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New Ground 135

March -- April, 2011

Contents

  • Healing a Sick Economy by Ron Baiman and Bob Roman
  • Defending the Public, Our Families, and Our Communities
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Talkin' Socialism
    Death Penalty
    Haymarket at 125
    Happy Birthday Nelson Algren
    Illinois Single-Payer
    Crossroads Fund
    Another Victory

  • Letter from the Editor
  • In Praise of Public Service
  • New Ground 135.1 -- 04.04.2011

    0. DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    In Praise of Public Service

    1. Politics

    Fight Back
    Jobs Now
    Yet Another Parking Meter Deal?
    Wal-Mart

    2. Ars Politica

    Revolution as Ego Trip
    Protecting the Commons

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 135.2 -- 04.16.2011

    0. DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    In Praise of Public Service
    DSA National Convention
    Chicago DSA

    1. Politics

    Troublemakers School
    We Are One
    Concessions We Can Believe In
    Ralph Martire

    2. Democratic Socialism

    In Praise of Marx
    How Socialists Built America
    Economic Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 135.3 -- 05.02.2011

    0. DSA News

    The Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
    Spring Is Here

    1. Politics

    Haymarket at 125
    Fight Back Teach-In
    Defending the Public, Our Families, and Our Communities
    We Are Not Broke, But They Are Breaking Us
    Strike Vote
    More Settlements
    Nor Does He Walk on Water

    2. Democratic Socialism

    RINOs meet SINOs meet DINOs
    Worker Coops: Made in the U.S.A.

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    Healing a Sick Economy

    by Ron Baiman and Bob Roman

    We live in a country out of balance. From the end of the last dot com recession in 2002, through the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007 (i.e. during the most recent economic expansion) average income grew by $8,358 (2008 dollars) but 87% of that increase went to the richest 10% in our country. (See the Economic Policy Institute's State of Working America: www.stateofworkingamerica.org .) 65% of that increase went to the top 1% (CTBA calculations from Table 1, Feller and Stone, CBPP, 2009).

    You cannot have a stable, growing economy on this basis. If it wasn't before, it should now be obvious: Stock market, housing, and consumer lending bubbles are no substitute for real wage growth. Nor are they a substitute for real wages that do not rise with productivity increases, as they have not for over three decades.

    Moreover, when businesses sit on trillions of dollars and do not invest in job growth here in the U.S. while millions of American workers are unemployed, it is clear that we owe our economic malaise not to a lack of capital or labor, not to a dearth of "supply side" factors, but to a lack of demand. Businesses will not invest because workers do not have the income to buy.

    No single business, no single industry can sufficiently stimulate aggregate demand to get the economy going again. This is where government must step up to the plate.

    The federal government must play the largest role. It is currently propping up economic demand with over a trillion dollars in deficit spending. This is not enough. With almost 1 in 6 workers unemployed, we should be directly funding massive jobs programs. These could be paid for through a financial transactions tax. Such a tax could raise a trillion dollars and shift economic resources out of financial speculation and into productive job growth. Representative John Conyer's HR 870 ("The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act") would create a federal jobs program of exactly this nature (see New Ground 134: "The 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act: Legislation for Our Time" ).

    Raising the minimum wage is a key way that states can support economic demand and address the massive growth in inequality. In the Illinois Senate, Senator Lightford introduced a bill (SB1565) that would raise the minimum wage to its historic (1968) high over a period of a few years. Illinois' current minimum wage is $8.25. In 2011 dollars, 1968's minimum wage would be more than $10 an hour. This would significantly raise the pay for over 1 million Illinois workers. It would contribute over a billion dollars in consumer spending in the Illinois economy. Multiple studies have shown that the declining value of the minimum wage is a major factor causing increased inequality in the lower half of the labor market. State minimum wage increases are one of the few areas where individual states can have a significant impact on the overall economy.

    SB1565 proposes a gradual increase in the state minimum wage of 50 to 65 cents a year, over four years, to around $10.65. This represents roughly the same proportional increase (29%) as the $5.15 to $6.50 increase (26%) that Illinois implemented in only two years (2004 and 2005). We now have detailed empirical evidence that the 2004 and 2005 Illinois increases did not result in significant job loss in the fast food industry. This industry should have been the most affected as it has among the highest proportion of minimum and near minimum wage workers of all sectors.

    Moreover, nearly all Illinois industries employing mostly minimum or near minimum wage workers are service sector industries. And the vast majority of them are place bound services (retail, accommodation, health care) that serve a local market. These are businesses that compete almost entirely with other Illinois businesses under the same minimum wage requirements. Thus, in a vast majority of cases, raising the Illinois minimum wage will not disadvantage Illinois businesses relative to their competitors.

    Illinois just enacted a necessary and long overdue tax increase that is absolutely necessary for the state's fiscal survival. It is commendable that the legislature finally had the courage to do what is right for Illinois. But two things were missing from that legislation. One is a lack of any increase in state funding for education and human services. The other is an absence of offsets for low income households. Illinois has a highly regressive tax system, and the tax burden imposed on our poorest households was unfairly increased.

    It is time to give these poorest of Illinois households a pay raise to offset this unfair burden. This is the right thing to do for the state's economy. It is also a popular thing to do. Illinois was a pioneer in the Midwest in raising the state minimum wage in 2004. Other Midwest states followed our lead because it proved to be good policy that did not hurt our state's economy. Let's be a leader again and help over a million of our poorest families have a better life. It's the least we can do for all their hard and sometimes dangerous work.

