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New Ground 105

March - April, 2006

Contents

  • What Do Hotel Workers Want? by Bob Roman
  • 48th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
  • "Silence Like a Cancer Grows" by Bob Roman
  • March for Peace, Justice and Democracy
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Turning the Tide Toward Freedom

    Health Care Justice

    New Ground 105.1 - 03.25.2006

    0. DSA News

    Chicago Membership Meeting
    DSA International Commission
    48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    1. Politics

    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Comes Back to Chicago
    Boycott "The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean"
    America Deserves a Raise
    Two Demonstrations

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 105.2 - 04.01.2006

    0. DSA News

    Additions to the Web Site
    DSA's Anti-Racism Commission
    Chicago Membership Meeting

    1. Politics

    Just Say No!

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Left Needs More Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 105.3 - 04.08.2006

    0. DSA News

    The Birth of a Movement
    Chicago Membership Meeting

    1. Politics

    The Disappearing Middle
    What's the Matter with Labor?
    Was That a Lively Press Conference or a Tame Riot?

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 105.4 - 04.17.2006

    0. DSA News

    Fencing the Commons
    The Sun Also Rises

    1. Politics

    Do Something... Scream at least

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Cooperative Enterprise

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 105.5 - 04.24.2006

    0. DSA News

    Young Democratic Socialists Summer Internships

    1. Politics

    Fair Wages for Farm Workers
    Rally for Living Wages
    Congress Hotel Strike Rally
    March 10th Movement
    Strike!
    Fiscal Follies

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 105.6 - 05.08.2006

    0. DSA News

    Spring, 2006, "Democratic Left"
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee May Meeting

    1. Politics

    Impeachment One State at a Time
    It Was May Day and I Couldn't Stop Smiling
    Estate Tax Follies
    "The Israel Lobby"

    2. Democratic Socialism

    May Day with Heart

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     


    What Do Hotel Workers Want? More...

    schoolhouses and less jails;

    more books and less arsenals;

    more learning and less vice;

    more leisure and less greed;
    more justice and less revenge...

    by Bob Roman

    The start of UNITE HERE's "Hotel Workers Rising" campaign was a week of kick off rallies, including an event in the Drake Hotel on Chicago's near north side. The indoor rally on Friday afternoon, February 17, drew an overflow crowd to the hotel's ballroom, primarily but not exclusively members of UNITE HERE, SEIU, and UFCWU. This rally was third in of series that began in San Francisco on February 15. Rallies were also held in Los Angeles on February 16 and in Boston on February 18.

    The Hotel Workers Rising campaign on one level unites the efforts of workers in 200 hotels in seven major markets to win better conditions. They all have contracts expiring this year, except that the hotel workers in San Francisco began their fight last fall. Wages and benefits are certainly among the immediate objectives of this fight. In Chicago, for example, the average hotel housekeeper wage is $11.75 an hour. This might be adequate but spartan for an individual, alone, but it's hardly an income sufficient to support children. And like most American workers, health care availability and cost are also on the table. Rather more important, though, are the working conditions resulting from demands for increased productivity. These raise occupational health and safety concerns, and they may end up being among the more important immediate issues on the table.

    On another level, the Hotel Workers Rising campaign is one of the first undertaken by the new Change to Win federation. As such, this nationally coordinated bargaining is likely to take advantage of increasing consolidation in the hospitality industry to seek employer neutrality agreements on organizing and the use of "card check" recognition, bypassing NLRB elections.

    Card-check recognition occurs when an employer agrees to recognize a union when the union shows that it has majority support among employees, typically though the use of simple authorization cards. This procedure does not guarantee that a union will successfully organize a shop, nor does it win a first contract, nor does it prevent a decertification election. If unions are much more successful at organizing with the card check process, at least part of the problem with elections is the NLRB itself. (See New Ground 43, "The Quick Vote" by Kurt Anderson.)

    Organizing as a priority applies the Change to Win strategy of increasing union density in particular markets, among particular sectors, especially where employers cannot flee to low-wage venues.

    The Counter-Attack Begins

    The hospitality industry has been whining about this trend toward nationalizing negotiations, pointing out how various the local markets are. And it is true that a lot of the action this year will be local.

    But the employers are not content with just whining. A new "astro-turf" group (which is to say, a group that emulates grass roots support by substituting money for people), "The Center for Union Facts" (CUF) began its own campaign with full page newspaper ads in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. The ad depicts North Korean president Kim Jong Il, Cuban president Fidel Castro, and UNITE HERE president Bruce Raynor beneath the headline "There's no reason to subject the workers to an election." The ad goes on to ask the question, "Who said it?" CUF's answer is Bruce Raynor. The point being: CUF contends avoiding an NLRB representation election is an abridgement of employees' rights and that UNITE HERE intends to do away with such elections. Neither is true.

    CUF is apparently a new part of Washington lobbyist Rick Berman's family of non-profit, right wing front groups. The Employment Policies Institute is among the better known corporations of this family. The IRS does not require much in the way of reporting about who contributes to non-profits, and information about CUF is not yet available in any case, but there is considerable information about Rick Berman available on the web. I'd recommend starting at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Union_Facts for more information.

    The Permanence of the Political

    The card check process is also under attack in Congress. The so-called "Secret Ballot Protection Act", introduced by Georgia Congressman Charlie Norwood with about 81 co-sponsors including Judy Biggert and Donald Manzullo of Illinois, would require recognition elections and prohibit the recognition of unions through the card check process. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. It has 5 cosponsors. Both bills were introduced early last year and neither has advanced beyond committee.

    This industry counter attack already in progress illustrates the permanence of the political in union organizing. It is unlikely that anyone in the Change to Win federation ever thought organizing could exclude politics and be viable, but it's possibly fortunate that the AFL-CIO has decided to toss $40,000,000 at the political side of the equation.

    Much of this political work will need to be done on the Federal level. Federal labor law preempts state law, greatly limiting what can be accomplished at that level. In Illinois, for example, it is illegal to employ "professional strikebreakers". In 2003, the state legislature attempted to make strikebreaking more difficult by making it a criminal offense to bring in day or professional labor service agencies to replace strikers, something of an expansion of the term "professional strikebreaker".

    In 2004, the Congress Hotel, where UNITE HERE Local 1 has been on strike for nearly 3 years, received a query from the Illinois Department of Labor about the origins of its current labor force (day labor agencies, in fact) shortly after the amendment to Illinois law came into effect. Management went ballistic and headed for the nearest Federal court.

    The District court (Judge Gettleman) did not want to hear the case. It figured there was no case, no cause for action. Illinois had done nothing but ask and no criminal case had been filed, let alone decided. The Congress Hotel appealed. At the appeal, Illinois argued the Appellate court (Judges Easterbrook, Ripple, and Kanne) should affirm the District court's dismissal because the law had already been preempted by an earlier District court case, apparently involving another notorious Illinois employer, Caterpillar. This argument could just be legal strategy or it could be an indication of just how enthusiastic Dick Devine and "labor's friend" Lisa Madigan are about defending the amended law.

    The Appellate court wasn't having any of it, though. They sent the case back to the District court. They pointed to a string of cases brought to Federal court prior to litigation at the state level when the public good was served, and in any case, District court rulings do not create precedents. But more to the point, the Appellate court offered this opinion of Illinois:

    "The state's effort to make the hiring of replacement workers a crime is so starkly incompatible with federal labor law, which prevails under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, that we do not understand how a responsible state legislature could pass, a responsible Governor sign, or any responsible state official contemplate enforcing, such legislation."

    Rally for the Future

    Those closest to organizing the kick off rallies might be uncontent with various particulars of each rally, but I think UNITE HERE and Change to Win should be generally pleased with them. They created a modest media buzz, they provoked labor's enemies, they rallied the troops.

    In Chicago, the Drake Hotel may have been chosen because of ownership issues, or because of its generally elite clientele. Or it may have been chosen because while its largest hall is not small neither is it huge; almost any half way decent turn out would have looked good. As it was, I joined a long file of people inching inward. The delay was that the organizers wanted people to sign-in. The stations were divided between three unions: UNITE HERE, SEIU, and UFCWU. There did not seem to be a place for "other", but I was advised to go to the SEIU table. Wanting to be cooperative (and because they were handing out some cool t-shirts), I waited in that line for a time but ultimately gave up and headed into the ballroom. Just in time, for shortly after I got in, the room was closed and people were diverted into adjoining conference rooms set up for overflow.

    The "other" category made up a small but significant percentage of the crowd. Some of the unions represented in this group were recognized from the podium. Special mention was made of Dennis Gannon, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, thanking him for his past support and his presence at the rally.

