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New Ground 125

July - August, 2009

Contents

  • Freedom's Just Another Word for Standing on Your Throat by Bob Roman
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
    DSA National Convention
    Dennis Dixon
    A New New Deal
    Marion Shier
    Perry Cartwright
  • New Ground 125.1 - 07.31.2009

    0. DSA News

    Meetings
    New Ground
    Red Letter

    1. Politics

    Health Insurance Reform

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Harrington Symposium
    Porto Alegre
    Why Obama Is Not a Socialist

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 125.2 - 08.14.2009

    0. DSA News

    New Ground
    Meetings
    Democratic Left

    1. Politics

    Oak Park Deserves a Living Wage by Tom Broderick
    TIF Sunshine Ordinance: Partly Cloudy
    To Charlie: A Blessing
    by Hugh Iglarsh

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Not All Socialist Countries Are the Same

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 125.3 - 08.31.2009

    0. DSA News

    GOPDSA in the News
    CDSA Membership Meeting
    Housing the National Convention
    New Ground

    1. Politics

    SK Hand Tools on Strike
    Dennis Dixon
    Arne Duncan Fails Again
    "Single-Payer? What's It Worth to Ya?"
    CAFTA's Casualties

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Revolution
    Democratic Socialism as a Right

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest


    Freedom's Just Another Word for Standing on Your Throat

    by Bob Roman

    Over a thousand people gathered outside the Congress Hotel on Monday, June 15, to protest the hotel's ongoing refusal to negotiate with UNITE HERE Local 1. The workers at the Congress Hotel have been on strike for 6 years now. For the scabs within, the pay and benefits they earn are said to be unchanged from when the strike began and represent a cut in what the workers earned prior to the strike. This strike represents unfinished business from successful industry-wide bargaining that Local 1 did back in 2002. The Congress Hotel separated itself from the process and after several months of dilatory delusory bargaining declared an impasse and imposed its own conditions.

    The strike also is said to be one of the several factors motivating the split in UNITE HERE. But if folks from the exiting "Workers United" locals were not obviously present at the protest, there was a sizable contingent from SEIU. Which, if you've been following this, is now a party to the split. It's messy, and complicated, and there are good people on both sides of the argument, even if the eggs-on-faces seem maldistributed to the SEIU side. UNITE HERE held its national convention in Chicago a few weeks after this protest and gathered broad support from the leadership of AFL-CIO unions and UNITE HERE's (and SEIU's) fellow Change to Win unions. The convention was another occasion for a large picket line outside the hotel.

    The split in UNITE HERE comes at a particularly bad time for Local 1. The Local has the Congress strike that, come October, will be the longest hotel strike in the union's history. (The exiting Workers United organizations may have some longer strikes in their past.) But Local 1 also has the industry-wide contracts for Chicago hotel workers expiring August 31, as well as upcoming contracts covering food service workers and contracts covering workers in the gaming industry in northwest Indiana. In all, these affect some 70% of the Local 1's 14,000 members.

    And then there are the organizing projects. Union staff feel pretty strongly that the union's ability to negotiate good deals is strongly correlated with the percentage of the industry's workers who are organized. In Chicago, this is about 57%, so they've been able to do reasonably well. But go back a few decades and the percentage was over 80. The decline has not been a loss of union shops but the expansion of Chicago's hotel industry. Of the organizing projects currently in play, the Blackstone Hotel has the union most particularly steamed. A publicly financed (TIF money again) redevelopment project, the "historic" Blackstone Hotel is run by Sage Hospitality, a largely non-union operation, under the Marriott International brand. The company promised neutrality if the workers wanted a union. The hotel has not lived up to its promise, the union feels. While Local 1 represents the workers, there has been one decertification attempt that the union suspects to be management inspired. And there has been at least one mass firing of 9 employees in June. Management says it was part of an internal reorganization related to the economic downturn. Local 1 has filed an NLRB complaint that the workers were fired for union activity. Negotiations continue and continue and continue toward a first contract. Local 1 has begun soliciting community support for the Blackstone workers.

