Audio by title defeating_right_wing_extremism

Hutchinson Persons of the International Socialist Organization on defeating right-wing extremism

6:04 minutes (5.56 MB)

Hutchinson Persons, International Socialist Organization, Ohio State University

We spoke w/ Persons at the Stand Up For Ohio festival on Aug. 20. I asked him for his opinion on how to build a grass roots movement to defeat right-wing extremism.

“ There’s a lack of theoretical background for a lot of organizations where they focus on one issue, but they don’t see the entire picture.”

Persons, who heads an OSU student chapter of the International Socialist Organization, emphasizes the broader picture.

“ We work in solidarity with every issue, but we realize that without the entire picture, we’re not going to get real change. If we can work for more theoretical backing w/ other organizations and work together that way, there would be a more efficient left coalition.”

Getting to what he regards as the heart of the matter, Persons said “working people should not be afraid to work together and call it what it is : a class war.”

The OSU chapter of the International Socialist Organization is comprised mostly of students and faculty, but is open to the public. It works w/ Jobs With Justice and labor unions here in Central Ohio, as well as immigrant rights groups and queer advocacy groups such as Equality Ohio.

To those democrats and progressives wary of being associated w/ avowed socialists, Persons said, “Socialists have been on the ground from the beginning. In every grassroots movement, you’ll find socialists. You can’t avoid us. We’re going to be there to struggle w/ people.”

Former US Representative Mary Jo Kilroy on building a movement to defeat right-wing extremism

5:47 minutes (5.3 MB)

We spoke w/ Kilroy at the Stand Up For Ohio festival on Aug. 20

Here is what she had to say about building alliances to counter right wing extremism.

“We have to offer ideas to people that matter to them and their lives. The biggest thing we need to be talking about is how to improve the economy and bring jobs to our cities and to our towns and rural communities, jobs that allow people to have a middle class standard of living.”

Kilroy said she doesn’t want to talk w/ people about Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann.
“I want to talk to people about where they’re at, what matters in their lives, not the lunacy that some of these right-wing, divisive figures peddle in this country.”

Kilroy acknowledged the risk of that sort of lunacy taking over our country if voters become desperate amid hard times. But she does not focus on those right-wing personalities when she engages w/ communities.

“ I don’t want to ignore them(people such as Bachmann), I just don’t want to talk to people about them all the time. I want to talk to people about what matters to them, so they see that there are other people, other ideas out there that are going to address their real needs so that those other crazy things…don’t have currency w/ them.”

Kilroy said if people are not side-tracked by hot-button issues such as evolution or global warming, they can take a stand for fairness for the vast majority of Americans.
“They don’t have to settle for politicians that are only concerned w/ 1 percent of the country.”