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New Ground 113

July - August, 2007

Contents

  • United for Peace and Justice by Bob Roman
  • The Dangers of Reprocessing Spent Nuclear Fuel by Sydney Baiman
  • The Wounds That Never Heal by Bob Roman
  • New Ground 113.1 - 08.01.2007

    0. DSA News

    Burger King Takes a Flyer
    Executive Committee

    1. Politics

    Dem Debates
    Organizing Restaurants
    Old Times There Are Not Forgotten
    Mocha Wobblie

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Solidarity Economics

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 113.2 - 08.14.2007

    0. DSA News

    Building the Next Left
    Web Site Updates

    1. Politics

    Skewed Pay Policies at Resurrection
    Labor's Candidate Forum
    Open Letter to the Food Industry

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Deepening Democracy
    Re: Solidarity Economics

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 113.3 - 08.30.2007

    0. DSA News

    Greater Oak Park DSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting

    1. Politics

    More Secret Trade Deals
    Got FBI Files
    Gang Wars
    Matthew Shepard March

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Are You a . . . Marxist?
    A New International?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 113.4 - 09.07.2007

    0. DSA News

    DSA Meetings Reminder

    1. Politics

    Labor Organizing and the American Economy
    October 27
    Poverty in America
    Job Opportunities

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Life Cycle of Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest


    United for Peace and Justice

    by Bob Roman

    United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) held its 3rd National Assembly in the O'Hare airport town of Rosemont on the weekend of June 22nd through the 24th. The sessions were long, and while there was disagreement, UFPJ came to something of a consensus on having a nation-wide "fall offensive" against the war. There will be a variety of actions culminating in regional demonstrations on October 27. It is hoped that the demonstrations will be international in scope. Chicago will be the focus for the Midwest. More information can be found at the UFPJ web site, http://www.unitedforpeace.org . As plans develop locally, check the Chicagoans Against War and Injustice (CAWI), http://www.noiraqwar-chicago.org/ for information. Chicago DSA will be promoting some of these events, also.

    DSA was represented at the UFPJ Assembly mostly by activists from Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) chapters in Michigan, Kansas, and Ohio. Our literature table was well received, and a number of activists from around the country expressed interest in forming YDS chapters.

    UFPJ, in common with other peace groups, faces a number of environmental problems. The first is that there are several peace movements (not to be confused with organizations, of which there are legion) here in the States. They more or less get along, attend each other's events, but represent different (if sometimes overlapping) constituencies and ideologies. This is only a problem because dreams of unity (or, for some organizations, hegemony) distract leadership from discussions of just what role their organization can play in the larger scheme of things. This may be a disability, but it's not fatal.

    Another, rather more important, problem is that while a majority of people in the U.S. have turned against the war, they have not therefore begun supporting the anti-war movements. The idea that opposition to the war will be the catalyst to a broad, majority movement for justice is attractive, but sadly there's little indication of it happening. Cobbling together networks of "special" interests may increase turn out at particular actions. But if you think of the cacophony of messages at the anti-corporate globalization rallies of some years ago, you can also see why this prospect drives some anti-war activists straight up the wall. Nonetheless, this is the natural strategy for UFPJ to follow. After all, they are united for peace and justice.

    In Chicago and in some other parts of the country, the regional demonstrations will be a challenge. Bringing off an action of consequence is not just labor intensive. It requires money as well. Never mind publicity, start adding up the rental for stage and adequate sound system; you might need insurance. Etc.! You get into five to the left of the decimal pretty quick. All of this the peace movements have done before in Chicago. We can do it again.


    The Dangers of Reprocessing Spent Nuclear Fuel

    by Sydney Baiman

    In 1975, a General Electric facility for the recovery of plutonium from spent nuclear fuel was constructed 40 miles southwest of Chicago in Morris, Illinois. During final testing, the plant was declared inoperable without extensive modifications. Since then, it has laid dormant, serving to store about 750 tons of irradiated nuclear fuel from the neighboring Dresden Nuclear Power Plants. Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy, with the encouragement of the Bush administration, has tentative plans to return the plant to its original purpose, the recovery of plutonium from spent fuel.

    What Is Reprocessing?

    Reprocessing is the chemical procedure for separating plutonium and fissionable uranium from spent fuel rods. These fuel rods were first used as the fuel in nuclear power plants. After 18 months of use they are now 1000 times more radioactive, and need to be stored in circulating water. The irradiated fuel is chopped up via remote control, behind heavy lead shielding. These pieces are then dissolved in boiling nitric acid, releasing a litany of toxic fumes. The plutonium is separated from the acid solution by chemical means, leaving large quantities of high-level radioactive liquid waste and sludge behind. This entire procedure multiplies the original level of waste 160 times and is energy intensive.

    There are several facilities similar to the proposed Morris, Illinois plant that operate globally. None have a good safety record. A few of these plants include: Windscale/Sellafield in Cumbria, northwest England, Cogema at Cap De La Hague in Normandy, France, and several plants near Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains of Russia. In the United States, two military reprocessing plants in Hanford, Washington, and Getty Oil in West Valley, New York no longer operate.

    The Reprocessing Safety Record

    At the Hanford facility, there are 250, 000 cubic meters of high-level radioactive liquid waste now stored in 151 tanks. Since the beginning of operations at the plant, there have been dozens of significant leaks into the groundwater table. The reprocessing plant in West Valley had an accident and was closed since 1972, leaving behind 600,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste and 300,000 gallons of toxic sludge. This amount of waste, however, pales in comparison to that of the Windscale/Sellafield plants in England.

    On October 10, 1957, the number one pile at the Sellafield plants suffered a serious accident, spewing fission products over so much land that authorities were forced to seize all milk and growing food products over a 400 square mile area. By 1977, the Sellafield plants were discharging 1000 times more radiation into the air, water, and land than their sister plant Cogema in France. Since 1952, diluted liquid cesium 137 and plutonium have been pumped through a two-kilometer pipe to the Irish Sea. Due to this constant flow of more than 500,000 curies of radiation into the water, fully a half ton of plutonium now forms a 350-square-mile elliptical "lake of plutonium" at the pipe's end. The Irish Sea has become the most toxic body of water in the world. Plutonium, the most toxic substance known to man, has been found on the beaches of the northwest coast of Ireland, the northern coast of Wales, and the coasts of Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium. Plutonium silt has washed up on beaches and contaminated coastal marshes in Cumbria. Plutonium dust has been found in the vacuum cleaners of the residents of Seascale, four miles from the Sellafield facility. In 1993, a cancer cluster was discovered at Seascale.

