BOISE — In a state like Idaho, someone wearing a Karl Marx T-shirt would be a more startling sight in public than someone with a pistol on the waist. But that doesn’t deter some far left of the political spectrum who embrace the term "socialist" with open arms.
A group of nearly 30 people gathered on the Idaho State Capitol’s front steps to speak out about what they see as flagrant misuse of U.S. military and economic power abroad, calling for an end to interventionist foreign policy. Armed conflict in Iraq, humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen, and America’s refusal to recognize Palestinian sovereignty are all conflicts they wish America wouldn’t involve itself in so quickly.
The message comes just a few days before a historical anniversary.
“May 12 is three days before the Nakba, the great catastrophe when in 1948 the land of Palestine was stolen and Israel was created from that theft on May 15,” one of the event’s main organizers, Patricia Gorky, said in an interview. “Also, the United State is planning on moving its embassy to Palestinian Jerusalem, which is an international crime and is only going to pave the way for further annexation of Palestine.”
Gorky, who grew up in Nampa and now lives in San Francisco, is an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition. That’s an anti-war organization founded after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, whose name stands for “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.” The Nampa native connected with Boise and Pocatello chapters of the Party for Socialism & Liberation, a Marxist U.S. political party, to organize the protest Saturday with other leftists in Idaho.
“We believe that the only solution to the growing crisis of capitalism is to build socialism,” Gorky said. “To build a society where the wealth goes to the workers, to the people who make that wealth in society, and not to the parasitical establishment elites that take all the money and hoard it.”
One speaker at the event, a political activist in her youth who helped organize the National School Walkout in Boise with classmates, was Eagle High School senior Monique Kitnikone. She also hopes she can create lasting change in the Gem State.
“As someone who experiences oppression living in Idaho, if I don’t get to see the changes being made, I don’t know what I would do,” she said. “It may not be done in my lifetime, but if the work isn’t being done now there’s no one who’s going to be doing the work later.”