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

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

New Ground 119

July - August, 2008

Contents

  • 5 Years and Striking by Bob Roman
  • Thirty Seconds Over Burger King by Bob Roman
  • Progressive Democrats of America Illinois Conference by Bill Barclay
  • Fair Trade by Bob Roman
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • People
    Charity Begins at Home
    Labor Day in Pullman
    New World Resource Center

    New Ground 119.1 - 08.09.2008

    0. DSA News

    Reminder
    New Ground
    Introducing Erik Rosenberg
    Save the Date
    Bastille Day

    1. Politics

    Support the Congress Hotel Strike
    Renegotiate NAFTA
    Empty Bellies

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Didn't Theory Fail?

    3. Books

    "The Big Squeeze" and "Love the Work, Hate the Job"

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 119.2 - 08.28.2008

    0. DSA News

    DSA Statement on the 2008 Presidential Election
    Socialist International 23rd Congress
    Young Democratic Socialists
    September Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    New Ground Labor Day Issue

    1. Politics

    Labor Day
    Minimum Wage? What Minimum Wage?
    Wildly Disparate Funding
    Kartemquin Films Online
    Renegotiate NAFTA

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Tragedy?
    Cuba

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest


    5 Years and Striking

    by Bob Roman

    Well over a thousand people showed up at the Congress Hotel on Thursday afternoon, June 12, to support Congress Hotel workers on the 5th year of their ongoing strike. Supporters of UNITE HERE Local 1 turned out in such numbers that they were able to form a double picket line encircling the entire building which occupies fully half a city block. Giant balloon rats contributed by various building trades succinctly represented the prevailing opinion about Congress Hotel management.

    The picket line was followed by a brief rally where Henry Tamarin, President of Local 1, expressed regret that this conflict had turned into the annual event that united all of Chicago's labor movement. John Wilhelm, the President of UNITE HERE's Hospitality Division, was among the more eloquent speakers at the rally. He spoke about how the strikers were part of a heroic tradition of social justice. Wilhelm has made it a point to appear at each of the anniversary demonstrations for this strike since it began. 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti also spoke, his speech slyly referring to some of the litigation resulting from increased City Council scrutiny of the Congress Hotel by stating what he would like to say if his lawyers hadn't told him not to.

    There were also speakers from the Local 1 rank-and-file, Interfaith Workers Justice, Dennis Gannon who is President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, and others.

    Henry Tamarin took the opportunity to recognize some two dozen or so organizations that had been especially supportive of the Congress Hotel strike, including Chicago DSA. The recognition came with a plaque that does indeed make a pretty office ornament. Chicago DSA had sent out some 800 postcards advertising this demonstration, mostly to addresses in the central city area, our members, and our friends. We had a decent turnout of DSA members for a Thursday afternoon. I counted about a dozen, but those were the people I saw and recognized. Photos of the demonstration are posted on the web at http://www.chicagodsa.org/c20080612/index.html.

    It seems pretty clear to me, at least, that Local 1 (and possibly the rest of UNITE HERE even more so?) would like to be done with this strike. Not that they are about to throw in the towel but just what deal, if any, the workers might be willing to do for a contract is moot as, by all accounts, Congress Hotel management has been totally disinclined to do any negotiating this past year. The 5 years length of the strike plus a hotel occupancy rate that reportedly never exceeds 30% (usually much less) pretty much gives lie to management's original assertion that it could not afford to pay the going rate under UNITE HERE contracts. The Congress Hotel has probably lost more money with the strike than they would have with a settlement. Plus, management has somewhere found the money to start doing renovations to the hotel. This mulish behavior will probably leave Local 1 with no alternative but to turn up the heat.

    Local 1 will be beginning another round of contract negotiations with Chicago hotels soon. The ominous news is that Local 1 is voting on whether or not to increase their dues, the extra money to be going to their strike fund. Stay tuned.


