Click here to help us recover from a November 25th cyber attack.
ISO Columbus recently discovered that someone made unauthorized access to our Square account on November 25 and issued over $1600 in refunds. While it is unconfirmed who did this, it appears that this was likely meant as an attack on our organization.
Fortunately, Square does not make customer credit card information available through the app, so our customer information is safe. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to cancel the refunds -- money that, in most cases, was already spent on food, space rental, childcare, and book inventory for the Ohio Marxism Day School.
If you attended the Ohio Marxism Day School, or purchased anything from ISO Columbus in the last few months, please check your credit card statements. If you've received a refund from us, we ask that you please pay that money back as a donation at this link. While the refunds were issued on November 25, they may not have processed until the end of the month or early December.
At Saturday's Columbus Pride march, a group numbering around 75 socialists marched against corporations’ stronghold on and the heavy presence of police officers at the celebration, which stems from its radical origins at the Stonewall Riot. As we prepared to start marching, we learned that a group of Black queer activists, numbering around 10, attempted to bring the parade to a halt: they sought to bring attention to the murder of #PhilandoCastile and the ruling which declared the police officer who murdered him not guilty. They also sought to bring attention to police violence done onto trans women of color.
Once we discovered that one of our comrades had been maced alongside the rest of the activists and 4 had been wrongly detained, our march came to a bitter start, especially once we learned that parade onlookers had cheered the police on. Pictures circulating of the accident show grotesque numbers of police piled on top of protestors. Those who were maced could not breathe or see for a sustained period, and no medical attention was awarded. Those detained were held in the back of police vehicles for four hours following the event and also received no medical attention. While three were released Saturday night, one remained in holding until Monday morning, released after bail was posted. The activist that was in holding is being charged with aggravated robbery, a felony charge.
As revolutionary socialists we stand in unconditional solidarity with the #BlackPride4 and their tremendous courage displayed this past weekend. We vehemently oppose violence and discrimination done against queer people. We equally oppose police brutality, as well as officers' presence at Pride. Pride began as a riot, with trans women of color leading the resistance. Celebrations of queer people across the country are all marked by this radical history. To allow police in such brute attendance at Columbus' Pride parade, let alone allow them to remain unchecked and unaccountable to the people they purport to serve -- a significant portion of whom are queer, of color, or both -- is unacceptable, and must be opposed.
Organizers from the #BlackPride4 demanded the immediate release of Deandre, and continue to demand the dropping of all charges or pending charges against each of the #BlackPride4, and an investigation into the use of excessive force of CPD onto the protesters. Our movement has a long way to go before we can begin to qualitatively change the conditions which permit this to occur.
ISO Cololumbus organizer Pranav Jani comments on Trump's escalation of the US war in Syria:The antiwar movement is rusty after the pass that liberals gave Obama's drone wars and other interventions. So let's review:
1) Trump's popularity will probably spike
2) The press will be busy flooding the airwaves with details of the missiles used, as if these are toys or neat pieces of technology
3) Democrats will either join in with Trump or disagree--because they want longer, sustained war, maybe even boots on the ground, rather than a few strikes.
4) The press will be busy interviewing general after general, and kissing ass.
5) The rhetoric of "humanitarian intervention" will be used to rope in liberals.
6) Antiwar actions, hopefully many, will be painted as pro-Assad and anti-people.
7) Antiwar activists will need to relearn that we can be against Assad, against US attacks, against Russian control all at the same time.
8) Syrian people will suffer most.
We need to demand an end to the hypocrisy that creates more refugees but denies them entry into the US.
Matt Monta of 614NOW attended and reviewed the People's Art Night, organized and hosted by the ISO Columbus.
Read the full article here.
Photo credit Meredith B.
Last night, Socialist Alternative Columbus, OH organized a massive rally in downtown Columbus, drawing out a crowd of thousands. The energy of the crowd was unlike Columbus has ever seen. People roared for speakers who admonished the two-party system for inadequately addressing the needs of the people, calling for a political alternative, and roared in solidarity with refugees, Muslims and immigrants throughout the night. People took leadership in carrying chants and taking the streets. It's clear that Columbus is the furthest thing from shy in joining the wave of resistance against Trump.
As fantastic as the rally was, protesters were met with the repressive forces of the state. At an entirely peaceful rally, the Columbus Police Department (CPD) deployed pepper spray and riot techniques on a nonviolent, peaceful crowd occupying a downtown intersection. Here it should be noted that it was mainly Black youth being targeted, and as observed in the cases of Ty're King and Henry Green, CPD is known to use excessive force on Black youth.
An occupation of an intersection is not a violent act. There was little to no traffic, and drivers honked their horns in solidarity! ISO - Columbus unequivocally condemns CPD's use of tear gas and riot gear on last night's protesters. Our condolences go to all those who were afflicted, and we hope that everyone received swift medical attention.
Nevertheless, last night serves as a reminder of what we do when we're united, together. The struggle continues, and we're in this for the long haul with you. Solidarity!
The ISO Columbus condemns the Ohio state house’s underhanded tactic of sneaking in the inappropriately misnamed “Heartbeat bill” into a law to expedite the reporting of child abuse and neglect by medical professionals. The “Heartbeat bill” bans abortion at the moment that a heartbeat is detected in a fetus, usually around 6-8 weeks. This is before many people know that they are pregnant, and is long before viability or brain activity has been established. The “Heartbeat bill” has been opposed by Ohio Right-to-Life, the largest anti-choice organization in the state, for being too extreme and unconstitutional. The so-called “lame duck” congressional session, between the election of new bourgeois politicians and their inaugurations, allows sitting congresspeople to fast-track a number of reactionary, conservative, anti-women, and anti-worker bills without accountability to their constituency. It is a farce of democracy that this dangerous, and by all accounts illegal, bill will be signed into law by right-winger John Kasich. The ACLU has announced that they will fight the bill in court, but Kasich’s administration will be using workers’ hard-earned tax money to fund the defense of this attack on reproductive rights.