    In addition to a cross section of labor and community groups, the June 15 Congress Hotel protest also drew a bevy of politicians. Our new Governor, Pat Quinn, was there, as well as our ambitious State Treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias. Of somewhat greater significance were the representatives from city hall: Aldermen Rick Munoz, Toni Preckwinkle, Joe Moore, and Bob Fioretti. 2nd Ward Alderman Fioretti's presence was probably the most consequential. The Congress Hotel is in the 2nd Ward and, partly by tradition and partly by law, the local alderman has a great deal of influence regarding zoning changes and permits. The Congress Hotel wants both, has been denied, and is suing Alderman Fioretti alleging their civil rights under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause have been violated. This is currently being argued in court and has gotten considerable coverage in the Chicago Journal.

    The Congress Hotel also wants to expand, and as a landmark more-or-less on the lakefront, those plans need to be approved by the Chicago Plan Commission under the Lakefront Protection Ordinance. The Commission was persuaded to say no in 2008, based on a history of building code violations. The Congress Hotel sued the city, arguing that the Commission had no such authority under the specific provisions of the ordinance that were cited. The Circuit Court agreed and ordered the Chicago Plan Commission to reconsider the plans without reference to past building code violations and the labor dispute.

    On Thursday, June 18, some 70 union members and community supporters gathered in the City Council Chambers to witness the inevitable rubberstamp of the Congress Hotel's plans. We were prepared for this as the city's attorneys had declined to appeal the ruling and had advised the Commission to apply the Court's judgment broadly. So it was no surprise that Local 1's suggestion that a different provision of the ordinance could encompass responsible behavior was not accepted. It was a surprise, though, that Commission Chairman Linda Searl would not allow any testimony to this effect, even after she had earlier allowed the introduction of city documents showing that the Congress Hotel had pretty much cleaned up the outstanding violations it had in 2008. She was quite emphatic about it, and we were equally vocal about our disapproval. We were ordered to leave in much the same manner as the Red Queen ordered beheadings. We departed in rather more order than a scattering pack of cards. The attending police had lunch in mind, not Searl nor our demonstration.

    The Plan Commission, you understand, does not plan. Developers are required to do plans for certain kinds of projects, and they present their plan and a dog and pony show to the Commission staff and then to the Commission to show what a great idea it is and how it complies with the applicable ordinances. Under this legalistic model, the Commission has very limited authority. Considering the enthusiasm with which Searl and the city attorneys embraced the Circuit Court ruling, I expect they're happy with chopping minutiae. Nonetheless, if you want to play civic tourist, at least one Chicago Plan Commission meeting is highly recommended.

    For all its limited authority, the Commission's decisions under the Lakefront Protection Ordinance are not reviewed by the City Council. Nonetheless, the ball moves to that court as Alderman Munoz reintroduces the "Right to Know" ordinance. This legislation would mandate that the reservation desks of hotels in a labor dispute notify customers making reservations of that dispute. This legislation will be considered at a City Council Finance Committee meeting on July 27 at 9:30 AM.

    The workers' strategy has changed, also. You will not see a picket line outside the Congress Hotel as often as before. Now the workers, and their community allies, are visiting or calling prospective customers of the hotel, asking them to withdraw their patronage. In the first six months of this year, this project claims to have diverted some $700,000 in business from the Congress Hotel, and one of the Congress' few repeat customers has moved its annual meetings elsewhere. They are also working to gain and maintain the support of public officials.

    Chicago DSA has been supporting these efforts. We did a 700 piece postcard mailing in support of the anniversary protest. The mailing targeted DSA members and friends, labor activists and unions offices downtown. DSA members have walked the picket line, participated in phone banks, and lobbied state legislators in Springfield. Tom Broderick supplemented a Local 1 picket line on Saturday morning, June 27, with about two dozen people gathered from Third Unitarian, Unity Temple in Oak Park, Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice, and DSA. DSA members included a guest appearance by past Chicago DSA Political Education Director J. Hughes, and his son, who were in town from Connecticut. Among other things, J. had a speaking engagement at a left anarchist science fiction convention that was being held across the street at Roosevelt University.

