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New Ground 129

March - April, 2010

Contents

The New New Deal Project: Progressive Politics in the Age of Obama by Bill Barclay

A Living Wage is Haunting Oak Park by Tom Broderick

Other News compiled by Bob Roman

  • Abolition Moves Forward
  • Peace and Economic Justice
  • A Century of May Days
  • Happy Birthday Nelson Algren
  • New Ground 129.1 -- 03.31.2010

    0. DSA News

    Bring America Home
    Toward an Economic Bill of Rights
    Youth Organizer

    1. Politics

    As Congress Leaves Jobless in Lurch, Will Grassroots Push for Strong Jobs Bills?
    Coalition to Save Community Banking
    by Peg Strobel
    A Century+ of May Days: Labor and Social Struggles International Conference

    2. Ars Politica

    Sweeping Wicker Park's History Under the Rug by Jeff Huebner
    The Labor Trail

    3. Democratic Socialism

    The Greying of the Left

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 129.2 -- 04.15.2010

    0. DSA News

    Bring America Home
    Justifying a Living Wage

    1. Politics

    Stealing More Than Wages
    Warehouse Workers for Justice
    Public Hearings on Proposed Sale of West Suburban and Westlake
    Chicago Radicalendar

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Tony Judt and the Limitations of Social Democracy
    Where's the Working Class Web?
    The Future of Socialism

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 129.3 -- 04.30.2010

    0. DSA News

    Young Democratic Socialists in the News by Bob Roman
    With Enemies Like These
    DSA in the News: May Day underscores the importance of a living wage
    It's Not Too Late!
    Democratic Left

    1. Politics

    Jobs
    Wal-Mart
    May Day Chicago 2010
    The Sale of Westlake and West Suiburban Hospitals

    2. Ars Politica

    The Battle of the Halsted Viaduct

    3. Democratic Socialism

    An obituary for the Third Way
    Taming the Tiger -- The Challenge for European Social Democracy

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest


    The New New Deal Project:
    Progressive Politics in the Age of Obama

    by Bill Barclay

    In the aftermath of the 2008 election, members of several organizations, including some from DSA, joined together to create the New New Deal Project (NND). As originally conceived, NND had two primary purposes. The first was build upon the mobilization and enthusiasm that was created by the election of Obama. The second was to serve as a catalyst, an organizing agent to bring together activists in the Chicago area who were working, often very hard, on separate issues and seldom talked with, much less worked with, each other. The NND members were initially Oak Park-based, but the planning committee has since expanded to include people from the western suburbs and various portions of Chicago including both the West and South Sides.

    The activities undertaken by the NND have been primarily educational and to some extent agitational in nature. The initial event, held in January 2009 after the inauguration, was a forum that sought to define the major issues facing, and the progressive policy possibilities available to, the new Obama administration. These were: labor organizing with an endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act, health care with an argument for a single payer system, military/defense spending with a proposal for 25% reduction in the military budget, and job creation based upon a proposal developed by the Chicago Political Economy Group .

    During the rest of 2009, the NND organized three events, including one that was designed to bring organizers together in an effort to counter the "silo organizing" mentality and practice that often limits the reach of progressives. While these events remained largely educational in nature, they also expanded the reach of the NND, drawing sponsoring organizations and participation from across the Chicago metropolitan area.

    To initiate the new year, the NND planning group designed a forum / organizing event focusing on an assessment of the first year of the Obama presidency. However, the approach differed from that of other events that appear, on the surface, to have a similar focus. Rather than discussing to what extent the Obama administration did or did not realize the goals and hopes of progressives, speakers were asked to assess our political practice: what worked and what did not, and, most importantly, what lessons can we draw from one year of political work in the age of Obama. In addition, and as an anchor to the event, Amy Dean, co-author of a New New Deal, was asked to tie together the ideas and thoughts of the speakers on labor, health care, jobs and immigrant struggles, using the regional power framework develop in her book. In addition to NND sponsorship, Roosevelt University's Economics Department and Center for New Deal Studies were co-organizers of the February 20th event. Over 200 people from across the Chicago metro area attended the forum, and a lively and informative discussion followed the formal presentations.

    Perhaps most importantly, there was significant coalescence around the issue of a jobs program that would be funded by a tax on the trading of financial assets. DSA members associated with the Chicago Political Economy Group developed many of the arguments for the viability of the program and the funding. A week after the forum, over 50 activists met at Jobs with Justice to outline a national Campaign for Living Wage Jobs for All . The first action in the campaign, supported by DSA and more than 20 other organizations, was a Senate Soup Kitchen at Federal Plaza, calling attention to the failure of the US Senate to pass either a significant extension of unemployment benefits or, more importantly, to even consider a jobs program of sufficient size to address the loss of more than 8 million jobs since the onset of the "Great Recession." NND, Jobs with Justice, major labor unions and a broad range of community groups are resolved to make the Living Wage Jobs for All a national campaign that overrides the petty politics of Senatorial holds and filibusters and pushes the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress to respond to the crisis in jobs. In this we are seeking to again create the politics of mass mobilization that drove the first New Deal.

     

    Editor's Note: Bill Barclay represents GOP DSA on the Chicago DSA Executive Committee, is one of the organizers of the New New Deal Project, and is a member of the Chicago Political Economy Group.


    A Living Wage Is Haunting Oak Park

    by Tom Broderick

    Thirteen months after being assigned to study the impact that a living wage ordinance would have on the Village of Oak Park, the Community Relations Commission (CRC) voted to send their final report to the Village Board. The report recommends that the Village Board enact a living wage ordinance.