    Thirty Seconds Over Burger King

    by Bob Roman

    On May 23rd, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Burger King held a joint news conference in Washington, DC, to announce an agreement to directly pay workers who pick the tomatoes that Burger King buys an additional penny per pound. The agreement goes beyond previous agreements in that Burger King is also offering the employers of the tomato pickers an additional half cent per pound to cover the additional payroll taxes and administrative expenses.

    The agreement also establishes zero tolerance guidelines for certain unlawful activities, requiring immediate termination from the Burger King supply chain of any grower in violation, and provides for farm worker participation in the monitoring of growers' compliance with the company's vendor code of conduct.

    While the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange has not dropped its opposition to buyer / CIW agreements, it has dropped its policy, adopted last year, of fining any member of the cooperative who participates in such agreements.

    The relatively quick collapse of Burger King's opposition to CIW was a consequence of activist pressure, changed circumstances, and most especially Burger King's amazing talent for shooting itself in the foot.

    Among other things, the company was revealed to have an ongoing relationship with an unlicensed private detective agency when it attempted to use the service to spy on CIW and its allies. A vice-president of the firm (not top management, according to Burger King) was fired when it came to light that he was using his daughter's email accounts to post scurrilous attacks on CIW and CIW supporters.

    Circumstances had changed from the Taco Bell and McDonalds campaigns as well. With Democrats now in control of Congress, the Senate (where Senators Bernie Sanders and Dick Durbin deserve considerable credit) was able to hold hearings that help put the campaign in the public spotlight in a manner distinctly unfavorable to Burger King and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange. Another case of farm labor slavery in Florida and growing editorial sympathy among the news media most especially in Florida also helped.

    Activist pressure was also a factor. While the Burger King campaign never developed the national coherence of the two previous campaigns (particularly in Chicago), CIW was able to exert some credible pressure in Florida where both the Burger King HQ and CIW are located.

    CIW currently has a campaign that is directed at bringing Chipolte Mexican Grill into an agreement. This is yet another fast food chain that boasts of using its buying power to "revolutionize the way America grows and gathers its food." There are grocery chains that make similar claims, and CIW has already begun pressuring Whole Foods to come to agreement. Wal-Mart and Subway have also been mentioned as possible near future targets. The Student / Farmworker Alliance, one of CIW's allied organizations, is planning a conference (an "enceuntro") in Immokalee on September 18 through 21, and it's reasonable to expect the CIW's priorities will be settled by then.


    Progressive Democrats of America Illinois Conference

    by Bill Barclay

    With the revived prospects for the Democratic Party ­ no longer apparently facing Karl Rove's permanent Republican majority ­ a growing number of politically committed people have asked the question, "What would or should a resurrected Democratic Party look like?" There are a variety of answers to this question, e.g., the Democratic Leadership Council's centrist conception, the Blue Dogs' Republican lite, etc. One of the more promising visions that has emerged is represented by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), a national organization that emerged out of the Kucinich for President 2004 campaign. PDA is still quite fragile, even with its estimated 100,000 members, but its "inside, outside" strategy vis à vis the Democratic Party has the potential for linking together and giving voice to a large number of groups engaged in their own issues, e.g., the war and occupation, health care, the housing meltdown, etc., under the aegis of a reformed and remade national Democratic Party. Only time and political struggle will answer the question of whether this strategy is actually viable. This short report is an account of one piece of that effort: the first state-wide PDA conference in Illinois.

    The conference occurred on June 28th at the Marvel Davis Farm near Big Rock, Illinois. You can be forgiven for not being quite sure where that is, but note two things about the location: it is not in Chicago and the farm is located where Dennis Hastert's Prairie State Expressway is proposed to run. In fact, Marvel Davis, the farm's owner, offered the site for free because she had met and supported John Laesch, a PDA supported-candidate who ran against Hastert in 2006 and was narrowly beaten by centrist Democrat Bill Foster in the 2008 primary.

