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New Ground 106

May - June, 2006

Contents

  • The Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice by Bill Barclay
  • A Nation on the Move: the 48th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner by Ron Baiman
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Chicago DSA Annual Membership Convention

    IRS Decides DSA Is Fine

    Walk for Justice Update - Springfield to Chicago

    "Meeting Face to Face"

    "New Ground" Email Edition

    DSA Books On-line

    New Ground 106.1 - 05.23.2006

    0. DSA News

    Chicago DSA Signs on to Estate Tax Letter (You can too!)

    1. Politics

    Battlemart: Ammo for Wal-Mart Warriors
    More Budget Follies and Some Good News
    Coalition of Immokalee Workers

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Naming the Beast or Whistling Past the Graveyard

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 106.2 - 06.03.2006

    0. DSA News

    Chicago DSA Web Site Updates

    1. Politics

    Rally Support for a Living Wage
    For a Fair Illinois
    Cook County Referendum on Iraq
    CBTA Releases Charity Care Report

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 106.3 - 06.13.2006

    0. DSA News

    DSA's National Office Moves
    On the Rights of Undocumented Immigrants
    Dr. Quentin Young in the Wikipedia

    1. Politics

    Labor Troubles in Oak Park by Tom Broderick
    The Congress Hotel Is Dead. Come to the Funeral.
    No Freedom of Speech in Bentonville
    Nurse Understaffing
    Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Barbara Ehrenreich Talks About Class

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 106.4 - 06.22.2006

    0. DSA News

    Work for the Young Democratic Socialists
    2006 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    1. Politics

    Free Trade Losing Steam?
    Slave Labor in Jordan

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Midwest Social Forum
    Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     


    The Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice

    by Bill Barclay

     

    Founding Conference

    They came from Mahomet. They came from DeSoto. They came from Griggsville. They came from Rock Falls. And of course they came from Chicago, Oak Park, Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal. If you don't recognize some of these places, look them up because they illustrate the geographical spread of the Illinois movement against the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. On April 1st, delegates from more than 80 organizations met in Champaign-Urbana for the Founding conference of the Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice (ICPJ).

    The organizations spanned the range of the diverse anti-war movement in Illinois and the US. There were student groups from campuses in the northern, central and southern parts of the state, representatives of religious-based peace and justice committees, community organizations active against the war and on an array of other issues, and a scattering of representatives from the growing labor activism against US militarism and the Iraq War.

    The delegates debated a range of proposals for political action. Anti-war ballot initiatives, a march from Springfield to Chicago, a sustained campaign against Illinois representatives who fail to actively oppose the war, advocacy of a Department of Peace, creation of a data base on all Illinois elected political officials' Iraq War stands, and action against Illinois based war profiteers garnering the most support from the delegates. Several of these actions are already underway.

    The impetus for the conference was the growing sense that we, those of us who oppose the US imperial adventure in Iraq, are the majority ­ and we need to start acting like and mobilizing like one. The goal of the conference was to create a network of groups across the state that could act together to increase the impact of each. To achieve this goal the delegates established a loose organizational structure. A Coordinating Committee consisting of individual committee chairs (elected at the conference) and at large members to insure diversity will discuss ICPJ issues on a regular basis. However, any member organization may use the tools of the ICPJ website to recruit other ICPJ members for an action or campaign, insuring continued support for a range of political work.

     

    Initial ICPJ Activities

    The contacts made established and the ideas exchanges at the founding conference have already borne fruit. Immediately after the conference several ICPJ member organizations began working on the strategic goal of "nationalizing" the November elections, countering candidates' tendency to run on disparate, local issues. Instead, the election should be a referendum on the Bush administration's Iraq War policy. The initial step in this effort was to utilize the democratic structures that exist at the township level in Illinois. Several ICPJ member organizations began efforts to get an Iraq War referendum on their township November ballot by attending their township's annual meeting of electors (any registered voter in the township). The wording of the referendum closely tracks the wording used by the Wisconsin Peace and Justice Network in their recent success in obtaining approval for this resolution in more than 20 Wisconsin cities and towns.

     

    "Shall the United States Government immediately begin an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all its military personnel from Iraq, beginning with the National Guard and Reserves?"

     

    ICPJ member organizations succeeded in placing this referendum on the November ballot in the Aurora, Berwyn, DeKalb, Geneva, Oak Park and Sycamore townships as well as in the cities of Springfield and Champaign.

    However, this is only the beginning of ICPJ work around the November election. A large number of member organizations are now turning their attention to getting a similar proposal on county wide ballots, including Cook and the surrounding collar counties. This task is much bigger, requiring valid signatures of 8% of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election. While the challenge is significant, ICPJ members are confident this goal can be achieved in many locales and that the process of collecting these signatures will itself increase the salience of and opposition to Bush's war among Illinois residents. Most importantly, success in placing this referendum on countywide ballots will provide a vehicle for anti-war groups to demand that candidates speak to the issue of the Iraq invasion rather than ducking this most important national issue.

    ICPJ organizations are also involved in the innovative effort by state Rep. Karen Yarbrough to request that the Illinois state legislature call for the U.S. House to consider impeachment proceedings against George Bush. Under what are known as the Jefferson Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, any state legislature may call for impeachment of a sitting president (or vice president) and the House must consider this as a priority item of business. This action is obviously a higher stakes effort but it shows the benefits for the anti-war movement of a state wide organization.

     

    Looking Forward

    ICPJ is barely two months old but the organizational gains from its creation are already evident. Without the contacts made through the founding conference, coming together on ballot initiatives or the Yarbrough impeachment resolution would have been more difficult. Certainly fewer of the township resolutions would have on the November ballot.

    The organizers of the founding conference were careful to limit the range of formal political discussion to U.S. militarism and the Iraq War, not because we saw these as the only issues facing us but because we wanted to get an organization up and running without distracting discussions on the broad range of questions on which many of us work. However, we believe that the formulation "peace and justice" allows scope for the political growth of ICPJ as the member organizations become more confident and have the experience of working together. The potential for this broader focus was foreshadowed in the break out sessions at the founding conference itself. These ranged from discussions of the interaction/tension between popular pressure and electoral work to how progressives can/should use the media to feminism and US militarism.