    One more hurdle behind, the biggest ahead. The Village Board is the only body that can enact a living wage ordinance and they have their hands full. Oak Park River Forest High School has just filed suit against the Village for failure to disburse TIF dollars, and a proposed high rise hotel at the edge of downtown Oak Park has community members riled.

    When the Village Board of Oak Park tasked the CRC to study our proposed ordinance, the Commission Chair told me that this was the "first meat and potatoes" issue that the commission had had to deal with in some time. To their credit, the members of the CRC took their assignment seriously. Two members stayed on the Commission past their terms to continue the work. Both voted "yes."

    The night of the vote to submit their report was passionate. Bard Bartels spoke of the struggle for gay rights and domestic partnerships and how organized labor had made these issues part of their negotiations. He also talked of how opening the real estate market to the gay community made for a stronger economy. Oak Park was a community that early on welcomed gays and lesbians. For Bartels, the living wage ordinance was good public policy. For me, his was a moving testament.

    Bartels is also a member of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce and he personally made an effort to explain the minimal impact that this would have on business community.

    Bamshad Mobasher did a great deal of research on the history of living wage ordinances. He pointed out that the doom and gloom scenario painted by some fellow commissioners and some members of the business community had no basis in historic fact. Over the course of the thirteen month study, Mobasher constantly refuted the work done by Commission Chair to sink the proposed living wage ordinance.

    Cecil Hunt approved Bartel's approach to the issue as one of public policy, but he came down on the other side. He felt that the living wage ordinance was a solution in search of a problem and that there was no way to know how the living wage ordinance would impact Oak Park. He cited the fears of the business community (both current and potential businesses) and said they had to be accommodated. Hunt also said he was not impressed by the 60% "Yes" vote that the living wage ordinance received in November, 2008.

    Bob Kane said he had voted "no" on that referendum item, but after studying the issue, felt there would be little negative impact on the business community. He thought it was good public policy that contractors and subcontractors hired by the Village pay their employees a wage they could live on. Whether or not these people lived in Oak Park was irrelevant as far as he was concerned, which is something that the Chair repeatedly harped on. Kane said that the beneficiaries of the proposed living wage ordinance would still spend money in Oak Park, just as he spends money where he works in Chicago.

    John Mikos and Tab Washington both voted yes because passage would be good for individuals and the economy, with little negative impact to businesses or the people of Oak Park. Asa Cain is a high school senior and he provided an interesting reason for voting in favor of the CRC report. If the CRC voted against issuing the report, all the hard work that they had done for the last thirteen months would be for naught. Let's hear it for logic. The final member voting his support was a brand new member of the Commission, Bradley Foreman.

    Commission Chair, John Murtagh spoke last. Prior to the CRC voting on their Report, Chairman Murtagh issued his own report to the Village Board and others, including members of the business community. Murtagh felt the CRC report was not thorough. It did not do enough to analyze risk. It would not positively affect people living in Oak Park, but would transfer their dollars to those living outside our community. He fantasized that a family with two working adults, one could be making $100K per year and the other one could be making minimum wage. If the person making the minimum wage suddenly got an income increase because they were covered by our ordinance, how could that possibly be fair, he asked.

    But Murtagh also credited the members of the CRC with being the most knowledgeable Oak Parkers when it came to the issue of the living wage ordinance issue. He thanked them for their hard work and then announced his resignation as Chair of the CRC and as a member of the CRC. This was his second attempt at resignation. He gave his first resignation to Village President David Pope in August. At that time, he just wanted to resign as Chair, but continue his work on the Commission. President Pope refused to accept the resignation, so Murtagh remained Chair until the night of February 18.

    That night he resigned from the Commission completely, stating that he would never work in any parliamentary situation ever again in his life. It was a night of transition for the CRC. Bamshad Mobasher and Bob Kane stayed on the Commission after their terms expired to continue working on the living wage ordinance. John Mikos' term ended on the night of the vote. And, of course Bradley Foreman began his term that night.

    The referendum that got a 60% "YES" vote and the Commission's report endorsing a comprehensive living wage ordinance to the Board are only advisory. The Village Board can do what it wants with the issue and the advice of the voters and the CRC. The business community is working to defeat it. The Wednesday Journal (a local newspaper) ran an editorial telling the Board to "deep-six" the ordinance.

    We will now have to begin the same education process that we used with the Community Relations Commission. I can only hope that the Village Board will accept that the members of the CRC worked hard to get to this point. They should take note of Murtagh's comment about the knowledge gained by the hard work of the commissioners.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    Abolition Moves Forward

    The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has ambitiously targeted 2010 as the year that the Illinois Legislature will abolish capital punishment. While this will require much work, our movement is closer to eliminating this cruelty than it has ever been.

    In 2009, Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7) sponsored House Bill 262 to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. This year, Senator William Delgado (D-2) did the same in the Illinois Senate (SB 3569). The House did not vote on Yarbrough's bill last session, so it remains actionable. This is the first time that abolition bills have been in the works in both houses since capital punishment was reintroduced in Illinois. We are within reach, but our lawmakers must hear from us.

    Execution is brutality, not justice. We kill because we can, not because we need to. The oft-repeated line that only the "worst of the worst" are condemned to death is false. Since we brought back the death penalty in Illinois, 20 condemned human beings have been exonerated, while 12 have been put to death. This is a repudiation of our judicial system. Contact your State Senator and tell them to co-sponsor the abolition bill SB 3569, and your State Representative and tell them to co-sponsor the abolition bill HB 262. Let's make Illinois the next abolition state.