    The theme of the conference was "More ­ and Better Democrats" with much emphasis on the better, especially by the end of the day. An equally important impetus for the conference was the desire to bring various groups to the same venue to explore how we could all work together. In addition to PDA, DSA, Democracy For America. MoveOn, these groups included local peace and justice groups and grass roots level Democratic Party activists. Altogether, about 75 people gathered from the northern and western portions of the state.

    The opening panel, "Progressives, Democrats, November 2008 and Beyond" included representatives from the full range of conference attendees. The panelists did a good job of talking about their own organizations and the work they were doing that fits into the progressive label, and a less thorough job of spelling out how we could all work together ­ of course, if it were easy to answer that question there would have been no need for the conference. There were break out sessions in the both the morning and afternoon on "Ending the Death Penalty in Illinois." "Winning Single Payer Health Care in Illinois," "Next Steps in Working against the War and Occupation," "Causes and Progressive Policies Responses to the Financial and Economic Crisis," and "Grass Roots Electoral Skills." All were interesting and stimulated discussion among the attendees. Check the PDA web site (http://www.pdaillinois.org ) for outlines from the sessions.

    Stephen Kinzer, formerly New York Times correspondent and author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, delivered the keynote, entitled "Advice for the Next President and the Democrats." The final session was on working together ­ how, when and where. Most of the discussion revolved around supporting progressive candidates at the local and state level ­ and how to determine whether a candidate actually merited the label "progressive." No definitive answers, but in the short time since the conference some of the groups have initiated conversations about closer working relationships. We'll see what happens as the political year 2008 "progresses."


    Fair Trade

    by Bob Roman

    The "Trade Act of 2008" (HR 6180) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Michael Michaud of Maine in early June. It has gathered 63 cosponsors, including Illinois Representatives Danny Davis (7), Phil Hare (17), Jesse Jackson Jr. (2), Daniel Lipinski (3), Jan Schakowsky (9). In the Senate, the legislation (S 3083) was introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and has gathered 4 cosponsors. Neither Durbin nor Obama are among them.

    This important legislation would:

    • Require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a comprehensive review of existing trade agreements with an emphasis on economic results, enforcement and compliance, and an analysis of non-tariff provisions in trade agreements;
    • Spell out standards for labor and environmental protections, food and product safety, national security exceptions, and remedies that must be included in new trade pacts;
    • Set requirements with respect to public services, farm policy, investment, government procurement, and affordable medicines that have been incorporated in trade agreements;
    • Require the President to submit renegotiation plans for current trade pacts prior to negotiating new agreements and prior to Congressional consideration of pending agreements;
    • Create a committee comprised of the chairs and ranking members of each committee whose jurisdiction is affected by trade agreements to review the president's plan for renegotiations; and
    • Restore Congressional oversight of trade agreements.

    With a Republican President, of course, this bill has little chance of becoming law, but it is important anyway as means of demonstrating a constituency for renegotiating NAFTA and placing the issue on the agenda for next year.

    Complimentary to this effort is a petition drive being organized by DSA. Addressed to the next President, the demands the renegotiation of NAFTA so that the treaty follows a 9 point "Principles of Fair Trade." It further demands a review of the effects of NAFTA and the termination of the "Security and Prosperity Partnership."

    Signatures are being gathered both electronically and on hardcopy. To sign up on line, go to http://www.renegotiatenafta.org . You can also download copies of the petition for signatures. If you're not on line, call the Chicago DSA office at 773.384.0327 or the DSA National Office at 212.727.8610 for copies to circulate.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    People

    Tom Broderick was elected to the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Board of Directors at the organization's annual meeting on June 26.

    Bill Pelz was elected Political Education Officer at Chicago DSA's annual membership convention on June 21. He is the author of Against Capitalism: The European Left on the March (2007), The Spartkusbund and the German Working Class Movement (1988), and Wilhelm Liebknecht and German Social Democracy (1994). He also edited the recently re-issued Eugene V. Debs Reader (2000, 2007). Bill's articles and book reviews have appeared in the American Historical Review, International Labor and Working Class History, German History, Sozialismus, JahrBuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, and International Labor History Yearbook, among others.

