Aug 06

Socialist Party of Michigan Statement Regarding the Rise of Irrationalism in the United States

In the past five years, a menace that had been brewing beneath the surface of American society has broken through the water’s surface and began its rampage across American society.  This beast is the beast of irrationalism – a 19th century philosophy that rose in reaction to the horrors visited upon Europe in the wake of Napoleon’s armies which serves as an opposition to the Enlightenment ideal of rationalism.  Irrationalism supposes that there is no objective truth, or that that truth does not matter, and rejects objective facts, reason, and logic.  It supposes that all logic is but an ad hoc (after the fact) rationalization of what someone already wants to believe to be true.

The reality of the matter is that an objective truth does exist, but we are imperfect vehicles of rational thought and irrational thought can often overpower our rational abilities.  Yet, the objective truth is out there and our struggle must always be to maximize our ability to use logic and reason rather than abandon them and act in ways that only worsen the objective threats that we face.

Fascism is characterized by a conjunction of irrationalism, nationalism, and elitism; and that threat has arisen in America through the emergence of such fascist groups as the Boogaloo Boys, the Proud Boys, the QAnon conspiracy theory, and the fascist administration of Donald Trump.  Early in the Trump Administration we were introduced to the concept of “alternate facts,” rejecting the notion of an objective truth.  We were soon told to ignore what even our own senses tell us and instead only listen to a single authority.  As time went on, our collective grip on reality slipped as many held to obvious lies culminating in a rise in violence and an attempt to overthrow a republic which has been compromised to serve the interests of the owners of capital in favor of a dictatorship run by a single owner of that capital for his sole benefit.

Because of this irrationalist onslaught, scapegoating distracts us from real solutions.   Once economic power begins concentrating in the hands of a few capitalists, capitalism naturally begins to exploit workers, driving down wages while demanding higher workloads and leaving some unemployed and distraught.  However, irrationalism leads us to scapegoat ethnic minorities and immigrants instead of addressing the actual problem.  Economic activity is driven by those with the most pressing needs, the poor, receiving money so that they can actually buy those things – yet irrationalism leads us to instead give tax breaks to the rich who hoard this wealth instead of spend it.  Capitalism’s push for infinite growth while maximizing short term profit is driving our climate to a breaking point where failure to act to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 will see human civilization collapse by 2050 – yet irrationalism leads us to instead increase emissions to allow those with plenty to gather more in the sundown decades of human civilization.  COVID-19 puts us all at risk of death and other complications which include unprecedented strokes in young people, renal failure requiring dialysis, and other severe complications – yet irrationalism leads us to hold coronavirus parties, refuse vaccines, and refuse to wear masks where we kill ourselves instead of protecting ourselves.  American democracy is rigged to ensure that the people vote for one of two parties who serve the interests of the super rich, disenfranchising minority voters and leaving options representing the vast working class to seem untenable – yet irrationalism leads us to instead try to overthrow the results in favor of a sociopath who benefited from this rigging and openly boasted that he tore apart the postal system in order to steal the election under the myth that the election was somehow stolen from him instead of directing that energy to establishing a legitimate democracy.

Irrationalism is the underlying rot that is worsening our societal problems and prevents us from taking the correct actions in order to correct them.  It removes our ability to sort fact from fiction and to rationally come to appropriate solutions.  It must be fought as an existential threat.  The Socialist Party of Michigan, like all legitimate socialist organizations, stands for the Enlightenment values of rationalism, liberty, democracy, and egalitarianism while aware at how liberalism has failed to realize these values due to its reliance upon capitalism.

The source of irrationalism does not, however, lie solely with the fascists, but rather the sources are what enabled the fascists to rise in the first place.  Capitalist administrations of both major parties have repeatedly weakened faith in institutions generally through lies in propaganda, experimenting on American citizens, and regularly lying on the campaign trail.  Corporate media often repeated and amplified these lies, misrepresented scientific studies, distracted us with sensationalism and manufactured scandal, and generally played hard and fast with the truth.  The inevitable result is Americans developing a lack in faith in institutions which not only includes those which have been bad actors, but legitimate and scholarly institutions as well.

However, there are many ways which research has shown to reduce the effects of irrational thought and reinforce rationalism.  Higher education reduces a person’s susceptibility to irrationalist thought and so offering free education at all levels, including the postgraduate level, will encourage rational thought.  Income inequality, such as created in abundance by neoliberal capitalism, increases irrational thought while lessening this inequality, as would be the result under socialism, bolsters rational thought.  Thinking of death increases irrational thought – so reducing sensationalist news that each and every thing “may be killing you” as a teaser and enabling people to avoid death by reducing the number living paycheck to paycheck, giving them access to free national healthcare with preventative care, and ensuring that no one is facing homelessness are means of reducing these thoughts.  Encouraging compassion, as innate in the socialist worldview, reduces irrational thought.  It also is boosted by broadening the range of people considered to be of the same group which fighting several bigotries such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, and others while uniting under a working class identity assists in doing.

While irrationalism poses this existential threat to us – the platform of the Socialist Party of Michigan and the Socialist Party USA are capable of effectively fighting against it, allowing us to face the myriad of problems in society and overcome them, creating a better world for all.

