Thread: NYC area parties and organizations?

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  1. #1
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    Default NYC area parties and organizations?

    Hello all,

    I have been a socialist ever since I was younger, even before I knew what it meant. I've been reading a lot of Leftist books and essays over the years, and can say that I would consider myself a Libertarian Socialist, with sympathies to all workers movements (including all failed movements). I've been eager to start being a lot more active in my communities and have recently been looking for a party that I can help and also be helped by. I am from New Jersey, however I am in proximity to NYC and go into the city as often as I can. I was wondering if any members of prominent parties can give me a little better understanding of their party and what they stand for. I have been researching a few, including Socialist Alternative (CWI), the ISO, and the PSL. If anyone can give me a better insight into these parties, what they stand for, and how active they are in the communities that would be great! thanks alot.

    Street
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    btw my tendency says Trot, but I wouldn't really consider myself a trot, and I'm not sure how to change it lol
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    I can tell you from experience that the PSL branch in NYC does great work, there are always lots of activities going on throughout the city and the surrounding region. They also do an excellent job of involving people from outside the city (I was much farther from NYC than you are and it was no problem at all). I definitely recommend getting in touch with them and seeing what you think.

    Also, here's a good intro to the party, and here's a more in-depth explanation of what the party stands for. Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any specific questions or anything else. All the best!
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    The Workers' Party in America has branch in NYC. It's a non-doctrinaire communist organization with DeLeonist influences, but leninists, left-coms, and anarchists are welcome too.

    The e-mail address for the NYC branch is available on the website along with documents on the parties platforms and positions.

    http://www.workers-party.com/
  5. #5
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    I have been researching a few, including Socialist Alternative (CWI), the ISO, and the PSL. If anyone can give me a better insight into these parties, what they stand for, and how active they are in the communities that would be great! thanks alot.
    I'm a member of the CWI, the international organisation of which Socialist Alternative is also a part. There are quite a few CWI and American SA members around. If you have specific questions, just ask.

    A general overview of SA's positions can be found on this page.
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    I'm in the ISO and it's is very active in NYC and has quite a few branches. I'm on the other side of the country, so I don't know everything they're involved in over there, but I know they were involved in counter-protesting the anti-mosque people and organizing against attacks on the public schools and austerity in universities and all sorts of other things.

    I have worked with Socialist Alternative and they generally seem to be very dedicated and reasonable.

    The PSL is active here in California and seem to be involved with many things as well.

    So really, I think any of these groups will give you the opportunity to get involved in struggle and develop your self-leadership abilities and so on. So really, the differences come down to the politics. I suggest just checking out the positions of the groups and their analysis of things and see which ones have politics that appeal to you - then check out a meeting or two and see if the way they are trying to put their politics into practice will help them get closer to where they are trying to go.
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    I'm on the other side of the country, so I don't know everything they're involved in over there, but I know they were involved in counter-protesting the anti-mosque people and organizing against attacks on the public schools and austerity in universities and all sorts of other things.
    They also had a big celebration in Harlem when Obama won on election night in 2008. Talk about a party!
    "Getting a job, finding a mate, having a place to live, finding a creative outlet. Life is a war of attrition. You have to stay active on all fronts. It's one thing after another. I've tried to control a chaotic universe. And it's a losing battle. But I can't let go. I've tried, but I can't." - Harvey Pekar


  8. #8
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    They also had a big celebration in Harlem when Obama won on election night in 2008. Talk about a party!
    ^Proof that you don't need to be in an organization to be a sectarian liar.
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    Socialist Action (our site is here) has a presence in New York, although we don't have a full fledged branch there - due mainly to historical reasons. I'm in NJ as well, closer to Philly than New York and I am a part of the Philly branch. We are Trotskyists, which is also broadly true of the ISO or Socialist Alternative.

    Historically, SA comes out of American Trotskyism - our founding comrades were expelled from the Socialist Workers Party basically for upholding the organization's historic line when the leadership went and changed it. We are known somewhat as pro-Cuba Trots, and currently have a strong emphasis on rebuilding the antiwar movement, a process the ISO is working with us on in the United National Antiwar Committee.

    The ISO and Socialist Alternative are both more influenced by British Trotskyism. The ISO was a split from a previous group, the International Socialists, whose remnants are now in Solidarity. The ISO went toward the British Socialist Workers Party, which was quite different from the American SWP - it held a "state capitalist" analysis of the USSR and Cuba, and was moving to an orientation toward students. The ISO had the same perspectives and they worked together from 1978 to 2001, when the SWP/UK broke with the ISO. It still has a campus orientation.