    An ad hoc coalition of groups has come together under the banner "Raise Illinois" to support SB1565. Chicago DSA has endorsed the campaign, and we ask for your support. For more information including how you can help, go to http://letjusticeroll.org or call Melissa Josephs 312.782.3902x234 at Women Employed .


    Defending the Public, Our Families,
    and Our Communities

    Saturday, April 9, 3:00­5:30pm

    Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington, Chicago

    Join progressive leaders and activists to discuss strategies for defending our rights to earn, learn, and live in dignity. In the wake of the all-out attack against workers' rights and against programs that help our communities, it is more important than ever to come together across movements and push to realize a vision of FDR's "Second Bill of Rights." Panelists will discuss a roadmap to fight back and push for progressive priorities including ending wars and militarism; enhancing workers' rights; and developing economic policies that promote jobs and communities instead of corporate profits.

    Program:

    Emcee: Lori Challinor ­ DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition

    Opening Remarks:

    Jesus G. Garcia ­ Cook County Commissioner, 7th District

    Panelists:

    • Adrienne Alexander ­ Policy & Legislative Specialist, AFSCME Council 31
    • Bill Barclay ­ Chicago Political Economy Group
    • Judge William Cousins (ret.) ­ Member of the Board, South Side NAACP
    • Bamshad Mobasher ­ United for Peace & Justice, Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice

    Keynote:

    Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)

    "Towards a New New Deal:
    A 21st Century Full Employment Act"

    Organizer: The New New Deal Project Sponsors: Center for New Deal Studies ­ Roosevelt University, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Jobs with Justice, Chicago Political Economy Group, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Democratic Socialists of America (Chicago and Detroit), DuPage Peace through Justice Coalition, Lincoln Park Neighbors United for Peace, North Side Action for Justice, North Suburban Peace Initiative, Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice, Porto Luz Center, Progressive Democrats of America-Chicago, South Austin Coalition Community Council, VietnamVeterans Against the War, West Suburban Faith-based PEACE Coalition

    For More Information: Call Bill Barclay: 708-386-1371; Email: newnewdeal@gmail.com;

    Visit: www.newnewdeal.net .


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

     

    Talkin' Socialism

    By the time you receive this, the latest episode of Talkin' Socialism should be posted to the web. Episode 4 is on socialist feminism. It features two veterans of the famous Chicago Women's Liberation Union and New American Movement activists Judy Kegan Gardiner and Peg Strobel. Simply go to www.chicagodsa.org and click on the program link to download the half hour 26 megabyte MP3 file. Earlier programs, "Religion and Socialism" featuring Rev. Gene Birmingham and Rev. Maggie Shreve, "Ending the Death Penalty" with ICADP board members Chris Lynch and Tom Broderick, and "If This Is a Recovery, Where Are the Jobs?" with economists Ron Baiman and Bill Barclay are also available there.

     

    Death Penalty

    In Illinois, abolished. We won. It happens occasionally.

     

    Haymarket at 125

    The Illinois Labor History Society has compiled a list of activities leading up to the 125th anniversary celebration at the Haymarket Martyr's monument. These include:

  • Thursday, April 7, 3 PM @ Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan, Chicago - Triangle Fire 100th anniversary event featuring Professor Jo Ann Argersinger from Southern Illinois University, co-sponsored by Roosevelt and UIC History Departments and the New Deal Center at Roosevelt. www.roosevelt.edu/GageGallery.aspx
  • Tuesday, April 12, 7 PM @ Oak Park Public Library, 834 W. Lake St, Oak Park - Forum on meaning of restoration of Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Forest Park. www.illinoislaborhistory.org
  • Wednesday, April 27, 6 PM @ Haymarket Brewery and Pub, Randolph & Halsted, Chicago - Screening of the film "Sacco and Vanzetti."
  • Thursday, April 28, 5:30 PM Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago - forum and debate and reception with labor movement lawyers the American Constitution Society and others discussing Haymarket to the present.
  • Friday, April 29, 5:30 PM @ Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan, Chicago - Reception for International Trade unionists and public and release of new publication of The Day Will Come by Mark Rogovin and viewing of his fathers photos, Milton Rogovin. www.roosevelt.edu/GageGallery.aspx
  • Saturday, April 30, 2 PM @ Haymarket Square, Randolph & DesPlaines, Chicago - Plaque dedication at free speech statue by Illinois Labor History Society and re enactment of the Haymarket Tragedy at the site followed by gathering of all who wish to come to Haymarket Brewery at Halsted and Randolph.
  • Sunday, May 1, 1 PM @ Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park - World wide gathering to celebrate 125th anniversary of the Haymarket and the restoration of the Monument in Forest Park featuring AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler and other dignitaries.
  • Sunday, May 1, 7 PM @ Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago - Music and Rebellion with Bucky Halker, his band, and some international groups. Tickets are $15. Information: www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2011/5/1_mayday.html
  • For more information, go to www.illinoislaborhistory.org

     

    Happy Birthday, Nelson Algren

    The Nelson Algren Committee hosts the 22nd annual Nelson Algren Birthday Party on Saturday, March 26, 8 PM at St Paul's/Acme Cultural Center, 2215 W. North Avenue in Chicago's Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood, the center of Algren's fictional world. The Party is an entertaining and edifying tribute to the National Book Award-winning author of The Man with the Golden Arm, The Neon Wilderness, Chicago: City on the Make and other works that reveal Chicago from the bottom up. The event also celebrates community artists and activists whose work reflects Algren's own feisty compassion. This year's recipients of the Nelson Algren Committee Award include artist, organizer and free speech crusader Chris Drew, neighborhood writer, performer and educator Maritza Nazario, media reformer Scott Sanders, and humane animal husbandry and food safety advocate Richard Wood. Admission is $10 at the door, $7 for seniors and students with ID. Drink tickets are available to those wishing to toast Algren; complimentary snacks and door prize drawings add to the fun. Committee members Warren Leming and Hugh Iglarsh will MC this year's event, ably assisted by members Nina Gaspich, Alice Prus, Charlie Newman and Kurt Jacobsen. And the Algren "Mugshot Mug" will be on sale as a unique souvenir of a unique event. For more information, go to www.nelsonalgren.org .

