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New Ground 118

May - June, 2008

Contents

  • Justice, Not Just Us by Tom Broderick
  • The Fiftieth Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner by Bob Roman
  • June Membership Convention
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Oak Park Living Wage
    DSA Solidarity Economics Network
    Chicago DSA Network
    Diesel Pollution
    Emergency Coalition
    Coalition of Immokalee Workers
    May Day

    New Ground 118.1 - 05.31.2008

    0. DSA News

    Toward an Economic Justice Agenda
    Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner
    Save the Date

    1. Politics

    Victory at Burger King!
    Congress Hotel on Strike for Equality

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Every Man a King: Reconnecting Marx, Democracy and Humanism

    3. Book Reviews

    Against Capitalism: The European Left on the March

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 118.2 - 06.09.2008

    0. DSA News

    Socialist International Committee on Migrations
    June Membership Convention

    1. Politics

    Congress Hotel on Strike for Equality

    2. Democratic Socialism

    New Ground on Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 118.3 - 06.19.2008

    0. DSA News

    June Membership Convention
    Young Democratic Socialists of America Convention

    1. Politics

    Universal Health Care Hearings
    Congress Hotel Demonstration
    Globalization and Its Discontents

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Sex and Socialism


    Justice, Not Just Us

    by Tom Broderick

    It's estimated that there are 27 million slaves in the world today. There are more humans being trafficked now, than at any time in history. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has exposed several cases of slave labor in the agricultural fields of Florida.

    On April 16, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D, IL), Bernie Sanders (I, VT), and Edward Kennedy (D, MA) were key in convening Federal Hearings on the pay and working conditions of Florida agricultural workers. Florida tomato growers, who supply their product to fast food chains like Burger King, are at the center of the Hearings.

    The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange is a trade group of Florida tomato growers. This group has been a consistent roadblock to improving the working conditions of the agricultural workers in Florida. At the Hearings, Reginald L. Brown, the executive vice president of the FTGE reluctantly agreed that the FTGE would cooperate if the Senate Committee asked for a Government Accountability Office study of conditions among tomato workers. He also said that he could not guarantee that individual companies within the exchange would cooperate.

    This is the same group that decided to act as a monolith threatening the penny-per-pound agreement already signed between the CIW and Taco Bell and between the CIW and McDonald's. Burger King, the current target of the CIW, is hiding behind the FTGE threats.

    Surely slavery is the most unequal and unacceptable management/labor relationship. While this kind of slavery is not the norm in America, many workers and their dependents are suffering. We have fashioned an economic system that is creating great wealth for a tiny portion of our population. The middle-class is losing ground and poverty is on the rise.

    From 2001 to 2008: The net worth of the wealthiest 1% grew from $186 to $816 billion; Productivity of American workers increased 18%, while the median pre-tax household income decreased from $49,158 to $48,201; And the number of Americans living in poverty increased from 31.6 million to 36.5 million.

    "No business which depends . . . on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country . . . By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level ­ I mean the wages of a decent living," declared President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    "Free Market" and "Globalization" ideologies are embraced by corporations as they locate and relocate in search of lower costs and higher profits. Period. This is certainly not what FDR had in mind. His approach to economics created the largest and most stable middle class in American history. But capitalism is about maximizing profit. Workers are assets. Assets are exploited, depreciated and discarded. We are consumers. Do you remember Bush's advice after the 9/11 attacks? Go shopping.

    That economics could focus on the needs and wants of human beings, as if life itself has importance, is no extraterrestrial vision. Economics is a system crafted to achieve a goal. Ours is a system that enriches those who don't need, at the expense of those who don't have: plutocracy. Time to change the goal. We need a world in which all people share equally in the governing of the economic, political and cultural institutions and relationships that shape their lives.

    President Franklin Roosevelt is credited with creating and promoting the idea that the peoples' Government should and would fundamentally improve the lives of Americans. His approach was a success, although not all benefited. Agricultural workers and those who were not white were sacrificed. Still, the idea of productive governmental intervention did precede him.

    One example: the Panic of 1893 was an economic depression of record proportion. It was a worldwide financial crisis. Like today, much of our economy was propped up by foreign countries ­ European at that time. As foreign speculators pulled their money out of the U.S., unemployment among industrial workers in this country skyrocketed to as much as 25%. This led to many intense labor conflicts, including the infamous Pullman Strike in Illinois. Wages were cut, but workers living in the company town and buying from the company store saw no similar reduction in rents or prices. Workers united to literally fight for the lives and futures of themselves, their families and their comrades.

    Jacob Coxey was an Ohio businessman. In 1894, he organized an "Industrial Army" that marched on Washington, DC to demand that the federal government create jobs to put the unemployed to work. Jobs that would improve infrastructure for example. This was decades before the New Deal. When the marchers reached the Capitol in Washington, Coxey tried to read an "Address of Protest" on the steps of our nation's Capitol. The "Industrial Army" was routed and Coxey was arrested.

    When Ross Perot ran for President of the United States, he denounced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He warned of a "giant sucking sound" as good paying jobs in America relocated overseas should NAFTA be ratified. He was right. From 1993 to 2007, the U.S. lost 2.9 million manufacturing jobs.

    NAFTA is a smokescreen. It is about investment and gains and losses. Instead of "Free Trade," it is about "Free Theft." Laws have been enacted to protect private investment at the expense of workers and the environment. Both of the leading Democratic candidates for President of the United States say they will reform NAFTA, if elected. It doesn't need reform. It needs to be scrapped. We will never get to Fair Trade from NAFTA.