    To get your legislators' phone number or address, go to www.votesmart.org . Or leave a message for Tom Broderick at the Chicago DSA office: 773 384 0327. Your message should include your name and phone number, as well as your complete residential address.

    Peace and Economic Justice

    On Saturday, April 17th, in Batavia, IL representatives from anti-war groups across Northern Illinois will sit down with members, leaders, and organizers of unions to begin a dialogue about how we can work together. Both groups want to see Washington DC come up with a strong program to create new, permanent, living wage jobs for the millions of Americans who are unemployed. Both groups see the job-creation proposals being proposed by the administration and Congress as too small and too narrowly conceived. We want to see a public works program that creates manufacturing jobs, green jobs, jobs to repair our infrastructure.

    The assignment we will give ourselves is to build up a credible, grass-roots demand from ordinary Americans to strengthen the resolve of the Democrats and counterbalance the arguments of Republicans who are loath to spend taxpayers' money actually helping the taxpayers.

    The meeting will be at The Batavia Public Library, 10 S Batavia Avenue, Batavia, IL 60510 at 1:00 PM. The convening group is the Confederation of Northern Illinois Peace Groups.

    Dr. Bill Barclay, an economist and a member of Oak Park Coalition of Truth and Justice will speak about how a Financial Transaction Tax could provide the funds to pay for such a jobs program. There will be other speakers and lots of time for discussion.

    The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For information call Mary Shesgreen of Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice : 847-742-6602

    A Century of May Days

    During May Day Weekend 2010, April 30 through May 2 at Chicago's DePaul University, there will be an international gathering with people from around the world: Berlin, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Iran, Glasgow, Paris, Venezuela, London, Toronto, Vienna, Stuttgart, Brazil, Pakistan, Sweden and beyond. From young activists to a Japanese survivor of the A-bomb and a German anti-fascist who has long outlived Hitler. We will discuss labor and social struggles, both local and global. Conference participants will be able to take part in the May Day rally organized by the Chicago Federation of Labor & Illinois Labor History Society and a labor history bus tour on Saturday, May 1st. For more information and to register, go to www.mayday2010.info .

    Happy Birthday Nelson Algren

    The Nelson Algren Committee hosts the 21st annual Nelson Algren Birthday Party on Saturday, March 27, 8 p.m. at St Paul's/Acme Art Center, 2215 W. North Avenue in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, Algren's home turf. The Party pays tribute to the National Book Award-winning author of The Man with a Golden Arm, Chicago: City on the Make and other works that combine gritty noir realism with a profound compassion for the underdog. Admission is $10 at the door.

    The event also honors community artists and activists who work in the Algren spirit. This year's recipients of the Nelson Algren Committee Award include film preservationist and presenter extraordinaire James Bond, legendary stride pianist and teacher Erwin Helfer and eco-activist Erika Allen. Past Algren Award winners (including political maven Don Rose and veteran activist David Williams) will attend the event and say a few words.

    For updates and more information, visit our Web site at www.nelsonalgren.org .


    New Ground #129.1

    03.31.2010

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Bring America Home
    Toward an Economic Bill of Rights
    Youth Organizer

    1. Politics

    As Congress Leaves Jobless in Lurch, Will Grassroots Push for Strong Jobs Bills?
    Coalition to Save Community Banking
    by Peg Strobel
    A Century+ of May Days: Labor and Social Struggles International Conference

    2. Ars Politica

    Sweeping Wicker Park's History Under the Rug by Jeff Huebner
    The Labor Trail

    3. Democratic Socialism

    The Greying of the Left

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Bring America Home
    Author, journalist, columnist William Greider speaks at the 52nd Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner honoring Carl Rosen and the People's Law Office on Friday, May 7th. For information or to order tickets, CLICK HERE.

    Toward an Economic Bill of Rights
    In his 1944 State of the Union address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called for a Second Bill of rights "under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all ­ regardless of station, race, or creed." Sixty-six years later, his vision for a nation, in which no member of society went "ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed and insecure," is yet to be realized. READ MORE

    Youth Organizer
    DSA is looking to hire a new youth organizer. Deadline for applying: April 19. More information is HERE.



    Politics

    As Congress Leaves Jobless in Lurch, Will Grassroots Push for Strong Jobs Bills?
    At In These Times, Art Levine writes: "Even as Senators skipped town before a two-week break without extending unemployment insurance and COBRA health subsidies, hopes are rising among congressional liberals and unions that stronger job creation measures could win the backing of emboldened Democratic leaders and President Obama."

    It's not a given, and Levine asks the crucial question, "will progressives be willing to mount the strong campaign needed to overcome conservative and centrist resistance to major jobs spending? That's the political challenge...." READ MORE.

    People living in Chicago's western suburbs will have an opportunity to begin that mobilization. The Confederation of Northern Illinois Peace Groups has called a meeting for community and labor representatives to strategize about a campaign for a strong program for permanent, living wage jobs. The meeting will be on Saturday, April 17, at the Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave, in Batavia.