     

    Illinois Single-Payer Bill

    Representative Mary Flowers has reintroduced HB311, the Illinois Universal Health Care Act. This establishes a state-run, universal health insurance program for Illinois. In support of the bill, Health Care for All Illinois , the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition, Rush and Northwestern American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapters, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, Downstate Democrats for Change, and other groups and individual activists, will gather i}8Springfield for lobbying, a press conference, and other activities on Monday, April 11. For more information, go to www.healthcareil.org or call 312.782.6006.

     

    Crossroads Fund

    Dr. Quentin Young will be among those honored (the Ron Sable Activism Award) at the Crossroads Fund's annual Seeds of Change event on Friday evening, April 1. The event will be at the Chicago Cultural Center's GAR Hall, 77 E. Randolph St, Chicago. Tickets start at $95. See www.crossroadsfund.org for information.

     

    Another Victory

    UNITE HERE and Hilton Worldwide have, at long last, reached an agreement in 3 major markets: Chicago, San Francisco and Honolulu. In Chicago, the agreement affects about 1,600 workers at the Drake, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago Hilton, and Hilton O'Hare. Negotiations continue with other hotel chains. A boycott is still in progress against the Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, and Wyndham Suites. The Congress Plaza is still on strike. For more information, go to www.hotelworkersrising.org .


    Letter From the Editor

    Even a publication as small and as focused as New Ground shouldn't leave the battles in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio unmentioned. Most of what has been published in lefty media has been an appreciation of how people are finally mobilizing to fight back. I'd prefer to look ahead about 12 months to tell you: Don't be discouraged.

    Don't be discouraged because in the short term, we're going to get our asses kicked, in Wisconsin, at least, and probably elsewhere as well and not just Indiana and Ohio. Elections have consequences, and the Republicans have the votes to take bites of varying sizes in many states. Legislators on strike will slow them down, but it will not stop them. And not a few Democrats are unclear on the concept of defending collective bargaining, as we learned when Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan created the special committee on education reform (see New Ground 133.3: "The Last Days of the General Assembly").

    Don't be discouraged because we can turn these pending defeats into victory if our level of mobilization remains high. This is the conventional wisdom, I think it's right on, and I'll bet you've read similar observations elsewhere.

    Don't be discouraged because, over the next year or so, the news is going to get worse. It's not clear to me if people realize just what wreckage and shrapnel are headed in their direction as a result of budget cutting on the federal, state, and local levels. It's not just unemployed public workers, but services ending as well. Some of this will be inconvenient: longer waits for buses and trains, pot holes that don't get fixed including roads indefinitely closed for repairs, etc. Some of this may be deadly, as in emergency rooms that are functionally unavailable, laws that are not enforced, catastrophic infrastructure failures. Much of this will happen no matter how many people are in the streets, and the consequences for an already weak economy are fertile ground for speculation.

    Don't be discouraged because politics is going to get uglier. Republicans are understandably unhappy with having Democratic legislators on strike. It makes it difficult for an elected majority to govern. But a legislative walkout is nothing but an escalation of an old feature of American government, a minority veto. Often this has been written into law, as when conservatives have gleefully required super-majorities to pass tax increases or into the rules of a legislative body as in the U.S. Senate where a single Senator has been able to anonymously place holds on legislation or appointments. Walkouts have been used before, for example in Texas some years ago over reapportionment. But if Republicans lose big in 2012, don't be surprised if they return the favor.

    Finally, expect the unexpected.

    Yours for a cheddar revolution,

    Bob Roman


    New Ground #135.1

    04.04.2011

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    In Praise of Public Service

    1. Politics

    Fight Back
    Jobs Now
    Yet Another Parking Meter Deal?
    Wal-Mart

    2. Ars Politica

    Revolution as Ego Trip
    Protecting the Commons

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    Episode 4
    -- Socialist Feminism
    Recorded 03.12.2011: Judy Gardiner, Professor of English and Gender and Women's Studies at Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago, and Peg Strobel, Professor Emeritus of Gender and Women's Studies at Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago, discuss socialist feminism. 30 minutes:
    MP3 (25.9 Mb) or Ogg Vorbis (18 Mb). Bibliography (DjVu) or Bibliography (PDF).

    In Praise of Public Service
    That is the theme of the 53rd Annual Eugene V. Debs -- Norman Thomas -- Michael Harrington Dinner. It will be held on Friday evening, May 13, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro hotel at Madison and Halsted in Chicago, beginning with a cash bar at 6 PM. The Dinner is at 7 PM. We have as our honorees John Cameron, the Director of Political and Community Relations for AFSCME Council 31, and Jeremy Schroeder, the Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Our featured speaker is Ralph Martire, the Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. For more information, including ordering tickets online,
    CLICK HERE.



