Left Alliance and Socialism, Demystified
Recently, an op-ed entitled, “What Exactly is the Left Alliance?” was published in The Round Table. It asks many questions about who we are and what we stand for, so we would like to take this opportunity to introduce our group and clear up some misconceptions. As mentioned in the article, Left Alliance is fairly new on campus. Having only formed in October of last year, the group was still working to establish itself and its goals at the end of the semester. Now, at the beginning of this new semester, we have been able to put words to paper and fully define who we are. Our freshly written mission statement is as follows:
“Left Alliance is a community-based organization working to unite people against capitalist oppression, exploitation, and imperialism within the Beloit area and beyond. We enact positive change through direct action, community involvement, and education. We strive to share leftist methods and schools of thought in an accessible manner to facilitate effective and impactful organizing. Left Alliance welcomes people of all identities, united by a desire for justice, direct action, and systematic change.”
Now that you know who we are, we would like to address some of the assertions made in the previous op-ed. The main issue the article brought up was whether leftists of different ideologies can work together. While it is true that there are fundamental disagreements between these ideologies, there is a long history of unity between the groups in the face of their common enemy: imperialist capital.
Socialism is in fact a blanket term for an ideology that calls for workers to control and own the means of production. As such, communists, anarchists, and socialists all fit within the term. An anarchist is a socialist, a communist is a socialist, and obviously a socialist is a socialist.
Our group represents a wide range of leftist beliefs, and while members do disagree on many topics, our common cause is greater than our differences. When Left Alliance acts, it does so against imperialism, capitalism, and other harmful institutions. We may disagree on the exact details of what should replace neoliberal capitalism, but we are united in our opposition to the current status quo.
Yes, the differences in our beliefs will be something we will need to discuss further in the future. It will be required when politics have shifted so far to the left that the difference between a Marxist-Leninist and an Anarchist is the great political divide. However, at that point, Left Alliance will have served its purpose.
Capitalist ideology controls our entire world. It defines our education, our culture, our work—nearly every aspect of our lives. As leftists, we find it necessary to share socialist ideologies so people can learn about ways of living that do not depend on oppression and exploitation to function.
Here at Beloit College many of us share common aspirations to combat these toxic effects of capitalism. Instead of struggling against one another it is critical that we unite to work against the forces of capital. Certainly, discussion about differences in ideologies is very important; however, it is not the focus of our group. Until we have defeated the immediate threat of capital to humanity, we believe it is necessary that leftists of all stripes unify to fight as one.
If you also seek to work against the neoliberal ideology that dominates our world, we ask you to join us. No matter if you are statist or anarchist, reformist or revolutionary, there is a place for you here. There is endless work to be done: people to feed, posters to write, events to host, protests to attend, and mutual aid to practice. Solidarity Forever!
Left Alliance meets Sundays at 7 pm in Sanger Center for the Sciences, Room 150.