Sunday, October 1, 2017

Rhode Island Socialists Platform

International Solidarity: Brazil General Strike in April.
Facts For Working People welcomes this Platform from the Rhode Island comrades that we publish below. We are impressed by its content and its non-sectarian tone. It is not easy after breaking from an organization of which you have been part. Many have either broken from the SA/CWI or been expelled or driven out and either retreated into local work alone or given up revolutionary struggle. Read the Rhode Island Socialists resignation statement here. Facts For Working People congratulates the RI Comrades for avoiding either of these roads. FFWP also thanks the RI Comrades for taking a clear open honest stand and carrying on the work of organizing against capitalism and assisting the working class in the struggle for a democratic socialist world. FFWP Admin

Rhode Island Socialists Platform

Revolutionary Socialism And Internationalism: Rhode Island Socialists stands in the tradition of Marxism as developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and expanded by such thinkers as Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Rosa Luxemburg. As Marxists, we know that because capitalism has completely dominated the globe, the struggle of the working class against capitalism must be international. We stand in solidarity with other anti-capitalist struggles around the world, from the developed countries to the most exploited nations in the global south. We believe history shows there can not be a gradual reformation of the capitalist system. Only through the complete revolutionary transformation of society will the working class and all oppressed people end capitalist exploitation.

Public Ownership And Publicly Funded Jobs:
We call for the largest corporations to be taken into public ownership, and to be run democratically by their workers for the benefit of society at large. We also call for a government jobs program to eliminate unemployment and the social devastation which unemployment creates. The jobs that the government creates must be living- wage jobs. There is much to be done in our society, especially in the way of infrastructure development and repair, and we have the people to do it. If the private sector can not offer employment, and the government refuses to, then they have openly admitted the failure of the capitalist system. Unemployment is only necessary under conditions of capitalism, where it functions to depress wages, keep workers in line, and contributes to the global race to the bottom.

Working Class Political Independence:
The capitalist class has two political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and workers need one of their own! We call for an independent workers party, to be run democratically with active local branch involvement. While an independent party for workers will not be able to fully solve the problems of capitalism through the current electoral system, it will be able to make certain gains that improve the living conditions of the working class. Such a party will also show workers how much power they can have in society if they are well-organized, and help lead the way in the struggle for socialism.

Voting Rights:
Since the inception of this nation, roadblocks have existed to prevent subsets of the population from voting. Women, non-whites, and those without property were originally denied the franchise. While strides have been made to incorporate marginalized groups by recognizing this fundamental right, the contentious battle is far from resolved. There are at least five ways the American electoral process is internally sabotaged: felony disenfranchisement, the enforcement of voter ID laws, closing polling venues, redistricting, and allowing corporations to pour large sums of money into campaigns. Every adult, irrespective of qualifiers, has the right to a meaningful and robust civic life. At a bare minimum, we call for an immediate end to all forms of disenfranchisement. We demand that all adults be automatically registered to vote, without reservation. While it is clear that this will not solve the problem overnight, it is one step closer to the goal of a participatory democracy.

Support For Organized Labor:
We support the rights of workers to organize and form unions without interference and harassment from the bosses. While unions do not fully solve the problems of the working class under capitalism, they can give their members a voice and show workers the power of withholding their collective labor. While we are fully in support of organized labor, we stand in opposition to the centrist/right-wing union bureaucracy that too often collaborates with the bosses against the interests of their union members. We call for unions to be run democratically by their members, and decisions from the rank and file on issues such as wages, benefits, and working conditions be represented collectively at the bargaining table. That means representatives like shop stewards must come from the rank and file, and be present in the day-to-day workplace.

Anti-Imperialism And Anti-War:
We oppose all U.S. Military intervention. Everywhere the U.S. military goes, it leaves a trail of devastation and ruin. The United States has a long history of military intervention in many foreign countries, and when direct military action is not used, there are the tactics of soft war: sanctions, coups and assassinations. The United States does not embark on these actions to “spread democracy,” but rather to gain access to resources and markets to enrich its capitalist class. We call for an immediate end to military aid to Israel. Hands off The Middle East, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. We call for an end to NATO’s aggressive military exercises. We call for the right of self-determination for all people around the world.

Climate Change And Environmentalism:
From the wave of severe hurricanes in 2017, to the wildfires on the northwest coast of the US, to the mudslides in Sierra Leone, and the increase in severity of natural disasters around the world, it has become crystal clear that climate change is an undeniable reality. Increasingly evidence shows that the greatest contributors to climate change are not everyday people, but a handful of corporations, who will never cease harming the environment in the pursuit of profits. The short-sightedness of capitalist profit seeking, over the long-term need to maintain a habitable planet, prevents the development and application of environmentally sustainable energy generation and industrial production. Only a planned socialist economy can meet the needs of a modern society in an environmentally sustainable way. Immediate steps include the development and application of green energy, the funding of a mass transit system, and a transition to sustainable agriculture.

