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New Ground 116

January - February, 2008

Contents

  • Burger King Lese Majesty by Bob Roman
  • On Our Way to a Socialist Forum by Bob Roman
  • Politics and Christians by Bob Roman
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
    Heads Up!
    Young Democratic Socialists
    Web Site Updates
    Eugene V. Debs and Mother Jones
  • New Ground 116.1 - 02.01.2008

    0. DSA News

    YDS Winter Conference
    DSA Labor Network
    Reminder

    1. Politics

    Public Interest Scorecard
    Senator Sanders Visits Immokalee
    Winter Soldiers
    The War Is 5!
    Palestine -- Peace & Understanding -- Israel
    We All Deserve CheneyCare!
    Cuba Si: Music for Social Activism

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Third Left?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 116.2 - 02.14.2008

    0. DSA News

    Anti-War

    1. Politics

    The Bank of Wal-Mart Rises Again?
    Peace News: CAWI to be Honored
    Cook County States Attorney
    "The Business of Being Born"

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Socialism and Sports

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 116.3 - 03.05.2008

    0. DSA News

    Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now!
    Wither the Progressive Movement in 2008?
    Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible

    1. Politics

    Petitioning Burger Tyranny: an End to Sweatshops and Slavery in the Tomato Fields
    Wal-Mart v Chicago
    The AFL-CIO Is Hiring
    Anti-War Bust
    Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan
    Troops Home Now

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Future of Socialism
    The Communist Hypothesis

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     


    Burger King Lese Majesty

    by Bob Roman

    If you want to use the tired metaphor of war to describe the efforts of Florida tomato pickers to improve their lot then you would probably say the battle is currently in the air - though that could change. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) brought together over fifteen hundred supporters, including many public figures, to demonstrate outside of the Burger King corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida, at the end of November. This was to pressure Burger King to agree to the same additional penny per pound of tomatoes picked that other fast food vendors have agreed to. In a counter move, with rather more than just publicity consequences, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange announced that it would forbid its members from participating in such third party agreements. After all, why would farm workers need the CIW when the growers had their very own accrediting agency to certify best practices, including no abuse of workers?

    This would have been an effective maneuver in the publicity dogfight but that it was just in time for another slavery bust. Three Florida farm workers, after having been beaten and chained for a year, broke free and made it to authorities. Oops. Then came the release a new book by John Bowe, Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy. On top of this, CIW was awarded the 2007 Anti-Slavery award from Anti-Slavery International , a British-based organization established as part of the abolition movement in 1839. Florida tomatoes, anyone?

    Here in Chicago, Northwestern University's Students for Economic Justice organized a picket outside of an Evanston Burger King in solidarity with CIW's Miami demonstration at the end of November. And, it should be noted, just in time for the first significant snow of the season. Then on Saturday, December 22nd, the ad hoc group in support of CIW here in Chicago organized caroling on State Street. If Evanston during a snowstorm was a tough house, State Street right before Christmas was worse. But we sang and distributed several hundred flyers. The Chicago folks have since adopted a name, Chicago Community for Fair Food. A web site, http://www.chicagofairfood.org , is under construction, along with a MySpace site, http://myspace.com/chicagofairfood . We've also done some tabling in Oak Park.

    Why is all this the "air war?" It's simply that the real power of the union is in the workplace, on the ground. Contracts, labor laws, and community campaigns can bolster or weaken that power, but they are no substitute. The CIW is pursuing an "air war" because, at present, they must. But ultimately they will have authority in the fields or they will be naught.


    On Our Way to a Socialist Forum

    by Bob Roman

    Chicago DSA has just inaugurated an electronic discussion list. "This is news?" you ask. "Didn't you have one already?" Well, no. The idea has come up periodically for the past few years, and it's mostly been sloth on my part that has delayed it. Not that I had to be the one to do it, but in an all volunteer operation, responsibility tends to go to whomever talks about it. And I've had some fairly specific ideas about the list, based on what I've experienced elsewhere.

    First of all, the list is being run off our web site provider. We're not paying extra for the service but, more to the point, messages are not being re-formatted or having advertising inserted. At present, there is a 64k limit to the size of the message and traffic is not being archived on line. You can receive messages in a periodic "digest" if you wish.

    Second, the list is for Chicago DSA members only. Your dues can be in arrears, but not so old that you've been dropped from membership. If we already have your email address, you should have received an invitation to join by the time you receive this hardcopy. Otherwise, go to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/chicagodsa to sign up. Incidentally, as the list is for Chicago DSA members only, we will need to know who you are: no anonymous subscriptions. If you're not sure about whether you're "officially" a member these days, call or email the office. If money is a problem, we do have a "busted" dues category; see the coupon in this issue.

    Third, we do have a mission statement: "This is a discussion list for members of the Democratic Socialists of America Chicago Local only. The prime topics for discussion are DSA strategy, tactics, program, ideas, and practices. A wide variety of opinions and proposals are expected and encouraged, but the moderator will not permit rude or abusive behavior or personal attacks by one list member on another." If that last bit sounds rather threatening, be assured we're not looking for perfection. But have you noticed how much nicer, or at least more restrained, some people are in person as opposed to their persona in email or on the web? We're simply asking that you be kind and generally no worse than you would be if in person.

    Finally, the electronic edition of New Ground, email announcements and alerts are being handled separately.

