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New Ground 111

March - April, 2007

Contents

George Becker
Ruth Young
Why We Need Socialism in America
Death Penalty
"Single Payer" Bill Introduced

New Ground 111.1 - 03.29.2007

0. DSA News

Picket at Oak Park McDonald's
Yolanda Hall

1. Politics

Keep Us Connected
The Guv's Campaign for Health Care
Replace Dr. Simon

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

New Ground 111.2 - 04.09.2007

0. DSA News

GOP DSA and Friends Picket McDonald's
Chicago DSA Executive Committee

1. Politics

Immokalee Victory Celebration
Keep Us Connected Coalition Lobby Day

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

New Ground 111.3 - 04.18.2007

0. DSA News

Where Do We Go From Here?
Election in Oak Park

1. Politics

Dr. Young Resigns from the Campaign for Better Health Care Board
Lobby Days

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

New Ground 111.4 - 04.28.2007

0. DSA News

49th Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
Executive Committee

1. Politics

May Day Updates
Protesting Peter Pace

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

 


The Estate Tax: Power, Privilege and Class

by Bill Barclay

Before you read any further, ask yourself: did you pay any wealth tax last year? If yes, how much?

If you answered no this question, let me ask another: do you own or rent a house or an apartment? Did you or your landlord pay any property taxes?

Unless you are very unusual, you did pay some property taxes, either directly as a home owner or indirectly though your rent. And property taxes are taxes on wealth.

One of the successes of the right wing has been to define only the Estate Tax as a wealth tax then to suggest that it is unfair. Part of this effort has been to re-label the Estate Tax as the "Death Tax," but it is perhaps better labeled the "Paris Hilton Tax." Sometimes this "unfairness" is alleged because only some people pay it. At other times, despite the inconsistency, it is "unfair" because it will force many people to deny their heirs the benefits of the labor of a lifetime, forcing the next generation to "make it on its own."

My first point, then, is that we do tax wealth, both annually and at death. My second point, however, is that, yes, we do tax wealth unfairly ­ but the inequity is not the one that right wing bloviators like to talk about. The unfairness resides in the disproportionate burden we place on property taxes rather than the broader Estate Tax.

It's useful to start with some basics about our two wealth taxes. Nationally, property taxes raise about $275 - 300 billion/year. The "Paris Hilton Tax" raises about $25 billion/year. While virtually all real property is subject to the annual property tax (there are exceptions for religious and charitable institutions), very few estates are subject to the Estate Tax. As of 2006, an estate, after deducting charitable and certain other contributions, had to exceed $2,000,000 ($4,000,000 for a couple) to pay any Estate Tax at all. In 2006, only 1 estate in every 400 exceeded this trigger point. And remember, the Estate Tax is levied only on the value of the estate that exceeds the $2 million ($4 million) minimum. Thus in 2006 an estate valued at $3 million would pay a tax of $460,000, passing $2,540,000 directly to the heir(s). Of course, what has the apologists for Paris Hilton exercised is the fact that most of the Estate Tax (about 80%) is paid by many fewer estates, the approximately 1 of every 750 estates that, in 2006, were valued at more than $22 million. Thus in the case of a $30 million estate, the heirs would receive "only" $17,120,000, barely enough to achieve Paris's standard of living.

Given the above, it is not surprising that the $500 million that has been spent in the more than decade-long campaign against the Estate Tax comes from 18 families whose aggregate wealth is almost $20 billion and who are looking to evade over $9 billion in Estate Taxes. Think about that the next time you buy a can of Campbell's soup, reach for a Mars candy bar, decide to save money by shopping at Wal-Mart, talk to that Amway rep or shop at Nordstrom's.

Currently the Estate Tax raises about $25 billion/year, not a lot, perhaps, but as an Illinois senator once said, a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money. Even at current levels the Estate Tax would finance the budget of the EPA or two IRS budgets. However today's Estate Tax levy is not the end to the story. Because of the large amount of wealth accumulated over the past few decades, the amount that the Estate Tax, even as currently configured, will generate over the next 10 to 30 years will increase significantly, rising 5 to 10 fold. By 2020, United for a Fair Economy estimates that the Estate Tax could have generated a cumulative $1 trillion. Even under the most pessimistic Social Security scenarios, this amount would go a long ways towards covering the shortfall. Of course, there are many other socially productive uses to which that amount of money could also be applied.