    Unfortunately, there is no indication, not even a rumor, that the Congress Hotel is at all interested in settling this strike. It can't be a matter of economics. The hotel has probably lost far more business because of the strike than it has saved in reduced wages and benefits. One can't help but speculate that the Nasser family, the owners of this privately held establishment, regard this to be every bit as much a crusade as does Local 1. I can imagine them congratulating themselves for defending free enterprise and liberty. Which goes to show you: capitalists call it freedom when they are standing on your throat.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    DSA National Convention

    The DSA National Office has announced the apportionment of delegates to the DSA National Convention. Chicago DSA has been apportioned 13 delegates and as many alternates. The meeting date and venue to elect delegates has not been set, but typically Chicago DSA has elected its delegates in September. The convention will be held at the Best Western University Plaza Hotel in Evanston on November 13 through 15 this year. While the convention schedule is still to be determined, it will include a free public event as well as a banquet. The registration fee for the entire convention has been set at $175. This includes the banquet. Delegates, but not observers, are also required to participate in a travel share plan that equalizes everyone's travel expenses. The precise cost of this to a delegate is a function of where people are coming from and their means of travel, but for someone attending via the CTA, it's likely to be a bit pricey. Consequently, this year the formula has been modified to lessen the burden on delegates attending from short distances. Delegates who drive, take the bus or train or commute to the convention may opt to pay a $75 travel subsidy fee and receive nothing from the travel pool. Delegates who fly will participate in the usual manner paying the difference of the estimated travel pool into the fund or receiving a subsidy depending on their cost.

    If you would like to be involved with DSA on the national level or if you are interested in meeting a cross section of DSA members from a variety of political environments, this is the place to go. Unlike the last time DSA's National Convention came to Chicago (1991), Chicago DSA in 2009 is not fiscally fat enough to be able to offer any subsidies to its delegates. The Executive Committee did lobby the national organization to abolish the travel share program, but while that would certainly boost regional attendance, it might lose more people coming from a distance. But with new DSA chapters starting to pop up in random places and some older ones being reestablished, this may be an interesting meeting to attend.

    For more information about the convention, call the National Office at 212.727.8610. For information about becoming a delegate for Chicago DSA (zip codes 600 through 609), call us at 773.384.0327 or email us at chiildsa@chicagodsa.org .

     

    Dennis Dixon

    Dennis Dixon was assaulted while on his way home on the CTA Red Line on June 27. He was hospitalized at Illinois Masonic Hospital with a fractured skull, brain swelling, a crushed eye socket, and a sub-dural hematoma. Such injuries do not generally leave one communicative, and it was nine days before his friends and his roommate were able to track him down. He's getting better is the good news. The less good news is that as an occasionally employed day laborer and subway busker... let's just say that Somalia may have a more prosperous economy. Right now, he's pretty much at the mercy of whatever public aid is available.

    But after a lifetime of political activism in Chicago, Dennis does have friends. You probably are one of them. One way you can help him is by making a tax-deductible contribution. You can do this online at http://www.dennisdixon.org . Or you can make a check out to the Illinois Justice Foundation Dennis Dixon fund ("IJF / Dennis Dixon Fund") and mailing it to Dixon Fund, 5441 S. Ridgewood Ct., Chicago, IL 60615.

    Dennis is not a DSA member, but he has appeared in these pages: New Ground 96: "Day Labor Organizing in Chicago" and New Ground 55: "8th Annual Midwest Radical Scholars and Activists Conference" .

    Three special events to raise money are being planned. The first will held on Thursday, August 13, at Weeds, 1555 N Dayton, Chicago. It will feature the incredible Ami Saraiya and Ann Soltys, two modern folksingers. The second be a split benefit between Dennis' future living needs and Sana TV. This will be at UE Hall and focus on international film and food. To be held on Friday August 14, 7 PM, at UE Hall, 37 S. Ashland, Chicago

     

    A New New Deal

    The Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice organized an afternoon conference on Saturday, June 13, entitled "A New New Deal: How We Make It Happen". Over 100 people attended the conference at the Workers United Hall at Ashland and Van Buren in Chicago. Attendees heard presentations about then discussed Wars and Militarism, the Employee Free Choice Act, Single-Payer Health Care, Foreclosures and Mortgages. Chicago DSA was among the cosponsoring organizations. DSA members were involved in the planning, and Chicago DSA promoted the event on the web and with a postcard mailing. The event was intended and designed to serve as a movement building exercise and as a follow up to a smaller event held in January of 2009: "A New New Deal: What Should It Look Like?" Videos and some related documents for the first conference are available at http://www.opctj.org/docs/newnewdeal.html .

