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New Ground 137

July - August, 2011

Contents

  • The Bush Tax Cuts: 10 Years of Economic Disaster by Bill Barclay
  • The Congress Cancer by Bob Roman
  • After Three Decades by Tom Broderick
  • An Economy at the Edge: the June Jobs Report by Ron Baiman
  • The First Chicago Soviet? by Bob Roman
  • A World to Win by Gene Birmingham
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Ron Chew
    Lester Schlosberg
    Dinner Online
    Eugene V. Debs Foundation
    Talkin' Socialism
    CDSA V 4.0
    Community Labor Alliance for Public Services
    June Membership Convention

  • Letters
  • New Ground 137.1 -- 08.02.2011

    0. DSA News

    Norway: Hell on Utøya
    Democratic Left
    DSA National Convention
    Support "New Ground," Among Other Things
    Executive Committee
    Talkin' Socialism

    1. Politics

    Heat's on at the Park Hyatt by Bob Roman
    Smart Aleck
    Happy New Year
    Jobs
    Privatization

    New Ground 137.2 -- 08.16.2011

    0. DSA News

    September Membership Meeting
    Support "New Ground"

    1. Politics

    Tell Verizon: Stop Attacking the Middle Class
    Evanston Privatization
    Fair Food
    A Short Meditation on America's Loss of Manufacturing

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Worker Cooperative Developmental Models

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 137.3 -- 09.01.2011

    0. DSA News

    We Are the Alternative
    Final Call

    1. Politics

    On Labor Day, the Middle Class Is Losing
    Unequal Exchange and the Rentier Economy
    Blackmail: Not Just for Crooks Anymore
    Saving Chicago Schools
    "But If You Have a Warrant, I Guess You're Gonna Come In"

    2. Democratic Socialism

    A Left Double Standard for Democracy?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

     


    The Bush Tax Cuts: 10 Years of Economic Disaster

    by Bill Barclay

    This month marks the tenth anniversary of the first of the two tax cuts sought by the President George Bus. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act was enacted in 2001 to be followed, in 2003, by the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. Ten years later, it is time we assess the actual results of these tax cuts, looking at economic performance rather than political promises. The results have been a disaster for the US economy and for almost all of the US people. We have experienced very slow income and employment growth for almost all families, an extremely unequal distribution of the direct financial benefits from these measures, and finally, extremely slow growth in the economy as a whole.

    Supporters of tax cuts for high income households, such as House majority leader John Boehner, argue that these people are the "job creators" and that tax cuts will encourage them to create jobs and that these new jobs will, in turn, increase employment opportunities and improve the wages of the remainder of the population. Did any of these benefits occur after the Bush tax cuts? The quick and accurate answer is, no, they did not. Adjusted for inflation, the median weekly earnings of working Americans actually fell by 2.3% from the end of the 2000 ­ 01 recession to the onset of the Great Recession. This is unique in the post WWII period. Further, the recovery from the 2000 ­ 01 recession was the slowest of any post WWII recession to date, requiring 39 months before simply the number of employed Americans reached the pre-recession level. Where is even a scintilla of evidence that tax cuts such as those passed in 2001 and 2003 generate income and employment growth for the vast majority of the population?

    A significant part of the failure of the Bush tax cuts to generate jobs and income growth flows from the top-heavy distribution of the benefits conveyed by these measures. First, the vast bulk of the reduced taxes were reaped by a very small number of families. In 2011, the average tax reduction to families receiving an income of $1 million or more (about 321,000 families) will be $139,199. For this less than 0.5% of all families this is a reduction in taxes of $860 million/week. Compare these tax benefits to the yearly savings proposed by cutting the WIC program: $833 million. An obvious question is, why can't this very small group of extremely high income families give up just one week of their tax cut to provide nutrition for the tens of thousands of women and children that benefit from the WIC program? More significantly, in light of the deficit hysteria gripping Washington D.C., the combined impact of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts has been the addition of more than $2.6 trillion to the federal debt. This included more than $400 billion interest payments on the debt necessary to pay for the cuts.

    Of course, one might forgive much or even all of the foregoing if the promise of economic growth had been fulfilled. On this measure, however, the record is even worse. The 2000 ­ 01 recession ended in the fourth quarter of 2001, just in time for the first Bush tax cut to take effect. From the end of the recession until the onset of the Great Recession, the economy grew at a slower rate than in any other post recession period since WWII. Thus, despite promises from the advocates of the tax cuts, the reality was slower growth rather than faster growth. The additional tax cut in 2003 did nothing to increase the pace of economic growth.

