Nov 15

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

A statement from the Socialist Party USA

Image from Jewish Voice for Peace http://www.jvpchicago.org/resources/brief-history

(passed by the SP-USA National Convention 2011)

The SP-USA supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on Israel. The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.

For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.

In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response. On July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognized in full compliance with international law.

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Oct 20

VOTE SOCIALIST IN 2012!

2012 Socialist Party of Michigan Candidates

Stewart Alexander for President –
Alex Mendoza for Vice President
(website) (facebook)

(Qualified for Statewide Presidential Write-In Status*)

Dwain Reynolds, III for State Board of Education
(website) (facebook)

(Ballot qualified through the Green ballot label**)

John Daniel Longhurst for State Representative
(106th dist. – northeastern L.P)
(website) (facebook)

(Ballot qualified through the Green ballot label**)

Sean Haggard for State Representative
(54th dist. – Ypsilanti & Ypsi./Superior Twps.)

(Qualified for Write-in Candidate Status)

SPMI 2012 State Platform

Socialist Party Campaign Clearinghouse

* In accordance with the ticket’s certified write-in status in Michigan’s 2012 General Election, all presidential write-in votes cast for “Stewart Alexander” will be officially counted as votes for the Alexander/Mendoza ticket. Therefore it is only necessary to write-in Stewart Alexander’s name on the Michigan ballot in order to cast a vote for the ticket and its certified slate of Michigan presidential electors.

** Due to the Michigan Secretary of State’s refusal to recognize the ballot status applicability of the Socialist Party of Michigan’s nomination certificates, the candidacies of Dwain Reynolds and John Longhurst will be listed on the Michigan ballot under the partisan label of the Green Party of Michigan whose dual party nomination they each additionally received.

SPMI Statewide Ballot Proposal Voting Recommendations:

Repeal the “Emergency Manager” Dictatorship Law: Vote NO on Proposal One (12-1) (SPMI Statement).

Defend Collective Bargaining Rights: Vote YES on Proposals Two and Four (12-2 & 12-4).

Support Renewable Energy: Vote YES on Proposal Three (12-3).

Oppose the Billionaire Fortune Preservation Scheme Amendments: Vote NO on Proposals Five and Six (12-5 & 12-6).

 

 

Apr 25

ALL OUT ON MAY 1ST!

The Socialist Party of Michigan has endorsed the international call for a mass general strike on International Workers Day (a.k,a, May Day) – Tuesday May 1st, 2012, and accordingly calls upon all Michigan workers and students to join us in taking to the streets.

Detroit May Day March and Rally Schedule
-12:00 p.m. Assemble at Clark Park (Clark St. near I-75/Fisher Fwy)
-1:00 p.m. Rally at Maybury Elementary School (4410 Porter Street)
-1:30 p.m. Leave Maybury Elementary, marching northeast on W. Vernor
-2:00 p.m. Rally at Roosevelt Park (W. Vernor and Michigan Ave. – directly in front of the abandoned train station bldg.)
-2:30 p.m. Leave Roosevelt Park, marching east down Michigan Avenue.
-3:15 p.m. Rally at the Detroit Federal Building (corner of Michigan Ave. and Cass Ave.)
-3:45 p.m. Leave the Federal Building, marching one block north on Cass Ave.
-4:00 p.m. Rally at the Rosa Parks Transit Center
-4:30 p.m. Leave the Rosa Parks Transit Center
-4:30 p.m. Start assembling at Grand Circus Park (Woodward Ave. and Adams St.)
-6:30 p.m. General Assembly at Grand Circus Park (near the Hazen S. Pingree monument)

Kalamazoo May Day Rally & Sleepover in Front of Bank of America
3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Camp set-up and picketing (sidewalk in front of BOA at W. Michigan Ave. and Rose St.)
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Potlock dinner
7:00 p.m. Music and speakers.

Detroit May Day General Strike Information Site
Detroit May Day General Strike Tumbler Site
Occupy Detroit May Day Page
Occupy Kalamazoo May Day Page
Kalamazoo May Day Action Facebook Page
SPMI statement on the history of May Day

Mar 16

Massacre in Afghanistan – Time to End the Occupation

Statement by the Socialist Party USA, National Action Committee March 13, 2012

The bloody US occupation of Afghanistan reached a new low as a 38 year old US Army Staff Sergeant embarked on a killing spree that resulted in 16 civilian deaths.  Most of the victims were children, all were unarmed and many were not only shot and stabbed, but burned alive.  The solider had already done three tours in Iraq and had suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Despite this, the US military certified him as a sniper and shipped him out to join the occupying forces in Afghanistan – another tool in their killing machine.  So while Pentagon spinsters play off the attack as the action of one “troubled individual” with “family problems,” Afghan civilians see it for what it is – another illustration of the violence of an occupying army.