    Stay tuned ­ or better yet, join us. ICPJ has only begun its journey.

     

    Editor's Note: Bill Barclay was a member of the ICPC Conference Planning Committee. He is a member of Greater Oak Pak DSA, a founding member of DSA, and is on the OPCTJ Organizing Committee.


    A Nation on the Move: the 48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    by Ron Baiman

    The assembled convened for the 48th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington dinner on a beautiful spring night at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, against a backdrop of marches and demonstrations. There was a sense that the great masses of America had come alive. And though this meant some empty seats (some of our usual comrades were off on the all night ride to New York to march in the April 29 anti-war march), the attendees reveled in the sense of renewed activism and in anticipation of the May 1 immigration march that was to be the largest demonstration in Chicago history.

    The Dinner Committee's honoring of an organization, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), a key sponsor of the peace march, was more than symbolic of this new hope translated into activism.

    Master of Ceremonies, long time Chicago DSA Secretary and retired UCC Minister, Rev. Eugene Birmingham, started the evening with a passage from Michael Harrington's The Politics of God's Funeral by stating that though "the political God is dead, the politics of the spirit is what can bring us together". Gene than recognized and thanked the two most important organizers of the dinner: the visible Carl Shier, grandmaster of the dinner since its inception, and the invisible (as usual) co-grandmaster and volunteer organizer of the dinner, Bob Roman. A number of years ago, Bob revealed himself to a Dinner but has since gone under cover again behind the DSA tables in the hallways.

    Calvin Morris

    Gene Birmingham then asked Jane Ramsey, Director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and former member of the Harold Washington Administration, to introduce the first honoree of the night, Reverend Dr. Calvin Morris, Executive Director of the Community Renewal Society (CRS) and Chicago Jobs with Justice co-Convener. Ramsey proceeded to enumerate some of the highlights of Calvin Morris' personal history. This included serving as: Associate Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Congress Operation Bread Basket (now Rainbow-Push) under Martin Luther King, and as Director of the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta with Coretta Scott King; a myriad of distinguished academic posts at Simmon's College in Boston, Howard School of Divinity in Washington DC, and the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta; to the CRS in Chicago. Throughout his career, Ramsey said, Calvin Morris has been a smart, reflective, activist, who is a passionate activist for peace and social justice who is always on the side of labor and the poor.

    Ramsey than read the Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington award to Morris:

    "Calvin S. Morris. For your life long commitment to social justice as an expression of the Christian Gospel; For your work as an educator and supporter of public education and the arts; For your leadership in the advocacy of civil rights and civil liberties and in the opposition to war torture, and the death penalty; For your efforts in support of the rights of labor and economic justice; The Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present you with its annual award this 28th day of April, 2006."

    After thanking Ramsey and the Committee, and noting that he had been to the dinner many times over the years "in many capacities," Calvin Morris demonstrated his prodigious ability to inspire and move people with his acceptance remarks. He talked about growing up in North Philadelphia where his Mom was a chambermaid in a hotel, his dad a sanitation worker, and his grandparents laundry and Junior High School food service workers. He noted that there was not one college educated person in the entire Congregation of the small North Philly Mission Church that he grew up in. "These people," he said, "are my heroes. I owe to them whatever I have been able to do with my life." From these roots, he said, he had been encouraged and supported by his family, who "had to take a lot of stuff" from employees in order to help him to become the person that he is. He said that when he sees "my brothers and my sisters at the Congress Hotel and the laundry workers here in Chicago, I see immigrant workers encouraging their children to strive," just as his family did for him.

    At age 12-13 he began going to a Quaker school downtown. He learned about pacifism and non-violence, and that residing in each individual is "a spark of the divine." His life of activism began with fund raising for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and for the Hungarian revolution.

    U.S. Labor Against the War

    Gene then turned to Lynn Talbott, an international vice president of UNITE-HERE and a co-manager of its Chicago and Mid-west Regional Joint Board , to present the next award to Maria Guillen representing, as co-convener, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW). Lynn Talbott noted that when USLAW started at the hall of Teamster Local 705 on a cold day in January 2003 there were few members and even fewer union leaders present. Now, in 2006, after three years of organizing efforts, USLAW has 125 unions, central labor councils, state feds, and internationals, as members. She noted that USLAW organized and supported the U.S. 25 city tour of Iraqi labor leaders and tours by military veterans and their families speaking out about the war's costs. She said that (as of April 28, 2006) there were 2,389 U.S. dead, more than 48,000 U.S. wounded, and over a 100,000 Iraqis dead based on the most credible estimates, and that most Iraqis have no jobs, electricity, or health care. For a cost of $251 billion and counting we have created "training and recruitment" grounds for terrorists, and at the same time provided tax breaks for the rich and increased our national debt by $1.3 trillion. She urged solidarity with the marchers in NYC and added that USLAW helped organize 150 buses of demonstrators to NYC representing a wide range of unions and labor organizations, including: UNITE-HERE, UE, SEIU, UAW, JwJ, CLEW, LACLA, and CBTU.

    Maria Guillen, Vice President of SEIU Local 790 and delegate of the San Francisco Labor Council, accepted the award:

    "U.S. Labor Against the War. Because the war on Iraq buys oil, obscenely, with the blood of our sons and daughters; Because the continued slaughter of Iraqis through invasion, poverty, and civil disorder is arguably a crime against humanity; Because the military ­ industrial complex's continued domination of budget and policy has robbed us of the peace dividend and has put both democracy and peace at risk; Because U.S. Labor Against the War has been the single most effective organization at educating the labor movement about the war and at organizing labor support for peace; The Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present U.S. Labor Against the War with its annual award this 28th day of April, 2006."

