Category: Presentations

Group discussion: the communist manifesto

We will go through this foundational work of Marxism reading selective paragraphs  with ample opportunity for discussion after each selection. Be prepared to voice, and defend, your views!

   Our discussion will be led by ICSS member Gene Ruyle. In preparation, please re-read the Manifesto itself, and if there are particular passages you want the group to consider, please send the full text of those passages to by Saturday morning so they can be included—and bring your own copy to our Zoom meeting (available on the Marx-Engels Internet Archive).

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Sunday, June 13 – The communist party and the auto workers union – Roger Keeran

At the urging of union organizers today, International Publishers recently republished The Communist Party and the Auto Workers Unions, by Roger Keeran, a book originally published in 1980 and long out of print. The author will discuss the circumstances around the book’s original publication, the significance of the struggles it describes, and its relevance for our times.

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Sunday June 6 – Israel/Palestine: A Historical Perspective from a Palestinian Communist – Wadi’h Halabi

What were the main motives behind the Balfour Declaration, imperialism’s November 1917 commitment to carve up Palestine? What was Lenin and the Comintern’s position on Zionism and partition of Palestine? Why did Soviet leaders support US imperialism in creating the Israeli state? Why did they arrange to arm Zionist bands, crucial to their 1948 victory? This is the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. Why do so few in the workers’ movement know about the Beirut Commune of 1976, and how its defeat contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union? These and other questions are taken up by Wadi’h Halabi of the CPUSA and the Center for Marxist Education.

A wandering Palestinian, Halabi was born in Jaffa in 1946. He and his family were forced out in May 1948, on to Gaza, then to Egypt, forced out of Egypt to Lebanon in time for civil war. In recent years, his focus has been on identifying and addressing weaknesses that have caused so many defeats since the mid-1970s, and the material basis for revolutionary optimism.

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Sunday May 30 – Israel, A Beachhead in the Middle East: From European Colony to US Power Projection Platform – Stephen Gowans

One US military leader has called Israel “the intelligence equivalent of five CIAs.” An Israeli cabinet minister likens his country to “the equivalent of a dozen US aircraft carriers,” while the Jerusalem Post defines Israel as the executive of a “superior Western military force that” protects “America’s interests in the region.” Arab leaders have called Israel “a club the United States uses against the Arabs,” and “a poisoned dagger implanted in the heart of the Arab nation.”

In his latest book, Israel, A Beachhead in the Middle East, Stephen Gowans challenges the specious argument that Israel controls US foreign policy, tracing the development of the self-declared Jewish state, from its c in the ideas of Theodore Herzl, to its birth as a European colony, through its efforts to suppress regional liberation movements, to its emergence as an extension of the Pentagon, integrated into the US empire as a pro-imperialist Sparta of the Middle East.

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ICSS 20210523 – The Significance of the Alabama Amazon Union Struggle: Building Solidarity in a Time of Transformation for the Working Class

Our discussion of this important topic will be led by Judy Greenspan, a member of the Peace and Freedom Party, the Bay Area Chapter of Workers World Party, and the San Francisco Bay Area local organizing committee to support Alabama Amazon workers.
Recommended background reading: WWP message on May Day 2020 is Organize! By Larry Holmes

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ICSS 20210516 – Biden’s Foreign Policy: Hope or Horror – ROGER HARRIS

Biden’s Foreign Policy – Hope or Horror?

Sun., May 16, 2021: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm PDT

Biden bellicosely proclaimed, “American is back,” in his major foreign policy priorities speech, reaffirming the bipartisan consensus of regime change, forever wars, and the NATO alliance.

Republican neo-cons now shelter in the Democrat’s big tent, today’s party of war. Regardless of  the changing of the guard in Washington, the Biden’s policies will follow his predecessor, but will more effectively target official enemies such as Venezuela and Iran and will double down on Russia and China.

The US empire is the main beneficiary, proponent, and enforcer of a global political economy that increasingly is seen as failing to meet people’s needs. Class disparities during an economic recession, exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, are ever more evident in the US and internationally leading to an impending crisis of legitimacy.

Our speaker is Roger D. Harris, a member of the ICSS program committee. He is active with the human rights organization, the Task Force on the Americas, and is on the executive committee of the US Peace Council. His political writings may be found at Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Mint Press News, Popular Resistance, and the Orinoco Tribune. Roger recently wrote:

Also recommended is Alan MacLeod, “Humanitarian Imperialism: How corporate media sell regime change, intervention and war to progressive audiences”:

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ICSS 20210509 – Theory of Revolution – Mehmet Bayram

SUN, MAY 9, 2021: 10:30 AM TO 12:30 PM PACIFIC

The recent events call us to revisit Historical Materialism to understand what is happening.  The COVID-19 Pandemic, the re-emergence of the cold-war racing towards a real war, the Minneapolis murders by the police, the US police force becoming the third largest army in the world, the Amazon workers’ organizing efforts, the struggle of the health care workers, the Indian Farmers’ Strike, the failure of the world capitalist system to deal with a simple and preventable disease, and to allow millions of people to die from it shows the world, as we know it, is bubbling and boiling.  “A Change is gonna’ come,” for sure, but why, how, when, or where?  Where are the “Locomotives of History,” the revolutions, as Marx called them?
As the saying goes, there is no revolutionary action without a revolutionary theory. 
We will not offer solutions or chart a path to revolution in this session.  However, we will visit Historical Materialism and see why revolutions are a way of life, a natural phenomenon, a natural way for anything, including human societies, to evolve and change.  When, how, or do the dialectically consequential evolutionary and revolutionary stages of development merge into one?  We will discuss the assertion of the inevitability of revolutions, the development, needed conditions, the necessary organizations for societal change and revolutions.  The possibility of change without violence, a peaceful transition, will be discussed alongside what constitutes a revolution.  We may even talk about what happens if a change does not occur in the current human societies.
Our speaker will be Mehmet Bayram of the ICSS group is an activist, journalist, photographer, videographer, and translator.  His writings, news articles, and commentaries could be found in, or in English,, a progressive site that survived for more than 20 years, even after the Turkish government shut it down 62 times.


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ICSS 20210502 – Socialism: Scientific and Utopian – Eugene E. Ruyle

Sun, May 2, 2021: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Pacific
Socialism: Scientific and Utopian
Just as Darwin discovered the law of motion of biological evolution, so Marx and Engels discovered the law of motion of human history and with it, placed the science of human society on a firm, working class basis. In 1880, Engels published Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, explaining how socialism had been transformed from a utopia into a science. This science was further developed by Lenin who led the world historic October Revolution and is continuing to develop in other world historic revolutions in China, Vietnam, and Cuba, and well as revolutionary movements throughout Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Unfortunately, some comrades have chosen to reject science and revert to utopianism. We will examine this question in group discussion in which everyone is encouraged to participate fully.
Organizer: Eugene E Ruyle is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at CSU, Long Beach; President of Veterans For Peace, East Bay Chapter 162 (Berkeley/Oakland); and active in a variety of working class organizations, including the ICSS and the Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression.

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