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New Ground 108

September - October, 2006

Contents

  • Class War By Any Other Name by Tom Broderick
  • Chicago's Peace Recruiters by Libby Frank
  • Sidebar: Most Heavily Recuited Schools

    Sidebar: Resources

  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Peace Fair

    Big Box Folds

    Association for Union Democracy

    Mother Jones

    9/11

    Sidebar: Big Box Ordinance Votes

    New Ground 108.1 - 09.30.2006

    0. DSA News

    8th Annual Matthew Shepard March and Rally

    1. Communications

    Oak Park Peace Fair

    2. Politics

    Crime and Punishment Redux
    Immigration Angst

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Nonsense on Stilts: Michael Albert's Parecon

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 108.2 - 10.07.2006

    0. DSA News

    The 1976 Thomas ­ Debs Dinner

    1. Politics

    The NLRB Outlaws Unions
    Democracy Now on WBEZ?
    Voting for Liberty

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Max Shachtman: Socialism as Radical Democracy?
    Vistas on Socialism
    Marxism at Your Fingertips

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 108.3 - 10.25.2006

    0. DSA News

    Endorsements
    Web Site Additions: the 1975 and 1974 Thomas ­ Debs Dinners
    DSA Anti-Racism Commission: Race, the Democratic Party, and Electoral Strategy
    DSA International Commission: The Future of Europe

    1. Politics

    Vote Early and Vote Often Against the War
    Big Box Ballots and Other Measures
    Make Hastert Responsible

    2. Democratic Socialism

    October is Co-Op Month
    Worker Owners and Unions: Why Can't We Just Get Along?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 108.4 - 11.02.2006

    0. DSA News

    "Democratic Left" Fall, 2006 issue
    Socialist International

    1. Politics

    9 Candidates and the Death Penalty
    Oaxaca
    CINTAS Attacks Immigrant Workers

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

     


    The State of Working America:

    Class War By Any Other Name

    by Tom Broderick

    Uncle Byron turned 80 on August 20th and we celebrated. Several years ago, he retired from teaching elementary school at PS 161M in Harlem with a pension that has allowed him to live a satisfying life. That pension was negotiated by his union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

    The demand to be treated with dignity and respect compelled workers to organize. They wanted better and safer working conditions. They wanted "eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what we will." They wanted health care and pensions. They wanted the weekend off and paid vacations. As the demands for dignity and respect continue, so do the attacks against them.

    Violence against the labor movement has been a constant. Private thugs (the Pinkertons e.g.), vigilantes (the early years of the American Legion e.g.), Police Departments, State Militias (precursors to the National Guard), the National Guard and the U.S. Military have been used to assault workers who tried to organize and improve their lives. The international holiday, May Day, had its origins in the 1886 Chicago police riot that ended a rally for the eight hour day. Our present Labor Day started in New York state but became a federally mandated holiday after Grover Cleveland, in 1894, used troops to crush Eugene V. Debs' American Railway Union strike against the Pullman Company in Chicago.

    If, here in the States at the start of the 21st Century, physical violence against union members has become the exception, it is also true that overt hostility to workers exercising their rights to organize is no relic of history. The tools today are legal restrictions and intimidation, legal and illegal.

    Former President Reagan destroyed the Air Traffic Controllers' union (PATCO), who had endorsed his election. The crushing of PATCO was a shock to the modern American labor movement; it was "the day the strike died". The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Communication Workers of America v. Beck in 1988 (during the term of the actually elected President Bush) that declared that workers who choose not to join unions but receive the benefits from unions at their work-sites can opt out of their agency fees[1] being used for lobbying and political activities. Corporations on the other hand are not required to get permission from every shareholder when they engage in lobbying.

    Workers seeking to organize face a sophisticated, well-practiced system of intimidation and indoctrination. From "captive audience" meetings by management, to Orwellian surveillance, to the firing of union activists, to threats to close or relocate, employees wishing to organize face a daunting task. A 2005 study by the University of Illinois' Center for Urban Economic Development found that among employers faced with an organizing campaign, 30% fired workers when they engaged in union activities; 49% threatened to close or relocate all or part of the business if workers elected to form a union; 82% used consultants to design and coordinate the anti-union campaign.[2] It doesn't matter that some of these activities are starkly illegal. Complaining to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), even during the Clinton years, was a dubious prospect that might delay the representation election, take years for remedy if successful, and would generally result in trivial (and tax deductible) penalties for the employer.

    It doesn't help that this history is nearly invisible in public education. The histories of women, African-Americans and Hispanics have become elective courses in some high school history departments. The one in my community, Oak Park River Forest High School, is no exception. Labor history appears to enter the classroom solely at the discretion of individual teachers. However, after more than a year of discussion, the department is considering a program, provided free of charge by Chicago's DePaul University: the Regina V. Polk High School Union Program.[3]

    The DePaul University program has the additional advantage of providing students with an intimate exposure to the institution of collective bargaining through actual role-playing. This provides an opportunity to learn how the "rules of the game" can intimately affect the ability of workers to stand up for their rights.

    This is something the rich have known all along. How else could former Democratic President Clinton have butchered workers with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? This trade package benefits certain types of corporations. It should be no surprise that Kate Bronfenbrenner, in a study of the effect of NAFTA on organizing in the States, found that from 1993 to 1995, half the employers overall faced with organizing campaigns threatened to close or move their business but that the percentage rose to 62 for relatively mobile industries such as manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation.[4]

    NAFTA also destroys the lives of small farmers and their families in Mexico. No small cultural/economic crime committed against rural Mexican communities is the trashing of the land reforms won during the Mexican Revolution. Ejidos, communally owned lands, are being supplanted by private ownership. This is cultural imperialism. It also forces rural Mexicans to migrate to the cities and to the United States.

    NAFTA along with the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) have not simply harmed people in Mexico. Throughout the Americas, many who have to work for a living have been dealt, or face, a job death sentence.

    As manufacturing jobs were eliminated in the United States and Canada, Mexico began opening free trade zone manufacturing areas primarily along their northern border. Mexican laborers women and men looking for steady employment left their homes and migrated to these foreign owned sweatshops. The wheel turned and many of these factories have been shut down as corporations with a myopic view of profit found Chinese and Vietnamese sweat cheaper and facile. Labor actions are now on the rise in both of these countries.

    As these factories closed, many of the job deprived crossed into this country. Rather than creating good jobs, NAFTA and CAFTA have produced dislocation and unemployment across the Americas. What we call the "middle class" is shrinking, while the wealthy lustily enjoy greater wealth. These trade agreements have trashed the quality of life of those who work to survive in this hemisphere.

    The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) issued a briefing report (Issue Brief #214) in July, 2005 showing jobs gained and jobs lost in the United States, between 1993 (When NAFTA went into effect) and 2004. In the United States, 941,459 were gained and 1,956,750 were lost. That's a net loss of more than 1,000,000 jobs. Most of the jobs lost were in the better paying manufacturing sector.