    Guillen spoke of the honor of being the first organization to be awarded the Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington award. She said that USLAW includes organizations that represent 3-4 million members, and spoke of the "insanity of even contemplating war with Iran at this time," and that the war feeds off of greed and tries to rob us of the "well textured cloak of Civil Rights." She said that last July's resolution against the war at the national AFL-CIO convention before the break up, which was a direct result of USLAW's efforts, was the first time labor in the US had opposed an administration during war time, something Eugene Debs in particular would have been proud of. She ended her talk by citing Eugene Debs who was famously jailed for his opposition to World War I. Debs stated that there is only one war he would support: the war to overthrow the exploiting classes of all nations

    May Day Rising

    Tim Yeager was then recognized to urge all to attend the May Day event at Haymarket Square after the immigration March on Monday that, as has been noted, was to mark Chicago's biggest ever May Day demonstration (its taken immigrants to show the "natives" how to do this right again!)

    Henry Tamarin

    John Wilhelm, President of UNITE HERE's Hospitality Division, was then invited to the podium to recognize Henry Tamarin. He remembered that Henry had been the key note speaker at the dinner in 2003 that was held at the Congress Hotel before the Congress Hotel strike that is now 3 years old. He moved to recognize six leaders of the Congress Hotel strike at this dinner. He then talked about Henry Tamarin's history as a key organizer of the Hotel workers who was brought in time and again to re-energize and refocus organizing campaigns from Hartford (where he got his start), to Boston, NYC, Atlantic City, and now Chicago, one of the most important hotel cities in north America. In spite of the hardship to himself and his family "Henry never complains about anything" and in fact "is one of the funniest people alive", eliciting a laugh from the UNITE-HERE tables at the dinner. Furthermore, "you would think that he lived in Chicago for 50 years" after just a few years here. He's a harmless nice guy if you're on his side, but a fierce opponent if your not.

    Henry Tamarin than rose and accepted his award:

    "Henry Tamarin. For your third of a century of service to your union as an organizer and as an officer; For your long and ongoing efforts to organize women, minority, and immigrant workers, to thereby transform low-wage jobs into good jobs; For your defense of the rights of immigrant workers; For you opposition to war and injustice; The Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present you with its annual award this 28th day of April, 2006."

    In his opening remarks Henry Tamarin quipped: "An intelligent person would sit down right now." He continued by reminiscing about the first (2003) dinner that he had attended honoring the Bernice and Syd Bild and Mitch Vogel before the Congress Hotel strike. He described the confrontation with a large "security guard" who had threatened workers from the Congress Hotel, who were guests at the dinner, with termination if they participated. When the hotel management backed down in the face of the resistance of the dinner participants, he said, "I thought, 'this organization is pretty nifty!'"

    He thanked Lynn Talbott (a past honoree) and his many brothers and sisters and colleagues and comrades from UNITE-HERE and spoke of the optimism, vitality, and great hope that he saw for the future during "this remarkable period in our history". He noted that "over 100,000" people would be marching on Monday in a march in which "everyone and no one is in charge" and that a massive outpouring would occur in NYC on Saturday. This, he said, gives him hope and optimism ­ but that "fighting the good fight is not enough; I really like winning!" He encouraged folks to come out and support the Congress Hotel strikers. He noted that many of the people at the dinner have do this from time to time, so this is a "great place to meet people!"

    John Nichols Burns the Barn

    Next Gene introduced the key note speaker: John Nichols, one of the nation's pre-eminent progressive journalists, columnist for The Nation, Associate Editor of the Capital Times in Madison, author of numerous books including: Dick ­ The Man Who is President, and recipient of numerous awards for columns and editorials.

    Nichols began with an admonishment: "Comrades, though everything of consequence has been said, not everyone has said it yet," and another quote from Eugene Debs: "Chicago is a product of modern capitalism and, like other great commercial centers, is unfit for human habitation." He thanked Calvin Morris for his moving sharing of his personal and family history and noted that whatever their differences, the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win federation are united in USLAW in opposition to the war in Iraq, adding that UNITE-HERE "is a pretty smart union" that organizes workers from Latin America and Asia that reflects the best of US Labor.

    He remembered the last time he was on a picket line with Paul Wellstone in Madison. Paul had terrible back pain and could barely stand up but he went to visit a picket line after a talk in Madison anyway. He forced himself to go and told the workers to: "Join the union, get a contract, and demand respect form your employers."

    Nichols said that he almost didn't make it to the dinner as he was waiting to get a call from the White House to replace Scott McClellan. But they preferred Tony Snow of Fox News who found Bush's last "State of the Union" to be an "excellent address" and particularly highlighted his "brilliant foreign policy".

    But sincerely, he said, you can't make up some of the stuff that is happening now with this administration. Their Court of Appeals nomine is caught shop-lifting from Wal-Mart and Bush's rating is now the same as Nixon's in April before his impeachment. This year is the end of this administration. The only thing that stands in the way is the Democratic Party.

    You would have thought that after 9/11 the Democrats would have an agenda to address problems at home that did not include invading countries that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. But instead, Nichols said, leaders of the party helped craft a resolution giving Bush authority to invade Iraq. Now that 70% of the public think the war is a mistake and 60% want to get out now, the Democrats still consider it too politically "risky" to come out boldly against the war. Moreover, they are being dysfunctional on what to do about Iran. The single best position Nichols said he had heard on this was from Ron Paul, a Republican Representative from Texas, who asked why should we be making Iran a US priority when the threat is mostly to Europe and Israel and is 10-15 years away. And what about their policy on Gas prices? Republicans want to give us $100, and Democrats want to repeal the $0.18 a gallon gas tax. What about the $8 billion profits for the oil companies? When is somebody going to knock some oil company heads?!

    The problem with the Democrats is that they're trying to stumble into power if Bush screws up enough. But they need an alternative. Toward this end Nichols posed three points:

    "Read the polls. The people are more radical than the Democrats. They don't like stupid immoral wars and they say that hotel workers should get a living wage.

    "Educate. Take a stand and stick to it for 3 or 4 years. If Bill Clinton had stuck with health care we might have one, but he had to be willing to lose on this. The abolitionists took 40 years to end slavery. This is a life long struggle. DSA is right. Progressives need to come into the Democratic Party and make it our party.

    "In spite of my books ­ I don't like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc, but they don't matter. Politics today is all about personality, but what matters is what politicians do."