    Current U.S. unemployment is 7.7 million, with another 12.5 million categorized as either "discouraged" (they've given up), or "underemployed" (they are working less than they need to). A more recent sucking sound would be the Bush tax cuts to the top 1% of our population. This group, that needed no financial help to live a life of dignity and respect, benefited to the tune of $546 billion between 2001 and 2007.

    Since our private sector is free to operate as if the feudal system is an acceptable form of labor/management relations, then our governments, local, regional and national, must improve living conditions. Poverty should be considered a war crime in this country. A living wage, as defined by FDR, is a must.

    To that end, local, state and federal agencies should all enact enforceable Living Wage Ordinances. These are ordinances to ensure that government employees, employees of contractors performing work for the government and employees of businesses that receive a significant financial subsidy from the government ­ including tax relief ­ receive a living wage.


    The Fiftieth Annual Debs ­Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner

    by Bob Roman

    It was our 50th annual Dinner . And while it is tempting to make a big deal of the Five Oh, this was in truth a Dinner marking a time of change. It is not clear how much of it is for the better or for worse. "Universal Health Care Now!" was our demand. There will be some kind of health care reform in the coming two years, but it is not clear whether we will be nibbling around the edges of the issue or whether we will have changes that our country deserves and has long been denied. While the Dinner is certainly a fundraising event, it's also always been an educational, advocacy event, and this Dinner meant to say that not all the democratic left is willing to just nibble around the edges.

    Some change has been clearly for the worse. This was the first Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner without Carl Shier in attendance, at least, if not actively involved in planning the event. Our Master of Ceremonies was Katie Jordan from UNITE HERE and President of the Chicago Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women and one of Chicago's "usual suspects." Jordan had worked with Shier in the Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid and had remained a friend, both of Shier and of the Dinner. She commemorated Carl Shier with both her own memories and the words of others. We were so fortunate to have her as part of this year's program.

    The labor movement is also in flux and it is not clear whether for good or ill. The 91 years that span the life of our first honoree, Les Orear, have encompassed such history that it is tempting to dismiss the current crisis of labor with "when has it not been in flux?" AFSCME's Larry Spivack presented Orear with the 2008 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Award, mentioning only some of the history that Orear had been intimately involved in yet too modest to mention. And indeed, Les Orear performed to Spivack's expectations, playing Jimmy Higgins while he remembered some of the giants of the labor movement that he had worked for and with. I was just there to help, he protested; after all, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

    But in truth, regardless of all the other things Les Orear has contributed, even if he had done nothing else, he would have deserved the award for founding the Illinois Labor History Society. This institution is a model for other, similar institutions around the country. It also happens to be the custodian of the Haymarket Martyrs' monument that commemorates the events around the Haymarket (police) Riot in the struggle for the eight hour day. This bit of Chicago history is also commemorated by the international (except the United States) celebration of May 1st as Labor Day. Plus, with the passage of time, this was our last opportunity to honor the memory of the legendary United Packinghouse Workers of America. Thank you, Les.

    When the Latino Union's Jessica Aranda introduced our next honoree, Laurie Burgess, she spoke of how Burgess saved her organization's butt after they had attempted to help a day laborer collect his unpaid wages and were sued by the deadbeat employer using a novel application of some obscure commercial law. Laurie Burgess, on the other hand, spoke of her epiphany regarding the limits of the law. She had been confronted with a situation wherein some women assembly line workers were being required to clean their bosses' homes, off the clock. "We'll sue!" was not an option because these women were "undocumented." This was a career-changing experience.

    I had an opportunity to work a little bit with Laurie Burgess in promoting this Dinner. She comes across as an intensely focused person who asks good questions. One of the good questions she asked of me was why do people get this award? In her acceptance speech, she provided us with a much better answer than I was able to provide her. The people who receive this award are those who are outraged by injustice and who do something about it. I might add they also bring home the bacon. Considering the record Burgess has compiled in defense of the union movement, the rights of workers against discrimination and for fairness, the respect and good-will with which she is regarded by labor, even though she is relatively early on in her career, she meets our qualifications for the 2008 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Award.

    Marcia Rothenberg introduced our hird honoree, Dr. Mardge Cohen. We appreciate Rothenberg doing this at pretty much the last minute, but the two are old friends from when Marcia Rothenberg was a nurse at Cook County Hospital. She spoke of how Dr. Cohen began an AIDS program at Cook County for women and children back when AIDS was considered a "gay" disease. In accepting the award, Dr. Cohen spoke mostly of her career, her values, and the people she learned from. (There was quite a list.)

    It was this aspect of career and values that we felt made Dr. Cohen a good honoree. In the early 1970s, she had been active in another legendary organization, the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. The mainstream narrative is that people like Dr. Cohen, if they were fortunate enough to pursue a professional career, did so at the expense of their values. They sold out, became "yuppies." This did happen to some, but it is not the only story. Dr. Cohen is an excellent example of a great many people who found a way to combine the political values of their youth with a professional career. A staunch supporter of "single-payer" universal health insurance, she certainly belongs with this Dinner, and it really too bad that she and her husband have moved to Boston.

