Originally published on internationalsocialist.net
The world is polarising. With revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements all around the world, International Socialist Alternative has the opportunity to build and develop in new areas where we previously did not have sections, or where sections can be strengthened by the additional growth of our supporters and groups. We want you to play your part in this growth! Just a few examples of the important work we’re doing in various parts of the world to build the struggle for socialism:
In Italy, we have a fledgling organisation that is doing trailblazing work to build a new, revolutionary organisation that can fight back against the right-wing, racist and LGBTQIA+phobic politics of Georgia Meloni and the Fratelli D’Italia.
In India, we have now established a core group, and in the last few months have been able to launch the first issue of ISA India’s newspaper. This young, revolutionary organisation was recently inspired by the work done in Seattle, US in passing the first ban on caste discrimination outside of South Asia, led by Kshama Sawant and other Socialist Alternative activists. The fact that we fight against oppression on an international basis can help us grow this small group of members.
In various countries around the world and most prominently in Austria, we were instrumental in setting up solidarity groups and protests for the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran. This attracted a number of new people towards ISA, notably in the Middle East, and we quickly set up translations of our material into Farsi and published them to help point a way forward for the revolutionary movement, also attracting a number of Iranian, Kurdish and Balochi people towards ISA.
In Latin America, we have been at the forefront of many struggles. In Brazil, we have been conducting work on the streets to bring down Bolsonaro, while pointing out the limitations of Lula’s limited programme and mobilising the working class against Bolsonaro’s attempted coup at the beginning of 2023. We’ve also launched Feministas Antiracistas Socialistas (Feminists Anti-racist Socialists) to build a unified and powerful struggle for the working class that supports the demands of women, black, indigenous, trans, lesbian, bisexual and other oppressed people in the fight against the oppression that is inherent within capitalism.
In Argentina, where we have a small number of supporters, we have been putting out calls for a broad and united working-class political alternative that will spur the mobilisation and fight for a general strike, which will be necessary to resist the austerity measures that are sure to follow whoever wins the elections in October.
In Mexico, from a single member at the founding of ISA, we now have over 30 members fighting for and spreading socialist ideas. Our young section has engaged in many important struggles to fight the cost of living crisis, demand free, safe, legal abortion in the whole country, defend the climate, and improve the conditions of schools. They’ve been building the sort of grassroots movements that actually have the power to win President Lopez-Obrador’s proposed reforms such as re-nationalisation of the energy sector, the movement for which was ultimately demobilised by Obrador himself. Last year, our members in the northern city of Saltillo waged a campaign to fight a public transport fare hike and won victories like the creation of workshops to train bus drivers to prevent gender violence, new wheelchair accessible bus stops, and a committee of community members and drivers to oversee the public transport service and any future fare hikes.
Over the last months, ISA, and especially our Belgium section, has put a special emphasis on our work in France. Together with our members and supporters in France, we have participated in the historic movement against Macron’s pension reform, intervening in the majority of the national days of strikes and protests and discussing lessons on how to bring the movement forward.
Similarly, in Portugal, the massive strikes in the education sector have required us to send delegations to participate in and intervene in the huge protests, gaining contact details of a number of people interested in joining ISA.
In Africa, we have sections and groups across the continent that are fighting for working class, revolutionary socialist movements in South Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Tunisia. Many of these countries are facing difficult conditions, with rolling blackouts due to energy problems, exacerbated by the climate crisis, alongside the cost of living crisis impacting on the neocolonial world on a much sharper basis. ISA is helping to fund these sections to build, not just where we already have members, but also in new places where we must urgently build the forces of socialism. Take for example Uganda, where legislation was recently passed that outlaws LGBTQ+ relationships under the death penalty. We need to help organise to fight back against these oppressive regimes that are inherent within capitalism!
If you agree that we urgently need to spread the socialist movement to new regions of the globe, please make a one-time or monthly donation to International Socialist Alternative to support our work of building in new areas.
Much of our work is underpinned by our orientation to socialist feminism. Consciousness, especially among youth, is undergoing a transformation in ideas about oppression. With the rise in polarisation of ideas on gender and sexual-based oppression and violence, exampled by the likes of Andrew Tate espousing vile, misogynistic bile, socialist feminist work is incredibly important to ISA.
We understand that capitalism uses division and oppression to keep the working class divided. We understand that sexist ideas and attitudes are not in the interests of working class men and that only a united, working class struggle can begin to tackle endemic violence against women, trans, queer, and non-binary people. It was in this context that in March, we held the first ROSA International Socialist Feminist Conference in Vienna, Austria. This was the first international socialist feminist meeting in over a century, and brought together over 200 working class fighters from 20 countries from 5 continents who understand the importance of linking up socialist feminist ideas with a working class struggle. It was a vibrant conference and a massive success, giving a boost to everyone who attended, either in person or over zoom and gave plenty of ideas to continue to broaden and deepen our socialist feminist work.
It also built links to socialist feminists looking to organise and work with ISA and ROSA activists internationally. Feminists from Hungary and the Czech Republic travelled to Vienna and others from Romania participated online — all were seeking to become more organised as international socialist feminists. Since the conference there have been a number of Zoom meetings with many of these activists including planning a joint statement for Pride of the different groups in the region alongside ROSA — all really positive developments from the perspective of spreading working class, combative and socialist feminism that’s so urgently needed.
Whether you look at the largest strike wave in Britain for over thirty years, the two general strikes which crippled Sri Lanka last year or the biggest social movement in France since 1968, albeit at a different level, against the pension “reform” (which extended against Macron and everything he represents), many movements have acted like a lightning rod, not just for class struggle in those regions, but for workers and young people around the world who look on with solidarity and begin the work to build similar movements of the working class.
