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Identity & Community

ISO Wants to 'School' You in Socialism

Capitalism isn’t working, and another world is necessary.

Those are the mantras of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), which is inviting Pittsburghers to go to “school” this Saturday to learn why.

Paul LeBlanc, an ISO member and event organizer, said the most fundamental definition of socialism is what he calls “economic democracy,” or a system where the “majority” of people would own and control the economy.

“Right now the economy is owned by a very small number of very rich people,” LeBlanc said. “And they run it to make a profit for themselves, to maximize their profits, and often it’s at the expense of the environment and it’s at the expense of the needs of the majority of the people.”

LeBlanc said the school day will be split into three sessions focusing on how capitalism in the U.S., affects the environment, the “majority” and democracy.

“There are the environmental problems…there are issues of race, and sexuality and gender and issues of war and peace,” LeBlanc said. “And a lot of these are being determined, decided by very powerful forces that have an interest of simply making lots of money.”

The speakers range from University of Pittsburgh visiting Professor Mike Gonzalez to Helen Gearhart, an Iraq War Veteran.

“Our feeling is that there’s a need for greater democracy, greater rule by the people over the situation that is shaping all of us and especially over the economy,” LeBlanc said. “It shouldn’t be controlled by a small number of people – it should be controlled by all of us together who make up the economy.”

LeBlanc said they hope the event will encourage the “students” to start a conversation about socialism.

“I’m anticipating that we’ll all bring certain insights and ideas and information to a discussion,” LeBlanc said. “And we’ll all come away with greater clarity as to what we’re facing and also not only what the problems are, but what some of the solutions might be and how we might organize to realize those solutions.”

The Socialism School will be from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland.