We have received confirmation from the Registrar’s office that we will be on the June 3rd Primary Election ballot. This is a fight we intend to take seriously. Time to deliver an uppercut to capitalism! Keep posted for more news…
On February 15th, Mimi spoke with students at the Junior States of America conference in Torrance, California.
Read more and see more here: http://www.socialistparty-usa.net/4/post/2014/02/spusa-represented-at-student-conferences-on-both-coasts.html
When I woke up from the American Dream, and why you should too…
Around the time I made my legal status from ‘minor’ to full adult, I suffered an inflamed appendix. At the time I was fully employed yet destitute and living out of my car. Like many Americans, I did not have insurance through my job and could not afford health care to fix the problem. Eventually it got so bad I could barely walk and I knew I’d be fired from my job unless I fixed it, so I showed up at an ER. At the time I believed they could not turn me away, as doing so might kill me. But I was wrong.
When the desk person at the emergency room told me that that I could not see a doctor because I was uninsured, I couldn’t believe my ears. I fought the pain and tears long enough to demand a second opinion, and it was then they threatened to call the police, and assured me that the best for me to do was leave quietly. I pleaded with anyone that would listen, explaining that if I didn’t get care I could die. To my surprise, they stopped arguing with me and agreed, offering me some grim advice tens of millions of uninsured and many more underinsured live with every day: They told me if my appendix burst, then they would have to give me medical aid, but not until then, and only if I lived through my appendix bursting. Obviously my appendix didn’t burst that night, and by hook or by crook I did get insurance and enough health care to survive. Since then I’ve been doing everything I can to ensure health care is a right not a privilege, but I also learned that health care was just the tip of the iceberg.
That was over a decade ago, and since then I’ve done everything American kids are raised to believe will lead them to the American Dream. Despite being a high school drop-out, I earned two college degrees with scholarships and minimal student debt, eventually landing a great job that I love doing scientific research. But, I learned long ago (and if you’re reading this you probably have too) that the game is fixed. In our world, basic human rights are not a given for anyone but the rich and powerful, and despite what we’ve been told, the poor cannot earn them with hard work and intelligence.
My generation is starting to open its eyes to the injustices of the world. Inequities between the ruling class and the working class have always existed, but each generation has a unique view on this struggle. The injustices that shape their time will influence their path, and for many will be a clarion call to action. My generation has seen the idea of health care as a human right crumble before the power of lobbyists and special interest groups simply to swell the unprecedented profits of health insurance companies. My generation has seen tuition rates rise so high that the majority of those seeking higher education cannot afford to do so without incurring decades of debt. For young people that pursue a college education, they will also learn how poorly their K-12 schools have prepared them, and see that a college degree is no longer a guarantee of a better life or even a job. For those in my generation that do get jobs they will be unlikely to be represented by a labor union, and will be paid less then their parents were paid to do the same work decades ago , with less job security as well as little hope of meaningful benefits or pension. Most of the working class in my generation will either be forced to stay in a job that can freely exploit them because of the constant threat of unemployment hanging over their heads, or risk losing everything they’ve worked so hard for. Many will be forced to move back with their parents at some point in their life, whether they ‘play by the rules’ or not.
In addition, we are much less likely to become home owners than our parents or grandparents. For those who are home owners, they are less likely to ever pay off their homes and much more likely to face foreclosure. My generation witnessed the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, caused by reckless financial institutions that broke the law with impunity and were rewarded with huge government bailouts even as they repossessed countless homes from American families. My generation is shackled with much less savings and far more debt, often to these very same banks or the federal government itself. I have experienced many of these things personally, as I am not set to pay off my student loans until I am in my 50s, and because of this home ownership and retirement is a pipe dream for me unless things drastically change. Like many generations before us, we have been told these things are entirely our fault. We have no one but ourselves to blame, because we are spoiled or simply not as industrious as the previous generation, and that we ‘expect too much’, or that loving our country involves accepting as it is, not trying to change it for the better. Unlike previous generations, I hope we can see through these convenient excuses and instigate meaningful, lasting change.
My generation has also seen advances in science and technology that were impossible a few decades ago. We are more connected and global than ever, and have immediate access to an unprecedented amount of information and guerilla journalism that governments struggle to censor and control. Despite the cries of the far right to revitalize the demonization of socialism, the majority of younger people view socialism in a positive light, and do not see it as a ‘un-American’ or ‘foreign’ influence. My generation has seen Americans move away from the two ruling parties, such that ‘independents’ outnumber registered Democrats and Republicans in many areas. My generation is not ‘lazy’ as much as it is disenchanted with the status quo and the false hope and change promised to them by the politicians that are increasingly unable to speak to them because of their track record of not speaking for them.
George Carlin once said that they call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. It’s a stunning realization to make, but I’ve made it, you’ve made it, and until many more of us make it, people will keep putting gas in a broken machine and nothing will change. Though we may get frustrated and even feel powerless to change it sometimes, so many of my generation are thoroughly aware of the ways the system they once had faith in has failed and are demanding a new way. It is for this reason that I think my generation offers a great opportunity to build a brighter future, where the rights and well being of all people are considered and everyone has an equal voice under democratic socialism.
Socialist Party USA member Stephanie Cholensky
“Why the hay would a good old South-Western girl be a socialist? Glad you asked, it’s because I believe in American values such as freedom, equality and liberty.
Freedom means the freedom to vote for who represents you, freedom to sleep in bed at night without fear, freedom to send mail without it being looked at by some No Such Agency.