    In sum, the Bush tax cuts were a bad idea at the time and are an even worse idea today. Ending these cuts for income over $250,000 would generate over $100 billion/year in additional revenue. If we also created additional tax rates for very high-income families (e.g. at $500,000, $1,000,000, $5,000,000 and $10,000,000) we could increase federal revenue by more than double that amount and put us on the road to reducing deficits and debts.

     

    Editor's Note: a version of this article appears at the Wealth for the Common Good web site www.wealthforcommongood.org.


    The Congress Cancer

    by Bob Roman

    The Congress Hotel strike has been going on for a long time. Some say it's the third longest strike in United States history. It's certainly the longest hotel strike in history. UNITE HERE Local 1 held its annual mass picket of the Congress Plaza Hotel on June 15 to commemorate (the union's word) the 8th anniversary of the strike's beginning.

    It was a lively afternoon rush hour demonstration with representatives of many Chicago area unions on the line with UNITE HERE members, along with community supporters and various notables. Based on the people I recognized, DSA members made up maybe as much as 5% of the picket line. As usual, the line was reinforced with props including giant rats as comments on the character of management or, perhaps, on the state of the facility.

    By all accounts, Congress hotel management has not budged much from their original position. For the past several years, contacts between union and management have been infrequent. Because the hotel still participates in the UNITE HERE pension scheme (withdrawal is expensive), there is one brief (sometimes very brief) formal meeting each summer. Some years, that's all there is. In the meantime, the wage gap between those working at UNITE HERE shops and those working at the Congress continues to widen.

    Still, the workers keep on. As Henry Tamarin, President of Local 1, has pointed out both at this year's action and on many other occasions, this strike belongs to the workers. They could end it at any time. They haven't. And in response, one of the notables who spoke at the rally, Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, had this simple message: "Thank you."

    If the 8th anniversary picket line and rally was smaller than usual (only a couple hundred people) with a slightly weary trench-warfare feel, it was largely because the labor movement is fighting multiple existential battles. For UNITE HERE, this includes the as yet unresolved contract negotiations with the Hyatt chain of hotels.

    If left untended, unopposed, the Hyatt hotel chain represents UNITE HERE's worst nightmare: a cancerous spread of the Congress hotel's business model to the industry at large. One of the Congress hotel's demands, and current practice, is to outsource work to labor contractors, turning their employees into "temps." The Hyatt hotel chain has been moving toward this practice for a few years now. Sometimes it has been abrupt, as when they fired their entire housekeeping staff at a non-union Boston facility. Sometimes it has been the "boiling frog" approach of simply not replacing staff and bringing in temps "as needed." See www.justiceathyatt.org for more details.

    This is why Jorge Ramirez's "Thank you" at the Congress anniversary rally was so apt.

    UNITE HERE's response to Hyatt management's reluctance to come to an agreement on this and other issues has been informational picketing, civil disobedience, one day strikes, and a boycott of Hyatt hotels (see www.hotelworkersrising.org ). As New Ground goes to press, UNITE HERE has declared Thursday, July 21, as an International Day of Action against Hyatt. Plans for Chicago include mass picketing at the Park Hyatt, on Chicago Avenue just west of Michigan Avenue.


    After Three Decades

    by Tom Broderick

    As of July 1, 2011, Illinois officially became an execution-free state. We join Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

    The fight to repeal our death penalty involved years of education and alliance building. Chicago DSA was one of several groups working with the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ICADP) . Chicago DSA proudly honored ICADP Executive Director, Jeremy Schroeder at our 53rd Annual Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Awards Dinner .

    In the end, our train wreck of an economy proved to be the Achilles' heel of those who support execution. To safeguard against wrongful conviction, and therefore avoid executing an innocent person, we spend millions of tax dollars on capital cases. During the floor debate in Springfield, one legislator, who had never endorsed abolishing the death penalty, asked "If we spend this much money and can't get it right, what's the point?" He voted for repeal.

    This success ends a small, but critical misuse of power by our judicial system. The death penalty is highly valued as a tool by prosecutors and law enforcement officials to close cases. The threat of capital punishment -- state applied murder --S is used to plea bargain the closure of open cases. Open cases are failures. Closed cases are successes. Success yields recognition and promotion.