    Socialist Alternative was formed as a group of supporters of the Militant Tendency in the British Labour Party, who have an international grouping called the Committee for a Workers International. The US section was called Labor Militant up until around 1999 when they dropped their heavy blue collar orientation and tried working more around the Green Party and with students. That's been their bag ever since - they've supported Ralph Nader in every election since 2000 and would probably do so again this year.

    I know good people in the ISO and SAlt, people I respect and like. They've got some good eggs, but neither is an organization that's worth your time and energy. I could get into this more if you wanted to send me a PM and discuss further.
  10. #10
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    Socialist Action (our site is here) has a presence in New York, although we don't have a full fledged branch there - due mainly to historical reasons. I'm in NJ as well, closer to Philly than New York and I am a part of the Philly branch. We are Trotskyists, which is also broadly true of the ISO or Socialist Alternative.

    Historically, SA comes out of American Trotskyism - our founding comrades were expelled from the Socialist Workers Party basically for upholding the organization's historic line when the leadership went and changed it. We are known somewhat as pro-Cuba Trots, and currently have a strong emphasis on rebuilding the antiwar movement, a process the ISO is working with us on in the United National Antiwar Committee.

    The ISO and Socialist Alternative are both more influenced by British Trotskyism. The ISO was a split from a previous group, the International Socialists, whose remnants are now in Solidarity. The ISO went toward the British Socialist Workers Party, which was quite different from the American SWP - it held a "state capitalist" analysis of the USSR and Cuba, and was moving to an orientation toward students. The ISO had the same perspectives and they worked together from 1978 to 2001, when the SWP/UK broke with the ISO. It still has a campus orientation.

    Socialist Alternative was formed as a group of supporters of the Militant Tendency in the British Labour Party, who have an international grouping called the Committee for a Workers International. The US section was called Labor Militant up until around 1999 when they dropped their heavy blue collar orientation and tried working more around the Green Party and with students. That's been their bag ever since - they've supported Ralph Nader in every election since 2000 and would probably do so again this year.

    I know good people in the ISO and SAlt, people I respect and like. They've got some good eggs, but neither is an organization that's worth your time and energy. I could get into this more if you wanted to send me a PM and discuss further.
  11. #11
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    ^Proof that you don't need to be in an organization to be a sectarian liar.
    "The International Socialist Organization (ISO) threw an election night party in Harlem to 'celebrate the end of far too many years of republican rule'..." - http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wh/205/obama.html
    "Getting a job, finding a mate, having a place to live, finding a creative outlet. Life is a war of attrition. You have to stay active on all fronts. It's one thing after another. I've tried to control a chaotic universe. And it's a losing battle. But I can't let go. I've tried, but I can't." - Harvey Pekar


  12. #12
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    The League's main branch is in NYC. Check out the website for more info or pm me as I don't know what you're looking for. Even if you think it's not the group for you, we like getting feedback on various things so get in touch if you'd like.
  13. #13
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    "The International Socialist Organization (ISO) threw an election night party in Harlem to 'celebrate the end of far too many years of republican rule'..." - http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wh/205/obama.html
    Here's the full quote from that group you quoted:

    The International Socialist Organization (ISO) threw an election night party in Harlem to “celebrate the end of far too many years of republican rule” and to discuss “what can activists do to press their demands on the next administration?” The ISO’s Socialist Worker (7 November 2008), aping liberal buzzwords, gushed that Obama’s victory was “transformative”. While acknowledging that many of Obama’s positions point “to a big gap between the hopes and expectations of Obama voters and the cautious, moderate program he has put forward”, the ISO intones: “None of this is to say that no change is possible. Tens of millions of people want a new direction. The question is whether they can be organized to fight for it.”
    Are you saying the ISO supports Obama? You have in the past and I went to the trouble of posting many links from our publications from before and after the election stating over and over that people were excited for change and that is positive, but their illusions in Obama actually doing anything were misplaced. I should have known better than to bother.

    Even in the distorted depiction from the above quote, it's pretty clear that they were not "celebrating" Obama but trying to win some people over to realizing that, as Howard Zinn said, when it comes to social change "it's not who's sitting in the White House that matters, but who is sitting-in"

    The ISO does not support the Democratic party, one of the major hurdles to independent working class movements. We also published a book about the Democrats in 2008 to try and help our allies and fellow workers and activists understand the historical legacy of the Democratic party as the "graveyard of movements" as we see it.

    From Socialist Worker in October 2008, the height of "Obamamania":

    Is Obama really a radical at heart?

    If Obama is acting like a centrist now, it's most likely because he is a centrist--rather than a radical posing as one to get elected.

    In the fevered imaginations of the right wing, Obama is a dangerous radical who is hiding behind a mask of cool "centrism." Once in office--and with a Democratic majority at his back--Obama will pull off the mask to reveal his true, radical agenda.