    One particular NAFTA provision that rubs me raw grants corporations the right to sue sovereign governments for interfering with their ability to maximize profit. Corporations over all! NAFTA and CAFTA grow and codify corporate rights. Workers, communities and the environment suffer because other than as public relations stunts, they have no plus value on corporate balance sheets.

     

    "It will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more." Business Week, October 12, 1974.

    Britain's former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, famously dismissed human rights when she announced "There Is No Alternative" (TINA) to the Neo-Liberal free market. To the contrary, "it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it (any form of government), and to institute new Government . . . organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."[5] There are alternatives. Other countries have implemented, or are implementing them. We need to engage in dialogue about democratic socialism.

    Also as part of Clinton's corporate love affair, companies were allowed to set up and control "quality of work panels." These involved "cooperation" between labor and management. Corporations liked them because management controlled them. The Village Board of Oak Park, Illinois, issued a proclamation on May Day this year that called for cooperation between workers and management. Workers of Oak Park, bring your own analgesic and be prepared to self-administer.

    The current White House administration, fronted by former Governor of Texas, George W. Bush is waging a monumental war against all who are not rich. His first "Executive" Order disrupted reporting procedures for unions, causing them to spend more time completing paperwork. Bureaucracy as weapon.

    Now Bush's NLRB may deny hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of workers labor law protection. There are a group of cases pending before the NLRB collectively known as Kentucky River. The focus is on supervision and/or training. If a worker exercises any supervisory or training duty as part of their job, they may lose all rights to union membership. What established worker has not helped train and/or monitor new hires?

    Not content with bludgeoning workers, this class whore has ushered in an unbelievable redistribution of wealth:

    The 2001 Income Tax Cut:
    Average cut for people making under $50,000 per year $425.00
    Average cut for people making $1,000,000 per year $59,216.00
    Average cut for people making more than $10,000,000 per year $521,905.00
    
    The 2003 Tax Cuts for Capital Gains and Dividends:
    Average cut for people making under $50,000 per year $10.00
    Average cut for people making $1,000,000 per year $25,450.00
    Average cut for people making more than $10,000,000 per year $497,463.00
    
    The 2006 Extension of Tax Cuts for Capital Gains and Dividends:
    Average cut for people making under $50,000 per year $3.00
    Average cut for people making $1,000,000 per year $59,972.00

    [Source: Hightower Lowdown, Vol. 8, No. 7]

     

    "This is an impressive crowd ­ the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." George Bush addressing big contributors, quoted in 'Up Front,' Robert McNatt, Business Week, November 6, 2000.

    Bush and his band of greedy thieves continue to push for a permanent repeal of the Estate Tax. This tax applies to estates valued at $1 million or more. The richest 5% of Americans pay 99% of this tax. If the Estate Tax is terminated by our (?) Federal Representatives, the very richest American taxpayers could loot the public Treasury of $1 trillion in just one decade.

    Eighteen of America's wealthiest families have funded a campaign to gain permanent repeal of the estate tax. Success would profit them $71.6 billion. Though not members of the wealthiest 18, the Bush clan would be able to avoid paying taxes on $6.2 million and the Cheney family could sidestep $61 million in taxes.

     

    "A new substantial body of research finds that at least 45% of parents' advantage in income is passed along to their children, and perhaps as much as 60%." Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2005.

    It's going to take a strong, dynamic and democratic labor movement, joined by community organizations, to stop this dedicated assault on these quality of life issues. Even today, unions have more muscle power than most community organizations, but it will require all of us working in concert to redefine the concept of good governance.

    This country has the highest poverty rate among developed nations and the greatest number of billionaires in the world. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an organization of twenty rich, industrialized nations. The United States of America is one of them.

    In the State of Working America, 2004/2005, issued by EPI, this country had the highest overall poverty rate (17.0%) of the 17 OECD countries where data was available. We had the highest child poverty rate (21.9%) and the second-highest elderly poverty rate (24.7%). Those suffering poverty over three years was the most persistent in this country. We also had the highest permanent poverty rate (14.5%) among the OECD countries. This longevity record indicates that poverty has a permanence that exposes the lie of "boot-strap" economics. Our country is the OECD member with the lowest social expenditures and the highest child poverty rate. Yachts are rising on a tide that is drowning so many.

    For reference, the 2006 U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services poverty guidelines for the 48 contiguous states:

    Household of 1  $9,800 or less per year
    Household of 2 $13,200 or less per year
    Household of 3 $16,600 or less per year
    Household of 4 $20,000 or less per year
    Household of 5 $23,400 or less per year

     

    According to Kate Maehr, Executive Director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD), of 39% of households receiving food from the GCFD, there is at least one employed adult. The GCFD serves approximately 165,00 children (those under 18) annually. This represents 33% of people seeking relief through the GCFD.

    Al Brislain, Senior VP of Member Services of America's Second Harvest (A2H) says that nationally, over 25 million distinct individuals/families receive food assistance from A2H annually. The largest group receiving this assistance is the single parent household. They represent over 42% of aid recipients. Households with at least one working adult represent 36% of aid recipients.

    Federal school breakfast and lunch programs are supposed to feed America's poor children. Our poor children. During the school year, these programs generally work. However, during holidays and summer recess, these meals vanish. The American poor have to figure out how to supply two additional meals per child every day.

    On the other hand, the Forbes magazine 2006 listing of "The World's Richest People" shows twelve of the world's 25 wealthiest billionaires live in these United States. Five of them are Waltons, heirs to the predator Wal-Mart. Second place is a tie among the United Kingdom, France and Germany with two billionaires each.

    Forbes lists 793 Billionaires in the 2006 survey. Of these, 364 reside in this country. Not quite half the global elite, but we have an astounding lead over second place Germany with 45 and third place Russia with 32. If this is supposed to show that capitalism works, then it's apparent that successful capitalism must be judged by the amount of disparity and suffering it creates and tolerates.

    Two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago issued a report[6] that indicates "economic mobility fell sharply during the 1980s and failed to revert, perhaps continued to decline in the 1990s." The tax-cut bills of this silver spoon office holder have benefited the wealthy far and above the rest of us.

    Forbes.com responds to this disparity: "This trend of rising income inequality should be carefully monitored. A widening gap between rich and poor could have several pernicious effects on the U.S. economy." One worry: "A widening income gap could increase the likelihood of political action favoring the labor movement."

    An indication supporting this fear is the growing movement by states and cities to increase the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $5.15/hour. Based on 40 hours of work each week for 52 weeks, this is an annual income of $10,712.00. It has been $5.15/hour since 1997. The wage is stagnant, while the cost of living has risen.

    This is the second longest time span without an increase in the minimum wage in this country's history. About 7.3 million Americans work for the minimum wage. 72% of these workers are adults. 60% of them are women. Many of these are single mothers. Another 8.2 million workers are paid up to a dollar more per hour.

     

    "You work three jobs? . . . Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you are doing that." George W. Bush to a divorced mother of three, February, 2005.

    Eighteen states, Illinois among them, have enacted minimum wages higher than the poverty sustaining federal law. Three cities have successfully done the same: Santa Fe, NM, San Francisco, CA and the District of Columbia. Four cities in Wisconsin passed higher minimum wages, only to have them repealed by lawsuits. Subsequently, Wisconsin passed a statewide increase to the minimum wage.