    The meeting will feature presentations by:

    • Dave Rathke, an organizer for the Illinois Education Association: the value, the feasibility, and the utility of forging an alliance between labor and peace & justice groups
    • Reverend Geri Solomon, Aurora Peace & Justice Group: the impact of unemployment on our communities, the rise of poverty, and the need for a huge jobs program
    • Susan Hurley, Chicago Jobs With Justice: JWJ's jobs campaign
    • Dr. Bill Barclay, economist, DSA and Chicago Political Economy Group: paying for a jobs program with a Financial Transaction Tax

    Coalition to Save Community Banking
    by Peg Strobel
    The Coalition to Save Community Banking (CSCB) is a group of several dozen metro Chicago organizations and individuals that came together after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized the assets of a local community bank, Park National Bank (PNB) with two branches in Oak Park, Illinois, on October 30, 2009. PNB and eight sister banks (including several in California) were all owned by First Bank of Oak Park, Inc. (FBOP), which the FDIC then sold to US Bancorp, also known as US Bank. This seizure happened in the afternoon; that same morning, the Treasury Department awarded FBOP/PNB Initiatives (an affiliate of PNB) $50 million in federal "New Market Tax Credit" allocations to continue PNB's long-standing investment in under-resourced and minority communities. (For details, see
    David Moberg in In These Times: "Too Important to Fail".)

    This compelling local story raises serious nation-wide issues concerning the takeover of community banks that invest in struggling communities by large banks that do not have a similar track record and probably don't share the mission.

    Mike Kelly, a white man and now former owner of PNB/FBOP, has been a beloved figure in Chicago-area communities of color for decades because of his long-standing commitments and investments in these communities. He regularly reinvested about 30% of the profits from his privately held bank into struggling neighborhoods, funding schools and nonprofits and helping individuals and institutions buy and keep homes and businesses.

    The coalition has gained the support of several Congressional Representatives, various local and state office holders, and grassroots activists.

    On Wednesday, April 14, late morning, CSCB will hold a demonstration in downtown Chicago in front of FDIC offices and US Bank. For details, contact Peg Strobel, 708-386-1371, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.

    What are our goals?

    • Include reforms in pending legislation to preserve and support community-based banks with a demonstrated community reinvestment commitment, re-capitalize them, and help them to aid the recovery of Main Street from the Great Recession. Provisions like those proposed in Senate Bill S 1822 ­ the "BANK ON OUR COMMUNITIES" ACT (sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA) should be part of real reform of the banking industry.
    • Convince the Inspectors General of FDIC and OCC to investigate whether the actions against Park National Bank/FBOP violated the agencies' own rules, and if so, reverse the decision to seize and sell our community bank.
    • Ensure that FBOP's Founder Mike Kelly may continue to hold a license to operate a bank. (His bank failed because of the financial crisis, not mismanagement. PNB/FBOP needed to recapitalize due to losses from investing in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae at a time when they were good investments.)
    • Secure a strong Community Benefits Agreement with the new owner, US Bancorp.
    • Explore what actions might be taken by Illinois state officials to protect community banks.
    • Continue to enlarge and diversify the Coalition.

    What have we accomplished?

    • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (chair of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit) held a Congressional hearing January 21 on the issue of FPOB/PNB and community banks. We sent more than 60 people to Washington.
    • We gained the support of Rep. Danny Davis; Rep. Bobby Rush; State Sen. Don Harmon; David Pope, President of the Village Board, Oak Park; and State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford.
    • Sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, Senate Joint Resolution 81 has passed the Illinois Senate and moves to the Illinois House, where it is cosponsored by Karen A. Yarborough, Angelo Saviano, Deborah L. Graham, LaShawn K. Ford, and Marlow H. Colvin. The resolution "urges the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to continue hearings to investigate the FDIC's seizure of Park National Bank."
    • December 16, 2009, the Chicago City Council joined with our coalition in demanding a Congressional hearing to investigate the seizure and sale of First Bank of Oak Park/Park National Bank and the repercussions for other community banks reinvesting in our communities. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago aldermen condemned as "absurd, bordering on criminal" the federal government's decision to seize Park National Bank."
    • Within a month of the seizure, community groups that comprise the Coalition delivered petitions with over 1,000 signatures to the D.C. office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

    For more information, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.

    A Century+ of May Days: Labor and Social Struggles International Conference
    In Chicago during May Day weekend 2010, the Institute of Working Class History is holding a conference to discuss, debate and analyze labor and social struggles (both past and present). The conference will cover an array of important historical and political topics. In addition to purely academic pursuits, conference participants will be able to participate in the May Day rally organized by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois Labor History Society. If there is sufficient interest, a Chicago labor history bus tour also will be organized. CLICK HERE for more information.


    Ars Politica

    Sweeping Wicker Park's History Under the Rug
    by Jeff Huebner

    For the past couple of decades, I've questioned why Chicago's Wicker Park -- the neighborhood as well as the park that gives it its name -- has lacked monuments or informational markers dedicated to its storied labor heritage going back to the 1880s Haymarket era.

    For instance: Why is there no plaque in front of the home of martyr August Spies and his family at 2132 W. Potomac? Where are markers telling of the park's fascinating history -- among other things, that it was dug up by the authorities looking for anarchist bombs after the Haymarket Riot in May 1886?

    I have always found it strange and disconcerting that this history, while accessible in books, is not visible in the streets, parks, greens and plazas where it occurred. It is even stranger when you consider Wicker Park's long history as a center of radical, working-class/ethnic, anarchist and artistic culture. (Thanks to gentrification, it is now a Bohemian-themed entertainment district.) So much is ignored, from the 1887 Haymarket funeral procession down Milwaukee Avenue, to the struggles of longtime residents and artists against developers and landowners in the 1990s, to the anarchist-led MTV "Real World" demonstrations in front of the former Urbus Orbis Coffeehouse building in 2001.