    During the struggle to abolish the death penalty, Governor George Ryan established an official commission to study the capital punishment system, with an explicit focus on improving it. The Commission was made up of people who supported and opposed capital punishment. After two years, the Commission issued a report with eighty-five recommendations. In their closing statement, they wrote: "The Commission was unanimous in the belief that no system, given human nature and frailties, could ever be devised or constructed that would work perfectly and guarantee absolutely that no innocent person is ever again sentenced to death."

    After the Commission's report was released, many of the recommendations were ignored. Some were grudgingly put in place, but only in capital cases. During the recent floor debate in Springfield, advocates of capital punishment were quick to claim that it was too soon to abolish the death penalty because time was needed to study the success or failure of the reforms. How precious.

    Illinois has the highest percentage of exonerations among states that sent people to death row. Since the re-instatement of the death penalty, 298 men and women were condemned to death. Twenty of them have been exonerated. For more on this, visit the web site of the Center on Wrongful Convictions. This speaks loudly about the need to reform the criminal justice system in Illinois. One of the bright legacies of the fight to abolish the death penalty is the light shone on this abusive system.

    John Conroy, a senior investigator with the Better Government Association (BGA), and Rob Warden, the Executive Director on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University of Law, co-authored a report recently issued by the BGA: The High Costs of Wrongful Convictions ( www.bettergov.org/investigations/wrongful_convictions_1.aspx ).

    Their investigation focused on violent crimes, not just capital cases. They determined that between 1989 and 2010, at least 85 people were wrongfully convicted. The cost to Illinois taxpayers: $214 million. The years of wrongful imprisonment: 926. Crimes committed by the actual perpetrators include 14 murders, 11 sexual assaults, 10 kidnappings and at lest 62 other felonies. These 97 felonies are only ones that the investigation could link to actual perpetrators. Other violent felonies during the same period could not be connected to specific people.

    The study, which is subtitled A Tale of Lives Lost, Tax Dollars Wasted and Justice Denied, states: "that almost all of the wrongful convictions were caused by multiple factors, the cause most commonly alleged was government error and misconduct by police, prosecutors, and forensic officials." There is much to be done to change the focus of our justice system from one that equates success with the punishment of others. Too many lives are being ruined by our criminal justice system.

    When I began working with the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, it was called the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty. We changed the name to more clearly state our purpose. Our victory will lead to changes. ICADP is having a membership meeting on Thursday, July 21st, where we will recognize our victory, while gearing up for the future.

    Opponents of abolition introduced five bills to bring back the death penalty after our legislature passed repeal. Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-46) has long shilled for Illinois prosecutors. He introduced a bill in the House. Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-24), another true believer, introduced a bill in the Senate. Be assured that every time a "heinous" murder is committed in Illinois, there will be howls to return to the good old days.

    ICADP is planning for that. We will close the office but maintain a board of directors. Although we will have no full-time staff, we expect to hire someone to keep an eye on Springfield, as well as a part time person to help with communication and fund-raising. We will likely revert to the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty as that will now be our focus.

    Additionally, the University of Illinois-Chicago has offered to house the ICADP archive. Several issues of New Ground will be a part of that archive.


    An Economy at the Edge: the June Jobs Report

    by Ron Baiman

    There are two ways of measuring employment. One using payroll data from business does not included agriculture or self-employed and is commonly referred to as non-farm payroll "establishment" data. The other is from a self reported sample of households that includes agriculture, self-employed and all other employment, referred to as "household" data. Generally over time the two series tend to converge in trend.

    The first is considered a "harder" more accurate (though more limited in its scope) number. Establishment data for June 2011 show a gain of only 18,000 jobs over the month of June the result of 57,000 more private sector jobs and 39,000 fewer public sector jobs.

    This is an abysmally low figure that is well short by around 80 to 90 thousand of the number of the new jobs needed just to employ new entrants to the labor force. This continues the terribly week figure of 25,000 for job gains in May. This suggests a moribund labor market that is not growing at nearly the rate necessary just to employ new entrants to the labor force. Over the last two years (from the official end of the recession in June 2009) only 524,000 jobs have been created of the 7,490,000 lost during the recession (December 2007 to June 2009).

