Home About CDSA New Ground Events Debs Dinner Links Join DSA Audio Email us

 
Your contribution is appreciated
but, because of our advocacy work,
not tax deductible.

New Ground 109

November - December, 2006

Contents

  • Universal Health Care How! by Bob Roman
  • Accountability and the War by Tom Broderick
  • Picking Tomatoes Is No Joke, Ronald! by Tom Broderick
  • New Ground 109.1 - 11.28.2006

    0. DSA News

    A Socialist in the Senate
    Push for Peace

    1. Politics

    Big Box Living Wage Referenda and Other Election News
    West Suburban Hospital Community Benefits Agreement

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Michael Harrington on the Crisis in Economic Theory
    The Norman Thomas ­ Barry Goldwater Debate

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 109.2 - 12.06.2006

    0. DSA News

    YDS Statement on the Elections

    1. Politics

    America, Heal Thy Self
    A Policy That Works
    The March to Iraq
    Witnesses Wanted

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Socialism and Sexuality

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 109.3 - 12.29.2006

    0. DSA News

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    2007 DSA National Convention
    YDS National Conference

    1. Politics

    3,000 and Counting
    The Cost of War
    There's a Dog Cage in Gitmo with Your Name. . .
    AUD Audio

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Why We Need Socialism in America

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 109.4 - 01.12.2007

    0. DSA News

    YDS National Conference
    Winter Issue of "Democratic Left"

    1. Politics

    Martin Luther King Day March for Justice
    America Deserves a Raise
    Health Care for All in Illinois?
    March to End the War

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Death of a Jewish Socialist

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest


    Universal Health Care How!

    by Bob Roman

    In New Ground 103, "Everybody In! Nobody Out!", I predicted the obvious: that as the Adequate Health Care Task Force (mandated by the Health Care Justice Act of 2004, see New Ground 99, "The Health Care Justice Act Unfurls") finished its work on recommending legislation to reform health care in Illinois, the Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC) decisions on what to support would leave it "in trouble with some part of its constituency". The moment is nigh. If not too many people are seriously pissed off at CBHC (I hope), the coalition it cobbled together for the Health Care Justice Act is fracturing nonetheless.

    The Task Force had hoped to finish its work prior to the November election; however, its approach to the task, trying for a consensus among the stakeholders, has delayed its report until the start of the next General Assembly session in January. The recommendation (not surprisingly, see New Ground 103.2) is likely to resemble the plan passed early this year and presently being implemented by Massachusetts. While the CBHC's 2005 meeting was studiously uncommitted, by May of this year CBHC had submitted a report to the Task Force that essentially asked the Task Force to examine various features of the Massachusetts approach. On the other hand, at the 2006 CBHC meeting this past October, Jim Duffett, CBHC's Executive Director, made it clear that the CBHC would not automatically support whatever the Task Force produced.

    The Massachusetts approach is a good example of the current fad in legislation: public policy as an item to be marketed. In this case, the "hook" is individual responsibility combined with community responsibility to facilitate the fulfillment of that responsibility for those who are poor. This is a powerful argument when expressed properly.

    For health care policy, this means that individuals would be "mandated" to obtain health insurance, something like the way drivers are required to have automobile insurance. Typically this would be done as it is today: through employment. Employers would be "mandated" to provide insurance or, if they do not, to pay the State additional taxes. Individual policies would be subsidized for lower income levels, and Medicaid would be available for the truly less well off. The State would also set standards for insurance policies. Unlike automobile insurance, failure to buy health insurance would not be a criminal matter. In Massachusetts there are tax consequences. It's pretty obvious that in such an approach the details are vitally important.

    Those with some familiarity with health care policy will note that in preserving private insurance, the Massachusetts approach preserves the administrative overhead (and profits) that consumes an unfortunate portion of each of today's health care dollar. Depending upon how the employer "mandate" is implemented, there will be an incentive for employers to dump employees into individual policies and for low-wage employers, Medicaid. Unless you assume that "demand for health care at zero price may be close to infinite" (There are economists that delusional. The quote is from "Implementing Mandates" by C. Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute, 1994.), a "single payer" approach is guaranteed to be far less expensive.

    Many Massachusetts health care activists were not at all happy with being saddled with a health care plan that is kinder to insurance companies than it is to the health care recipient. In Illinois, an "Illinois Single Payer Health Care Coalition" is being formed to promote what will be a minority report from the Task Force for a "single payer" solution. There is also no guarantee that the insurance industry will be happy with what the Task Force comes up with, even though the Massachusetts plan was largely developed by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

    Because enacting legislation on both the state and federal levels in the United States requires some degree of consensus, this split in the coalition probably does not improve prospects for health care reform in Illinois. But Massachusetts is going into its plan with a very large pot of money to cover the initial costs while Illinois has persistently failed to deal responsibly with its finances, including consistently failing to fulfill its constitutionally mandated responsibilities to fund education. Add to that a smaller Democratic majority in the General Assembly and plurality in the electorate as compared to Massachusetts and it becomes unclear that anything the Task Force might propose has much of a chance. It may be that this whole effort will become, at best, another exercise in public education.