    Yes, a temporary installation devoted to Lucy Parsons' life, times and influence stood in a corner of the park from 1995 to 2004, but there is little in the way of permanent, meaningful public art. So what did we get several years ago to represent the neighborhood and its park? A statue of 19th-century politician and developer Charles Wicker, bearing a broom, sweeping away dirt. The three-year-old sculpture was knocked off its base by a group of vandals in August 2009; it is currently being repaired and is scheduled to be reinstalled by summer. It is not (yet) known if the deed was pure hooliganism -- or politically motivated. Or both.

    Read veteran arts and culture chronicler Jeff Huebner's full, two-part story about the Wicker Park public art controversy at the following online sources:

    Part One, from the Beachwood Reporter: "The Broom of Wicker Park"
    Part Two, from
    Chicago Art Magazine: "Swept Away: Musings on Wicker's Fallen Statue"

    The Labor Trail
    For those of you unable to visit Wicker Park (where the Chicago DSA office resides as one of the lesser tourist attractions), check out the Labor Trail, on on-line resource for Chicago's history of working class life and struggle.



    Democratic Socialism

    The Greying of the Left
    Back in the sixties, man, the left seemed to be surfing a wave of youthful rebellion. Fast forward some forty years, (despite some encouraging signs in DSA and elsewhere) there seems to be a few missing generations. At Social Europe Journal, Gabor Gyori writes:

    One might argue that there is every reason for the supporters of European social democratic parties to see their hair turn grey in agony. With a few exceptions, European social democracy has heaped major defeat upon defeat. And as for the victories, well: George Papandreou could be forgiven for thinking that one should indeed look a gift horse in the mouth, especially if it's a Trojan one such as the helm of the Greek government. The painful losses, and the occasional painful victory, are enough to speed up the process of ageing. Yet, the problem appears to be that social democracy's supporters were increasingly grey to begin with. READ MORE.

    As part of Social Europe Journal's "Good Society Debate," Stephen Barber argues that social democracy and democratic socialism have less in common than they imagine.

    And if you thought the Democratic caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have a hard time finding common ground, consider Carl Rowland's portrait of the Party of European Socialists. Nonetheless, Rowland maintains a common program for the Party is possible.



    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.

    Thursday, April 1, 2 PM
    Working for Justice
    Interfaith Worker Justice, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr 4th Floor Conference Room, Chicago
    Ruth Milkman discusses her new book, Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy. More information is HERE.

    Saturday, April 3, 4 PM
    "The Chicago Conspiracy"
    Decima Musa, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago
    A screening of a new documentary based in Chile that explores the legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship and the current political conflict, followed by a discussion with the director. For more information, call Nick at 773.401.5091. Sponsored by the Chicago branch of Solidarity.

    Thursday & Friday, April 8 & 9, 10 AM to 9 PM
    Art, Access & Action
    Columbia College Chicago Film Building, 1104 S. Wabash, Chicago
    A Columbia College Chicago Arts & Media Summit featuring Jeff Biggers, Kari Lydersen, Salim Muwakkil, Paul Street, and more. More information is HERE.

    Thursday, April 8, 1 PM to 4 PM
    The State of Worker Protection in Chicago
    UIC Student Center East, Cardinal Room, 750 S. Halsted St, Chicago
    A conference about workplace violations and new initiatives to address them. RSVP appreciated: urban.economy@gmail.com. Sponsored by the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement. For more information, go to the Center for Urban Economic Development.

    Saturday, April 10, 12:30 PM
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee
    CDSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee Room 403, Chicago
    Business, but all DSA members are welcome.

    Tuesday, April 13, 7 PM
    "Rethinking Afghanistan"
    DePaul University Art Museum, 2350 N. Kenmore, Chicago
    A showing of the Robert Greenwald documentary, followed by a discussion led by Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naiman. Sponsored by Lincoln Park Neighbors United for Peace, North Suburban Peace Initiative, and DePaul University Center for Black Diaspora.

    Wednesday, April 14, morning
    Demonstration in Support of Community Banks
    Downtown Chicago
    Save the date! For details, contact Peg Strobel, 708-386-1371, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.

    Saturday, April 17, 1 PM to 3 PM
    A Program for Permanent, Living Wage Jobs
    Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave, Batavia
    The Confederation of Northern Illinois Peace Groups is bringing together the community and labor to strategize about a campaign for a strong program for permanent, living wage jobs.

    Sunday, April 18, 1:15 PM to 5:30 PM
    Does U.S. Policy on Israel and Palestine Uphold Our Values?
    University of Chicago Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St, Chicago
    Modeled after a Congressional hearing, this event will examine critical questions about the effects of U.S. policies in the region. An initiative of the American Friends Service Committee. RSVP required. More information and live webcast is HERE.

    Wednesday, April 21
    Rally and Lobby Day to Fix Illinois' Fiscal Mess
    Illinois Capitol, Springfield
    Save the Date! The Responsible Budget Coalition and Illinois' public employees team up to demand responsible government and passage of HB174.


    New Ground #129.2

    04.15.2010

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Bring America Home
    Justifying a Living Wage

    1. Politics

    Stealing More Than Wages
    Warehouse Workers for Justice
    Public Hearings on Proposed Sale of West Suburban and Westlake
    Chicago Radicalendar

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Tony Judt and the Limitations of Social Democracy
    Where's the Working Class Web?
    The Future of Socialism

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Bring America Home
    Author, journalist, columnist William Greider speaks at the 52nd Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner honoring Carl Rosen and the People's Law Office on Friday, May 7th. For information or to order tickets, CLICK HERE.

