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New Ground 104

January - February, 2006

Contents

  • The State of Revenge in America by Tom Broderick
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Class War Continues

    Going Beyond Taking Back Our Country

    Clint Jencks

    Hold the Press

    New Ground 104.1 - 01.23.2006

    0. DSA News

    48th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom
    "Democratic Left"

    1. Politics

    January 25 Call-In Against the USA PATRIOT Act
    The $2,000,000,000,000 War
    National Call-In Days Against Budget Cuts
    A Story You Won't Hear on NPR
    The Color of Disaster

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    The Left, Labor, and McCarthyism
    Capitalism Resurgent

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 104.2 - 02.06.2006

    0. DSA News

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    1. Politics

    Chicago's "Big Box Living Wage Ordinance"
    Pulling Apart
    Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs
    State of the Onion

    2. Democratic Socialism

    New Democratic Party Gains in Canadian Elections

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 104.3 - 02.15.2006

    0. DSA News

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    1. Politics

    Last Chance at the USA PATRIOT Act
    Hotel Workers Rising
    Lobby for Health Care in Illinois

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 104.4 - 02.25.2006

    0. DSA News

    End the War and Occupation ­ Troops Home Now

    1. Politics

    UFPJ National Call-In Day
    Boycott Monterey Bay Travelodge
    Health Care Now!
    Locked Out Stepan Workers Need Help
    NAFTA and Nativism

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 104.5 - 03.06.2006

    0. DSA News

    GOPDSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee Meeting

    1. Politics

    Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty
    Anti-War Majority Leans on Hastert

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Ideas of the American Labor Movement

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     


    The State of Revenge in America

    by Tom Broderick

    The Death Penalty Information Center released its 2005 Year End Report (www.deathpenaltyinfo.org). It shows a steady decline in death sentences in the United States. While the number of executions in 2005 increased to 60 from 59 in 2004, they are still down from the high of 98 in 1999. There were 276 death sentences issued in 1999. In 2004, the number was 125. The projection for 2005 is 96, which is nearly a 65% drop from the 1999 figure.

    The population on death row has also decreased. In 1999, there were 3,625 condemned women and men in our prison system. In 2004, the figure was 3,471 and the number was 3,383 this year. Four states account for nearly half of the condemned: California with 648, Texas with 413, Florida with 385 and Pennsylvania with 231. For comparison, Illinois has seven men in the condemned unit at the Pontiac Correctional (sic) Center in Pontiac. New Hampshire is the only capital punishment state with nobody on death row.

    Thirty-eight states, the U.S. Government and the U.S. Military offer extermination as the ultimate penalty for crime. Overall, we are trending away from capital punishment. Unfortunately, Illinois remains the only death penalty state with an official moratorium on execution. Initiated by former Governor George Ryan (R) we are in our sixth year of a commitment by the Governor to sign no death warrants. Nonetheless, since capital punishment is a legal option and the moratorium is in effect solely at the whim of the Governor, our State Prosecutors continue to seek the death of other human beings.

    In May of 2002, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (D) instituted a moratorium on the death penalty when he became convinced of racial inequalities in the system. As Governor, he had to decide between life and death four times. In each case the condemned man was black and the victim was white. The consistency troubled him, so he commissioned a study on race and death sentencing.

    Released shortly before Glendening left office, the study reported that blacks who killed whites were 2.5 times more likely to be condemned to death than whites who killed whites. The current Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich (R) ended the moratorium while acknowledging that race "plays a part all the way through the process." As a member of the Maryland state legislature, Ehrlich represented Baltimore County, which was cited in the report "as having a significantly higher rate of death sentences than other jurisdictions in the state." I suppose once you have accepted extermination as just, then it is easy to dismiss issues of racial discrimination.

    Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota and the U.S. Military provide for execution in their statutes. None have carried one out since capital punishment was re-legalized in 1976.

    The highest courts of Kansas and New York overturned the death penalty statutes in their states. In Kansas, the court ruled 4 to 3 to overturn the death penalty because the law stated when jurors found arguments for and against the death penalty equal in weight, the jurors should vote for the death penalty. In other words, execution is more just than life in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court will review the Kansas Court's decision.

    In New York, the court ruled that the law was written in such a way that a death sentence might be imposed by a jury if they were afraid that a defendant who was not executed could be released at some future date. A New York jury had to unanimously agree to either execute a person or sentence them to life without possibility of parole. If unanimity could not be reached, then the court would sentence the defendant to life imprisonment with parole eligibility after serving a minimum of 20 to 25 years. Nowhere else in the country are judges required to instruct jurors that failure to unanimously agree to execution or life without possibility of parole will result in a more lenient decision by the court. As it stands, unless pro-death penalty Assembly members vigorously pursue reinstatement, capital punishment should remain unconstitutional in New York for the near future.