    Look for inspiration at the DSA Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner, he continued.

    These democratic socialists were patriotic "anti-imperialists". Our nation's flag should not be searching for monsters abroad to destroy.

    They were "anti-corporatists" before anti-corporate was cool.

    Though they believed in the power of government to do good, they also felt that it functioned best when nobody in government could operate without checks and balances.

    This Socialist progressive project is the only critique that makes sense. But though it has been stolen from discourse, stifled by spin and fear, and stymied by power, it is still due and rising.

    On April 4, twenty four Wisconsin counties voted for mandatory withdrawal for troops from Iraq. Thought the Democrats stayed away from immigration issue after the Sensenbrenner bill, immigrants took to the streets. The Sensenbrenner bill will not become law. They have permanently changed politics.

    Nichols continued: as Debs said we should work "not for empire but for Liberty" and as Wisconsin's Progressive Governor and Senator Robert LaFollette said: "The people shall rule."

    Or quoting the great democrat Tom Paine: "We have it within us to begin the world anew".

    New York City! Chicago! Do not destroy the power of the American revolution that is coming. Join kids in Wisconsin, immigrants in the street, and anti-war protests to carry it on. Brother, Sisters, Comrades, defend it. Followers of Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington, this is our time to "begin the world anew".

    With this rousing conclusion the assembled rose up and sang the traditional "Solidarity Forever". We were inspired and we will take action, John. To misquote another patriotic American "the times, they do seem to be a changing" ­ finally!

     

    Editor's Note: Ron Baiman is Co-Chair of Greater Oak Park DSA and represents GOP DSA on the Chicago DSA Executive Committee.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

     

    Chicago DSA Annual Membership Convention

    Our annual membership convention will be on Saturday, June 24, at 1 PM. The venue will be the Chicago DSA office at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, in Chicago. This is on the 4th floor of the Northwest Tower Building (aka "Coyote Tower") at the 3-way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen avenues, just off the Damen Avenue stop on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. The agenda will include the election, for a two-year term, of a Female Co-Chair, Treasurer, and Political Education Officer. We will also adopt a budget for the July 1 ­ June 30 fiscal year, plus "Good and Welfare" (in other words, whatever else comes up). All DSA members really ought to attend this meeting, at least, but others are welcome too. Incidentally, at press time it was still not clear whether we will be moving the office at the end of June, but it's looking more likely. For more information, call 773.384.0327.

     

    IRS Decides DSA Is Fine

    About a year ago (July 27, to be exact, see New Ground 101, "Other News") we organized a house party to raise money for DSA's legal defense. Some years ago, during Wellstone's last campaign to be exact, the DSA Fund (our 501c3 arm) had organized a voter registration effort in Minnesota. A local right wing group charged that we were actually raising money to bring students to Minnesota to vote. They later admitted this was nonsense, but not before it was picked up by the Drudge Report then by other "mainstream" media. The consequence was some letters of complaint to the IRS and a subsequent IRS investigation. It was all very costly, as one can't trust the truth alone to be victorious; you need lawyers too.

    The good news is that the IRS has found the DSA Fund had done nothing worthy of a fine or, worse, revocation of its tax exempt status. The bad news is that at least 80 other organizations have been subjected to this harassment and the IRS is seeking to end the exempt status of 3. More details are available in the Spring, 2006, issue of Democratic Left, available online at http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Spring_2006.pdf.

     

    Walk for Justice Update - Springfield to Chicago

    Speaking of the taxman (but not too loudly), the "successor" to Voices in the Wilderness is the more aptly named Voices for Creative Nonviolence. They are starting an interesting educational project, a "Walk for Justice: from the Midwest to the Mideast". This will be a march from Springfield, Illinois, starting on June 7. Scheduled stops on the march include Pekin, Peoria, El Paso, LaSalle, Ottawa, Sandwich, DeKalb, St. Charles, Batavia (hello, Speaker Hastert!), ending in North Chicago on July 5th. As the name suggests, the primary focus of the educational efforts will be on Iraq, Iran, and Israel / Palestine. But they also intend to address the war on minority youth here in the States (thus the stops for prisons in Pekin and St. Charles), the inadequate care for veterans, and military recruitment.

    For more information, call 773.878.3815 or email info@vcnv.org or go to http://www.vcnv.org.

     

    "Meeting Face to Face"

    About a year ago, US Labor Against the War sponsored a nationwide speaking tour of the United States by six senior Iraqi labor leaders. This really caught the attention of the U.S. labor movement as even then there were growing questions about what we are doing over there and what the next steps should be. This was a priceless opportunity to get a perspective directly from those most affected, people very much like the target audience.

    If you missed this opportunity for dialogue, the Center for Study of Working Class Life at SUNY Stony Brook has produced a 27 minute documentary that "breaks through the media walls that keep Iraqi and labor voices out of the debate about the war Meeting Face to Face brings the voices of Iraqi working people directly into the conversation as we consider the war and continuing occupation and what the next steps should be."

    The documentary has its own web site: http://www.meetingfacetoface.org, where copies may be ordered and where more information is available. The price is $9.95 in DVD format or $14.95 in VHS for individuals in the U.S. Outside the States and for institutions, the pricing is different. New York residents need to add sales tax and they're charging $5 per copy for shipping and handling. Make your check or money order payable to "Meeting Face to Face ­ SBU" and mail to Meeting Face to Face, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384.

     

    "New Ground" Email Edition

    Just a reminder that New Ground also has an email edition. It's been coming out about 4 to 6 times every two months, not quite weekly but no less than bi-weekly. The latest issue, New Ground 105.6, included coverage of the May Day Immigrant Rights march in Chicago, the effort at beginning the impeachment process through the state legislatures, opposition to the Estate Tax repeal, a discussion of the Israel Lobby paper by Mearsheimer and Walt, and a review of the new history Death in the Haymarket by James Green. Some of this is written specially for New Ground, the rest consists of links set in context. Each issue is posted on our web site, so it vaguely resembles a blog. But if you'd like to get it delivered directly to your inbox, simply send an email to ng@chicagodsa.org with "Add" in the subject line.