    Health Effects

    John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D., physicist and biomedical researcher at the University of California worries about health effects resulting from the contamination of food, mainly milk and red meat products. Gofman writes, "Strontium 90 in the milk masquerades as calcium, invades the human system, and heads straight for the bones. Iodine 131 acts like normal Iodine, going straight for the thyroid and salivary glands. The entire ghoulish family also produces alpha, beta, and gamma rays that have little respect for the cells of the body." Another by-product, Cesium 137, invades the muscles, gonads, and ovaries, causing sterility.

    "On behalf of our children and their future, we demand that reprocessing operations be stopped. This would solve major problems of sea and air discharges and radiation exposure to workers and the public"

    - Sellafield Women's Camp

    Radioactive isotopes of the Xenon, Argon, and Krypton 85, are found in plant steam emissions. These "noble gases" are inert and difficult to measure and are not in any case regulated. Krypton is a heavy, inert gas. A beta-emitter, Krypton attacks the lungs and body fluids. It travels worldwide via the atmosphere. Krypton levels from reprocessing doubled between 1978 and 1989. Krypton gas from the Sellafield facility has been found as far away as Belgium and northern Germany.

    Conclusion

    All the reprocessing plants worldwide have had serious accidents. In the U.S., three of them have tried and failed. Reprocessing offers little more than a vast safety and health hazard. Rather than diminishing the amount of nuclear waste, the current Department of Energy plan calls for its expansion. The poor safety record, environmental contamination, and disastrous health effects from reprocessing facilities make it dangerous to support the construction of a new uranium/plutonium installation in Morris, Illinois.

    Editor's Note: Sydney Baiman is a member of Greater Oak Park DSA and a Board member of the Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) in Chicago, IL. She can be contacted at 708.358.0967 or 708.445.9052.

    For More Information


    The Wounds That Never Heal

    By Bob Roman

    Flashback: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War by Penny Coleman. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. 223 pages, $23.95.

    Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become recognized as an inevitable consequence of war, and this book is a wonderful discussion of PTSD, it's history, and the efforts (or lack thereof) to treat it in just that context: war. My only problem with the book is that I agree far too much with the author. Why is this a problem? A great part of the book deals with the Vietnam War, a history that is very much in dispute and often written from a particular point of view. I would feel more comfortable, actually, with someone I had political disagreements with.

    For example, Coleman discusses the Nixon Administration's campaign to blame Vietnam veterans' problems on abuse the veterans suffered from protesters and radicals. The iconic image, of course, is the spat-upon veteran. Coleman uses Jerry Lembcke's work, The Spitting Image, to refute this; after extensive research, he was unable to find any evidence such a thing happened. But Lembcke's research could be absolutely solid and still be wrong. Even if it never happened, why does it feel, to many, as though it did? Why would that be of any concern aside from politics? It turns out that one of several things that leaves combat veterans vulnerable to PTSD is a related violation of a sense of "what's right." Related: thus this mostly applies to the soldier's relations with the military (including peers), but it could apply to the soldier's relation to society and country in general, especially given that soldiers were rotated out of Vietnam as individuals and not as units. For a good account of just how general a violation of "what's right" could be during Vietnam, I'd recommend a slim book of poetry first published in 1976: The Long War Dead by Bryan Alec Floyd. As poetry, the quality is uneven but in affect each is etched with blood.

    Aside from brief excursions into the Trojan and American Revolutionary wars, Penny Coleman begins her history with the American Civil War. The state of medicine in the States did not allow for any consistency in diagnosis, never mind treatment, but some military doctors made astute observations, even if military practice remained barbaric. For the U.S. military, at least, the big breakthrough was World War I. Apparently someone prior to our entry was paying attention to the European experience; the military devised a scheme to provide effective battlefield maintenance, essentially patching up soldiers well enough that they could be sent back to the front though their post-war fates are another matter. Coleman weaves together a number of interesting strands in her discussion of PTSD up to the Vietnam War: advances in psychology that provided insight into what was happening to these soldiers, lessons learned then discarded for bureaucratic convenience in time for the next war with a pretty consistent lack of interest in providing help to soldiers after their wars, and the epidemic of suicide that seems to plague combat veterans.

    A majority of the book deals with Vietnam. This is not simply because of Coleman's interests; the Vietnam war was different. Coleman uses the history recounted earlier in the book to compare and contrast with military practice during the Vietnam war. One of the more presently relevant observations concerns the implementation operant conditioning in military training after World War II. A study found that during that war, 75 to 80 percent of soldiers were not firing their weapons, even when their lives were immediately threatened. By the time of Vietnam, the firing rate had gone from 25 percent to 95 percent.

    Intertwined with each chapter are personal testimonies by families of Vietnam veterans, accounts that give immediacy to the issues Coleman is discussing. All of the testimonies involve suicide. Coleman is making a point here, one that needs to be made. And it can be quite affecting, including one widow who exclaims, "This isn't over, this isn't over. It's 1999, and my husband just died from the Vietnam War."

    After reading the book twice, I'm still not certain what all the political implications are. But an important one is the degree to which the Vietnam war was ended not by protest and politics here in the States but by the disintegration of the combat forces in Vietnam. This has become a fashionable observation in the anti-war movement today, recalling especially those soldiers who were active in organized resistance. This is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking on the part of wannabe revolutionaries; Coleman's book documents that while there was considerable organized resistance, a better part it was very individual and sometimes violent (e.g., "fragging"). But this does suggest that anti-war organizing within the military and among veterans is not to be neglected.

    Perhaps Coleman's conclusion is correct:

    "Those injuries to mind, and the deaths they so often provoke, do not deserve to be erased. They deserve to be included in an honest and honorable reckoning of war's cost. They deserve to have a public as well as a private meaning. Perhaps the naked magnitude of the cost will convince us that finding peaceful solutions to our problems, though a tall order, offers a compelling, motivating ideal..."

    Perhaps. Though Nelson Algren's short story, "pero venceremos" comes to mind. The protagonist, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, spends much of his time in a bar where he reiterates, endlessly, a particularly gruesome encounter in battle to the complete and uncomprehending distraction of his friends and acquaintances. Finally one of his friends tells him to forget it; the battle was a hundred years ago. No, he says, it's just like yesterday. But after a long pause, he asks, "Did I say yesterday? It wasn't even yesterday, the way it feels."

    "How does it feel, Denny?"

    "It feels more--like tomorrow."