Now to my second point, the fundamental unfairness of our wealth tax and what we should do to change it. Our annual levy on wealth, the property tax, as currently constituted, is profoundly regressive in nature. This wealth tax that most of us pay, assessed against the building in which we live, targets the asset that constitutes the bulk of total wealth for most Americans. Primary residence is half or more of total net worth for almost all US households ­ up to about the 95th percentile of net worth. Above that level, however, the story changes dramatically; primary residence becomes less and less important in total net worth while financial assets (stocks and bonds) become increasingly important. Among the top 2% of households by net worth, primary residence drops to 5% or less of total wealth.

If we added a broad wealth tax, say a 2% levy on only the top 1% of wealth households, we would generate about $200 billion annually. What could we do with $200 billion? We could, for example, fully fund Social Security with enough left over for universal health care. We could create a wealth stake that all high school graduates would receive a their majority. Or, of course, we could pay for a year in Iraq and have perhaps $100 billion left over hmmmm, maybe not such a good idea.

The benefits of a wealth tax go beyond the economics of fairness. FDR said it well:

"Great accumulations of wealth cannot be justified on the basis of personal and family security.Such inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals of the generation which established our government."

The crucial point here is that the intergenerational transmission of privilege and access to political power that great wealth brings is corrosive to the future of our democracy. Great agglomerations of wealth allow a few to contribute large amounts to political campaigns, assuring post-election access and attention, raising the costs of seeking office and reducing the opportunities for many who, absent the high cost of electoral success, might make outstanding political leaders. These agglomerations of wealth also shape our culture, usually in negative ways. Consumption patterns of the very wealthy set the standards for others, even if we have to accept smaller pools, knock off Rolexes, etc.

What should we do? First, we should actively defend the current Estate Tax, lobbying our senators and representatives to oppose any efforts to reduce or eliminate it. Second, we can join United for a Fair Economy (www.faireconomy.org ), a group that has led the way in opposing the efforts of the Waltons, Dorrences, Nordstrom's etc. to repeal the tax. In so doing we will become allies with Bill Gates Sr. and Warren Buffet. Third, and over the long run I think most important, we should begin talking about a fair and comprehensive wealth tax.

Of course a comprehensive wealth tax is not on the agenda of any national political leader today, but neither were most of the now-adopted conservative policies on the agendas of national leaders in the past. We need to reshape the (non)discussion about class that occurs in the U.S. conservatives and even many liberals are comfortable talking about raising the standard of living, assuring educational opportunities for all, and the need to be competitive in today's world ­ and stopping any conversation about inequality at that point. All of these may be good goals, although if everyone has a PhD would there be any less inequality than today? After all, as the overall educational level has increased during the past decades, so has the level of inequality. To focus on these policies obscures the class and the inequality of wealth that lies at the roots of class power and privilege and that is an increasing threat to our democracy and our society. We must open up that conversation and debate.

 

Editor's Note: Chicago DSA is proud to be a member organization of United for a Fair Economy.


You Are Invited

by Bob Roman

The 49th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner will be held on Friday evening, May 4th, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza . Befitting the ongoing decay of the conservative hegemony in our country, the theme of this year's dinner is, "Where Do We Go From Here?" Addressing that question will be our two honorees, Leo Gerard, President of the United Steel Workers union, and Josh Hoyt, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights , and a very special guest, Saul Escobar Toledo, International Secretary of the Mexican Democratic Revolution Party . A flyer with all the essential information accompanies this issue of New Ground.

49 years, in Chicago, qualifies as a tradition. And I think this one is worth preserving. Political dinners are a dime a dozen (albeit considerably more expensive to attend), and awards dinners are almost as common as springtime dandelions. There are even two local awards named after DSA members: Citizen Action's Milton Cohen Award and the Crossroads Fund's Ron Sable Award. The Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner's distinction is that almost from the very beginning it was an event much larger than its sponsoring organization. In a very real way, DSA does not own this event so much as we preside over an event that properly belongs to the labor movement and to Chicago's democratic left.

In 1958, of course, DSA did not exist. This Debs Dinner was begun by the newly merged Socialist Party ­ Social Democratic Federation as part of a much older tradition, dating back at least to the 1920s, of celebrating Debs' birthday in November. This was done much the same way Democrats once had Andrew Jackson Day dinners or the Republicans had Lincoln dinners. But by 1958, Debs belonged to more than just the miniscule Socialist Party thus so did this Dinner.