The killings come on the heels of mass protests in the capital of Kabul and other cities over the  burning of the Koran by the US military.  This, along with the videos of American soldiers urinating on dead Afghans has fueled the mass anger that was released in street protests and increased insurgent activity.  Afghan civilians have now spent more than a decade living under the military occupation of NATO forces led by the US government.   This means restrictions on civil rights, death by drone bombing and a seemingly endless  series of military offensives by NATO forces.

American elections have provided no relief to them as Barack Obama has proved to be every bit the war President that George W. Bush was.  Scandals about private mercenaries have done little to relieve the oppression.  And even the massive financial crisis that has gripped the Western world has done nothing  to weaken the will of the global militarists to rule over Afghanistan.  Deeply politically entrenched military weapons makers and military service company lobbyists have made common cause with war hawks in the Pentagon to ensure that the military occupations continue despite budget cutbacks elsewhere.

Only a globally coordinated anti-war movement that connects people in NATO countries with Afghan civilian groups can drive out the occupiers.  This movement will not be made by governments or NGOs or by social media outlets.  It can only come to life as a result of the determined resistance of everyday people who are willing to put their bodies on the line in the name of peace.

Instead of such a movement, Afghans have faced a series of betrayals by the West.  Under the guise of supporting democracy in Afghanistan, the US  installed Hamid Karzai as the puppet President of the country.  Not surprisingly, the Karzai government has proven to be a deeply corrupt and oppressive regime that aims at securing privileges for a close circle of friends while obeying the orders of the occupiers.  This has resulted in mass discontent in the population and the resurgence of support for Taliban resistance forces.  It is a cruel twist for Afghan civilians that Western Occupation has provided a new future for Taliban fundamentalism.

The recent acts of the Occupiers, especially the Koran burnings and the massacre of innocent civilians, demonstrate that this bloody occupation must end immediately.  Americans have a global responsibility to participate in a movement to remove US troops immediately.  This is a desperate short-term goal for the global anti-war movement that has resonated throughout the various Occupy Wall Street movements.  In the longer term though, we need more than this.  Our movement needs a sustained push to put an end to the Military Industrial Complex.

Many people ask Socialist Party USA members why we are running a candidate for President this year.  The killings in Afghanistan provided a clear answer to this question.  Stewart Alexander and Alex Mendoza carry a clear message of anti-militarism with them on the campaign trail.  The peace initiative they propose is one that can resonate throughout the globe.  An immediate 50% cut  to the military budget, the removal of US occupying troops, the elimination of all foreign military bases and the responsible elimination of weapons of mass destruction set the Socialist Party USA apart from the Democrat and Republican parties of war.

This is not about a “disturbed” 38 year staff sergeant or about building democracy in Afghanistan or about weakening the grip of the Taliban. Democratic Socialism is about building a peaceful world that puts an end to one of the greatest threats to human security in the 21st century – the US military.  Our democratic revolution is built upon the hopes and aspirations of millions of people throughout the world to live a life based on peace, solidarity and freedom.  The immediate removal of US troops from Afghanistan and a moratorium on drone bombings are small steps in that direction.  Only democratic pressure from below can make this happen.

Nov 07

City of Detroit:
Vote Tues. Nov. 8th
Reject the Proposed City Charter Revisions!
Vote NO on Proposal C!

Detroit Socialist Party Position Statement on City of Detroit 2011 Ballot Proposal C

The Detroit Socialist Party calls upon all city voters to cast a NO vote in the citywide municipal referendum being held on November 8, 2011 on approval or rejection of the Detroit City Charter amendments proposed by the City Charter Revision Commission.

While incorporating a partial and significantly modified version of the city voter-approved 2009 ballot proposal establishing for election of City Council by district, the currently proposed Charter revisions would further extend such legislative district divisions to the composition of virtually all of the city’s (predominately mayoral-appointed) boards and commissions. The true aim of such extensive regional partitioning of the city’s executive branch is to facilitate the (Democratic Party-based) Bing mayoral regime’s overarching “Detroit Works Project” objectives, geared toward sub-dividing different sections of the city between those targeted for city-service-concentrated gentrification efforts and those targeted for further city-service diminution and neglect.