    Activist, educator, historian Timuel Black will be presented with the IVI-IPO's "Saul Mendelson Social Justice Award" at that organization's 64th Annual Independents' Day Dinner. The awards presentation and luncheon will take place on Saturday, August 2 at Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie in Chicago. Tickets are $85. For more information, call 312.939.5105 or go to www.iviipo.org.

    Charity Begins at Home

    Resurrection Health Care has begun a "1,000 Healthy Kids and Families" campaign to enroll children in the State of Illinois' All Kids health insurance program. In response, the Oak Park Austin Health Alliance (OPAHA) has called upon the healthcare corporation to extend its commitment to children's health by providing its own employees with affordable health care. Resurrection employees must pay more than $200 per month to cover their families through the Resurrection health insurance plan but some of these employees make less than $10 an hour. This dissonance is one of the major reasons why Resurrection employees have been working with AFSCME to organize a union at Resurrection hospitals. A study of Resurrection's skewed pay policies is available at http://www.reformresurrection.org/resources-and-publications.html .

    OPAHA is also questioning plans by Resurrection's West Suburban Medical Center to close clinics at 3 senior citizen buildings: Mills Park Tower, The Oaks, and the Oak Park Arms. According to hospital management, the closures are due to budgetary concerns, but they have not provided information on projected cost savings and these cuts will seriously affect services to hundreds of senior citizens. OPAHA is asking Oak Park residents to call the Oak Park Village Board of Trustees at 708.358.5784 or West Suburban CEO Jay Kreuzer at 708.763.6701.

    Greater Oak Park DSA is a member of OPAHA.

    --Bob Roman

    Labor Day in Pullman

    Monday, September 1, 2 PM, at Hotel Florence / Pullman Arcade Park at 111th and Cottage Grove Av in Chicago: join Historic Pullman Foundation, Pullman Civic Organization, Illinois Labor History Society, Bronzeville/Chicago Black History Society, Illinois AFL-CIO, Calumet Heritage Partnership, Chicago Metro History Project, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, State of Illinois Historic Site at Pullman for a Rally; Historical Exhibits and special guest speeches. The event will feature tributes and performances dedicated to early leaders in the history of the Labor Movement: Eugene Debs, A. Philip Randolph, a young Jennie Curtiss; with a special tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 75th Anniversary of The New Deal. For further information, contact Tom at tomshepherd2001@yahoo.com , 773.928.3040, or Larry at larrys@afscmeillinois.org , 312.641.6060x4318, or go to http://members.aol.com/pullmanil/events.html

    New World Resource Center

    Chicago's famous radical bookstore and meeting center, the New World Resource Center, has closed. The 1300 N. Western Avenue building that housed this Chicago institution was sold and the new owners wanted the space pretty much immediately. The collective that runs the bookstore views this as a temporary situation. Most of the inventory and fixtures have been put into storage and they expect to eventually reopen in a new location. The web site is also temporarily down; however, the weekly email calendar is still being published. You can subscribe by sending an email to NWRC2600@juno.com .


    New Ground #119.1

    08.09.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Reminder
    New Ground
    Introducing Erik Rosenberg
    Save the Date
    Bastille Day

    1. Politics

    Support the Congress Hotel Strike
    Renegotiate NAFTA
    Empty Bellies

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Didn't Theory Fail?

    3. Books

    "The Big Squeeze" and "Love the Work, Hate the Job"

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Reminder
    for Chicago DSA members: the Executive Committee meets Tuesday, August 12, 7 PM at the Chicago DSA office. While it is a committee meeting, all DSA members are welcome to attend and to add their thoughts and perspectives to the business at hand. It's also a good place to see and be seen. If you'd like to become more involved, there are all manner of possibilities, including deeply. For example, the Executive Committee has at present two vacancies, the Female Co-chair and the Treasurer (the latter being temporarily occupied by the ghost of Bob Roman). Please come by, say hello, check out the possibilities. The office is at 1608 N. Milwauee, Room 403, at the 3-way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen avenues. Incidentally, there is some news about the office and the building....