Much of the history of this event can be found on our web site, http://www.chicagodsa.org/dthdin.html . It is a work in progress. We have absolutely no information regarding 3 years: 1967, 1962, and (ironically) the first Dinner in 1958. Though I expect a FOIA query to the FBI might provide the basics for 1958, at least. We'd appreciate any information on these missing years (and others, particularly in the 1960s) that you might have. We'll continue adding web pages for each year as time allows.

Traditions are living things, not preserved like dried leaves between musty pages, so your participation is absolutely essential. Be there, if you can; the community of people is fun, the speakers are interesting and entertaining, and it raises a bit of money for a good cause. See you there!


Other News

Compiled by Bob Roman

George Becker

George Becker, the immediate past President of the United Steelworkers of America, died on February 2nd of prostrate cancer. In 1997, George Becker and James Weinstein were honorees of the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner (see New Ground 52, "The 39th Annual Dinner Makes the Organization Proud"). Becker was the first Steelworker to be an honoree at the Dinner, though Lynn Williams spoke at 1987 Dinner honoring Jacquelyne Grimshaw and Heather Booth. Here is the text of Becker's award:

"You have spent a lifetime fighting for economic justice.

"From your days on the shop floor at Granite City Steel and Dow Chemical, you have demonstrated your commitment to building a strong labor movement.

"Your pioneer work in establishing protections against exposure to toxic substances is a testament to your concern for workers' well-being.

"Your leadership in the struggle to bring Ravenswood Aluminum to its knees and 1,600 workers back to their jobs is a tribute to your tenacity.

"And your recent leadership in the struggle to secure a contract for your members at Bridgestone-Firestone demonstrates your understanding of the need for global solidarity and your vision of a world in which working people can achieve economic and social justice.

"For this lifetime of work dedicated to building a better world, the Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner Committee is proud to present you with its 1997 award."

Ruth Young

Ruth Young had been the managing editor of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists . She was the editor of a literary magazine, Primavera. She was also married to Dr. Quentin Young. She died on January 27. A memorial service is planned for April 14, 10 AM, at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St, Chicago. For more information, contact Rebekah Cohen, 312.372.4292.

Why We Need Socialism in America

This is old news for those of you receiving the email editions of New Ground , but with the kind cooperation of Dissent Magazine , we have posted a PDF format copy of Michael Harrington's classic 1970 booklet, Why We Need Socialism in America, on our web site. The URL is http://www.chicagodsa.org/socialism.pdf . While it hardly qualifies as "hot" by web standards, it has been generating around 400 or more downloads per month, at least half via the Dissent web site. If that's not enough to move you mouse potatoes, we've also posted new audio recordings, including a debate between Norman Thomas and Barry Goldwater from late 1962 or early 1963. For a complete audio listing, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org /audarch.html.

Death Penalty

A bill to abolish the death penalty in Illinois was introduced in the State Senate by Senator Mattie Hunter on February 7. The legislation, SB0328, amends various Acts to abolish the death penalty, provides that on or after the effective date of this legislation, no person may be executed. It requires re-sentencing of those already sentenced to death. It would be effective immediately upon signing by the Governor. What more needs be said, you might think, but the death penalty is so woven into criminal law that the bill runs over 160 pages. The Senate sponsors of the bill are Rickey Hendon, Mattie Hunter, Jacqueline Y. Collins, and Kwame Raoul. Assigned to the Judiciary Criminal Law Committee (where Senator Raoul is the Vice-Chair), the first hearing was scheduled for March 13.

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has published its 2007 Annual Report. This is not a "state of the organization" and thank you to donors but rather a review of the state of executions in Illinois and related issues (such as mental illness and disability). It's available in PDF format at http://www.icadp.org .

"Single Payer" Bill Introduced

At the end of January, Representative Mary Flowers introduced HB0311, the "Healthy Illinois Act". At the time, it was purely a "title" bill, an empty legislative vehicle awaiting content. The bill is currently being given the content of a state run universal health insurance bill, aka "single payer". Representative Mike Boland has been added as the Chief Co-Sponsor, and the bill is currently referred to the House Executive Committee. The content of HB0311 is not presently available through the State web site, but can be obtained at http://www.pnhp.org/ilcoalition/hcaiact.pdf.