     

    Marion Shier

    Marion Shier, a charter DSA member, has died. She was the widow of Carl Marx Shier, one of the founders of the Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner. They had been married 68 years. There's too much history here to be brief.

     

    Perry Cartwright

    Perry Cartwright was a long-time Chicago activist, sometimes DSA member, and constant Chicago DSA supporter, passed away on Sunday, June 28. He was 86 years old.

    Perry wrote several articles for New Ground, including a brief memoir in New Ground 93: "A Political Memoir" . Also see New Ground 50: "A New Program for Democratic Socialism: A Review" and New Ground 32: "Paul Lenart on the Move" .


     

    New Ground #125.1

    07.31.2009

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Meetings
    New Ground
    Red Letter

    1. Politics

    Health Insurance Reform

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Harrington Symposium
    Porto Alegre
    Why Obama Is Not a Socialist

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    Meetings
    The Chicago DSA Executive Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, August 4, 7 PM at the Chicago DSA office for its regular August meeting. All Chicago DSA members are welcome to attend.

    There will be a Chicago DSA membership meeting at Noon on Saturday, September 12, also at the Chicago DSA office, to elect delegates to the DSA National Convention. The National Convention will be in Evanston, Illinois, November 13 - 15. If you'd like to be a delegate, leave a message at the Chicago DSA office (773.384.0327) or email us (chiildsa@chicagodsa.org) and you'll be added to the list of candidates.

    New Ground
    The web and email are inexpensive, and you can tell by the distinctly home-made appearance that the email issues of New Ground and our web site cost next to nothing. But the print edition of New Ground, produced and delivered by union labor, is another matter. For Chicago DSA, New Ground is one of our largest budget items. So it's our hope that you will participate in our annual Labor Day issue by taking out an ad in that issue. It could be as modest as a "line item" greeting for $10 or as large as a full page at $500. Your encouragement is also solicited; this is half the reason we offer ads and not just ask for your money. Deadline for copy is September 4. Here are the details:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngpromo.pdf

    Red Letter
    The latest issue of the Young Democratic Socialists' national newsletter is here:
    http://www.ydsusa.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/redletter2009spring2.pdf

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

    Politics

    Health Insurance Reform
    Bob Roman
    With Congress on its summer vacation, its members are nervously testing the waters regarding the health insurance bill they are in the process of constructing. Should it have an option for a state run insurance program like Medicare and Medicaid? Should there be an option for individual states to have their own universal public health insurance plans? Should we do away with the insurance industry altogether in health care?

    DSA is supporting the last option, of course: the "single-payer" option: HR 676. The latest e-newsletter from the DSA National Office suggests some things you might do to encourage your local Congresspersons, namely: talk to them:
    http://www.dsausa.org/NewsFromDSA/2009/27jul2009.htm

    For an argument on why we really should take private insurance out of the picture, see this presentation by DSA's Steve Max:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UUqF9j0XWs

    Also see "Upcoming Events" below for a downtown Chicago rally on August 4 for better than nothing and an August 2 appearance in Aurora by Dennis Kucinich to pitch HR 676.

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Harrington Symposium
    This summer being the 20th anniversary of Michael Harrington's death, the Young Democratic Socialists' online magazine, The Activist, is featuring a modest retrospective of Harrington and his work. Contributions include:

    • Michael Harrington and the Twilight of Capitalism ­ Jason Schulman
    • A Life Assessed ­ Joseph Schwartz
    • The Future-Past of the Next Left ­ Matt May
    • After Michael Harrington ­ David Duhalde
    • The "Vulture Theory" of Socialism ­ Bhaskar Sunkara

    Go to: http://theactivist.org/blog/a-call-for-submissions-michael-harrington-symposium