     

    DSA Books On-line

    DSA's on-line bookshop has been completely redesigned. The bookshop offers members and friends the opportunity to order books from the on-line bookseller powells.com. Books by members and non-members of DSA are among the featured titles. Powell's search engine and other books are also available for sale there. DSA receives a small commission (up to ten percent) that is used to support our program to educate a new generation of socialists. As you read about social change you can help us to make social change. So as you get ready for the summer reading season be sure to check out DSA's on-line bookshop: http://www.dsausa.org/books/books.html.


    New Ground #106.1

    05.23.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Chicago DSA Signs on to Estate Tax Letter (You can too!)

    1. Politics

    Battlemart: Ammo for Wal-Mart Warriors
    More Budget Follies and Some Good News
    Coalition of Immokalee Workers

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Naming the Beast or Whistling Past the Graveyard

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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

    DSA News

    Chicago DSA Signs On to Estate Tax Letter (You Can Too!)

    Chicago DSA has signed on to a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the repeal of the Estate Tax and opposing the "reforms" proposed by Senator Kyl. The text of the letter is available at:
    http://www.chn.org/pdf/2006/estatetaxsignon.pdf

    Individuals are also encouraged to let their Senators know their opinion:
    http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/ombwatch/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=907

    For more information, go to:
    http://www.ombwatch.org/estatetax/

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

    Politics

    Battlemart: Ammo for Wal-Mart Warriors

    How does a small grassroots group take on the world's largest corporation? Where would a regular person learn to write an environmental impact statement, a traffic analysis report, or pose a challenge to their town's master plan? Wal-Mart Watch has developed a resource web site to answer just those questions and more. Check it out at:
    http://www.walmartwatch.com/battlemart

    More Budget Follies and Some Good News

    The Fair Taxes for All Coalition reports that "after threatening members of their own caucus with sanctions, House Republican leaders held another middle-of-the-night budget vote and passed the Fiscal Year 2007 House budget by a narrow margin. But, by delaying the vote as long as we did, we've made it extremely unlikely that the House and Senate can reach agreement on a budget resolution this year - and that means no reconciliation/filibuster protections for tax cuts or cuts to entitlement programs for FY 07." They optimistically observe that this means the days of lock-step Republican majorities on budget issues are over and that the public isn't buying, any more, that more tax cuts to millionaires helps the average Joe.

    One hopes so. Because the budget resolution includes language automatically raising the "debt ceiling", the limit on how much the Federal government can borrow. For more information, go to:
    http://www.ombwatch.org/article/blogs/entry/1799/2

    Coalition of Immokalee Workers

    The annual McDonald's shareholder meeting will be on Thursday, May 25, at McDonald's "Hamburger University". Join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and friends to greet them from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM at the entrance to Hamburger U. on Jorie Boulevard in Oak Brook, Illinois. Send a message to McDonald's shareholders as they enter the meeting that McDonald's needs to stop its failing PR Campaign and instead work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to institute REAL corporate responsibility in its tomato supply chain. For more information, contact brigitte@interfaithact.org or 239-986-0688 or melody@sfalliance.org or 239-986-0847. Also, go to:
    http://www.ciw-online.org and http://www.allianceforfairfood.org

     

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Naming the Beast or Whistling Past the Graveyard

    In a speech before the New York DSA convention in May, DSA National Political Committee member (and an editor of New Politics) Michael Hirsch charged that "the democratic left's socialist context" has gone missing and that the result is "of those confronting capital, too few see their particular issues as manifestations of larger, systemic problems. The social movements resemble competing mendicants. The resistance is Balkanized, and so is its thinking." It's time to name the beast. Read the full speech here:
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=1&ItemID=10306

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Wednesday, May 24, 7 PM
    Human Rights and the Struggle for Fair Food
    First Congregational United Church of Christ of Downers Grove, 1047 Curtiss St., Downers Grove, IL
    Two CIW farmworker leaders, including 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate Lucas Benitez, will share about their work to end sub-poverty wages and human rights abuses in the tomato fields and the current McDonald's Campaign.

    Monday, May 29, 11 AM
    Vietnam Veterans Against the War Memorial Day
    Wacker and Wabash, Chicago
    VVAW has been holding these Memorial Day events for over three decades. This year they have invited State Rep. Karen Yarbrough to speak. Representative Yarbrough is one of the sponsors of the resolution introduced into the Illinois General Assembly to impeach Dubya.

    Thursday, June 1, 7 PM
    The New Ghetto: the Separation Wall and the Palestinians
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Israeli scholar and activist Yigal Bronner will give an overview of the "separation wall" now rising on the West Bank. 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/

    Sunday, June 4, 3 PM - 6 PM
    unseenamerica-chicago
    The Hot House, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago
    The opening of a powerful exhibition of photographs taken by Illinois members of the Service Employees International Union. The photographers explored the theme of that which is "unseen" in mainstream culture. The exhibit will run from June 4 through June 29. A book of these photographs and accompanying stories, edited by Esther Cohen, will be released on Friday, June 23, at a reception from 5 PM to 7 PM at the Hot House.


    New Ground #106.2

    06.03.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Chicago DSA Web Site Updates

    1. Politics

    Rally Support for a Living Wage
    For a Fair Illinois
    Cook County Referendum on Iraq
    CBTA Releases Charity Care Report

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    Chicago DSA Web Site Update

    The 2006 Debs - Thomas - Harrington was quite the event. You missed it? Photos, honoree awards, program book and more from the 2006 Dinner have been posted on the Chicago DSA web site. Check it out at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2006

    We've also posted what documents we have on the 1979 Thomas - Debs Dinner. The 1979 Dinner honored Addie Wyatt. At the time, Rev. Wyatt was a Vice-President of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, one of the predecessor unions to the United Food and Commercial Workers. The featured speaker was Irving Howe. Yes, that Irving Howe, the editor of Dissent. It must have been an interesting event. Check it out at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1979

    Working our way backward, we've also gotten to the 1978 Dinner. The 1978 Dinner honored Robert E. Mann, an Illinois State Representative from Hyde Park who was about to retire from elected office after a successful career as an "independent" Democrat (the term meant something back then). The main speaker was William Winpisinger, President of the International Association of Machinists. We don't have much on file about the 1978 Dinner, but you can see what we have at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1978

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    Politics

    Rally Support for a Living Wage

    An ordinance requiring major warehouse style retailers to pay a living wage has been introduced before the Chicago City Council (see New Ground 105.3, "Was That a Lively Press Conference or a Tame Riot?"). This is a major priority for the labor movement in Chicago because allowing such companies (most typically Wal-Mart) to operate while paying their usual minimal wage will suck the life out of every retailer willing to pay a decent wage, most typically those with a union contract.