    Please do accept my apology for the delay in implementing this. It's my hope that out of this will grow new projects, new leaders, new friends, and new ideas.


    Politics and Christians

    By Bob Roman

    The Truth About Conservative Christians: What They Think and What They Believe by Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. 206 pages, $22.50

    This is a polemical book, based on public opinion research, written as an answer to popular political commentary that equates conservative Christian theology with conservative politics. The basic contention is that conservative Christians are "far too varied in their political views to be President Bush's political base" Or, in the words of a popular bumper sticker of some years ago, "Christians are no better than other people, they're just forgiven." The Truth About Conservative Christians examines the opinions, voting behavior, and consumption patterns of Christians (and others, for comparison), in order to draw conclusions not just about politics but culture and religion.

    Chicagoans will recognize one of the authors, Andrew Greeley, as a Catholic Priest, columnist for the Sun Times, and a highly prolific author: possibly Catholicism's answer to Isaac Asimov, though Greeley's attempts at science fiction were pretty lame. What they may not know is that Greeley is also a sociologist with, naturally, an interest in the sociology of religion. He's currently a professor at University of Arizona but is also on the staff of the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. I remember him as being more than a bit conservative back in the 1970s but most would likely regard his contemporary columns as being rather liberal, at least.

    Michael Hout is apparently from a similar Irish Catholic background as Greeley though of a younger generation. He's presently the chair of a joint program in demography and sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Hout has collaborated with Greeley in a number of other papers.

    Back when I studied the subject, there were two methodologies used by sociologists, and it typically was a matter of one or the other but not both when it came to individual sociologists, even departments. One was participant observation, a methodology akin to journalism crossed with some aspects of anthropology. The other was statistical: reducing society to numbers in a variety of ways, finding correlation, and trying to tease out causality from the observations. Both Greeley and Hout are firmly in this latter camp. But be assured that the statistics are largely behind the scenes in this book, and the findings are presented in tables that, with few exceptions, are very accessible.

    One major pitfall to a statistical approach to the study of society is, just what is it that you're measuring? When a person answers a survey question, for example, just what does that answer mean? Sociology is humble enough (unlike economics, for example) to be acutely aware of the ambiguities of measurement, and, with one exception, so are Greeley and Hout.

    With respect to politics, the authors demonstrate that conservative Christians do vote more conservatively, but not nearly so much as one might expect: class and especially race matter more. A majority of working class conservative Christians vote Democratic though not as much as other working class populations. But if biblical literalism reduces the Democratic vote among whites, exactly the opposite is true among Blacks: "Bible Christians in Afro-American denominations are even more likely to vote Democratic than are other African Americans"

    The authors' conclusions boil down to the following political advice to Democrats on the conservative Christian vote:

    "1. Try to arrange that you don't have to run against an incumbent who has managed to portray himself as a wartime president.

    "2. Try not to lose your gender gap advantage because your own candidate cannot present a credible national security strategy.

    "3. Try to remember that poor and working class conservative Christians share attitudes on equality that are closer to yours than you realize and vote your way when you give them cause to.

    "4. Try to understand that Catholics lean your way, that they do not vote as their bishops tell them to do, and that they are more likely to vote Democratic than others who hold the same views ­ whether we are talking about the economic agenda, the social agenda, or the military agenda. Call it loyalty. They like that."

    The first two points are really different aspects of a single thing: what is the individual's relation to society and how does one find security among one's fellows. This is not examined in this book. It's a major omission as the advice above implies that the candidate must credibly promise both guns and butter. It also has implications about what policies would be perceived as "credible."

    Finally, Greeley and Hout assert that economic justice is back on the table: "Get economic justice right, and the Conservative Christians held back by economic injustice will back you."

    These recommendations are not based on voting behavior alone, but also on research into opinions, sexual behavior (the authors have fun with this), and consumption patterns. It's interesting that the authors' research tends to lend some support to economic historian Robert Fogel's The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism and has thought-provoking links to Senator Jim Webb's history of the Scots-Irish, Born Fighting, though neither work is mentioned in the bibliography.

    The one major disappointment in this book is the authors' attempt to measure anti-Catholic bigotry. As someone who grew up in a small village dominated by descendants of Yankees out of New England, a village where Catholics were most certainly "outsiders" no matter how long (indeed no matter how many generations) they had lived there, I have some interest in the question. But arguing that if "a majority of a minority group says that a statement about them is not true, they have the right to interpret the statement as a slur," the authors chose to measure anti-Catholicism by answers to two assertions: that Catholics are not permitted to think for themselves and the Rosary is a superstitious devotion. The right to interpret a statement as a slur does not automatically make the statement a good choice to measure bigotry or racism. In my opinion, the choice of these measures is more self-righteous and provocative than useful, a pity because this is still an important issue, as is bigotry towards Jews, a topic not touched in this book.

    Even so, this is a useful book, not because it promises that everything will be all right for the center-left if only we learn to love Jesus, but because it provides information on how we can build a progressive majority coalition on the basis of policy, not just framing and spin.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    Heads Up!

    The 2008 Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner will be held a bit earlier in the year than usual on Friday evening, April 25. Also new this year, we'll be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Madison and Halsted in Chicago. This is a new facility for us, though the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee held a national convention there back in the mid-1970s. We're still working on the program, but one of our honorees will be Les Orear of the Illinois Labor History Society . We do love those Packinghouse Workers!