    Social justice and democracy are not served by the biased economic system we have been cajoled to accept as the norm. Home rule communities and all states have the ability to fight poverty by raising the minimum wage. When raised, there is a spillover effect that increases the pay of those already earning more the minimum wage. This is the tide that will raise boats.

    The "have-mores" and their spokespeople don't like to use the phrase "class war" except to pejoratively attack those who challenge their greed and power. Nonetheless, these "have-mores" are thoroughly committed to enhancing and protecting their plutocracy.

    That makes this class war and even Uncle Byron is a casualty. He's in the black hole of his reformed Medicare health coverage. The popular term is donut hole, but there's nothing pastry-like about it. His prescription drug co-pay went from 25% to 60%. This is punishment for aging. It's also punishment for not continuing to labor.

    However convincing the lies, this planet, and the life on it are not commodities.

    Notes

    1. Agency fees are paid to unions by employees who work in union work environments but choose not to join the union. These fees are permitted because even non-union employees benefit from the collective bargaining agreements that unions negotiate with employers. They also benefit from grievance procedures that unions provide.

    2. Chirag Mehta and Nik Theodore, "Undermining the Right to Organize: Employer Behavior During Union Representation Campaigns," Center for Urban Economic Development University of Illinois at Chicago, December, 2005.

    3. For information on this program, contact the DePaul Labor Education Center: 312 363 5823.

    4. Kate Bronfenbrenner, "We'll Close! Plant Closing, Plant Closing Threats, Union Organizing, and NAFTA", Cornell University, 1997.

    5. Declaration of Independence, United States of America, In Congress, July 4, 1776.

    6. Daniel Aaronson and Bhashkar Mazumder, "Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the U.S., 1940 to 2000," Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper, 2005-12, November, 2005.

     

    Thanks to Larry Spivack, President of the Board, Illinois Labor History Society and Bob Breving of the Regina V. Polk High School Union Program for their thoughts.


    Chicago's Peace Recruiters

    by Libby Frank

    As of this writing, 2,660 American soldiers and over 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the Iraq war; a war that was initiated by our government for oil and empire and sold to the American people with fear.

    And on the home front, the military continues to have problems filling their quotas for young men and women to fight this war of aggression. It's a tough sell. We have an all-volunteer army during a time of war. Military recruiters feel tremendous pressure to do whatever they can to meet recruiting goals.

    By now most people have heard stories about recruiting irregularities: the young autistic man that enlisted (The Oregonian, May 7, 2006); the young Colorado student that was shown by the army recruiter how to fake a drug test and a high school diploma (CBS News, May 2, 2005). The situation has gotten so bad in fact that the army suspended all recruiting on May 20 of last year and used the day for intensive 'ethics' training. In August of this year the Government Accounting Office released a report stating that allegations of wrongdoing by U.S. military recruiters jumped by 50 percent from 2004 to 2005, and criminal violations such as sexual harassment and falsifying documents more than doubled. The Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative agency, said the full extent of violations by military recruiters is unknown because the Defense Department does not have an oversight system. Allegations of recruiter wrongdoing increased to 6,600 cases in fiscal year 2005 from 4,400 in fiscal 2004 and substantiated cases rose to almost 630 cases from 400.

    Given this background, progressives have stepped forward to 'counter' military recruitment. In the Chicago area, a movement started over three years ago continues to grow. The counter-recruitment movement includes countless community peace and justice groups, churches, faith-based organizations, high school clubs and college organizations. We protest the recruiters' presence on campus and at local festivals (e.g. Taste of Chicago). We set up tables on college campuses and talk to students about the military. We go to high schools in the city and suburbs and set up a table near the cafeteria during lunch and talk to students. We go into the classroom and facilitate sessions on truth in recruitment, the realities of military life, selective service and larger issues of war and peace. We go to the area high schools and distribute forms that allow young people to 'opt out' of having the recruiters call them at home. We provide counseling on how to become a conscientious objector. Although our work is obviously part of a larger anti-war strategy our immediate goal is to educate young people about the military and to get them to THINK about their decision.

    Most of these organizations work through a coalition, the Chicagoland Coalition Opposed to Militarization of Youth (CCOMY). This year CCOMY along with the American Friends Service Committee and other coalition members launched the 'Adopt a School' program. AFSC compiled a list of the most heavily recruited schools in the Chicago area (see sidebar). The statistics were compiled from the National Priorities database and are for last year.

    Our goal this year was to get all the schools listed below adopted. That didn't quite happen but a number of schools have been adopted by community groups.

    I have been in three inner city high schools and about eight suburban high schools. There are always people that thank us for being there. (We do get some hostile reaction as well, but less than you might think). In many cases the school administration does not feel comfortable with the presence of the military recruiters because they know how vulnerable and impressionable young people are, particularly if they have few options. But there is very little they can do.

    I believe this is some of the most important anti-war work being done in the country right now and I encourage everyone to get involved. If you would like to join our 'army' of peace recruiters, please contact militaryoutofschools@yahoo.com or, for more information and other opportunities, see the Resources sidebar below.

     

    Most Heavily Recruited Schools

    1. Lane Tech High School (JROTC)

    2. Schurz High School (JROTC)

    3. St. Patrick High School

    4. Hyde Park Career Academy (JROTC)

    5. Chicago Vocational Career Academy

    6. Prosser Career Academy (JROTC)

    7. Brother Rice High School

    8. Von Steuben High School

    9. Bogan High School

    10. Aurora West High School

    11. Bradley-Bourbonnais High School

    12. Curie High School

    13. Elgin High School

    14. Glenbard North High School

    15. Kelly High School

    16. Lake Central High School

    17. Morton East High School

    18. Morton West High School

    19. Naperville Central High School

    20. Naperville North High School

    21. Romeoville High School

    22. Thornton Frac. South High School

    23. Warren TWP High School

    24. Orr High School

    25. Carliss High School

    26. Harlan Comm. Academy

    27. Washington High School

    28. Gage Park High School (JROTC)

    29. Hubbard High School (JROTC)

    30. Kelvyn Park High School (JROTC)

    31. Lake View High School (JROTC)

    32. Roosevelt High School (JROTC)

    33. Wells Comm. Academy High School (JROTC)

    34. Foreman High School (JROTC)

     

    Resources

    · Chicagoland Coalition Opposed to Militarization of Youth
    773.536.0098
    http://www.ccomy.org

     

    · Northwest Suburban Peace & Education Project
    773.292.0041
    http://www.nwsubpep.org

     

    · American Friends Service Committee
    312.427.2533
    http://www.afsc.org/youthmil/default.htm

     

    · Center on Conscience and War
    800.379.2679
    http://www.centeronconscience.org

     

    · The Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities
    760.634.3604
    http://www.projectyano.org

     

    · Volunteers for Peace
    802.259.2759
    http://www.vfp.org

     

    · Vietnam Veterans Against the War
    773.276.4189
    http://www.vvaw.org

     

    · Military Families Speak Out
    617.983.0710
    http://www.mfso.org

     

    · PeaceRoots Alliance Conscience Objector Information
    http://www.objector.us


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    Peace Fair

    The Oak Park Coalition for Peace and Justice's 2nd Annual Peace Fair was held on Saturday, September 9, at Scoville Park in Oak Park. Several hundred people passed through the park that afternoon despite unseasonably cool weather that threatened rain. This was fewer than the premier fair last year, and there were fewer exhibitors, but it is hard to say if that is of any consequence.