    As bad as this report is, the household report is even worse. The household data show a June employment decline of 445,000 more than offsetting the modest May gain of 105,000 causing the official (and vastly understated) unemployment rate to rise from 9.1% in May to 9.2 % in June. Since March 2011, the official unemployment rate has gone up by 0.4% (from 8.8%).

    Over the last six months employment growth has averaged 21,000. This is about 95,000 short of the 115,000 or so necessary to accommodate new entrants and maintain employment at previous (pre-recession) levels.

    Based on Household data, employment in June 2011 is 6,938,000 less than it was at start of recession in Dec 2007 (employment has dropped by 644,000 since the official end of the recession in June 2009). Needless to say we cannot raise employment by 7 million and employ 110,000 new labor force entrants a month with an average employment increase of only 21,000 a month!

    The long-term picture (Figure A) is that employment has hardly budged at all. June 2011 employment level (based on non-farm payroll) was 5.04% below pre-recession employment levels, 16 months after the trough job level in February 2010. Figure A
    Similarly, if we look at the Employment to Population Over 16 to 65 ratio (a much better measure of "unemployment" than the UER), it confirms that employment has hardly budged since the end of the recession. The June 2011 ratio is now 58.2%, 0.2% below the May 2011 ratio of 58.4% (Figure B). Figure B

    Finally, if this news on the jobs and employment front is not bad enough ­ the earnings profile is worse. A recent report: "The 'Jobless and Wageless' Recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009" by Sum et. al. ,from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University: www.clms.neu.edu/publication/documents/Revised_Corporate_Report_May_27th.pdf .

    The report shows that over 7 quarters since the June 2009 official end of the recession real hourly earnings have declined from $22.53 to $22.49 (Chart 7) and aggregate wage and salary accruals have declined by about 5% from $6.7 trillion to $ 6.4 trillion (Chart 10) even as corporate profits have grown from $ 1.2 trillion to $ 1.67 trillion (Chart 11). This is the only "recession" since 1975 in which the wage and salary share of nation income basically hasn't grown over the 6 or 7 quarters after the official end of the recession.

    As these data confirm, we are not in a recession but in a depression, and the private sector is not (by itself) going to get us out of it. Budget cutting will make things worse. In fact the federal deficit is what is currently keeping the economy from plunging into further recession. If we cut the federal deficit without shrinking the trade deficit, and the private deficit does not balloon (as it did in the late 90's), the economy will shrink; see Chicago Political Economy Group's Power Point presentation at www.cpegonline.org/multimedia/DeficitLinkages.ppt .

    We need a large scale federal jobs program to directly provide 10 of millions of jobs ( to include marginally attached and involuntary part time workers as well as the officially unemployed and create jobs for new entrants over 5 years). We can pay for this with a financial transactions tax that could raise up to a trillion dollars or more per year. We also need an industrial policy and a trade policy to revive our economy ­- see programs and papers at www.cpegonline.org .

    Chart 7
    Chart 10
    Chart 11

    Editor's Note: Ron Baiman is co-chair of Chicago DSA and one of the founders of the Chicago Political Economy Group (CPEG). On the first Friday of each month, when the Labor Department releases its jobs numbers, Chicago Jobs with Justice organizes a press conference / rally / demonstration in support of a massive federal jobs program. CPEG provides the economic analysis. DSA members, and others including the unemployed, show up. For more information, go to www.chicagojwj.org .


    The First Chicago Soviet?

    by Bob Roman

    Not really. But an exceptionally naïve Marxist-Leninist or your typical conservative might be forgiven the thought when first confronted by a flyer entitled "Chicago People's City Council Meeting." Instead, the event was an exercise in popular theater, an indoor rally of some 1500 community and union activists demanding a fair economy. It was held on the evening of July 7th at the UIC Forum at Halsted and Roosevelt in Chicago.

    Don't be surprised if you haven't heard of it. Neither Chicago daily paper covered it, and broadcast media didn't quite know what to make of it either. It had the form of a drama, an enactment of a legislative session complete with a roll call of the 17 or so community and labor organizations participating in the event.

    Indeed, it takes some explaining. The meeting focused around four issue areas: jobs, housing, education, and public safety. For each, "Mr. Moneybags" in formal attire and top hat provided the usual neo-liberal rationalizations for policies that benefit the rich. He was answered each time by activists from the organizations concerned with that issue area. Audience reaction was encouraged, and Mr. Moneybags was provided with his own small cheering section of "millionaires." The audience was asked to vote on the alternatives presented, and (no surprise) Mr. Moneybags lost each time. At the end, these were summarized in a "People's Resolution" and voted on by the audience.