    The Chicago Federation of Labor has organized a phone bank to mobilize grassroots support for the Ordinance. The phone bank will be in operation from 4 PM to 8 PM at 940 W. Adams (entrance on Sangamon Street), Chicago, on Monday June 5, Monday June 12, Tuesday June 13, Wednesday June 21, Tuesday June 22, Monday June 26, and Tuesday June 27.

    Justice doesn't grow on trees. It needs your help. The "Big Box Living Wage Ordinance" needs your help. But the CFL also needs to know you're coming. RSVP Beth Kanter at 312.222.1000 or email bkanter@cflonline.org to arrange your schedule and for more information.

    For a Fair Illinois

    On Monday, May 8, 2006, the Protect Marriage Illinois turned in an estimated 345,199 signatures to put an advisory referendum on the November ballot to ban gay marriage in the Illinois Constitution ­ and to outlaw any kind of domestic partnership. Their leader called gay and lesbian families "an infection."

    It is also curious that anyone would consider such a referendum worthwhile since "gay marriage" is not presently legal in Illinois in any case. But then, how else would conservative Republicans mobilize their base in Illinois?

    Fair Illinois is "a group of concerned citizens coming together for fairness". They believe that many of the signatures submitted by Protect Marriage Illinois are invalid under Illinois law. Fair Illinois is organizing to uphold Illinois election law, challenge invalid and false signatures and protect gay and lesbian families around the state.

    Signatures are being vetted by Fair Illinois at a number of locations in Chicago, in DuPage County, and in Champaign County; and Fair Illinois needs your help in doing this. They also need help in organizing similar efforts in other counties. For more information on how to volunteer, to to:
    http://fairillinois.org/pblog/index.php

    Cook County Referendum on Iraq

    Chicagoans Against War and Injustice have started a petition drive to get an advisory referendum for withdrawal from Iraq on the November ballot in Cook County. This is a very large undertaking, requiring well over 100,000 signatures to accomplish. However, the group also intends to use the petition as a resource for education and organizing, the plan being to invite signers to a coffee or meeting in their own neighborhoods at which local peace groups might be organized.

    If you'd like to help in this effort, the next meeting will be 7 PM Tuesday, June 13, 3411 W. Diversey, Conference Room, Chicago. Petitions are already available and may be picked up at 3411 W. Diversey, Suite 3, Chicago. Call 773.384.8827 for more information.

    CBTA Releases Charity Care Report

    For some years now, the unions in Chicago working to organize non-profit hospitals have complained about the meager provision of charity care. This has been a particular sore point with AFSCME's HEART campaign that is facilitating the organization of workers at Resurrection Health Care. For example, see:
    http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006a/031706/031706m.htm

    The Center for Budget and Tax Accountability has completed a study that sheds some light on the subject in Cook County, at least. The report does this by:

    "(i) reviewing the rationale for providing non-profit hospitals with preferential tax treatment; (ii) identifying the different standards for exemption from federal and Illinois state income taxes, Illinois state sales taxes and local property taxes; (iii) analyzing the role of bad debt in the debate; and (iv) creating a model to estimate the dollar value of the tax benefits provided to non-profit hospitals in Cook County, Illinois, versus the dollar value of charity care such hospitals report in their statutorily required Community Benefit Reports. This report also reviews some other issues which surface in this debate, such as Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rate shortfalls."

    The bottom line? Yes, and Resurrection is not unique:

    "On average, the estimated tax benefits received by the Hospitals Studied represent 3.7 percent of total expenses for such Hospitals. It is also more than three times greater than the $105.2 million of charity care the Hospitals Studied report providing"

    Download the report from here:
    http://ctba.inspidered.com/home/home.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.

    Sunday, June 4, 3 PM - 6 PM
    unseenamerica-chicago
    The Hot House, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago
    The opening of a powerful exhibition of photographs taken by Illinois members of the Service Employees International Union. The photographers explored the theme of that which is "unseen" in mainstream culture. The exhibit will run from June 4 through June 29. A book of these photographs and accompanying stories, edited by Esther Cohen, will be released on Friday, June 23, at a reception from 5 PM to 7 PM at the Hot House.

    Monday, June 5, 6:30 PM
    Informational Picket of Oak Park Village Board Meeting
    South side of Oak Park Village Hall, Madison & Lombard, Oak Park
    Teamsters Local 705 protests bad faith bargaining resulting in no contract for 2.5 years and no raise for 3 years.

    Thursday, June 8, 7:30 PM
    Marx in Soho
    Acme Art Works, 1741 N. Western, Chicago
    Also June 9 and 10. Howard Zinn's play about Karl Marx the scholar, the immigrant, the family man, played by Jerry Levy. This three night run is a benefit for the Near Northwest Arts Council, admission $10 or $8 for students and seniors. For more information call 773.278.7677. Also go to:
    http://www.nnwac.org

    Saturday, June 10, 7 PM
    The New Ghetto: the Separation Wall and the Palestinians
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A powerful film about poverty and race that presents the social and political vision of Martin Luther King. 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 June 12, 5:30 PM ­ 7:30 PM
    Moving from All Kids to All People
    La Decima Musa Restaurant, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago
    The Campaign for Better Health Care's 2006 Summer Celebration. Here State Representative William Delgado, Dr. Robert Ross, Horacio Esparza, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (invited), and Carmen Velasquez. Registration is $50. To register, call Jess Lynch at 312.913.9449 or go to:
    http://e2ma.net/app/view:CampaignPublic/id:3144.283911647/rid:5ab102fa400b12769c73f666c52052a4