    On December 15th, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill to suspend executions. In January, the bill will be before the New Jersey Assembly. If passed, New Jersey will be the first state to impose a moratorium through the legislative process. The bill will require the establishment of a death penalty commission to investigate issues such as racial and geographic bias, cost and others. This is similar to the commission set up by former Illinois Governor George Ryan.

    At its conclusion, the Ryan commission provided more than 80 recommendations to improve on the fairness of the capital punishment system in Illinois. The commission further stated that even if all recommendations were enacted, there could be no guarantee that an innocent person would not be put to death. The Illinois Legislature passed a handful of the recommendations and apparently felt it had accomplished enough.

    The House of Representatives in New Mexico voted to abolish the death penalty and the State Senate nearly did so. The Governor of Connecticut proposed a "fool-proof" death penalty, which the State Legislature voted down by nearly two to one. The only "fool-proof" way to avoid executing an innocent person is to execute no one. The state governments of California and North Carolina approved legislative commissions to study the use of the death penalty in their states.

    Although a majority of Americans still favor capital punishment, that support is weakening. The approval rating hasn't been lower in 27 years. A recent Zogby International survey found that support for the death penalty among Catholics has dropped to under 50%. At the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in November, a statement was issued calling for an end to the death penalty:

    "It is time for our nation to abandon the illusion that we can protect life by taking life. When the state, in our names and with our taxes, ends a human life despite having non-lethal alternatives, it suggests that society can overcome violence with violence. The use of the death penalty ought to be abandoned not only for what it does to those who are executed, but what it does to all society."

    This past year, many individuals questioned the fairness and justice of our system of death. U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens noted a "significant number of defendants in capital cases have not been provided with fully competent legal representation at trial." (Associated Press, August 7, 2005) Federal Judge Bryce Martin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit wrote, "the death penalty in this country is . . . so fundamentally flawed at its very core that it is beyond repair" (dissenting opinion filed in the capital case of Moore v. Parker). Retired Orange County, California Superior Court Judge Donald A. McCartin said, "This may seem strange coming from a man known as 'the hanging judge' of Orange County, but I think it's time to abolish the death penalty Human error, inequalities, biases create the problems that have caused my rejection of the death penalty." (Orange County Register, June 24, 2005)

    Bill Wiseman, the former Oklahoma legislator who introduced lethal injection as a method of execution to make death row inmates' deaths more humane declared "I'm sorry for what I did the problem is that we're killing people. That's what's wrong, not how we're doing it." (Mother Jones, September/October 2005) Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein, Chair of the Judiciary Committee of the New York Assembly changed her opinion on the death penalty after a series of hearings. "I think it was impossible for anyone to sit through the testimony and not come away with the conclusion that you cannot draft a death penalty law that does not have the possibility of convicting someone who is innocent."

    Former chaplain of death row in Texas, Reverend Carroll Pickett stated, "Ninety-five times I personally walked a man who was sentenced to die to the death chamber in Texas. From the very first person executed through lethal injection, through 16 years of walking those eight steps from the holding cell in the death house to the impeccably clean gurney in the death chamber, I led a man ­ some were older, some convicted in their teens, some mentally ill, some very hardened by life and, I fully know, some who were innocent." (Edinburgh Evening News, July 18, 2005)

    Back in Illinois, the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ICADP) will soon release its Annual Report. Very likely, a copy will be personally delivered to each member of our State Legislature. This is the group that can put an end to the class and race biased revenge system Illinois refers to as capital punishment. While we have had tepid to good Legislative support for abolition in the Chicago area, we are weak elsewhere. ICADP recently hired a part-time organizer to work with downstate communities. As this is an election year, we can expect little more than ground breaking. As with many progressive social movements, politicians become the grand front-runners once they've caught on to public sentiment.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

     

    Class War Continues

    Congress fully reconvenes at the end of January. If Dubya has driven us into a quagmire in foreign affairs, the Republican Congress has managed to achieve much the same in domestic affairs. Apart from the perennial weeds of corruption festooning Republicans (in particular) like some genetically modified kudzu, some of the more spectacular issues deal with civil liberties: renewal of some of the more dubious provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. As New Ground goes to press, demonstrations against the Alito nomination have already taken place in Chicago and more will follow. The Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights is continuing its effort to have the Illinois General Assembly pass a resolution for repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, a project that does not depend upon the outcome of the renewal vote. If you'd like to help, contact the Coalition at 847.867.4733 (Brent Mesick) or 312.939.4733 or go to the coalition's web site: http://www.ccclr.org.

    The less spectacular but equally important issue still on the agenda is the little matter of taxes and spending. Both the Senate and the House passed a budget that cuts spending on social services and a tax bill that (not coincidentally) cuts taxes on the wealthy, only to have the whole process come to a grinding halt because the two chambers could not agree on the scale of the atrocity.