    New Ground #113.1

    08.01.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Burger King Takes a Flyer
    Executive Committee

    1. Politics

    Dem Debates
    Organizing Restaurants
    Old Times There Are Not Forgotten
    Mocha Wobblie

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Solidarity Economics

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

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    DSA News

    Burger King Takes a Flyer
    Not pausing after their recent victory in bringing McDonalds on board, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is now asking Burger King to join with Yum Brands (Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver) and McDonalds in paying the tomato harvesters in their supply chain an extra penny a pound. Chicago DSA and friends opened the campaign in Chicago by leafleting two summer festivals, the Wicker Park Summerfest at Damen and North Avenues and Fiesta del Sol at 1400 W. Cermak, on July 28 and 29. We have flyers left over and we're planning future actions. Interested? Email us or call 773.384.0327.

    Executive Committee
    The Chicago DSA Executive Committee meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month, pretty much (September will be an exception). So the next meeting will be at the Chicago DSA office (1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago) on August 14 at 7 PM. All Local Chicago DSA members are welcome; our attitude is that you are all ex-officio members of the committee.

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    Politics

    Dem Debates
    The AFL-CIO will host a presidential forum with the top seven Democratic candidates on August 7 from 6-7:30 CDT in Chicago, the federation announced today. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, host of the network's popular Countdown with Keith Olbermann, will moderate the forum, which will be broadcast live nationally on MSNBC and XM Satellite Radio. More than 5,000 union members and their families from around the country will attend the forum, which will focus on working families' everyday issues, at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

    For more information, go to:
    http://www.chicagolabor.org/content/view/188/46/

    For those who regard the prospective Democratic candidates as hopeless or, at least hopeless without a great deal of noise to encourage them to Do The Right Thing, the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism and Chicagoland CodePink are organizing a demonstration to demand not one more day, death, dollar, or excuse for the occupation of Iraq. The demonstration will be in front of Soldier Field, the exact location to be announced. The protest will begin at 4 PM, when the doors open, but if you can't get there until after 5 PM, please attend anyway as the debate begins at 6 PM.

    For more information, email ccawr@aol.com or call 773.209.1187 or go to http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/78801/index.php

    Organizing Restaurants
    What is planned to be the first national conference for restaurant workers will convene on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 2nd through the 4th, at the Interfaith Worker Justice Center, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, in Chicago. The conference is being organized by the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York and the Young Workers United of San Francisco. The objectives of the conference are to identify challenges and injustices, and then explore strategies in organizing and acting, both locally and nationally, in order to improve conditions for restaurant workers nation wide. The Saturday session is open to the public.

    For more information, go to http://www.roc-national.org/rocmenu

    Old Times There Are Not Forgotten
    You may have heard of the racial conflict in the Jena, Louisiana, high school that brings to mind the segregation years. If not, check out the story at:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11756302
    and
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12353776

    Chicago DSA expatriate (and now Georgia resident) Jim Williams suggests you do something about it. One place where you can protest this injustice is:

    http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/?id=2055-216898

    Mocha Wobblie
    The IWW's campaign to organize Starbucks has been gaining attention. DSA's Barbara Ehrenreich discusses the class war & prejudice in the news media against worker issues. Plus an update on the NLRB trial against Starbucks interference in union organizing by firing workers, surveillance and discrimination. WBAI's Building Bridges program, go to:

    http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=24046

    Also see "The Industrial Workers of the World is taking on the coffee giant and its much-praised workplace practices" by Moira Herbst in Business Week:

    http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jul2007/db20070801_050494.htm

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    Democratic Socialism

    Solidarity Economics
    Science fiction authors of various persuasions often construct post-economic, post-scarcity societies as backdrops for their dramas. Like F.M. Esfandiary, they often just assume that this will happen merely as a consequence of technological progress. Brazilian philosopher Euclides Andre Mance, on the other hand, sees it growing out of a new mode of production, solidarity economics, and a resulting politics.

    Read more about it, and check out a new British lefty journal, Turbulence at:
    http://www.turbulence.org.uk/solidarityeconom.html

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Compiled by Libby Frank
    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, August 3 through Sunday, August 5
    Vietnam Veterans Against the War 40th Anniversary
    Roosevelt University, Congress and Michigan, Chicago
    See http://www.vvaw.org/events/40th/ or call 773.276.4189

    Friday August 3, 2 PM to 8 PM
    Counter-Recruitment Leafleting
    Lollapolloza, 337 East Randolph, Chicago
    Join various organizations to do counter recruitment leafleting at this festival. For information, contact Sheena Gibbs, AFSC, 312.427.2533.

    Saturday, August 4, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
    Ta'ayush in Peril: Defending Human rights in Palestine
    Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, Chicago
    Fundraiser featuring Israeli Human Rights attorney attorney Gaby Lasky, voluntary donations solicited at the door, event includes a light breakfast. Sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace and American Friends Service Committee. For information: Lynn Pollack at 312-427-2533 or e-mail lpollack@afsc.org

    Saturday, August 4, Noon to 6 PM
    Counter-Recruitment Leafleting
    Ebony Black Family Reunion, Washington Park, Chicago
    Meet at main entrance. Join various organizations to do counter recruitment leafleting at this festival. For information, contact Sheena Gibbs, AFSC, 312.427.2533.

    Saturday, August 4, 4 PM
    "Cheap Hotels and a Hot Plate"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    "Monthly Review" Associate Editor Michael D. Yates, author of "Why Unions Matter," discusses his latest book, "Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate: An Economist's Travelogue," an examination of work, class, race and alienation in the small towns and big cities of our own USA. An Open University of the Left event, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org or 847-677-5474

    Sunday August 5, Noon to 7 PM
    Counter-Recruitment Leafleting
    Lollapolloza, 337 East Randolph, Chicago
    Join various organizations to do counter recruitment leafleting at this festival. For information, contact Sheena Gibbs, AFSC, 312.427.2533.

    Sunday, August 5, 4 PM
    Annual Hiroshima Day Commemoration
    Henry Moore Sculpture "Nuclear Energy", Ellis Avenue between 56th & 57th Sts, Chicago
    Sponsored by Hyde Parkers for Peace and Justice and Hyde Park Committee Against War and Racism. For more information: mel@math.uchicago.edu

    Tuesday, August 7, 7 PM
    "War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death"
    DePaul University Art Museum, 2350 N. Kenmore Av, Chicago.
    Film screening followed by a private discussion with Solomon by teleconference; $5 donation requested. Sponsored by Lincoln Park Neighbors for Peace, Chicago North Progressive Democrats. For information: 312.927.2689 or lpnu@netlumina.com or http://www.pdamerica.org

    Wednesday, August 8, 7 PM to 9 PM
    Workshop on Nonviolent Communication
    Oak Park Public Library Dole Branch, 225 Augusta Blvd, Oak Park
    An evening with John Cabral. Sponsored by Illinois Ballot Integrity Project. Information: 708.386.9032

    Saturday, August 11, 11 AM to 4 PM
    Counter-Recruitment Leafleting
    Bud Billiken Parade, 3900 S. King Dr, Chicago
    Meet at 39th and King Drive. Join various organizations to do counter recruitment leafleting at this festival. For information, contact Sheena Gibbs, AFSC, 312.427.2533.