Equality means that all men and women were born inherently equal on this earth, and deserve recognition for their achievements, genius, and the equality of opportunity to accomplish what they were meant to.
Liberty to mean means that all get to express themselves openly and honestly, that one can cross borders without fear of being out of place, and that one doesn’t have to worry about wealth to truly make a difference in this world.
I’m Brittany Holmes, a Colorado member of the Socialist Party USA, and those are the reasons why I am a socialist.”
Socialist Party USA member Brittany Holmes
“So, I see on CNN that the NSA has admitted that it lied about collecting personal emails of U.S. citizens: it DID, in fact, do so. And both the Republicans, as well as the present, Democratic administration of Mr. Obama wonder why more and more Americans not only distrust their government, but also are growing to hate it. And why some of us are seriously working to change the minds of our fellow citizens about the absolute necessity of changing a failed, imperialistic and increasingly repressive, American capitalist society for one of true, democratic Socialism! Our Second American Revolution IS in the works!”
Socialist Party USA member Steve Clarke
Since my childhood I could remember the penury of those around me who were suffering because of a lack of essential resources. The grotesque inequality of health-care, education, infrastructural development, nutritional facilities, wealth, housing, police protection, and adequate job opportunities was irrefutably present. It did not take long to realize that I as a human being was less than those on the affluent side of town. Inevitably, as I grew older into my preteen years I began to contemplate the significance of my role within this society. I felt weak, vulnerable and hopeless against a repressive system that was directly affecting my daily life. It wasn’t until I wound up at a community day school (practically a prison school) at the age of 15 that I asked myself, “What am I going to do to create a more just society?”
Consequently, I began to search for an ideology that was embedded in the pursuit of creating a more righteous society. From this search, I found the socialist ideology and method of reasoning. It was as if I had found a gram of gold in a pile of a thousand pounds of dirt. In turn, I became a socialist for a multitude of reasons.
I became a socialist in order to combat the myth of opportunity within the United States. According to Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winning economist, “Only 58 percent of children born to the bottom 20 percent make it out”. Furthermore, most of these children only slightly move up the socio-economic staircase while the top 20 percent continue to maintain their advantageous position. Moreover, the majority of the youth has been coldshouldered from society because of the exponential increase in student tuition over the past decades. Currently only 17 percent of Americans attend secondary schools. The tuition increase has discouraged many from attending and obtaining technical skills that would allow them to get decent jobs with opportunities to move up. This has left us stuck with service jobs that usually lack any benefits and living wages.
I became a socialist because the current economic model is based on invalid assumptions and it does not tackle the problem of negative “externalities”. One incorrect assumption is that the market, if left to its own internal devices and without too much regulation, will equitably allocate resources to the population. On the contrary, the market distributes the larger share of total output to those with the most income, and since the richest fifth of U.S households get half of all income, it creates an unequal share of the pie (Schiller). Another assumption is that the market system is filled with rational participants all working together towards collectively reaching their individual goals. But as one of the fathers of current macroeconomic thought John Mayard Keynes famously once stated “The market can stay irrational longer that you can stay solvent”. In other words, the herd-like activities of individuals being fueled to act on the basis of pleasures and not needs, creates an unhealthy system that constantly is booming and busting leaving the workers to fend for themselves. Nonetheless, the grimmest problems with the current economic model are negative externalities. Externalities are costs of a market activity that are footed by a third party. We are producing goods and services without considering the footprint we are leaving on our beautiful planet. The notion that unlimited growth can exist on a planet that has limited resources is a mental step before insanity, yet the overproduction of unnecessary goods and services continues with no end in sight.
I became a socialist to help dismantle the aggressive and destructive U.S foreign policy. As stated in Noemi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”, over four million people have been displaced and hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq alone since the U.S invasion began in 2003. This death count includes 116,000 civilians many of which were women and children (The Telegraph). In Pakistan, signature drone strikes have taken the life of 286 innocent people and over 3,000 combatants without any formal prosecution (New American Foundation). The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost the U.S an estimated 4 to 6 trillion dollars, which does not include the 836 billion dollars for providing medical and disability benefits to veterans (Reuters).
I became a socialist because the capitalist system is rooted in a selfish and egotistical ideology that promotes profits over the well-being of most citizens. Individualistic gain does not justify others pain! It does not justify the inability for people to organize and act collectively! It does not justify the stagnation of the minds of individuals! It does not justify the opprobrium of loving one another! It does not justify taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable! It does not justify the gluttonous and self-indulgent lifestyles of those who are in power. And it does not justify the lying, cheating and corruption it invariably creates at cost of others welfare!
I became a socialist because I can no longer deal with the internal pain I feel for those who are suffering because of the capitalist system. I constantly see people begging on the street for scraps of food and children running around looking for guidance. In modern day America, it is estimated that more than 3 million people are homeless, thus are lacking an adequate place to sleep, eat and live (PBS). Additionally, out of these three million people, approximately 50 percent are children according to a study conducted by the National Center on Family Homelessness. How can it be, that in the wealthiest nation to ever walk on earth, a nation who produces over 15 trillion dollars’ worth of goods and services every year, more than 16 million of its children still live in poverty?(NCCP).
All together these and countless of other reasons is why I decided to become a socialist. I am committed to organizing and playing an active role in a collective movement for the ultimate and necessary purpose to create a more just society.
Socialist Party USA member Earvin Chavez