    Wednesday, June 14, Noon
    STOPCAT Demonstration
    Northern Trust Bank, 50 S. LaSalle St, Chicago
    The Stop Cat annual demonstration at Caterpillar's annual meeting. For more information, go to:
    http://www.stopcat.org


    New Ground #106.3

    06.13.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    DSA's National Office Moves
    On the Rights of Undocumented Immigrants
    Dr. Quentin Young in the Wikipedia

    1. Politics

    Labor Troubles in Oak Park by Tom Broderick
    The Congress Hotel Is Dead. Come to the Funeral.
    No Freedom of Speech in Bentonville
    Nurse Understaffing
    Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Barbara Ehrenreich Talks About Class

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    DSA's National Office Moves

    New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority is building an inter-spatial express route, apparently, and the building in which DSA's National Office is housed is to be demolished. Don't panic! The staff have grabbed their towels and moved, one step ahead of the Vogons. The new address is 75 Maiden Lane, Ste 505, New York, NY 10038. The phone number, fax number, web address, and email address remain the same.

    On the Rights of Undocumented Immigrants
    DSA's National Political Committee passed a resolution on the rights of undocumented immigrants on June 2nd. The resolution begins:

    "Democratic Socialists of America favors granting immediate permanent resident status to all undocumented workers and establishing an expeditious and non-punitive road to citizenship for these workers and their families. We oppose guest worker programs that would help exploit these workers and undercut all workers' rights to organize and to secure humane wages and working conditions, especially low-wage workers, many of whom are relegated to the bottom-rung of the economy by institutional racism. The burgeoning immigrant rights movement represents a crucial movement for social justice and brings to the forefront of public debate issues central to a democratic and just society."

    Read more about it here:
    http://www.dsausa.org/LatestNews/2006/immigrant%20rights.html

    Dr. Quentin Young in the Wikipedia
    Chicago DSA member Dr. Quentin Young has his very own entry in the Wikipedia. It features a photo of him from the 1992 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner. Check it out at:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Young%2C_MD

     

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    Politics

    Labor troubles in Oak Park
    by Tom Broderick
    For several years, there have been troubles between the unions and management at Village Hall. Teamsters Local 705 has worked for two and one half years without a contract.

    Village management halted contract negotiations prior to the last Village Board election, to see who won the election. One slate that was running was considered more sympathetic to the unions. Negotiations didn't start up again for eight months. Finally, the union felt it had a contract.

    Again there was a delay, with Village management saying that their negotiators didn't have the authority to sign off on the agreement between the Village and the union.

    In response, Local 705 called for an informational picket on Monday, June 5th, prior to a Village Board meeting. Approximately forty people walked with signs and distributed literature from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Village Trustee Bob Milstein met with those of us who were walking the picket. Trustee Milstein is a vocal supporter of labor unions.

    The majority of the picketers were Teamsters. They were joined by members of the following groups: International Association of Machinists, Village Citizens Alliance (a local community group, active in Village politics), Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of American and the Greater West Side Green Party.

    Local 705 is filing an Unfair Labor Practice lawsuit. Local newspaper, The Wednesday Journal has called for a study into why employee / management relations are so bad.

    For more information, also see the Oak Park Wednesday Journal.

    The Congress Hotel Is Dead. Come to the Funeral.
    The heroic striking Congress Hotel workers will be staging a funeral procession and burial for the Congress Hotel on the third anniversary of their strike, Thursday, June 15, 10 AM to Noon and 4 PM to 6 PM, at the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan, Chicago. Come show your support for a band of truly hardy band of brothers and sisters. For more information, call Lars Negstad at 312.663.4373 x 243.

    No Freedom of Speech in Bentonville
    Wal-Mart Watch has embarked upon a new campaign urging Wal-Mart, once again, to be a "high road" company. It seems unlikely. But Wal-Mart Watch decided to bring the message to Wal-Mart's backyard by purchasing billboard space in Bentonville, using a nice quote from old Sam Walton himself. Although the content (and artwork) of the ad had been approved by the billboard company, the billboard lasted less than a day. Read more about this (and about the campaign) at:
    http://walmartwatch.com/blog/archives/no_first_amendment_in_bentonville_wal_mart_watch_billboard_comes_down/

    Nurse Understaffing
    Unions involved in health care organizing have been concerned about nurse staffing levels at hospitals for some time now, both from the stand point of occupational health and safety for nursing employees and from the stand point of patient care, union members being patients, too, after all.

    A bill regulating staffing levels was introduced in this session of the Illinois General Assembly: HB 2548 introduced by Representative Mary Flowers and SB 2270 introduced by Senator Ira Martinez. HB 2548 passed out of Committee by an 8-2-1 vote, despite the strong opposition of the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA). It was held on Second Reading in the House based on a commitment by the sponsor to bring supporters of the bill and the IHA together to discuss the legislation. SB 2270 was held in committee, but a subcommittee will hold subject matter hearings that will help raise awareness of the problem. The Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 22nd, 7 PM - 9 PM at Kelvyn Park High School, 4343 W. Wrightwood, Chicago. For more information, contact AFSCME HEART Community Coordinator Kathy Stikes at 312.320.7717.

    Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
    The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is holding its annual meeting Tuesday, June 27, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Costa's Restaurant, 340 S. Halsted in Chicago. The event is free and open to the public.