    The image of Mr. Moneybags is straight out of the Great Depression, of course. And that period has in common with today the very rich sitting upon large amounts of wealth while much of the nation's productive capacity is unused, including a large part of the population not participating in the labor market. It's interesting that, unlike the Great Depression, Mr. Moneybags was not referred to as a "capitalist," nor was there any mention of capitalism. Instead, the point of this exercise was a complaint that the rich have far too much say in arranging things to their own benefit, often to the disadvantage of everyone else. This is a pretty mild complaint, but then, not too many people are starving yet. It should be no surprise that some of the participants have a somewhat more radical critique of the matter.

    The entire Chicago City Council was invited to the event. Some 19 of the 50 accepted though not all were able to attend. These included Bob Fioretti (2nd), Will Burns (4th), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Michelle Harris (8th), George Cardenas (12th), Toni Foulkes (15th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Jason Ervin (28th), Deborah Graham (29th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nick Sposato (36th), Tim Cullerton (38th), John Arena (45th), James Cappleman (46th), Ameya Pawar (47th), Joe Moore (49th), and Deborah Silverstein (50th). The attending aldermen were seated on the stage. After the meeting adopted the People's Resolution, the aldermen were invited to respond and to sign the People's Resolution. Each had 90 seconds to respond and, for politicians, they did quite well with the time. When it came to their comments, it was clear that a few of them were very unclear on the concept, as the saying goes, but they all did sign the Resolution.

    Being activists, a serious attempt was made to collect the names and contact information of the audience.

    The Chicago People's City Council was a follow-up, apparently, to an earlier "New Chicago 2011" project, a 501c3 type intervention in the Chicago mayoral election that provided a forum for the mayoral candidates and their prospective constituents. It was organized by the Grassroots Collaborative "and allies" (www.thegrassrootscollaborative.org ), a community / labor coalition, rather like Jobs with Justice, which is a labor / community organization. How did Chicago come to be blessed with two such organizations? Well, Chicago is big enough, for one thing. Beyond that, it's an accident of history and politics that is best understood if you think "affinity groups."

    Earlier in this century, when the City of Chicago had been stonewalling the unions representing its employees, dragging negotiations far beyond the contract expiration dates, the Chicago Federation of Labor under Dennis Gannon and Tim Leahy organized a series of townhall meetings all across the city. At each meeting, 3 or 4 of the neighboring aldermen were invited to hear complaints from and answer questions from union members mostly from their own wards. The intimacy of these not small meetings made them highly effective. While the Chicago People's City Council was impressive, it may be a little too easy, especially for those "unclear on the concept," to think "these ain't my voters." On the other hand, Chicago politicians have learned to take the labor movement seriously. Stay tuned and stay engaged.


    A World to Win

    by Gene Birmingham

    Karl Marx: A World to Win by William A. Pelz, The Library of World Biography, Prentice Hall, 2011.

    Bill Pelz is a professor at Elgin Community College in Illinois, and he is Chicago DSA's Political Education Officer. This book is a teaching tool for any and all who would appreciate learning of Karl Marx, the person, the times in which he lived, and a summary of his theories. Such background material is necessary before attempting to read and interpret his own writings, Capital, Communist Manifesto, etc.

    The author neither praises Marx as the greatest leader nor declares his influence to be a thing of the past without meaning for today. In his chapter on "The Meaning of Marx," Pelz summarizes his approach.

    "Marx was, as are all people, deeply flawed and doubtlessly wrong about many things. Still, he made a major contribution to world history by supporting a more just version of modern industrial society.... Agree or disagree with Karl Marx, and a strong case can be made for either viewpoint, it is hard to ignore his critique of industrial capitalism, or forget his dream of a more cooperative, just and peaceful world." pp. 95,96

    Marx also foresaw industrial capitalism becoming international, a prophetic insight into world globalization.

    Marx's lifetime included a time of personal poverty, the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, marriage and parenthood, as well as the Industrial Revolution and the unification of the German states into one nation under Bismarck. All of the 19th century revolutions in all aspects of life drove him to write and express his views. The saddest part of the story is the way later movements appropriated his name and writings to justify their own attempts to organize or dictate the way they believed society and culture ought to be. Pelz calls them, "Marx's Doubtful Heirs."