    Politics

    Fight Back
    DSA Honorary Chairs Cornel West and Frances Fox Piven are organizing a National Teach-In on Debt, Austerity and Corporate Greed (and what YOU can do about it). Almost 200 venues have been signed up to participate in the teach in. Scheduled for April 5th at 2 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time), the event seeks to counter the drumbeat of right-wing propaganda. Content will be streamed live to teach-ins organized in local communities from the national teach-in at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. The local teach-ins will use the streamed material and add their own speakers that focus on their community. DSA has endorsed this program and is encouraging local groups and YDS chapters to organize local events that connect to the national teach-in.  Jobs with Justice, the Student Labor Labor Project, and others are promoting the teach-in. For more information,
    CLICK HERE.

    Among the 200 are 5 campus locations in the Chicago area: two at the University of Chicago, the Art Institute, Northeastern Illinois University, and Northern Illinois University. For a complete list, CLICK HERE.

    Jobs Now
    The latest jobs numbers releasted by the Labor Department are an improvement over previous months, but the rate of job creation is still painfully slow, so much so that the jobs lost during the Great Recession will not be regained until after 2016. Indeed, the pace is so slow, that some commentators are predicting a second recession -- or a "double dip" if you (sensibly) regard the Great Recession as still in progress.

    The need for Federal action should be obvious. To that end, DSA supports H.R. 870, The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, introduced into the House of Representatives by John Conyers, U.S. Representative from Detroit, and friend of DSA. This bill introduces several strategies to generate jobs, including the establishment of a National Full Employment Trust Fund to create employment opportunities for the unemployed, financed (budget-neutral) by a tax on securities transactions. Introduced by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14) on March 2nd, the bill recently gained its 6th cosponsor, Bob Filner (CA-51). In Illinois, Jesse Jackson, Jr (IL-2) is a co-sponsor. For more information about the bill, CLICK HERE.

    Representative Conyers will address the need for and the ways and the means of a jobs bill as the key-note speaker at a New New Deal forum on Saturday afternoon, April 9, at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington, Chicago. The forum begins at 3 PM. Chicago DSA is one of the endorsing organizations. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    Yet Another Parking Meter Deal?
    It appears the City of Chicago is working on digging its fiscal hole deeper by entering into a proposed lease agreement to redevelop and manage O'Hare Airport Terminal 5 that will, over its 20 to 25 year life, bring in $82,000,000 to $145,000,000 less than other competing proposals. The rationale for accepting an inferior bid seems to be that the bidder, Westfield Concession Management, would be committing to spending a few million more in redeveloping the terminal. Crain's Chicago Business says that UNITE HERE Local 1 opposes this agreement because, among other things, there's less money available to pay workers.

    The City Council's Committee on Aviation postponed action on the lease in March to this April's meeting: April 6, 1 PM, Room 201A in City Hall. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    Wal-Mart
    The national "Sweatshop, Warehouse, Walmart: A Worker Truth Tour" started off in Chicago with panels at the Chicago Jobs with Justice headquarters and at the Gage Gallery. The tour has some serious attention from the United Food and Commercial Workers, as demonstrated by Ron Powell's introduction of the program at the Gage Gallery. The two major objectives are to raise the political temperature coincident with the Supreme Court hearing deciding the class action status of the suit against Wal-Mart by women employees and the escalation of legal and illegal anti-union pressure on union organizers at Wal-Mart suppliers in Bangladesh. It's also possible that these events will rally some left-over resistance to Wal-Mart's metastasis. Kari Lydersen's account at In These Times is
    HERE.


    Ars Politica

    Revolution as Ego Trip
    At Counterpunch, Hugh Iglarsh writes:

    Hollywood is an industry, of course, but it comes across more as a televised group therapy session, sustained by the media's appetite for glimpses into the "inner life" of the calculatedly superficial. MORE.

    Protect the Commons
    The congregation that used St. Paul's Community Church a few blocks west of the Chicago DSA office on North Avenue gave up the ghost some years ago, and since then it has been used by the Near Northwest Arts Council (NNAC) as a "common space dedicated to culture and learning." While the congregation may be gone, the building itself is still owned by a church entity, and they want to sell the building. The NNAC wouldn't mind buying, but there is no agreement as to price and apparently the owners are not much interested in selling to the NNAC. You can learn more about the issue
    HERE and there is a petition you can sign HERE.



    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.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2 PM to 3:30 PM EDT
    Fight Back USA
    Judson Memorial Church, New York, NY
    National Teach-In streamed live HERE.

    Wednesday, April 6, 1 PM
    Concession Lease at Terminal 5
    Chicago City Hall, Room 201A
    The City Council Aviation Committee considers 3 competing proposals. More information.

    Thursday, April 7, 10 AM
    Clean Diesel Construction Ordinance
    Chicago City Hall, Room 201A
    Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities hearing on the proposed ordinance. For information, contact Jonathan Doster 312.427.2144x206.

    Thursday, April 7, 1 PM to 2 PM
    Stop Union Busting at NeILU
    Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis (in the campus at B courtyard), Chicago
    Join AFT Local 4100 in protesting a lousy contract offer. More information.

    Thursday, April 7, 3 PM to 5 PM
    The Fire That Changed America: Triangle at 100
    Roosevelt University Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago
    Panel discussion featuring Maribeth Anderson, Louise Carr, Jo Ann Argersinger, and Susan Hurley. Sponsored by Working Women's History Project. More information.