Details of Governor Blagojevich's "Illinois Covered" health plan can be found at http://www.illinoiscovered.com . The "Get Involved" page, incidentally, has great links for media addresses and legislators that could be used just as easily for HB0311.


New Ground #111.1

03.29.2007

Contents

0. DSA News

Picket at Oak Park McDonald's
Yolanda Hall

1. Politics

Keep Us Connected
The Guv's Campaign for Health Care
Replace Dr. Simon

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

 

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DSA News

Picket at Oak Park McDonald's
Tom Broderick
In advance of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Truth Tour 2007's arrival here in Chicago, GOP DSA is organizing an informational picket of the newly re-opened McDonald's at 111 Madison Street, just east of Oak Park Village Hall. This will be on Tuesday, April 3rd, from noon to 1 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of McDonald's. Help make this a success.

We will present position statement letters to the McDonald's manager. On the street, we'll hand out information about the CIW / Taco Bell arrangement, and about the April 13th and 14th events. We want to promote the Coalition and the April 13th and 14th events. We want to shine a light on the abuse. I would really appreciate hearing from you as to whether or not you will walk with us. Call or e-mail me. Let's bring the McDonald's Corporation to justice. Home: 708 386 6007; Work: 708 938 1546; Work e-mail: tbroderick@printarts.com.

Yolanda Hall
Bob Roman
Yolanda Hall was presented with the Olga Madar Award at the Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women's annual dinner. The award was presented in recognition of her lifetime work as a trade unionist and as an advocate for women's participation in their unions. The event was on March 22nd. We're very sorry we were not aware of it sooner as we'd have loved to let you know in advance. But, belatedly, congratulations Yolanda Hall!

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Politics

Keep Us Connected

Bob Roman
You may have seen the TV ads excoriating greedy cable companies, asking you to help free consumers oppressed by monopoly power. It's hard not to be sympathetic. Especially if you live way downstate where all utility charges tend to be amazing compared to Chicago. And there is the "Gee Whiz" factor, too. Isn't it amazing how far you can push twisted-pair copper wire? But before you sign on to support HB 1500, remember that while the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.

The major problem with the proposed legislation is a lack of any protection of public, educational, and government ("PEG") programming currently required of cable franchisees. Illinois is not unique. AT&T has gotten nine other states to pass similar legislation, and in none of those states has AT&T hooked up any "PEG" channels.

For more information, and to email your state legislator, check out the "Keep Us Connected Coalition" web site:
http://www.keepusconnected.org

The Guv's Campaign for Health Care
Bob Roman
Chicago DSA is supporting the "Single Payer" health insurance bill before the Illinois General Assembly, HB 311 (see http://www.pnhp.org/ilcoalition), but any noise in favor of a universal plan, even one essentially flawed as the Guv's is, is a good thing, perhaps. It's a good plan for Wall Street with some trickle down for the rest of us In any case Governor Blagojevich is doing a tour of the state to tout his plan. They're asking for folks wishing to participate in the rallies to RSVP at http://rsvp.illinois.gov. The schedule is:

  • Monday April 2, 9:30 am, Chicago - Navy Pier (South Side, Bollard 36), 600 E. Grand Ave. Call 312-491-8161 to RSVP
  • Monday April 2, 4:45 pm, Moline - The Mark of the Quad Cities, 1201 River Dr., Moline, IL
  • Tuesday April 3, 5:00 pm, Quincy- At Adams Park, N Front St and Hampshire St, Quincy, IL (Rain Site: Oakley-Lindsay Center, 300 Civic Center Plaza, Quincy)
  • Wednesday April 4, 1:00 pm, Alton - Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square, Landmarks Blvd and Piasa St, Alton, IL (Rain Site: Alton City Hall, 101 E. Third, Alton)
  • Wednesday April 4, 4:45 pm, Marion- Marion Town Square Plaza, W Main St and Route 13, Marion, IL (Rain Site: Marion Civic Center, 800 Tower Square Plaza, Marion)
  • Thursday, April 5, 5:00 pm, Danville - Laura Lee Fellowship House, 212 E. Williams St, Danville, IL

Replace Dr. Simon
Michael Baker
The National Nurses Organizing Committee has a hearing before the Cook County Board, Tuesday, April 3rd at 10 AM at 118 N Clark St, 5th Floor and is asking for supporters to attend the meeting. Obviously, this time is an inconvenient one for most people, but, if anyone is able to attend, please do so. Also please forward this info to any people or groups you feel would be interested.