    Justifying a Living Wage
    The Oak Park Living Wage controversy continued in the pages of the Oak Leaves wherein GOPDSA's Tom Broderick said, "Poverty is destructive. We are suffering an enervating disparity of wealth, unseen since the early 20th century. A comprehensive living wage ordinance for Oak Park is a just, local response." READ MORE.



    Politics

    Stealing More Than Wages
    From the Center on Urban Economic Development:

    "At the start of the 21st century, workplace laws are failing to protect our country's workers. Workers are enduring minimum wage and overtime violations, hazardous working conditions, discrimination, and retaliation for speaking up or trying to organize. Unregulated Work in Chicago is the first study of its kind, exposing systematic and routine violations of employment and labor laws in core sectors of the economy. In partnership with Cornell University, National Employment Law Project, and UCLA, we conducted a landmark survey of workers in low-wage industries in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Here, we present findings for Chicago and suburban Cook County, in order to document the extent to which employers in the Chicago area are complying with state and federal laws." MORE (PDF).

    Warehouse Workers for Justice
    Apropos, the suburban Herald-News has just published a three part series on employment in the warehouse industry in Will County, wherein some two-thirds of the trucking and warehouse businesses use temp agencies to staff their facilities. The series by Cindy Wojdyla Cain focuses on the conditions of employment and the efforts of workers, aided by Warehouse Workers for Justice, to remedy the situation.

    Part 1: Warehouse workers shed light on injustices
    Part 2: Organizing justice for warehouse workers
    Part 3: Warehouses under fire

    Public Hearings on Proposed Sale of West Suburban and Westlake
    The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board will be holding public hearings on the proposed sale of West Surbuban Medical Center and Westlake Hospital to Vanguard Health Systems. As a sale of facilities owned and managed by a non-profit to a for-profit corporation, the sale has aroused considerable concern from employees and the communtiy.

    Both hearings will be on Monday, April 26. The hearing on Westlake Hospital will be at 9 AM, Melrose Park Village Hall, 1000 N. 25th St, Melrose Park. The hearing on West Suburban Medical Center will be at 1 PM, Oak Park Village Hall Council Chambers, 123 Madison, Oak Park. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    Chicago Radicalendar
    AREA Chicago announced the release of a new city-wide initiative that is designed to network disconnected and fragmented communities across Chicago. This new calendar website will be useful and essential for keeping up with the complex array of events, actions and happenings across this vast city. Check it out HERE.



    Democratic Socialism

    Tony Judt and the Limitations of Social Democracy
    At the Young Democratic Socialists' blog, The Activist, Chris Maisano reviews Tony Judt's Ill Fares the Land.

    Where's the Working Class Web?
    Finding working-class voices online isn't easy.

    The Future of Socialism
    Robert Paul Wolff begins his essay:

    "An unpromising title, this, in the seventh year of the third millennium of the Common Era; rather like "Recent Developments in Ptolemaic Astronomy" or "Betamax ­ a Technology Whose Time Has Come." My grandfather's dream, the faith of my younger days, has turned to ashes. And yet, I remain persuaded that Karl Marx has something important to teach us about the world in which we live today."

    The weather doesn't get any lighter, but Wolff makes some interesting (and potentially useful) points along the way. Read MORE (PDF).



    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.

    Saturday, April 17, 1 PM to 3 PM
    A Program for Permanent, Living Wage Jobs
    Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave, Batavia
    The Confederation of Northern Illinois Peace Groups is bringing together the community and labor to strategize about a campaign for a strong program for permanent, living wage jobs.

    Sunday, April 18, 1:15 PM to 5:30 PM
    Does U.S. Policy on Israel and Palestine Uphold Our Values?
    University of Chicago Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St, Chicago
    Modeled after a Congressional hearing, this event will examine critical questions about the effects of U.S. policies in the region. An initiative of the American Friends Service Committee. RSVP required. More information and live webcast is HERE.

    Monday, April 19, 7 PM to 9 PM
    Chicago's Drinking Water: Preventing Another Tax-Payer Rip-Off
    Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, Chicago
    The city is thinking about selling more taxpayer assets, like Chicago's water system. Sponsored by Illinois PIRG and Food & Water Watch. For information call 312.427.2304x212

    Wednesday, April 21, 11:30 AM
    Rally and Lobby Day to Fix Illinois' Fiscal Mess
    Illinois Capitol, Springfield
    The Responsible Budget Coalition and Illinois' public employees rally to demand responsible government and passage of HB174. Lobbying follows rally.

    Saturday, April 24; Friday & Saturday, April 30 and May 1
    Haiti on Screen
    Northwestern University, Evanston
    Films projecting a number of provocative images produced by, for, or about Haitians in the two decades prior to the earthquake. Sponsored by Northwestern's Department of French and Italian. For schedule and venue, CLICK HERE.

    Friday through Sunday, April 30 - May 2
    A Century+ of May Days: Labor and Social Struggles
    DePaul University, Chicago
    An international conference on labor and social struggles, local and global. $75 regular, $25 student / low income, Free for DePaul students and staff. To preregister or for more information, CLICK HERE.

    Friday, April 30, 9 PM
    East Meets West
    Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak, Chicago
    Jazz concert featuring Tatsu Aoki and his Miyumo Project in honor of May Day. $15 cover. Sponsored by the Illinois Labor History Society. Call 312.663.4107 for information.

