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What we do

The ISO is building a socialist alternative in a world of poverty, oppression and war. Our 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.

We are a U.S. organization with branches and members in about 40 cities and connections to other socialists around the world. We 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 our meetings and in our publications, we discuss 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

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 our 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.Read more

Anti-imperialism and international solidarity

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 our common exploiters and oppressors. The ISO has therefore made the opposition to imperialist war and support for national self-determination a central part of our political organizing.Read more

Climate and environmental justice

Our planet is in the midst of an unprecedented ecological crisis brought on by the capitalist system. As Marxists we understand 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 our finite planet.

In order to prevent future ecological nightmares and preserve our 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 we build a movement and struggle for climate justice.Read more

Education justice

Striking Seattle teachers on the picket line

As students, parents, teachers, other education workers, and members of our communities, ISO members are deeply committed to the fight to defend and improve public education. As socialists, we believe in an ideal of free, high-quality public education for all children. We believe that a broad movement of working people and communities must lead the fight for the struggle of schools we 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.Read more

Fighting racism

We are committed to fighting all manifestations of racism, oppression, and discrimination. We put our money where our mouths are through participation in struggles. We 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 we hope 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.”Read more

Independent political action

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.Read more

The labor movement

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 our unions—and helping to organize new ones—is central to our 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.Read more

LGBTQ liberation

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. We advocate freedom for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people and welcome all to join us in this cause.Read more

Palestine solidarity

Support for the cause of Palestinian liberation has vaulted ahead in the space of just a few years. The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement has put the question of Palestinian liberation in terms of international law and basic civil and human rights, helping to expose—along with Israel’s repeated barbaric assaults—the racism at the core of the Zionist colonial project.Read more

Womens' liberation

We believe 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.Read more