    There is such an unmet need for health care in Illinois that this ongoing disaster will be used to browbeat dissidents to the Task Force consensus proposal. How could they endanger passage of a reform that would make such a difference in the lives of so many? "Impractical" and "utopian" will be among the epithets deployed.

    But an inadequate plan is not necessarily any different than no plan; Massachusetts is an example of this, too. This is not that state's first experience with a universal health care plan. In 1988, Michael Dukakis got the state legislature to pass a public / private universal plan. Because of a failure of financing and political leadership, it was never implemented and was mostly repealed in 1996. Yet another failure of liberalism, in concept and politics. De ja vu all over again?


    Accountability and the War

    by Tom Broderick

    The United States of America went to war against the people of Iraq because a venal and vicious Bush administration had an agenda waiting for a catalyst. The catalyst came in the form of an attack against the United States by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001. A war against Saddam Hussein was justified as part of a war against international terrorism. Hussein and Al Qaeda were linked through a barrage of lies, launched by government officials. The evidence collected by the U.S. intelligence services didn't support the agenda to liberate the oil fields of Iraq through regime change. No matter, that.

    The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and co-sponsor National Lawyers Guild brought several speakers to Chicago to present the case that there must be accountability for this pre-emptive American war against the people of Iraq. The Bush war council is working hard to avoid culpability, but this inquest (the first of many across the nation?) is providing the groundwork for accountability.

    Inquest Iraq: Accountability and the War was held on Saturday, October 28th at Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium in Chicago. Given the popular distaste for our pre-emptive war, attendance should have been better. Was advertisement at fault? Your Chicago DSA sent out a post card promoting the program. We got our initial information about the event through the Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice. Chicago AFSC and Chicago DSA are founding members of this statewide organization. There appears to be a failure to reach beyond our constituencies. How do we remedy this?

    It was an all day event (10 AM to 5 PM on a Saturday). Was this the problem? Given the depth of the program, I'd say "no." There were three panel presentations: Policy Witness Testimony, Veteran Witness Testimony, and Iraqi Witness Testimony.

    Former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern and former U.S. Ambassador, Ann Wright, who quit her post after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, were the witnesses at the Policy Witness Testimony. They are both members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and discussed the twisting of intelligence to fit a pre-determined goal. They condemned the profligate abuse of power by the Bush gang: Reckless and amoral behavior; Use of illegal military practices and armaments; Imperial hubris. They both felt that this administration has done great damage to any good will held for our country by the international community.

    They questioned the courage of the American Congress, with Ms. Wright calling the Congress "yellow and lily-livered on the issue of torture and the dismissal of habeas corpus" in trials of suspected terrorists and their supporters. A wide net can be spread with this gutting of the American legal system. Mr. McGovern offered a parallel with Hitler and Germany in 1933, when Hitler blamed communists with the burning of the Parliament. Communists then, terrorists now. Intelligence? Not required.

    Next we heard from three American veterans, who served in Iraq: John Flynn, Kayla Williams and Mike Nowacki. Mr. Flynn joined the military because of 9/11. Ms. Williams had enlisted in the military prior to 9/11 and was studying Arabic when the 9/11 attack occurred. Mr. Nowacki served during Operation Desert Storm and re-enlisted after 9/11. None now serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

    While each of the three had different perspectives on the war and their service, they were all emphatic that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was poorly planned, with little thought given to interaction between U.S. ground forces and the Iraqi populace.

    Ms. Williams, a former Military Intelligence soldier, pointed to the two uses of U.S. interpreters when American ground forces began their occupation: interrogation of prisoners or listening to communications. There was no thought given to dealing with the civilian population.

    A former infantryman and now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Mr. Flynn confirmed that this lack of forethought led to a tacit acceptance by American ground troops that all Iraqis were targets because American lives came first. He stated that "when discussing the war, we need to focus on morals not on politics or on Democrats or Republicans." All three panelists agreed.

    Serving in the U.S. Army for over ten years, Mr. Nowacki was a Counterintelligence Agent and Interrogation Team Leader in Baghdad during the current war. He said that "military service is noble, but soldiers are asked to do things that are war crimes . . . the military culture does not keep the human factor of Iraqis as a concern . . . what does it matter? They're all the enemy."

