A Way Forward
2017 Eugene V. Debs – Norman Thomas – Michael Harrington Dinner
will be held Friday, May 19, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago West
Loop, Madison & Halsted, on Chicago’s near west side. This
will be the 59th annual dinner. We have a great evening lined
up, and you are invited to attend!
those of you new to the movement, the Dinner is something of a
Chicago institution that predates DSA. It began in 1958 under
the auspices of the newly merged Socialist Party – Social
Democratic Federation (SP-SDF) as Chicago’s Debs Day Dinner,
much as Republicans had (and often still have) Lincoln dinners
and Democrats likewise Jefferson – Jackson dinners. It quickly
gained some success as a platform for notable speakers such as
Sid Lens, Bayard Rustin, Chicago’s Leon Despres, James Farmer,
Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington. After Norman Thomas died,
the event became the Norman Thomas – Eugene V. Debs Dinner. In
1971, it became an awards dinner as well as a speaker’s
platform. The SP-SDF fell apart and the event was taken over by
Michael Harrington’s Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee.
When they merged with the New American Movement, it was taken
over by the resulting Democratic Socialists of America. You can
find more the history at HERE.
was then. The theme for this year’s Dinner is, A Way
Forward! There’s no doubt that most of what is decent
about our country is in peril. But Trump’s failure to win the
popular vote is a clear indication we can go beyond resistance,
beyond stalemate to where democracy is victorious and we are on
the path to social and economic justice. Our honorees, each in
their own way, have made significant contributions to this fight
Cohen may be familiar to you as being the recently
“retired” President of the Communication Workers of America. CWA
members have been willing to confront some truly gargantuan
corporations, but Cohen’s contributions have not stopped there.
He correctly judged the mood of insurgency in our country and
was a leader in Labor for Bernie and he’s continued that
struggle as Board Chair of Our Revolution. Cohen is the Chair of
the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of national organizations
confronting the corruption of our democracy by corporate money.
And he’s a Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future.
He’s also been serving as a rabble-rouser about town, grabbing
the bullhorn by the mic in protest of the latest Trumpian
Alvarez may be less familiar to you. She is a
rank-and-file leader in Fight for 15, a worker at McDonald’s who
has been willing to be arrested in support of her fellow
workers, opens her home for meetings and, in between raising a
son, does what needs to be done in the grand left tradition of a
“Janie Higgins”. Alvarez also serves as one of the public faces
of the campaign for a $15 / hour minimum wage (and a union),
representing that movement on the web, across the nation, and in
countries as various as Canada, Brazil and the Vatican. In
honoring Alvarez, we are also honoring a movement that, while in
the process of exploring alternative organizing strategies, has
already made a huge difference in the lives of those at the
bottom of our economy.
featured speaker is Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa from
Chicago’s 35th Ward. Rosa is one of Chicago’s crop of
outstanding new leaders in the City Council. Rosa has confronted
the problem of governing head on. He has not complacently waited
for a movement to begin in his ward around election time. He has
taken leadership in making one happen.
join us in honoring these two outstanding activists for they
deserve your recognition as well as ours. We hope to see you
there on Friday evening, May 19.
you cannot attend or if money for politics is scarce, please
consider getting a greeting or an ad in the Dinner Program Book.
This is the truly cost-effective way of participating while
publicly recognizing the work our honorees have done on behalf
of the movement.
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