.

Furthermore, we call for full employment, a $15/hr minimum wage (i.e., a minimum yearly salary of $31,200), free socialized health care and lifelong education, a massive state public works program to re-build our cities and communities, and full funding for state and municipal services to meet the needs of Michigan workers and the state’s environment.

Especially in light of the massive and growing unemployment, the Socialist Party of Michigan calls for the placement of all major corporations under democratic and collective ownership and workers’ self-management. Only once we eliminate the obsolete and unaffordable cost of corporate private profits can our state’s budget ever truly become balanced.

Click Here to Download this Statement as a Printable Tri-Fold Leaflet

Jan 11

No Car Czars, No Capitalists, No Bailouts, No Bosses!

Socialist Party of Michigan Statement on the U.S. Automotive Bailout

Adopted Unanimously at the SPMI State Membership Meeting on January 10th 2009 in Detroit

The tenuously averted collapse of the U.S. automotive industry directly follows the arrant exposure of sheer parasitism and insolvency that now characterizes the hegemonic financial sector of advanced capitalism. While coinciding with news of Toyota’s 1.7 billion dollar financial setback and first operating loss in seventy years, the American automotive industry’s looming threat of extinction is no mere consequence of the reverberating effects of the financial crisis, but every bit as much a contributing cause.

Despite compounding efforts, in recent years, to uproot its organized workforce’s most hard-won historic gains, today’s highly mechanized; overproductive, internationally developed automotive industry can no longer encapsulate the same labor value within each individual vehicle it markets, as once was the case. Such endemic losses in the real economy of good and service production present a catalyst not only to the vast financialization of advanced capitalism, but also the increasing detachment and predation of its commanding speculators…

Such realities are no less evident in the markedly divergent responses the owners of the U.S. automotive and banking industries received from U.S. federal government to their requests for bailouts of fourteen and seven-hundred billion taxpayer dollars, respectively. While ultimately the financial sector directly received virtually the whole looting it demanded with approval from both corporate parties in Congress, as well as massive added bonuses from the Fed, the comparative clout of the leading U.S. auto executives was sufficient for access to the federal purse only upon a protracted allocation by the White House following the Senate’s purportedly rejecting deference.

No such political figures, however, were any more inclined to examine the automotive industry through class-neutral lenses. Instead, both opponents and reluctant supporters of the auto bailout in the Senate, many of whom had been most vehement about passing the preceding financial bailout as a “clean bill” free of any executive pay caps, feigned the most fervent of moral indignation against UAW workers’ audacity in their decades of struggle to ultimately retain just under 1/4th of the value that their labor alone contributes to automobile production revenues.

Although, in contrast to the financial sector, the political reach of the automotive industry is not far enough to constitute a compelling force in each such, disproportionately southern, Senator’s state, all such Senators were keenly aware of their own states’ corporate linchpins’ commonly held interest in vanquishing the model gains automotive workers have collectively achieved and sustained, and casting them into forgotten history. In the objective of such Senators, a bailout of such an increasingly informidable manufacturing industry could only be tolerated if accompanied by a sweeping assault in the class struggle.

Reflecting the consensus on such a sentiment, among all interested parties, in so far as it pertains to automotive workers alone, the Bush regime, with full support from Obama, attached the auto bailout agreement to the appointment of a “Car Czar” whose function is to dictatorially impose the forms of “restructuring” necessary to ensure the solvency of the industry in accordance with the White House’s established “guidelines.” In addition to massive operations cuts, estimated to result in the rapidly forthcoming elimination of tens of thousands of more Michigan jobs, both inside and outside the automotive industry, the guidelines established for the Car Czar’s implementation and enforcement include further drastic cuts to automotive workers’ wages and supplemental unemployment benefits, the ability of GM to pay half of its already reduced “VEBA” health care obligations in company stock rather than currency, and the declaration that UAW compensation arrangements must be made competitive with non-union ‘transplants’ of Asian and European auto manufactures operating in the United States. Moreover, the Car Czar has final say on any renegotiated labor agreements, holds the power to nullify new and existing contracts by sentencing the companies into bankruptcy, while the UAW, by the same threat under the agreement, is prohibited from going on strike!