The nurses union also has a petition drive to oust Dr. Robert Simon. Eight Health Clinics, including all school based clinics, are slated to close by April 7th! By gutting primary care, Dr. Robert Simon has shown an indifference to the health and well being of the residents of Cook County. Dr. Simon must go! For more information, go to:
http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/press-releases/2007/march/page.jsp?itemID=30058874

Sign the online petition today and ask others to join you in saving Cook County health services!
http://ga1.org/campaign/replace_simon_petition

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Upcoming Events of Interest

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

Friday, March 30, 7 PM
War and Fleece
Palatine Township Democrats, 1310 W. Northwest Highway, Palatine
Video of author Naomi Klein's presentation on how economic "shock therapy" backfired in Iraq. For more information, go to http://www.palatinedemocrats.com/upcomingevents.html

Friday ­ Saturday, March 30 ­ 31
Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice 2007 Conference
Champaign ­ Urbana Holiday Inn, 1001 Kilarney St, Urbana
Keynote address by Tom Hayden on Friday evening. For more information, go to http://www.ilcpj.org/conference07

Saturday, March 31, 2 PM
Making Another World Possible
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
Open University of the Left presents author John Ross. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away. For more information, go to http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

Wednesday, April 4, 5 PM
Stop Profiteering Off War
Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn, Chicago
Chicagoans fed up with the war will be protesting against businesses cashing in on it, most especially Boeing. Rally at Daley Plaza followed by a march to Boeing headquarters. For more information, email kickboeingtothecurb@gmail.com

Thursday, April 5, 7 PM
Fair Food
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
Open University of the Left presents farm worker activist Cruz Salucio Perez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. He will speak about their current campaign on behalf of tomato pickers directed at McDonalds. Tuition is $5 but no one is turned away. For more information, go to http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org


New Ground #111.2

04.09.2007

Contents

0. DSA News

GOP DSA and Friends Picket McDonald's
Chicago DSA Executive Committee

1. Politics

Immokalee Victory Celebration
Keep Us Connected Coalition Lobby Day

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

DSA News

GOP DSA and Friends Picket McDonald's
Some 16 people came out to the informational picket at the Oak Park McDonald's in support of CIW's 2007 Truth Tour. Participants handed flyers to customers (few pedestrians) describing the plight of tomato-pickers, and what we are asking McDonald's to do that will improve conditions.
The majority of participants were from religious denominations (Unitarian Universalists and Catholics in particular) as the original impetus for the picket came from the CIW "Partners in Faith" conference for the religious community held in Oak Park on March 3rd. GOP DSA members had contributed to the organizing of that event as well.

Chicago DSA Executive Committee
Just a reminder: the Chicago DSA Executive Committee meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month; the next meeting is Tuesday, April 10, at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 in Chicago. All DSA members are welcome to attend. (It is a committee meeting, but we don't limit members to just spectating.) For more information, email us or call 773.384.0327.

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Politics

Immokalee Victory Celebration
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and McDonald's have announced an agreement:

  • One penny more per pound for workers;
  • Stronger code of conduct based on the principle of worker participation;
  • Collaborative development of a third-party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields.

At press time, the Friday and Saturday events were still scheduled to take place, though the Friday suburban event may be moved from the McDonald's headquarters and the Saturday downtown Chicago event will not include a march to a McDonald's. Check the CIW web site or Chicago DSA's events page (http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html) as we will update it as details become available.

Burger King is next.

For more information, go to http://www.ciw-online.org

 

Keep Us Connected Coalition Lobby Day
The "Keep Us Connected Coalition" has announced a lobby day in Springfield for April 18. The Coalition was formed in response to HB 1500, a bill favored by AT&T that would essentially deprive public access cable programming of its means of support. The coalition has a bus that will leave from Chicago for Springfield, but if you can't go, you can still lobby the legislature by calling your representative's office. For more information, go to: http://www.keepusconnected.org/

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Upcoming Events of Interest

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

Wednesday, April 11, 5 PM
Cindy Sheehan in Chicago
Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, Chicago
Come hear peace activist Cindy Sheehan talk about an immediate end to war funding, the threat of war on Iran, and impeaching Bush. For more information, go to http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/76962/index.php or http://www.ilcpj.org/actions/details/?id=227

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 13 ­ 15
Alternatives to Empire
UIC College of Medicine, Chicago
The 4th Latin American Solidarity Conference. For more information, go to http://www.lasolidarity.org/lasc4/index.html