    Saturday, August 11, 2 PM to 4 PM
    Protest Blackwater Private Army and Torture
    11311 Skunk Hollow Rd., Mt. Carroll, Illinois
    Protest Blackwater's new training facility near Galena in JoDaviess County. Sponsored by No Private Armies. For information: http://www.noprivatearmies.org/take_action.html

    Saturday, August 11, 4 PM
    "Against Capitalism"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, Chicago
    Book release party for Professor William Pelz's incisive survey of the European Left between 1871 Paris Commune and the years just after World War I. An Open University of the Left event, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org or 847-677-5474

    Saturday, August 18, Noon to 1 PM
    End the Occupation Vigil
    Washington Street Bridge, Naperville
    Sponsored by the End the Occupation Coalition of Northern Illinois. For information: http://www.angelfire.com/hero/eto



    New Ground #113.2

    08.14.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Building the Next Left
    Web Site Updates

    1. Politics

    Skewed Pay Policies at Resurrection
    Labor's Candidate Forum
    Open Letter to the Food Industry

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Deepening Democracy
    Re: Solidarity Economics

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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    DSA News

    Building the Next Left
    And New Ground's annual Labor Day issue is one part of the project. You can help by participating in our annual Labor Day issue. Here's how:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngpromo.pdf

    Web Site Updates
    As promised, we've been adding pages for past Debs Dinners. Here is what's up:

    The 1968 Dinner featured Michael Harrington and Leon Keyserling speaking on "The Crisis of Cities". Leon Keyserling had been the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors during the Truman Administration and, at the time, was a Vice-Chairman of the Americans for Democratic Action. The "Toastmaster" of the event was Chicago Alderman Leon Despres. The only information we have for this event is a "save the date" type article from a January, 1968, issue of New America, an image of the article is included:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1968/index.html

    The 1967 Dinner is one of our missing years. Nothing is known about the event. But we have a page for it anyway:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1967/index.html

    The topic of the 1966 Dinner, "Labor as a Social Movement," was addressed by Norman Thomas and Charles Chiakulas. Chiakulas was at the time the Regional Director of the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department. The "Toastmaster" was the former Mayor of Milwaukee, Frank Zeidler. We don't have much information about the event, but what we have is here:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1966/index.html

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    Politics

    Skewed Pay Policies at Resurrection
    Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have issued a new report documenting low wage levels that keep patient-support staff art Resurrection Health Care hospitals mired in poverty and unable to support their families. Resurrection Health Care (RHC) is the second largest non-profit hospital system in the Chicago metropolitan area. It encompasses eight hospitals, as well as nursing homes, home health services, and outpatient clinics.

    Entitled "Coming Up Short: Resurrection Health Care's Distorted Pay Priorities," the report depicts a starkly skewed pay structure in which the compensation of RHC hospital executives significantly exceeds national norms while the meager wages of patient-support staff (housekeepers, laundry and food service workers) fall far short of self-sufficiency standards in the Chicago area.

    Read about it at:
    http://www.reformresurrection.org/updates/new-report-examines-distorted-pay-priorities-at-resurrection-health.html

    Labor's Candidate Forum
    The heat and humidity didn't cut into the pleasure of attending the AFL-CIO sponsored forum, which featured seven of the Democratic candidates for the office of President of the U.S.A. Thousands of union brothers and sisters, and their families came together with purpose and in strength at Chicago's Soldier Field on the evening of August 7th.

    IBEW Local 134 did what it could to spark the crowd. They roared "One Three Four One Three Four One Three Four," stomping in rhythm, but the spark didn't catch. They paused and repeated. Some unions answered back. I was sitting with an SEIU group and we chanted "S E I U! S E I U!"

    Sadly, moderator Keith Olbermann, of MSNBC, and the AFL-CIO leadership refused to ignite a fire. They chose to avoid asking the candidates direct questions about what they would do to improve the lives of those who have to work for a living.

    Some questions that could have been asked:

    How will you eliminate the economic chasm threatening our democracy?

    How will you refocus economic policy to make human beings at least as important as a making a profit?

    How will you make businesses responsible for the damage done when they flee communities/states/countries in search of greater profit?

    Why are workers crossing borders in search of a livelihood labeled criminals, while businesses crossing borders to increase profits considered smart?

    If the goal of the forum was to clarify which candidates had ideas about improving the lives of those who have to work, or those who no longer can or have to, it was a bust. The one positive was that union workers also got to question the candidates.

    More heat was generated by individual candidates attacking each other on foreign policy, than by questions from Olbermann. With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, Democratic Representative from Ohio, who said he would take us out of NAFTA and the WTO, there were few ideas on bettering the lives of working women and men.

    We were poorly served by this collegial gathering. The candidates quickly took control and served up what they wanted. No surprise that the AFL-CIO leadership declined to endorse anyone after the event. They held a forum where labor-specific questions weren't on the agenda.

    Two nights later, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) sponsored a forum focused on issues concerning the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Trans-gender community. All major Presidential candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties were invited. The questions were pointed and direct. The HRC panel of questioners accepted their responsibility to interview the candidates and elicit responses that meant something to their constituency.

    The AFL-CIO plans to spend a lot of money and energy on this election. Why? To get a Democrat elected? Does the leadership of the AFL-CIO suffer from Stockholm syndrome? Is there a candidate who will put the weight of the presidency behind repealing the Taft-Hartley Act? Is there a candidate that wants a strong and vibrant labor movement?

    Oh Well, Happy American Labor Day,

    Tom Broderick

    For the AFL-CIO's account, go here:
    http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/08/07/workers-star-at-afl-cio-presidential-candidates-forum-2/

    Open Letter to the Food Industry
    In an open letter signed by over 60 member organizations of the Alliance for Fair Food (AFF) -- including Amnesty International USA, the AFL-CIO, United Students Against Sweatshops, and the Episcopal Church Executive Council -- the AFF wrote to 36 leading corporations in the retail food industry to demand that they too work "with the CIW to implement socially responsible purchasing practices, such as those exemplified by McDonald's and Yum! Brands." Read the letter here:
    http://www.allianceforfairfood.org/2007affletter.html

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    Democratic Socialism

    Deepening Democracy
    by Ron Baiman

    Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance, by Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright. New York: Verso, 2003. $60.00; paper, $22.00. Pp. 310.