    The Fair Taxes for All Coalition is again mobilizing to defeat these bills and the class war on the not wealthy that these bills represent. The House returns to session on January 31 and a vote on the budget reconciliation may very well happen by February 1. The original House / Senate conference report passed the House last year in the dead of night, with only a few hours provided for Representatives to review its contents. With an entire month to become acquainted with both content and constituent reaction, there are some further prospects for defeating this measure. Organizations in key states will be organizing press conferences, town hall forums, vigils and other events to urge Members of Congress to oppose the reconciliation bill.

    The tax cut did not move so far as the budget. The House / Senate conference failed to reconcile the two versions of the bill passed by the House and the Senate. This puts the Republicans in the awkward position of handing the rich candy immediately after having taken away the poor's potatoes. Also, the Senate's "PAYGO" rules limit the size of the tax cuts coming out of the reconciliation process, increasing the possibility we can at least limit the damage.

    For further information, go to Fair Taxes for All (http://www.fairtaxes4all.org), OMB Watch (http://www.ombwatch.org), and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (http://www.cbpp.org). But all this information is useless data if you don't act on it. Call or write your Congressmen today. Budget, taxes, civil liberties, corruption: it's a target rich environment. Shoot now or forever hold your piece (begging your pardon).

     

    Going Beyond Taking Back Our Country

    The 48th annual Eugene V. Debs ­ Norman Thomas ­ Michael Harrington Dinner will be held on Friday evening, April 28, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans in Chicago. This year we are pleased to honor Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris, Executive Director of the Community Renewal Society; Henry Tamarin, President of UNITE HERE Local 1; and the organization U.S. Labor Against the War. Maria Guillen, Regional Vice President of SEIU Local 790, will accept the award for USLAW. Our featured speaker will John Nichols, author and Washington correspondent for The Nation. He will speak on "The 2006 Elections: Going Beyond Taking Back Our Country". However much an improvement it would be, we will fail if winning just means two more years of things not getting worse.

    Individual tickets are $50, reserved tables are $600, and these may be obtained from the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner Committee, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Rm 403, Chicago, IL 60647. For more information, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006 or call 773.384.0327.

     

    Clint Jencks

    San Diego DSA regrets to announce that our esteemed member Clint Jencks died on December 15, 2005. Clint was 87 and was a Professor Emeritus of Economics at San Diego State University, having retired from SDSU in 1986. Younger DSA members and friends may not know that in Clint Jencks we had a legendary figure from the American labor movement and the struggles against McCarthyism. In 1950, Clint was a leader of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in southwest New Mexico. He led a strike of mostly Latino zinc miners in Silver City, NM. Shortly after this strike, in the midst of the Hollywood red scare, a group of blacklisted film industry artists formed their own production company and were looking for a story about American working people. They chose a story based on the IUMMSW strike, and used the actual participants in the strike as actors. Clint essentially played himself. Every step in the production of the film, processing, editing, etc. encountered determined opposition from the industry. It was almost impossible to find theaters that would show the film, but in 1954 Salt of the Earth, starring Clint Jencks opened to very, very limited distribution.

    Times changed. Salt of the Earth was ultimately recognized as a national treasure, and was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 100 films to be preserved for posterity. Clint went on to get his Ph.D. in economics at U.C. Berkeley. He joined the SDSU Economics Department in 1964 and played an important role in the SDSU community and in the SDSU faculty union movement for 22 years. After retirement, Clint remained a familiar figure and participant in DSA and the San Diego progressive movement.

    For more information, particularly about Clint Jencks' legacy in protecting civil liberties, check out the article at Unbossed: http://www.unbossed.com/index.php?itemid=553.

     

    Hold the Press!

    The death penalty moratorium has passed the New Jersey legislature. It will be signed into law by Governor Richard Codey before he leaves office on January 17. New Jersey has 10 inmates on death row.


    New Ground #104.1

    01.23.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    48th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom
    "Democratic Left"

    1. Politics

    January 25 Call-In Against the USA PATRIOT Act
    The $2,000,000,000,000 War
    National Call-In Days Against Budget Cuts
    A Story You Won't Hear on NPR
    The Color of Disaster

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    The Left, Labor, and McCarthyism
    Capitalism Resurgent

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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    DSA News

    48th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
    The 2006 Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner will honor Henry Tamarin, President of UNITE HERE Local 1 representing hotel and restaurant workers in the Chicago region; the Reverend Doctor Calvin Morris, Executive Director of the Community Renewal Society, a Chicago civil rights organization over a century old; and labor's peace organization, U.S. Labor Against the War. John Nichols, author and Washington correspondent for The Nation, is our speaker on Going Beyond Taking Back Our Country. This year the Dinner will be held on Friday evening, April 28, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, Chicago. You can help us in this project of renewing the fight for justice by participating. For more information, go to
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    The Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) are hosting a national conference in New York City on February 17-19 (President's Day weekend), called "Turning the Tide Towards Freedom: Building the Youth and Student Movement for Justice" to bring together activists from across the country for workshops, trainings, great speakers, and more to reenergize the struggle to build a better future! For more information, go to:
    http://www.ydsusa.org/confs/nyc_0206.html