    When asked about military recruitment practices, none felt they had been misled. Ms. Williams gave the longest response and it struck a discordant tone. She joined the military to escape poverty. She felt the military had lived up to its end of the bargain, and went on to say "joining the military involves a contract between you and the military. It's your responsibility to read and understand that contract. It's your fault if you don't." Neither of the other two panelists gave any indication that they concurred with what seemed such an extremely individualist response. Coming from a self-described disadvantaged past, it's unfortunate that Ms. Williams didn't regard contracts as documents favoring the writer over the signer.

    Another question that drew some interesting responses was: "What are your dealings with the Bureau of Veterans Affairs now that you are out?"

    Answering a somewhat different question, Mr. Nowacki talked about the lack of support for the families of the National Guard members sent to Iraq. Because these were civilian soldiers, there was no overarching support mechanism and many families had nowhere to turn for emotional or physical support. Mr. Flynn simply answered "I'd rather not deal with the bureaucracy." Ms. Williams said that her only dealings were because of her husband. He also served in Iraq and suffered injury to his brain. Because of this, she was brought into contact with veterans who seemed to have no life and no future and she worried that this could be her fate. There was a span of no sound from the panel and the audience after this statement. The insanity of war was made personal, resonant and painful.

    The last panel gave us an Iraqi position. We heard from: Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi-American who was in Iraq during and after the 2003 invasion; Naba Hameed, an Iraqi citizen and professor of biology at the University of Baghdad and survivor of the invasion and occupation of Iraq; and Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, an American medical doctor with relatives in Baghdad and Basra.

    All three told us that the occupation of Iraq by foreigners (particularly the Americans) is causing more harm than good for the people of Iraq. There was a difference on the best way to disengage. Ms. Hameed, who resides in Iraq, felt that immediate withdrawal was not the best option. Dr. Wasfi and Mr. Jarrar wanted American troops out right away but felt we had an obligation to help (perhaps through the United Nations) to stabilize and rebuild Iraq.

    Questioned about the violence between the Sunni, Shiite and Kurds, the three panelists responded with an artful exclusion of the Kurds. The division, and therefore the violence, between the Sunni and Shiite communities, was blamed on the war and occupation. According to Mr. Jarrar, most Iraqi families are a mix of Shiite and Sunni and would not turn on each other. I hope this is not wishful thinking. Because questioning during the forum was by written format only, the fact that the Kurds were not included in responses by the panelists gives me no comfort. The issue of an independent Kurdistan involves many countries bordering Iraq.

    There was an action component to the Inquest Iraq program. Several laptop computers were available with a pre-written letter to U.S. Representatives asking for an inquiry into the war. I was staffing one of the tables and during the break between sessions and it was a popular stop.

    The recent elections hold out hope for disengagement from this pre-emptive war. This war is a brutal crime and those who fomented it need to be punished.


    Picking Tomatoes Is No Joke, Ronald!

    by Tom Broderick

    Ronald "the Clown" McDonald and Hamburglar have been put on notice. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a farmworkers' coalition and they spent four years struggling with Taco Bell (Yum Brands) to earn more money and gain better working conditions. They succeeded and now they have targeted the McDonald's Corporation, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois.

    Last April, they came to town for informational picketing at the headquarters and at a flagship McDonald's operation in the River North area of Chicago, making connections with local religious and social action groups. They came back this past October to again picket the headquarters and four additional McDonald franchises and to deepen and broaden connections. Chicago DSA has been among the groups supporting this work.

    This month, some of the organizers are in town to form a working coalition with local groups to establish a local network and maintain momentum. They are meeting in Chicago and the western suburbs and plan to come back in March or April, 2007, for another round of informational pickets. Currently they are not calling for a boycott.

    The CIW is based in Florida and is an alliance between the farmworkers, the Alliance for Fair Food and Interfaith Action. The CIW website is www.ciw-online.org.

    The average migrant worker earns 40 to 45 cents per 32 pound bucket of tomatoes, a rate that has remained constant since 1978. As farmworkers, they are excluded from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, denying them protection when they organize. They are also excluded from the right to overtime pay. For more information about the state of agricultural labor in the U.S., see Oxfam America's report, "Like Machines in the Fields", available at www.maketradefair.com.

    Having successfully won an increase from 40 to 45 cents per 32 pound bucket to 75 cents per bucket from Taco Bell, the CIW is now looking to pressure McDonald's to follow suit. Though this pay increase nearly doubled the income of the tomato pickers, it only puts the farmworkers at the poverty level.

    In addition, the Taco Bell agreement authorizes farmworkers, through the CIW, to participate fully in the Taco Bell code of conduct. The agreement commits Taco Bell to buy only from Florida growers who agree to the penny per pound pass-through and to document and monitor the pass-through, providing the CIW with complete weekly reports of Taco Bell's Florida tomato purchase.