    Young Democratic Socialists

    The Young Democratic Socialists' annual Winter Conference will be held on February 15th through the 17th at the Bayard Rustin High School in New York, NY. The title for this year's gathering is "Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: Reviving Democratic, Socialist, and Youth Activism." Among the featured speakers and panelists will be Manning Marable, Bill Fletcher, Stephen Eric Bronner, Frances Fox Piven, Nancy Fraser, and Jose LaLuz. For more information, go to http://www.ydsusa.org/news/2008-conference.html or call 212.727.8610.

    Web Site Updates

    Our web site project for 2007 has been to finish posting what we have of the history of the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner. And it's done; we've taken it about as far as we can with the information here in the office. Which is to say there are some years (such as 1958, 1965, and 1967) for which we have no information whatsoever. And there are others (such as 1961, 1962, 1964, 1969, and 1972) for which we have only some names. If you have any information about these years or leads on where more information might be found, we'd surely love to hear from you. Information on other years would be welcome as well. Thanks, once again, to Ken Okamoto, formerly of the UofC Young Democratic Socialists wherever he may be, for the library research he did on the earliest Dinners.

    The earliest year for which we have fairly good documentation is 1960. We have dozens of photos (all by Syd Harris, though some are from contact sheets) in the file, and we've posted photos of Emil Mazey (UAW Secretary Treasurer), Hilton Hanna, David Shier, Morris Milgram, Herman Benson, and others whose identities are sometimes unknown or uncertain. We also have an article about the event that was published afterwards by the Socialist Party's newspaper, New America. All this is at http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1960/index.html .

    While we have no program information, we do have a good selection of photos from 1959, including Norman Thomas and A. Philip Randolph at the speakers' table, Max Shachtman, Lillian Herstein, and others: http://www.chicagodsa.org /d1959/index.html.

    The home page for the Dinner is http://www.chicagodsa.org/dthdin.html .

    Eugene V. Debs and Mother Jones

    This has been going on for a few years and likely enough will go on for another year or so, but the West Virginia Labor History Association and others have been campaigning to have Eugene V. Debs and Mother Jones honored on first class stamps. They're asking that you send a letter of support to: Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, Stamp Department, U.S. Postal Service, 1735 N. Lynn St Rm 5013, Arlington, VA 22209 - 6432. One of the ring-leaders of the campaign would like a carbon of the letter: Sanford Berman, 4400 Morningside Rd, Edina, MN 55416. For more information on the process, go to http://www.usps.com/communications/organization/csac.htm .


    New Ground #116.1

    02.01.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    YDS Winter Conference
    DSA Labor Network
    Reminder

    1. Politics

    Public Interest Scorecard
    Senator Sanders Visits Immokalee
    Winter Soldiers
    The War Is 5!
    Palestine -- Peace & Understanding -- Israel
    We All Deserve CheneyCare!
    Cuba Si: Music for Social Activism

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Third Left?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    YDS Winter Conference
    The Young Democratic Socialists' annual Winter Conference will be held on February 15th through the 17th at the Bayard Rustin High School in New York, NY. The title for this year's gathering is "Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: Reviving Democratic, Socialist, and Youth Activism." Among the featured speakers and panelists will be Manning Marable, Bill Fletcher, Stephen Eric Bronner, Frances Fox Piven, Nancy Fraser, and Jose LaLuz. For more information, go to http://www.ydsusa.org/news/2008-conference.html or call 212.727.8610.

     

    DSA Labor Network
    "Talking Union" is the DSA Labor Network's new blog, just out of its "beta" phase. It's tempting to groan about, "Yet another..." But check it out. The editors clearly have in mind more than just a platform for news and opinion. The site is developing resources useful for labor activists: events, legislative resources, sources. The URL: http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/

     

    Reminder
    The Chicago DSA Executive Committee meets on Tuesday, February 12, at 7 PM in the Chicago DSA office. All Chicago DSA members are welcome to attend. There will be membership meetings on the second Tuesday of March and May. Chicago DSA's annual membership convention will be in June, date and venue To Be Announced.

     

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    Politics

    Public Interest Scorecard
    Every year, Citizen Action/Illinois examines the voting records of the members of the Illinois General Assembly. The Public Interest Scorecard enables concerned citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for their votes during the year. They intend that this information will both educate and motivate Illinoisans to engage in the democratic process. This year, Citizen Action/Illinois selected 16 Senate votes and 18 House votes for the 94th General Assembly. Although hundreds of roll call votes are cast every session, they believe these votes represent the most important public interest issues to come before state lawmakers this year, and that they provide a good gauge of each official's dedication to consumer justice. Check it out at:
    http://www.citizenaction-il.org/

     

    Senator Sanders Visits Immokalee
    Senator Bernie Sanders visited the tomato fields of Immokalee, generating a pretty fair level coverage by news media in Florida, and more editorials calling for Burger King to sign on to a penny more a pound. Sanders also released two letters signed by four U.S. Senators (Sanders, Durbin, Kennedy, and Sherrod Brown) that were sent to John Chidsey (CEO of Burger King) and Reggie Brown (Florida Tomato Growers Exchange) urging them to participate in this program.