    The program featured UNITE HERE Local 1 President Henry Tamarin, who served both as a master of ceremonies and had much to say on behalf of hospitality workers in Chicago. UNITE HERE's John Wilhelm, president of the Hospitality Division, also spoke. Former Senator John Edwards appeared here and at other of these rallies, possibly because UNITE had endorsed his attempt at gaining the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. He made a very good labor speech, ending with a call for labor law reform. And if Henry Tamarin had words on behalf of the workers, the program also featured several workers from Chicago and elsewhere who had much to say on their own behalf: about the circumstances of their work and their lives, about their hopes and frustrations, about their jobs. They were effective presentations.

    There were projected electronic presentations on particular subjects and prerecorded music. And live music. UNITE HERE has a choir (who knew? though choirs were once common in the labor movement), and while they were dressed much like a church choir, their music was rather more ribald.

    The music, live and recorded, seemed intended to enliven the crowd. I may have missed it, but the music was devoid of any political or ideological content. I heard none of the old union hymns.

    And why should those old hymns have been played, even using Bucky Halker's up-tempo covers? Very few of the attendees would have known the music. At most, these days, the anthem "Solidarity Forever" gets reduced to singing, repeatedly, "Solidarity Forever", as if this business about bringing to birth a new world from the ashes of the old makes folks a bit uncomfortable. And, one has to ask, would those old anthems have spoken to anyone but the ideologues in the audience? (And there were more than just a few at the rally. Despite the conservative canard about leftists running the universities, the easiest place to find a marxist is not on campus but among union staffers. The easiest place to find an ex-marxist is among elected union officials.) My feeling is that most of the audience would have responded well to particular elements of a socialist critique of capitalism but advocating the abolition of capitalism would have sounded like goose farts on a muggy day.

    So was the rally devoid of ideological content? Was it, as conservatives might insist, a cynical promotion by the "union business" to increase its revenue stream through more dues paying members?

    Not at all. Never mind what the union leadership had to say. The union members addressing the crowd made their expectations plain. They did not want the full "surplus value" they generated through their work, only enough that they would have the means to make choices in their lives. This is one of the defining characteristics of being "middle class": that you have options and your choices might reasonably make a difference. They did not demand "ownership" of their "means of production" (though just what constitutes "ownership" is an interesting question) but rather the ability to say "no" when management demands seem unreasonable or injurious. They were demanding that their jobs be good jobs, that their jobs be "middle class" jobs.

    And that was the terminology the workers at the rally used. It was the terminology that the locked out A. E. Staley workers used a dozen years ago when they came to Chicago looking for allies among lefties and anyone else who would listen. And it is terminology widely used throughout the union movement. Lefties should be advised that the workers are not speaking through a lack of "consciousness". They know what they say and mean what they say.

    Thus the "hotel workers rising" is not about insurrection (though corporate managers may think so) but about yeast.

    If corporate and libertarian conservatives yearn for a return to an imaginary 19th Century, labor now yearns for a return to a slightly imaginary 1950s, when workers often had the ability to bid up their share of the wealth they produce rather than participate, however unwillingly, in today's race to the bottom. You might call this a return to "fordism", or an evolved "labor republicanism", or "industrial democracy", or even a kind of "social democracy". It doesn't much matter. Though the demand is modest, it could benefit far more than just the members of UNITE HERE, Change to Win, and the AFL-CIO. Though the demand is modest, it may be progress (one can only hope) toward that new world that democratic socialists still sing about. That so modest a demand seems so huge a task is a comment on our times.


    "Silence Like a Cancer Grows"

    by Bob Roman

    First Amendment Felon: the Story of Frank Wilkinson, His 132,000 Page FBI File, and His Epic Fight for Civil Rights and Liberties by Robert Sherrill. New York: Nation Books, 2005. 429 pp; $16.95

    The full title of Robert Sherrill's biography of the late Frank Wilkinson is almost the perfect capsule review. Except, of course, that Frank Wilkinson was not a felon; his crime, not answering the questions of Congress about his membership in the Communist Party, was a misdemeanor.

    Frank Wilkinson was born in 1914 to a well-to-do family, his father was a physician and a militant Methodist, and grew up largely in California. In many respects, he started out as a middle class version of our President. And like Dubya, Wilkinson majored in having a good time when he went to college. This all changed after graduation when, to satisfy a youthful wanderjahr, he headed for the Holy Land (where, immersing himself in the poverty of the land, he lost his religion), Europe, and the Soviet Union.

    Wilkinson fell in with the left more or less by accident, ultimately landing a job with the Los Angeles Housing Authority through his work on housing issues, particularly his work opposing segregation, in 1942, about the time he also joined the Communist Party. Wilkinson's work at the housing authority is a book length subject in itself, but the nub of the matter is that he made powerful friends and even more powerful enemies in the process. When he began work to create public housing on very valuable real estate, his enemies used his membership in the Communist Party in the fearful climate of the growing Cold War to destroy his career. A baseball stadium was built on the land, instead.

    This was another pivotal event in Wilkinson's life. At loose ends and broke, he worked his way into gainful employment as one of the nation's foremost advocates of the civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. As such, he became a clear and present danger not to the United States but to J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover ended up having "as many as eight agents a day, following [Wilkinson] on shifts, day after day after day." There is absolutely no justification for this level (indeed any level) of surveillance except Hoover's self-interest.

    It's also easy to forget the dimensions of McCarthyism. It was not just Hollywood eye-candy and professorial intellectuals who were tossed on the fire. First Amendment Felon reminds us that:

    "[T]here's really no telling how many Americans lost their jobs ­ either by being fired or by being harassed into quitting ­ for similarly perverse 'security' reasons, but some historians have estimated fifty thousand. That seems conservative, for according to those who specialize in such counting, there were at least four thousand seamen and waterfront workers fired as suspected Communists... In the same period, an estimated ten thousand industrial workers were fired for being 'security risks'...

    "In addition, sixteen thousand 'suspects' were either fired or frightened into quitting the federal civil service, including some of the most competent foreign affairs officers in the State Department"

    Most of the book documents Wilkinson's career fighting for civil liberties. There are two good reasons to read this. One is as an homage to someone who dedicated a life to a good cause, and made a difference doing it. Another is that this is not a fight that has ended; what lessons can be drawn from its history? Wilkinson's glib, "Outlive the bastards!" (offered at a panel discussion shortly before his death) might apply to his relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, but it doesn't do the rest of us any good. It is this latter reason that makes this book a useful document for our times.

    And what are the lessons? The ones I found are not encouraging. Mostly, one comes away with the sense of just how useful fear is in politics. This is particularly true for electoral politics, but it has applications in other fields as well. And opposing political fear is rather like fighting a wild fire. You can hope to contain it or direct it away from valuable areas, but generally it keeps burning until the weather changes (people become afraid of something else, for example) or the fuel is gone.

    And indeed, when things began to change in the 1960s, there is the sense that Wilkinson was often enough as surprised as anyone. It creates a peculiar double vision effect. From one eye, these things probably would have happened without his efforts. From the other eye, the perception that the consequences resulting from these developments, their "impact", may have been far less if he hadn't been working beforehand.

    It follows that the ability to perceive opportunities in politics is a major talent, almost indispensable for success, however you define "success". It is the issue of how success is defined and the way that the means become the ends that gives "opportunism" a bad name. And it is the story of how Wilkinson dealt with these issues that makes the book a powerful homage.

    But as a biography, as a history, the book has limitations. Robert Sherrill is a journalist, not an historian, sociologist, anthropologist. Journalists, contrary to their label, are not simple recorders of facts. They are storytellers. And as a professional journalist, Sherrill is scrupulous in truthfully providing the elements of the story and combining them just so. (And incidentally, the book borrows heavily from magazine layout, making for an easy read.) The result leaves the reader with a great story but an incomplete understanding of the times in which Wilkinson lived. It also largely leaves aside some interesting issues.

    Anti-communism was a far more complicated phenomenon than one would gather from First Amendment Felon. Among other things, the reader would have no clue the degree to which the Communist Party was sometimes its own worst enemy, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s, as their behavior on those occasions was as beneficial to leftwing causes as a swarm of locust is to agriculture. This contributed to the ways in which Wilkinson's effectiveness was limited and his message discounted.

    Much more important is the relation between ideology and behavior. Ideologues tend to assume a close, if not deterministic, relationship. Thus libertarians (even some leftists) with this attitude will have a hard time understanding how a committed member of a Stalinist organization (Wilkinson was a Party member 1942 through 1973) could be a committed civil libertarian. The only answer that seems plausible to them is hypocrisy. This is neither true nor irrelevant. These are people who should have and should be listening to Wilkinson. And the issue continues to arise. Consider the way the dispute between International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice has been framed, for one example.