    We also appreciate how good it was of Dr. Cohen to substitute as our featured speaker, pretty much at the last moment. She made an excellent and efficient presentation on why a "single-payer" approach to universal health insurance is really the most sensible, moral, and effective way to go. I don't think it was especially fair of us to have asked Dr. Cohen to do this, but she agreed, rose to the occasion and did a great job.

     

    So what happened to Rose Ann DeMoro? When we decided that the need for universal health care was to be the theme of the 2008 Dinner, Rose Ann DeMoro was one of the first names that came to mind. She did not come to mind because of her union position. She is the Executive Director of the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA). It is a small, aggressive craft union with a radical reputation (it was a major backer of the Labor Party) that had only recently joined the AFL-CIO. It has only a small presence here in Chicago. Rather, it was DeMoro's reputation as a fiery and effective advocate for universal health care that brought her to mind.

    After we asked DeMoro, and she accepted, we discovered that there was a small but passionate I - hate - CNA fan club in Chicago. Their grievance was about how CNA had taken over, at Cook County Hospital, what had been an Illinois Nurses Association shop. This was worrisome but we figured on balance she would still make a terrific speaker; we hadn't invited her for her union credentials but for her politics on health care.

    Unfortunately, it was only a few months later that the feud that had been simmering between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and CNA out in California erupted into something akin to open warfare nation-wide.

    SEIU had for several years been trying to organize a number of hospitals in Ohio owned by Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP). By some accounts, the campaign had bogged down on the shop level, but SEIU had continued talking with management. At last, CHP agreed to an NLRB representation election and CHP (not SEIU) requested an election giving their employees a choice of either SEIU or no union. Learning of this, CNA mounted a campaign (leafleting, direct mail, and apparently some personal visits) to have the employees vote "no union" on the grounds that SEIU was cutting a sweetheart deal with management behind the employees' backs. CHP withdrew its request for an election. The feces hit the fan.

    We started hearing rumors from contacts outside of Chicago of fulminations at SEIU's national office about DeMoro's appearance at the Dinner. Then we received an email from Tom Balanoff, President of the SEIU Illinois Council, which judged that "Rose Ann DeMoro does not embody the values of DSA." The letter briefly explains why and is posted at http:/ /www.chicagodsa.org/d2008/seiu.pdf, though we can send you hard copy upon request. The point of the letter, though, was that we were being asked to rescind our invitation to Rose Ann DeMoro. "We don't want to picket your event, but we can not allow Rose Ann DeMoro to speak in Chicago without educating the public of her anti-worker agenda."

    And it would have been an educational surprise indeed because at that point most people (even in SEIU, I would guess) hadn't heard of this.

     

    Our first concern was for our honorees. This was partly because even while the event was our responsibility, this Dinner was largely their Dinner. And partly because we figured that SEIU's next logical step would be to start contacting the current (and past) honorees anyway. So we felt the honorees should be consulted as to what we should do, and at that point it seemed that our main options were to continue but be picketed or to cancel the event; we were not going to uninvite DeMoro. But before we did anything, we also wanted to get CNA's side of the story. We forwarded Balanoff's letter to CNA.

    CNA replied promptly with a long letter that partly attacked SEIU's politics on health care but also provided their take on what happened in Ohio and why SEIU was in the wrong. CNA's letter is posted at http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2008 /cna.pdf, though we can send you hard copy upon request. The letter also stated that DeMoro was withdrawing from the Dinner program.

    One suggestion offered in CNA's letter that both Tom Broderick and I like is the idea of a debate on national health policy between someone from SEIU and someone from CNA.

     

    "The Purple Punch-Out" That weekend, April 11 - 13, DeMoro had also been scheduled to speak at the Labor Notes conference in Dearborn, Michigan. SEIU not only had a picket line at the final event of the conference, a banquet, but they also attempted to disrupt it by invading the hall. This happened despite DeMoro having withdrawn from being the featured speaker at that event, substituting a video presentation instead. One person on the Labor Notes side fell, resulting in a head gash that required stitches. One person on the SEIU side apparently died of a heart attack. It is true that organized labor has had much much worse moments, but this moment was not among the good ones.

    The Labor Notes conferences have, over the years, played an important role in the labor movement, primarily by providing a space where conversations among union dissidents and sometimes between dissidents and "the establishment" can take place. Even if it doesn't translate into much organizational benefit for Solidarity (the organization ultimately behind it all), as an institution in itself the conference is an important labor event. Consequently there has been an explosion of commentary and condemnation on the web. One also gets the impression that many lefties have been getting tired of Andy Stern's aspiration to be the 21st Century's John L. Lewis and this just lit the match. For a selection of some of the better commentary, see New Ground 117.4 at http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng117.html#anchor217234 .

    Chicago DSA's Dinner, held on April 25, has evoked far less comment apart from some scrupulously worded crowing in an SEIU press release. There was no picket line or invasion of the hall. There was a table of CNA nurses but no one assaulted them with words or food. Indeed, one party of three included a member of SEIU and a member of CNA. It just goes to show you: Americans may not be so interested in politics but they do follow sports.