    You can view Senator Sanders' speech and get the latest news from Immokalee by going to:
    http://www.ciw-online.org/news.html

    Winter Soldiers
    You may have noticed the various fundraisers that the local Iraq Veterans Against the War have been organizing. Most of this money will be going toward supporting a reprise of the 1971 Winter Soldier investigation into what soldiers actually had to do in Vietnam, but this time in Iraq. These hearings will take place in mid-March in Washington and is one of the reasons why there will be no national march in Washington on the anniversary of the start of the current war. Michael Baker recommended the following article to explain just what this important project is about:
    http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/iraq-veterans
    We had some problems accessing the above address, but the article is also posted here:
    http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/30365
    also see the Iraq Veterans Aganist the War web site:
    http://www.ivaw.org/

     

    The War Is 5!
    While there will be no national demonstration protesting the 5th anniversary of the continuing Iraq war, there will be actions all across the nation. In Chicago, there are two days of protest being planned by Chicago's 5th Year Anti-War Coalition. On Wednesday, March 19, there will be a 6 PM rally at the Federal Plaza, Adams & Dearborn in Chicago, that will be followed by a march to the "Gold Coast". Thursday is advertised as "Resist!" The coalition is urging folks to "participate in a day of creative actions throughout the downtown and metro area, followed by a permitted "Convergence" at 5 PM at the Federal Plaza." Should be interesting. For more information, go to:
    http://www.chicagomassaction.org/

     

    Palestine -- Peace & Understanding -- Israel
    Starting Sunday, February 3, the Third Unitarian Church will focus each of February's public affairs forums on various aspects of the conflict in Israel and Palestine. Aa different perspective will be presented at each. These forums begin 10 AM every Sunday at the church, 301 N. Mayfield in Chicago. For more information, go to:
    http://www.thirdunitarianchurch.org/

     

    We All Deserve CheneyCare!
    Lester Schlosberg suggests you should be interested in this California Nurses Association e-activism campaign for REAL healthcare. If you go to the URL below you can check out what is at stake and send your own message directly to the relevant decision makers. You can also tell your own patient story about fighting with an insurance company to get the care you need but have been DENIED.
    http://ga1.org/campaign/cheneycare

    Cuba Si: Music for Social Activism
    Janice Misurell-Mitchell went to Cuba in September with several colleagues (including Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn) to participate in a conference on "Useful Art". Read her account here:
    http://www.cubeensemble.com/test.pdf

     

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

    Democratic Socialism

    The Third Left?
    In the latest issue of New Politics, Marie Kennedy and Chris Tilly examine a trend in Latin America that has been incubating over the past decade: the rise of a "third left." According to Kennedy and Tilly, this third left "strives for the transformation of people -- 'self-management, independent thought, and self- construction,' in the words of social psychologist Maiqui Pixton, who works with housing cooperatives in Buenos Aires. The third left avows autonomy from the state rather than pursuing state power and promotes bottom-up decision-making." Note that political trends in one part of the world are rarely unique; there are similar stirrings here in the States. Read more here:
    http://www.wpunj.edu/~newpol/issue44/Kennedy-Tilly44.htm

     

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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.

    Saturday, February 2, 11 AM
    Marriage Equality Day
    Cook County Marriage License Bureau, 118 N. Clark, Chicago
    Assemble in front of the Marriage License Bureau then march to several campaign offices to hold Democratic Presidential candidates responsible. Organized by the Gay Liberation Network. See http://www.gayliberation.net/home.html

    Saturday, February 2, 7 PM
    Freightliner Cleveland 5 Solidarity Tour
    UE Hall, 37 S. Ashland, Chicago
    The Cleveland Five are the Cleveland, N.C., fired Freightliner (Daimler) UAW Local 3520 strike leaders Robert Whiteside, Allen Bradley, Franklin Torrence, Glenna Swinford, and David Crisco. For more information, see http://www.9898.us/3/f5chi80202.htm

    Saturday, February 2, 7 PM
    "Soldiers for Peace"
    ACME Coop, 2418 W. Bloomingdale, Chicago
    Screening of the documentary about the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. A benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War. For information: http://www.ivaw.org/node/2317

    Monday, February 4, 7 PM
    "War on the Family"
    Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington, Chicago
    A screening of the 30 minute documentary "War on the Family: Mothers in Prison and the Children They Leave Behind."

    Monday, February 4, 7 PM
    Slavery and the Demand for Reparations
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee 2nd Floor, Chicago
    A presentation by author, editor, and activist Bob Brown. An Open University of the Left event. See http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org/

    Tuesday, February 5
    Primary Elections

    Wednesday, February 6, 7:30 PM
    Arabesque Music Ensemble Free Concert
    Chicago Cultural Center Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington, Chicago
    See http://www.arabesquemusicensemble.com/performances.html

    Thursday, February 7, 6 PM to 9 PM
    7th Annual Freedom to Marry Reception
    National Museum of Mexican Art
    1852 W. 19th St, Chicago
    A free celebration featuring music, cake cutting, bouquet toss, hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. For more information see http://www.lambdalegal.org/take-action/events/7th-annual-freedom-to-marry.html

    Saturday, February 9, 3 PM
    Networking Party: Being Our Own Media
    New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western, Chicago
    For Chicago area progressive media professionals and activists. Sponsored by Metro Chicago Progressive Media Network and Chicago Media Action. For information, call 708.447.1547 or email walterb306@cs.com