    Friday, April 8, 7 PM to 9 PM
    "At the River I Stand"
    All Saints' Episcopal Church, 4550 N. Hermitage Ave, Chicago
    Justice Circle presents a screening of the documentary on the Memphis sanitation workers strike, Reverend King's last campaign. More information.

    Saturday, April 9, 1 PM
    We Are One
    Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago
    Part of a nation-wide week of actions commemorating the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination while he defended the right of Memphis sanitation workers to bargain collectively. More information and even more information.

    Saturday, April 9, 3 PM to 5:30 PM
    Defending the Public, Our Families, and Our Communities
    Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St, Chicago
    Panel discussion on strategues to fight back for progressive priorities plus a key-note address by Congressman John Conyers. More information.

    Saturday, April 9, 7 PM to 9 PM
    War, Militarism, Economic Crisis and Resistance
    Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, 7353 S. Cicero Ave, Chicago
    Panel discussion, entertainment, and documentary film presented by US Labor Against the War and Iraq Veterans Against the War. $10 donation requested.

    Monday, April 11, All Day
    Single-Payer Lobby Day
    Springfield, Illinois
    Same day bus from Chicago and back. Rally, network, talk to state legislators to encourage them to support HB 311, the Illinois Universal Health Care Act, sponsored by Representative Mary Flowers. No lobbying experience necessary. More information.

    Monday, April 11, 5 PM to 7:30 PM
    Solidarity Unionism
    Chicago Kent College of Law, 565 W. Adams Room C50, Chicago
    Program begins at 5:30 PM. Chicago-Kent Chapter National Lawyers Guild presents panel discussion of rebuilding the labor movement from below. Featuring Daniel Gross, Laurie Burgess, Adam Kader, and more.

    Tuesday, April 12, Noon to 1 PM
    Equal Pay Day Rally
    Daley Plaza, Clark and Washington, Chicago
    Help raise awareness about the wage gap between men and women. Sponsored by Women Employed. More information.

    Tuesday, April 12, 7 PM
    The Meaning of the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument Restoration
    Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Larry Spivack and Mark Rogovin and Andrzej Dajnowski discuss the history of the monument and its restoration.

    Tuesday, April 12, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
    Drug Policy Reform: a Christian Imperative?
    Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St, Chicago
    Forum exploring the connection of current drug policies to Christian principles. Protestants for the Common Good. More information.

    Tuesday, April 12, 7 PM
    Life After Death
    Lake Forest College, Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel, 555 N. Sheridan Rd, Lake Forest
    Equal Justice USA event: Panel discussion on criminal justice reform and the repeal of Illinois' death penalty, featuring Jed Stone, Shari Silberstein, Jonathan Gradess, and Jennifer Lindblom. Free and open to the public but RSVP requested. Contact Cheryl Mantia 718.801.8943. More information.

    Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15
    Living Wage Conference 2011
    Northwestern University, Evanston
    Conference on living wage at Northwestern and elsewhere, featuring Thursday evening keynote by Barbara Ehrenreich. Registration Required.

    Saturday, April 16, 9 AM to 4 PM
    Workers Community Defense Conference
    Casa Michoacan, 1638 S. Blue Island Ave, Chicago
    A conference for "Community Defenders" who are interested in helping to protect the rights and interests of immigrant workers in Chicagoland. More information.


    New Ground #135.2

    04.16.2011

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    In Praise of Public Service
    DSA National Convention
    Chicago DSA

    1. Politics

    Troublemakers School
    We Are One
    Concessions We Can Believe In
    Ralph Martire

    2. Democratic Socialism

    In Praise of Marx
    How Socialists Built America
    Economic Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     



    DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    Episode 5 -- The Day Will Come
    Recorded 04.02.2011: Larry Spivack, President of the Illinois Labor History Society, and Mark Rogovin, author of The Day Will Come, discuss the 125th Anniversary of the Haymarket Tragedy and its significance and the restoration of the Haymarket Martyrs' monument. MP3 (31.9 Mb) or Ogg Vorbis (20.7 Mb).

    In Praise of Public Service
    Join us in a celebration of public employees and public activism at the 53rd Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner. On Friday evening, May 13, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro at Halsted and Madison in Chicago, we will be honoring John Cameron, AFSCME Council 31's Director of Political and Community Relations, and Jeremy Schroeder, the Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Our featured speaker is Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. For more information or to order tickets online,
    CLICK HERE.

    DSA National Convention
    The 15th biennial convention of Democratic Socialists of America is set for November 11-13 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, which is located in the Washington D.C. suburb of Vienna, VA. Convention delegates are selected by DSA local organizations. Members not in locals may run as at-large delegates to the convention. While the exact apportionment of delegates is set four months prior to the convention, members are encouraged to begin planning to attend the convention now. If you think you would like to attend, send Frank Llewellyn an email so that you can be put on a special list to receive convention updates. Some additional information can be found
    HERE.

    Chicago DSA
    The Chicago DSA annual membership convention will be some time in June, the date and place haven't been determined yet. Among the items of business will be the regular election (for a 2 year term) of a male co-chair and a secretary. Ron Baiman is the current co-chair and Gene Birmingham is the current secretary. This is a heads-up for Chicago DSA members: While Ron Baiman has not announced his plans, Gene Birmingham has said that he will not be standing for re-election as secretary.

    If you're interested in becoming more involved with Chicago DSA, this would be a good way of doing so. The secretary has served as our corporate agent of record, a co-signer of checks, and the taker of minutes. If you're interested, feel free to give the office a call, 773.384.0327, and we'll put you in touch with Gene.