    June Membership Convention

    The date of our annual June Membership Convention will be held Saturday, June 21 at 2 PM. This is worth a "heads-up". In addition to setting priorities and adopting a budget, three positions on the Executive Committee will be up for election to a two year term. These are:

    • Female Co-Chair
    • Treasurer
    • Political Education Officer

    The Female Co-Chair position has been vacant for some years now. At present noone has announced as candidates for any of the positions, so the field is open for you to run. The CDSA office is in Room 403 at 1608 N. Milwaukee in Chicago. Call 773.384.0327 for information.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    Oak Park Living Wage

    Greater Oak Park DSA succeeded in having an advisory referendum regarding a Living Wage Ordinance placed on the November General Election ballot for Oak Park Township. Last year's Oak Park Village elections were not exactly kind to the left, nailing Oak Park's politics firmly on the center - right, but there some verbal support for the concept still remains. It is hoped that a yes vote will grease the wheels on this issue. GOP DSA has already begun working on a strategy for the question's affirmation. Two other advisory referendum questions will also be on the ballot. We'll have more about this in the next issue. For now, contact Tom Broderick at 708.386.6007 for more information.

    DSA Solidarity Economics Network

    "Only a crisis actual or perceived produces real change," wrote the late Milton Friedman, "When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around." One of the main tasks of the DSA should be to develop those ideas, ready for whatever opportunities history presents. When the crunch comes, we want socialism to be "lying around."

    What should set DSA apart from the rest of the progressive community is the awareness that the progressive project must end in a systematic attempt to create a democratic economy. Our practical politics currently focused on the Economic Justice Agenda is essentially social democratic. That's crucial work, of course, but it's not "socialism." For that, we need a proposal, however general, for a democratic alternative. And accordingly the last Convention adopted working on "Solidarity Economics" as one of the organization's main priorities. Several of us have been talking about how to get such an effort going.

    We are not operating in a vacuum. There is a long-standing cooperative movement, both here and abroad; the "recovered enterprises" movement of South America is doing exciting work. Here at home, the U.S. Social Forum set up a "Solidarity Economy Network" ( http://www.populareconomics.org/ussen/node/14). There is also an international network (http://www.ripess.net/en/default.htm ).

    What do we add? Hopefully, we can help integrate Solidarity Economics into a larger political program. Political "neutrality" is a long tradition in the cooperative movement (It is, or was, one of the Rochdale Principles.) which prefers to focus on building up functioning market-based businesses. Political power will be needed, however, if only to keep the legal regime favorable for cooperative development. And a program of co-op conversion will present a number of critical questions. If we move to a worker-ownership model, for example, will the labor movement have to be "re-imagined"? Is there a way that alternative economic forms could be put in charge of retrofitting industry to make it environmentally sustainable? DSA should be spearheading the discussion of such issues.

    The preliminary group proposes to begin with self-education and discussion, to prepare for a serious attempt to develop a practical alternative. As a start (none of this is set in stone) we propose reading After Capitalism by David Schweickart, to be followed by other books and articles. A Yahoo Groups discussion list has been set up to let us discuss the readings and anything else people want to take up (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dsasolecon ). Hopefully, this will develop into a serious discussion of how to make the transition to a fully socialist economy.

    It's time we talked about these things. Please visit the discussion list front page and join us.

    Eric Ebel

    Chicago DSA Network

    Chicago DSA has a discussion list for Chicago DSA members only. Since most Chicago members are not signed up, it's worth reminding members that they can sign up by going to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/chicagodsa .

    Diesel Pollution

    The Chicago DSA office sits a mere four floors above Chicago's incredibly busy North Avenue. The traffic is a motley mix of cars, buses, and many many trucks. We have air conditioning, not so much for the heat, but noise level with windows open makes conversation difficult and the dirt, including diesel residue Let's just say that when we were invited to sign on to Citizen Action/Illinois' latest project, the "Campaign to Clean Up Diesel Pollution," we were entirely sympathetic and voted to endorse the campaign.

    Our only misgiving, really, was that Illinois is in such miserable financial condition and our politicians are so craven in dealing with it that even the modest objectives of the campaign seem slightly utopian. You be the judge. The project has five goals:

    1. Clean up diesel school buses across the state by increasing funding to the Illinois Clean School Bus Program. In Illinois, there are more than 18,000 buses that transport over 2 million school children to and from school every day. However, most buses lack modern pollution controls.

    2. Clean up railroad pollution by working with Chicago area train companies to clean up their diesel switcher locomotive engines. Locomotives are one of the largest contributors of diesel pollution in Illinois putting communities and train operators at risk.

    3. Clean up the area's diesel transit bus fleet by working with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and PACE to clean up their fleets. While cities across the nation are taking the lead in cleaning up their bus fleets, CTA and Pace continue to lag far behind New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Dallas in cleaning up its diesel bus fleets.

    4. Clean up diesel construction equipment by requiring pollution strategies and technology are included in bidding for public construction projects. Construction projects contribute a large portion of total diesel pollution from this region. The majority of public construction projects are located nearby residential areas.

    5. Promote creation of a state fund to help companies and government agencies retrofit their diesel vehicles and equipment.

    For more information, contact Andrea Rincon at 312.427.2307.

    Emergency Coalition

    Last October, Chicago DSA signed on to the Emergency Coalition to Save Cook County Health Services. The immediate goal of the Coalition was to break the debate about mismanagement as a bar to increased funding of Cook County health services by temporarily taking control of management out of the hands of the County Board and President. What finally emerged was an ordinance that convened an independent nominating committee that would present President Stroger with a set of nominees to the temporary governing board from which he would select he would select nine.