    While it has been out for a few months, persons concerned with the death penalty in Illinois should read the Coalition's annual report. Most non-profit organizations put out annual reports that are essentially attempts to show contributors just how well their monies were spent. The Coalition, however, has put together a slick document that surveys the state of justice and the use of the death penalty in Illinois. Among the topics considered are the mentally ill, coerced confessions, crime lab problems. To download a copy of the report (inconsistently labeled "2005"), to to:
    http://www.icadp.org/2005ICADPAnnualReport.pdf

     

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    Democratic Socialism

    Barbara Ehrenreich Talks About Class
    In a Nation Institute TomDispatch.com interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, readers are provided with a guided tour of class in America: the prey and the predators:
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=88568

     

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Wednesday, June 14, Noon
    STOPCAT Demonstration
    Northern Trust Bank, 50 S. LaSalle St, Chicago
    The Stop Cat annual demonstration at Caterpillar's annual meeting. For more information, go to:
    http://www.stopcat.org

    Thursday, June 15, 10 AM to Noon and 4 PM to 6 PM
    The Congress Hotel Is Dead
    The Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan, Chicago
    On the 3rd Anniversary of the beginning of the strike, the striking workers of the Congress Hotel hold a funeral procession and burial for the hotel. For more information, call Lars Negstad at 312.663.4373 x 243.

    Saturday, June 24, 1 PM
    Chicago DSA Membership Convention
    Chicago DSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago
    All DSA members really ought to attend this meeting, at least. For more information, email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org


    New Ground #106.4

    06.22.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Work for the Young Democratic Socialists
    2006 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    1. Politics

    Free Trade Losing Steam?
    Slave Labor in Jordan

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Midwest Social Forum
    Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    Work for the Young Democratic Socialists
    The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest democratic socialist organization in the US, seeks an organizer for its youth division, the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS). For more information, go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html#anchor353115

    2006 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
    In New Ground 106.2 (http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng106.html#anchor53442) we noted the posting of photos, etc., of the 2006 Dinner on our web site. U.S. Labor Against the War has added the text of SEIU Local 790 VP Maria Guillen's speech at the event when she accepted the 2006 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington award on behalf of USLAW. Check it out (and, while you're at it, the rest of their web site) at:
    http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=10935

     

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    Politics

    Free Trade Losing Steam?
    The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) maintains a fair trade project, a worthy project made all the more valuable as so much of the fair trade not free trade movement here in the States has dwindled to a rear guard action. Not so elsewhere, and the occasion of Rob Portman's shift from being the U.S. Trade Representative to Director of the Office of Management and Budget prompted the AFSC to survey the growing rejection of the "U.S. model of free trade" and some proposed alternatives. See:
    http://www.afsc.org/trade-matters/trade-agreements/LosingSteam.htm

    Slave Labor in Jordan
    One of the other centers still hot on the issue of fair trade v. free trade is Charles Kernaghan's National Labor Committee. When the U.S. and Jordan implemented their free trade agreement, garment manufacturers moved quickly to take advantage of both the agreement and the large pool of migrant and refugee labor in the region, essentially expanding production by hiring foreign "guest" workers at terms not unlike slavery (including the routine confiscation of passports). Some 30,000 "guest" workers are employed by the industry in Jordan, and a National Labor Committee investigation revealed that it was "common for guest workers to be at the factory over 100 hours each week, while they are being cheated of upwards of half the wages legally due them. Not one guest workers is paid the legal minimum wage. Nor do guest workers receive the legal overtime premium."

    To give Jordan credit, once the report was made public, Jordan began taking steps to enforce its own labor laws in this industry. In addition, Senator Byron Dorgan has introduced Senate Bill 3485, "The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act" that will, for the first time, hold corporations legally accountable to respect the core International Labor Organization worker rights standards: no child labor, no forced labor, freedom of association, right to organize and bargain collectively and to decent working conditions. The legislation also includes an important right to private action, giving individuals and organizations standing to sue corporations for violating the law. Further, Senator Dorgan's legislation establishes strict sweat-free procurement standards to condition all Federal Government purchases.

    For the report on Jordan, go to:
    http://www.nlcnet.org/live/article.php?id=10

    For an update on Jordan, go to:
    http://www.nlcnet.org/live/article.php?id=36

    For information about "The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act, go to:
    http://www.nlcnet.org/live/article.php?id=35

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    Democratic Socialism

    Midwest Social Forum
    This July, Milwaukee will be host to Midwest Social Forum 2006, an annual gathering of grassroots organizations, community activists, artists, workers, educators, students, and others committed to social justice movement building. Formerly also known as RadFest, the Midwest Social Forum (MWSF) provides an open space for exchanging experiences and information, strengthening alliances and networks, and developing effective strategies for progressive social, economic, and political change. The Forum will take place over the July 6-9 weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union. For more information about the program, cost, venue, housing, etc., call 608.262.1420 or 608.262.0854 or go to:
    http://www.mwsocialforum.org

    Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
    The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism is holding its 5th National Convention at DePaul University's Lincoln Park Campus in Chicago on July 21 through 23. On Thursday, July 20, the event will begin with a day-long symposium entitled "Fighting Back, Moving Forward: Strategies for Building a Progressive Majority for the Coming Elections". Registration is $50 for all four days or $20 for a day. There is a student and low income rate. For more information, go to:
    http://www.cc-ds.org

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Friday, June 23, 5 PM ­ 7 PM
    unseenamerica: photos and stories by workers
    Hot House, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago
    A book release party for a volume edited by Esther Cohen that includes photos and accompanying stories by workers. The photos are currently on display at the Hot House through June 29. For more information, go to:
    http://www.seiu-illinois.org

    Saturday, June 24, 1 PM
    Chicago DSA Membership Convention
    Chicago DSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago
    All DSA members really ought to attend this meeting, at least. For more information, email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org

    Sunday, June 25, 2 PM
    The End of Suburbia
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    A showing of the film "The End of Suburbia" sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice. For more information, go to:
    http://www.opctj.org

    Tuesday, June 27, 5:30 PM ­ 7:30 PM
    Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Annual Meeting
    Costa's Restaurant, 340 S. Halsted, Chicago
    Free and open to the public. For more information, call 312.849.2279, or go to:
    http://www.icadp.org

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    PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

    "New Ground" is published by

    Chicago Democratic Socialists of America
    1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773.384.0327

    Only articles specifically labeled as representing the views of the organization do so. Subscriptions to the bimonthly print edition are available at $10 for 6 issues. Send a check or money order made payable to "CDSA" to the address above. "New Ground" is also available on line at http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive, but your financial support is much appreciated.

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

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