    The entertainment was every bit as good as last year, however. First up was singer, song-writer Bucky Halker, Chicago's answer to Billy Bragg. Another act worthy of note was "Organic Funk", a kit-bashed collection of student musicians from the local Oak Park River Forest High School; they were spectacularly good. Other performers included Mike Levin and Donald Neale, Too Much Fun, Dave Martin, Nina Corwin, and Lubriphonic.

    Local elected public officials delivered "messages of peace" as well. This was the occasion of the only sour note at the event. The local Green Party, one of the sponsors of this year's fair, complained that Richard Whitney was not allowed to speak. The principle being that the stage was not intended to be an electoral venue. This is fair enough except that allowing any elected official near a platform within a few months of their election, as a practical matter, obviates the intent. Incidentally, Bill Scheuer's campaign, Melissa Bean's independent opponent, was also at the fair. His petitions were not challenged and he will be on the ballot against this member of the "CAFTA 15".

    Chicago DSA was among the sponsors and had a booth. It was a productive afternoon. We distributed most of our literature and, more to the point, to an audience that was not particularly familiar with DSA or with democratic socialism.

    Video from this weekend's Peace Fair in Oak Park can now be viewed online at http://www.atcenternetwork.com/?p=253

    Big Box Folds

    As we go to press, the Chicago City Council has failed to override the Mayor's veto of the "Big Box Living Wage" Ordinance. The supporters of the Ordinance held together remarkably well, suffering only two defections (see sidebar left). The Mayor was particularly effective at playing the race card: why should employers such as Wal-Mart be discouraged from coming into black communities when it's "all right" for them to be in the (white) suburbs? Areas of Chicago that suffered from the insurrections of the 1960s have notoriously lacked commercial development even to this day, and homeowners there especially feel the absence.

    Supporters have vowed to reintroduce the ordinance. There is also likely to be a move to place an advisory referendum regarding the ordinance on the ballot in next February's municipal elections, either through the petition process or by council action. Making this a major issue in the election would likely be a decisive step in the development of the labor movement as an independent force in Chicago politics.

    Association for Union Democracy

    Chicago DSA's Ed Sadlowski will be among the speakers at the Association for Union Democracy's conference in New York City. Entitled "Confronting Corruption in Labor Unions: Rank and file insurgency? Government intervention? Internal reform? Assessing a half-century of effort", other speakers will include James Jacobs, Edwin Stier, Robert Fitch, Barbara Harvey, and more. The conference is co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Research, Graduate Center, CUNY, and by WBAI's "Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report." It will be held at the CUNY Graduate Center on Saturday, October 14. Registration is $15. For more call 718.564.1114 or go to http://www.uniondemocracy.org. You can also register online at that web site.

    Mother Jones

    The 21st Annual Mother Jones Dinner will be held at 6 PM on Saturday, October 28 this year at a new location, the Knights of Columbus Hall in Springfield, Illinois. The speaker will be United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts. Entertainers will be Bucky Halker and Chris Vallillo. Tickets are $25 each and may be obtained from the Mother Jones Foundation, PO Box 20412, Springfield, Illinois 62708-0412. For more information, call Mettie Funk at 217.652.0481 or Terry Reed at 217.789.6495 or Jack Dyer at 217.789.7000. As usual, the Dinner will be followed, on Sunday, October 30, by a memorial ceremony at the Mother Jones Monument in the Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Illinois.

    This year the Dinner will be preceded on Saturday by a dedication ceremony for a monument commemorating the "Battle of Virden". The Battle of Virden took place in 1898 during a strike against the Chicago Virden Coal Company. That company was one of a few holdouts in the wake of a six month strike against coal companies in Illinois; the newly organized UMWA had negotiated improved conditions but Chicago Virden was having none of it. An armed confrontation involving company goons, a trainload of strike breakers, and the miners, resulted in several dead on both sides, dozens of miners wounded, and train continuing on to Springfield with its load of strike breakers (see http://www.kentlaw.edu/ilhs/sanjuan.htm and http://www.remembervirden.niu.edu/). The ceremony will begin at 11:30 AM in the Virden City Park on the Square in Virden. For more information, call John Alexander at 217.965.5443 or email bksonsqr@royell.net.

    9/11

    The 5th anniversary of the World Trade Center atrocity was observed, here in the States, with our country's trade mark combination of political and commercial opportunism, mawkish sentimentality, titillation, and genuine grief and fear. It is a complicated mixture, impossible to judge without also committing some degree of injustice. Instead, I thought it worth revisiting the resolution passed that day by the Chicago DSA Executive Committee:

    Chicago DSA condemns this act of mass murder directed at the World Trade Center, civil aviation and the Pentagon. It leaves us sickened, dismayed, outraged. These bombing are hardly a political act; they do have political consequences and it's hard to imagine many of them being good.

    It's hard to imagine how this tragedy will move the Middle East toward peace rather than a hardening of positions and passions. It's hard to imagine how this will not result in further restrictions on civil liberties. It's hard to imagine that there will not be economic consequences.

    We are not accustomed, in the United States, to being victims. There will be talk of war. Certainly the organizers of these acts should be brought to justice. In considering justice, and in considering future U.S. foreign policy, we should not forget these acts, but we should also not forget that the easiest lesson learned from hate is not love but how to hate; the easiest lesson learned from oppression is not freedom but how to dominate; the easiest lesson learned from exploitation is not fairness but how to steal.

    --the Chicago DSA Executive Committee, September 11, 2001.

     

    Votes Regarding Passing the "Big Box" Living Wage Ordinance and Whether to Override the Mayor's Veto

    Yes

    Ward Alderman
    1 Manuel Flores*
    4 Toni Preckwinkle
    6 Freddrenna Lyle
    8 Todd Stroger
    9 Anthony Beale
    10 John Pope
    12 George Cardenas**
    13 Frank Olivo
    14 Edward Burke
    15 Theodore Thomas
    16 Shirley Coleman**
    17 Latasha Thomas
    18 Thomas Murphy
    19 Virginia Rugai
    22 Ricardo Munoz
    23 Michael Zalewski
    24 Michael Chandler
    25 Daniel Solis**
    26 Billy Ocasio
    27 Walter Burnett, Jr.
    28 Ed Smith
    30 Ariel Reboyras
    31 Regner "Ray" Suarez
    32 Theodore Matlak
    33 Richard Mell
    35 Rey Colon
    36 William Banks
    38 Thomas Allen
    39 Margaret Laurino
    40 Patrick O'Connor
    41 Brian Doherty
    45 Patrick Levar
    47 Eugene Schulter
    48 Mary Ann Smith
    49 Joseph Moore