    The nominating committee presented President Stroger with their nominees, and Stroger selected the following individuals: Jorge Ramirez, of the Chicago Federation of Labor; David Carvalho, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health; Heather O'Donnell, of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability; Norman Bobins, Chairman emeritus of LaSalle Bank; Andrea Zopp, of Exelon Corp; Barbara Hillman, Attorney; Quin Golden, ex-chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Public Health; Benn Greenspan of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois-Chicago; and Daniel Cantrell, staff member to U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL).

    The Emergency Coalition issued a press release professing pleasure at the selections. The County Board will hold confirmation hearings for the nine nominees on May 13.

    Coalition of Immokalee Workers

    At the end of April, some 200 farm workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and its allies came knocking on Burger King's corporate door in Florida to deliver a petition signed by over 80,000 individuals. All fifty U.S. states were represented by the signatories, as well as 43 countries around the world. The petition demanded that Burger King participate in the penny per pound piece work increase for tomato pickers already agreed to by McDonalds and YUM Brands. GOPDSA contributed several pages of signed petitions out of the many signatures gathered in the Chicago area.

    At the same time, Burger King continues to demonstrate a real talent for shooting itself in the foot. A corporate Vice President, Stephen Grover, was revealed to have been using his daughter's email addresses to post messages on blogs and newspapers attacking CIW with allegations Grover had every reason to know were untrue (e.g. "The CIW is an attack organization lining the leaders pockets ... They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To (sic) bad the people protesting don't have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!"). Burger King said this was "non-corporate sanctioned opinion" and that "the strident tone does not reflect Burger King"

    If that were not enough, Burger King apparently hired an unlicensed Florida private investigator, Cara Schaffer, to infiltrate the Student Farmworker Alliance. Schaffer represented herself as a student at Broward Community College with an interest in organizing campus support for CIW and participated in two conference calls before being revealed. Schafer is the proprietor of Diplomatic Tactical Services, but Florida's Division of Licensing had denied her application for a private investigator's license last year. According so some accounts, Burger King has had an ongoing business relation with Diplomatic Tactical Services for years.

    May Day

    Chicago DSA endorsed this year's May Day March though in fact our involvement was very peripheral. And at the march itself, we were represented by isolated individuals.

    This year the theme of the march was bravely titled "We Are the New Majority." The organizers pulled together a list of concerns to the immigrant and union movements to give the event substance. According to some reports, this year much of the cost of the march was covered by Chicago's labor movement.

    The march itself was bookended by a rally at the start in Union Park (Lake and Ashland) and a rally at the Federal Plaza (Adams and Dearborn), with a contingency plan to divert to Grant Park if turnout exceeded expectations. Despite being absolutely lovely weather for a demonstration, turnout was smaller than in previous years. The typical media estimate was 15,000. That may have been conservative but not by a lot.

    There were a few small feeder marches that arrived at Union Park prior to the March beginning. One was led by the local Industrial Workers of the World.

    A very few counter-demonstrators were along the route of the march. One elderly fellow was jeering incoherently from the sidewalk as I passed. Another elaborately mustachioed and over-weight fellow inexplicably waded into the line of march holding a sign demanding illegal immigrants go home. He had the sign taken away and was treated unkindly. And as the march proceeded through the financial district, some wiseacre dumped a dozen or two sheets of paper from an upper story window. In large print they said, "War Is The Answer."

    I did not stay at the Federal Plaza for the speeches. The Plaza and Dearborn (which was blocked off) filled fairly quickly even while people were still arriving. That sort of situation makes me a tad nervous so I left.

    Bob Roman


    New Ground #118.1

    05.31.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Toward an Economic Justice Agenda
    Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner
    Save the Date

    1. Politics

    Victory at Burger King!
    Congress Hotel on Strike for Equality

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Every Man a King: Reconnecting Marx, Democracy and Humanism

    3. Book Reviews

    Against Capitalism: The European Left on the March

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Toward an Economic Justice Agenda
    There are four pillars upon which any just economic policy must be built:

    • Progressive taxation and major cuts in wasteful military spending to provide necessary public revenue;
    • Universal social insurance programs and high-quality public goods;
    • Powerful democratic labor and social movements capable of achieving equity in the labor market; and
    • Global institutions that advance labor and human rights and provide for a sustainable environment.

    Just what might this look like? Read more by going here:
    http://www.dsausa.org/pdf/eja_may2008.pdf

    Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner
    Photos, the program book, and other stuff from the 2008 Dinner are now online:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2008/index.html

    Save the Date
    The date of our annual June Membership Convention will be Saturday, June 21, 2 PM at the Chicago DSA office. The agenda will include setting priorities, adopting a budget, and electing three members of the Chicago DSA Executive Committee for two year terms: Female Co-Chair, Treasurer, and Political Education Officer. The Chicago DSA office is at 1608 N. Milwaukee in Room 403. This is at the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues, very near the Damen Avenue station on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare.