    Leftists have historically contended that purely political democracy is at best partial and inadequate, and at worst a guise for class rule based on over-whelming economic power. Thus the traditional slogans regarding the need to "socialize the means of production", or democratize the already "social" means of production.

    But what if distrust of the public sector is so deeply rooted that any effort to expand social -- democratic -- decision-making to the "private" sector is doomed from the start? Moreover, what if this widespread distrust of "government" is not purely a matter of "false consciousness" based on right-wing propaganda or intractable and retrograde individualistic social values, but rather reflects a truthful awareness of problems of public governance? Why should citizens of countries with public sectors that are characterized by widespread corruption and mismanagement give these "public" authorities more power? This is a fundamental challenge for the left in many first world countries like the United States, and is even more critical in many developing countries with entrenched public corruption and patronage.

    The essays in this collection address this problem, perhaps the most fundamental problem for the left in the 21st century, head on. As in many cases where seemingly straightforward recipes for social progress require rethinking and further development in the face of real world social challenges, the analyses of embryonic "solutions" to this problem presented here open up new vistas for progressive thought and action that are as exciting and promising as anything produced by the left in recent years.

    The first essay, "Thinking about Empowered Participatory Governance," by Fung and Wright, outlines the four case studies described and analyzed in the book: neighborhood governance in Chicago public schools through "Local School Councils"; habitat conservation planning under the U. S. Endangered Species Act, resulting in "Habitat Conservation Plans"; the participatory municipal budget planning process of Porto Allegre, a Brazilian costal city of about 1.3 million; and the "People's Campaign for Decentralized Planning" through "Local Self-Governing Institutions" in Kerala, a province in India with 31 million residents.

    Though the individual essays are written by first-hand observers and field practitioners, Fung and Wright (F&W) attempt to provide a general theoretical framework that ties these experiments together in "Empowered Participatory Governance" (EPG). They list three principles: "Practical Orientation," a focus on "practical problems such as providing public safety, training workers, caring for inhabitants, or constructing sensible municipal budgets" (16); "Bottom-Up Participation" by those most affected by the problems at hand, "typically ordinary citizens and officials in the field" (16); and finally, "Deliberative Solution Generation," wherein "participants listen to each others' choices and generate group choices after due consideration" (17). To these principles they add three "design properties": "Devolution" -- targeting of problems and participation that is "localized in both issue and geographic space" (20); "Centralized Supervision and Coordination" -- "linkages of accountability and communication that connect local units to super-ordinate bodies" remain strong (21), resulting in systems of "coordinated decentralization" rather than historical New Left and anarchist demands for "autonomous decentralization"; and "State-Centered Not Voluntaristic" -- these efforts "colonize state power and transform formal governance institutions"(22), rather than resting on institutions of "civil society" that attempt to influence the state through outside pressure.

    To these easily conceptualized design features F&W add a more ambiguous "enabling condition," of "rough equality of power, for the purposes of deliberative decision-making, between participants"(24), necessary to the success of EPG.

    The goals of EPG according to F&W are to generate: "Effective Problem-Solving," "Equity," and "Broad and Deep Participation."

    Important research questions arise regarding the conformance of the case studies to this idealized model. What is the degree of deliberation involved in the decision-making process? To what degree do decisions result in action? How well are the local bodies able to monitor this implementation? How much diffusion and cross-fertilization occurs between local innovations? To what extent does the process empower citizens and other local groups to participate politically - i.e., to what degree do the reforms become a "school for democracy"? To what extent are the outcomes of the process preferable based on objective fairness and accountability indicators to pre-existent outcomes? (30).

    The case studies by Gianpaolo Baiocchi on Porto Allegre, Thomas Isaac and Patrick Heller on Kerala, Archon Fung on Chicago public school reform, and Craig Thomas on habitat conservation planning offer a wealth of descriptive and statistical data and analysis documenting various degrees of success (Porto Allegre), success but concern over sustainability (Kerala), and more mixed reviews (Chicago and HCP).

    A third section of the volume offers commentaries by various authors that I found to be generally less rewarding. However, the essay by Cohen and Rogers (C&R) highlights a key issue that is probably on the minds of many on the left who would be otherwise naturally positively disposed toward EPG. C&R caution that cases in which EPG may offer "beneficial coordination" need to be carefully distinguished from situations where it may simply reproduce existing deeply rooted social power relations.

    F&W address this issue directly in their epilogue on "Countervailing Power in Participatory Governance," essentially agreeing with C&R that "in all contexts significant countervailing power -- a variety of mechanisms that reduce and perhaps even neutralize the power-advantages of ordinarily powerful actors" -- is essential to the success of EPG. They go on to try to demonstrate the extent to which the four case studies selected include, or do not contain, adequate "countervailing power."

    F&W and their collaborators have made a very important, exciting and inspiring contribution to current left political thought. Their treatment appears measured, realistic, subtle and honest. If half of the accomplishments noted, particularly for the Porto Allegre reform (now spread to hundreds of other cities in Brazil), are true, the potential for EPG should be seriously considered by the left worldwide as a possible means to reduce patronage and corruption, increase positive redistribution to those most in need, and greatly empower workers and peasants in capitalist societies with formal political democracy. F&W make no claim that EPG is a panacea for eliminating fundamental class, gender, caste, etc. power, but it certainly moves in the right direction and may be critical to a left response to distrust of social governance. Finally, they make clear that EPG-type reforms do not reflect an unrealistic reliance on "civil society" to offset state and corporate political and economic power, nor is EPG a continuation of New Left or anarchist unrealistic notions of unaccountable local "participatory democracy." Rather, EPG is an effort to formally democratize public sector decision-making by making it more deliberative, participatory, transparent, and accountable.

    Editor's Note: the review of Deepening Democracy was originally published in the October, 2006, issue of Science and Society, reprinted by permission. Deepening Democracy is volume iv of Verso Books' Real Utopias Project.

    Re: Solidarity Economics
    In response to "Solidarity Economics" in New Ground 113.1, Ross Hyman offers the following observation:

    If you want to highlight a community in Chicago that is practicing something like "solidarity economics" (although they would never use such a stale term), look at the neighborhood community organization riverbank neighbors,
    http://www.riverbankneighbors.org/

    Riverbank Neighbors cares for the river path on the east side of the Chicago River between Berteau and Montrose. Pete Leki, the environmental science teacher at the Waters Elementary school, is a leader of the group and the related organization Beyond Today
    http://www.beyondtoday.org/

    With Julie Peterson. Pete wrote How to Disappear
    http://www.riverbankneighbors.org/howtodisappear/index.htm
    that expresses his dreams for the community.