    Porto Alegre
    The participatory budgeting pioneered by the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre has been a model for parts of the left because it so attractively combines anarchism with more traditional state-oriented socialism: a sort of Woodstock for grown-ups with children. But what happens to this picture when the state comes under the control of those unsympathetic to the process? Michael Fox, in In These Times, takes a look:
    http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4545/budgets_by_the_people/

    Why Obama Is Not a Socialist
    Ithaca DSA produced this video on the subject. A link to the entire program is at:
    http://ithacadsa.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-obama-is-not-socialist_29.html

    And an excerpt is here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A_ZOWI1aLU

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Sunday, August 2, 4 PM
    Healthcare SPEAKOUT
    Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave, Aurora
    Featuring Congressman Dennis Kucinich and others in favor of HR 676, "single-payer" health insurance. $10 donation. For more information: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhdb4qp6_13d63kvftx&hl=en

    Tuesday, August 4, 4:30 PM to 6 PM
    Rally to Support Obama's Health Care Reform Bill
    Federal Plaza, Dearborn & Adams, Chicago
    With a public health insurance option. Featuring Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and others. See http://hcanil.org. For information call 312.427.2114x206 or x208.

    Wednesday, August 5, 5:15 PM to 6:45 PM
    Hiroshima Memorial
    At the Henry Moore monument, Ellis Avenue between 56th and 57th streets, Chicago
    Readings, songs, silent vigil to remember to nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and to advocate nuclear disarmament. Sponsored by the Midwest Pacifist Center. Call 773.324.0654 for information

    Thursday, August 6, 7 PM to 9 PM
    Memorial to the Victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings
    Dawes Park, Sheridan Road & Church Street, Evanston
    Picnic, music, movie, petition to abolish nuclear weapons. Sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, Fellowship of Reconciliation, North Shore Coalition for Peace Justice and the Environment. For information: 847.256.0456 or 312.480.1331

    Thursday, August 13, 6 PM to 10 PM
    Benefit for Dennis Dixon
    Weeds, 1555 N. Dayton, Chicago
    Starting with BBQ, then at 7 music by Ami Saraiya, Anna Soltys, Phunk One. See http://dennisdixonchicago.wordpress.com/events/

    Friday, August 14, 7 PM
    Benefit for Dennis Dixon and Sana TV
    UE Hall, 37 S. Ashland, Chicago
    Summer party, international videos, vegan potluck. See http://dennisdixonchicago.wordpress.com/events/

    Wednesday, August 19, 7:15 PM
    A Living Wage Ordinance for Oak Park
    Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison St, Oak Park (enter on the opposite side, through the parking lot)
    The Oak Park Community Relations Commission hears speakers for and against. Come show your support.


    New Ground #125.2

    08.14.2009

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    New Ground
    Meetings
    Democratic Left

    1. Politics

    Oak Park Deserves a Living Wage by Tom Broderick
    TIF Sunshine Ordinance: Partly Cloudy
    To Charlie: A Blessing
    by Hugh Iglarsh

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Not All Socialist Countries Are the Same

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    New Ground
    The web and email are inexpensive, and you can tell by its distinctly home-made appearance that the email issues of New Ground and our web site cost next to nothing. But the print edition of New Ground, produced and delivered by union labor, is another matter. For Chicago DSA, this one of our largest budget items. So it's our hope that you will participate in our annual Labor Day issue by taking out an ad in that issue. It could be as modest as a "line item" greeting for $10 or as large as a full page at $500. Deadline for copy is September 4. Here's the details:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngpromo.pdf

    Meetings
    There will be a Chicago DSA membership meeting at Noon on Saturday, September 12, also at the Chicago DSA office, to elect delegates to the DSA National Convention. The National Convention will be in Evanston, Illinois, November 13 - 15. If you'd like to be a delegate, leave a message at the Chicago DSA office (773.384.0327) or email us (chiildsa@chicagodsa.org) and you'll be added to the list of candidates.