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

    Politics

    Victory at Burger King!
    WASHINGTON ­ May 23, 2008 - The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Burger King Corp. (NYSE:BKC) today announced plans to work together to improve wages and working conditions for the farmworkers who harvest tomatoes for the BURGER KING® system in Florida.
    To read more, go to:
    http://www.ciw-online.org/BK_CIW_joint_release.html

    In the meantime, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, which last year had announced that they would fine any member $100,000 should they participate in the penny-per-pound raise, has announced that it will not impose any fines. It still advises its members to not participate, but it appears as though member growers now have that option without sanction. See:
    http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080523/NEWS01/805230397/1075

    For an interesting look at some of the factors behind the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange's bad behavior, see:
    http://www.vegetablegrowersnews.com/pages/arts.php?ns=896

    Congress Hotel on Strike for Equality
    Nearly five years ago, members of UNITE HERE Local 1 working at the Congress Hotel went out on strike after the hotel decided to freeze wages and slash benefits. Workers there have braved five cold Chicago winters on the picket line to ensure that hotel jobs in this city are strong, family-sustaining jobs. Now the longest active strike in the country, their historic stand is a testament to how far we've come  . . . and how far still we have to go.  Today, Chicago housekeepers make $13.90 an hour, while the Congress Hotel still pays 2002 wages - just $8.83 an hour. Working families in Chicago have made astounding gains in recent years because the Congress strikers have refused to settle for substandard wages. Please join us Thursday, June 12th, 4 PM to 6 PM at Congress and Michigan in Chicago, as we proudly stand with the strikers of the Congress Hotel to to make sure that all hotel workers across the city enjoy the new Chicago standard. For more information, go to:
    http://www.congresshotelstrike.info/

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Every Man a King: Reconnecting Marx, Democracy and Humanism
    The first two installments of this four-part article by Bhaskar Sunkara have been posted on The Activist, the Young Democratic Socialists' on-line magazine. The installments are being posted weekly. You can begin here:
    http://theactivist.org/blog/?p=281

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

    Book Reviews

    Against Capitalism: The European Left on the March
    Chicago DSA member Bill Pelz' book on the history of the European left came out last year and here are some reviews:
    http://www.dailyradical.org/knowledge/Our_History_Recovered_Patrick_M_Quinn_reviews_Against_Capitalism_by_Bill_Pelz/related_links

    http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article674.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.

    Monday, June 2, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    One Person, One Vote? Reinventing Democracy
    Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Av, Chicago
    Featuring "Louder than a Bomb" poets, Martha Biondi (moderator), Michael Dawson, Dan Johnson-Weinberger, Theresa Amato, and Alejandra Ibanez. Free and open to the public but reservations are required. To do so, email events@prairie.org or call 312.422.5580. A Public Square event, for more information, see http://prairie.org

    Tuesday, June 3, 7 PM
    "Renewal"
    Wellington Avenue UCC, 615 W. Wellington, Chicago
    Film showing individuals and groups at work to significantly inprove the environment. Sponsored by Eco-Justice Collaborative and Wellington Ave UCC. For information, go to:
    http://www.ecojusticecollaborative.org/Events.htm

    Tuesday, June 3, 7:30 PM
    Iraq: From a Soldier's Point of View
    Glen Ellyn Public Library, 400 Duane St, Glen Ellyn
    With Desert Storm and Desert Shield veteran Dirk Enger. Sponosred by DAWN. For information, go to: http://www.d-a-w-n.org/

    Thursday, June 5, 7 PM
    "Meeting Resistance"
    Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
    Documentary examining the Iraqi resistance. An Open University of the Left event. See:
    http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org

    Thursday, June 5, 7 PM to 9 PM
    House of Secrets: The Place of Storytelling in Human Rights
    International House Assembly Hall, 1414 E. 59th St, Chicago
    Lecture and reception featuring Alex Kotlowitz. University of Chicago Human Rights Program. See http://humanrights.uchicago.edu or call 773.834.0957.


    New Ground #118.2

    06.09.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Socialist International Committee on Migrations
    June Membership Convention

    1. Politics

    Congress Hotel on Strike for Equality

    2. Democratic Socialism

    New Ground on Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Socialist International Committee on Migrations
    The Socialist International's Committee on Migrations met in Los Angeles on June 2 and 3. Duane Campbell was among those representing DSA at the meeting, and you can read his report here:
    http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/2008/06/socialist-international-meeting-on.html

    More information, including reports on earlier meetings, can be found here:
    http://www.socialistinternational.org/viewArticle.cfm?ArticleID=1924

    June Membership Convention
    The date of our annual June Membership Convention will be Saturday, June 21, 2 PM at the Chicago DSA office. The agenda will include setting priorities, adopting a budget, and electing three members of the Chicago DSA Executive Committee for two year terms: Female Co-Chair, Treasurer, and Political Education Officer. The Chicago DSA office is at 1608 N. Milwaukee in Room 403. This is at the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues, very near the Damen Avenue station on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare.

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

    Politics

    Congress Hotel on Strike for Equality
    Nearly five years ago, members of UNITE HERE Local 1 working at the Congress Hotel went out on strike after the hotel decided to freeze wages and slash benefits. Workers there have braved five cold Chicago winters on the picket line to ensure that hotel jobs in this city are strong, family-sustaining jobs. Now the longest active strike in the country, their historic stand is a testament to how far we've come  . . . and how far still we have to go.  Today, Chicago housekeepers make $13.90 an hour, while the Congress Hotel still pays 2002 wages - just $8.83 an hour. Working families in Chicago have made astounding gains in recent years because the Congress strikers have refused to settle for substandard wages. Please join us Thursday, June 12th, 4 PM to 6 PM at Congress and Michigan in Chicago, as we proudly stand with the strikers of the Congress Hotel to to make sure that all hotel workers across the city enjoy the new Chicago standard. For more information, go to:
    http://www.congresshotelstrike.info/