    No

    Ward Alderman
    2 Madeline Haithcock
    3 Dorothy Tillman
    5 Leslie Hairston
    7 Bill Beavers
    11 James Balcer
    20 Arenda Troutman
    21 Howard Brookins
    29 Ike Carothers
    34 Carrie Austin
    37 Emma Mitts
    42 Burton Natarus
    43 Vi Daley
    44 Tom Tunney
    50 Bernie Stone

    Not Voting

    Ward Alderman
    46 Helen Shiller**
    
    * ABSENT during override vote
    ** Voted AGAINST override


    New Ground #108.1

    09.30.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    8th Annual Matthew Shepard March and Rally

    1. Communications

    Oak Park Peace Fair

    2. Politics

    Crime and Punishment Redux
    Immigration Angst

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Nonsense on Stilts: Michael Albert's Parecon

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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

    DSA News

    8th Annual Matthew Shepard March and Rally
    The Chicago DSA Executive Committee voted to endorse the 8th Annual Matthew Shepard March and Rally. This event will be held Saturday, October 7, 8 PM at the corner of Halsted and Roscoe streets in Chicago. The annual Matthew Shepard March for LGBT freedom has served as an annual rallying point to challenge the second class citizenship and hate faced by the gay community. The keynote speaker this year will be Cliff Kelley. Besides being a longtime advocate for the African American community and outspoken opponent of American wars abroad, Mr. Kelley holds the distinction of being the first person to introduce a gay rights ordinance into the Chicago City Council, a very courageous act way back in 1973. Mr. Sam Kosha, a Toronto-based board member of the Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization, will join Mr. Kelley as a featured speaker. Iran is one of seven countries in the world which proscribes the death penalty for gay people and one of three (Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) that regularly executes gay people.
    For more information, go to:
    http://www.gayliberation.org

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

    Communications

    Oak Park Peace Fair

    Bob et al -
    RE: http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng108.html#anchor332029
    Over 2000 (but probably less than 3000) people came through the Peace Fair (we know this from the number of programs we distributed at the Fair).
    - Bill Barclay

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

    Politics

    Crime and Punishment Redux
    Tom Broderick:
    In New Ground 107 (http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng107.html#anchor549762), I covered the Long Term Prisoner Policy Project. A committee is being formed to study. We have been trying to have a family member of one of the long term prisoners put on the committee. As usual, things are stacked against the incarcerated; so far, no luck. If you are so inclined, please read the following message from the and contact the Governor about doing this.

    Our last effort to have an inmate family member appointed to the HJR80 ­ the study of Long-Term inmates has failed. Tom Cross has appointed the Assistant Speaker of the House (Patricia Lindner) to the Committee. There are only three appointments left, two being from prosecutor's offices. This only leaves the governor's appointment as a final possibility. We are asking that each member take a few moments to please send a message to Rod Blagojevich asking him to appoint an inmate family member. There are two victim's family members already appointed to this committee and no inmate
    family members. This study could have a huge impact on our inmate population.

    You may send the enclosed draft or compose your own:

    Dear Governor Blagojevich:
    Three appointments remain unfilled on the Illinois House Joint Resolution 80 Committee. Your appointment is yet unnamed. As a member of Illinois Prison Talk, an inmate family support website, we ask that you appoint an inmate family member/ex-inmate to this important committee. The Committee is heavily represented by the judicial/law enforcement and victims' family member communities. As one in every four Illinoisans is affected by the incarceration of a family member we feel it's imperative that our voices be represented. Family members of those incarcerated live with the frustrations, the loss of loved ones and the complexities of the Department
    of Corrections on a daily basis. Our input to this committee could be immeasurable. The intent of HJR 80 is to study long-term prisoner issues, but to exclude those who have so much insight to offer to this study would seem unjust. To properly study this topic, all facets of long-term
    incarceration must be examined including the impact on inmate families. We ask that you consider appointing a member from this extensive community. HJR 80 is a study - surely there is
    room for the voice of those whose lives are most closely affected by its recommendations. Although this might not be a popular political decision, it certainly would be a courageous one. At your request we will forward the names of a few highly qualified individuals to your office for consideration.

    The governor's e-mail address:
    http://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactthegovernor.cfm
    If you request a response you will need to include your name and mailing address.

    Immigration Angst
    Gene Birmingham:
    Get the Sept/Oct issue of Mother Jones to read the article, "Exodus" by a contributing writer, Charles Bowden. It is LONG, made up of anecdotes, but done in a way which points to general truth. The complexity of immigration is laid out. In the course of investigating for this article, someone asked him what he thought we should do about immigration. His reply, "You might as well ask me what I think we should do about hurricanes." It's worth your perusal.
    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/09/exodus.html

     

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Nonsense on Stilts: Michael Albert's Parecon
    by David Schweickart, SolidarityEconomy.net
    'What are we to make of the "Parecon" phenomenon? Michael Albert's book made it to number thirteen on Amazon.com a few days after some on-line promotion.[1] Eight of the twelve Amazon.com reviewers (when I last checked) had given the book five stars. It has been, or is being, translated into Arabic, Bengali, Telagu, Croatian, Czech, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.[2] The book has been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, who says it "merits close attention, debate and action," by Arundhati Roy, who calls it "a brave argument for a much needed alternative economic vision," by Ben Bagdikian, who finds it "a compelling book for our times," and by Howard Zinn, who sees it as "a thoughtful, profound meditation on what a good society can be like."[3] Yet it is a terrible book.'
    To read more, go to:
    http://www.solidarityeconomy.net/2006/09/28/nonsense-on-stilts-michael-alberts-parecon/#more-69

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    See http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.


    New Ground #108.2

    10.07.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    The 1976 Thomas ­ Debs Dinner

    1. Politics

    The NLRB Outlaws Unions
    Democracy Now on WBEZ?
    Voting for Liberty

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Max Shachtman: Socialism as Radical Democracy?
    Vistas on Socialism
    Marxism at Your Fingertips

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    The 1976 Thomas ­ Debs Dinner
    The 1976 Norman Thomaas - Eugene V., Debs Dinner was held on Sunday, May 16, at the Midland Hotel. The featured speaker was Michael Harrington. The honoree was Dolores Huerta, the 1st Vice-President of the United Farm Workers. We do not have a program from this event, but apparently the Master of Ceremonies was Leon Despres. Some music was included in the program, but we have no information about the musicians. According to the receipt from the hotel, 342 meals were served. The seating chart lists 41 tables. The photos are by Syd Harris, all but one from contact sheets. Just posted on the Chicago DSA web site, go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1976

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

    Politics

    The NLRB Outlaws Unions
    Okay, it is an exaggeration, but the NLRB's decisions on the Kentucky River cases ( see http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng107.html#anchor464231 ) have enormous implications. As James Parks on the AFL-CIO Blog said:

    "Don't let Big Business fool you. Even though the U.S. Chamber of Congress says the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB's) decision announced yesterday isn't a big deal for workers, the truth is the decision easily could bar millions of workers from joining unions. Working people already are taking action to protest the ruling and demand action from Congress."