    McDonald's wants none of this, preferring to keep the migrant farmworkers destitute. You can help change this. Chicago DSA will be publicizing CIW actions in Chicago. However you might hear of it, please try to join the picket lines or have an organizer speak to your group. We've also enclosed a postcard with this issue of New Ground that you can send to McDonald's or, better yet, write your own letter of support.


    New Ground #109.1

    11.28.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    A Socialist in the Senate
    Push for Peace

    1. Politics

    Big Box Living Wage Referenda and Other Election News
    West Suburban Hospital Community Benefits Agreement

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Michael Harrington on the Crisis in Economic Theory
    The Norman Thomas ­ Barry Goldwater Debate

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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

    DSA News

    A Socialist in the Senate
    It's old news that Bernie Sanders won election as Senator from Vermont. DSA across the country assisted in his campaign, but DSA did have a hand in it:
    http://www.dsausa.org/NewsFromDSA/07nov2006.htm

    DSA Vice Chair Harold Meyerson put Sanders' victory in historical perspective in an article in the equally historic Jewish Daily Forward:
    http://www.forward.com/articles/the-socialism-of-bernie-sanders/

    Meyerson's article does underestimate, somewhat, the number of DSA members who have been in Congress. There have been more than just Ron Dellums and Major Owens. But we're sorry to disappoint some of the more hysterical rightwing bloggers; the Congressional Progressive Caucus is not a wholly owned subsidiary of DSA. While most such representations are the work of the unscrupulous or the credulous, some of this does seep into the rightwing edges of mainstream "journalism". For an example of such half understood half-truths, see:
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/datelinedc/s_479239.html

    Push for Peace
    United for Peace and Justice is calling for a massive march on Washington, DC, for Saturday, January 27. The intent is to send a strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and we want the troops brought home now!

    Chicago DSA has endorsed the march and we have made a financial contribution support its organization. For more information about the demonstration, see:
    http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3436

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

    Politics

    Big Box Living Wage Referenda and Other Election News
    Bob Roman
    In New Ground 108.3 (see http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng108.html#anchor493283 ), we noted a number of important referenda and campaigns to be decided by the November General Election. Generally, things went well.

    Danny Davis, endorsed by national DSA's Political Action Committee, won re-election to Congress with no difficulty and to no surprise.

    Rich Whitney and Julie Samuels, endorsed by the Greater Oak Park branch of Chicago DSA, did very well as Green Party candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively, receiving over 10% of the vote statewide. In some counties downstate (mostly small, rural counties), their share approached a quarter of the vote.

    Green Party partisans regard this as a victory even if most political professionals would feel humiliated by such a showing. The context is different though. The most important difference is that across Illinois the Green Party is now regarded by the State as an official party. This means prospective candidates will have an easier time appearing on the ballot as radically fewer signatures need be gathered on nominating petitions. This is a victory, make no mistake about it.

    Unfortunately, it also means that the Green Party has also lost control of selecting its candidates and control over its party structure. Like the "regular" organizations in "major" parties, the Green Party locals have now become one competitor among potentially many in a state run venue labeled "Green Party". This comes at a time when the Green Party is still pretty rudimentary as an organization. This is not an insurmountable issue, particularly in Illinois, though it would be reassuring if more minor party advocates were talking about it and exploring what changes would be necessary to make party government possible (or at least more likely) in the United States.

    For those interested in tracking the progress of minor parties, including the Green Party, and the legal issues they face, I highly recommend book-marking the Ballot Access News web site:
    http://www.ballot-access.org/

    The left also fared well with referenda in Illinois. Opposition to the Iraq occupation was on the ballot in Cook County and in a number of townships across Illinois. These questions won by large, often landslide margins everywhere except one township. In DeKalb County's Sycamore township, the question lost by a narrow margin. This puts lie to the cynical dismissal of non-binding referenda questions as ill-considered and unrepresentative and unscientific public opinion polls. Voters do give these things some thought. It also makes the victory of the "Big Box Living Wage" referenda in selected Chicago precincts that much more significant.

    The "Big Box Living Wage" questions asked voters to endorse the ordinance recently vetoed by Mayor Daley that would require a living wage and benefits for employees of large retail operations such as Wal-Mart or Target. The question was on the ballot in a bit less than 200 of Chicago's 2,605 precincts, but the precincts were selected to embarrass certain aldermanic opponents of the ordinance and bolster support among others. None of the referenda lost. Overall, the questions won 80.4% of the vote, though in a few precincts "Yes" dropped into the mid-60s. Daley the Elder never did so well.

    Already some of the Aldermen who voted against the ordinance or who switched their votes have opponents professing support for the ordinance. Even with a discount for opportunism, it should make for an interesting election next year.

