The International Socialist Organization is building a socialist alternative in a world of poverty, oppression and war. Their organization participates in many different struggles for justice and liberation today, while working toward a future socialist society, free of all exploitation and oppression, and built on the principles of solidarity and democracy.
The ISO is a U.S. organization with branches and members in about 40 cities and connections to other socialists around the world. They organize in the here and now against injustice and for reforms that will benefit the working class and oppressed. These struggles are important in their own right, but they are also building blocks for a movement to achieve a socialist society. At ISO meetings and in their publications, the ISO discusses the political issues and movements of today, along with the rich history of past struggles from below and the ideas of the Marxist tradition dedicated to achieving socialism.
Below are some of the important activities and priorities of the ISO:
- Building a socialist alternative
- Anti-imperialism and international solidarity
- Climate and environmental justice
- Education justice
- Fighting racism
- Independent political action
- The labor movement
- LGBTQ liberation
- Womens' liberation
Building a socialist alternative (Top)
The ISO is dedicated to trying to bring about a completely different society, free of all oppression and built on the principles of solidarity and democracy. The very first job of their organization is to make the case for socialism — for a revolutionary society that uses the world's vast resources to eradicate poverty, homelessness and every form of scarcity, and that allows the vast majority of people to control their world democratically.
But it is not enough to critique capitalism and explain why socialism is a better alternative. The power to achieve a socialist society lies in the struggles of the working class majority of society.
Anti-imperialism and international solidarity (Top)
Marxists believe that international solidarity against war and national oppression is the duty of all genuine revolutionaries. It is part of the struggle to unite the global working class against their common exploiters and oppressors. The ISO has therefore made the opposition to imperialist war and support for national self-determination a central part of the ISO political organizing.
Climate and environmental justice (Top)
The planet is in the midst of an unprecedented ecological crisis brought on by the capitalist system. As Marxists the ISO understands that capitalism’s inherent reliance on exploitation extends not only to people but to the earth itself. Its insatiable reliance on ever-expanding profits cannot be sustained on the finite planet.
In order to prevent future ecological nightmares and preserve the planet for generations to come; a planned, democratic, and sustainable society in which the working class empowers itself — a socialist society — is vitally necessary. The ISO is fighting for that future today as they build a movement and struggle for climate justice.
Education justice (Top)
As students, parents, teachers, other education workers, and members of American communities, ISO members are deeply committed to the fight to defend and improve public education. As socialists, they believe in an ideal of free, high-quality public education for all children. The ISO believes that a broad movement of working people and communities must lead the fight for the struggle of schools Americans deserve. While education cannot, by itself, solve social problems, the teaching and learning process can make an essential contribution to social change. School can be a site for collective struggle and transformation, where people develop their creative and intellectual powers, and learn to think critically about their lives and about the world as a whole.
Fighting racism (Top)
The ISO is committed to fighting all manifestations of racism, oppression, and discrimination. They put their money where their mouths are through participation in struggles. They agree with the Black abolitionist leader Fredrick Douglass when he said that “power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will.” Building unity between different struggles is critical if America hopes to create a movement which can not only “demand” change from the current system, but become powerful enough to change the structure of American capitalism itself. For as Malcolm X argued, “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”
Independent political action (Top)
The Democrats have served a particular role in the two-party system. They are the party that encourages the loyalty of oppressed and exploited groups in U.S. society, only to contain and blunt their aspirations for a more fundamental reordering of capitalist priorities.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels argued that socialists should strive in every country to assert the independence of the working class from the capitalist class. They meant not only fighting for independent trade unions, but also fighting for independent political organizations and a class policy independent from big business and its political representatives, like the Democrats and Republicans.
The labor movement (Top)
At a time when economic inequality is at its most extreme in 100 years, it's never been more urgent for working people to stand together and fight for decent wages and benefits—and dignity on the job. For the ISO, the defense of American unions — and helping to organize new ones — is central to the ISO political activity. Because they bring together workers in solidarity at the point of production, unions are key to workers' power — the ability to stop capitalist production at its core.
LGBTQ liberation (Top)
The ISO fights for a socialist society where people are sexually liberated, that is — one in which everyone would have the freedom to choose whether, how, when, and with whom to engage in whatever sexual gratification they desire so long as no other person is harmed. The ISO advocates freedom for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people, and they welcome all to join them in this cause.
Womens' liberation (Top)
The ISO believes that Marxism provides a strong foundation for analyzing women’s oppression in the context of class society, but also that this foundation has been further developed by feminist theory and practice, both inside and outside the socialist movement. Understanding the root of women’s oppression under capitalism is important because it points the way toward ending it — by fighting for a socialist society.