    But in the camp of Obama supporters, a similar--if less crazed--analysis holds.

    It goes this way: Obama is a genuine progressive who is dedicated to affecting major political and social changes. But because he's running in a generally conservative country, with the Republicans ready to pounce on his every misstep, he can't really lay out his full aspirations. So he has to reassure people, using the language of market-friendly "centrism." Once Obama is in office, goes the reasoning, progressives will have an ally who will work with them to produce the social change that they all want.

    ...

    In office, the Obama administration will face many challenges like this that will force it to confront--and possibly, abandon--its moderate centrism. If it does--and if it moves toward a more populist stance--it won't be due to Obama's hidden radicalism. It will be due to his assessment of what the system needs to right itself.

    In that sense, an Obama administration would be reminiscent of the Depression-era presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.

    Despite some capitalists' complaints that the New Deal represented a step toward "socialism," Roosevelt and the New Dealers had no such intention. The New Deal helped to save capitalism from itself. And Roosevelt argued to his business critics, "I am the best friend the profit system ever had."
  14. #14
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    Socialist Action (our site is here) has a presence in New York, although we don't have a full fledged branch there - due mainly to historical reasons. I'm in NJ as well, closer to Philly than New York and I am a part of the Philly branch. We are Trotskyists, which is also broadly true of the ISO or Socialist Alternative.

    Historically, SA comes out of American Trotskyism - our founding comrades were expelled from the Socialist Workers Party basically for upholding the organization's historic line when the leadership went and changed it. We are known somewhat as pro-Cuba Trots, and currently have a strong emphasis on rebuilding the antiwar movement, a process the ISO is working with us on in the United National Antiwar Committee.

    The ISO and Socialist Alternative are both more influenced by British Trotskyism. The ISO was a split from a previous group, the International Socialists, whose remnants are now in Solidarity. The ISO went toward the British Socialist Workers Party, which was quite different from the American SWP - it held a "state capitalist" analysis of the USSR and Cuba, and was moving to an orientation toward students. The ISO had the same perspectives and they worked together from 1978 to 2001, when the SWP/UK broke with the ISO. It still has a campus orientation.

    Socialist Alternative was formed as a group of supporters of the Militant Tendency in the British Labour Party, who have an international grouping called the Committee for a Workers International. The US section was called Labor Militant up until around 1999 when they dropped their heavy blue collar orientation and tried working more around the Green Party and with students. That's been their bag ever since - they've supported Ralph Nader in every election since 2000 and would probably do so again this year.

    I know good people in the ISO and SAlt, people I respect and like. They've got some good eggs, but neither is an organization that's worth your time and energy. I could get into this more if you wanted to send me a PM and discuss further.
    This is one of those threads where everyone "sells their wares"! Graymouser is one of my favorite posters on this forum but as a member of Socialist Alternative I would have to respectfully disagree.We did support Nader last time, after a huge amount of debate. Nader has ruined any radical credentials he may have had and its inconceivable we (or anyone else) would support him again. We are heavily involved in union work and have New York area members very active in the teacher's union,hospital worker's union, the CWA/Verizon strike and FedEx.

    The ISO are "Cliffites", they follow a "state capitalist" theory of the Stalinist states.SocialistAlt and SocAction are more "orthoTrot". We would defend the gains of a planned economy while advocating a worker's revolution within.A main difference between the CWI and Socialist Action is our view of Cuba. The CWI calls for a worker's revolution within Cuba, while also defending Cuba from imperialism, SocAction views Cuba as socialist.
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    This is one of those threads where everyone "sells their wares"!
    Yeah, these threads are always a bit disappointing as the main aim seems to be to increase the "marketshare" of this or that particular strand of revolutionism. How we go from this sectism to a class party (implying that many currents of disagreement are united in one mass organisation) is on the order of the day and this thread shows that once again.
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    Yeah, these threads are always a bit disappointing as the main aim seems to be to increase the "marketshare" of this or that particular strand of revolutionism. How we go from this sectism to a class party (implying that many currents of disagreement are united in one mass organisation) is on the order of the day and this thread shows that once again.
    I don't think it's so much a question of what different groups do that will create a real organization made up of active revolutionary workers. Class struggle has been low and that tends to mean any nut with access to a computer or with 5 friends can claim they are correct and everyone else is wrong. I mean if Lyndon LaRouche can attract people or if people can believe that a single person like Bob Avakian somehow embodies the revolution, I think it shows that there isn't much pressure right now for ideas to be proven in practice.

    With much more class struggle and many more radicalized and radicalizing workers, praxis will matter more and that will help cut out a lot of the bullshit and radicals dedicated to worker's self-emancipation will probably begin to find some synthesis in practice and be able to bring their different areas of struggle together.

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