    The next Executive Committee meeting has been rescheduled from May 14 to May 7, at the CDSA office at 12:30 PM.



    Politics

    Troublemakers School
    Labor Notes' acclaimed "Troublemakers School" is coming to Chicago again on Saturday, May 21. It will be held at the Arturo Valesquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave, in Chicago. The keynote speaker will be Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. Workshop topics will include public sector unions and the fight for quality public services; challenging legislative attacks on unions and worker's rights; assertive grievance handling; workers centers and non-traditional organizing. More information, and registration, can be found HERE.

    We Are One
    Several thousand union members and supporters came together on Daley Plaza in Chicago, Saturday, April 9, to demonstrate their support for labor rights in Wisconsin, in Illinois, and in the nation. AFSCME Council 31 has a nice account on their web site HERE, including Bill Lucy speaking. "Hyde Park Johnny" posted a diary entry on the Daily Kos that includes William McNary speaking HERE. Andy Thayer posted some nice shots of the rally at Chicago Independent Media Center HERE. And finally, because part of the effort was to assemble a war chest of supporters, you can still sign up HERE.

    Concessions We Can Believe In?
    You've probably heard that the vote to pass the 2011 budget compromise was not a party-line vote, that about 2/3rds of the Nay votes came from members of the Democratic caucus while only about a third of the Yeas were from the Democratic caucus. Just who were the nays and yeas? The roll call is HERE.

    Ralph Martire,
    Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, will be speaking at our upcoming Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner, but he has also just been elected to the River Forest District 90 School Board.



    Democratic Socialism

    In Praise of Marx
    At The Chronicle of Higher Education, Terry Eagleton says:

    "There is a sense in which the whole of Marx's writing boils down to several embarrassing questions: Why is it that the capitalist West has accumulated more resources than human history has ever witnessed, yet appears powerless to overcome poverty, starvation, exploitation, and inequality? What are the mechanisms by which affluence for a minority seems to breed hardship and indignity for the many? Why does private wealth seem to go hand in hand with public squalor? Is it, as the good-hearted liberal reformist suggests, that we have simply not got around to mopping up these pockets of human misery, but shall do so in the fullness of time? Or is it more plausible to maintain that there is something in the nature of capitalism itself which generates deprivation and inequality, as surely as Charlie Sheen generates gossip?" MORE.

    How Socialists Built America
    At The Nation, John Nichols writes:

    "We live in complex times, when profound economic, social and environmental challenges demand a range of responses. Socialists certainly don't have all the answers, even if polling suggests that more Americans find appeal in the word "socialist" today than they have in decades. But without socialist ideas and advocacy, we will not have sufficient counterbalance to an anti-government impulse that has less to do with libertarianism than with manipulation of the debate by all-powerful corporations.


    "Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy were not socialists. But the nation benefited from their borrowing of socialist and social democratic ideas. Barack Obama is certainly not a socialist. But he, and the nation he leads, would be well served by a similar borrowing from the people who once imagined Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the War on Poverty."
    MORE.

    Economic Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
    At Social Europe Journal, Richard Hyman begins by observing:

    "Two familiar and intersecting contradictions of union action were evident across Europe. One was the dilemma of short-term imperatives versus long-term objectives. Was the aim to negotiate with those wielding political and economic power for damage limitation, and perhaps a tighter regulatory architecture for financialised capitalism; or to lead an oppositional movement for an alternative socio-economic order?" 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.

    Sunday, April 17, 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM
    Tax Dodgers on Parade
    Meet up at the Old Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Av, Chicago
    Leisurely march organized by US Uncut Chicago. Dress as your favorite CEO or Billionaire. More information.

    Monday, April 18, 8 AM to 6 PM
    Tax Day Leafleting
    Evanston Post Office, Davis & Oak, Evanston
    Distributing the War Resister's League flyer, Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes. For information, contact Rosalie Riegle at 847.644.2881.

    Monday, April 18, Noon to 1 PM
    Crash the Tea Party Rally
    Daley Plaza, Dearborn & Washington, Chicago
    The American Friends Service Committee is gathering folks to crash the Tea Party rally on tax day. AFSC will have its 40 foot banner that shows the 60% of the discretionary budget that goes to the military -- and hand out some leaflets that have the same image.

    Monday, April 18, 5 PM
    Protest Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe
    Northwestern University Kellogg Business School, 2001 N. Sheridan Rd, Evanston
    Northwestern University students and solidarity organizations in protesting a lecture given by former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe at Northwestern University, entitled "Leading Change: The Transformation of a Nation."

    Monday, April 18, 6 PM
    Breaks in the Chain
    Harold Washington Library Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State St, Chicago
    Book signing and lecture by political scientist Paul Apostolidis: Breaks in the Chain: What Immigrant Workers Can Teach America about Democracy. More information.

    Wednesday, April 20, 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Repeal Celebration
    Architectural Anarchy, 2229 S. Halsted, Chicago
    A celebration of the repeal of the death penalty. $30 per person or $35 at the door. More information.

    Thursday, April 21, 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM
    March on UofC to Demand a Trauma Center
    March starts 2:30 @ 61st & Cottage Grove
    Press conference 3:30 @ 58th & Maryland
    Southside Chicago is without any level 1 trauma centers. U of C Medical Center closed their trauma center in 1988 because it was losing them $1.5million/year. They get close to $60 million / year in tax breaks and are building a new $700+ million research building. More information.