    But with these qualifications, First Amendment Felon is required reading for our time.


    Too much is wrong in this country. We have a foreign policy that is foreign to our core values and domestic policies wreaking havoc at home.

    logo

    The situation is urgent. We must act.

    Join the national

    March for Peace, Justice and Democracy

    Saturday, April 29 - New York City

    A majority of Americans say: "End the disasterous occupation and tragic loss of life in Iraq!" Join trade unionists, religious and community groups, civil rights and social justice organizations, environmentalists, students and people from all walks of life to tell the government:

    • End the War!
    • Dismantle U.S. Bases in Iraq!
    • Bring Our Troops Home Now!
    • Fund Jobs, Health Care, Education and Housing - Not Wars and Occupations!

    Buses leaving Chicago in mid-afternoon, Friday, April 28th, arriving back in Chicago Sunday, April 30, afternoon or early evening.

    Contact Information for Buses:
    General contact: 773.384.8827 or email CarlD717@aol.com
    Union families: 312.738.6209 or email clppj@aol.com

    Estimated cost per person: $95 - $100

    Sponsors and Endorsers:
    This demonstration has been called by U.S. Labor Against the War, United for Peace & Justice, Rainbow / PUSH Coalition, National Organization for Woment, Friends of the Earth, People's Hurrican Relief Fund, and the Climate Crisis Coalition. Local endorsers include Chicagoans Against War & Injustice; Chicago Labor for Peace, Prosperity and Justice; Committee for New Prioritys / Chicago Jobs with Justice. (List in formation and additional endorsements are invited. For Chicago area endorsements, email clppj@aol.com or CarlD717@aol.com.)

    For more information, visit www.april29.org or www.uslaboragainstwar.org.


    Other News

    Compiled by Bob Roman

    Turning the Tide Towards Freedom

    Held in New York on February 17 ­ 19, the Young Democratic Socialists' national conference, Turning the Tide Towards Freedom: Building the Youth and Student Movement for Justice, was a resounding success! Over 100 people attended, making it a mid-size event by Young Democratic Socialists standards. This made the conference more interactive than some of the larger conferences have been.

    Folks came from all over to be inspired by notable speakers and fellow activists. Attendees discussed everything from organizing against Wal-Mart in the deep south, to defending the right to higher education, to fighting for reproductive rights on their campuses. Speakers such as Bill Fletcher Jr., Christian Parenti and Gayatri Spivak reminded us of the big picture, exposing structural injustice at home and abroad and getting us fired up to continue and intensify the struggle for a better world.

    The overwhelming positive feedback from attendees about their conference experience included the following: "everyone, including speakers, were approachable.... everyone wants to hear from each other," "superb speakers once again," "AWESOME! Wish it could have been longer."

    The plenary sessions at the conference were recorded. Edited copies will eventually be available for distribution. Stay tuned!

    There were some great activism workshops and tools for strengthening or starting YDS chapters on your campus at Turning the Tide Towards Freedom, but even if you couldn't make one of the trainings or attend the conference, we'd love to bring YDS to you! YDS national organizer, Elizabeth Rothschild, is booking spring campus visits now. Drop her a line ASAP (212.727.8610x24 or elizabeth@dsausa.org) and you can discuss doing something in your community. And remember, save the date for the summer national conference, August 11-13th!

     

    Health Care Justice

    The Adequate Health Care Task Force continues to take testimony about the state of health care in Illinois. Formed under the Health Care Justice Act, the Task Force will recommend legislation to the Illinois legislature next year.

    The Campaign for Better Health Care's Health Care Justice Coalition has been encouraging people to give their testimony to the Task Force. Some of the hearings have been lightly attended. But the March 8th hearing in Carterville (in southern Illinois near Carbondale) saw nearly 200 people turn out to voice their concern over the accessibility and affordability of health care in Illinois.

    On February 28, over 100 people attended a Task Force hearing in Springfield. That Tuesday was also a lobby day for the Campaign, and several dozen people cornered state legislators in their natural habitat to encourage them to sign pledges of support.

    Chicago DSA has been sending out post card alerts for each hearing. We contributed $50 toward the lobby day bus to Springfield.


    New Ground #105.1

    03.25.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Chicago Membership Meeting
    DSA International Commission
    48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    1. Politics

    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Comes Back to Chicago
    Boycott "The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean"
    America Deserves a Raise
    Two Demonstrations

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting

    Will be Tuesday, April 11, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office, located at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 (4th floor) in the Northwest Tower (aka Coyote Tower) building. This is at the 3-way intersection of Damen, North, and Milwaukee avenues, near the Damen Avenue station on CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. Street parking is indeed possible, but public transit is recommended for more than ideological reasons.
    Among the more mundane items you can expect to be on the agenda are an assessment on the progress of the Dinner, amendments to the current budget and prospects for next fiscal year, and options regarding the location of the office.

    DSA International Commission

    DSA's International Commission now has a web site, although the address is temporary:
    http://www.twincitiesdsa.org/ic
    The International Commission serves as a liaison with other member organization of the Socialist International.

    48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    The annual Eugene V. Debs ­ Norman Thomas ­ Michael Harrington dinner is coming up soon: Friday, April 28. We're proud to be honoring Henry Tamarin (President of UNITE HERE Local 1), Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris (Executive Director of the Community Renewal Society), and U.S. Labor Against the War. Our featured speaker, John Nichols of The Nation, will speak to the need to go beyond taking back our country, beyond things just not getting worse, and the need for a progressive agenda. Many of you will be getting an invitation in the mail soon, but you can also go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006

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

    Politics

    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Comes Back to Chicago

    Farm workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) will travel from Immokalee, Florida, home of one of the largest farm worker communities in the country, to Chicago, home of the world's largest restaurant chain, McDonald's. On April 1st, CIW members and allies from throughout the Midwest will join together for a major march and rally in Chicago. They will call on McDonald's to work with the CIW and help establish real labor rights for the workers who pick their tomatoes. Specifically, they will call for:

    • The right to a fair wage, after nearly 30 years of stagnant wages;
    • The right for farm workers to participaate in the decisions that affect their lives;
    • A code of conduct that gives farm workers a real role in the protection of their own rights.

    In March of 2005, after a 4 year boycott, the CIW reached an historic agreement with Taco Bell. The agreement directly improved workers' wages and established a rigorous code of conduct (with the CIW as a monitoring body). The CIW and allies have asked McDonald's to follow suit, but McDonald's refuses to work with the CIW and is promoting a plan that threatens to undercut the wages gains won by farm workers in the Taco Bell Boycott and push workers back away from the table, where decisions are made that affect their lives.
    In the face of McDonald's steadfast refusal to treat farm workers with respect, demand truly humane labor standards of its suppliers, and pay a fairer price for tomatoes in order to address farm worker poverty (poverty that has helped pad McDonald's profits for more than 50 years), the CIW is traveling to McDonald's backyard with a clear message: Nothing less than real rights will do!

    On Friday, March 31: 4 PM to 6 PM, CIW will have an educational picket line outside McDonald's corporate headquarters, 22nd & McDonald's Drive, in Oak Brook.

    On Saturday, April 1: 9:30 AM ­ 5 Mile March to Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's, beginning at Plaza Tenochititlan at the intersection of 18th Street, Blue Island Av, and Loomis in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.
    1 PM ­ Rally at Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's, 600 N. Clark, Chicago.
    For more information, call Melody Gonzalez at 239.986.0847 or Brigitte Gynther at 239.986.0688 or go to:
    http://www.ciw-online.org

    Boycott "The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean"

    A production of a play called "The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean" has opened at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St, in Chicago last week. Music is an important part of this production, but the producers of this show are not employing union musicians. The Chicago Federation of Labor is asking people to boycott this production. According to the CFL:

    "The producers of this show have said: we do not need union musicians, we can do it without you. Even though we have offered them a very reasonable and equitable proposal, as we do with all new ventures that come to our great city, they have refused to consider our offer. We cannot allow this to happen."

    The opening of the show last week was greeted by a picket line, but the Musicians and the CFL are asking people to turn out again for the production's "press night": Tuesday, March 28, 6 PM to 7 PM, at 1641 N. Halsted. For more information, call Patty at 312.782.0063.