    New Ground
    On the other hand, if you haven't the time to get involved, could you spare some change? I mean, everyone's talking about it. Change, that is. So your help in supporting New Ground would be timely and important. Here's how:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngpromo.pdf

    Introducing Erik Rosenberg
    Dave Duhalde has been the YDS National Organizer for the past few years but he's now going on to other work. Erik Rosenberg has been hired to replace him. Roseberg recently posted the following introduction on The Activist:

    I am pleased and excited to begin my tenure as Youth Organizer of the Young Democratic Socialists. Thanks to all of you for giving me this opportunity. As Youth Organizer, I hope to strengthen and expand YDS as an organization, a community, and a movement.

    My past political activism has centered primarily on peace. As a high school student at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel, I co-organized a conflict resolution committee that brought together Palestinians, Israelis, Israeli-Arabs, and Americans to discuss the conflict in the Holy Land. After graduating, I returned to the United States to attend Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where I earned my B.A. in Government, graduating in 2008. Throughout college I continued my work as a peace activist. I co-founded Students for Ending the War in Iraq (SEWI) which I helped develop into one of the most prominent activist organizations on campus. I also connected SEWI with larger networks such as Connecticut Opposes the War (COW) and the Campus Anti-War Network (CAN). I have interned with Brooklyn For Peace (formerly Brooklyn Parents For Peace), United For Peace and Justice, and served on the Steering Committee of United For Peace and Justice.

    Outside of the political realm I enjoy playing the guitar and the piano, gardening, squash, and yoga. I look forward to returning to New York, the city of my birth, to begin my work as Youth Organizer.

    Please feel free to contact me with any ideas, comments, or concerns. I look forward to meeting you (hopefully at the Summer Conference, if not sooner) and working to build an even better YDS.

    Sincerely,
    Erik Rosenberg

    For more information, see
    http://www.theactivist.org
    and
    http://www.ydsusa.org

    Save the Date
    On Wednesday, October 1, Chicago DSA will be bringing Bill Fletcher to town for a panel discussion focusing on his latest book, Solidarity Divided, that he co-wrote with Fernando Gapasin. It will be at the UE Hall, 37 S. Ashland in Chicago at 7:30 PM. The event is being co-sponsored by In These Times. The panel is still under construction, so stay tuned for more information. (This is going to be fun!) Thanks to Mel Rothenberg for getting the ball rolling.

    Bastille Day
    Michael Baker
    On July 13th, Chicago DSA along with the Chicago Socialist Party, Open University of the Left, Marxist-Humanist Tendency, and Solidarity (Chicago) held a Bastille Day Party at Quencher's Saloon, Fullerton & Western in Chicago. About 75 people attended the event. While some of the attendees were the usual suspects, there were a number of new faces as well. The event featured live free jazz, a great deal of conversation and conviviality, and a raffle featuring such prizes as t-shirts of Rosa Luxemburg and collections of works by Eugene V. Debs. Members of Chicago DSA networked, distributed literature, and collected a number of petition signatures for the "Renegotiate NAFTA" campaign.

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

    Politics

    Support the Congress Hotel Strike
    Some of the latest developments were covered in New Ground 119, and there have been more developments since. One is that Chicago DSA members have been helping to cover selected picketline shifts. You're invited to help with our next shift at the Congress Hotel (520 S. Michigan Av): Saturday, 8-12. There are other ways you can help. For more information, contact Jessica at 312.446.1767 or jmarielala@gmail.com

    Renegotiate NAFTA
    See http://www.renegotiatenafta.org

    Empty Bellies
    Since 2003, prices of basic agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat, soybeans, and rice have skyrocketed worldwide, threatening to further impoverish hundreds of millions of the world's poor. In Dollars & Sense, Ben Collins explains the situation. See:
    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0708collins.html