    For keeping in mind the details of Marx's experience and definitions of his theories, Pelz provides helpful summaries, including a Chronology of his life, a Glossary of some important people in his life, a Glossary of terms as he defined them, as well as a listing of his significant literary works, and a Study Guide. Of interest to Americans is Marx's having written for the New York Daily Tribune, and his support of Abraham Lincoln's leadership in the abolition of slavery, even to the extent of civil war.

    Bill Pelz, the teacher, has provided us knowledge and appreciation for one whose place in modern history can never be ignored.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    Ron Chew

    You may have noticed a familiar face missing from demonstrations and meetings lately. Ron Chew died suddenly on June 7th. While never formally a member, DSA was among the many organizations he contributed to, not just with money, but with his time and attention. In remembering him, Chicago DSA Co-Chair Ron Baiman wrote: "I knew him as a dedicated comrade who could be counted on to show up wherever there was a demonstration, testimony, or meeting. Ron was at Township Hall seconding the Oak Park living wage referendum and at numerous Village Hall meetings to support the living wage campaign. Ron and his wife Karla were at every Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington dinner that I remember. Ron exemplified the very best of Oak Park. A man of few words but who never shied away from speaking up when he felt it necessary with great wisdom and unmatched compassion for his fellow humans, and with an uncompromising drive to put his principles into action. His quiet dignity and outspoken heart has left an indelible mark on this community."

    Lester Schlosberg

    Lester Schlosberg, a DSA member since 1987, died in early July at the age of 91. He had been a union typesetter, proofreader, and organizer, and had worked at In These Times during its early years. He had been a regular at the Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner except for the past few years when health concerns limited his participation.

    Dinner Online

    Those of you who missed Ralph Martire's powerful presentation at this year's Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner can now see it online at www.cantv.org/VIDEO-debs-dinner.htm .

    Eugene V. Debs Foundation

    The Debs Foundation in Terre Haute, Indiana, maintains the Debs family home as a museum. Its annual banquet will be somewhat earlier this year: Saturday, September 24. The recipient of the Debs Award will be actor and activist Danny Glover. The Theodore Debs Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Dennis Cheshier. Go to debsfoundation.org for additional information as it becomes available.

     

    Talkin' Socialism

    Episode 7 of Talkin' Socialism uses the June anniversary of the Stonewall Riot to have Jeanne Kracher, Executive Director of the Crossroads Fund, and John D'Emilio, Professor of History and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as guests. They discuss the Stonewall Riots and Queer politics after. Go to www.chicagodsa.org /audarch6.html. The John Cage-ish background is courtesy of the CTA. Episode 8, a discussion of workers' centers and labor organizing in the 21st Century, may be posted by the time you receive this.

     

    CDSA v 4.0

    Chicago DSA has received a $1500 grant from a long-time friend and erstwhile member for use in upgrading our computer technology. We've purchased a new Linux box and a new postscript printer is on back order. Once we get the box set up, we'll be upgrading to a broadband internet connection from the free dial-up connection we're presently using. Even allowing for business rates being higher than residential, we look to save money on our phone bill over the next year or so. The new equipment creates new possibilities in a variety of additional media as well as restoring functionality lost through obsolescence. (Try surfing the web using Netscape 6.22.)

     

    Community Labor Alliance for Public Services

    Evanston has joined the penny-wise and dollar-foolish fashion in governing by proposing to privatize various public services. The City Manager has declared that "everything is on the table" (another great cliche). In response, public employees in Evanston, most especially AFSCME Local 1891, have formed a Community Labor Alliance for Public Services (CLAPS). The group is circulating a petition to stop the privatization of city services. CLAPS notes that Evanston city workers have a long history of providing quality services to the community and that the savings from privatization are often elusive or nonexistent. Private companies can bid low, push for a long-term contract until the city loses its equipment and expertise, then up the ante. Other communities have found that this work requires constant oversight to maintain quality. They have found that privatization is often a false economy once the cost of taking bids, auditing and monitoring the private contractor, the loss of city expertise in key areas and the loss of income for city workers who do business in the community are taken into account.

    In contrast, city of Evanston employees know the neighborhoods and what it takes to maintain quality city services. As one worker noted: "I've watched kids on my route go from grade school to college. We know the city, we know the people. We're connected in every way. If there is suspicious activity, we report it. We take pride in serving Evanston." CLAPS is asking residents of Evanston to sign the petition online at: www.SaveEvanstonServices.org .