     

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Compiled by Libby Frank

    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, August 15, 6 PM to 8 PM
    Impact of the Global Economy on Immigrants
    Mujeres Latinas en Acción, 2124 W 21st Place, Chicago
    For details and registration, contact Yvonne Nieves at 312.673.3871 or ynieves@crs-ucc.org

    Saturday, August 17, 7 PM
    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Benefit
    Café Cathedral, 2500 S Christiana, Chicago
    Bands, DJs, lots more

    Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, 9 AM to 4 PM
    Chicago Air & Water Show Protest
    Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive north of North Av, Chicago
    Signs, banners, and leafleting. For information, contact Brother Paul at 773.826.8136 or the 8th Day Center for Justice at 312.641.5151

    Saturday, August 18, Noon to 1 PM
    End the Occupation Vigil
    Washington Street Bridge, Naperville
    Sponsored by the End the Occupation Coalition of Northern Illinois. For information: http://www.angelfire.com/hero/eto

    Saturday, August 18, 2 PM
    "Buying the War"
    Albany Park Library, 5150 N. Kimball, Chicago
    Showing of Bill Moyers documentary, followed by discussion. Sponsored by Albany Park, North Park, and Mayfair Neighbors for Peace. For information: 773.250.3335

    Wednesday, August 22, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
    "The Camden 28"
    Access Living, 115 W. Chicago, Chicago
    Showing of Vietnam era anti-war documentary followed by remarks by Mike Giocondo, former Camden 28 defendant. http://www.camden28.org Sponsored by Chicago ADAPT, Access Living, Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, Communist Party USA, American Friends Service Committee, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights. For information: 312.640.2125

    Wednesday, August 22, 8:15 PM
    "An Inconvenient Truth"
    Butler Field in Grant Park, Chicago
    Showing of the classic environmental documentary. Sponsored by the Illinois Science Council http://www.illinoisscience.org and the Chicago Department of the Environment http://www.cityofchicago.org/environment

    Thursday, August 23, 7 PM
    The 21st Century Left
    In These Times, 2040 N Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Featuring Professor William Kreml. An Open University of the Left event, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org or 847-677-5474

    Sunday, August 26, 10 AM
    Boycott Divestment Sanctions Campaign
    Third Unitarian Church, 301 N Mayfield, Chicago
    Speaker Kevin Clark from the International Solidarity Movement and the Stop CAT Coalition. See http://www.thirdunitarianchurch.org

    Saturday, September 8, 7:30 PM
    A Concert for Peace
    Unity Temple, 875 Lake St, Oak Park
    Featuring folk singers Anna Stange and Mark Dvorak, poetry by Young Artists for Peace, and a reader's theatre. Donations: $10, $5 students, $25 family. Sponsors: Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice; Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice; Voices for Creative Non-Violence; Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine; and Veterans for Peace/Iraq Veterans Against the War. Information: 708.848.3015


    New Ground #113.3

    08.30.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Greater Oak Park DSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting

    1. Politics

    More Secret Trade Deals
    Got FBI Files
    Gang Wars
    Matthew Shepard March

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Are You a . . . Marxist?
    A New International?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Greater Oak Park DSA Membership Meeting
    The Greater Oak Park branch will be meeting at the home of Tom Broderick, 201 S. Ridgeland in Oak Park, on Sunday, September 16, 3 PM. The agenda will include greetings, what issues are individual members working on, are there issues that the GOPDSA could work on that would bring us together to make a difference as Democratic Socialists, GOPDSA election, socializing, and refreshments. For more information, call Tom at 708.386.6007

    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA will be having a membership meeting at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 in Chicago, at Noon on Saturday, September 22. Aside from business ordinarily handled by the Executive Committee, the main agenda item will be the election of delegates to DSA's National Convention and a discussion about the national organization.

    The National Convention will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 9 through 11. More information about the business of the convention, housing, etc., can be found at:
    http://www.dsausa.org/convention2007

    Chicago DSA has been apportioned 12 convention delegates and we can send as many alternates. It is not necessary to attend the September 22nd meeting in order to be nominated or elected. We do recommend attending, however, especially if you might need a subsidy to attend the convention. It would also be a good occasion to give the delegates a piece of your mind. And in any case, it would be nice to see you and there will be food.

    There are two other ways to become a delegate. One is to call or email the Chicago DSA office to let us know you'd like to be nominated. (Yes, you can nominate yourself.) The other is to contact the National Office. They will be doing a snail mail promotion for the convention, intended really for at-large members so it will include a form to be nominated. Return the form to the National Office. The convention web site above also has (or will have) a form to do this through the web. The National Office will pass along your nomination to us.

    Note that with 12 delegate positions available, nomination is most likely the same as election. I believe the last time Chicago had a contested delegate election was in 1985 or maybe 1989. Also, we will not be having our regularly scheduled Executive Committee meeting on September 11. The Committee will meet again on October 9th.

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

    Politics

    More Secret Trade Deals
    Most news reports on the recent Canada - Mexico - United States summit in Montebello, Quebec, headlined Mexican President Felipe Calderon's early departure to deal with consequences of a particularly nasty hurricane. They may have also mentioned the agenda included talks about how to expedite trade in the face of security concerns.

    These talks have an official label: "the Security and Prosperity Partnership." And you should be worried; the agenda was specifically designed to advance corporate interests without having to face respective national legislatures: legislation and treaties by executive directives, in other words. You can read more about it here:
    http://unionreview.com/canada-why-canadians-everyone-should-worry-about-new-spp-trade-pact

    Incidentally, the Quebec police made a stab at turning the protest into a riot. Check out the video link on the page linked above.

    Not that it required extraordinary insight, but New Ground predicted this nickel and dime approach to corporate globalization. See
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng57.html#anchor961670

    Got FBI Files
    Way back in the mid-1980s, University of Chicago YDS leader J. Hughes got to wondering about FBI files. He submitted a number of Freedom of Information Act requests regarding "subversive" activity at the university. About a decade later, a bit before he left Chicago, the first installment of a couple hundred pages arrived. (And a bit less than a decade after that, a second installment arrived though it was never forwarded to J.) At some point, J. digitized the reports. He lost the files for a time, but he's finally put them up on the web:
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA01.pdf

    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA02.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA03.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA04.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA05.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA06.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA07.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA08.pdf
    http://changesurfer.com/UCFOIA/FOIA09.pdf

    What J. received was a hodge-podge of material from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s, unlikely to be complete, but interesting nonetheless. The first two files are mostly devoted to some issues of a "Weekly Intelligence Summary" prepared for the 5th Army in the early 1950s. This unit was based in Hyde Park and had as its jurisdiction the Midwest and Great Plains. Much of each report is devoted to press summaries of the activities of selected labor unions. It makes for interesting reading for folks interested in labor history. Other items are unintentionally funny. One example is a request from the UofC Law Student Club for a speaker from the FBI. This provoked not only the usual exchange of letters regarding possible dates but also an FBI review of club membership that revealed one bad apple who had attended a Progressive Party youth convention. Other items are sad, such as the Maroon editor who was sacked by the University Administration (illegally, despite organized protests) for having attended a communist youth festival. All of it is, in a fundamental way, scary. One basic lesson is that if you have an intelligence operation that can watch your own citizens, it will eventually be used for that purpose.