    Thursday, April 21, 6 PM to 8 PM
    How Art Works: The Impact of Art on Chicago Movements
    Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted - Resident's Dining Room, Chicago
    Neighborhood Writing Alliance presents a panel representing a variety of artistic mediums and social movements across the city. Presenters will discuss how they have used art to further specific causes, such as environmental justice, youth development and intergenerational collaboration. A discussion will follow. More information.

    Friday, April 22, Noon to 3 PM
    There Is No Fear in Love
    Beginning at Michigan and Congress, Chicago
    The 8th Day Center for Justice's 31st annual Good Friday Walk for Justice, ending at the Thompson Center Plaza, with stops for participative prayers and reflection. More information.

    Monday, April 25, 6 PM
    Getting the Stories of Workers Told as Loud as Ever
    Haymarket Brewery and Pub, Randolph & Halsted, Chicago
    Forum featuring labor writers and journalists let by Steve Franklin. More information.

    Wednesday, April 27, 6 PM
    "Sacco and Vanzetti"
    Haymarket Brewery and Pub, Randolph & Halsted, Chicago
    A screening of the movie plus international social justice music by the band Mezcolanza. More information.

    Thursday, April 28, 6 PM
    Constitutional Issues: Workers' Movement from Haymarket to the Present
    Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
    Panel discussion and reception. More information.

    Thursday, April 28, 6 PM to 9 PM
    "Visions of Abolition"
    UIC Student Center East, 740 S. Halsted Cardinal Room 32, Chicago
    A documentary on the history and effects of the prison industrial complex with a particular gender lens. Followed by discussion and reception. More information.

    Saturday, April 30, 10 AM to 4:15 PM
    Facing Our Water Crisis
    Loyola University Lake Shore Campus, Flanner Hall 1068 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago
    Registration at 9:30 AM. A conference on preserving this basic necessity of life. More information.

    Friday, April 29, 5:30 PM
    The Day Will Come
    Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan, Chicago
    Release party for the re-issue of "The Day Will Come" by Mark Rogovin plus a viewing of the Milton Rogovin photo exhibit. Free reception. More information.

    Saturday, April 30, 2 PM
    Plaque Dedication & Haymarket Re-enactment
    Haymarket Square, Randolph & DesPlaines, Chicago
    Plaque dedication at free speech statue by Illinois Labor History Society and re-enactment of the Haymarket Tragedy at the site. More information.

    Sunday, May 1, 1 PM
    Haymarket Martyrs' Monument: Celebrate the Rebirth
    Forest Home Cemetery, 863 DesPlaines Ave, Forest Park
    Celebration of the restoration and rededication of the monument, featuring Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and others. More information.

    Sunday, May 1, 2 PM
    "Inside Job"
    Oak Park Public Library Veterans Room, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Documentary tracing the rise of a rogue industry and unveiling the corrosive relations that have corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. More information.

    Sunday, May 1, 7 PM
    Music & Rebellion
    Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
    Musical tribute to the 125th anniversary of the Haymarket Tragedy. Tickets $15. More information.


    New Ground #135.3

    05.02.2011

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    The Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
    Spring Is Here

    1. Politics

    Haymarket at 125
    Fight Back Teach-In
    Defending the Public, Our Families, and Our Communities
    We Are Not Broke, But They Are Breaking Us
    Strike Vote
    More Settlements
    Nor Does He Walk on Water

    2. Democratic Socialism

    RINOs meet SINOs meet DINOs
    Worker Coops: Made in the U.S.A.

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    The Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner
    honoring Jeremy Schroeder and John Cameron is Friday, May 13, and it is not too late to order your tickets to the event. Especially as you can pay online by CLICKING HERE.

    It's also not too late to place an ad or a greeting in the Dinner Program Book. But we need the copy by close of business Wednesday, May 4. A flyer (PDF) with additional information is HERE.

    Spring Is Here
    And so is the Spring, 2011, issue of Democratic Left. CLICK HERE. (PDF)



    Politics

    Haymarket at 125
    Both the plaque dedication and re-enactment of the Haymarket Tragedy on Saturday at the Haymarket and the rededication of the Martyrs' Monument at the Forest Home cemetery on Sunday were attended by several hundred, the Sunday event being somewhat larger.

    The Saturday event was entertaining, and gathered some media coverage. Ron Grossmann gave it a somewhat better write-up than he did for DSA's national convention in the Chicago Tribune. The Chicagoist blog posted some photos and a brief account.

    The Sunday rededication of the Martyrs' Monument has so far not gotten much press and not much has been posted on the web, though it's a reasonable guess that one or more of the Oak Park periodicals will run stories and people will eventually post photos and videos.

    David Moberg had an essay on the significance of the 125th anniversary in In These Times, and Talking Union carried an essay by Michael Hirsch on the same topic but from New York. The exhibition of Milton Rogovin's photos remains up at the Gage Gallery through June 30. Talkin' Socialism's conversation with Mark Rogovin and the Illinois Labor History Society's Larry Spivack is HERE (mp3, 32mb). And of course, the Illinois Labor History Society is not yet done raising money to restore and maintain the Martyrs' Monument. You can donate HERE.

    Fight Back Teach-In
    Video recordings of the April 5th Fight Back Teach-In webcast are now posted on the web in eleven parts:

  • Frances Fox Piven;
  • Gustavo Rivera & Rev Michael Ellick;
  • Cornell West;
  • Heather McGhee Part 1 | Part 2;
  • Trumka;
  • Jeff Sachs Part 1 | Part 2;
  • Additional Guest Speakers Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.
  • Defending the Public, Our Families, and Our Communities
    At PDAIllinois, "Illinoisnoki1" writes:

    "Addressing the New New Deal Forum, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia called for redirecting military spending from foreign wars to creating good paying jobs in the US. 'Imagine what those billions could have done to relieve the economic crisis.' Mr. Garcia explained that while the recovery is creating some jobs, they tend to be 'low wage jobs that won't support a family'." MORE.