    To read more, go to:
    http://blog.aflcio.org/2006/10/04/working-families-take-action-on-anti-worker-labor-board-ruling/

    The Economic Policy Institute estimates that this new definition of "supervisor" doubles the employees excluded from union membership to over 16,000,000. But wait! This is in addition to 32,000,000 employees who already have no collective bargaining rights under the law. See "Major Destruction of Workers Rights at NLRB Today" by Nathan Newman at:
    http://blog.aflcio.org/2006/10/04/working-families-take-action-on-anti-worker-labor-board-ruling/

    The AFL-CIO is organizing a civil outcry against this outrage. You can participate by going to:
    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/restoreourrights

    Note that the Senate, at least, requires that email campaigns go through each Senator's web mail form. So you'll either have to write your own message each time (good practice anyway) or block and copy your original message to paste in as needed. Better yet, call their offices or write an actual letter.

    Democracy Now on WBEZ?
    Most of you are familiar with Amy Goodman's radio program "Democracy Now", even though listeners in Chicago must rely on the internet ( see http://democracynow.org/ ) or various college stations to listen to it. The North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice has initiated a petition campaign to have WBEZ carry the program. The Chicago DSA Executive Committee recommends your participation. Go to:
    http://www.ilcpj.org/petitions/petition-info.php?pid=3

    Voting for Liberty
    It may not be clear whether the demon in the White House is channeling Julius Caesar or Dilbert or both. But if leaving Habeas Corpus to the tender mercies of the Republican Supreme Court makes you feel less than secure, you can find a good selection of tools and information at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee web site, including their voting records on the most important civil liberties legislation this session:
    http://www.bordc.org/involved/concerned/votingrecords.php

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Max Shachtman: Socialism as Radical Democracy?
    An audio recording (in MP3 format) of the 1958 "debate" between Norman Thomas and Max Shachtman has been posted on the Chicago DSA web site for some time now ( http://www.chicagodsa.org/audarch2.html ). A transcript of Max Shactman's remarks has been posted on the web by the British social democratic web journal Democratiya. If this seems a rather odd choice for such a publication, it'll make more sense when you read it or listen to it. And, in terms of content, the transcript is a bit more interesting than the audio. Check it out at:
    http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=50

    Vistas on Socialism
    The Gross Domestic Product as a mismeasure of social good is something of a lefty cliché, but UofC YDS alumnus Peter Frase uses this common riff as an interesting tool to examine both capitalism as represented by the information technology industry and the possibilities of socialism. Check it out at:
    http://theoldmole.blogspot.com/2006/09/vistas-on-socialism.html

    Marxism at Your Fingertips
    We featured the Marxist Internet Archive back in New Ground 102 ( see http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng102.html#anchor736695 ). Well, there's a way to have the entire archive at your fingertips when, for whatever reason, you're not on line. The folks who run the archive have just released their 2006-07 DVD edition of their entire web site. Over 8 Gigabytes of primary source material, mostly in html format, is available as part of the 2 disk package for a mere $30. Proceeds help the organization cover the annual tab for server space and associated operating costs. Those interested in purchasing the package, please visit them at:
    http://marxists.org/admin/cd/index.htm#2

     

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

    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, October 8, 2 PM
    "Iraq for Sale"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    The Chicago premier of "Iraq for Sale", a new and much discussed documentary from director Robert Greenwald about the private army that does much of the dirty work in Iraq and the company executives who turn desert sand into gold. An Open University of the Left event. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Thursday, October 12, 9 AM ­ 2 PM
    Now Is the Opportunity! Health Care Justice for All!
    Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 300 N. Orleans, Chicago
    The Campaign for Better Health Care's annual meeting. $50 registration though low income subsidies are available. For more information, call 312.913.9449 or go to http://www.cbhconline.org

    Thursday, October 12, 5 PM
    Exorcise Bush! Protest at the Chicago Hilton
    Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan, Chicago
    Dubya, Prince of Darkness, comes to Chicago for a gala Republican fundraiser at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Grab a Halloween costume, bring a prop, banners, signs, puppets and drums! For information, go to http://www.ccawr.org

    Thursday, October 12, 7 PM
    An Immigrant Rights Program to Unite a Progressive Majority
    Columbia College, 624 S. Michigan, Room 909, Chicago

    Hear Emma Lozano of Centro Sin Fronteras, James Thindwa of Chicago Jobs With Justice, Jorge Mujica of March 10 Coalition, Carl Davidson of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Sponsored by Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. For information, email ccds_Chicago@yahoo.com

    Thursday, October 12, 7 PM
    "Our Brand Is Crisis"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Rachel Boynton's sharply funny 2006 documentary follows James Carville and his team of U.S. political strategists for hire as they travel to Bolivia to help Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozado con an impoverished electorate into buying his neoliberal nostrums. An Open University of the Left event. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Monday, October 16, 7 PM
    Resisting Occupation, Constructing Peace
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park
    A talk by Jeff Halper, coordinator of the Jerusalem-based Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Co-Sponsored by Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, and Tikkun Chicago. For information, call 312.427.2533x18 or go to http://www.cjpip.org


    New Ground #108.3

    10.25.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Endorsements
    Web Site Additions: the 1975 and 1974 Thomas ­ Debs Dinners
    DSA Anti-Racism Commission: Race, the Democratic Party, and Electoral Strategy
    DSA International Commission: The Future of Europe

    1. Politics

    Vote Early and Vote Often Against the War
    Big Box Ballots and Other Measures
    Make Hastert Responsible

    2. Democratic Socialism

    October is Co-Op Month
    Worker Owners and Unions: Why Can't We Just Get Along?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Endorsements
    So, Bucky, election day is near and you have no idea who to vote for or vote against? Well, the Chicago DSA local is no help because we've not endorsed anyone. But, for your information, the Greater Oak Park branch of Chicago DSA has taken the opportunity presented by this neutrality to endorse Oak Park's favorite daughter Julie Samuels for Lieutenant Governor and her running mate Richard Whitney for Governor, both of the Green Party. For more information, go to:
    http://juliesamuels.com/

    http://www.whitneyforgov.org/joomla/index.php

    DSA's national PAC endorsed Danny Davis for Congress in the 7th Congressional District. For more information, go to:
    http://davisforcongress.us/

    Of course, none of this was paid for by (too cheap to meter in any case) or authorized by any candidate's campaign committee. No animals were harmed in the production of this newsletter.

    Web Site Additions: the 1975 and 1974 Thomas ­ Debs Dinners
    We're working our way backward through the years and, quite frankly, approaching the early years of the event, years for which we have only fragmentary information. Plus, photos (including contact sheets) had been stored in a single folder rather than separated by year. While we've mostly succeeded in sorting things out, it's not always been possible, even with the help of persons who had attended the events. Memories fade, appearances change, people resemble others. If, on any of the Dinner pages, we've failed to identify someone (properly or at all), we apologize. But also let us know.