    Saturday, February 9, 8 PM
    Stand Up for Peace
    Footlik Theater, Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines
    Two comedians, Scott Blakeman and Dan Obeidallah, Jewish- and Arab-American comedians, in a benefit performance for Hands of Peace. Tickets $60. See http://www.hands-of-peace.org/

    Sunday, February 10, 2:30 PM
    Stand Up for Peace
    Oak Park River Forest High School, 201 N. Scoville, Oak Park
    Scott Blakeman and Dan Obeidallah bring their show to Oak Park on behalf of the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine. For more information, see http://www.cjpip.org/0802_standup4peace.html

    Sunday, February 10, 3 PM
    Chicago Women's Liberation Union
    New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western, Chicago
    History of one of the more influential leftist women's groups of the 60s-70s. For information call 773.227.4011

    Monday, February 11, 10 PM to 2 AM
    Iraq Veterans Against the War Fundraiser
    Danny's Bar, 1951 W. Dickens, Chicago
    Drink and raise funds for IVAW. Email Chicago@ivaw.org for information

    Wednesday, February 13, 7 PM to 8:30 PM
    Interfaith Panel on Nonviolence
    Crown Center Auditorium Loyola University Lake Shore Campus, Chicago
    Sponsored by Seasons of Nonviolence, Hillel, Muslim Student Organzation, and Universtiy Ministry. For more information, see http://www.afsc.org/calendar/event.php?calendar=22&category=0&event=9537&full=true&date=2008-02-13

    Thursday, February 14, Noon
    Rally for New Trials
    Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago
    Does Attorney General Lisa Madigan have a heart? Rally to call for new trials for all police torture victims and grant immediate evidentiary hearings to those under her jurisdiction. Organized by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Call 773-955-4841 or go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/chicago_cedp/message/1835


    New Ground #116.2

    02.14.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Anti-War

    1. Politics

    The Bank of Wal-Mart Rises Again?
    Peace News: CAWI to be Honored
    Cook County States Attorney
    "The Business of Being Born"

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Socialism and Sports

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Anti-War
    The Tuesday, February 12, meeting of the Chicago DSA Executive Committee spent an extended time discussing the appropriate and inappropriate uses of civil disobedience as a tactic (but did not get into civil disobedience as an ideology). They then voted to endorse the upcoming anti-war demonstrations in Chicago on March 19 and 20. For more information:
    http://www.chicagomassaction.org/

    The Executive Committee also voted to donate $140 to the Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier campaign. For information:
    http://ivaw.org/wintersoldier

     

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    Politics

    The Bank of Wal-Mart Rises Again?
    A couple of years ago, Wal-Mart tried to make a first move toward taking over the banking industry. There was a wave of concern that moved the FDIC to place an 18 month moratorium on all new "ILC" applications, including Wal-Mart's. The moratorium ended on February 1st and.... you can read more at:
    http://walmartwatch.com/blog/archives/is_the_bank_of_wal_mart_back/

    Peace News: CAWI to be Honored
    Chicagoans Against War and Injustice will receive the inaugural Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award from the Crossroads Fund at their annual Seeds of Change benefit. This will be on Friday evening, February 29, at the Chicago Cultural Center GAR Hall, 77 E. Randolph in Chicago. Dr. Cathy J. Cohen will receive their Ron Sable Award for Activism. Rumor has it that Carl Davidson will be back in town to accept the award for CAWI. For more information:
    http://www.crossroadsfund.org/2008Benefit.html

    In a recent blog posting, Carl Davidson had some interesting thoughts about the future of the peace movement and the 2008 elections:
    http://carldavidson.blogspot.com/2008/02/getting-organized-getting-engaged.html

    Two other peace movement gatherings are also coming up.

    The Confederation of Northern Illinois Peace Groups is planning a "Regional Peace Conference" on Saturday, March 1, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 4700 Augusta Dr in Rockford. For information and registration, call 815.964.7111 or email peaceman50@aol.com.

    The Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice is asking folks to save the dates of April 4, 5 and 6 for its annual conference. This year they are planning to have it in Chicago. For more information, keep an eye on:
    http://www.ilcpj.org

    While there are no plans for a big national demonstration to protest the 5th anniversary of the War, United for Peace and Justice is encouraging "mass nonviolent direct action" in Washington, DC, and similar actions locally across the country. They are also organizing support for the Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier hearings that will be held in Washington, DC, on March 13 through 16. These hearings will be webcast and they may also be on cable. UFPJ is encouraging house parties to watch them. For more information:
    http://www.5yearstoomany.org/

    Cook County States Attorney
    The Cook County States Attorney primary had a mildly surprising result, with Anita Alvarez winning the nomination, and it was certainly one of the main contests of interests to death penalty abolitionists. The Chicago Reporter has posted an analysis of the voting:
    http://www.chicagoreporter.com/index.php/c/Web_Extras/d/Candidates_of_Choice

    "The Business of Being Born"
    Libby Frank recommends you go see the documentary film The Business of Being Born. It will be playing at the Music Box Theater, February 15 through 18. This is, incidentally, not meant to be a comment on the consequences of Valentines Day; for more information about the documentary, go to:
    http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/
    For show times etc, see:
    http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Socialism and Sports
    David Duhalde, the National Organizer for the Young Democratic Socialists, posted an article on The Activist, "Socialize the Knicks," that bemoans the current state of incompetent management of the basketball team and advocates fan ownership. See
    http://theactivist.org/blog/?p=213

    Duhalde is not alone in advocating fan (or at least community) ownership of teams. With the future of Cubs ownership in play, there is currently a movement to have fans to buy the team. It's not exactly a cooperative proposal, but there is a limit to how much of the team any one person could own. See
    http://www.4fanssake.com/

    And while we're on the subject, the collegiate radicalism of the 1960s did make its way into at least one college atheltics program. See this account of Oberlin College's (where else?) revolutionary athletics department:
    http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article12140702.aspx

     

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

    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.