The example of the energy workers in France using the “Robin des Bois” (Robin Hood) method of cutting off the energy to financial and multinational companies and instead distributing free gas and electricity to schools, universities, and low-income households throughout the country shows the kind of methods the working class would employ when they take control.
The enormous revolutionary movement in Iran after the murder of Jina (Mahsa) Amini acted as a heroic beacon to all oppressed people around the world, that even in one of the most repressive states on the planet, a fightback can be conducted.
The historic protest movement in Israel-Palestine, which saw an unprecedented general political strike, as part of the mass struggle against the “judicial coup”, was able to put a stop to Netenyahu’s plans, even if only for a period, while right-wing forces regroup. Our section in Israel-Palestine played a key role in the protests by putting forward a socialist programme, which attracted many new people interested in joining up with us. But the right wing will attempt to make further attacks in the future, so it is imperative that we organise to build our section for the next rounds of struggle.
The reawakening of the global climate struggle, cut across by the Covid-19 pandemic, is rightly putting the climate front and centre of young people and workers’ minds. With capitalism’s incapability to provide any kind of solution to the destruction of the planet, it is imperative that this movement looks to unite the massive youth protest movement with the wider working class, linking up the demands for a transition to green technology with demands for the transition of jobs into these sectors, with no loss of pay, and to fight for democratic workers’ control of the key sectors of the economy.
Only under democratic ownership and planning can we begin to reduce the effects of global warming that we are seeing not just in the neocolonial world, but in the advanced capitalist countries, with droughts, wildfires and floods occurring across Europe and the US. This is only set to worsen with reports that the fast-approaching El Niño will bring unprecedented scorching temperatures globally. The next five years will almost certainly be the warmest five-year period ever recorded, according to the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The New Cold War between the US and China is the determining factor in the new era and we are building our forces in the bellies of both beasts. Our work in China and Hong Kong is significantly complicated by the dictatorship’s brutal repression, which demands extra expenses for various security measures. The same applies for our work in Russia, where repression was put into overdrive after the brutal war was launched against Ukraine. To protect socialist anti-war activists from repression in Russia or help them flee the country has been a very necessary, but also costly undertaking.
ISA’s work around the world is crucial to fighting against oppression, for improvements in workers’ pay and conditions and for a socialist solution to the climate crisis. It is only through the replacement of capitalism with a socialist system that we can hope to overcome oppression, climate change and war.
Our task to build the ISA today is resting on the foundation of a rich history of struggle. We just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Offensiv (ISA in Sweden), which has fought for revolutionary socialism ever since in Sweden. We recently changed our name from Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna to Socialistiskt Alternativ (Socialist Alternative) and renewed the fight for revolutionary socialism, while maintaining Offensiv as the name of the paper.
2023 also sees the fortieth anniversary of the election of Liverpool’s Militant-led Labour Council in Britain, which used its platform to build a working class opposition to the neoliberalism policies of Margaret Thatcher, ending the programme of job cuts of the time, building new sports centres and over 5,000 new council houses, creating 12,000 new jobs in the construction sector and, among other things, increasing the minimum wage for municipal workers. The popularity of this kind of programme that fought for the working class meant that Thatcher and the right wing leadership of the Labour Party was unable to beat the Militant-led council on a democratic basis. Instead, they relied on the House of Lords to remove them through an undemocratic coup.
The lessons of our past should be absorbed, updated and applied to the struggles ahead of us. This year we launched Workers Strike Back in the US, because we see the potential for a turning point for workers’ struggle in the US, both with union members challenging their leaderships and unorganised workers fighting for unions of their own, as witnessed across Starbucks and Amazon. There are huge opportunities to build struggle worldwide, both by established sections of ISA and in new parts of the world..
We’ve received incredible support from workers and youth around the world who have been facing tougher and tougher circumstances in the cost of living crisis. It’s clear that the current system offers no way out. What we really need is to unite and build a strong force that presents an alternative and fights for socialism every single day.
To further our progress and have a bigger impact, we’re launching a financial appeal with a goal of €75,000. Can you help us reach our goal by making a donation today?
Capitalism is a global system and therefore we need a global fightback. Waging an international struggle against the billionaire class demands a serious approach to fundraising. Unlike the defenders of capitalism, we have no big business backers. We have no multi-millionaire funders. Instead, we rely on the donations of working-class and young people around the world who want to build the global fightback against the exploitation and oppression of the capitalist system.
Our costs, like everyone else’s under the recent period of inflation, have increased. From the cost of flights so our organisers can make extended visits to new or smaller sections to help them build a revolutionary fightback, to the cost of equipment and software to help ISA sections create their revolutionary newspapers which offer a fighting strategy for the working class and oppressed, our costs have increased substantially. We are currently organising our ISA school in Belgium, which will bring together hundreds of revolutionary socialists from around the world to discuss revolutionary history, theory, and most importantly, how we put all this knowledge into practice. This will all cost a significant amount of money.
Relying on the financial support of working-class and young people means first and foremost on donations from ISA members, supporters and anyone who appreciates our work or any aspect of it.
Capitalism is a system embroiled in a deep crisis, offering absolutely no way forward for the working class and oppressed people. In order to put an end to the increasing misery, degradation, and existential crisis that this system metes out to the vast majority of people while the billionaires grow their obscene wealth at our expense, we need to replace it with socialism. Can you make a donation today to build the fight for socialism? All donations are vital, whether you can afford to give €1,000 or 50 cents. The success of our movement is dependent upon every one of our supporters and members giving whatever they can to help build the struggle for world socialism.