    America Deserves a Raise

    The AFL-CIO and a broad coalition of allies are working to get Congress to raise the minimum wage. In the past nine years, workers making the minimum wage haven't gotten a single raise. Not one. And while the wage of $5.15 an hour has stayed the same, its value has dropped precipitously, putting workers further and further behind. It's long past time for Congress to help the millions of workers earning the minimum wage or close to it. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act, and you can help by signing on as a citizen co-sponsor of the bill.
    Since 1997, Congress has voted eight pay raises for itself but not one dime for workers making the minimum wage. The annual salary for members of Congress has gone up by $31,600 in that time, while a minimum wage employee working full-time earns just $10,700 a year. Just this year, Congress gave itself a $3,100 raise. It's time for Congress to stop working for itself and start working for America's families. Sign on today to be a co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act.
    The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in three steps:

    • $5.85 60 days after enactment.
    • $6.55 one year later.
    • $7.25 one year after that.

    Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour would mean an additional $4,370 a year for a full-time worker, enough to pay an average of nine months of rent, pay 18 months of heat and electricity or a full year's tuition for a community college degree. The increase would have an immediate, direct impact on more than 7 million workers and an indirect impact on millions more.
    Right now, there are 37 million Americans - including 13 million children--living in poverty in America, and raising the minimum wage is the easiest thing we can do to stop the rising tide of poverty.
    Please take action today and sign on to become a citizen co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act.
    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/fairminwage

    Two Demonstrations

    By Bob Roman

    Chicago led the nation with two impressive demonstrations, each part of respective campaigns against the Sensenbrenner anti-immigrant bill and the war and occupation in Iraq.
    The anti-Sensenbrenner demonstration on March 10 was massive. Estimates of the crowd range from 75,000 to 150,000. It represented a genuine expression of popular outrage over this legislation that has passed the House and is presently under consideration by the Senate. For photos and coverage, some pages to visit would be:
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/feature/display/70264/index.php

    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/70995/index.php
    http://www.icirr.org/
    The anti-war demonstrations on March 18 were smaller. The demonstration in Union Park may have had 3,000. The later demonstration down Michigan Avenue is generally estimated at about 7,000, though there may have been as many as twice that. Some of the pages worth visiting would be:
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00Finq&tag=

    http://www.chicagoactions.org
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/feature/display/70266/index.php
    The anti-Sensenbrenner action is intended to culminate in a massive national demonstration in Washington, DC, in October. Some organizers are hoping for a nation-wide general strike to accompany the event. Indeed, some are billing the March 10 action as a "general strike", and it did have some of the characteristics of one. Whether we actually have a "Day Without Mexicans" and Poles and Puerto Ricans and Haitians etc. come October is speculative at best, but interesting.
    While anti-war demonstrations were satisfying, they were far smaller than they should have been. I suspect it may be that for most people the war does not represent an immediate threat, not like the Sensenbrenner bill does for immigrant communities. Then too, I wonder if many people judge that much of the anti-war movement has an agenda apart from stopping the war? That was certainly the atmosphere at the Union Park rally. In any case, the pace of activity on the left is increasing even if the scale isn't always what it should be, and I think that is one reason to be hopeful.

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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.

    Thursday, March 30, 7 PM
    A Discussion with Bernardine Dohrn
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Bernardine Dohrn will share her analysis of the war and the domestic political situation in light of her own remarkable experiences. Open discussion will follow. 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 31. 3:45 ­ 5 PM
    Health Care Justice Rally
    Federal Plaza, Dearborn & Adams, Chicago
    The American Medical Students Association is holding its national conference in Chicago. Together with the Campaign for Better Health Care, the rally will speak out for the full implementation of Illinois' Health Care Justice Act and the need to begin the national debate for health care justice. Governor Rod Blagojevich and Representative Jan Schakowsky will be among the speakers. For more information, call 312.913.9449 or go to:
    http://www.cbhconline.org

    Tuesday, April 4, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Caruso Middle School Auditorium, 1801 Montgomery Rd, Deerfield
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Wednesday, April 5, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    McHenry High School East (Teaching Theatre), 1012 N. Green St, McHenry
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Thursday, April 6, 7 PM
    The American Health Care System: Can It Be Cured?
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A speaker from Physicians for a National Health Program will present their program for a sane and humane system of medical care with "everybody in, nobody out". 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 #105.2

    04.01.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Additions to the Web Site
    DSA's Anti-Racism Commission
    Chicago Membership Meeting

    1. Politics

    Just Say No!

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Left Needs More Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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    DSA News

    Additions to the Web Site
    We've been in the process of documenting the half-century history of the Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner for some time now, working backward from the present. Photos and information from the 1980 Dinner have just been posted on the Chicago DSA web site.
    In 1980, the event was called the Norman Thomas ­ Eugene V. Debs Dinner, and it was held under the auspices of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, one of the two organizations that later merged to form DSA. That year we honored Rosemary Ruether, a well-known feminist theologian and Chicagoan (now retired to California). Michael Harrington was the featured speaker. Crystal Lee Sutton (textile worker, union organizer, and the person the film Norma Rae was based on) was a special guest at the Dinner. A very young looking Eleanor Smeal, then President of NOW, also spoke at the event.
    Apparently an audio recording of the event was made but we've lost track of it. If we find a copy we may post it, but until then photos (by the late Syd Harris) and two brief articles about the Dinner can be found at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1980

    DSA's Anti-Racism Commission
    The Anti-Racism Commission has put together a collection of documents on the current immigration debate, including news coverage of the various demonstrations (including Chicago). This is available at:
    http://www.antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Will be Tuesday, April 11, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office, located at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 (4th floor) in the Northwest Tower (aka Coyote Tower) building. This is at the 3-way intersection of Damen, North, and Milwaukee avenues, near the Damen Avenue station on CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. Street parking is indeed possible, but public transit is recommended for more than ideological reasons.
    Among the more mundane items you can expect to be on the agenda are an assessment on the progress of the Dinner, amendments to the current budget and prospects for next fiscal year, and options regarding the location of the office.

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    Politics

    Just Say No!
    The House Budget Committee passed its budget resolution on Wednesday, 22 to 17, on a party line vote. The Committee rejected amendments offered by Democrats to boost funding for domestic programs and an amendment to restore "PAYGO" on all mandatory spending increases and tax cuts. More details on this atrocity can be found at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
    http://www.cbpp.org/3-29-06bud.htm
    As the House gets ready to vote on the budget resolution, the Fair Taxes for All Coalition is urging people to call their representatives. Tell them to say "NO" to a House Budget that sacrifices vital services to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy. Tell your representative to vote against the Budget Committee's budget resolution because it sacrifices health care, education and other vital services to pay for tax breaks that favor the wealthy few. You can call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121.
    Note that conservatives are also re-writing the procedures by which the budget is formulated. On one hand, it is an attempt to bypass the Congressional requirement for some degree of consensus, but the proposal also makes it easy for the President to delete entire programs while protecting the ability of Congress to cut taxes. You can see where this is headed, but the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has done an analysis, available at:
    http://www.cbpp.org/3-23-06bud.pdf

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    Democratic Socialism

    The Left Needs More Socialism
    DSA member Ron Aronson argues it is time to break a taboo and place the word "socialism" across the top of the page
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060417/aronson

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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.

    Monday April 3. 3:30 PM
    Introduction to Transhumanism
    University of Illinois at Chicago, Adams Hall Room 207, Chicago
    with a "Technoprogressive" emphasis. For information, email ben_hyink9@yahoo.com

    Tuesday, April 4, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Caruso Middle School Auditorium, 1801 Montgomery Rd, Deerfield
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Wednesday, April 5, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    McHenry High School East (Teaching Theatre), 1012 N. Green St, McHenry
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Thursday, April 6, 7 PM
    The American Health Care System: Can It Be Cured?
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Dr. Basil Bradlow from Physicians for a National Health Program will present their program for a sane and humane system of medical care with "everybody in, nobody out". 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 #105.3

    04.08.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    The Birth of a Movement
    Chicago Membership Meeting

    1. Politics

    The Disappearing Middle
    What's the Matter with Labor?
    Was That a Lively Press Conference or a Tame Riot?

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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    DSA News

    The Birth of a Movement
    Okay. So Los Angeles' Immigrant Rights demonstration was larger than ours and we remain the Second City. Part of the reason is that San Diego DSA (a modest part, true) helped organize a contingent from San Diego to attend. Photos and a brief account are posted here:
    http://www.dsausa.org/LatestNews/2006/Los%20Angeles%20protest/mass%20march.html

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Will be Tuesday, April 11, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office, located at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 (4th floor) in the Northwest Tower (aka Coyote Tower) building. This is at the 3-way intersection of Damen, North, and Milwaukee avenues, near the Damen Avenue station on CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. Street parking is indeed possible, but public transit is recommended for more than ideological reasons.
    Among the more mundane items you can expect to be on the agenda are an assessment on the progress of the Dinner, amendments to the current budget and prospects for next fiscal year, and options regarding the location of the office.

