Alpha Communist’ Commands Revolution

I can’t say I was terribly surprised to see last week’s article yelling at the “National Socialist Organization’s” efforts to talk to people. In any given academic year, there are three or four such articles, whining about how awful it is that socialists disturb people’s quiet, peaceful walks to class in front of the noisiest, most high-traffic location on campus, the Bailey-Howe library.

However, I will give author Frank Sacchetti credit for being the first of said authors to actually amuse me. Assuming his article was supposed to be taken seriously, what it essentially said was, “the socialists beat me in a political argument and now I’m pissed off.” Because honestly, why else would you buy the paper rather than saying “I’m not interested,” and walking away.

Frankly, I think Sacchetti has no idea what he’s talking about. This is evidenced not only by giving an incorrect name to the International Socialist Organization, but by assuming that the ISO is a fringe group that pisses people off. I think the main group of people who piss people off is the Republican Party. Bush’s approval ratings have dropped to 39%, 55% think his presidency is a failure, and a whopping 2% of African Americans approve of him.

But more than this, the occupation of Iraq continues to deteriorate, with more deaths on both sides and the whole thing exposed as being continued on false justifications; Hurricane Katrina exposing the blatantly racist priorities of this system when the Bush administration left poor people on their roof tops to die; the nominations of anti-choice bigots to the Supreme Court so that access to safe, legal abortions may fall into oblivion; money being cut from childrens’ food programs to be spent on war; and the planned execution of multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stan “Tookie” Williams on California’s death row.

Yet with this progression of backward politics, where is the so-called opposition party? Indeed, the Democrats seem to have written Bush a blank check. Who voted against the $50 billion for war? Who spoke up against it coming out of social programs that have already been gutted? And tell me – is there a single Democrat who opposed the appointment of John Roberts to the position of chief justice on the Supreme Court?

It would be a lot easier if voting once every two or four years was all it took to stop Bush. But heading into 2006, Democrats have already defiled the only claim they could possibly make in their favor – saving the Supreme Court. And it’s not only Roberts, but little (if any) fuss has been made over the nomination of Alito, nicknamed “Scalito” for his role in dissenting when Pennsylvania dropped the law that required women to seek their husbands’ permission before obtaining an abortion.

Having alienated the majority of the population, the potential for fighting back is huge. After two years of “hold-your-nose-and-vote-for-the-lesser-evil” hell, social movements are starting to recover, with 300,000 people going to Washington, DC to protest the occupation of Iraq.

We need to get in the streets and protest more often, but we also need a strong political core of people who are clear on the need to build grassroots struggle from below, who are clear that we need to confront the right wing, not cave in to it, who know we need to kick military recruiters off our campuses, not apologize for protesting, and who are clear that there are two sides and the Democrats are not on ours.

We need a left wing within these movements that is in solidarity with the Iraqi people, that will stand up for Arab and Muslim Civil Rights, and that seeks to build an actual movement – not just an appendage of the Hillary for President campaign.

The best dollar I ever spent was the first time I bought the Socialist Worker newspaper – not just for the sake of reading it, but to organize with a group of people who think this country is backward, and that we have the power to change it. And that went right along with seeing these ideas in practice when we prevented military recruiters from gaining the bodies of our friends and fellow students to die for Bush’s empire, and when we shut down the neo-Nazi group “the Minutemen” when it tried to appear at the Canadian border.

Socialists have stood at the center of every social movement of the 20th century, and are found in this same position even today.

In conclusion, I have no control over whatever fantasies Sacchetti has about “alpha-communists” and “red commanders.” What each and every person has control over is whether they help to organize an alternative to the war, poverty, and racism that have all grown exponentially in the last several years, or stand on the side lines and watch as these problems intensify.

The ISO is not an organization about fanaticism or collecting a dollar from everyone – it’s about providing an organization which can debate what that alternative is, how to achieve it, and putting those ideas into practice.