    Democratic Left
    The Summer, 2009, issue of Democratic Left is on the web. Democratic Left is DSA's national journal:
    http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Summer_2009.pdf

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

    Politics

    Oak Park Deserves a Living Wage
    by Tom Broderick
    Shall the Village of Oak Park enact a Living Wage ordinance stipulating that: a) Village Employees, b) employees of contractors or subcontractors performing work for the Village, and c) employees of businesses that receive a significant financial subsidy from the Village, receive a living wage indexed to inflation that would include health benefits and time off?

    The above text appeared as a referendum on the Oak Park ballot last November. At a time when our economy was in stress, it passed with a "YES" vote of 60%. Hopefully you voted for it, since a living wage is an anti-poverty tool that works. However, referenda are advisory so our Village Board designated that the Community Relations Commission (CRC) study the impact of a Living Wage Ordinance on Oak Park. Since February, the CRC has struggled with the issue. Now, as part of this process, the CRC has determined to hold a public forum on a living wage for Oak Park.

    There will be two parts to the forum. The first will be a presentation by six "experts" who will be able to provide substance to the issue. So far, we have submitted four names to the commission: Gina Guillemette, Director of Advocacy and Policy for the Heartland Alliance; Reverend C. J. Hawking, Executive Director of ARISE Chicago; Dr. William Barclay, economist, Adjunct Professor at UIC and member of the Chicago Political Economy Group; and Dr. Ron Baiman, economist, who worked on the Chicago and the Cook County Living Wage Ordinances. Dr. Baiman put together the Ordinance that we presented to the Village Board last November. The CRC has been using this proposed Ordinance as a reference point in their study. The CRC will decide which six "experts" will speak and has extended invitations to the Oak Park business and development community.

    The second portion will allow residents of Oak Park the opportunity to speak for up to three minutes each on the topic. In June, the CRC chair announced he wanted no part of this portion of this public forum because all he would hear is the uninformed public responding to an emotional issue! Come speak your mind and your heart:

    Wednesday, August 19, 7 PM

    Oak Park Village Hall ~ 123 Madison ~ enter from the south end of the building

    This Living Wage Ordinance proposal is cosponsored by the Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America, Unity Temple Social Mission Committee, Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice and the Young Democratic Socialists of Oak Park and River Forest High School.

    For mor information, see
    "The Economics of the Living Wage" - http://www.chicagodsa.org/livingwage.pdf
    and the draft Oak Park Living Wage Ordinance
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/draftvoplwl.pdf

    TIF Sunshine Ordinance: Partly Cloudy
    Last April, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance requiring that information regarding the establishment and running of Chicago's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts be posted to a searchable web site. TIFs have become sufficiently disreputable that the Council passed without a dissenting vote. July 30 was the deadline. Max Brooks and Daniel X. O'Neil of OpenGov Chicagoland provided Progress Illinois with this assessment of the information available:
    http://progressillinois.com/2009/8/5/columns/tif-sunshine-review

    To Charlie: A Blessing
    by Hugh Iglarsh
    Upon reading in the New York Times that PBS personality Charlie Rose had secretly brokered a deal between media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Jeffrey Immelt of GE (which owns MSNBC) to halt the on-air feud between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly:

    Charlie Rose, my Charlie Rose,
    How splendidly your garden grows.
    Long be happy in your bower
    Of glitz and gelt and corporate power.

    Charlie Rose, sweet Charlie Rose,
    To whom foundation kindness flows.
    Here on earth, yet heaven sent
    To comfort the establishment.

    Charlie Rose, dear Charlie Rose,
    Let nothing blight your show of shows.
    May fortune grant you every boon,
    As joy you bring to each tycoon.

    If you missed it, see:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/01/business/media/01feud.html?_r=1

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/08/01/ge/

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

    Democratic Socialism

    Not All Socialist Countries Are the Same
    Especially when it comes to health care. Cute!
    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/not-all-socialist-countries-are-alike.html

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Sunday, August 16, 1 PM to 5 PM
    Finding and Using the Surplus
    Mess Hall, 6932 N. Glenwood Av, Chicago
    With readings, discussions and food with AREA#8 contributors Raechel Tiffe, Food Not Bombs, Temporary Services, Rebuilding Exchange, InCUBATE, Wade Tillett, Neighborhood Writing Alliance and more. See http://www.areachicago.org/b/area-news/everbodys-got-more-money-issues/

    Monday, August 17, 9 PM
    Benefit for Dennis Dixon
    The Redline Tap, 7000 N. Glenwood Av, Chicago
    Featuring Harlan Flo, Undertow, and more. See http://www.dennisdixon.org

    Wednesday, August 19, 7 PM
    A Living Wage Ordinance for Oak Park
    Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison St, Oak Park (enter through the south side of the building)
    The Oak Park Community Relations Commission hears speakers for and against. Come show your support.