Sunday, April 15, 5 PM
Protocols of Zion
New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western, Chicago
Marc Levin's new documentary on modern anti-Semitism. The showing marks Yom Hashoah, the day of remembrance of the Holocaust & the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. For information, call 773.227.4011

Monday, April 16, 5 PM
Matewan
Hull House, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago
John Sayles drama of coal mine strikers in 1920s West Virginia; discussion follows with UIC Prof Bill Ayers


New Ground #111.3

04.18.2007

Contents

0. DSA News

Where Do We Go From Here?
Election in Oak Park

1. Politics

Dr. Young Resigns from the Campaign for Better Health Care Board
Lobby Days

 

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

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DSA News

Where Do We Go From Here?
Bob Roman
Let's be clear. The 2006 elections were far more ambiguous that us folks on the left would like. It's as true, or more, that conservatives lost the election than it is the center/left won. This makes considering where we go from here an important topic, and it's one of several reasons why I hope you'll attend this year's Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner. The other reasons are our honorees: Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers, and Josh Hoyt, Director of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, both of whom will share their perspectives on the question. And to add an international dimension to the topic, we're looking forward to hearing from the International Secretary of the Mexican Democratic Revolution Party, Saul Escobar Toledo.

The Dinner will be on Friday evening, May 4, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza (http://www.martplaza.com), 350 N. Orleans, in Chicago. Tickets are $60, but you need to reserve them by May 1 (the hotel wants to know how many are coming). If you want to show the flag in the Dinner program book, the deadline for copy is April 25.

A flyer in PDF format with more details (and a reply coupon) is available at http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2007/flyer49.pdf

Or go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2007/index.html or email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or call 773.384.0327 for more information or with any questions.

This will be a great event. It could mark, with your assistance, the beginning of a new and hopeful period in American politics. I hope you'll join us on May 4th.

Election in Oak Park
Tom Broderick
In Oak Park, the Village Citizens Alliance (VCA) was soundly beaten in the race for Village Board Trustees. We were beaten by a ratio of between 3:1 and 4:1, coming in a distant 2nd in a contest featuring three slates. The Venal Marauders Association (VMA, aka Village Managers Association), the slate bought and paid for by the developers of downtown Oak Park, won all four seats.

The VCA slate included Gary Schwab, a DSA Comrade. Chicago DSA endorsed his candidacy and some of our members held a fund raising hootenanny in the home of Ron Baiman. Our membership raised over $500.00 in individual contributions for the campaign and several members of the Greater Oak Park branch of DSA worked in the campaign.

We were out-spent and out-trooped. The VMA had a run of over 50 years of constant power until the election of 2005, when they lost every board seat they ran for. This loss came primarily because of a back door deal with a wealthy developer to build a high rise rental housing project in Oak Park. The tax-payers of Oak Park subsidized this project to the tune of at least $10 million: tax-payer money to subsidize the haves and the have-mores.

Since that loss, there have been two years of turmoil on the Board and the people of Oak Park are not used to this. The local papers have made much of this divisiveness - the result of an actually more diverse Board. During this election cycle, the Wednesday Journal (the local village paper), primarily through columnists, urged a return to VMA management.

The VMA responded to their historic loss in 2005 by doing a great job of organizing and fund-raising. They reported raising over $70,000 for this election, which is a staggering sum of money for our Village Board elections. They have also been investigated for not reporting where some of their money has come from.

In the defeat speeches last night, Schwab used the words "class war," which is not an expression often heard in local politics. He also wrote all but one of the position papers for the slate. These were published in the Wednesday Journal, week after week. Jim Balanoff, another VCA candidate also raised the issue of labor problems between Village Management and the labor unions working for us in the Village.

The VCA platform - and only the VCA platform - included positions on labor that our candidates agreed to support. These included an acceptance of the arbitration process, which Village Management routinely disregards. Instead, they hire an outside law firm to fight arbitration. Oak Park tax dollars used to attack an agreed upon settlement process.

The people of Oak Park - at least those who voted - voted for a return to smooth Board operations. The VMA promised that and the voters delivered. When the VMA operates as usual, will the voters rise up in anger again?

My what sharp teeth you have Grandma!