Single Payer Healthcare:
For-profit healthcare is antithetical to the health and well-being of the population. We are calling for cradle to grave comprehensive, accessible, and free healthcare for all, including preventative healthcare, all surgical procedures (including gender-affirming surgery), hospital stays, abortion and all contraception services, and any and all medication.

Free Education:
Education is a right! Capitalism already provides a free education from kindergarten through high school, but beyond that requires students to start their adults lives in crippling debt. However, the existing public education system is full of disparities along racial and economic lines. We are calling for free and equal education from preschool to postgraduate degrees; money should not be a barrier to pursuing an education. Funding of public education should not be based on property taxes because housing segregation causes people of color to live in areas with lower property values. This generates less money for schools and perpetuates educational inequality.

Feminism And Women’s Liberation:
Capitalism affects women in unique ways, as it intersects with sexism to create patriarchal capitalism. Labor associated with women is devalued (domestic labor, for example), their bodily autonomy is exploited in ways that men will rarely experience, their healthcare needs are neglected, and misogyny permeates society in so many ways that women are even mistreated and abused by men on the political left. These effects are even more strongly felt by women who are impacted by poverty, racism, homophobia, and/or transphobia. Clearly, with that in mind, fighting capitalism alone will not be enough to end institutional sexism. Any socialist movement that wants to succeed in building a better world for everyone must dedicate itself to fighting sexism and misogyny wherever they appear. This is why we must fight for free abortion services on demand, a healthcare system that meets women’s needs, equal living-wage pay for equal work, and community-based protection and justice for women in harm’s way from harassment and abuse.

As a nation founded on slavery and settler colonization, the United States is steeped in racism. There has never been a magical moment (i.e. Emancipation, Civil Rights, Obama) that eradicated the racist structure. White supremacy and anti-blackness are organizing principles for the political economy of capitalism and the collective sense of self. People of color, and black people in particular, have significantly higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Racism is an existential threat to non-white people that must be dismantled. That being stated, we believe a socialist society is an important step and indispensable method in the fight for racial justice. We call for the means of production be seized from the capitalists and centralized into the hands of the people who are better equipped to feed, clothe, and shelter the masses. In the short term, there must be a complete moratorium on the building of all prisons and detention centers that serve as warehouses for poor people of color. We demand that the police, who exist to patrol and control marginalized groups, be defunded and disarmed immediately. We want an end to state-sponsored terrorism at both the local and global levels. We believe that these are necessary steps toward the long-term objective of building a genuine society that fulfills the needs of all races, colors, and creeds.

Queer Liberation:
Capitalism relies on hetero-patriarchy in order to perpetuate itself. Therefore, any deviations from that constructed norm have been punished by western society. Queer people have been murdered, beaten, harassed, and made jobless and homeless simply for being themselves. While we have come a long way in the struggle for LGBTQ rights and acceptance, we still have a long way to go. Marriage equality was simply one step in the struggle for queer liberation: we must continue to move forward. We call for full equality and liberation for all sexualities, recognition and respect for all gender-identities, and personal consensual relationships. We call for an end to LGBT housing and employment discrimination.

Immigrant Rights:
Immigrant workers are some of the most exploited people in the United States. They are often paid less than minimum wage, and often work in conditions that are unsafe. They are often used by the ruling class to depress wages, and then scapegoated to misdirect people’s anger away from the capitalists who cause their economic woes. We call for amnesty for undocumented immigrants, and an end to ICE raids that terrorize their communities.

Rights For People With Disabilities:
A capitalist society is inherently an ableist society, as survival is predicated upon one’s ability to sell their labor for a wage. For people with hearing, vision, or mobility impairments, with chronic illness, and/or with certain mental illnesses, thiscan be far more difficult or even impossible to accomplish. The answer is not to ignore people with disabilities or try to force them to fit into an unjust system, but to fight alongside them to create a society which values everyone. To be good allies and comrades to people with disabilities in their struggle for liberation, we must protect the Americans with Disabilities Act from being gutted and ensure the gains brought about by the act are properly enforced. Beyond that, however, we must fight for a healthcare system capable of meeting everyone’s needs, including mental health care, fully accessible infrastructure, a truly inclusive education system, and, ultimately, a society that encourages community support for each other based upon love and humanity, not a drive for profits.

Community Engagement:
While we understand that the struggle for socialism must be international, we acknowledge the need to fight for change at the local level. Organizations working locally can work on the specific needs of their community; such as housing, public transportation, police accountability, and living-wage jobs. Rhode Island Socialists hopes to engage the community in the struggle for socialism.

A Socialist Vision:
Rhode Island Socialists recognizes the magnitude of the task that lies ahead. Creating a world that functions democratically, values lives, and meets the needs of all people will be challenged at every level by the capitalist powers. Capitalists control the resources, the military, the police, and the media. The minimum program should be organizing labor, engaging the community, and battling the capitalist agenda. These reforms are intended to raise working class consciousness. However, we must look beyond reforms in order to build a socialist society, lead by the working class and all oppressed people. 

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