    Saturday, May 1, 10 AM
    Haymarket Rally
    Randolph & DesPlaines, Chicago
    Japanese labor delegation will present a plaque for the free speech memorial monument. Sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois Labor History Society. Call 312.663.4107 for information.

    Saturday, May 1, 1 PM to 4 PM
    May Day Rally and March
    Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, Chicago
    March begins at 3 PM. For more information, see Chicago JwJ.

    Friday, May 7, 6 PM to 9 PM
    Bring America Home
    Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Madison & Halsted, Chicago
    52nd Annual Dinner featuring author William Greider, honoring Carl Rosen (UE) and the People's Law Office. Tickets $60. For more information or to order tickets CLICK HERE.


    New Ground #129.3

    04.30.2010

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Young Democratic Socialists in the News by Bob Roman
    With Enemies Like These
    DSA in the News: May Day underscores the importance of a living wage
    It's Not Too Late!
    Democratic Left

    1. Politics

    Jobs
    Wal-Mart
    May Day Chicago 2010
    The Sale of Westlake and West Suiburban Hospitals

    2. Ars Politica

    The Battle of the Halsted Viaduct

    3. Democratic Socialism

    An obituary for the Third Way
    Taming the Tiger -- The Challenge for European Social Democracy

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Young Democratic Socialists in the News
    by Bob Roman
    The Winter 2010 Conference of the Young Democratic Socialists at New York's historic Norman Thomas High School had been over for months, not provoking much comment on the right beyond some lame ranting about just what scum gets let into our public schools today (protect your children!), when the folks over at the conservative Christian web site Verum Serum, ever on the look out for ACORN -- Socialism (and by extension, Obama) connections discovered that YDS had posted videos of the head of ACORN, Bertha Lewis, speaking at the conference. They edited the 20 minute presentation down to a few minutes of rant and, in a modest sort of way, it went viral.

    To call the blog-buzz that followed "deafening" would be a gross exaggeration, but nonetheless it was picked up on dozens of sites, then made a brief appearance in the mainstream media.

    And as is typical, the conference was mostly ignored by the left-wing media, including this additional attack on ACORN. Mostly, heh: I may have missed it, but I have yet to see the conference or Lewis mentioned at all.

    This has been mostly a tempest in a toilet bowl, but there was one interesting development. This time the conservative tempest was entirely self-referential. In previous attacks on DSA by conservatives, explanatory links to DSA/YDS web sites were relatively frequent. This time the explanatory links were almost entirely to other conservative sites, such as Trevor Loudon's potentially sinister "KeyWiki" (check it out to see if you're listed) or David Horowitz' "Discover the Network."

    In the interest of "fairness and balance," you can check out the Young Democratic Socialists' YouTube "channel" HERE. It has videos of the presentations by many of the main speakers at the conference. Bertha Lewis is split in two parts. Part one is HERE, and Part two is HERE.

    With Enemies Like These
    we need friends like you. Isn't it time you joined DSA? You can do it online HERE. In these tough times, even the low income dues rate might seem a bit stiff, but for those of you in the Chicago metropolitan area, money should be no barrier to joining. You can find out more HERE.

    DSA in the News: May Day underscores the importance of a living wage
    In the Wednesday Journal, GOPDSA's Tom Broderick writes: "May Day - International Workers Day - is upon us. There will be global celebrations on May 1, recognizing those of us who work from necessity. It is a day to reflect on the work we do in the labor market, at home and in our communities." Read MORE.

    It's Not Too Late!
    This year's Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner will be held on Friday evening, May 7th, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Halsted and Madison in Chicago. We're pleased to be honoring Carl Rosen, the Western Regional President of the United Electrical Workers, and the People's Law Office, a law collective with a long and distinguished radical past. We're particularly excited to have as our featured speaker William Greider: author, editor, columnist for "The Nation."

    It's not too late to order tickets to this event, especially as you can do it online at

    http://www.chicagodsa.org/d2010/index.html

    where you will also find more information about the event, the honorees, and the speaker.

    Democratic Left
    The Spring, 2010, issue of Democratic Left is now available online. Read or download the PDF HERE.



    Politics

    Jobs
    As part of Labor's campaign for a jobful economic recovery, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago Jobs with Justice and others organized a march on Chicago's financial district on Wednesday, April 28. This was part of a nation-wide campaign that made Goldman Sachs an object lesson of what is wrong with the current state of affairs. This was followed by a Wednesday evening Chicago Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights Board hearing on "America's Workforce: Too Big to Fail! Understanding and Solving the Jobs Crisis." The Chicago Sun-Times coverage of the march can be found HERE. The demonstration also gathered some national coverage at MSNBC (video).

    In the meantime, the Responsible Budget Coalition had, on April 21, pulled off "one of the largest demonstrations in State Capitol history" by bringing over 15,000 people together to demonstrate and lobby legislators in Springfield for their immediate attention to state finances. Read more HERE.

    Wal-Mart
    The Sun-Times also reports that Chicago's labor movement has begun talks with Wal-Mart about a Community Benefits Agreement that would allow Wal-Mart's entry into the Chicago market. Read about it HERE.