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Politics

Dr. Young Resigns from the Campaign for Better Health Care Board
Bob Roman
Dr. Quentin Young has resigned from the Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC) Board of Directors. His letter of resignation cited political differences over health care legislation now supported by the CBHC:

"You can imagine, therefore, the deep sadness with which I leave, primarily because this long time vanguard organization for true health reform has found it necessary to take a different path. This is particularly discouraging because, after years of struggle, it is clear that the United States is moving faster than ever towards the single-payer solution, eliminating the malignant effect that private insurance inflicts on any health system. The declaration, at long last, of the AFL-CIO support of the single-payer program is a vital breakthrough that harbingers hope for the American people's desire for a decent system.

"The Campaign itself still acknowledges that the single-payer solution is the best one, yet finds it necessary to support measures that, I assure you, will fail. We all are aware of the enormous power of the purse and the propaganda of our opponents. I fear their worldview has contaminated CBHC and blunted its progressive role."

Lobby Days
These are good days to write or call your state representative and state senator. The Keep Us Connected Coalition is in Springfield today arguing against AT&T's HB1500, a bill the Coalition feels would gut public access television. For more information go to http://www.keepusconnected.org

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will be in Springfield tomorrow, April 19, to persuade legislators to support SB 328. For more information, go to http://www.icadp.org

The Illinois House's Health Access Committee will be holding hearings on HB 311, the "Single Payer" universal health insurance bill introduced by Representative Mary Flowers. The Illinois Single Payer Coalition is urging folks to call their legislators in support of this bill over Blagojevich's SB 5, "Illinois Covered". While the site is still under construction, you can find information about both bills at http://www.healthcareforallillinois.org

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Upcoming Events of Interest

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

Thursday, April 19, 7 PM
The Making of an Activist
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
Joan Brunwasser will speak on "The Making of an Activist". An Open University of the Left session. For more information, go to http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

Saturday, April 21, 6:30 PM
Organizing Palestinian Farmers for Fair Trade
Grace Place, 637 South Dearborn, Chicago
Reception at 6:30, Program at 7. $5 contribution. Sponsored by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, for information see http://www.geocities.com/cjpipwebsite/

Thursday, April 24, 4 PM
Push & Pull: Free Trade and the Immigration Debate
UIC Student Center, 750 S. Halsted, Room 713, Chicago
Hear David Bacon and Juan Manuel Sandoval. Sponsored by UIC Center for Labor Education, Chicago Center for Working Class Studies. See http://www.workingclassstudies.org/

Thursday, April 24, 6 PM
Take Back the Night Rally
Bartlett Quad, 57th Street and S. University Av, Chicago
Rally to raise awareness against women, children, and families, and to empower people to feel safe in their communities. Co-sponsored by Chicago NOW, for more information, go to http://www.chicagonow.org/events.php

Saturday, April 28, 9 AM to 12:30 PM
Health Care Chutes and Ladders
Oak Brook Park District, 1450 Forest Gate Rd, Oak Brook
A summit on fixing the ups and downs of the health care system. Co-sponsored by the Campaign for Better Health Care and Social Justice Ministry of the Union Church of Hinsdale. Reservations requested, call Sue Ellen at 312.913.9449 or email sschumacher@cbhconline.org

Saturday, April 28, 2 PM
Revel with a Cause
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
Stephen Kercher will speak on the history of American political and cultural satire during the Cold War. An Open University of the Left session, go to http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org for more information.

Sunday, April 29, 2 PM
"In Debt We Trust"
Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park
A showing of the film In Debt We Trust. Co-sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice, go to http://www.opctj.org

Tuesday, May 1, 10 AM
May Day March and Rallies for Immigrant Rights
Union Park, Ashland & Washington, Chicago
Beginning with a rally at Union Park, ending with a rally at 2 PM in Grant Park, Balbo and Columbus. For more information, go to http://www.movimiento10demarzo.org/

Tuesday May 1, 11 AM
May Day Rally
At the Haymarket Memorial, DesPlaines Ave between Randolph and Lake, Chicago
An International Labor Day rally for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act and for gaining legal rights for immigrant workers. Sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor, Illinois Labor History Society, and others.