    Thursday, February 14, Valentines Day
    Make Love Not War!

    Saturday, February 16, 2 PM to 4 PM
    "Iron Ladies of Liberia"
    Chicago Cultural Center Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph, Chicago
    Documentary about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's (and Africa's) first elected female head of state. The Chicago premiere! Sponsored by the Public Square of the Illinois Humanities Council. For information 312.422.5580 or:
    http://www.thepublicsquare.org/index.cfm/fa/dir_events.event_results/events.cfm

    Sunday, February 17, 2 PM
    "Can't Wait: A Story of Resistance"
    Carleton Hotel, 1110 W. Pleasant, Oak Park
    A documentary produced by a 16 year old student from Oak Park River Forest High School chronicling the peace and impeachment movements during the Bush presidency. Suggested donation $10. Sponsored by World Can't Wait

    Sunday, February 17, 5 PM
    International Solidarity Movement potluck & meeting
    Monthly meeting: email isminchicago@aol.com or call 773.267.5198 for location.

    Monday, February 18, 7 PM
    "The Camden 28"
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Documentary about Vietnam era Catholic civil disobedience at the Camden, New Jersey, draft office. An Open University of the Left event. See http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Tuesday, February 19, 6:30 PM
    Iran: Non-Military or Military Engagement?
    Northwestern University Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Av, Chicago
    A stop on the "Folly of Attacking Iran" tour, featuring author and journalist Stephen Kinzer, who will be joined by Carah Ong, Iran Policy Analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Hosted by Physicians for Social Responsibility, North Suburban Peace Initiative, Just Foreign Policy, and No War on Iran Coalition, with generous support from The Pluralism Fund. For more information on the tour, see
    http://www.follyofattackingiran.org

    Tuesday, February 19, 7 PM
    IVAW Fundraiser for Winter Soldier campaign
    DePaul University Art Museum, 2350 N. Kenmore, Chicago
    Includes screening of the documentary Winter Soldier and remarks by IVAW organizers. $10 suggested donation. Sponsored by Code Pink Chicago, Progressive Alliance, IVAW.

    Wednesday, February 20, 6:30 PM
    Keep It "Made in America"
    Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
    Part of a series of town meetings by the Alliance of American Manufacturing to protect manufacturing jobs in the United States. To reserve seats, call
    886.365.2203. See http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/keep-it-made-in-america/

    Thursday, February 21, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
    "Changing Society"
    DePaul University, 25 E. Jackson, Room 221, Chicago
    Bob Breving discusses teaching writing and labor history and his book Changing Society: the Lives of Worker Heroes Who Made a Difference. Chicago Center for Working Class Studies & DePaul University Labor Education Program. See http://www.workingclassstudies.org/

    Friday, February 22, 7 PM to 2 AM
    Fundraiser for Winter Soldier campaign
    Yoga Now Gold Coast, 742 N. LaSalle St, Ste 201, Chicago
    Includes potluck dinner, screening of "The Ground Truth", discussion, and dancing. For information call 312.671.4373

    Sunday, February 22, 2 PM
    "Sick-O"
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Michael Moore's documentary, sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice.
    http://www.opctj.org

    Sunday, February 24, 2 PM to 4 PM
    Viva Resistencia: ILSOAW Festival of Hope
    St Gertrude's, 1420 W. Granville, Chicago
    Support School of the Americas Watch prisoners of conscience. Speakers include Le Anne Clausen and Gus Roddy.

    Thursday, February 28, 6:30 PM
    Winter Soldier
    Joliet Public Library Black Road Branch, 3395 Black Rd, Joliet
    View a portion of the 1971 film and hear from a representative of the Iraq Veterans Aganist the War

    Saturday, March 1, Noon to 3 PM
    Call to Conscience
    Near North Branch Library Community Room, 310 W. Division, Chicago
    Workshop on Non-violent responses to gun violence in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. Sponsored by Code Pink, Women for Peace, Neighborhood Writing Alliance. RSVP Rupal Soni 773.684.2742 For more information:
    http://www.jot.org/news.html


    New Ground #116.3

    03.05.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now!
    Wither the Progressive Movement in 2008?
    Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible

    1. Politics

    Petitioning Burger Tyranny: an End to Sweatshops and Slavery in the Tomato Fields
    Wal-Mart v Chicago
    The AFL-CIO Is Hiring
    Anti-War Bust
    Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan
    Troops Home Now

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The Future of Socialism
    The Communist Hypothesis

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now!
    The 50th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner welcomes Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee and AFL-CIO Executive Committee member, as our featured speaker. She will speak on the great unmet need for universal health care.

    This year, we are privileged be honoring:

    • Les Orear, President Emeritus (and founder) of the Illinois Labor History Society;
    • Dr. Mardge Cohen, Medical Director of Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment and long-time Chicago-area advocate of universal health care; and
    • Laurie Burgess, stellar labor lawyer and partner in the firm Jacobs, Burns, Orlove, Stanton, and Hernandez.