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    Politics

    The Disappearing Middle
    The race to the bottom isn't only for the blue collar these days; much of the service industry is headed overseas as well. But in The American Prospect, DSA member Harold Meyerson's "Not Your Father's Detroit" starts in the Motor City, where, he observes, the era of shared prosperity was pretty much invented. What can we do to get it back? Meyerson argues part of the solution would be an Industrial Policy, and he outlines some of what that might consist of:
    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=11300

    Along similar lines, but with more of a marxist perspective, Andrew Glyn discusses the same phenomenon in The Guardian, but speculates that what is happening today with jobs may very well happen tomorrow with capital:
    http://business.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1747155,00.html

    What's the Matter with Labor?
    The Monthly Review's Michael Yates interviews Robert Fitch, the author of Solidarity for Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America's Promise. Cops sometimes start their careers as idealists. They think their jobs will be to help little old ladies across busy streets and sending bad people to their well deserved punishments. Their actual experience leaves many of them festering cynics. Fitch shows some of the same symptoms, but the interview is worth reading, and it sounds as though his book may be also.
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/yates300306.html

    Was That a Lively Press Conference or a Tame Riot?
    Late last month the Grassroots Collaborative held a press conference prior to the Chicago City Council meeting to announce the formal introduction of a "Big Box Living Wage" ordinance that would require retail employers of a certain size (most particularly Wal-Mart) pay a living wage. The conference was held on the 2nd floor of the Chicago City Hall, outside the Council chambers. Sharing that venue was a press conference in support the honorary naming of a city street in memory of murdered (by police) Black Panther Fred Hampton. The Grassroots Collaborative event was pretty well swamped by the Hampton conference. It was wild! Particularly when Hampton supporters cornered Congressman Bobby Rush in an elevator. I'm not sure what that was all about, but it was great fun. In These Times' Salim Muwakkil writes about the controversy in "The Battle for Fred Hampton Way":
    http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2561/

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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.

    Monday April 10. 6:30 PM
    Community Briefing and Call to Action
    Truman College cafeteria, 1145 W. Wilson, Chicago
    The U.S. Senate did not vote on a historic piece of immigrant legislation, but Congressman Luis Gutierrez and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights will brief you on the current situation, the next steps in Congress, and what might be done to ensure justice and dignity for immigrants. For more information, go to http://www.icirr.org or call 312.332.7360x14.

    Tuesday, April 11, 4:00 PM ­ 6:00 PM
    Alternatives to Capitalism
    University of Chicago Stuart Hall Room 102, 5835 S. Greenwood, Chicago
    A discussion with Professor David Schweickart, brought to you by the UofC Young Democratic Socialists. For information, email jpayne4@uchicago.edu

    Tuesday, April 11, 5:00 PM ­ 6:30 PM
    Bird-dogging Hillary
    Sheridan Chicago, 301 E. North Water St, Chicago
    Chicago Area CodePINK calls on all Chicagoland activists to join in our action to bird-dog Hillary and greet the attendees who come to hear a "major speech" as she raises money for middle-of-the-road Democrats and polishes her image for her inevitable presidential run in 2008. For information, email codepinkchicago@yahoo.com

    Wednesday, April 12, 11 AM ­ 1:00 PM
    Day Labor Protest
    Meet at San Lucas Workers Center, 2914 W. North Av, Chicago
    Chicago day laborers have been pressuring "consumers" of day labor to only use agencies that are "non-abusive", that have agreed to a code of conduct. There has been back-sliding. RSVP: call the San Lucas Workers' Center at 773.573.6633 for more information and to confirm you participation.

    Thursday, April 13, 7 PM
    The Bush Commission
    Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel, Lake Forest College, 555 N. Sheridan Rd, Lake Forest
    Ray McGovern, 27-year veteran of the CIA, founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), speaks on the Bush Commission and its findings that the Bush regime is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Specifically, Mr. McGovern will discuss torture and prisoner abuse. The moderator for this evening will be Jed Stone, past president of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and anti-death penalty activist. Sponsored by World Can't Wait Chicago. For information call 773.227.2453 or email chicago@worldcantwait.org.

    Friday, April 14, 7:30 PM

    Cunning Allies of Their Own Gravediggers

    New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western, Chicago

    A discussion of the AFL-CIO's role in globalization, Cold War hysteria, and the corporate empire, presented by Jeff Olson, former SEIU organizer, VP Boise CTLC. Sponsored by the Chicago Socialist Party. For information, email ChgoSP@juno.com.

    Saturday, April 15, 2 PM
    John Edgar Hoover: The Great American Inquisition
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Director Dennis Mueller presents his recently re-released film. It documents the litany of abuses committed by the former director of the FBI. 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, April 28, 6 PM
    48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
    Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, Chicago
    Honoring Henry Tamarin, Calvin Morris, and U.S. Labor Against the Law. Featured speaker John Nichols. For more information:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006


    New Ground #105.4

    04.17.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Fencing the Commons
    The Sun Also Rises

    1. Politics

    Do Something... Scream at least

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Cooperative Enterprise

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    Fencing the Commons

    SPAM is a problem, yes. Chicago DSA gets over a hundred such messages a day. But when AOL proposed dealing with the situation by charging mailers a fee to bypass AOL's spam filter, folks all across the political spectrum saw fences starting to rise upon the wide open web. They initiated a web petition to AOL, asking them to not do it. Chicago DSA has signed on, along with over 500 other organizations. To sign on yourself, go to:
    http://www.dearaol.com
    Incidentally, if you find the electronic edition of New Ground bothersome, you can ask that your address be removed from the distribution list. To find out how, go to the bottom of this email. And not to worry. We'll still love you.

    The Sun Also Rises

    You might recall us mentioning in earlier email editions of New Ground that conservatives were tinkering with the Congressional budget process to make it difficult for any future Congress to not follow the conservative agenda.
    One of the more radical proposals currently under consideration is to have a commission pass judgement on each and every federal program. Every ten years, each program would be required to submit performance information. The presumption, regardless of the commission's decision, would be to eliminate the program. Unless Congress voted to keep the program alive, it would automatically "sunset".
    OMB Watch circulated a letter to Congress protesting this proposal, to which Chicago DSA signed on. For more information, start at:
    http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/3367/1/192?TopicID=5

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    Politics

    Do Something... Scream at least

    Does the prospect of a nuclear attack on Iran disturb you, at least? There's a lot you can do (including going to the national demonstration in New York on the 29th or maybe going to the Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner on the 28th), but here's something you can do right now.
    United for Peace and Justice (of which DSA is a member) and several other organizations have started a web petition:

    "Dear President Bush and Vice President Cheney,
    "We write to you from all over the United States and all over the world to urge you to obey both international and U.S. law, which forbid aggressive attacks on other nations. We oppose your proposal to attack Iran. Iran does not possess nuclear weapons, just as Iraq did not possess nuclear weapons. If Iran had such weapons, that would not justify the use of force, any more than any other nation would be justified in launching a war against the world's greatest possessor of nuclear arms, the United States. The most effective way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons would be to closely monitor its nuclear energy program, and to improve diplomatic relations -- two tasks made much more difficult by threatening to bomb Iranian territory. We urge you to lead the way to peace, not war, and to begin by making clear that you will not commit the highest international crime by aggressively attacking Iran."

    http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/iran

     

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    Democratic Socialism

    Cooperative Enterprise

    Some varieties of democratic socialism place a heavy emphasis (and great expectations) on cooperative enterprises. One of the examples frequently used is the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in the Basque regions of Spain. There's much to admire about its performance and its history, especially since Mondragon was founded during the dark years of Franco's rule. A good introduction to the Mondragon Cooperative can be found at Chicago's Center for Labor and Community Research web site:
    http://www.clcr.org/publications/html/Mondragon%20paper%20by%20freundlich1198.htm

    A more critical appraisal can be found at the Center for Global Justice: "Cooperativization on the Mondragon Model as Alternative to Globalizing Capitalism" by Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone:
    http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/papers/bowstone.htm

    Part of the fascination with Mondragon is a result of how it combines appropriately small enterprise with an institution the size of a modest multinational corporation. But some countries have succeeded in establishing local economies dominated by a multitude of small cooperative enterprises. For a look at the Po Valley in Italy back in 2003, see "Model of Economic Democracy" by Bob Williams:
    http://www.commonground.ca/iss/0306143/coop.shtml

    Italy, it should be noted, is not the only European country with a large cooperative sector. The "social economy" varies from country to country, but in some (Austria for example) it's quite large.