    Democratic Left

    The Winter, 2006, issue of Democratic Left is now posted on the web. Go to:
    http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Winter_2006.pdf

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    Politics

    January 25 Call-In Against the USA PATRIOT Act
    Last December, Congress extended until February 3rd the 16 PATRIOT Act provisions that would have otherwise expired on December 31, 2005. Your phone calls to your senators and representative on January 25 in support of meaningful reforms can make the difference in restoring our rights to privacy, free speech, and due process.

    Please join the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and allies across the U.S. to make Wednesday, January 25 an overwhelming grassroots response to the PATRIOT Act and other governmental excesses! Your phone calls to your senators and representative can help end Big Brother run amok.

    Dial the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask the operator to connect you (24 hours a day) or enter your zip code here http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ to find your legislators' direct Washington office phone numbers. To find their district office numbers, click on their names or call your local library.

    For talking points and other resources, go to:
    http://bordc.org/involved/resourcesdefending.php

    The $2,000,000,000,000 War

    The "cost overruns" rung up by the Iraq War would have conservatives foaming at the mouth. The Bush Administration fired their economic advisor, Larry Lindsey, for suggesting the cost might be higher by thrice. But the costs of war do not end with the war itself. Just how much could that bill be? Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University budget expert Linda Bilmes have made an estimate. Ready for sticker shock? Go to:
    http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/

    For an op-ed by Stiglitz and Bilmes, go to:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-bilmes17jan17,0,7038018.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

    National Call-In Days Against Budget Cuts

    On February 1, the day before the Republican leadership election, the House gets a second chance to vote on the budget reconciliation spending cuts bill, S 1932. The Fair Taxes for All Coalition and others have organized a "National Call-In Days" campaign from January 23 through February 1 to pressure the House to do the right thing, to reject the budget bill that came out of the House ­ Senate Conference committee. You can call 1.800.426.8073 (toll-free courtesy of the American Friends Service Committee) to be connected to the Capitol Switchboard.

    The Coalition on Human Needs has issued white papers on how the budget cuts will affect each state. Go to:
    http://www.chn.org/issues/opportunityforall/statefactsheets.html

    A Story You Won't Hear on NPR

    NABET-CWA Charges NPR with Labor Law Violation; Urges Newsmakers to Decline Interviews. For more information, go to:
    http://www.cwa-union.org/news/PressReleaseDisplay.asp?ID=550

    The Color of Disaster

    DSA'er Michael Eric Dyson has published a new book, Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster. Released on January 16, you can read an excerpt from the first chapter at:
    http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/speakout/me_dyson.cfm

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    Democratic Socialism

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Martin Luther King always felt that economic justice was as important as civil rights. It's worth remembering this each time the holiday celebrating his birthday rolls around because civil rights without economic justice leaves us only half way to the promised land. Socialists were active in organizing the civil rights movement, but King himself expressed the view that some kind of democratic socialism was necessary for economic justice. Chicagoan Paul Street talks about just how we don't remember. Go to:
    http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-01/14street.cfm

    Along the same lines, the Young Democratic Socialists have prepared a poster on just this subject:
    http://www.ydsusa.org/flyers/mlk.pdf

    The Left, Labor, and McCarthyism

    Chicago DSA member Jack Metzgar reviews Harry, Tom, and Father Rice: Accusation and Betrayal in America's Cold War by John Hoerr. A tale of the left, labor and McCarthyism in the Winter, 2006 , issue of Dissent. Go to:
    http://www.dissentmagazine.org

    Capitalism Resurgent

    A new British on-line left magazine, State of Nature, has published its second number, "Capitalism: Rejected". It includes an article by DSA member Michael J. Thompson, "Capitalism Resurgent". See
    http://www.stateofnature.org

     

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

    Saturday, January 28, 2 PM
    "Life and Debt" & "Behind the Labels: Garment Workers on U.S. Saipan"
    A double feature showing of documentaries on corporate globalization and its injustices. Sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice. For more information, go to http://www.opctj.org/

    Wednesday, February 1, 4 PM - 7 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Peoria Civic Center Rms. 220-222, 201 SW Jefferson Ave. Peoria, IL
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC/index.htm

    Saturday, February 4, 2 PM
    Reforming the Media in a Decaying Democracy
    Acme Artworks, 1741 N. Western, Chicago
    An Open University of the Left panel discussion featuring 3 activists from Chicago Media Action: Scott Sanders, Mitchell Szczepanczyk, and Karen Bond. For more information, call 847.677.5474 or go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/