Thursday, May 3, 7 PM
"American Jobs"
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
A showing of the documentary American Jobs, followed by a discussion led by James Thindwa. An Open University of the Left session, go to http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

Friday, May 4, 6 PM
Where Do We Go From Here?
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, Chicago
The 49th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner, honoring Leo Gerard and Josh Hoyt. Tickets $60 if reserved by May 1. For information, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2007


New Ground #111.4

04.28.2007

Contents

0. DSA News

49th Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
Executive Committee

1. Politics

May Day Updates
Protesting Peter Pace

2. Upcoming Events of Interest

 

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DSA News

49th Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner
It is NOT too late to get tickets to this year's Dinner! Simply email us or give us a call at 773.384.0327. We need to know your name and address and how many tickets you'll need. You can mail us the payment or pay at the door. Tickets are $60, though if you simply show up, unannounced, at the door, we'll have a limited number available at $70. No plastic, sorry; cash, checks or money orders only. For more information, go to:
http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2007/index.html

Executive Committee
A reminder for DSA members, the Chicago DSA Executive Committee meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be May 8, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago. This is on the 4th floor of the Northwest Tower Building at the 3-way intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues.

All DSA members are welcome to attend, and this meeting may be of particular interest. We will be reviewing the Debs Dinner, of course, and just where that leaves us financially and, in that context, the now perennial question of the office. The National Office has asked us to represent DSA at the upcoming United for Peace and Justice convention in Chicago next June, and we'll be planning Chicago DSA's annual membership convention for that month also.

And speaking of the membership convention, there will be two positions open on the Executive Committee for 2-year terms: the male Co-Chair and secretary. The female Co-Chair position is currently vacant and could be filled for a 1-year term.

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Politics

May Day Updates
Chicago DSA endorsed the Chicago labor rally at the Haymarket Memorial and the Immigrants' Rights march for that day. We also sent out a fairly sizable postcard mailing advertising these events. The day after the last of the mailing went out, the times and some of the locations changed.

Most significantly, the labor rally at the Haymarket Memorial (DesPlaines Avenue between Randolph and Lake) is now set for 12:30 PM, rather than 11 AM as we had advertised.

The Immigrants' Rights rallies and march is still scheduled to begin at 10 AM in Union Park, but route seems to have changed and, in any case, it is now scheduled to end with a rally at Daley Plaza (Washington and Dearborn) at 3 PM, rather than the original Grant Park location. For links, see:
http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html

Protest Peter Pace
(Try saying that a dozen times quickly!) Peter Pace is the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Aside from arguably being a candidate for trial as a war criminal (along with many others) as part of the whole Iraq fiasco, he is also an outspoken homophobe, supporting the ban on lesbians and gays in the military and calling such folks "immoral".

Truly, if the "right to keep and bear arms" is to have any meaning in today's society, lesbians, gays, geezers, and the "differently abled" must not be excluded from the military!

In any case, Chicago DSA has endorsed a call by the LGBT Liberation Network to protest General Pace's appearance at a University of Chicago Graduate School of Business affair .

The protest will be Friday, May 18, 11 AM, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 E. Wacker Dr, in Chicago.

For more information on the protest, email LGBTliberation@aol.com or phone 773.209.1187.

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

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, April 29, 2 PM
"In Debt We Trust"
Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park
A showing of the film In Debt We Trust. Co-sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice, go to http://www.opctj.org

Tuesday, May 1, 10 AM
May Day March and Rallies for Immigrant Rights
Union Park, Ashland & Washington, Chicago
Beginning with a rally at Union Park, ending with a rally at 3 PM in Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn. For more information, go to http://www.movimiento10demarzo.org/

Tuesday May 1, 12:30 PM
May Day Rally
At the Haymarket Memorial, DesPlaines Ave between Randolph and Lake, Chicago
An International Labor Day rally for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act and for gaining legal rights for immigrant workers. Sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor, Illinois Labor History Society, and others. See http://www.chicagolabor.org

Tuesday, May 1, 4:30 PM
Protest Boeing's Participation in Militarizing the Border
Boeing HQ, 100 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago
For more information, http://kickboeingtothecurb.wordpress.com/

Thursday, May 3, 7 PM
"American Jobs"
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
A showing of the documentary American Jobs, followed by a discussion led by James Thindwa. An Open University of the Left session, go to http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

Friday, May 4, 6 PM
Where Do We Go From Here?
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, Chicago
The 49th Annual Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner, honoring Leo Gerard and Josh Hoyt. Tickets $60 if reserved by May 1. A limited number of tickets will be available for $70 at the door. For information, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2007

Friday, May 18, 11 AM
Protest General Peter Pace
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago
For more information, email LGBTliberation@aol.com or phone 773.209.1187.


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PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

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

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