    The 1975 Norman Thomas - Eugene V. Debs Dinner was held on Sunday, May 4th, at the Midland Hotel. The honoree was Leon M. Despres, who was for many years the sole "independent" alderman, representing Chicago's 5th Ward. He was also an attorney representing many unions and clients in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties. He was also an activist in the cooperative movement in Chicago. The theme for the Dinner was "Prospects for Survival ­ Is There Hope in Congress?" The featured speaker was Joseph L. Rauh, Jr, a noted labor lawyer and activist. We do not have a program for the event, but the Master of Ceremonies (or Toast Master) was Ralph Helstein. Apparently Jone Johnson presented the award to Leon Despres, but there were other speakers, including Carl Shier. According to the seating chart, there were 41 tables. Photos are by Syd Harris. Go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1975

    The 1974 Norman Thomas ­ Eugene V. Debs Dinner was held on Saturday evening, May 4, at the Midland Hotel in downtown Chicago. Ralph Helstein was the honoree that year. Helstein had been President of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (now a part of the United Food and Commercial Workers) from 1946 to 1968. (For an interesting thumbnail history of the Packinghouse Workers, see http://www.strikeonline.org/national/national04.html .) Victor Reuther was the featured speaker. The theme of the event was "After Impeachment -- What Lies Ahead?". Leon Despres was the Toastmaster. There's not much more in our files about this event. A copy of the promotional flyer is posted along with a standard portrait photo of Ralph Helstein. And Ralph Helstein's acceptance speech, provided to us recently by Ralph Helstein's daughter, Nina Helstein, is also on that page. Go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1974

    DSA Anti-Racism Commission: Race, the Democratic Party, and Electoral Strategy
    Bill Fletcher, currently a member of the Black Commentator's editorial board, gave a speech at Columbia University earlier in October. It was an interesting discussion of movement strategy within the context of the electoral system(s) here in the States, and the text is posted on the DSA Anti-Racism Commission web site:
    http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/2006/10/race-democratic-party-and-electoral.html

    DSA International Commission: The Future of Europe
    Stephan Peter, Co-Chair of DSA's International Commission interviewed the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee President, Jo Leinen, about the future of the European Union in the face of constitutional setbacks in France and Netherlands. The transcript is posted on the DSA International Commission web site:
    http://www.twincitiesdsa.org/ic/displayfile.php?file=Future_Europe_interview.html

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

    Politics

    Vote Early and Vote Often Against the War
    In September of 2005, in support of a national United for Peace and Justice national demonstration, DSA's National Political Committee adopted a resolution that stated, in part:

    "'Out Now - Bring the Troops Home.' It is the only politically effective and morally appropriate stance to take. Not only does the U.S. have no right to occupy Iraq, it has no overarching good reason to be there. From the standpoint of "spreading democracy" - the Bush regime's latest excuse for causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 2,000 Americans - that effort is backfiring. There are strong and growing indications that the majority of Iraqis oppose the U.S. presence and that continuing the occupation will lead to the strengthening of reactionary forces. Only an end to the occupation can undermine support for the violent insurgency and create the political space that could allow Iraqi democratic, secularist and trade union movements - the forces DSA supports - to grow. Calling for immediate withdrawal is also the only realistic lever the U.S. peace movement has in moving the Bush regime to even accept a phased withdrawal under international auspices, which those leery of a quick exit say they prefer."
    http://www.dsausa.org/LatestNews/2005/Anti-War%20statement.html

    Advisory referenda against the war in Iraq, and sometimes also Afghanistan, will be on the ballot in many places around Illinois. In most areas, the text of the question is: "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?" More than any vote for or against a particular candidate, these questions should provide a better measure of opposition to and support for the war.

    Here is a brief survey of where in the Chicago metropolitan area the question will be on the ballot. This is not a complete list as it is based on information posted on the web by the County Clerk of each county. Not all of them are on the web, not all of them post this information.

    The question is on the ballot in Cook County. Within Cook County, it is also on the ballot in Berwyn Township (a slightly different text), Oak Park Township, and Riverside Township. Thus some voters in Cook County will have the opportunity to vote twice on the question, legally. You really can vote early and often on the war!

    In DeKalb County, the question is on the ballot in DeKalb Township and Sycamore Township. The question in Sycamore Township includes Afghanistan but asks the Governor to disallow using Illinois National Guard troops and units in those conflicts.

    In DuPage County, the question is on the ballot in Downers Grove Township.

    In Kane County, the question is on the ballot in Aurora Township and Geneva Township.

    No such measure is apparently on the ballot in Lake County. No information was available for Will County, McHenry County, Kankakee County, and Grundy County (this last county not being on the web). If you have any information on these counties, let us know and we'll pass it along.

    Big Box Ballots and Other Measures
    In a considerable number of precincts in Chicago, an advisory referendum question in support of the vetoed Big Box Living Wage Ordinance will be on the ballot. In each, the question is: "Shall the Chicago City Council enact the 'Big Box Living Wage Ordinance', requiring all retail establishments in Chicago, greater than 75,000 square feet, to pay a minimum 'living-wage' of at least $10.00 per hour plus $3.00 per hour towards employee health benefits?" In no ward is it on the ballot in every precinct, I suspect for tactical reasons in some instances; if it were done ward-wide, Aldermen can (and have been known to) preempt the effort by filling up the available ballot slots with their own questions. However, it is on the ballot in some precincts in the following: Ward 2 (Haithcock), Ward 3 (Tillman), Ward 5 (Hairston), Ward 7 (Beavers), Ward 8 (Stroger), Ward 9 (Beale), Ward 10 (Pope), Ward 12 (Cardenas), Ward 14 (Burke), Ward 15 (Ted Thomas), Ward 16 (Coleman), Ward 17 (Latasha Thomas), Ward 20 (Troutman), Ward 21 (Brookins), Ward 24 (Chandler), Ward 25 (Solis), Ward 26 (Ocasio), Ward 28 (Ed Smith), Ward 30 (Reboyras), Ward 31 (Suarez), Ward 33 (Mell). See http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng108.html#anchor332740 for a list of aldermanic supporters, opponents, and defectors.

    Also on the ballot in all of Cook County is a question urging Illinois to raise the minimum wage: "Shall Illinois enact legislation in 2007 to increase the minimum wage for Illinois workers from $6.50 an hour to $7.50 an hour?" There is also an advisory gun control question on the Cook County ballot.

