Sarah Sloan dropped out of college as a teenager to become an activist with International ANSWER and the International Action Center (IAC), where she developed into an organizer and a “youth coordinator.” She also was active with the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party (WWP). She wrote for the WWP newsletter Workers World and was the news editor of the Iraq Resource Information Site, a website that referred to America’s pre-war sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s and early 2000s as a “holocaust” and “genocide.” In that same spirit, Sloan herself wrote in Workers World on September 30, 1999, that “the U.S.-United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq are … clearly genocidal — over 1.5 million Iraqis killed.” “And isn’t it arrogant for people in the United States to demand that Iraq be disarmed when the Pentagon bombs Iraq every day?” Sloan asked. “When the U.S. has the biggest military arsenal in the world costing over $300 billion a year? When the U.S. is the aggressor worldwide? It’s more appropriate to demand the U.S. disarm.”
At a WWP conference in December 2001, Sloan derided capitalism as “a system based on two classes.” She added:
“The capitalist class owns the property, meaning the factories, transport, mines, mills, land, etc. There’s a working class that has no property and goes to work for the owners of the property. All the value and wealth created by the working class accrues to the capitalists for profit, which goes to investment or personal luxury. Workers have nothing to sell except their labor power, in exchange for which wages are paid. The extra value that workers produce from their labor goes to the bosses, not to them.
“A second aspect is that capitalism is based on production only for profit, not to meet human needs. If it is more profitable to produce MX missiles than to provide health care, then the investment will go to the missiles, despite the fact that we can probably all agree that health care is a more vital human need….
“Socialism is the elimination of profit as the productive motive, and its replacement by human need. The property of the capitalists, which is really our collective labor, no longer belongs to them. Society is organized to meet human needs — not to make profits for a few.”
Just two months after 9/11, Sloan visited Japan to represent the IAC in the ninth assembly of the Campaign Coordinating Body of the “Asia-Wide Campaign Against U.S. and Japanese Aggression and Domination of Asia.” The purpose of this assembly was “to coordinate activities against the expanding Pentagon war that began in Afghanistan,” Workers World reported.
In an October 3, 2002 piece in Workers World, Sloan argued that America’s impending invasion of Iraq was motivated by a desire to seize control of the Middle East and steal its oil reserves: “U.S. policy toward Iraq is not motivated simply by the narrow economic interests of those who own ExxonMobil, Texaco, and other oil companies. Karl Marx said that the government is the executive committee of the ruling capitalist class. Its function is to act in the interest of the capitalist class in its entirety. And so the U.S. government is currently considering not just how to make additional profit by gaining control of billions of additional barrels of oil, but how to maintain and extend its domination of the entire region.”
When the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. branches of WWP broke away from the organization to form the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) in 2004, Sloan was among those who made this break. Nevertheless, she retained her connections as a national staff organizer with the ANSWER coalition.
At a PSL conference in 2014, Sloan sang the praises of Communism as it had been practiced in both the old Soviet Union and Fidel Castro‘s Cuba:
“Socialist revolutions have not happened in rich societies but in the poorest parts of the world. At the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Russian economy was one-twelfth the size of the U.S. economy. By eliminating the profits for a tiny handful of capitalists, even a poor country like the Soviet Union, managed by the 1930s, to provide every worker with the right to a job and the right to free health care. By 1960, the Soviet Union had emerged as the second-biggest economy in the world. There was no unemployment and there was a right to housing — to pay no more than 6 percent of your income for rent. Evictions were illegal because there were no landlords. It was your housing.
“Women had a right to free childcare and one year’s paid maternity leave, and they had the right to put their child in child care facilities at no cost. Women in the Soviet Union had the right to retire at 55 years of age at half pay. And remember, they had free health care, so retirement didn’t mean being plunged into poverty. They had a month’s paid vacation.
“It doesn’t mean that there were no problems in the Soviet Union, or that we agree with all the policies of different leaderships. But the Soviet Union proved, just as Cuba proves today, that when you take the wealth out of the hands of the capitalists, it can be used to meet people’s needs.”
Further Reading: “The Peace Warriors” (Washington Post, 12-10-2002); “Nothing Less Than Complete Lifting of Sanctions Is Needed” (by Sarah Sloan, Workers World, 9-30-1999); “Production for Profit or for Human Need?” (from a talk by Sarah Sloan at the Dec. 2-3, 2001 WWP conference); “Asian, U.S. Groups Meet in Japan: Plan Coordinated Actions against War” (Workers World, December 2001); “Why Iraq Is Pivotal in Imperialism’s Schemes” (Workers World, 10-3-2002); :”A Marxist Perspective on Ending Women’s Oppression” (Breaking The Chains, re: Sloan’s 2014 speech at PSL).