In a state where police are allowed to kill Black children and Black men for carrying toy guns, headed by a Governor who wrote into law welfare reform that gutted food stamp benefits and financial assistance for the most vulnerable in our country during his tenure in the U.S. Congress, it is unconscionable that the Ohio state legislature’s priorities would be to continue the assault on reproductive justice.
Our collective liberation cannot depend on bourgeois politicians who practice a mockery of democracy. Our collective liberation requires reproductive freedom for all.
ISO Columbus is devastated by the violence on the Ohio State University campus this morning. We are hoping for a quick recovery for everyone injured, and our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who were involved. We know that the horror of an incident like this doesn't end when a suspect is apprehended, because many members of our community will face increased suspicion, policing, and outright hatred as a result. We stand in solidarity with all members of the community likely to be targeted with racist profiling or harassment in the coming days. We will not let this event become a source of hatred and division.
Last night at an anti-Trump rally in the Ohio Union, one of our leading organizers, Tim Adams, was giving a speech to the crowd when he was tackled from behind and knocked down several stairs by a man who had been watching and yelling from the floor above. The crowd acted quickly to restrain the man and protect Tim from further harm, before OSU police moved in and arrested him.
Because there were several individual Trump supporters heckling the crowd throughout the night, because of the nature of the statements the man yelled as he tackled Tim, and, given the reports and experiences of violence and threats of violence from right-wing individuals across the country and at OSU, most witnesses reasonably assumed the assailant was a Trump supporter. Initially, with the information available, Tim felt it was important that white nationalists not be further emboldened by this action and decided to pursue criminal charges in the hopes that it might play some role in protecting movement activists from similar or potentially worse harm in the future.
Since last night, however, we have learned that the man, an OSU student, is not a right-wing activist and was himself upset by the Trump election. We have received further information we will not disclose to protect the man’s privacy, but which has made us confident he should not face charges for the action.
Tim and other ISO members are in the process of reaching out to police, prosecutors, and this student’s family and friends to have charges dropped immediately and to ensure his quick release from jail.
We are relieved to learn that what happened last night was not a further marker of an escalating and emboldened Far Right at Ohio State. From the racist, white-pride propaganda on our own campus last week to the 67% spike in hate crimes against Muslims, including two attacks on Muslim women at nearby University of Michigan, and a scourge of white supremacist vandalism around the country, this political moment is rife with heightened violence against minorities and against anti-racist activists. We are immensely distressed that OSU police officers who have been protecting pro-Trump individuals and groups at several rallies in the last week were unable to stop this attack from taking place, and then that they failed to ask any questions of the attacker that would have influenced the initial decision to press charges.
At this time of such violence and fear, the only real recourse we have is in the coalition of people we can bring together. Determined not to let violence deter him after being attacked last night, Tim returned to the steps a few moments afterward and finished his speech. We are proud to have organizers like Tim alongside us at this difficult political moment. We are happy to say that a medical evaluation last night confirmed that he had suffered no major injuries, though he is obviously sore and shaken. He is currently resting and recovering.
Our only strengths as individuals fighting oppression and exploitation are in our numbers, in our level of organization, and in our commitment to watching out for each other and taking action to protect one another. We appreciate the outpouring of support and solidarity Tim received since last night. We recognize the crushing brutality of this entire political economic system against people of color, the LGBTQ community, the working class and poor, and the disabled. Please continue to join us as we fight for a better world!
For news coverage of the event:
Assaulted as he spoke out against Trump by Nicole Colson on SocialistWorker.org
Corporate media glosses over politics in assault of anti-Trump protester by Steve Palm-Houser on ColumbusFreePress.com
Connie Gadell-Newton is the Green candidate running for State Representative for Ohio House District 18 against the Democrat Kristin Boggs. ISO Columbus has endorsed Gadell-Newton's campaign for office because of her involvement in our community, her stance on Black Lives Matter, and her decision to run for office outside of the corrupt Democratic Party.
Read an interview with Connie Gadell-Newton on ColumbusUnderground.
The Columbus branch of the International Socialist Organization has voted to endorse Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis for Franklin County Prosecutor.
Fitrakis is a long-time Columbus activist whose roots in the community and commitment to his principles make him the only acceptable candidate for this post in a community that is overrun with injustice, discrimination, and corruption.
“Black Lives Matter” has been the slogan of Fitrakis’ campaign, but it is also so much more than a slogan for Fitrakis. Unlike either Republican Ron O’Brien or Democrat Zach Klein, Fitrakis has promised to appoint independent prosecutors to investigate and consider charges against police accused of misconduct or other brutality. This is an essential step toward justice for victims of police brutality in a place with the second highest rate of police shootings-per-capita in the country.
Fitrakis has vowed to stop incarcerating those convicted of drug-related crimes and to turn instead to treatment options. He has promised to advocate for the de-criminalization of marijuana, to set up a whistleblowers’ hotline, to prosecute government officials engaging in voter suppression, and has vowed to fight illegal government surveillance.
After the murders of Ty’re King in September and Henry Green in June, the need for a drastic overhaul of the Franklin County justice system is clear, and a prosecutor with a real commitment to reform would be just one initial but necessary step in that direction. Fitrakis is the only candidate in the race for County Prosecutor who has not only vowed to make the changes activists have demanded, but who has a record as a fighter for the oppressed and disenfranchised that we can trust.