    New Ground #104.2

    02.06.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    1. Politics

    Chicago's "Big Box Living Wage Ordinance"
    Pulling Apart
    Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs
    State of the Onion

    2. Democratic Socialism

    New Democratic Party Gains in Canadian Elections

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DSA News

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    The Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) are hosting a national conference in New York City on February 17-19 (President's Day weekend), called "Turning the Tide Towards Freedom: Building the Youth and Student Movement for Justice" to bring together activists from across the country for workshops, trainings, great speakers, and more to reenergize the struggle to build a better future! For more information, go to:
    http://www.ydsusa.org/confs/nyc_0206.html

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics

    Chicago's "Big Box Living Wage Ordinance"

    For some time now, Chicago's labor movement has been fighting the threat of Wal-Mart intrusion into Chicago and the consequent race to the bottom in wages and benefits by proposing a "Big Box Living Wage Ordinance" that would set the "bottom" for stores like Wal-Mart at something resembling a living wage. The legislation before the Chicago City Council would require companies to pay at least $10 an hour and offer family health insurance coverage.

    The Chicago City Council and Mayor Daley need to know that Chicagoans support a Living Wage Ordinance for big box retail stores. As the local campaign heats up this winter, your support grows more and more critical. Our elected officials need to know that their constituents support a living wage. The American Friends Service Committee is gathering a petition via the web in support of the ordinance. Please take a moment to sign the petition and become part of this historic initiative for economic justice in Chicago.
    http://support.afsc.org/site/PageServer?pagename=LivingWageCampaign&JServSessionIdr006=uirx9tb2j1.app14a

    Pulling Apart

    The Economic Policy Institute has released a state by state analysis of income trends. The news isn't good for most people, though marxists will feel some vindication. See:
    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/studies_pulling_apart_2006

    Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs

    President Bush and his senior advisors have been traveling around the country touting the administration's job creation record and claiming that deeper, permanent tax cuts are needed to create additional jobs. United for a Fair Economy had a look at the data, and issued a report, "Nothing to be Thankful For: Tax Cuts and the Deteriorating U.S. Job Market." It finds there is no correlation between tax cuts and job growth. Over a 60-year time frame, UFE found that tax increases and tax decreases have both been followed by either job growth or job loss. In short, there is no connection.

    All the evidence supports rolling back tax cuts, not making them permanent. The full report is available at: http://www.faireconomy.org/press/2006/tax_cuts_dont_create_jobs_pr.html

    State of the Onion

    Okay, all you keyboard gerbils haunting the internet have probably seen this, but for the rest of you, here's an observation for our times. This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog."

     

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    Democratic Socialism

    New Democratic Party Gains in Canadian Elections

    Our neighbors to the north just completed a national election, and DSA's "sister party", the NDP, made significant gains. As you probably know, it's a parliamentary arrangement, with winner take all single round voting in each district, or "riding" as they refer to it there. If the NDP had won seats in proportion to their vote, they'd have had considerably more.

    Party        Seats     %
    CONSERVATIVE   124 - 36.25%
    LIBERAL        103 - 30.22%
    BLOC Québécois  51 - 10.48%
    NEW DEMOCRATIC  29 - 17.49%
    INDEPENDENT      1 -   .52%
    OTHERS           0 -  5.05%

    Just what all this means for the left in Canada depends upon who you ask. For example:

    Harper is PM, but the winner is left-wing Canada by Murray Dobbin
    http://www.rabble.ca/politics.shtml?x=46149

    Movement and Party by Jim Stanford, Canadian Auto Workers
    http://www.caw.ca/news/factsfromthefringe/issue115.asp

    Begging to differ with Jim by Judy Rebick
    http://www.rabble.ca/in_her_own_words.shtml?sh_itm=cd02d10e70f1e9dc8d618ac6fa1aef03&rXn=1&

    For a perspective from the States, The Capital Times' John Nichols, "Conservative Win Not Big Canadian Lurch to Right":
    http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/column/index.php?ntid=70867&ntpid=0

    Canada, unlike the United States, has something resembling real political parties. This is typical of countries where elections are not held on a regular schedule. If you can't anticipate with certainty the election schedule, you need to have a campaign organization ready to go, to say nothing of a ready source of likely candidates. But this is changing. For an inside look at one NDP campaign, check out "Fighting a Campaign Online: Challenges of live, interactive politicking" by Crawford Kilian
    http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/02/02/CampaignOnline/

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

    Wednesday, February 8, 4 PM - 7 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veterans Park, 800 S. 27th St, Mount Vernon
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC/index.htm