    Gang Wars
    Long-time DSA members will remember Kevin Pranis. He was the YDS organizer who brought the Prison Moratorium Project to successful fruition. These days he's working for the Justice Policy Institute. The Institute has just released a report that Pranis co-authored with Judith Greene: Gang Wars: the Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies.

    Aside from the YDS connection, the report is interesting for its comparison of anti-gang programs in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. It concludes that the programs pursued in Los Angeles and in Chicago (including Operation Ceasefire) have not simply been ineffective but, worse, counter-productive. See:
    http://www.justicepolicy.org/reports_jl/7-10-07_gangs/report.htm

    Pranis also used the research done for this report to comment on the intersection of immigration, gangs, and the journalistic narrative. See:
    http://www.onthemedia.org/episodes/2007/08/24/segments/84475

    Matthew Shepard March
    The 9th Annual Matthew Shepard March for Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans Freedom will be on the evening of Saturday, October 9, 8 PM at the corner of Halsted and Roscoe in Chicago. This year the keynote speaker will be Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia's leading organizer for LGBT rights. The Chicago DSA Executive Committee voted to endorse this year's event. For more information, go to:
    http://www.GayLiberation.net

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Are You a . . . Marxist?

    "Being a Marxist requires considerable gumption -- especially in the United States. Those who take Marxism seriously in a hostile intellectual and political environment are only too aware of this struggle. At worst, interest in Marxism is perceived as a pathological adherence to anachronistic and discredited ideas. At best, dabbling in Marxism is tolerated as the equivalent of a youthful indiscretion: 'Yes, I tried Marxism once -- but I did not inhale.'"

    Ellen Russell reviews Opening Doors to New Alliances: A Review of New Departures in Marxian Theory by Stephen A. Resnick and Richard D. Wolff on the Monthly Review blog:
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/russell080807.html

    A New International?
    A thought provoking trial balloon from Hugo Chavez:
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/chavez270807.html

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Compiled by Libby Frank
    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, September 1, 10 AM to Noon
    SDS: A Graphic History
    Heartland Café, 7000 N. Glenwood, Chicago
    Labor historian Paul Buhle discusses his new graphic history of the SDS. Panels of the artwork are already on display. For information:
    http://www.heartlandcafe.com/hc_index.htm

    Saturday, September 1, Noon
    "Bus Riders Union"
    Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan, Room 320, Chicago
    A feature length documentary about the Los Angeles Bus Riders' Union by Haskell Wexler. Followed by a discussion of the situation in Chicago. Co-sponsored by Independent Movement of Paratransit Riders for Unity, Vehicles, Equality; Little Village Environmental Justice Organization; Roosevelt University College of Arts and Sciences; Sustainable Chicago 2016. For more information call IMPRUVE 773.416.7366, LVEJO 773.762.6991, or email publictransit@lvejo.org

    Wednesday, September 5, 10:30 AM
    Bring Professor Finkelstein to Work Day
    DePaul University Political Science Department, 990 W. Fullerton, Chicago
    Protest Professor Finkelstein's politically motivated denial of tenure. For more information, http://www.academicfreedomchicago.org

    Thursday, September 6, 4 PM
    2nd Annual Jane Addams' Birthday Conversation on Peace and Justice
    UIC, 800 S. Halsted, 1st Floor Residents' Dining Hall, Chicago
    4 PM cake and ice cream in the courtyard; 5:30 PM Conversations on Peace and Justice with Medea Benjamin. Seating is limited so reservations are suggested. Call 312.413.5353.

    Saturday, September 8, Noon
    Not One More DIME for the War!
    Congressman Rahm Emanuel's Office, 3742 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago
    Protest Representative Emanuel's continuing support for financing the war. Co-sponsors include Kick Boeing to the Curb, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, Gay Liberation Network. For more information, email CCAWR@aol.com or go to http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/79163/index.php

    Saturday, September 8, 3 PM to 4 PM
    Peace Vigil
    Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights
    Regularly scheduled for the 2nd Saturday of each month. Sponsored by Families for Peace, Sisters of the Living Word, The Viatorian Community, and Women's Resource Center. For more information email wrcpeaceproject@aol.com.

    Saturday, September 8, 7:30 PM
    A Concert for Peace
    Unity Temple, 875 Lake St, Oak Park
    Featuring folk singers Anna Stange and Mark Dvorak, poetry by Young Artists for Peace, and a reader's theatre. Donations: $10, $5 students, $25 family. Sponsors: Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice; Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice; Voices for Creative Non-Violence; Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine; and Veterans for Peace/Iraq Veterans Against the War. Information: 708.848.3015

    Monday, September 10, 7 PM
    "Burnt Oranges"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd floor, Chicago
    Screening of the 2005 documentary 'Burnt Oranges' about state terror in Argentina during the military junta of 1976-1983. After the screening the film director and professor at UIC School of Art and Design, Silvia Malagrino, will speak. An Open University of the Left event. For more information, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Saturday, September 15, 1 PM to 3:30 PM
    Bands Not Bombs: Concert for Peace
    Old Town Park in Bloomingdale
    A hopeful celebration to end the war. Peace walk and vigil from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. A special collection will be taken for the Midwest Homeless Vets Shelter in Aurora. This event is being co-sponsored by: DuPage Against War Now (DAWN), the DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition, Pax Christi Illinois, the West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition and others.

    Sunday, September 16, 3 PM
    GOP DSA Membership Meeting
    Broderick's Place, 201 S. Ridgeland, Oak Park
    For information 708.386.6007


    New Ground #113.4

    09.07.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    DSA Meetings Reminder

    1. Politics

    Labor Organizing and the American Economy
    October 27
    Poverty in America
    Job Opportunities

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Life Cycle of Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    DSA Meetings Reminder

    Greater Oak Park DSA Membership Meeting: Sunday, September 16, 3 PM, at the home of Tom Broderick, 201 S. Ridgeland, Oak Park. Business, socializing, refreshments. For information, call Tom at 708.386.6007.