    Thursday, August 27, 6:45 PM
    Is President Obama a Progressive?
    Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
    Debate between Paul Street and John K. Wilson, to be taped for later broadcast. An Open University of the Left event. See http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org/

    Sunday, August 30, 2 PM
    "Never Turning Back"
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St Veterans Room, Chicago
    Documentary film celebrating the life and work of Peggy Lipschutz, followed by panel discussion featuring Mark Rogovin, Jerri Zbiral, Sharon Karp, and Peggy Lipschutz. Sponsored by the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice. See http://www.opctj.org

    Monday, September 7, 2 PM
    Labor Day Celebration
    Pullman State Historic Site, 111th & Cottage Grove, Chicago
    A celebration and rally for America's working families.


    New Ground #125.3

    08.31.2009

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    GOPDSA in the News
    CDSA Membership Meeting
    Housing the National Convention
    New Ground

    1. Politics

    SK Hand Tools on Strike
    Dennis Dixon
    Arne Duncan Fails Again
    "Single-Payer? What's It Worth to Ya?"
    CAFTA's Casualties

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Revolution
    Democratic Socialism as a Right

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    DSA News

    GOPDSA in the News
    In Oak Park's Wednesday Journal:
    http://wednesdayjournalonline.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=15287

    CDSA Membership Meeting
    There will be a Chicago DSA membership meeting at Noon on Saturday, September 12, also at the Chicago DSA office, to elect delegates to the DSA National Convention. The National Convention will be in Evanston, Illinois, November 13 - 15. If you'd like to be a delegate, leave a message at the Chicago DSA office (773.384.0327) or email us (chiildsa@chicagodsa.org) and you'll be added to the list of candidates. You don't need to attend the meeting to be a candidate.

    Housing the National Convention
    Meet DSAers from around the country and help attend the Chicago DSA Convention.
     
    This year's nationsal DSA Convention is in Chicago, November 13 - 14.  While most delegates will stay in the convention hotel we need spaces for about 15 in people's homes in order to save on their costs.  If you can put up 1 or more or your DSA comrades, please contact Bill Barclay (708-386-1371; chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net
     
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    New Ground
    The web and email are inexpensive, and you can tell by its distinctly home-made appearance that the email issues of New Ground and our web site cost next to nothing. But the print edition of New Ground, produced and delivered by union labor, is another matter. For Chicago DSA, this one of our largest budget items. So it's our hope that you will participate in our annual Labor Day issue by taking out an ad in that issue. It could be as modest as a "line item" greeting for $10 or as large as a full page at $500. Deadline for copy is September 4. Here's the details:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngpromo.pdf

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    Politics

    SK Hand Tools on Strike
    Workers at SK Hand Tools in Chicago and McCook have been on strike since 5:30am Tuesday morning over the company's unilateral withdrawal of their health care coverage. Teamsters Local 743 is asking for community support: walking the picket lines, bringing food and such to the strikers. For more information, see:
    http://www.743teamsters.org/

    Dennis Dixon
    As told by the Chicago Tribune. It doesn't do Dennis justice, but:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-activist-city-zone-28-aug28,0,524569.story

    Arne Duncan Fails Again
    Former CEO Arne Duncan often said that a key to creating the best urban school district in the country was to improve long-failing high schools. But Duncan's broadest, most expensive effort, called High School Transformation, sputtered in implementation and has failed to spark significant improvement, according to an evaluation released Thursday. To read more:
    http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/index.php/entry/368/Transformation_fails_to_spark_improvement_in_Chicago_high_schools%2C_say_researchers