    Of course, members of the Mondragon cooperative are always a bit bemused by all this lefty attention. The ideological parents of the institution are more Basque nationalism and Catholic social justice theology. And indeed, cooperatives in the United States also have varied ideological backgrounds. In the 19th Century, for example, the labor movement was very active in organizing coops from a non-marxist "labor republicanism" perspective. They objected to the very idea of workers being "employees" rather than independent craftsmen that presumably form one of the foundations of the American republic. Coops were an attempt to preserve the dignity of the independent laborer. A bit later, coops occupied the attention of the Populist movement as a way of cutting out the middleman between producers and consumers.

    One of the places to find out about cooperatives in the United States today is the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives:
    http://www.wisc.edu/uwcc/index.html

    The Center for Cooperatives also hosts the International Cooperative Information Center:
    http://www.wisc.edu/uwcc/icic/

    October, you may not know, is "Coop Month". There are still a few months to go, but the information from October, 2005, provides a good look at the state of cooperative economy in the United States at the "Coop Month" web site:
    http://www.co-opmonth.org/index.html

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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.

    Tuesday, April 18, 4 PM ­ 6 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Gateway Center (LaSalle Room), 1 Gateway Center, Collinsville
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Wednesday, April 19
    Deadline for copy for the Debs Dinner program book.
    Email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org

    Tuesday, April 25
    Deadline for reserving your tickets to the Debs Dinner!
    Call 773.384.0327 or email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org

    Friday, April 28, 6 PM
    48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
    Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, Chicago
    Honoring Henry Tamarin, Calvin Morris, and U.S. Labor Against the Law. Featured speaker John Nichols. For more information:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006

    Saturday, April 29, 10:30 AM
    National March for Peace Justice and Democracy
    22nd Street & Broadway, New York, NY
    Busses leave from Ashland & Van Buren in Chicago at 1:30 PM on April 28. Round trip tickets are $96. You can make a check payable to "Networking for Democracy" and mail it to CAWI / NFD, 3411 W. Diversey, Ste 3, Chicago, IL 60647, or go to:
    http://www.noiraqwar-chicago.org
    Use the 'Donate' button and indicate NYC and your name.

    Saturday, April 29, 2 PM
    VoterGate
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    A documentary uncovering the truth about new computer voting systems. For more information, go to:
    http://www.opctj.org/

    Monday, May 1, 10:30 AM
    Immigrant Worker Justice March
    Union Park, Lake & Ashland, Chicago
    Ends at the Thompson Center in the Loop. For more information, call Artemio Arreola (847) 338-5821 or go to
    http://www.icirr.org/events_files/may1.doc

    Monday, May 1, 4:30 PM
    May Day Celebration
    Haymarket Square, DesPlaines Av between Randolph and Lake Streets, Chicago
    Sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois Labor History Society

    Monday, May 1, 4:30 PM
    Rally to Stop the Genocide in Darfur
    Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Adams, Chicago
    Organized by the Chicago Coalition to Save Darfur. Go to:
    http://www.chicagodarfur.org


    New Ground #105.5

    04.24.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Young Democratic Socialists Summer Internships

    1. Politics

    Fair Wages for Farm Workers
    Rally for Living Wages
    Congress Hotel Strike Rally
    March 10th Movement
    Strike!
    Fiscal Follies

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest


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    DSA News

    Young Democratic Socialists Summer Internships

    INTERNSHIPS 1. Web & Graphic Designer 2. Grassroots Organizer / National Office Support 3. Activist Editor / Writer 4. Event Planning 5. Fundraising / Grant Writing 6. Activist Researcher
    Interns can either be based out of the Young Democratic Socialists national office in downtown NYC or work from home from any location. We have flexible hours and can develop a work schedule that fits the goals and time availability of interns. Summer interns may wish to assist in organizing YDS' August 11-13 national conference in NYC and/or the U.S. delegation to the 7000+ International Union of Socialist Youth World Festival taking place in Alicante, Spain from July 18-23.
    More details about internship opportunities and fuller descriptions of available positions can be found at the YDS web site: http://www.ydsusa.org
    To apply, send resume and cover letter to yds@dsausa.org with "INTERNSHIP" in the subject line. Applicants are also welcome to email or call our office with any questions (212.727.8610 ext.24)

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    Politics

    Fair Wages for Farm Workers

    Farm workers who pick tomatoes for McDonald's hamburgers and Chipotle's burritos earn about 45 cents for every 32-pound container of tomatoes they pick, a subpoverty wage that has remained stagnant for almost 30 years. Although Taco Bell signed an agreement last year with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to pay an additional one cent per pound for tomatoes it purchases, McDonald's and Chipotle have refused to sign a similar agreement to raise wages in the fields. Tell McDonald's and Chipotle to support fair wages for farm workers and sign the agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers now.
    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/ciwmcdonalds

    Rally for Living Wages

    While two-thirds of the Chicago City Council has signed on to the proposed "Big Box Store Living Wage Ordinance", long (often unhappy) experience warns not to take this for granted. Thus supporters of the ordinance are calling for a rally on Wednesday, April 26, 9:15 AM (just prior to April's City Council meeting) at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago.
    The ordinance requires retailers that have stores of 75,000 square feet or more and belong to a company with $1 billion in sales to pay a living wage of $10 per hour and $3 per hour for benefits. It also protects free speech, prohibits discrimination against ex-offenders, and takes steps to prevent abandonment of closed stores.
    For more information, contact UFCWU Local 881 Legislative and Political Director, Tim Drea, at (847) 294-5064 x 367.

    Congress Hotel Strike Rally

    UNITE HERE Local 1 will be holding a special picket line and rally at the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan in Chicago on Thursday, April 27, from 5 PM to 6 PM. The workers will be joined by members of Seminarians for Worker Justice and Jewish Council on Urban Affairs who will be participating in a forum and dinner discussion of workers in the hospitality industry: "Blessed Be These Hands". This will include a march to the rally. For information on the forum, march, and rally, email sfwjchicago@yahoo.com or call 773.728.8400x38.

    March 10th Movement

    To commemorate the huge success at mobilizing the various immigrant communities against anti-immigrant legislation pending in Congress, the coalition organizing these efforts in Chicago has taken the name "March 10th Movement". While not inevitable, it's not unusual for mass movements to be fractious and quarrelsome. A "quarrel" being synonymous with "story" in the minds of journalists, it's been getting rather move press coverage, particularly in connection with the recent INS raids and the planned Immigrants' Rights march on May 1 (See "Upcoming Events" below). One of the spokesmen often interviewed or quoted has been Jorge Mújica. If that name seems familiar, it's because he has frequently written for New Ground about the efforts of Mexicans abroad to gain political rights at home, most recently:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng99.html#anchor223199
    For an interview with Mújica on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" program on the reaction of the immigrant communities to the INS raids and on the controversy over "strike" v. "march", go to:
    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/21/132239
    For an intimate look at a recent March 10th Movement organizing meeting, go to:
    http://www.laraza.com/print.php?nid=31909&origen=1&PHPSESSID=4376f885b5e20680779520e677d45bcf

    Strike

    The Chicago Socialist Party (not presently directly affiliated with the Socialist Party USA, but that's another story) has started an online magaZine, Strike. Unlike New Ground (which mostly looks at Chicago and Illinois), Strike's focus is global. This first "issue", for example, has two feature articles, "Vietnam Syndrome, the Peace Movement, and the U.S. Left" by Ethan Young and "The Reserve Army of France's 'Banlieues'" by Ronald van Raak. And that's not all:
    http://www.strikeonline.org/

    Fiscal Follies

    The Fair Taxes for All Coalition reports that while the House failed to pass a budget in the House before going on recess, they are expected to give it another go this week. While a floor vote on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget resolution is not expected this week, it is important to keep up the pressure on Congress, particularly on Republican members of Congress. They'll be hearing from House Republican leaders that they must support the budget, but they need to hear from you that they must oppose a budget that sacrifices health care, education, and other vital services to pay for tax breaks that favor the wealth few. You can call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121.
    In the meantime, the Senate will be considering the repeal of the Estate Tax in May. For more information, and how you can help oppose this, see "Gearing Up for a May Estate Tax Vote" at
    http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/3387/1/437?TopicID=2
    Finally, House conservatives have reported secured a floor vote for a radical sunset commission proposal that would ram program terminations through Congress. See:
    http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/3378/1/437?TopicID=2

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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.