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

    Democratic Socialism

    New Ground on Socialism
    See: http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/socialism.html

    Readings About Socialism

    Documents and Articles

    Socialism and Environmentalism by Rodger C. Field
    Michael Harrington on Socialism
    Why We Need Socialism in America by Michael Harrington
    More... by Bob Roman
    Towards Freedom: Democratic Socialist Theory and Practice by Joseph Schwartz and Jason Schulman
    In What May We Hope? by David Schweickart
    Norman Thomas and Max Shachtman
    Toward a Socialist Theory of Racism by Cornel West
     

    Book Reviews

    "Cowabunga! Third Wave Capitalist Economics" by Ron Baiman
    Lean and Mean: The Changing Landscape of Corporate Power in the Age of Flexibility by Bennett Harrison
    "Feasible Socialism?" by Ron Baiman
    Socialism After Communism: the New Market Socialism by Christopher Pierson
    "Markets and Socialism: an Unfruitful Debate?" by Ron Baiman
    Market Socialism: the Debate Among SocialistsI by David Schweickart, James Lawler, and Bertrell Ollman
    "Values and Strategy for a Socialism of the Future" by Ron Baiman
    Economic Democracy: the Politics of Feasible Socialism by Robin Archer
    "Deepening Democracy" by Ron Baiman
    Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance by Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright
    "A Future for Socialism" by Gene Birmingham
    A Future for Socialism? Political Theology and the Triumph of Capitalism by Harold Wells
    "Praxis Makes Perfect" by Gene Birmingham
    The Subversive Gospel, a New Testament Commentary on Liberation by Tom Hanks
    "A New Program for Democratic Socialism" by Perry Cartwright
    A New Program for Democratic Socialism: Lessions from the Market - Planning Experience in Austria by Leland Stauber
    "Waiting for the Jedi" by Will Kelley
    Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
    "Lord, Lord, It's a Bourgeois Town" by Bob Roman
    It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks
    "Socialisms: A Review" by Ralph Suter
    Socialisms: Old and New by Tony Wright
    "Ecology and Democracy" by David Williams
    Toward an Inclusive Democracy: the Crisis of the Growth Economy and the Need for a New Liberatory Project by Takis Fotopoulos
    The Conserver Society: Alternatives for Sustainability by Ted Trainer

     

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

    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, June 11, Noon
    Protest Caterpillar Complicity in Human Rights Abuse
    50 S. LaSalle St, Chicago
    Action outside the shareholders meeting that day to oppose Caterpillar's sale of bulldozers to Israel. See
    http://www.caapweb.org

    Thursday, June 12, 4 PM to 6 PM
    On Strike for Equality!
    Congress Hotel, Michigan and Congress, Chicago
    Protest the 5th year of being on strike at the Congress Hotel. See:
    http://www.congresshotelstrike.info/

    Friday, June 13, 7:20 PM
    "Following the Footsteps of Refugees"
    Unitarian Church, 4 S 535 Old Naperville Rd, Naperville
    Monthly film and discussion. See http://www.dupagepeacethroughjustice.org/

    Wednesday, June 18, 7:30 AM
    Funeral March for the Dead of the Iraq War
    Meet at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago
    March to the Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn. Die in. Wear Black. See:
    http://icjpe.org/actions/details/?id=1303

    Thursday, June 19, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
    National Day of Protest Against Health Insurance Corporations
    Cigna Insurance offices, 525 W. Monroe, Chicago
    Insurance executives are meeting in San Francisco and protests are planned there and across the country. For more information, see:
    http://www.ilsinglepayercoalition.org/
    and
    http://www.guaranteedhealthcare.org/

    Thursday, June 19, 7:30 PM
    David Sirota
    In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, Chicago
    David Sirota joins Thomas Geoghegan to discuss Sirota's new book, "The Uprising: an Unauthorizaed Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington". See:
    http://www.inthesetimes.com/events/3660/


    New Ground #118.3

    06.19.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    June Membership Convention
    Young Democratic Socialists of America Convention

    1. Politics

    Universal Health Care Hearings
    Congress Hotel Demonstration
    Globalization and Its Discontents

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Sex and Socialism

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

    DSA News

    June Membership Convention
    The date of our annual June Membership Convention will be Saturday, June 21, 2 PM at the Chicago DSA office. The agenda will include setting priorities, adopting a budget, and electing three members of the Chicago DSA Executive Committee for two year terms: Female Co-Chair, Treasurer, and Political Education Officer. The Chicago DSA office is at 1608 N. Milwaukee in Room 403. This is at the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues, very near the Damen Avenue station on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare.

    Young Democratic Socialists of America Convention
    YDS will be having its annual summer conference on August 8 through 10 at the Valley Brook Inn in Wurtsboro, NY. This is the closest thing to a convention that YDS does. It is at the summer meeting that the national Coordinating Committee is elected and an Activist Agenda decided upon. For more information, go to:
    http://www.ydsusa.org/news/socialistsummerretreat

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

    Politics

    Universal Health Care Hearings
    Bob Roman
    HB311 is Illinois' "single-payer" universal health insurance bill. Chicago DSA endorsed it not long after it was introduced in the Illinois House by Representative Mary Flowers. While the bill has been caught up in the fiscal and political melt-down in Springfield, it has also picked up co-sponsors and hearings on the bill have begun around the state. Tom Wilson passed along this interesting link that covered the hearing on June 9 at Simeon Career Academy. It's worth a look, particularly for the discussion afterward. While nothing is likely to happen this year, the work being done now may pay off next year. We'll see.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/6/9/91121/88720/420/532490

    Incidentally, do you know how much you are really paying for health care? A lot more than you think:
    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

    Congress Hotel Demonstration
    Bob Roman
    Well over a thousand people showed up at the Congress Hotel on Thursday, June 12, to support the 5th year of the ongoing strike by members of UNITE HERE Local 1. Henry Tamarin, President of Local 1, expressed regret that this conflict had turned into the annual event that united all Chicago's labor movement. But there it is. Chicago DSA was among the two dozen or so organizations recognized for having supported the strike, and we had a decent turnout of members for a Thursday afternoon; I counted about a dozen but those were the ones I saw and recognized.