    Thursday, February 9, 7 PM
    East Side, West Side: Race Class, and TV
    Acme Artworks, 1741 N. Western, Chicago
    A Black History Month presentation led by activist Darryl Gordon. For more information, call 847.677.5474 or go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Saturday, February 11, 2 PM
    The Oil Factor: Beyond the War on Terror
    Acme Artworks, 1741 N. Western, Chicago
    A showing of a documentary by Gerard Ungerman that looks at the real reasons behind our wars in the Middle East. For more information, call 847.677.5474 or go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Sunday, February 12, 10 AM
    Worker Ownership and Cooperatives
    Third Unitarian Church, 301 N. Mayfield, Chicago
    Tom Ard will speak on worker ownership and control of economic enterprises, including the Mondragon (Spain). For more information, go to: http://www.thridunitarianchurch.org

    Tuesday, February 14, 7 PM
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee Meeting
    Chicago DSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago
    Business, but all DSA members are welcome to attend. For information, call 773.384.0327.

    Wednesday, February 15, 4 PM - 7 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Illinois Terminal, 45 E. University Av, 4th Floor, Champaign
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC/index.htm

    Friday, February 17, 7 PM
    The High Cost of Low Prices

    Teamsters Local 705 Hall, 1645 W. Jackson, Chicago
    The highly acclaimed documentary on Wal-Mart. A reception with beer, wine, and cheese will follow the showing. $5 donation suggested. For more information, email bobbreving@yahoo.com


    New Ground #104.3

    02.15.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    1. Politics

    Last Chance at the USA PATRIOT Act
    Hotel Workers Rising
    Lobby for Health Care in Illinois

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    The Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) are hosting a national conference in New York City on February 17-19 (President's Day weekend), called "Turning the Tide Towards Freedom: Building the Youth and Student Movement for Justice" to bring together activists from across the country for workshops, trainings, great speakers, and more to reenergize the struggle to build a better future! For more information, go to:
    http://www.ydsusa.org/confs/nyc_0206.html

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    Politics

    Last Chance at the USA PATRIOT Act

    The Bill of Rights Defense Committee writes on Wednesday, the 15th: as we write, the Senate is debating a sham "compromise" PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill, in preparation for votes to come very soon. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is planning a filibuster, but the four Republicans and several Democrats who stood with him last December have indicated that they will support the ãcompromise.ä In his floor speech, Senator Feingold once again mentioned the more than 400 resolutions and said that he hopes to read some of them aloud to his colleagues. Here is his prepared floor statement as just delivered:
    http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/06/02/2006215.html.

    The Senate debate is being broadcast on C-SPAN 2, available online at
    http://c-span.org/watch/cspan2_wm.asp?Cat=TV&Code=CS2.

    This is our last chance to call our Senators. Please phone their offices as soon as you can today. (Sorry, there is not enough time for emails!)

    The Schedule. We assume a cloture vote will take place today. 60 or more votes in favor of cloture will allow a vote on the reauthorization bill. If the cloture vote succeeds, a vote on the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill will take place either this evening or early tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 16).

    What to do. Call both your Senators via the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121 (24 hours), or look up their numbers at
    http://www.senate.gov.

    Ask them to:

    • Oppose cloture on the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill.
    • Vote against the reauthorization bill.

    Hotel Workers Rising

    UNITE HERE is conducting a nationwide tour to launch a new campaign to empower thousands of hotel workers in cities across North America. Contracts with hotels in many major cities have been negotiated to have common expirations dates to leverage a better deal. Typically, union contracts serve as a model for unrepresented workers so even they will benefit.
    The kick-off rally in Chicago will be Friday, February 17, at the Drake Hotel ballroom, 140 E. Walton. Rally with Senator Edwards, hotel workers, and UNITE HERE Presidents Bruce Raynor and John Wilhelm. For more information, go to:
    http://www.hotelworkersrising.org/kickoff.asp

    Lobby for Health Care in Illinois
    Join the Health Care Justice Campaign on February 28th as we meet with legislators to collect signed pledges in support of health care justice and attend the Springfield Health Care Justice Act public hearing at the Michael J. Howlett Building Auditorium [501 South 2nd St (at Edwards)] from 4:30-6:30pm. A bus will leave from the UNITE parking lot (333 S. Ashland, Chicago) at 7:00am and return around 10:00pm that evening. Free parking is available and the lot is accessible by public transportation (take the CTA blue line to the Medical Center stop).

    RESERVE YOUR SEAT ON THE BUS NOW FOR $50, which includes travel and food.

    Organizations and individuals can sponsor seats on the bus for $50 each. If your organization would like to donate sponsored seats on the bus, please notify Megan ASAP at 312-913-9449, so seats can be offered to HCJC members who cannot afford the $50 cost. The deadline for sponsorship is Friday, February 17th.