    This year's Dinner will be a bit earlier than usual, Friday evening, April 25. And it will be at a new location: the Crowne Plaza - Chicago Metro at Madison and Halsted in Chicago. For more information, go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2008
    To order tickets or place an ad in the Dinner Program Book:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2008/flyer50.pdf

    Wither the Progressive Movement in 2008?
    Will be a square table topic for discussion in addition to food and refreshments at the Tuesday, March 11, Chicago DSA general membership meeting. Give the topic some thought and come prepared to seize your moment on the soapbox or come wondering just what the future has in store. Meeting time is 7 PM at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, in Chicago: convenient to the Damen stop on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare, at the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues. We'll try to keep the business portion brief. For more information, email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or call 773.384.0327.

    Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible
    by David Duhalde, YDS National Organizer
    On the heels of an excellent Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) turn out at the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) 2007 convention in Atlanta, YDS's winter outreach conference's success seems to be another stepping stone for a fantastic new YDS. In Georgia, YDS sent a diverse delegation of fifteen young activists from across the country (Texas and Kansas to Miami and southwestern Virginia) to the gathering. At the meeting, a point was made for young cadre to caucus in order to prepare for the coming annual national outreach conference. Collectively, it was decided to name the event "Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: Reviving Democratic, Socialist, and Youth Activism." The title was chosen to pay homage to the spirit of young radicals in 1968­as a reflection of the hopes and dreams of the past 40 years and the tasks that still remain for left-wing youth and student activists. We all left Atlanta set on bringing not only ourselves to New York City on President's Weekend but many more comrades and friends as well.
    TO READ MORE: http://theactivist.org/blog/?p=229

     

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

    Politics

    Petitioning Burger Tyranny: an End to Sweatshops and Slavery in the Tomato Fields
    The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is launching a national petition drive calling on Burger King and other food industry leaders to work with the CIW to:

  • improve the wages and working conditions of the men and women who harvest their tomatoes, and
  • support an industry-wide effort to end human rights violations and modern-day slavery in all of Florida's fields.
  • The petitions will serve as notice that those who sign are "prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now, and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so."  The campaign comes on the 200th anniversary of the US ban against the importation of slaves, and echoes key strategies of the early abolitionist movement that helped hasten the end of slavery in the 19th century. To learn more, go to:
    http://www.ciw-online.org/2008_Petitions/index.html

    Wal-Mart v Chicago
    Wal-Mart has been trying to move into Chicago for years -- but despite all of its efforts to expand into large metropolitan areas, Wal-Mart only has been allowed to build one store on Chicago's West Side. That may soon change. A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that city Planning and Development Commissioner Arnold Randall is trying to broker an agreement between labor unions and big box stores for a Wal-Mart wage and benefits package. As the story states:

    "Technically, all that's needed for developers to break ground on Chicago's second Wal-Mart and first super-center that sells groceries is administrative sign-off from Randall. Politically, it's another story."

    It's not too late to speak out against Wal-Mart's plans to expand in Chicago. Help spread the word by writing a letter to the editor now: http://action.walmartwatch.com/chicago

    The AFL-CIO Is Hiring
    AFL-CIO state bodies across the country are looking for recent college graduates with a deep commitment for social and economic justice who will work through November to help elect politicians at every level of government who stand with working families. The AFL-CIO runs the largest grassroots mobilization program of any organization in the country, mobilizing more than 16 million working men and women across America. The 2008 election is absolutely pivotal.

    We are looking for internal communications coordinators in key Presidential Battleground States. Ideal candidates are dedicated, creative, and passionate individuals who are ready to implement innovative use of video, blogging, social networking, newsletters, e-activist networks, and all other types of internal communications to deliver a strong progressive economic populist message.

    We are looking for: Persuasive writers. Ability to relocate is a strong plus. Women and people of color strongly encouraged to apply. Pay and benefits are competitive and vary between States. Relationships with progressive organizations a strong plus.

    Send your resume and a cover letter to Bernard Pollack at bpollack@aflcio.org.

    Anti-War Bust
    On January 7th, four anti-war activists, Jeff Pickert, Buddy Bell, Kevin Clark and Andy Thayer, were arrested during the Chicago visit of President George Bush. The following link will lead you to an update with photos of the arrest:
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/rate/81500/index.php#Article-81500

    Three of the protesters were charged with disorderly conduct. Andy Thayer, however, was indicted by a grand jury of Aggravated Battery Against a Police Officer, a felony charge that potentially results in 7 years in prison and $25,000 fine. Contributions to a defense fund are being solicited. Make checks payable to the 8th Day Center with "Bush Protesters Legal Defense" in the memo line and send to:

    8th Day Center For Justice
    Attn: Bush Protesters Legal Defense
    205 W. Monroe Street, 5th floor
    Chicago, IL 60606

    Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan
    Iraq Veterans Against the War will be holding a series of hearings in Washington, DC, March 13 through March 16. These hearings will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.

    The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.