    Tuesday, April 25
    Deadline for reserving your tickets to the Debs Dinner!
    Call 773.384.0327 or email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org

    Tuesday, April 25, 11:30 AM
    Stand Up for Fair Labor Practices
    ZD Masonry, 2845 N. Halsted, Chicago
    Join the Chicago Federation of Labor, Change to Win, Illinois AFL-CIO, and the Construction and General Laborer's District Council of Chicago and Vicinity in a march against ZD Masonry. This contractor discriminates in hiring, exploits immigrant workers, and pays substandard wages. For more information, contact the Laborers' District Council at 630.655.8289.

    Wednesday, April 26, 9:15 AM
    Rally for the Big Box Store Living Wage Ordinance
    Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago
    A pre-City Council rally to support the Big Box Store Living Wage Ordinance pending before the City Council. For information, contact Tim Drea at 847.294.5064x367.

    Thursday, April 27, 5 PM ­ 6 PM
    Rally in Support of the Striking Congress Hotel Workers
    Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan, Chicago
    Sponsored by UNITE HERE Local 1, Seminarians for Worker Justice, and Jewish Council for Urban Affairs.

    Friday, April 28, 6 PM
    48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
    Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, Chicago
    Honoring Henry Tamarin, Calvin Morris, and U.S. Labor Against the Law. Featured speaker John Nichols. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door @ $60 each. For more information:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006

    Saturday, April 29, 10:30 AM
    National March for Peace Justice and Democracy
    22nd Street & Broadway, New York, NY
    Busses leave from Ashland & Van Buren in Chicago at 1:30 PM on April 28. Round trip tickets are $96. You can make a check payable to "Networking for Democracy" and mail it to CAWI / NFD, 3411 W. Diversey, Ste 3, Chicago, IL 60647, or go to:
    http://www.noiraqwar-chicago.org
    Use the 'Donate' button and indicate NYC and your name.

    Saturday, April 29, 2 PM
    VoterGate
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    A documentary uncovering the truth about new computer voting systems. For more information, go to:
    http://www.opctj.org/

    Saturday, April 29, 2 PM
    Battleground: 21 Days on the Empire's Edge
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    This documentary by Guerrilla News Network Director Stephen Marshall shows the war through Iraqi eyes. 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/

    Monday, May 1, 10:30 AM

    Immigrant Worker Justice March

    Union Park, Lake & Ashland, Chicago

    Ends at the Thompson Center in the Loop. For more information, call Artemio Arreola (847) 338-5821 or go to
    http://www.icirr.org/events_files/may1.doc

    Monday, May 1, 4:30 PM

    May Day Celebration

    Haymarket Square, DesPlaines Av between Randolph and Lake Streets, Chicago

    Sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois Labor History Society

    Monday, May 1, 4:30 PM

    Rally to Stop the Genocide in Darfur

    Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Adams, Chicago

    Organized by the Chicago Coalition to Save Darfur. Go to:

    http://www.chicagodarfur.org

    Saturday, May 6, 8 AM
    Chicago Social Forum: Another Chicago Is Possible!
    Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Av 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Registration is $7 or $5 for students and seniors. For more information:
    http://www.chicagosocialforum.org/


    New Ground #105.6

    05.08.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Spring, 2006, "Democratic Left"
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee May Meeting

    1. Politics

    Impeachment One State at a Time
    It Was May Day and I Couldn't Stop Smiling
    Estate Tax Follies
    "The Israel Lobby"

    2. Democratic Socialism

    May Day with Heart

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    Spring, 2006, "Democratic Left"
    The Spring, 2006, issue of Democratic Left is now available on line at
    http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Spring_2006.pdf

    Chicago DSA Executive Committee May Meeting
    will be on Tuesday, May 9, at 7 PM in the Chicago DSA office. The office is at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 (the 4th floor) in the Northwest Tower Building (aka "Coyote Tower"). This is at the 3 way intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues, quite near the Damen Avenue stop on the CTA blue line to O'Hare. All DSA members are welcome to attend. We should be discussing the June membership convention (where, fyi, the Female Co-Chair, Treasurer, and Political Education Officer will be up for election to a two year term), the office situation, our recent Dinner, and political developments, not to mention other things people will add to the agenda at the meeting.

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    Politics

    Impeachment One State at a Time
    While the U.S. House of Representatives has been the starting point in impeachment proceedings, it turns out that when Thomas Jefferson wrote the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, he gave the states the option of starting the process also. The American Prospect has an excellent article about a movement to start impeachment proceedings against Dubya:
    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=11448
    There was a similar effort in Illinois, and in fact a resolution was introduced into the Illinois House by Representatives Karen Yarbrough, Sara Feigenholtz, and Eddie Washington. It was not acted upon before the Illinois General Assembly adjourned. Never mind Republicans, most Democrats have shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the idea. Activists are trying to get a purely symbolic resolution passed by the Chicago City Council, and even Alderman Joe Moore (who usually loves such things) is dubious. Nonetheless: come hell, high water, or Dick Cheney, supporters are vowing to press ahead.

    It Was May Day and I Couldn't Stop Smiling

    by Bob Roman

    It was May Day, 2006, and I couldn't stop smiling. Nearly a half million people were in the streets of Chicago. They were demonstrating for immigrant rights and against recent conservative attempts to demonize migrants, true; and unlike many left demonstrations, it was to the point and on message, mostly. But it was also a May Day demonstration and there were an amazing number of red flags.

    There were a not a few t-shirts with that classic image of Che Guevara. Sometimes it resulted in interesting juxtapositions, such as a fellow with a Guevara t-shirt carrying a cross emblazoned the name of a saint. It was a sight worthy of a smile though not so incongruous. Che had said that history would absolve him. But history did to him what it did to the saint. It dissolved the fleshy humanity of him, leaving fossilized bone representing not a life but a morality play. A good demonstration does this too.

    The red flags were very much an American tradition though in a special way. May Day had its origins in the States, specifically here in Chicago as a result of movement for an eight hour work day, the 1886 Haymarket police riot and the consequent repression. Even though we've mostly forgotten this, and May Day celebrations even in Chicago have become a feeble, sentimental imitation of the remembrances elsewhere, this is obvious enough for even some of the mainstream press to have recognized.

    But it's very much an American tradition because migrants often come from countries where more or less ideological labor / social democratic / democratic socialist / communist parties are very much a part of mainstream politics. This was true a hundred years ago; it's true today. The major difference is that a hundred years ago, migrants may have been more interested in politics in the "old country" but they were largely organized in affiliates to U.S. parties, the foreign language sections of the Socialist Party of America as an example. Today, it's not uncommon for parties in the "old country" to have chapters here in the States. While it varies from country to country and party to party, many of these chapters are also very much concerned with American politics as it affects their constituencies. Campaign finance laws (here and in the "old country") plus calculated discretion restrict how the chapters as chapters might participate in organizing demonstrations like the recent immigration rights marches and in electoral politics, but a great deal can be accomplished through informal networks, especially if integrated into grassroots civic organizations.

    That "socialism is a foreign import" is an old, old half truth. The untrue half neglects a tradition of home grown radicalism that manifested itself as the agrarian socialism of the wheat growing portions of the Great Plains or as the urban "sewer" socialism of small industrial cities, such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bridgeport, Connecticut, or Reading, Pennsylvania (to name a few).

    So what can the left expect of this new movement? I think there are reasons to be optimistic, even though the labor movement remains terribly weak and the ideological left here in the States resembles shattered safety glass. Others are much better at political calculation and prognostication than I, so I'll offer only two observations.

    First, there will be a terrible (but typical) belief on the American left that if we can only just get our message across to this constituency, we'll gain their support. But this movement belongs to the immigrant communities themselves, and to those organizations that are and have been in a position to make a material contribution to improving the lives of the members of those communities. Talking the talk or even being there will not be enough. (Though some marxist ­ leninist sects would consider dozens of new recruits a victory.)

    Second, if the mobilization of the immigrant communities, the labor movement, and the left is an outcome, expect a counter-mobilization on the right, especially as migrants are such wonderful and universal fear objects. This counter-mobilization will be hobbled by the need of the business class for low-wage, docile employees.

    An example of this split is Beardstown, Illinois. Some miles west, southwest of Springfield, it is the location of a Cargill plant where the workforce is about a third Hispanic. Cargill closed its plants on May 1, but the Mayor of Beardstown, Bob Walters, was singularly ungracious and unhappy. He sent an email to Congressman Ray LaHood "informing him that the packing house is going to close, and that tells me how many 'illegals' are working there. Why in the hell isn't somebody at INS (the Immigration and Naturalization Service) checking it out?" (As quoted in the Peoria Journal-Star)

    The flip side is that the immigrant community is only as strong as its members who are voting citizens. This was powerfully expressed in California, but migrants have been coming to California for many years. Who knows how this will play out in downstate Illinois, or Georgia, or nationally?