    As New Ground goes to press, our North Shore DSA branch organizing committee is planning a 200 piece direct mail lobbying effort, to be followed by phone calls. The specifics what is to be privatized and when is likely to be announced at a city council meeting in early August.

     

    June Membership Convention

    Bob Roman is back on the Executive Committee, this time as Secretary, replacing Gene Birmingham who felt it was about time to retire. Gene Birmingham was first elected to the Executive Committee as Treasurer in a special election in September of 1993. After finishing that term in 1994, he was mostly active in CDSA's West Suburban branch. He was elected Secretary in 1996 and has been re-elected ever since. It's been a work of quality and diligence. When asked to comment on his return to the Executive Committee, Bob Roman said only, "It's all your fault."


    Letters

    It seems the world experiences episodes of insanity periodically, and it seems we are experiencing one now.

    Let me refresh your memory.

    If you recall, there was the Tulip Mania of the Low countries. Commerce in tulip bulbs was enormous and special tulips became very costly. Some bulbs could cost a thousand dollars or more. The mania passed into history and people found their bulbs were more or less worthless. That mania passed into history.

    Then at a later time there came the South Seas mania. This originated with the English -- I think. The South Seas was the place to go. The climate was warm, the water was warm, and food was available for the picking. Such a paradise; would you want to miss it? So people bought, traded, and paid for their spot in paradise and as usual costs became fantastic. Somehow it melted into history and apparently was only another mania of people.

    So now we come to the mania of the 21st Century. This mania is one of financial flippancy and boondoggleness. Since bankers all over the world engaged in these maniacal activities, numerous countries have found themselves in financial difficulties.

    Our country -- the USA -- is caught in the same situation. I will now state some situations that strike me as quite maniacal.

    A number of companies have taken their plants out of the country and return their products to sell.

    We are urged to buy on credit; but we have to pay later and, without jobs, how can we! A second problem arises because the interest rate is destroyed as a means of investing.

    So, we are urged to invest in the stock market. Some call these people traders -- I call them speculators because they are trying to out guess the others. This is a gambling situation. Interest rates should be set at a reasonable rate.

    People are still losing their homes and that's because they have no jobs. Desperate people will resort to desperate measures. I appreciate the NRA for seeing people have guns. When the bullets start flying, maybe the maniacs will come to their senses or run!

    --Fred J. Dietz, Sr., Springfield, Illinois.


    New Ground #137.1

    08.02.2011

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Norway: Hell on Utøya
    Democratic Left
    DSA National Convention
    Support "New Ground," Among Other Things
    Executive Committee
    Talkin' Socialism

    1. Politics

    Heat's on at the Park Hyatt by Bob Roman
    Smart Aleck
    Happy New Year
    Jobs
    Privatization



    DSA News

    Norway: Hell on Utøya
    The DSA statement on the terrorist bombing and shootings at Utøya is HERE.
    The YDS statement on these events is
    HERE.
    And Prableen Kaur, vice chair of the Oslo Labor Youth organization, provides this account, written just hours after she escaped,
    HERE.

    Democratic Left
    The summer, 2011, issue of Democratic Left is on the web HERE.

    DSA National Convention
    The 15th biennial convention of Democratic Socialists of America will be held on November 11-13 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, which is located in the Washington D.C. suburb of Vienna, Virginia. The convention site is accessible from the District of Columbia by public transportation. A convention web site has been set up HERE.

    Based on an absurdly optimistic apportionment of 1 delegate for every 20 members, Chicago DSA has 13 delegate allotted to it. This does mean that if you want to attend the convention, you'll have no difficulty being elected delegate. We'll be setting the date for the membership meeting at the August 13 Executive Committee meeting. Chicago DSA needs to chose its delegates by September 27th. DSA members living in zip codes 600 through 609 should contact the Chicago DSA office about being a delegate: chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or 773.384.0327. (If you can't attend the election meeting, we'll elect you in absentia.)

    More information about the Convention is at the Convention web site.

    DSA, and Chicago DSA, have been growing for the past several years, though rather more slowly than the economics of these years might lead you to expect. Actually, the old Socialist Party's membership grew at a similarly slow pace during the first years of the Great Depression and didn't really take off until 1932. The DSA national office has Chicago DSA at 256 members. Nationwide, the membership count is at 6478, an increase of roughly 10% over 2009. Rather more interesting, only 39% of DSA members belonged to a DSA chapter in 2009. That has increased to 47.5% in 2011.

