Aug 28

Detroit Socialist Party Statement on the 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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – 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 membership meetings at 3 pm on the third Sunday of the month. Meetings are held in the lobby of our office at 2937 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202. Look for the tall, rainbow colored building.

May 01

Statewide Smoking Ban Not a Socialist Measure, Say Michigan’s Socialists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sat. May 1st 2010


LANSING – Confuting the widespread characterization of Michigan’s looming workplace smoking ban as a ‘socialist measure,’ by many of the new law’s critics throughout the state, the Socialist Party of Michigan officially resolved to take an opposing stance toward the ban at the April meeting of its State Executive Committee on Wednesday.

Among the 38 states to have enacted similar laws thus far, Michigan’s new smoking law, set to take effect this Saturday May 1st, is among the most restrictive – prohibiting smoking and related paraphernalia in all public places occupied by even a single employee, including the outdoor patios and private rooms of all restaurants, bars, and hotels, while permitting partial exemptions to be granted only to pre-existing cigar bars, tobacco specialty shops, and the gaming floors of Detroit’s three casinos.

While expressing concern about the overreaching scope of the law’s prohibitions, Michigan’s Socialists also sought to challenge common, and increasingly echoed, misperceptions about the kind of political and economic change that socialists actually stand for.

“In contrast to the deliberately misinformative rhetoric of corporate politicians and pundits, the American socialist movement has never had any affinity for homogenizing workers’ and consumers’ choices,” said Socialist Party of Michigan Chairperson Matt Erard.

“Unlike the Democratic Party, Socialists believe that the establishment of free universal health care for all, rather than either monolithic lifestyle encroachments or mandatory private insurance purchases, is the key to improving public health and lowering its costs. With over 1,000 more Michigan workers presently losing their health coverage every week, the legislature’s new smoking ban is another ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to addressing our state’s public health crisis,” Erard added.

Erard took a corresponding stance toward such proposed legislation while running as the sole Socialist candidate for the state legislature, among the four Michigan campaigns the Party fielded in 2008 general election. In his response to questions on whether he would support the enactment of such a ban in the candidate questionnaires published within the Detroit News and MLive.Com voter guides, Erard noted that, “[a]s a socialist, I advocate workers’ self-management and I favor the model of direct workplace democracy over arbitrary decrees from the state, just as I favor it over the arbitrary decrees of private bosses.”

Following the Party’s resolution on the impending smoking ban this week, Erard further noted that the primary focus of the ban’s restrictions, namely shielding non-smoker workplace employees from involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke, would be far less relevant without the confines of the present capitalist system of wage-labor.

“Under a socialist system, characterized by full employment and workplace democracy, all Michigan workers would be able to select and structure their employment opportunities in consonance with their needs and lifestyle choices, rather than having to grudgingly adapt to the top-down policies of any employer willing to rent their labor,” Erard said.

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