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Didn't Theory Fail?
    Donna Haraway, a past editor of Socialist Review and author of the Cyborg Manifesto, examines the question. See:
    http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/2008/08/donna-haraway-but-didnt-theory-fail.html

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

    Books

    "The Big Squeeze" and "Love the Work, Hate the Job"
    In the latest issue of Dissent, Jack Metzgar reviews books by Steven Greenhouse and David Kusnet. See:
    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=1242

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Monday, August 11, 7 PM
    Heartland Cafe's 32nd Anniversary Party
    Heartland Cafe, Lunt & Glenwood, Chicago
    Featuring the Chicago Catz, Funk, Soul, R&B. See http://www.heartlandcafe.com/

    Tuesday, August 12, 6 PM
    An Evening with Meade Palidofsky
    Loyola University Chicago, 111 E. Pearson, 13th Floor, Beane Hall, Chicago
    The Albert Schweitzer Fellows for Life Lecture Series (in collaboration with Loyola University School of Social Work) is proud to present an evening with award-winning playwright/director, Meade Palidofsky, founder of Music Theater Workshop. The event is free but reservations are strongly recommended. Please RSVP at: rsvp@hmprg.org or call 312.372.4292 ext. 24

    Saturday, August 15, 5 PM to 6:30 PM
    Iraq Moratorium 12 by Lipinski's Office
    Representative Lapinski's District Office, 6245 S. Archer Av, Chicago
    Vigil, honk for peace survey, leafleting sponsored by Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice. See http://icjpe.org/organizations/?org-id=12 and http://iraqmoratorium.org

    Saturday - Sunday, August 16 - 17, 9:30 AM to 4 PM
    16th Annual Protest of Chicago's Air & Water Show
    East End of Lake Shore Drive Pedestrian Bridge (2 blocks north of North Av), Chicago
    For more information, call Paul Bossie, 773.826.8136

    Monday, September 1, 2 PM
    Labor Day in Pullman
    111th and Cottage Grove Av, Chicago
    Featuring tributes and performances dedicated to early leaders in the history of the Labor Movement: Eugene Debs, A. Philip Randolph, young Jennie Curtiss; with a special tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 75th Anniversary of The New Deal. See http://members.aol.com/PullmanIL/


    New Ground #119.2

    08.28.2008

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    DSA Statement on the 2008 Presidential Election
    Socialist International 23rd Congress
    Young Democratic Socialists
    September Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    New Ground Labor Day Issue

    1. Politics

    Labor Day
    Minimum Wage? What Minimum Wage?
    Wildly Disparate Funding
    Kartemquin Films Online
    Renegotiate NAFTA

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Tragedy?
    Cuba

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    DSA Statement on the 2008 Presidential Election
    See http://www.dsausa.org/pdf/Statement_on_the_2008_Presidential_Election.pdf or
    http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/dsa-pac-statement-on-2008-elections/

    Socialist International 23rd Congress
    Nearly 700 participants from 150 political parties and organisations from 120 countries attended the XXIII Congress of the Socialist International when it met in Athens, Greece, from June 30 to July 2. DSA is a member of the Socialist International and was represented at the Congress by Frank Llewellyn, Corey Walker, George Roberts, David Duhalde, Alejandro Duhalde, and Carthene R. Bazemore Walker, For more information on the business completed at the 23rd Congress, see:
    http://www.socialistinternational.org/viewArticle.cfm?ArticleID=1915

    Young Democratic Socialists
    The Young Democratic Socialists held their annual summer retreat in Wurtsboro, New York, August 8th through the 10th. While it was not a large event, it was encouraging in its diversity and it was the best attended summer conference in the past 6 years. For a brief report back on the conference, see:
    http://theactivist.org/blog/?p=323

    September Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    At the August Executive Committee meeting, Michael Baker volunteered to be Treasurer. Bob Roman had been appointed acting Treasurer at the June Membership Convention pending someone willing to take the job. When Baker volunteered, Roman resigned, and Baker was appointed acting Treasurer pending a special election for the post at the next membership meeting.