    West Suburban Hospital Community Benefits Agreement
    In New Ground 102 we covered efforts by the Oak Park / Austin Health Alliance (OPAHA) to gain a Community Benefits Agreement with West Suburban Hospital, part of the Resurrection hospital chain. (See http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng102.html#anchor325867 )

    OPAHA recently intervened in the Oak Park zoning process to ask the Village to set conditions on granting a zoning change to West Suburban Hospital. Specifically, they want the hospital to provide every patient without insurance information regarding the availability of financial assistance and they want the hospital to return to the practice of providing cab fare to patients upon discharge if they do not have other means of transportation. The Village Board will take up the decision on granting the zoning changes in the near future.

    OPAHA also has yard and window signs available to Oak Park and Austin supporters of the proposed Community Benefits Agreement: "Put Patients First", "Treat Workers Fairly", and "Our Community Deserves Care". If you would like a sign, call Jo Patton at 312.641.6060.

    For more information, call the South Austin Coalition at 773.287.4570 or go to:
    http://www.opctj.org/

    http://www.reformresurrection.org/
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/WSHFact.html

     

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Michael Harrington on the Crisis in Economic Theory
    By 1980, the "stagflation" of the Carter years had knocked a major hole in Keynesian economics. In this audio recording of a presentation by Michael Harrington, he traces the history of economic theory and why the crisis in bourgeois economics was also a crisis for socialist economics:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/audarch4.html

    The Norman Thomas ­ Barry Goldwater Debate
    I'll bet you never knew this happened! It did, and you can listen to it here:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/audarch5.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.

    Thursday, November 30, 6:30 PM
    Increased Security: Necessity or Excuse?
    Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, Chicago
    Panel discussion examining new and evolving security measures and the arguments for public concern over issues of privacy, exploitation and "official" misconduct. Sponsored by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, National Lawyers Guild ­ Chicago, and the Council on American Islamic Relations.

    Thursday, November 30, 7 PM
    The Neo-Left
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A presentation by four members of the new Students for a Democratic Society. 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/

    Friday, December 1, 7 PM
    "Why We Fight"
    Grace Methodist Church, Kimball and Wrightwood, Chicago
    A movie for our times, answering the questions, Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Open to the public; $5 donation suggested. Logan Square Neighbors for Justice and Peace.

    Wednesday, December 6, 6 PM
    Christmas Caroling for Workers' Rights
    San Lucas Workers Center, 2914 W. North Ave. Chicago
    For more information, call Ari Glazer at 773 573 6633 or go to http://www.sanlucasworkers.com/

    Thursday, December 7, 7 PM
    Illinois Single Payer Coalition Meeting
    Physicians for a National Health Plan, 29 E. Madison St, Ste 602, Chicago
    For those interested in universal state health insurance in Illinois.

    Thursday, December 7, 7 PM
    "The Take"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A 2004 documentary about workers' take-over of an auto parts factory outside Buenos Aires following the 2001 economic collapse of Argentina. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/


    New Ground #109.2

    12.06.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    YDS Statement on the Elections

    1. Politics

    America, Heal Thy Self
    A Policy That Works
    The March to Iraq
    Witnesses Wanted

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Socialism and Sexuality

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    YDS Statement on the Elections

    "While the 2006 mid-term elections were a historic moment in American politics, their outcome does not point toward a clear progressive mandate for change. The sweeping Democratic Party gains that ended the Republican 12-year majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate did, however, open up new political space for activists. Americans registered their opposition to the Bush administration by voting in large numbers against the war, GOP extremism, and corruption. The election of Bernie Sanders as the first open socialist to the U.S. Senate, the outcome of state ballot initiatives, and the nature of the incoming Democrats' legislative agenda, all present new challenges and organizing opportunities. The work of the Left must now center on building an independent, grassroots movement and pressuring the new Democratic majority to enact progressive reforms."

    To read more, go to:
    http://www.dsausa.org/ydsupdate/15nov2006.htm

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

    Politics

    America, Heal Thy Self
    This is a free country. And if you have no money, you are free to die. This is increasingly the case for working families as employer provided health care insurance continues to decline. The Economic Policy Institute recently documented the increasingly serious dimensions of the problem. See
    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp175

    No one escapes the consequences from this thus universal health insurance is once again on the agenda both in the nation and in Illinois. But because this issue challenges an important sector of the financial industry and because it has significant ideological implications and because legislation almost requires some degree of consensus, there is, in Illinois and elsewhere, a terrible move to offer minimal service and expensive co-payments for additional service. We are to be happy with this, it seems. After all, it will be universal and demand responsibility from the "consumer". Who will still be free to die. The latest issue of the Progressive States Network's Stateside Dispatch deals with this effort to "define health care down". See:
    http://www.progressivestates.org/content/500/defining-health-care-down