    We Are Not Broke, But They Are Breaking Us
    At Talking Union, Bill Barclay writes:

    "'We're broke,' said John Boehner, Republican speaker of the House in arguing for $100 billion in cuts in the federal budget, cuts that impact students, poor and the elderly.

    "More false words were never spoken.

    "The US is not broke.

    "We suffer from two problems: a huge concentration of income at the very top of the income hierarchy and a tax system that fails to recognize that concentration.  Instead, our tax system asks those with less to pay more and those with more to pay less." MORE.

    And at Dollars & Sense, John Miller looks at how corporations evade taxes HERE.

    Strike Vote
    The National Nurses United campaign to negotiate a satisfactory contract at the University of Chicago Medical Center has heated up with the taking of a strike vote by its members. An account that includes some of the issues on the table was published by the Chicago Maroon HERE.

    The campaign has also attracted the intervention of the notorious National Right to Work [for less] Foundation. MORE.

    In the meantime, southside Chicago is pressuring the University of Chicago hospitals to re-establish their closed Level 1 trauma center. Whether or not it's actually practical for the hospital to do this, southside Chicago is a "trauma desert," and part of the reason is Cook County's structural revenue problems. If you think you are immune to the collapse of government services, be sure to avoid being shot or getting into a catastrophic auto accident while south of Madison Street, especially during rush hour.

    More Settlements
    "After 20 months of bargaining, UNITE HERE Local 1 and Starwood Hotels have reached settlements in Chicago. The agreement affects 1200 Starwood workers at the Sheraton Hotel, Westin Michigan Avenue, Westin River North, W Lakeshore, W City Center, and the Tremont, as well as approximately 2000 workers in 16 other hotels, where hotel operators have signed pattern agreements tied to the Sheraton contract. Agreements were ratified by Starwood workers yesterday, April 19, 2011." MORE.

    Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, and Wyndham Suites are still under a boycott. UNITE HERE advises there is a risk of dispute at Affinia, Blackstone Renaissance, Essex Inn, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, and Inn of Chicago. MORE.

    Nor Does He Walk on Water
    Rich Miller, at Capitol Fax, writes:

    "Rahm Emanuel's choice of Jean-Claude Brizard to run the Chicago schools has been mostly met with high praise. He stands up to the unions, according to the Tribune, and his appointment means sweeping change, according to the Sun-Times.

    "An Emanuel press release claims that graduation rates increased under Brizard's tenure in Rochester, New York. But rates actually declined for a while under Brizard's stewardship..." MORE.

    To go directly to Brizard's fouled nest, CLICK HERE. And George Schmidt, at Substance News, has a few things to say, too: CLICK HERE. One wonders if Emanuel would still be working at the White House if he hadn't parachuted into Chicago's City Hall.


    Democratic Socialism

    RINOs meet SINOs meet DINOs
    At Dissent Magazine, Brandon Storm writes:

    "One of the more notable acronyms to enter the American political lexicon in recent years is the RINO, short for Republican in Name Only-an emerging pariah of the right. In 2010 in particular, a slew of moderate Republicans was taken down in primaries across the country by eccentric right-wingers and Tea Party darlings empowered by newly energized and vocal grassroots groups.


    "As I was chatting with a similarly energetic and vocal young woman on the left in a working-class barrio of the capital of Socialist Party­controlled Spain last month, such grim developments were far from my mind. Her concern wasn't RINOs, but SINOs-the Socialists in Name Only of the ruling PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero de España). With Spain still reeling from the explosion of a huge real estate bubble, and saddled with an unemployment rate of over 20 percent as well as plummeting confidence in the value of public debt, the PSOE government has been trying to placate worries it could spark a eurozone-disintegrating catastrophe by implementing austerity measures that have come into vogue in Europe."
    MORE.

    Meanwhile, collective bargaining is under attack by... Democrats. Roger Bybee writes about it HERE. David Lizoain adds that "Obedience Does Not Pay" and "that if we do not show some teeth, we face death by a thousand cuts." HERE.

    Worker Coops: Made in the U.S.A.
    The Italian magazine A Rivista Anarchica surveys worker cooperatives in the United States HERE.



    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, May 5, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Wikileaks and U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
    DePaul University Schmidt Academic Center Room 154, 2320 N. Kenmore, Chicago
    Eva Golinger, the editor of the English language Venezuelan newpaper Correo de Orinoco, will address the topic.

    Friday, May 6, Noon to 12:30 PM
    First Friday Action for Jobs
    State of Illinois Building Thompson Center, Randolph & Clark, Chicago
    The monthly response to the release of the latest unemployment numbers. Demand good jobs for all! MORE.

    Saturday, May 7, Noon
    CDSA Executive Committee
    Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, Chicago
    All DSA members welcome.

    Friday, May 13, 6 PM to 10 PM
    In Praise of Public Service
    Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Halsted & Madison, Chicago
    53rd Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner, honoring John Cameron and Jeremy Schroeder. MORE.

    Saturday, May 21, 10 AM to 4 PM
    Chicago Troublemakers School
    Arturo Valesquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave, Chicago
    Labor Notes' acclaimed "Troublemakers School." MORE.


     

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