    Finally, the demonstration in Chicago was probably the most photographed and recorded event in the city in recent history. It may be redundant, therefore, but below is my contribution to the record.

    Early Arrivals  The march ended with a rally in Grant Park. Long before the march arrived, a steady trickle of people began arriving, sometimes alone, sometimes in little groups. It was like watching a dry wash begin to fill.
    Acorn ACORN was the avant-guard of the march, coming through separately on the sidewalks about a half hour ahead of the main march. This gave ACORN members premium seating at the Grant Park rally. Come to think of it, it also provided the foreground for camera shots of the rally.
    Acorn What got my attention initially was the stream of white balloons in the ACORN contingent. But the couple in the foreground are actually more interesting...
    ...because it makes an almost perfect propaganda pose from 1930s Stalinism: the young couple, gazing off and up into the future, serious and determined with a red banner in the background. Except for the distinctly American twist to it. Instead of some tool or book, the man is holding a soft drink. Acorn Couple
    Grassroots Collaborative And what were the couple looking at? This! The gentleman from the Grassroots Collaborative (housed with the American Friends Service Committee, but ACORN is one of several participating organizations) had an incredible set of lungs and a great deal of energy.
    March The main march finally crosses Michigan Avenue.
    March Another shot of the main march arriving at Michigan Avenue.
    March A shot of the front of the march from the rear as they marched over the METRA / South Shore tracks, just east of Michigan Avenue.
    March Imagine this passing before you for 3 to 4 hours! Luckily the street light poles provided breaks where spectators could shelter.
    March Occasionally the march would stop for a "photo op". Typically, the front ranks would squat for a minute or so while a myriad of cameras would get a shot of the ranks receding into the distance. Then they would leap up with a yell and resume the march. Sometimes they would leap up and leap forward until they caught up with rest of the march, laughing and yelling all the while. Symbolic, I suppose, of breaking free.
    UNITE HERE Several unions had significant delegations in the march, such as UNITE HERE.

    For more coverage of the march, including some interesting comments by Carl Davidson, go to:
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/71902/index.php
    For more photos, go to:
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/71897/index.php

    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/71893/index.php
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/71891/index.php
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/71855/index.php
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/71854/index.php
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagojwj/sets/72057594124841292/

    Estate Tax Follies
    The Emergency Campaign for America's Priorities has announce a new campaign to defeat estate tax repeal as well as any reform that is tantamount to repeal. The Fair Taxes for All Coalition, Coalition for America's Priorities, United for a Fair Economy, and Responsible Wealth are all part of the new campaign.

    Coinciding with this new effort, United for a Fair Economy and Public Citizen have released a report, "Spending Millions to Save Billions":
    http://www.faireconomy.org/reports/2006/EstateTaxFinal.pdf
    The investigation found that 18 wealth families, collectively worth over $185,000,000,000, have financed and coordinated a 10 year effort to repeal the estate tax. The repeal would collectively net them a windfall of $71,600,000,000.

    In other tax and budget news, anther week has gone by without a deal on either the House budget resolution or tax cut reconciliation. There were signs of movement on both, however, and this week could shape up as the critical week, when the Republican leadership either will bring it up or give it up. House Republican leaders are trying to secure a few critical moderate votes for the budget resolution by offering to reduce the cuts to domestic discretionary spending. The reported deal would provide $6 billion more for domestic discretionary programs than the President,s budget. But even with this change, funding in the House budget resolution still would fall billions of dollars short of the amount needed just to keep pace with inflation, forcing real cuts to health care, education, nutrition assistance, environmental protection, and other vital services. In addition to cutting discretionary programs, the House budget resolution includes a reconciliation instruction for cuts to mandatory programs, most of which could come from cuts to critical supports for low-income families such as the Earned Income Credit, unemployment insurance, and Supplemental Security Income. At the same time, the House budget proposes $228 billion in additional tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the very rich.

    You can add your name to an online petition opposing these tax giveaways and budget cuts by going to:
    http://www.actnow.org

    OMB Watch reports that conservatives are making progress on establishing a "sunset commission" that would periodically decide on the life or death of federal programs. For more information, go to:
    http://www.ombwatch.org/sunset

    "The Israel Lobby"
    was the title of an article published in the London Review of Books by the University of Chicago's John J. Mearsheimer and Harvard University's Stephen M Walt.
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/print/mear01_.html
    or
    http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011

    The Harvard University abstract describes the article as contending "that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the 'Israel Lobby.' This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction."

    As you might imagine, the article has provoked considerable discussion and argument. Mark Weinberg recommends Libby Frank's comments on the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's web site as being among the more astute:
    http://www.wilpf.org/campaigns/WCUSP/articles/THOUGHTS%20ON%20MEARSHEIMER.htm
    For an overview of the controversy:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5353855

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    Democratic Socialism

    May Day with Heart
    As May Day is a commemoration of the Haymarket affair and the struggle for the eight hour work day, it was appropriate (and smart) that University of Massachusetts History and Labor Studies Professor James Green's new book, Death in the Haymarket: a Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing that Divided Guilded Age America (Pantheon Books, 2006) was released just ahead of the date.
    Jonathan Birnbaum recommends an interview with the author by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman:
    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/01/1337209

    And he recommends an essay by Peter Linebaugh that was partly inspired by the book: "A Strike, a Boycott, a Holiday, a Refusal. May Day with Heart".
    http://www.counterpunch.org/linebaugh04292006.html

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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.

    Tuesday, May 9, 10 AM
    Health Care Justice Act Taskforce Meeting
    Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Room 502, Chicago
    The HCJA Taskforce, which will make recommendations for legislation to the Illinois General Assembly, will hear Steffie Woolhandler, one of the founders of Physicians for National Health Care and one of the foremost experts on "single payer" national health programs. Supporters of that policy are urged to attend both to support and learn.

    Tuesday, May 9, 7 PM
    "The Jungle"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A centenary presentation of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle by activist Quinn Brisben. Brisben will lead a discussion of the most famous of the muckraking novels of the early 20th Century, based on the unabridged 1906 text. 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/

    Tuesday, May 9, 7 PM
    Towards a Progressive Alternative in Latin America
    Decima Musa Restaurant, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago
    Hear Wilfredo Berrios of the Salvadoran Labor Front and Omar Sierra of the Venezuelan Consulate in Chicago. Sponsored by Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago Bolivarian Circle. For information, email burke@cispes.org

    Thursday, May 11, Noon to 1 PM
    "I Love My Mommy. Give Her a Break"
    Thompson Center Plaza, Clark & Randolph, Chicago
    A Mother's Day event, featuring children of Chicago hotel housekeepers, their mothers and their friends. There will be a bed-making demonstration, lemonade and balloons for the kids, aand a speak-out by the children of housekeepers. A Hotel Workers Rising event. For information, call UNITE HERE Local 1 at 312.663.4373.

    Thursday, May 11, 4 PM ­ 6 PM
    Adequate Health Care Task Force Hearing
    Benito Juarez Community Academy, 2150 S. Laflin St, Chicago
    For more information, go to: http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC

    Friday, May 12, 7:30 PM
    Protests, Riots & Upheaval in Europe: the Radical Left Reply
    New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western, Chicago
    A presentation by Dr. William Pelz with response from Dan Perry. A Chicago Socialist Party event. For information, email ChgoSP@juno.com

    Friday through Sunday, May 12 ­ 14
    Alternative Globalizations Conference
    DePaul University, 2320 N. Kenmore, Chicago
    Sponsored by Global Studies Association North America
    http://www.net4dem.org/mayglobal/conferences.html

    Saturday, May 13, 2 PM
    "Books Not Bars"
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    A short documentary pushing for community-based juvenile justice facilities focusing on education. Sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice.
    http://www.opctj.org/

    Wednesday, May 17
    Call-In Day to Oppose Warrantless Spying
    The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the ACLU, and People for the American Way urge you to call your Congressman to let them know that it is their job to hold the President accountable and to protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121. For talking points and information, go to
    http://www.bordc.org/threats/spying.php

    Saturday, May 20, 1:30 PM
    Chicago Republic Steel Memorial Day
    Memorial Hall, 11731 S. Avenue O, Chicago
    A remembrance of the Republic Steel Massacre. Hear Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts, Esther Lopez of IL Dept. of Labor, Tom Conway of the Steelworkers. Sponsors: ReUnion, Chicago SOAR, USW District 7. Information, call 773.646.0800.

    Saturday, May 20, 2 PM
    Iraq War and American Foreign Policy
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Academic and author Kim Scipes speaks on current events. 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/

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    1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403
    Chicago, IL 60647
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