    Make Hastert Responsible
    Politicians, when cornered, are fond of proclaiming, "I am responsible!" or "The buck stops here!" Then nothing seems to happen. They are responsible yet they don't end up in court or pleading for a good reference as they get tossed out the door. The Foley affair seems to be no exception. Help put some meaning to the word "responsible" by signing a petition for Dennis Hastert's resignation. You don't have to be a resident of Illinois' 14th Congressional District to do it:
    http://www.ilcpj.org/actions/details/?id=120

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

    Democratic Socialism

    October is Co-Op Month
    October is National Cooperative Month. If you had read New Ground 105.4 ( http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng105.html#anchor1651988 ), you would have known that! However, the URL has changed. And we're a bit late in reminding you, begging your pardon. Check out this year's Co-op Month at:
    http://co-opmonth.coop/

    Worker Owners and Unions: Why Can't We Just Get Along?
    Apropos of cooperatives, one of the theological questions of socialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries was about the need (or not) for unions once the workers owned the means of production. Never mind utopia, the question is worth examining for right now. Dan Bell, in the latest issue of Dollars & Sense looks at the role of unions in worker owned enterprises today. It's a role with interesting complications. Go to:
    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2006/0906bell.html

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Saturday, October 28, 10 AM ­ 5 PM
    Inquest Iraq
    Northwestern University Law School, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Av, Chicago
    The American Friends Service Committee invites you to a public hearing into both the origins and ongoing operations of the Iraq War from people who have experienced it directly. For more information, go to http://www.inquestiraq.org

    Sunday, October 29, 2 PM
    "Orwell Rolls in His Grave"
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 W. Lake St, Oak Park
    A documentary on the power of media to control our lives. For information, go to http://www.opctj.org

    Sunday, October 29, 2 PM ­ 4 PM
    A Celebration of Frank Wilkinson (1914-2006)
    DePaul University Schmidt Center, 2320 N. Kenmore, Room 254, Chicago
    A celebration of the life of civil libertarian Frank Wilkinson. Free though a donation is appreciated. For information, go to http://www.ccdbr.org/

    Sunday, October 29, 3 PM
    Candidate Debates
    Trinity High School, 7574 W. Division St, River Forest
    Between gubernatorial candidates Rod Blagojevich and Judy Baar Topinka (invited) and between candidates for Cook County Board Todd Stroger and Tony Peraica. Sponsored by United Power for Action and Justice.

    Thursday, November 9, 7 PM
    The November Elections
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Joel Bleifuss, editor of "In These Times" magazine and co-author (with Steven F. Freeman) of the recent book, "Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?" comments on Tuesday's midterm elections in light of his research on voting fraud. An Open University of the Left event. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/


    New Ground #108.4

    11.02.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    "Democratic Left" Fall, 2006 issue
    Socialist International

    1. Politics

    9 Candidates and the Death Penalty
    Oaxaca
    CINTAS Attacks Immigrant Workers

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    "Democratic Left" Fall, 2006 issue
    The Fall, 2006, issue of Democratic Left is now posted on the web. Democratic Left is the quarterly publication of DSA and may be downloaded or viewed in PDF format at:
    http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Fall_2006.pdf

    Socialist International
    The Socialist International's Committee for Latin America and Caribbean met in Nicaragua last month. The meeting adopted a number of resolutions and a "Declaration of Managua" that, in a general way, touched on the topics of discussion. Of particular interest is support for the Latin American and Caribbean Congress for the Independence of Puerto Rico that will be held on 18-19 November in Panama City. For more information, go to:
    http://www.socialistinternational.org/6Meetings/SICLAC/Oct06/Managua-e.html

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

    Politics

    9 Candidates and the Death Penalty
    Tom Broderick
    I posed the following two questions to the Green, Democratic, and Republican candidates for Governor of Illinois, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, and Attorney General of Illinois: Does the candidate favor abolishing the death penalty in Illinois? Does the candidate favor continuing the moratorium on executions in Illinois?

    The responses are common by party.

    The three Green Party candidates (Rich Whitney, Gov.; Julie Samuels, Lt. Gov.; David Black, Atty. Gen.) all favor abolishing the death penalty and favor continuing the moratorium on executions.

    The three Democratic Party candidates (Rod Blagojevich, Gov.; Pat Quinn, Lt. Gov.; Lisa Madigan, Atty. Gen.) all do not favor abolishing the death penalty and all favor continuing the moratorium on executions.

    The three Republican Party candidates (Judy Baar Topinka, Gov.; Joe Birkett, Lt. Gov.; Stewart Umholtz, Atty. Gen.) all do not favor abolishing the death penalty and all do not favor continuing the moratorium on executions.

    Oaxaca
    Tom Broderick
    This is about the situation in Oaxaca, Mexico. What began in May as a regular teachers' strike for better working conditions and more pay escalated to a takeover of the city of Oaxaca, Mexico by teachers and their supporters after the Governor of Oaxaca sent in police to break up the teachers' rally.

    In addition to the original demands, the people on the ground insisted that Governor Ulises Ruiz (PRI) had to go. The demonstrators set up their own radio station (or perhaps stations) and forced the local government to work out of a hotel. There has been much violence, with beatings, arrests, disappearances and murders. Paramilitaries, believed to be connected to the local government have been active in trying to oust the demonstrators. Governor Ruiz fled Oaxaca and is believed to be hiding in Mexico City. The federal government, under President Fox (PAN) has tried to stay out of the affair. However last weekend, at least one journalist was murdered and the federal government sent in the federal police, smashing barricades and taking back at least the central square. They said that the local government could not guarantee the safety of the people in Oaxaca.

    The original dispute with the teachers has been settled, but the demand for the removal of Ruiz has not. Tom Baker of Nicaragua Solidarity Committee has requested that people bombard the Mexican consulates in the United States with protest calls. The Chicago consulate is listed below, complete with phone number.

    For geographical reference, the state of Oaxaca is in the far south of Mexico, just north of the state of Chiapas. Chiapas is the home of the Zapatistas, who are still resisting federal and state authorities and have established zones of control. Perhaps the resistance is spreading.

    *Chicago* <http://www.consulmexchicago.com/>
    204 S. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60607
    Tel: (312) 738-2383 * Fax: 312-491-9072

    CINTAS Attacks Immigrant Workers
    UNITE HERE has been campaigning to organize CINTAS for some years now. CINTAS is a laundry company that cleans workers' uniforms, hotel and restaurant linens and the like. It employs a largely immigrant workforce. UNITE HERE is asking your help in protecting some of these employees. CINTAS is threatening their livelihoods by requiring the termination of workers who do not correct Social Security number mismatches, or who don't re-verify their authorization to work in the United States within 60 days of such a mismatch. This policy threatens CINTAS workers in California, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin with unfair termination.

    Enough reasons exist why a legal immigrant worker might experience a mismatch (clerical errors, name changes, and marriage/divorce, to name a few) that the Federal Government does not recommend that they be used to enforce immigration law. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and numerous civil rights groups are concerned that this approach could promote workplace discrimination.

    If we allow CINTAS to carry out this policy, many more employers could follow. Tell CINTAS CEO Scott Farmer that this policy is unnecessary and immoral, and that the company should allow workers to resolve any Social Security number issues with the proper government agencies.

    Take action by going to:
    http://action.unitehere.org/campaign/justice_for_all_workers

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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, November 7
    Election Day
    For more information, see:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng108.html#anchor493283

    Thursday, November 9, 7 PM
    The November Elections
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Joel Bleifuss, editor of "In These Times" magazine and co-author (with Steven F. Freeman) of the recent book, "Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?" comments on Tuesday's midterm elections in light of his research on voting fraud. An Open University of the Left event. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Saturday, November 11, 11 AM
    Veterans Day Observance
    Northwest Corner of Wacker and Wabash, Chicago
    Annual event this year sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families For Peace, Code Pink

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    PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

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