The provisions to the automotive bailout and despotic powers granted to the wholly unaccountable “Car Czar” are an unprecedented assault on the most fundamental labor protections and civil liberties of all workers in every industry. Not even did the 1947 Taft Hartley Act present such a danger to the right of working people to organize and struggle collectively at the point of production as this agreement, to which the most numerous and affected grouping involved had no say in its ratification. While the former allows for the President to temporarily order striking workers back to work, this agreement establishes an arrangement and future precedent in which the U.S. President, in collusion with union workers’ corporate bosses, can indefinitely eliminate workers’ right to strike, collectively bargain, or maintain the benefits they had long before already successfully achieved.

The Socialist Party of Michigan calls upon all Big Three automotive workers to militantly organize against this agreement and to strike, occupy plants, and take whatever other action may be necessary to resist any such attack by corporate capitalists or the capitalist state on the most irrevocable rights of every person who works for a living. We further call upon all working people outside of the auto industry to walk off the job at any point automotive workers at any of the Big Three find the need to do the same in defiance of the same capitalist state that asserts its rule over all of us – officially throughout the U.S. and in practice throughout the planet.

As with the entire financial sector, the Socialist Party of Michigan further calls for the immediate socialization of the automotive industry under public ownership, democratically determined macro-economic planning, and workers self-management at the point of production. Such a socialization project should not be limited to automobiles themselves, but should be incorporated into a massive nationally coordinated and community-based transportation utilities program. Such a program would maintain and re-hire the entirety of the existing and laid-off automotive plant and engineering workforce for ecologically attentive projects ranging from the development of electric and renewable-fueled automobiles, major improvements to the efficiency, range, and sustainability of existing public transportation systems, the widespread development of foot and bicycle paths, and the development of nationwide high-speed railway systems ultimately connecting all major cities throughout the United States.

Jan 11

End the Massacre in Gaza!

Socialist Party Statement on the IDF Invasion of the Gaza Strip

The Socialist Party USA unequivocally condemns the ongoing Israeli military offensive against the people of Gaza. We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities on all sides and an immediate end to the blockade of the Gaza strip. We encourage US citizens to assist the process of peace in the region by demanding that the US government end all military aid to Israel and other Middle Eastern government.

The Israeli military is involved in a massacre of the people of Gaza. More than one million people are trapped in the region, penned in by the Israeli Defense Forces on one side and the Egyptian military on the other. Over the past few days, more than 400 people have been killed and thousands more injured as a result of Israeli military aggression. This has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis which has put the entire population of Gaza at risk. Today, Gaza City is a squalid ghetto under attack by overwhelming military force intent on the inflicting collective punishment on the Palestinian people “to the bitter end.”…

The present humanitarian tragedy in the Gaza Strip is only a one moment in a history of Israeli state terrorism directed at the Palestinian population. Features of this conflict include arbitrary seizures of Palestinian land, destruction of homes, and the criminalization and physical expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. This process must be ended immediately. The Socialist Party USA believes that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be reached through violence. The politics of terror and militarization tend to reduce the social space available for popular movements to develop. The Socialist Party USA therefore supports Israelis and Palestinians who are working toward a peaceful, equitable solution and we encourage collaborative organizing across national and ethnic borders.

The Socialist Party USA also believes that the US government is directly responsible for funding the militarization of the region and giving political cover to the overwhelming use of force by the state of Israel. Many of the tanks, planes, and helicopters, being used against the Palestinian people have been paid for with US taxpayer’s money. Indeed, tens of billions of dollars has been delivered to the state of Israel and Egypt in the form of military aid. The US government has provided political support in various international organizations, including the United Nations, for the Israeli state regardless of the illegality or illegitimacy of its actions. Added to this, is the continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by the US military which has resulted in a massive death toll and has served to justify the use of military force.

The Socialist Party USA believes that residents of the United States have an important role to play in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have a responsibility to build popular movements which aim to end the US government’s “special relationship” with Israel and which call for an end to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. All forms of non-violent protest should be employed in this effort including divestment campaigning which features boycotts of corporations that openly support Israel. Internationally, the Socialist Party USA seeks to support popular forces throughout the Middle East who are working towards building democratic secular societies. Democratic Socialism, with its emphasis on international solidarity and human rights, offers the possibility of moving beyond the occupier’s logic of violence, criminalization and oppression.

No to Israeli Military Aggression!
End the Siege of Gaza!
For the Free Association of all People’s of the Middle East!
End the Occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan!

Passed by the SP National Action Committee 1/1/09

Click Here to Download the Leaflet Version of this Statement