    A recent article by Harold Meyerson suggests the Economic Policy Institute will be buying into this public / private insurance approach in an agenda defining report to be issued within the next few weeks. While this is unfortunate, it's also not a surprise. The labor movement is not quite so divided on the issue as it has been, but some very good unions face the situation that benefits, including health insurance, are about all they can reliably win for their members. This makes a state run universal approach ("single payer") something of a problem for them. This suggests that even if the balance of interests in the health insurance debate has moved since the Clinton Administration, it is still an open question whether much beyond nibbling around the edges of the problem is likely.

    A Policy That Works
    Illinois is boosting its legally mandated minimum wage, and the Federal government is likely to do so as well. The Economic Policy Institute (once again!) recently completed a study of the benefits of the minimum wage. See:
    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp176

    On the flip side, not long ago the Center for Urban Economic Development completed a study on the public costs of low wage employment. See:
    http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/uicued/Publications/RECENT/HiddenPublicCostMain.pdf

    The March to Iraq
    Chicago DSA expatriate Stan Rosen lives way down in New Mexico these days, but he wants us to pass along this interesting chronology of Dubya's march to war that appeared in a local paper:
    http://sfreporter.com/articles/publish/cover-101806-march-to-iraq.php

    Witnesses Wanted
    If you saw the March 19, 2005, arrest of peace activist Brad Lyttle on Michigan Avenue following the press conference there on the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, his attorney wants to speak with you right away. Please call Attorney Charles Nissim-Sabat at 773.457.5265.

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Socialism and Sexuality
    Socialism and Sexuality was indeed the title of the newsletter of one of the incarnations DSA's Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual Commission. But it also is the title of a web site and a series of conferences "designed to bring together scholars interested in exploring the sexual ideologies and programs of radical social movements." This is a joint project of Archives and Museum of the Socialist Worker's Movement, the International Institute of Social History, the Institute of Contemporary History, the Center for Millennial Studies, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Sofia. Their latest conference, in Paris, was on "Socialists and Marriage". Much of the material presented at these conferences is online at the web site. There is also a discussion list. Check it out at:
    http://www.iisg.nl/~womhist/socandsex.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.

    Thursday, December 7, 7 PM
    Illinois Single Payer Coalition Meeting
    Physicians for a National Health Plan, 29 E. Madison St, Ste 602, Chicago
    For those interested in universal state health insurance in Illinois.

    Thursday, December 7, 7 PM
    The Rebellion in Oaxaca
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A local Zapatista solidarity group, ChicagOtra, offers a frontline report. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Sunday, December 10, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    Impeach Bush and Cheney
    The Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan Av, Chicago
    Join Progressive Democrats of America in demanding justice on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day. For more information, go to:
    http://www.pdachicago.com/

    Monday, December 11, 4 PM
    Stop the Chamber of Commerce from Buying City Hall!
    The Aon Center, 200 E. Randolph, Chicago
    Join with Jobs with Justice and friends to protest and publicize the Chicago Chamber of Commerce's plans to spend $1,000,000 buying friendly candidates in next year's Chicago municipal elections. Call 312.738.6209 for more information or download a flyer:
    http://www.chicagojwj.org/download/dec11_ccc_flyer.pdf

    Tuesday, December 19, 7 PM
    "The Take"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A 2004 documentary about workers' take-over of an auto parts factory outside Buenos Aires following the 2001 economic collapse of Argentina. (This was originally scheduled for December 7.) Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away for lack. For more information go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/


     

    New Ground #109.3

    12.29.2006

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    2007 DSA National Convention
    YDS National Conference

    1. Politics

    3,000 and Counting
    The Cost of War
    There's a Dog Cage in Gitmo with Your Name. . .
    AUD Audio

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Why We Need Socialism in America

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Will be on Tuesday, January 9, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office. On the agenda will be the 2007 municipal elections, upcoming anti-war actions, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' McDonalds campaign, the campaign for universal health insurance, the 2007 Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner, and other business. The Chicago DSA office is at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, in Chicago. This is on 4th floor of the Northwest Tower Building at the 3 way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen avenues, very near the Damen stop on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. For more information, email the office or call 773.384.0327.

    2007 DSA National Convention
    DSA's 2007 National Convention will be held in Atlanta, Georgia., widely regarded as "the capital of the South." The convention begins Friday morning, November 9, concluding Sunday afternoon, November 11. Unlike previous conventions held in hotels the site of the meeting will be the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall. The Atlanta convention will be DSA's first national event held in the South, and we are grateful to DSA's new Atlanta local for agreeing to host the conclave. More in formation will be posted on the DSA web site, http://www.dsausa.org.