    Chicago DSA membership meeting: Saturday, September 22, Noon, at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago. Election of delegates to the DSA National Convention in November and other business, socializing, food. For information, call the Chicago DSA office at 773.384.0327.

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

    Politics

    Labor Organizing and the American Economy
    Union organizing is always a hot topic on the left, and it has heated up especially during the past decade with every promise of becoming warmer in the next few years. Controversy has developed around the issue along several dimensions. One dimension has to do with tactics and strategies pursued by the unions themselves; some of that controversy has been manifest by the AFL-CIO / Change to Win split. Another is a renewed and serious drive to reform labor laws that have become a barrier to organizing.

    Michael Wachter is not a lefty, never mind an American liberal. But if his argument in a recent issue of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review is correct, union organizing strategies and tactics and labor law reform will not have major consequences for unions? ability to organize and maintain membership. What is needed is a fundamental change in the U.S. economy:
    http://www.pennumbra.com/issues/articles/155-3/Wachter.pdf

    Wachter may be on to something, even if it is only a major half-truth. Be sure to read Cynthia Estlund?s response to Wachter?s article:
    http://www.pennumbra.com/issues/articles/155-3/Estlund.pdf

    October 27
    The United for Peace and Justice national convention in Chicago this summer decided upon regional demonstrations this fall. The Midwest actions are planned for October 27. Chicagoans Against War and Injustice is serving as the organizing center, and Networking for Democracy is providing facilities for an organizer. For the latest information on how things are coming together, go to
    http://www.oct27chicago.org

    Poverty in America
    The Census Bureau?s latest report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance was the occasion for much analysis and press releases. Probably the best source for information for lefties is the Coalition on Human Needs:
    http://chn.org/issues/statistics/povertyday2007.html

    For commentary by Physicians for a National Health Program, see
    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2007/august/middleclass_america.php

    Job Opportunities
    The Campaign for Better Health Care is advertising two positions: Faith Community Organizer and Regional Committee Community Organizer (West and Southwestern Suburbs, other Chicago areas). The deadline for applying is September 21. For more information, go to:
    http://www.cbhconline.org

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

    Democratic Socialism

    The Life Cycle of Socialism
    In the July-August issue of New Left Review, Régis Debray has contributed an article that is serious, meaningful, and useful, but also (intentionally or not) positively goofy. Perhaps you?ve been wondering why each of those marxist-leninist sects out there seem to be, more than any thing else, newspapers? Now you?ll know:
    http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2676

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Compiled by Libby Frank
    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, September 8, Noon
    Not One More DIME for the War!
    Congressman Rahm Emanuel?s Office, 3742 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago
    Protest Representative Emauel?s continuing support for financing the war. Co-sponsors include Kick Boeing to the Curb, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, Gay Liberation Network. For more information, email CCAWR@aol.com or go to http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/79163/index.php

    Saturday, September 8, 3 PM to 4 PM
    Peace Vigil
    Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights
    Regularly scheduled for the 2nd Saturday of each month. Sponsored by Families for Peace, Sisters of the Living Word, The Viatorian Community, and Women?s Resource Center. For more information email wrcpeaceproject@aol.com.

    Saturday, September 8, 7:30 PM
    A Concert for Peace
    Unity Temple, 875 Lake St, Oak Park
    Featuring folk singers Anna Stange and Mark Dvorak, poetry by Young Artists for Peace, and a reader?s theatre. Donations: $10, $5 students, $25 family. Sponsors: Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice; Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice; Voices for Creative Non-Violence; Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine; and Veterans for Peace/Iraq Veterans Against the War. Information: 708.848.3015

    Sunday, September 9, 11:30 AM
    A Call for Impeachment
    Free Speech Park, SW corner of St. Johns and Central Ave., Highland Park
    A demonstration demanding the impeachment of Dubya. Sponsored by the North Shore Women for Peace; see http://www.ilcpj.org/actions/details/?id=328

    Monday, September 10, 7 PM
    "Burnt Oranges"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd floor, Chicago
    Screening of the 2005 documentary Burnt Oranges? about state terror in Argentina during the military junta of 1976-1983. After the screening the film director and professor at UIC School of Art and Design, Silvia Malagrino, will speak. An Open University of the Left event. For more information, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Friday, September 14, 5 PM
    Busses Leave for DC Anti-War Demonstration
    Behind the Chicago Art Institute, 100 block of S. Columbus Dr. between Jackson & Monroe, Chicago
    For more information, including reservations, go to http://www.chicagoanswer.net/ or call 773-463-0311

    Saturday, September 15, 1 PM to 3:30 PM
    Bands Not Bombs: Concert for Peace
    Old Town Park in Bloomingdale
    A hopeful celebration to end the war. Peace walk and vigil from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. A special collection will be taken for the Midwest Homeless Vets Shelter in Aurora. This event is being co-sponsored by: DuPage Against War Now (DAWN), the DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition, Pax Christi Illinois, the West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition and others.

    Sunday, September 16, 3 PM
    GOP DSA Membership Meeting
    Broderick?s Place, 201 S. Ridgeland, Oak Park
    For information 708.386.6007

    Wednesday, September 19, 7 PM
    America Sells Out
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Join In These Times for a free evening of discussion with historian and political journalist, Rick Perlstein, and Daniel Brook, author of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America. For information: http://www.inthesetimes.com/events/3312/

    Thursday, September 20, 7 PM
    American Media and Israel
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Anthony DiMaggio will discuss the American media's relationship to the State of Israel and the campaign to promote a "fictitious love affair" between the American public and Israel, while simultaneously demonizing Arabs and Muslims. An Open University of the Left event. For more information, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Saturday, September 22, Noon
    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA, 1608 N Milwaukee Room 403, Chicago
    Meeting to elect delegates to the DSA National Convention in November, general business, socializing, and food. For information, call 773.384.0327

    Sunday, September 30, 2 PM
    Animal Rights Human Rights
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Activist and journalist Martha Rosenberg explores the link between animal and human rights. An Open University of the Left event. For more information, http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Sunday, September 30, 2 PM
    "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Film showing sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice and the Oak Park Public Library. For information, http://www.opctj.org

    Saturday, October 6, 6 PM
    Debs Foundation Annual Dinner honoring Barbara Ehrenreich
    Indiana State University Hulman Center, Terre Haute, Indiana
    Tickets $30 each. For more information: http://www.eugenevdebs.com

     

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