    May Day Chicago 2010
    Here are some of the events scheduled around Chicago:

  • May Day 2010: A Century+ of May Days -- this international conference at DePaul University's northside campus has already begun. But it runs until Sunday, May 2nd, so it's not too late to catch some of the panels. You can get more information HERE.
  • Haymarket Square rally -- organized by the Illinois Labor History Society, this annual event will, this year, feature a delegation from Japanese unions dedicating another plaque on the Haymarket monument to free speech. Begins 10 AM, Saturday, May 1st at DesPlaines and Randolph in Chicago.
  • May Day Rally and March for Immigrant Rights -- and, as usual, a list of other demands. Saturday, May 1st, beginning with a 1 PM rally at Union Park, Ashland and Washington in Chicago. The march begins at 3 PM, leaving for Daley Plaza. Some more information HERE.
  • The Battle of the Halsted Viaduct -- Sunday May 2nd, 3 PM, 16th Street and Halsted, Chicago: a reenactment of the historic and deadly encounter between police and strikers in the Upheaval of 1877. See below.
  • The Sale of Westlake and West Suburban Hospitals
    Resurrection Health Care has proposed selling two of its facilities, Westlake Hospital and West Suburban Hospital, to Vanguard Health Systems. This sort of conversion of non-profit facilities to a for-profit entity has frequently not worked out well for employees and patients. HEART / AFSCME has issued a report outlining some of the concerns specific to this instance. You can read it HERE.


    Ars Politica

    The Battle of the Halsted Viaduct

    POCKET GUIDE TO HELL TOURS & VERS10N FESTIVAL
    present THE BATTLE OF THE HALSTED VIADUCT
    a dramatic historical reenactment & art party ­ free!
     
    featuring work by THE EVER SO SECRET ORDER OF THE LAMPREY
    & music by ENVIRONMENTAL ENCROACHMENT, "magic circus band"

    In late July 1877, blue-collar workers from Bridgeport and Pilsen left their streetcars, ships, trains, and factories and clashed with police, federal troops, and state militia at the Halsted Street Viaduct. The event, never formally memorialized at the site until now, was part of "The Great Upheaval of 1877," which began in Baltimore as a railroad strike against wage cuts, then spread across the nation. Thirty workers died at the Viaduct, 100 were wounded, and at least thirteen cops were injured. The New York Times reported rocks flying from workers' hands, police shooting guns and swinging clubs, and "no less than 10,000 men present they were bent on violence and hesitated at nothing."
     
    "The Battle of the Halsted Viaduct," a full-scale, live dramatic reenactment presented by Paul Durica's Pocket Guide to Hell Tours in partnership with Version Festival 10, is set for Sunday, May 2nd at 16th St. and S. Halsted, 3 PM sharp. It will last for 45 minutes or so. An art project built on original research, attention to detail, and respect for history, the Battle is free and welcome to all, including children.
     
    All are invited to participate in the roles of 12th Street Station Police (hats, stars, and paper mustaches provided), The Ragamuffin Troop, The Howling Mob (safe projectiles provided), and The Bohemian Amazon Army. Spectators are welcome participants, too. Period costume is encouraged, with a prize for the best mustache and side-whiskers.
     
    Dueling historians Allan Pinkerton and Albert R. Parsons will narrate the event in real time, as accompanied by Environmental Encroachment. Afterwards, light refreshments will be provided by Kenneth Morrison.
     
    Special thanks to: The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey, Environmental Encroachment, The Public Media Institute, The North Bridgeport Triangle Arts District, The University of Chicago and the Regenstein Library, and Alana Bailey Brand Posters.



    Democratic Socialism

    An obituary for the Third Way
    In Eurozine, Magnus Ryner argues the Third Way made a virtue out of the necessity to adapt classical social democracy to global market conditions, conjoining high finance with commodified forms of welfare provision. When the US system on which it was modeled collapsed, "modern" social democracy in Europe was in no state to offer an alternative. You'll find this is no simple sneer from a marxist... MORE.

    Taming the Tiger ­ The Challenge for European Social Democracy
    On the other hand, in Social Europe, Bob Cannell does not come to bury the Third Way, or even to praise it, but to ask, "Is the carefully managed European balance between people and capital becoming unsustainable and should we be looking for alternative, more humane, economic strategies?" MORE.



    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.

    Saturday, May 1, 10 AM
    Haymarket Rally
    Randolph & DesPlaines, Chicago
    Japanese labor delegation will present a plaque for the free speech memorial monument. Sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois Labor History Society. Call 312.663.4107 for information.

    Saturday, May 1, 1 PM to 4 PM
    May Day Rally and March
    Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, Chicago
    March begins at 3 PM. For more information, see Chicago JwJ.

    Sunday, May 2, 3 PM
    The Battle of Halsted Viaduct
    16th Street & Halsted, Chicago
    A re-enactment of the Battle of Halsted Viaduct. MORE.

    Monday, May 3, 5 PM
    Looking for Democracy Film Contest Screening
    Columbia College, Film Row Cinema, 1104 S Wabash Ave, 8th Floor, Chicago
    Screening of the 3 winning short films in the Illinois Humanities Council's "Looking for Democracy" contest. Free, but reservations required. CLICK HERE.

    Monday, May 3, 7:30 PM
    Jack Hirschman with Kevin Coval and Chicago Young Authors
    Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Residents' Dining Hall Building 1st Floor, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago
    San Francisco poet laureate Jack Hirschman, poet Kevin Coval and talent from Young Chicago Authors join in celebrating a long history and tradition of labor activism and the arts. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, May 7, 6 PM to 9 PM
    Bring America Home
    Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Madison & Halsted, Chicago
    52nd Annual Dinner featuring author William Greider, honoring Carl Rosen (UE) and the People's Law Office. Tickets $60. For more information or to order tickets CLICK HERE .


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