    YDS National Conference
    Justice Beyond Borders: Democracy and Socialism in the 21st Century
    is right around the corner this February 16-18th in New York City. Young Democratic Socialists has helpful tips to fundraise and guides to cheap hostels around the city which you can get upon request. Limited free housing is available as well. For more information about the speakers, such as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gayatri Spivak, Christian Parenti, Liza Featherstone, and other conference details check out our conference page: http://www.ydsusa.org/news/justice-beyond-borders or contact YDS directly at yds@dsausa.org.

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

    Politics

    3,000 and Counting
    As of today, nearly 3,000 U.S. troops have died in Iraq (see http://icasualties.org/oif/). As part of a nation-wide campaign coordinated by the American Friends Service Committee (see http://afsc.org/3000/resources.htm) the North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice is planning an event in Evanston to commemorate the 3000th death on Monday, January 1. Current plans are to meet at 6:00 PM at the corner of Church and Ridge, demonstrating and handing out literature. (They anticipate having cards printed up with a simple message such as "3000 US deaths in Iraq. How many Iraqis?") They plan to stand together from with candlelight (or flashlight) and signs at the corner of Church and Ridge, fanning out from there along Ridge Ave.

    The Cost of War
    The Institute for Policy Studies has been tracking and analyzing various aspects of the war on Iraq, including its cost. Among other things, they've broken down these figures by state. At the end of the last fiscal year, the tab for Illinois totaled $17,900,000,000. This amount alone, they point out, could have paid for plugging major security gaps for the entire nation. This and more is available at:
    http://ips-dc.org/iraq/

    There's a Dog Cage in Gitmo with Your Name. . .
    8th Day Center for Justice and CPT is calling on all its friends and comrades to come out to the Dirksen Federal Building and possibly the Federal Plaza (Adams & Dearborn in Chicago) 4 PM to 6 PM, January 11, 2007 for the 5th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees to Guantanamo Bay. For more information, contact dpagosa@claret.org.

    AUD Audio
    In New Ground 108 (see http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng108.html#anchor332029), noted the Association for Union Democracy's conference on fighting union corruption. Audio recordings of the conference have been posted to the AUD web site. These are mp3 files and, as usual, rather large for those of you still using a dial-up connection to the internet. And not all the conference is available, yet. But check it out at:
    http://www.uniondemocracy.org/Education/audconffightingcorruption.htm

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Why We Need Socialism in America
    You can think of Why We Need Socialism in America as the Readers Digest condensed version of Michael Harrington's book Socialism. It was produced in 1970 by Dissent Magazine and financed by "The Norman Thomas Fund". Chicago DSA, with the kind cooperation of Dissent, has made this publication available on the Chicago DSA web site.

    At 68 pages, the PDF file comes in at 8.6 megabytes. And at 68 pages, it's something of a lefty stereotype: "Why do we need socialism in America, Jimmy? Here. Read this book. It's a short book, really!" None the less, for those interested in both the history of the idea and how it might apply to the United States, Why We Need Socialism in America is an excellent, very readable introduction. It's also something of a period piece. Some of the trends that Harrington discusses, for example, didn't quite work out the way he anticipated. But this, too, is interesting and educational. Check it out at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/socialism.pdf

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Monday, January 1, 6 PM - 7 PM
    3,000 Is Too Many
    Church and Ridge, Evanston
    Join the North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice in a candlelight / flashlight demonstration to grieve the loss of 3,000 U.S. troops and uncounted Iraqis and Afghans.


    New Ground #109.4

    01.12.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    YDS National Conference
    Winter Issue of "Democratic Left"

    1. Politics

    Martin Luther King Day March for Justice
    America Deserves a Raise
    Health Care for All in Illinois?
    March to End the War

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Death of a Jewish Socialist

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    YDS National Conference
    Justice Beyond Borders: Democracy and Socialism in the 21st Century is right around the corner this February 16-18th in New York City. Young Democratic Socialists has helpful tips to fundraise and guides to cheap hostels around the city which you can get upon request. Limited free housing is available as well. For more information about the speakers, such as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gayatri Spivak, Christian Parenti, Liza Featherstone, and other conference details check out our conference page: http://www.ydsusa.org/news/justice-beyond-borders or contact YDS directly at yds@dsausa.org.