    "Single-Payer? What's It Worth to Ya?"
    Just how much is dropping the "public option" for "coops" worth to private insurance companies? About $32,000,000,000, according to the stock market:
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/08/public-option-versus-coops-the-market-test.html

    CAFTA's Casualties: El Salvador Battles a Multinational Corporation Over Mining Rights
    by Michael Busch
    "As El Salvador transitions from decades of conservative rule to the administration of leftist president Mauricio Funes, the country faces an international showdown that will likely determine how free trade agreements impact Central America's future. Pacific Rim Mining Corporation, a Canadian multinational firm, has brought suit against the government for its refusal to allow exploitation of gold deposits in El Salvador's rural north.  Should Pacific Rim succeed in securing the $100 million settlement it seeks, a troubling precedent would be set-one that privileges private interests over national sovereignty. " More:
    http://dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=273

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    Democratic Socialism

    Revolution
    Last March, Northeastern Illinois University hosted a 3 day conference entitled "The Past and Futures of Revolution: A Global Exploration". Several of the papers presented there are now in the latest issue of Logos:
    http://www.logosjournal.com/

    Democratic Socialism as a Right
    By Nick Egnatz
    "We, the American people, should get to choose our form of government and economic system. That's democracy. I would choose democracy and socialism, democratic socialism because I believe both democracy and socialism are the natural progression of the Declaration of Independence's, 'all men are created equal . . . with certain inalienable rights . . . life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'"
    http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_5071.shtml

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    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Monday, September 7, 2 PM
    Labor Day Celebration
    Pullman State Historic Site, 111th & Cottage Grove, Chicago
    A celebration and rally for America's working families. See http://laborday.pullmanevents.info

    Tuesday, September 8, 6:45 PM
    Revolt on Goose Island
    Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
    Discussion and video presentation by Kari Lydersen and Jerry Mead-Lucero of the December, 2008, occupation of Republic Windows. An Open University of the Left event. See http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org/

    Friday, September 11, 5 PM
    EveryBody! Visual resistance in feminist health movements, 1969-2009
    I space gallery, 230 W. Superior St., Chicago
    Opens. Explores how feelings, theories, and actions are shaped into the creation of a place where all bodies are celebrated and health care is a human right. Through October 10. See http://ispace.uiuc.edu/ or http://www.bonniefortune.info/ or call 312.587.9976

    Saturday, September 19, 1 PM to 4 PM
    Left Confused: a debate between Marxists and Anarchists
    Roosevelt University Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Av, Chicago
    Members of the International Socialist Organization, the Platypus Affiliated Society, the 4Star Anarchist Collective and the IWW; distinctions will not be erased, but rather, more deeply understood. For information, ashleyweger@gmail.com or see http://chicago.platypus1917.org

    Saturday, September 19, 2 PM to 5 PM
    The Fierce Urgency of Now: Health Care and Human Rights for All
    Access Living, 115 W. Chicago, Chicago
    Speakers include Vijay Prashad, Dr. Linda Murray, and others. For more information: http://www.arc109.org/

    Thursday, September 24, Noon
    Stop Corporate Crime; Mobilize for Jobs & Housing
    Wells Fargo, Monroe & Franklin, Chicago
    As we approach the anniversary of the Wall Street Bailout, don't let the 'bailout bandits' block an economic recovery for the rest of us. For information contact Chicago Jobs with Justice: 312.738.6209.

    Thursday, September 24, 6:45 PM
    Ramp Rats: Baggage Handlers and Their Labor Unions
    Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
    Liesl Miller Orenic speaks on her book On the Ground: Labor Struggle in the American Airline Industry. An Open University of the Left event. See http://www.openuniversityoftheleft.org/

    Friday, September 25, 6 PM through Saturday, September 26 ,4 PM
    A Vigil for Justice at Resurrection Health Care
    7432 W. Talcott across from Resurrection Medical Center
    Show your support for Resurrection workers who are organizing to gain a voice at work. For information, see http://www.reformresurrection.org

    Saturday, September 26, 10:30 AM to 4 PM
    Peace: How Do We Get There?
    Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Av, Flossmoor
    A conference event featuring presentations and activities for adults and young people focused on peace-building and conflict resolution skills. See http://www.generations4peace.org/#current_actions

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