Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization

November 30, 2009

Sunday, 4pm: How Can We Build the Fight for LGBT Equality?

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 10:18 pm

How Can We Build the Fight for LGBT Equality?

Sunday, December 6 @ 4pm

Stephen Donaldson Lounge, Basement of Furnald Dorm

Columbia University

Last month, over 200,000 people marched on Capitol Hill to demand full equality for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states! Since then, we’ve witnessed the enactment of a federal hate crimes legislation, but we’ve also seen the right wing mobilize to prohibit same sex marriage in Maine, as well as numerous acts of homophobic violence.

There are more reasons than ever to build a national LGBT equality movement!

Please join us to:

  1. Discuss the current state of the fight for same sex marriage and LGBT equality
  2. Brainstorm ideas on how we can build that struggle here on campus/in NYC
  3. Discuss creating a political LGBT group on campus oriented on helping build a national movement for LGBT equality

November 22, 2009

Today 5pm: Remember Jorge Steven López Mercado! No more LGBT hate-crimes!

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 3:00 am

COLUMBIA/BARNARD STUDENTS: We’ll be meeting at the gates (116th st and Broadway) at 4:25pm SHARP to hop on the train and head down to the rally/vigil!

Check out the statement from Equality Across America in Socialist Worker



Date: Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time: 5:00pm – 8:30pm


Street: Christopher Street & West Side Highway

City/Town: New York, NY



In an act of solidarity, New Yorkers will gather at Pier 45 in NYC for a vigil followed by optional *mass on Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm.


NEW YORK, NY – On the night of Friday, November 13, 2009, 26-year-old Juan Martinez Matos picked up 19-year-old Jorge Steven López in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and drove him to the nearby town of Cidra, PR. After discovering that Mercado, who was dressed as a female, was a man, Matos, in a whirlwind of rage, not only murdered Mercado, but beheaded and dismembered his body. Its remains were partially set on fire. Mercado’s body was discovered in the nearby town of Cayey, PR. A search for the murderer immediately began.


Matos has been apprehended, has confessed, and is imprisoned with bail set at four million dollars. Initial reports seem to indicate that the line of defense will be invoking “gay panic,” a strategy used commonly in recent times with varying degrees of success. In a troubling interview with Univisión, police investigator Ángel Rodríguez Colón is on record as saying (as translated into English), “These types of people, when they enter this lifestyle and go out into the streets know that this could happen.” We find this unacceptable, and furthermore call for a stop to victim blame in this case. Never in Puerto Rico’s history has a crime been prosecuted with hate crimes provisions attached, despite the existence of said provisions since 2002. We want to make sure this is the first case.

In response to sudden and widespread outrage due to the murder, thousands of New Yorkers will gather at Manhattan’s Pier 45 (at Christopher Street) on Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 5:00 PM for a vigil ceremony.

The Manhattan vigil will occur in conjunction with satellite Sunday vigils in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Durham, and other American cities. The resulting photographic and video footage will be used in efforts for full prosecution of this case.

Speakers slotted include major political, social, and artistic leaders of New York City.

We thank GLAAD, The LGBT Community Center, Dignity, Anti-Violence Project, Latino Commission on AIDS, and the office of Speaker Quinn for their continued support in these efforts.

Reference Link:

Facebook Group:

November 18, 2009

Thursday 11/19: Reform or Deform in the Age of Obama?

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 11:59 pm

Join us for a discussion to assess the current state of US politics and possibilities for change in the Obama era.


Obama took the White House almost a year ago by tapping into working class hopes for change after eight long years of the Bush Administration. Obama’s promised to take on the health insurance corporations to deliver universal health care reform. Obama promised LGBT people an end to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Many viewed Obama as an anti-war candidate because he campaigned for a “troop withdrawal” from Iraq. And I’m sure everyone can think other things that were expected…

But since taking office, what Obama is delivering seems to be far below our expectations (not to mention the Democrats are the majority in Congress). The health care bill looks like it will benefit the insurance industry more than the uninsured. Obama is escalating the war in Afghanistan. And the economy is recovering for Wall Street while leaving workers behind. What’s going on? It seems that if there were anytime for Obama to deliver on his promises to working people–especially when unemployment numbers continue to rise–now would be the time!

Bring your ideas and questions for discussion. Here are some articles from Socialist Worker Online that provides analysis and a basis for discussion/debate:


The double-digit jobs disaster
There’s plenty of money for more economic stimulus–if Barack Obama would fight for it.
November 18, 2009

The deform of reform
Alan Maass and Helen Redmond analyze the legislation passed by the House in the name of health care reform.
November 11, 2009

The warlords’ president
Eric Ruder analyzes the latest developments that handed a re-election victory to Hamid Karzai–in the context of the debate in the U.S. political establishment over how to escalate its war and occupation.
November 4, 2009

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19th, 7:30-9:15pm

November 17, 2009

Wed 11/18: Roundtable on Caribbean Marxists CLR James and Hubert Harrison

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 3:07 pm

Caribbean Intellectuals and the African Diaspora: Hubert Harrison and C.L.R. James

November 18, 2009

Wednesday, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m

A lunch-time symposium with:

Professor Robert A. Hill (UCLA)

Michael T. Ryan, Director Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

and author Jeffrey B. Perry

Sponsored by the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University and hosted by Professor Fredrick Harris.

At Jed D. Satow Hall, 5th floor Conference Room, Lerner Hall, 115th and Broadway, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Tuesday 11/17: Jeremy Scahill at Columbia

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 1:19 am

Join the Barnard/Columbia Branch of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) in attending:

Jeremy Scahill & Susan Burke on Private Contractors in Iraq & Afghanistan

In Our Name, Beyond Our Laws?: Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

A conversation with Susan Burke and Jeremy Scahill about private military contractors, human rights, and the future of warfare.

* Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 8:00pm

Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104 [one entrance is on W. 116 St., just east of NW corner of Amsterdam]

Sponsor: Amnesty International – Columbia University

Susan Burke is a partner with Burke ONeil LLC, a law firm specializing in International Human Rights law. The firm is currently bringing civil actions against private military contractors in Iraq in an effort to hold the companies accountable for the various human rights abuses they have committed throughout the conflict. Susan serves as lead counsel on a number of these cases, specifically those related to the shootings of Iraqi civilians by Blackwater Xe employees and the torture of Iraqi victims at the Abu Ghraib prison by private military contractors.

Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His book was a groundbreaking effort in exposing the political and moral conflicts surrounding one of the most notorious private military contractors in the Iraq war. He has since become an authority on Private Military Contractors, and is a frequent contributor to “The Nation” magazine, and a regular guest on Democracy Now and The Rachel Maddow Show.

See Jeremy Scahill debate Obama’s Iraq withdrawl on Democracy Now:

Check out this round table discussion with Jeremy Scahill and Anthony Arnove (Author of Logic of Withdrawl) in Socialist Worker online on the same topic.


November 10, 2009

Thursday 11/12: ISO organizing meeting

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 11:50 pm


The next meeting of the Barnard/Columbia Branch of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) will be on Thursday, November 12th in 628 KENT HALL (end of the hall) at 7:30pm.


Part I will be a strategy discussion about next steps for ongoing LGBT organizing on campus. Last month, there was the National Equality March (NEM) in Washington of 200,000 people demanding equal rights for LGBT people. But last week Maine passed it’s own Proposition 8 (called Question 1) taking away the right of same-sex couples to get married. Since Maine, 300 people mobilized twice in NYC and hundreds more mobilized in cities across the country demanding equality. Organizers of the NEM are calling on activists to seize the momentum and build grassroots LGBT rights organizations to affiliate with a new national organization called Equality Across America (EAA). We want to discuss as a branch the potential for starting a group like this on campus.

Here are some good background articles to prepare for this discussion: 1. “We’ve Just Begun to Fight” by Sherry Wolf (Author of Sexuality and Socialism, and National Organizer for NEM)

2. “What Does Maine Tell Us” by Sherry Wolf


Part II will be a discussion about stragegy and tactics for building a stronger branch of the ISO. The Columbia/Barnard branch helped to bring over 100 students from Barnard and Columbia to the NEM. We hosted the Regional Conference of the ISO called “Crisis and Resistance” attended by over 700 people with speakers such as Malalai Joya. Just think of what we could do with a bigger campus chapter ! We are not only building for the struggles today, we are also trying to build the kind of organization that can fight long-term for a radically different society–one where human needs determine how things are run, not profit.

Join us for these discussions, get involved, and ask questions!

Afterward, join us for pizza & beer at V&T’s (110th and amsterdam). This is a great way to continue talking politics, learning more about the ISO and socialism.

Sponsored by the Barnard/Columbia branch of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) | |

November 3, 2009

Thursday, 11/5: Join the ISO in supporting Palestinian rights at Columbia!

Filed under: ISO Events, Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 12:19 am

This Thursday, 11/5 at 6:30pm, join the ISO and other supporters of Palestine…

At an important debate on campus discussing the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Last semester, after Israel’s invasion and siege of Gaza, the ISO and other Palestine solidarity activists joined together to start a movement on campus to pressure Columbia University to divest from companies who profit off Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement began a few years ago with a call from Palestinian civil society groups to place international pressure on the state of Israel. The aim is to challenge the apartheid conditions Israel has imposed on Palestinians both inside Israel’s borders and in the occupied territories. The campaign seeks to use the same successful tactics of international solidarity that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.

The ISO has always stood for the right of Palestinians demand equal rights, to resist the Israeli occupation, and to return to the homes from which they have been expelled since the 1948 formation of Israel. Israel is the largest recipient of US government military aid in the world. Challenging the US government and US corportations’ complicity in the destruction of Palestinian lives is an important part of challenging other US occupations in the region, from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This Thursday Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti will debate Columbia Law professor George Fletcher over the following question:

Is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel counterproductive to the pursuit of a just peace in the Middle East?

Instead of our regular ISO meeting in Kent Hall, we’ll be going to this meeting to support Omar Barghouti and the BDS campaign! Come along!


Omar Barghouti

When: Thursday, November 5th at 6:30 PM

Where:  Meet other ISO members and allies in front of Altschul Auditorium, Room 417 in the  SIPA/International Affairs Building, Columbia University (enter on Amsterdam between 116th and 117th st)

RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

The event will be moderated by GRITtv host Laura Flanders (, and is sponsored by the Middle East Institute, and hosted by the Arab Students Association at SIPA


Articles to read for more information on the BDS campaign:

1) “A New Movement Against Israel’s Apartheid” by Eric Ruder

Gives some background on how the BDS movement came about in response to the invasion of GAZA. Also introduces some of the basic arguments in defense of BDS.

2) The other apartheid state” by Ronnie Kasrils

Ronnie Kasrils is a Jewish South African leader of the African National Congress. Here, he compares the ‘Jewish-only’ state of Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

3) “A Slander on our Movement” by Lichi D’Amelio

Challenges the incorrect charge that supporters of BDS supporters are being “anti-Semitic.”

4) “Israeli’s and Palestinians: Conflict & Resolution” by Moshe Machover

Longer article by an Israeli Socialist/anti-Zionist that goes through more of the history of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Blog at