    And the next membership meeting will be Tuesday, September 9, 7 PM at the Chicago DSA office: 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 in Chicago. If anyone else had been thinking it would be way cool to be Treasurer of Chicago DSA, it's not too late.

    New Ground Labor Day Issue
    Just a reminder that the deadline for ad copy, letters to the editor, articles, etc., is Monday, September 8. Get the details about supporting New Ground at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngpromo.pdf

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

    Politics

    Labor Day
    The union movement is celebrating Labor Day in a variety of ways around Illinois, most typically with parades and picnics, though here in Chicago there is the Labor Day in Pullman program (see Upcoming Events below), the CFL's annual "Labor in the Pulpits" program, and a $500,000 radio and TV ad campaign. For a survey of Illinois events, see:
    http://www.ilafl-cio.org/events.htm

    For information about the Labor in the Pulpits program, see:
    http://www.chicagolabor.org/content/view/258/194/

    For an account of the ad campaign, see:
    http://www.suntimes.com/business/1116633,CST-FIN-labor20.article

    Minimum Wage? What Minimum Wage?
    Every time labor, liberals and the left propose raising the minimum wage, whether on the Federal or State level, conservatives always whine about (or threaten) job losses. When economists attempt to study the question, the picture becomes ambiguous. Part of it is that any negative or positive effect is often swamped by more general upturns or downturns in the economy. Some of it is because it is actually more difficult than you might imagine to assemble consistent and comparable data on wages, occupations, and employment from year to year. And some of it is that the law is simply not enforced.

    Last month Interfaith Workers Justice Executive Director Kim Bobo testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor on the magnitude of the problem on the Federal level. Her testimony is here:
    http://www.iwj.org/documents/Wagethefttestimony.pdf

    Keep in mind the problem regarding the Illinois minimum wage is probably worse.

    Wildly Disparate Funding
    With the Urban League suing the State of Illinois over inequalities in school funding and with the Reverend Senator Meeks calling for a school boycott on the first day of classes, you may be wondering just how bad the funding situation is. The Chicago Reporter has assembled a report that will tell you:
    http://www.chicagoreporter.com/index.php/c/Web%20Exclusive/d/Wildly_Disparate_Funding

    For some additional background information, including legislation currently moldering in the General Assembly because of the factional gridlock therein, see
    http://www.ctbaonline.org/Education.htm

    Kartemquin Films Online
    Kartemquin Films is a 40 year old Chicago institution with a reputation for producing quality, progressive documentaries. Now some of the company's work is available in digital form from http://www.snagfilms.com. Four Kartemquin features (5 Girls; Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes; Refrigerator Mothers; and Vietnam, Long Time Coming ) are available as video streams. The website, which aims to make independent documentaries more available for public viewing, allows users to e-mail films, or easily imbed the movies in personal webpages, so that others can watch. The site features quick methods to post films on Myspace and Facebook pages, as well as other popular social networking sites.

    One of Kartemquin's more recent features, At the Death House Door is currently available on iTunes and as a free download from the IFC for non-profit groups interested in holding screenings. Kartemquin's highly acclaimed Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita will also be available for download on iTunes shortly. See:
    http://www.ifc.com/atthedeathhousedoor

    For more information about Kartemquin Films, see http://www.kartemquin.com

    Renegotiate NAFTA
    Sign the petition: http://www.renegotiatenafta.org

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Tragedy?
    In The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons, Ian Angus takes on the 1968 Science magazine article that has become a classic article in the neo-liberal argument. Far from being scientific, Angus shows it to be polemic, mostly:
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/angus250808.html

    Cuba
    Social democrats often use a "slightly imaginary" Sweden as their reference point in arguing policy. Here, the Institute of Policy Studies' Saul Landau and University of New Mexico's Nelson Valdes use a slightly imaginary Cuba as their reference in a discussion of the state of reform in Cuba leading the October, 2009, Communist Party Congress. See:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/landau08142008.html

    For more discussion, see:
    http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/category/5/20/43/
    and
    http://www.kaosenlared.net/cuba