    For information on how you can watch and listen to this historic event, go to:
    http://ivaw.org/wintersoldier/howtowatch

    Troops Home Now
    The 5th anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq will be the occasion for protests around the nation and the world. Here in Chicago, actions are planned for Wednesday, March 19 and Thursday, March 20. For more information, go to:
    http://www.chicagomassaction.org/

    For information about the rest of the country, go to:
    http://www.5yearstoomany.org/

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

    Democratic Socialism

    The Future of Socialism
    This transcription of a talk by Randhir Singh is profoundly limited by the author's marxism, but it's worth a look anyway, for its perspectives on the past and its Indian perspectives:
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/singh291207.html

    The Communist Hypothesis
    As in the "Communist Manifesto," fyi; coming at the topic from a French marxist perspective, Alain Badiou has these comments:
    http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2705

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

    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.

    Thursday, March 6, 9 AM to 9 PM
    Eyes Wide Open exhibit
    DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield, Chicago
    Including a showing of the documentary The Ground Truth at 8 PM. Sponsored by AFSC, DePaul Students Against War, Pioneers of Pluralism. See
    http://www.afsc.org/calendar/event.php?calendar=22&category=&event=9800&full=true&date=2008-03-06

    Thursday, March 6, 7 PM
    "Finally Got the News"
    Mess Hall, 6922 N. Glenwood, Chicago
    Showing of a documentary about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. Call 773.465.4033 or see
    http://plus.calendars.net/messhall

    Friday, March 7, 7 PM
    Iraq Veterans Against the War Fundraiser
    National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, 1801 S. Indiana, Chicago
    Sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War. For information, email aarhughes@gmail.com

    Saturday, March 8
    14th Congressional District Special Election
    Foster v Oberweis. Let's not have a cow. If you would like to help Get Out The Vote, contact Josh Hoyt at joshhoyt@msn.com

    Saturday, March 8, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
    Sunday, March 9, 9:30 AM to 3 PM
    Conference / Convention in Defense of Immigrant's Rights
    Registration at Casa Michoacan, 1638 S. Blue Island, Chicago
    Workshops, training sessions (pre-registration required), and plenary sessions at various locations in the immediate vicinity. Organizing toward demonstrations on May 1st. For information call 1.888.344.6432 or to register via email: orl_sep@yahoo.com with "Registration for March 8th and 9th" in the subject line.

    Saturday, March 8, 11 AM to 9:30 PM
    March to Justice: Truth in Recruitment
    Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, 1st Floor, Chicago
    First in a series of events focusing on youth involvement in the Truth in Recruiting movement. Sponsored by AFSC. For information, email dgramigna@afsc.org

    Saturday, March 8, 6 PM
    Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras
    New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western Av, Chicago
    The Open University of the Left presents Israel Monroy and Perla Cruz, workers and organizers at the Key Safety Systems (KSS) automotive parts plant in Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas, Mexico, to discuss these struggles and the potential for cross-border organizing. For more information, go to:
    http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Saturday, March 8, 6 PM to 9 PM
    International Women's Day celebration
    St. Xavier University Warde Academic Center Butler Hall, 3700 W. 103rd St, Chicago
    keynote speaker Dr. Laila Farah, a Lebanese-American Feminist performer/scholar and associate professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Program at DePaul University. Tickets are $25. Sponsored by Arab American Action Network, St. Xavier University Middle Eastern Studies Program. For information call Rania Shkairat at 773.436.6060 x 100

    Sunday, March 9, 3 PM
    Guantanamo Discussion
    The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Av, Chicago
    Book signing (Poems from Guantanamo) and discussion with Mark Falkoff, a lawyer representing several detainees at Guantanamo. Hosted by Amnesty International Group 113. For information:
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/Local_Events/Midwest/page.do?id=1102907&n1=5&n2=50&n3=803

    Sunday, March 9, 3 PM
    Counting the Cost - Moving the Candidates
    Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn, Chicago
    A public forum on Iraq and the U.S. Elections featuring Rev. Findley Campbell, Cliff Kindy, Terry Davis, Professor Mel Rothenberg, Dr. Connie Edwards, and Don Rose. Sponsored by Hyde Parkers for Peace and Justice.

    Sunday, March 9, 4 PM
    "Breaking Ranks"
    Grace United Methodist Church, 3325 W. Wrightwood, Chicago
    Showing of a documentary about AWOL soldiers in Canada, followed by discussion. Sponsored by Logan Square Neighbors for Justice and Peace, International Socialist Organization - Logan Square, Second City Greens. For information, email g.henninger@comcast.net.

    Monday, March 10, 6 PM to 7:15 PM
    Protest the AIPAC annual event
    Chicago Union Station Great Hall, 210 S. Canal St, Chicago
    Organized by the International Solidarity Movement

    Tuesday, March 11, 7 PM
    Whither the Progressive Movement in 2008
    Chicago DSA, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago
    A square table discussion as part of Chicago DSA's general membership meeting. Food and refreshments. For information, email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or call 773.384.0327

    Wednesday, March 12, 5 PM to 7 PM
    "On the Global Waterfront: the Fight to Free the Charleston 5"
    UNITE HERE, 333 S. Ashland, Chicago
    A reception to launch the new book by Suzan Erem and E. Paul Durrenberger. For more information:
    http://www.ontheglobalwaterfront.org/

    Sunday, March 16, 3 PM
    Eyes Wide Open
    Congregational United Church of Christ, 1001 W. Kirchoff, Arlington Heights
    An exhibition of "Eyes Wide Open" as part of the church's annual peace vigil. See http://www.afsc.org/eyes/

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

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

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