    For photos of the demonstration, see:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/c20080612/index.html

    Coverage of the demonstration can be found here:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-thu-five-year-strike-jun12,0,7973896.story

    http://progressillinois.com/2008/06/11/features/walk-the-line
    http://www.chicagojournal.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=60&ArticleID=5115&TM=84606.27
    and
    Jerry Mead-Lucero of Labor Express did some interviews that can be found here:
    http://pilsenprole.blogspot.com/2008/06/congress-hotel-strike-enters-5th-year.html

    Globalization and Its Discontents

     

    CAFTA
    the Central American Free Trade Agreement

  • Fast Track Trade Negotiating Authority: It Ain't Over 'til the Sopranos Sing by Bob Roman, New Ground 80, January - February, 2002
  • Worshiping the Golden CAFTA by Bob Roman, New Ground 98, January - February, 2005
  • FTAA / Fast Track
    the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas

  • Free Trade Agreement of the Americas: Chile on the Fast Track by Frank Klein, New Ground 41, July - August, 1995
  • Fighting Globalization from Below: Niketown AntiSweatshop Rally by Bob Roman, New Ground 58, May - June, 1998
  • Globalization from Below by Bob Roman, Charity Crouse and Joan Axthelm, New Ground 59, July - August, 1998
  • The FTAA, Quebec, and Beyond by Bill Dixon, New Ground 75, March - April, 2001
  • Chicago Anti-FTAA Action by Bob Roman, New Ground 76, May - June, 2001
  • A Rough Ride for the FTAA by Bill Dixon, New Ground 76, May - June, 2001
  • Murder on the Fast Track Express by Bob Roman, New Ground 77, July - August, 2001
  • Fast Track Trade Negotiating Authority: It Ain't Over 'til the Sopranos Sing by Bob Roman, New Ground 80, January - February, 2002
  • Workers Held Hostage by Bob Roman, New Ground 81, March - April, 2002
  • Globalization Without Representation (2004)
  • Worshiping the Golden CAFTA by Bob Roman, New Ground 98, January - February, 2005
  • MAI
    the Multilateral Agreement on Investment

  • Bye-Bye M.A.I.? by Bill Dixon, New Ground 57, March - April, 1998
  • ...Well, Not Quite by Bob Roman, New Ground 57, March - April, 1998
  • NAFTA
    the North American Free Trade Agreement

  • Not This NAFTA: Toward a North American FAIR Trade Agreement (1993)
  • West Suburban Goings-On: More Demonstrations Planned by Paul Lenart, New Ground 31, September, 1993
  • Anti-NAFTA Rally at the Merchandise Mart by Jim Madigan, New Ground 32, January - February, 1994
  • Han Young and Solidarity in the Age of NAFTA by Bill Dixon, New Ground 60, September - October, 1998
  • October 30th Day of Action: North America Is a War Zone! by Amy Traub, Dan Graff and Bob Roman, New Ground 61, November - December, 1998
  • "NAFTA for Africa"
    the African Growth and Opportunity Act

  • Africa's HOPE Against Globalization: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Progressive Alternative to NAFTA for Africa by Bill Dixon, New Ground 63, March - April, 1999
  • Other News: The Hope for Africa Bill, New Ground 64, May - June, 1999
  • NAFTA for Africa, New Ground 68, January - February, 2000
  • NAFTA for Africa, New Ground 70, May - June, 2000
  • WTO
    the World Trade Organization

  • Economic Democracy and the New World Order: A View from Nicaragua by Soren Ambrose, New Ground 40, May - June, 1995
  • The WTO Must Be Stopped Now by Bill Dixon, New Ground 65, July - August, 1999
  • The Battle in Seattle by Harold Taggart, New Ground 68, January - February, 2000
  • WTO Action in Chicago by Bob Roman, New Ground 68, January - February, 2000
  • China in the WTO? No Deal. by Bill Dixon, New Ground 69, March - April, 2000
  • A16: Direct Action Against the IMF - WTO by Ben Doherty, New Ground 70, May - June, 2000
  • Fear and Loathing in D.C. by Harold Taggart, New Ground 70, May - June, 2000
  • Feedback: "Toward an Economic Justice Agenda" by Ron Baiman, New Ground 112.2, 07.16.2007
  •  

    TAKE ACTION

    Tell the next President of the United States that it's time to renegotiate NAFTA!

    CLICK HERE to add your voice to the call.

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Sex and Socialism
    Got your attention, didn't it? Well the Summer, 2008, issue of New Politics takes on socialism and sexuality:
    http://www.wpunj.edu/~newpol/issue45/cont45.htm

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

    PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

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

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