    For more information on the Health Care Justice Campaign, go to:
    http://www.cbhconline/HCJC

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

    Wednesday, February 15, 4 PM - 6 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing

    Illinois Terminal, 45 E. University Av, 4th Floor, Champaign
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC/index.htm

    Friday, February 17, 7 PM
    The High Cost of Low Prices
    Teamsters Local 705 Hall, 1645 W. Jackson, Chicago
    The highly acclaimed documentary on Wal-Mart. A reception with beer, wine, and cheese will follow the showing. $5 donation suggested. Sponsored by the DePaul University Labor Education Program. For more information, email bobbreving@yahoo.com

    Thursday, February 23, 7 PM
    The Politics of Print
    Acme Artworks, 1741 N. Western Av, Chicago
    A look at trends shaping print journalism as it competes with electronic media, led by writer and activist Peter Zelchenko. Sponsored by the Open University of the Left. Tuition is $5 but no one will be turned away. For more information, go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/


    New Ground #104.4

    02.25.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    End the War and Occupation ­ Troops Home Now

    1. Politics

    UFPJ National Call-In Day
    Boycott Monterey Bay Travelodge
    Health Care Now!
    Locked Out Stepan Workers Need Help
    NAFTA and Nativism

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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    DSA News

    End the War and Occupation ­ Troops Home Now

    At its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 14, the Chicago DSA Executive Committee voted to endorse the March 18 demonstrations and rallies to protest the third anniversary of the continuing war and occupation in the Gulf. For more information, go to:
    http://www.chicagoactions.org/

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics

    UFPJ National Call-In Day

    United for Peace and Justice is urging people to make Tuesday, February 28 a national call-in day against the war in Iraq. Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard toll free at 888-818-6641 and ask to speak to your Representative or your Senators. Give them this message:

    "I strongly oppose the war in Iraq. I want all our troops brought home safely, without delay. I urge you to vote against the President's $72.4 billion 'emergency' supplemental request for the war."

    Members of Congress have been afraid to vote against this money because they don't want to be accused of not supporting the troops. It is time to stop using the troops as a shield for failed policy. It is time for the people of this country to speak up and show Congress how to stand up to the President.

    For more information:
    http://www.unitedforpeace.org/

    Boycott Monterey Bay Travelodge

    Readers of New Ground know that UNITE HERE Local 1 here in Chicago has had a long running strike against the Congress Plaza Hotel. This is not the only such fight UNITE HERE has in progress. A dozen Latino hotel workers at the Monterey Bay Travelodge in Monterey, California, are locked in a battle with their employer, Kilsoo Seo. Seo eliminated his workers' health insurance and pension plans in October 2004. UNITE HERE has called for a boycott of the Monterey Bay Travelodge. Please support the boycott by sending an email to Kilsoo Seo telling him you will not stay at his Monterey Bay Travelodge until the labor issues are settled. See:
    http://www.boycottmontereybaytravelodge.info/

    http://action.unitehere.org/campaign/mbtr/

    Health Care Now!

    All across the nation, a broad coalition of organizations has been organizing support for Representative John Conyor's bill, HR 676, as a solution that provides universal health care, "Medicare for All". For more information, go to:
    http://www.healthcare-now.org/
    Part of this campaign has been the organization of "Citizens' Hearings". One such hearing in the Chicago area is scheduled for DuPage County in Illinois on Saturday, March 4, from 4 PM to 6 PM, in Rooms 128A&B in the Open Campus Center (OCC) on the College of DuPage West Campus:
    http://www.cod.edu/Maps_Loc.htm
    Entitled "Let's Tell Congress ­ With One Voice: ALL Americans Deserve Healthcare NOW", the program will feature Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program (and DSA member), and State Representative Mary Flowers, an advocate for nurse and patient rights in our healthcare system. All three candidates for the 6th District Democratic primary have been invited to talk about their views on the healthcare crisis and the Conyers bill, and to answer questions from local citizens and nurses.

    Locked Out Stepan Workers Need Help

    Workers at the Stepan Company in Fieldsboro, New Jersey, have been locked out of their jobs since January 24th as punishment for organizing a union. They need help to get Stepan to unlock the doors and, finally, negotiate a first contract. Please ask Stepan Chemicals to end the lockout of their Fieldsboro, New Jersey workers, who are members of UE Local 155. Sending a message only takes a minute. Simply go this page on the UE website:
    http://www.ranknfile-ue.org/cm/stepan_lockout.php

    NAFTA and Nativism
    DSA Vice-Chair Harold Meyerson on "NAFTA and Nativism":
    http://www.dsausa.org/lowwage/lowwage.html

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

    Tuesday, February 28, 4:30 PM ­ 6:30 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Michael J. Howlett Building Auditorium, 501 S. 2nd St, Springfield
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Wednesday, March 8, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    John A. Logan Community Conference Center (Tarvin Crisp Room), 700 College Rd, Carterville
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Thursday, March 9, 7 PM
    Black Box Ballots
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A showing of the documentary, Ballot Integrity, and a discussion of the dangers of electronic voting led by a member of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project. Please note the change in venue. An Open University of the Left event, tuition is $5, though no one will be turned away. For more information, go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/


    New Ground #104.5

    03.06.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    GOPDSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee Meeting

    1. Politics

    Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty
    Anti-War Majority Leans on Hastert

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Ideas of the American Labor Movement

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    GOPDSA Membership Meeting

    Sunday, March 12, 1 PM, at the home of Tom Broderick, 201 S. Ridgeland, Oak Park. For DSA members in west suburban Cook County, twixt I-55 and I-90, more or less. Actually, all DSA members are welcome. There will be refreshments. For information, call Tom at 708.386.6007.