    Winter Issue of "Democratic Left"
    The Winter, 2007, issue of DSA's national journal, Democratic Left, is available online in PDF format:
    http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Winter_2007.pdf

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

    Politics

    Martin Luther King Day March for Justice
    Join your neighbors in Oak Park and the Austin neighborhood in a march and rally for justice at West Suburban Medical Center! Demand that West Suburban Hospital CEO Jay Kreuzer address some very serious discrimination issues in his hospital, stuff sufficiently egregious that he should thank you for bringing it to his attention. African-American and Latino housekeeping employees have reported discrimination in pay, discrimination in work assignments, and racially disparaging comments made by management. Employees have filed several charges with the Illinois Department of Human Rights but this process can take ages. These employees (and West Suburban) need action now. Join workers and neighbors at the ABC Church, 634 N. Austin (Austin & Superior) in Oak Park on Monday, January 15, 10:30 AM for a march to the hospital and rally.

    America Deserves a Raise
    The prices of our every day necessities like gas, electricity, housing, and food have all been on the rise. The federal minimum wage has not. It's been stuck at $5.15 an hour for the last 10 years. Hard working Americans deserve better! Please help give these workers a much needed boost immediately. Tell Congress to raise the minimum wage with no strings attached. Courtesy of American Rights at Work ( http://www.americanrightsatwork.net/ ) tell your Congressman how you feel by going to:
    http://action.americanrightsatwork.org/campaign/araw_minwage_jan07

    Health Care for All in Illinois?
    The Illinois Single-Payer Coalition (ISPC) reports that the Illinois Adequate Health Care Task Force has essentially completed its work. There will be a majority report recommending legislation along the lines of Massachusetts' approach. And there will be a minority report recommending a "single-payer" approach. For a copy of the minority report, see:
    http://www.pnhp.org/ilcoalition/proposal.pdf

    The ISPC is still in the process of organizing but hopes to nail down a set of officers and by-laws by its next meeting on Thursday, January 18. For information, email Nick Skala: nick@pnhp.org

    March to End the War
    Busses to Washington for the January 27th March and Rally to End the War will be leaving from Elmhurst (Wilder Park) and Chicago (UNITE HERE at Ashland and Van Buren) on Friday, January 26. The cost per ticket is $95 ($97 when purchased online). For more information, click the January 27th link on the West Suburban Faith Based Peace Coalition web site:
    http://www.faithpeace.org

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Death of a Jewish Socialist
    Emanuel "Manny" Muravchik died on Monday, January 8. Who was he? A dedicated radical whose life touched on many of the important historical developments concerning democratic socialism in the States. An extended version of Ralph Seliger's obituary that ran in the Forward was posted on the Meretz USA weblog. You can read it (and check out the blog and web site in general; Meretz is a Socialist International affiliate) by going to:
    http://meretzusa.blogspot.com/2007/01/death-of-jewish-socialist.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, January 13, 1 PM
    Reds
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    The Academy Award winning 1981 epic about John Reed and the Russian Revolution. An Open University of the Left event. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oulchicago/

    Sunday, January 14, 7 PM - 9 PM
    Closing the School of the Americas
    University Church, 565 S. University, Chicago
    Rev. Don Coleman goes to trial January 29 and speaks about the whys and wherefors of closing "the school for torture".

    Monday, January 15, 10:30 AM
    Rally & March to End Discrimination at West Suburban
    ABC Church, 634 N. Austin (Austin & Superior), Oak Park
    Demonstrate in support of workers at West Suburban Hospital. Oak Park Austin Health Alliance.

    Sunday, January 21, 7 PM
    Losing Our Rights, Our Pride, Our Values
    Lake Street Church Social Hall, 607 Lake St, Evanston
    A free public presentation and video documentary regarding the career and death of habeas corpus. For information contact marcia@nscpj.org

    Tuesday, January 23, 7:30 PM
    Civil Liberties Under Attack!
    Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn, Chicago
    A free public forum regarding the erosion of civil liberties, followed by discussion and questions. Parking available. Sponsored by Hyde Parkers for Peace and Justice and Hyde Park Committee Against War and Racism.

    Thursday, January 25, 7:30 PM
    Combatants for Peace
    Beth Emet the Free Synagogue, 1224 Dempster, Evanston
    Elik Elhanan and Sulaiman Al Hamir, the Israeli and Palestinian coordinators of Combantants for Peace, speak about their movement and the situation in Palestine and Israel. Sponsored by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom. For information: http://btvshalom.org/director/combatant_tour.shtml

     

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

    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.

    To add yourself to the "New Ground" distribution list
    click here: ng@chicagodsa.org?subject=Add

    To remove yourself from the "New Ground" distribution list
    click here: ng@chicagodsa.org?subject=Off

    To send a comment about or to suggest a link for "New Ground"
    click here: ng@chicagodsa.org?subject=Comment

    Or if none of those work with your mail program, simply send an email to ng@chicagodsa.org and tell us what to do.

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

     Add yourself to the Chicago DSA mailing list (snail mail and email).

    Back to top.

    Privacy policy.