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Monday, September 1. 2 PM
    Labor Day in Pullman
    111th and Cottage Grove Av, Chicago
    Featuring tributes and performances dedicated to early leaders in the history of the Labor Movement: Eugene Debs, A. Philip Randolph, young Jennie Curtiss; with a special tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 75th Anniversary of The New Deal. See http://members.aol.com/PullmanIL/

    Tuesday, September 2, 1 PM to 4 PM
    Congress Hotel Strike Picket Line
    Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Av, Chicago
    Join DSA members and others as we help with a picket line shift. There are ways you can help, too. For information, contact Jessica Lawlor at 312-446-1767 or email her at jmarielala@gmail.com

    Monday, September 8, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Sports, Poetry, and Resistance: Looking for Democracy in American Culture
    Chicago Cultural Center 5th Floor Garland Room, 78 E. Washington St, Chicago
    A Public Square event: sports and poetry featuring sports writer David Zirin and poet Kevin Coval. Reservations required: phone 312.422.5580 or email events@prairie.org. For more information, see:
    http://www.prairie.org/events/18433/sports-poetry-and-resistance-looking-democracy-american-culture

    Tuesday, September 9, 7 PM
    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago
    Special election for Treasurer and other business. Call 773.384.0327 or email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org

    Saturday, September 13, 3 PM to 6 PM
    A movement Re-imagining Change
    The Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone, Chicago
    A panel of activists will provide an opportunity for lively discussion about a movement-building document that seeks to help forge a progressive platform of issues for 2009 and beyond, and to build bridges between social justice struggles. For more information, see http://www.ellasdaughters.org

    Wednesday, September 17, 6 PM to 9 PM
    30th Anniversary of the Center for Neighborhood Technology
    Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park, Chicago
    Center for Neighborhood Technology will celebrate its accomplishments and innovations which have addressed critical urban environmental and economic issues. See http://www.cnt.org/calendar#cnt30

    Saturday, September 20, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
    2008 Pax Christi Saint Gertrude Peace Conference
    St. Gertrude Parish Social Hall, 1401 W Granville, Chicago
    Listen, learn and discuss concrete actions to support Iraqi citizens and veterans who have experienced war and its aftermath. For information, call Jim at 773.743.4632 or email your name, phone number, and organization to paxgert@gmail.com

    Saturday, September 27, 9 AM to 11 AM
    Congress Hotel Strike Picket Line
    Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Av, Chicago
    Join DSA members and others as we help with a picket line shift. There are ways you can help, too. For information, contact Jessica Lawlor at 312-446-1767 or email her at jmarielala@gmail.com

    Saturday, September 27, 8 PM
    10th Annual Matthew Shepart March for LGBT Freedom
    Halsted & Roscoe, Chicago
    Beginning with a short rally at Halsted & Roscoe. For more information, email lgbtliberation@aol.com or go to:
    http://www.gayliberation.net

    Sunday, September 28, 2 PM
    "At the Death House Door"
    Oak Park Public Library Veterans Room, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Showing of the death penalty documentary by filmmakers Steve James and Peter Gilbert followed by discussion. Co-sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice and the Oak Park Public Library. See:
    http://www.opctj.org.

    Wednesday, October 1, 7:30 PM
    The Labor Movement and Progressive Politics in the Post-Bush Era
    UE Hall, 37 S. Ashaland 1st Floor, Chicago
    Panel discussion featuring Bill Fletcher Jr, Richard Berg, and David Moberg, moderated by Kim Bobo. Co-sponsored by Chicago DSA and In These Times. For information, call 773.384.0327 or go to:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/sd.pdf

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

    PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

    "New Ground" is published by

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

    Only articles specifically labeled as representing the views of the organization do so. Subscriptions to the bimonthly print edition are available at $10 for 6 issues. Send a check or money order made payable to "CDSA" to the address above. "New Ground" is also available on line at http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive, but your financial support is much appreciated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Back to top.

    Privacy policy.