San Diego State Socialists call for working class revolution

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Students gather at an SDSU International Youth and Students for Social Equality event in 2017. (Courtesy of Melody, an SDSU IYSSE alumni)

by Brandon Balayan, Staff Writer

For Emanuele Saccarelli, the unfulfilled promises of peace following the collapse of the USSR and the current situation of the world can be attributed to the contradictions of capitalism, which ultimately drew him to Marxism and the Socialists Equality Party (SEP). 

Today, the San Diego State political science professor is an advisor for the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at SDSU, the youth movement for the SEP. The SEP has been actively opposed to President Joe Biden and even the Democratic Socialists of America. 

The 2020 Presidential Election compelled many Democrats and Democratic Socialists to “settle” for Biden, a traditionally moderate Democrat. However, the socialists of the SEP believe no real change can occur under the current capitalist system, and compromising is not an option. To the SEP, this differentiates them from other individuals, and parties, on the left. The organization believes the only way to accomplish this change is through a revolution. 

“These moments in history [where] there was a real quantum leap, none of this happens by asking politely,” Saccarelli said. “It was a product of a revolutionary struggle.”

The SEP believes that this revolution for socialism must be fought by the working class, and cannot be accomplished by a single country. Rather, they believe capitalism must be overthrown on a global scale in order for it to function properly, like how feudalism transitioned to capitalism. The result of this revolution would make the nation-state obsolete and grant people the access to housing, work, education and healthcare. 

This complete restructuring of the capitalist society calls for drastic changes, and members of the SEP believe the first step is spreading awareness and detaching what they call is the pseudo-left. 

“The first step at revolution is raising political consciousness,” SDSU alumni Melody said. “This is not some kind of act of God that is creating all these crises, but these are symptoms of a dying system.”

Melody, who asked to be referred by her first name only, is referring to financial collapses, minimum wage jobs being insufficient to live off of, climate change, imperialism and inequality. 

Melody looks at the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution as an example of the working class, and even the peasantry, raising political consciousness up to overthrow the ruling class. The forced expulsion of private land owners by peasants, violent abolition of religions, class and nationality based affirmative action and gender and family policy were all results of the Bolshevik Revolution, according to The Journal of Modern History. 

Despite the critiques of capitalism, Marxists believe capitalism played a progressive role in the past but is now outdated and favors the ruling class of society. 

The IYSSE made it apparent that they think Biden is a part of this ruling class in a recent event titled “Joe Biden and the Illusion of Progress.”

 

“Joe Biden is not an ally of the working class,” event speaker David Pina said. 

A significant topic of concern was the willingness of Biden to reopen the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, which Pina called reckless and believed it was only being done to fulfill the needs of the capitalist class. 

The IYSSE holds these events on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. to have political discussions about current issues. In the 2020 Presidential Election, the SEP nominated Joseph Kishore to run for president along with Norissa Santa Cruz for vice president, but they received only 317 popular votes, according to a report by Ballotpedia. 

Critics of socialism, such as members of Turning Point USA at SDSU, say that although socialists’ hearts are in the right place, they are not interested in differentiating between the different ideologies within socialism because they ultimately have the same negative consequences such as unemployment and poverty. 

TPUSA at SDSU President Kiarra Mapp and member Alec Black, mentioned the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHOP, in Seattle was the result of an attempted revolution gone wrong. However, Saccarelli was vocal against anarchists and said this was a parody of a revolution. 

Mapp and other TPUSA members attended an IYSSE event last year, and she said the speaker of the event emphasized that they should not be focusing on race and class, and a significant amount of people immediately left the room. To Mapp, this displays the quarrels within the socialism movement and was contradictory to the equality that socialists normally preach.   

TPUSA also emphasized the importance of individual freedoms and choices when arguing against socialism. Mapp specifically believes in the choice between a public or private education and healthcare, and it should not be a full public system. 

The two also had a problem with the idea of a globalized system of socialism because convincing 8 billion people to abide by these rules would be impossible. They said it would require totalitarianism and ultimately ruin America. 

“When you don’t understand something, it’s very easy to destroy it,” Mapp said in regards to socialists’ views on capitalism.

Most Americans have similar opinions to the TPUSA members. According to a Gallup poll published in March 2020, 57% of Americans had a negative viewpoint of socialism, while 39% had a positive opinion. However, there is not an agreement on what socialism means because it was defined in different ways by different individuals and groups of people. 

The SEP has ground to cover in terms of educating people on their interpretation of socialism. Although Saccarelli has no hope for the Biden administration, or even possible reforms, he is optimistic about what the working class can accomplish.

“I have great hope for the ability of the working class in this country and other countries to wage a struggle for a rational, humane, democratic and equal way of living,” Saccarelli said. 

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