    Chicago DSA Executive Committee Meeting

    Tuesday, March 14, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago. Right near the Damen Avenue station on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare, on the 4th floor of the Northwest Tower Building (aka Coyote Tower), the meeting is business but all DSA members are welcome to attend. (Sorry, we don't feed you.) For more information, call the office at 773.384.0327.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics

    Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty

    The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will be lobbying a targeted group of legislators who may be ready to join with the Coalition in its concerns over the use of capital punishment against the seriously mentally ill and the rising costs of our death penalty system. For those in Chicago, a bus will leave the city at 6:30 AM and return around 6 PM. To make a lobby day commitment, call 312.849.2279 or email abolishpenalty@yahoo.com.

    Anti-War Majority Leans on Hastert

    The Anti-War Majority is planning seven consecutive days of peace vigils outside the District offices of Representative Dennis Hastert, 27 N. River Street in Batavia. Stand up for peace with over twenty community, peace, labor, and church groups from across the west suburbs and Chicago that work to stop the war and bring the troops home. These vigils are a concrete way to speak your conscience against the thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars squandered, dollars desperately needed here at home. Join for as many hours as you are able, throughout the week, March 10 ­ 17, 7 AM to 7 PM.
    Throughout the day, people will staff 3 hour shifts at a memorial vigil along Wilson Street near Hastert's office. Coffins and boots will represent the U.S. soldiers killed. Shoes will represent the 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed. The Anti-War Majority hopes to erect a Peace Camp (tent, chairs, warming site, etc.) to anchor and support this work. Each day will be led by a local organization. A closing rally will take place on Friday, March 10, 10 AM to Noon.
    This campaign will start with a kickoff rally on Friday, March 10, 7 PM at the Faith Church of the Brethren, 613 N. Van Buren St, Batavia. Kathy Kelly and others will speak, briefly, and we will proceed to Hastert's office at 7:45 PM.
    For more information, go to http://www.anti-warmajority.org or email wsfpc@comcast.net or call 630.768.9305 or 630.618.6631.

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    Democratic Socialism

    Ideas of the American Labor Movement

    This article by University of Maryland historian Gary Gerstle examines the ideologies of the American labor movement from 1880 through 1950. As it also includes a survey of the academic conversation on the topic, it's an excellent introduction to another aspect of the old problem of "American exceptionalism". It's also a good place to start thinking about the labor movement today. Go to:
    http://success.shoreline.edu/economics/ideas_of_the_american_labor_movement.htm

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

    Thursday, March 9, 7 PM
    Black Box Ballots
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A showing of the documentary, Ballot Integrity, and a discussion of the dangers of electronic voting led by a member of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project. Please note the change in venue. An Open University of the Left event, tuition is $5, though no one will be turned away. For more information, go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Friday March 10. Noon ­ 5 PM
    March and Rally Against HR4437 (Sensenbrenner ­ King Bill)
    Noon ­ Start at Union Park, Ashland & Lake in Chicago
    2 PM ­ Rally at Federal Plaza (Kluczynski Building), 230 S. Dearborn, Chicago
    The anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Bill, recently passed by the House, threatens to make criminals many members of immigrant communities, build a wall along the whole U.S. ­ Mexico border, and deny opportunities for citizenship and family re-unification.
    For information, call Chicago Jobs with Justice at 312.738.6209.

    Wednesday, March 15, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Augustana College (Wallenberg Hall, 2nd Floor), 3520 7th Av, Rock Island
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Saturday, March 18, 10 AM and on
    End the War and Occupation; Troops Home Now
    Marches and rallies on the 3rd anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq to send a message to George Bush and all other supporters of the war that three years of war in Iraq are three years too many.
    10 AM ­ Feeder marches begin in various neighborhoods. For information, go to http://www.chicagoactions.org/02-feedermarches.html
    3 PM ­ Rally at Union Park, Lake and Ashland in Chicago
    6 PM ­ Michigan Avenue march. Assemble at Walton and State, 6 PM. March begins at 7 PM sharp.
    For more information, go to http://www.chicagoactions.org or call 773.536.0098.

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    PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

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    Chicago Democratic Socialists of America
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    Chicago, IL 60647
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