The Socialist Caucus

By Doug Enaa Greene

At Occupy Boston, the Socialist Caucus has come together to build an anti-capitalist network within the movement. For members of the Socialist Caucus, the key challenge when confronting our society is not corporate person-hood, the Federal Reserve, campaign financing, or political corruption. Their challenge is confronting capitalism, itself.

Caucus member Jay Jubilee explains that capitalism is “a system designed for the endless accumulation of profit, a system that renders all other human and planetary needs external to that one predatory, virus-drive.” As he put it, “This sick system must go.

“The alternative, Jay said, is “genuine people’s power” in which the 99% manages their own work democratically in the interests of all.

A common criticism heard on the political left is, “why can’t the different socialist groups work together?” Last October, Boston-area socialists formed the Caucus in order to reverse this long-standing fragmentation and create a forum in which socialists holding different perspectives can hold discussions and coordinate activities with one another. The group’s mission statement was adopted in November, explains that “members of the Occupy Boston Socialist Caucus believe that capitalism is the problem, that revolutionary change is necessary, and that socialism is the solution.”

Members of the Socialist Caucus hold widely differing viewpoints and even strong disagreements on the construction of socialism, revolution, and methods of mass work and organizing. Some members hold positive views on socialist experiments in the Soviet Union while others are more negative. Yet the Caucus is primarily action-oriented. Evan Sarmiento declares, “we’re here to get some work done in Occupy Boston and build some unity.”

And that is just what they did on December 12 by organizing a solidarity march to protest Occupy Boston’s expulsion from Dewey Square (and in solidarity with a general strike on the Westcoast which shut down ports in Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon).

The group also declares itself to be free of ties to any major political party. On December 18, the Socialist Caucus also introduced a resolution to the General Assembly for Occupy Boston to declare independence from the Democrat and Republican Parties. This resolution was ultimately blocked at the G.A because there was a fear of preemptively alienating supporters of these two parties who are not involved in the movement.

Members have also been involved in many working groups. Socialists in the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series have invited radical academics, such as Noam Chomsky, Fred Magdoff and Bruno Bosteels, to give talks at Occupy Boston. Socialists have also been active in Peace Action and the Ideas Working Group.

The Socialist Caucus is continuing to hold meetings and to discuss the current state of the Occupy movement. On January 8,the Caucus discussed the May 1st General Strike, which had been approved by the Occupy Boston General Assembly the previous day. In line with the General Assembly endorsement, the Caucus eagerly debated how to build broad working class participation in this coming Spring actions.

The Socialist Caucus at Occupy Boston can be found on Facebook.

The Boston Occupier, January 18, 2012