1 year ago

29 October, 2016

Rock Island Martin Luther King Jr. Center

Organised by:
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality


Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center
Ida Robinson Banquet Room
Rock Island, Illinois

About the event:

The most important issue facing the population of the United States and the entire world is not being discussed in the US elections: War.

The contest between Clinton and Trump has brought the degraded state of US politics to new lows. As the two candidates trade in insults and scandal-mongering, government and military officials are preparing a vast military escalation that threatens the lives of millions, if not billions of people.

Clinton has committed to the implementation of a "no-zone" in Syria that top US generals have acknowledged could lead to war with Russia. The Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley told a gathering of US military officials recently that war between large nation-states is "almost guaranteed," while another top general said officers must prepare for "violence on a scale not seen since Korea."

Regardless of who is elected in November, the working class and youth in the US and around the world face immense dangers. The greatest danger is the gulf that exists between the advanced state of war plans and the general level of popular consciousness.

Everything must be done to alert workers and young people to what is being planned and to build a political leadership to oppose war and the capitalist system that produces it.

About the speaker:

Niles Niemuth, 28, grew up in northern Wisconsin and attended high school while working at a nearby door factory. After graduating, Niemuth enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he received Bachelors and Masters degrees in History. To pay for school, Niemuth worked part-time and was forced to take out student loans, which he will be paying off until he is over forty years old.

Niemuth came of age politically during the George W. Bush administration and became interested in politics and history because of his opposition to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Barack Obama came to power in 2009, Niemuth was drawn into opposition to the Democratic administration’s continuation of the wars, their cover-up for CIA torture, and their policies of deepening poverty and social inequality.

His interest in socialism was sparked by the intervention of the Socialist Equality Party in 2011 protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The mass protests, which Niemuth participated in along with thousands of workers and youth, were the first sign of the reemergence of class conflict in the US. The SEP opposed the betrayal of the struggle by the unions, which channeled opposition behind a campaign to recall Walker and elect a Democrat.

The events in Wisconsin coincided with the revolutionary upheaval of the Egyptian masses. The analysis of these events by the World Socialist Web Site made clear the need for the building of a revolutionary leadership in the working class based on an internationalist and socialist perspective. Shortly thereafter, Niemuth made the decision to join the Socialist Equality Party and dedicate himself to the building of this leadership.