Another equally insidious element of the proposed charter revisions is the addition of an entirely new section to the Charter titled “Elimination of Redundancy in Government.” In addition to requiring the City’s Legislative and Executive branches and City Clerk to publish comprehensive reports each election cycle on all efforts being undertaken to reduce and eliminate redundancy in services, programs, activities, and processes; the proposed new section would additionally stipulate that: “As much as practicable attempts shall be made to realign ser­vice delivery systems and eliminate operational duplication and inefficiency, which may include cooperative agreements with other government entities as allowed by law [italics added].”

Particularly when examined in light of the recently stripped away removal of municipal control over Detroit’s water department last September, as well as the recently renewed efforts of the Bing regime to establish full-scale privatization of the city lighting department by state region-wide electric power provider DTE Energy (on whose corporate board Bing long personally served), one can clearly discern that the overarching purpose of this new section is to provide greater backing and citable cover for the further expanded dispossession of Detroit city residents’ control over Detroit’s most valuable public assets and resources still remaining under municipal control.

In equally parallel relation to both the recently accelerated efforts to strip municipal control of the city’s most important public resources, and the newly proposed City Charter language oriented to directly accommodating such city resource abnegation, the state of Michigan’s newly expanded “Emergency Manger” law, enacted last March, directly provides for a state-appointed Financial Manager’s power to “enter into agreements with other local governments, public bodies, or entities for the provision of services, the joint exercise of powers, or the transfer of functions and responsibilities; enter into agreements with other units of government to transfer property of the municipal government…. [and] enter into agreements with other local governments, or with private entities to the extent provided by law, for the provision of services [italics added].”

Given Bing’s repeated proclamations, during only the past week, on both the probable inevitability of Detroit’s impending placement under Emergency Manager rule by the state, and his own personally willing desire to accept the position of Detroit’s Emergency Manger if appointed (as earlier leaked reports suggest has already been pre-arranged between Bing and the Republican Snyder regime in Lansing), one can also quite reasonably infer that such proposed Charter revisions are intended to provide for some token pretext of continuity between the dictatorial actions imposed by Detroit’s likely forthcoming Emergency Manager and the directly preceding City Charter revisions approved by the people before the termination of elected municipal governance.

In addition to the above new provisions proposed to be added to the City Charter, Proposal C also asks voters to approve the establishment of a new system of city-district elected “Community Advisory Councils” (CAC’s) to directly supplant the long-established duties and role of city-district elected Citizens’ District Councils (CDC’s) (to which the Socialist Party fielded an elected candidate in the most recently held election) and resultantly marginalize and inhibit their operational effectiveness.

In spite of assigning all of the same functions held by CDC’s to the new CAC bodies, the proposed new Charter provisions contrastingly bar CAC’s from ever receiving any municipal funding, prescribe for CAC elections to take place at the same time that City Council elections are held, and further leave out the limited watchdog and community defense powers of the CDC’s, as established under state law (1945 P.A.344), including the right to delay implementation of proposed development projects, require information from any city department, and require City Council hearings to be held on proposed development projects of concern.

The Proposal C charter revisions also remove the 2009 voter-approved change to allow for office-specific city wide election of the City Council President and Council President Pro-Tempore, and instead prescribe for the nine elected City Council members (composed of seven members elected by district and two elected at large) to select the holders of those two specified Council offices from among themselves. Since the City Council President temporarily assumes the office of city Mayor in the event of vacancy, this change would remove the 2009 ballot-approved right of city voters to determine which candidate shall stand eligible for mayoral succession.

Other amending changes within Proposal C include eliminating the Charter’s formerly contained residency requirement for appointed city officers, as well as new amendments to the Planning and Development Department section of the Charter, geared toward redirecting the Department’s main objectives so as to: “provide the sup­port, assistance and conditions necessary to retain businesses,” “develop and implement a strategic plan and program focused on recruiting and supporting emerging in­dustries” (read further widening expansion of the city’s massive corporate welfare subsidies to big business) and further to: “create con­ditions supportive of global trade” (read race to the bottom for cheap labor and corporate deregulation) [emphasis added].

Taken together, Proposal C is simply the latest maneuver by the Bing-Snyder alliance to further sweep away all remaining obstacles standing in the way of the ongoing raid on Detroit’s public resources by both corporate party politicians’ true political constituency. Detroit’s working class population has nothing substantively beneficial to gain from this proposal and should resoundingly reject it at the polls on Tuesday November 8th.