Oct 22

2020 Statewide Ballot Proposals: Vote No on 1, Yes on 2

Vote No on Proposal 1

The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for rejection of statewide ballot proposal 2020-01. Under present provisions of the Michigan Constitution, royalties derived from oil and gas drilling on public lands were initially directed to the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NTRF), which provides grants to local governments for the purchase of land for recreation and for development of recreation facilities. Since 2011, when the NTRF reached its $500 million cap, oil and gas revenues have been shifted to the State Parks Endowment Fund (SPEF), which provides funding for the state park system. Continued funding for NTRF grants has in turn been limited to that derived from interest and earnings on the Trust Fund’s financial investments.

Although the proposal would reallocate oil and gas drilling revenues to the NTRF once the SPEF reaches its $800 million cap, that ceiling is not projected to be reached until the 2050s. In the meantime, the proposal would replace the NTRF’s current 25% limit on spending for the development and renovation of recreation facilities with the mandatory allocation of at least 25% of available funds for that purpose. As a result, the NTRF board and state legislature would be free to redirect the majority of NTRF funds presently allocated to acquiring land for environmental conservation. The proposal would also require that at least 20% of the SPEF’s funds be used for capital improvements.   

With the backing of DTE Energy and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, the proposal’s real purpose is to renew the oil and gas industry’s greenwashing of drilling and fracking operations and maintain its environmentally disastrous extraction from public lands as the condition for their protection and enjoyment. By driving up investments tied to greater maintenance and operations expenses, the proposal further aims to heighten budgetary pressure for increased fossil fuel extraction.

The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for public ownership of the energy industry, a massive investment in wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric power to end our dependence on fossil fuels, a state and national moratorium on hydraulic fracking, and full funding for parks and natural resources conservation through steeply graduated income taxation and a democratically planned economy centered on public use and sustainability rather than private profit.  

Vote Yes on Proposal 2

The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for approval of statewide ballot proposal 2020-02. The proposal would add language to the Michigan constitutional provision affording limited protection from warrantless searches and seizures so as to include electronic data and electronic communications.

Although the proposed amendment does little more than incorporate existing Fourth Amendment case law, while failing to rectify more glaring shortcomings of the present state constitutional language, we stand unquestionably on the side of any measure to expand civil rights protections and limit the powers of the police.

Jul 30

Vote Socialist in 2020

The Socialist Party is fielding candidates in four races in Michigan’s 2020 November election. Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins was nominated at the Socialist Party USA National Convention in October 2019. Hawkins’ running mate Angela Walker ran as the SPUSA’s vice presidential candidate in 2016 and was nominated for the party’s 2020 ticket by the SPUSA National Committee last May.

The presidential ticket will be joined on the ballot by Robin Laurain for Michigan State University Trustee, Rick Sauermilch for 110th district State Representative, who were unanimously nominated by the Socialist Party of Michigan’s July 2020 state membership meeting. They will additionally be joined by Andy Argo for Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees, whose campaign has been nominated by the Kalamazoo Socialist Party local.

The MSU Board of Trustees is elected on the statewide ballot, while Michigan’s 110th State House district covers the western Upper Peninsula counties of Keweenaw, Baraga, Houghton, Iron, Ontonagon, and Gogebic, as well as the Marquette County townships of Ishpeming and Powell. The Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees is elected at-large by city voters.

The Hawkins/Walker, Laurain, and Sauermilch campaigns have each been dually nominated by the Green Party of Michigan and will be listed on the GPMI ballot line, while running under the banner of both parties. The Argo campaign will be listed on the ballot without party designation.

Howie Hawkins for President – Angela Walker for Vice President

Robin Laurain for MSU Board of Trustees

Rick Sauermilch for State Representative (110th district)

Andy Argo for Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees

May 22

Socialist Party Nominates Andy Argo for 2019 Kalamazoo City Commission Race

The Kalamazoo Socialist Party local has nominated Andy Argo, Emily Demorest, and Tristen Jessup to run in the November 5, 2019 election for Kalamazoo City Commission. The five-member body is elected at large, with three seats elected in each odd year November election. Running on the SPMI State Platform, the campaign aims to place local political power in the hands of the city’s working class majority.

Click Here to Visit the Campaign Website

Mar 16

Socialist Party of Michigan 2019 State Convention Sun. April 7

boilingpointoutside2Sunday April 7, 2019, 2:00 PM
@ The Boiling Point Collective
902 Gull Rd., Kalamazoo, MI 49048

And online via Zoom Videoconference at:
https://zoom.us/j/7393430484

The 2019 State Convention of the Socialist Party of Michigan will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2019, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, at the Boiling Point collective organizing space, located at the southeast corner of Gull Rd. and Ampersee Ave.

All interested public observers are welcome to attend. Dinner will be provided on-site for all members and guests in attendance.

The State Convention is the highest-ranking meeting body of the Socialist Party of Michigan and is empowered to amend the SPMI State Bylaws and State Platform, adopt, amend, and repeal State Convention resolutions, elect the SPMI’s State Executive Committee officers, and elect the SPMI’s delegates to the Socialist Party USA National Convention.

Although we strongly encourage attending the State Convention in person, we will also be enabling remote participation via Zoom videoconference for members and observers unable to make it to Kalamazoo. To connect via Zoom, simply enter the following URL in your browser from any computer, tablet, or smart phone device: https://zoom.us/j/7393430484.