    Support "New Ground," Among Other Things
    It's during the dog days of summer that we come to you for support. So be nice to your dog by supporting New Ground and Chicago DSA. Participate in New Ground's annual Labor Day issue. A flyer (PDF) with all the details is HERE.

    If it makes a difference, you can put it on your credit card by going to the Chicago DSA web site and clicking any of the "Donate" buttons. The Pay Pal interface should have space for a message, but if you're getting an ad, we'll put two and two together when we get the copy. Deadline for copy is September 9.

    Executive Committee
    The next meeting of the Chicago DSA Executive Committee is Saturday, August 13, 1 PM at the air conditioned Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee Room 403, in Chicago. This is at the three way intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues, very near the Damen station on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare and served by 3 CTA bus routes. Free street parking is possible. All DSA members are welcome!

    Talkin' Socialism: Episode 8 -- 21st Century Organizing
    Recorded 07.09.2011: Adam Kader, Worker Center Director for Arise Chicago, and Dianne Enriquez, Worker Center Network Coordinator for Interfaith Worker Justice, discuss worker centers and how organizing for them differs from unions and community organizations. MP3 (31.2 Mb) or Ogg Vorbis (22.1 Mb).



    Politics

    Heat's on at the Park Hyatt
    Bob Roman
    Here in Chicago, UNITE HERE's International Day of Action on Thursday, July 21, took the form of a one day strike at the Park Hyatt . It was a tough day for picket lines, with a heat index over 100. The Park Hyatt is one of the more upscale facilities, located on Chicago Avenue just west of the old Water Tower. It demonstrated its reputation for hospitality by turning on the winter heat lamps under the canopy of the main entrance in the morning, apparently turning them off when reports began circulating in the press. They were turned on again in the mid-afternoon. Tom Broderick was there in the morning. He reported that it was really obvious these were heat lamps. I was there in the afternoon. By then, it was so hot that it seemed no cooler away from the canopy.

    The Park Hyatt has had a sour attitude toward union members in any case. Local 1 has had an informational picket line in front of the hotel every Tuesday, 5 PM to 6:30 PM. The hotel hired an off-duty Chicago cop to suppliment its security, and he has used his contacts on the beat to bring various minor harrassing actions against the line. Usually he's over-stepped the law, and the union has succeeded in maintaining the workers' rights. The point is not the individual issues but rather the contest, the message from the Hyatt being: Say what you like but you are not in charge here.

    It was not widely reported, but the heat lamps at the Park Hyatt were accompanied by iced coolers of water bottles, artfully decorated with black table cloth to conceal the coolers and highlight the bottles, with a sign proclaiming they were free, courtesy of the Park Hyatt. What better way to send the message that management has the power to punish and reward?

    Well, there are better ways apparently. Hyatt HQ disavowed the stunt. The manager said to be responsible is said to have fallen on his sword, retired or left. UNITE HERE has filed an NLRB complaint. And the job action gathered twice as much media coverage as it would have otherwise. Someone should have told that manager that "we'll leave the light on for you" belongs to Motel 6.

    Remember: boycott Hyatt.

    Smart Aleck
    As a conservative, nay as a proudly reactionary state legislator, I am frequently asked, "Where do you get your wild and crazy ideas?" I may have taken LSD in my youth, but no longer. People who do that belong in prison. Instead, I get my ideas right HERE.

    Happy New Year
    Many of us feel that Obama has now hit his own personal debt ceiling with the left, and not everyone is willing to raise it. The feces hit the fan this coming October: The start of the Federal 2012 fiscal year, the year that screws working folk and rewards the rich whether they work or not. And it marks the start of the 11th year of war. Local actions are being planned for Chicago, but in Washington, D.C., the October 2011 Coalition is planning to occupy Freedom Plaza on October 6th and thereafter in our nation's capitol, "making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine." If the economy is ripe, this could be a really big thing. But some of you may want to be there anyway. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    Jobs
    Chicago Jobs with Justice's monthly first Friday jobs demonstration and press conference will be at Noon August 5th, at 230 S. Dearborn in Chicago, at the Kluczynski Federal Building where Senators Durbin and Kirk have their offices. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    In the meantime, the National Employment Law Project has released a study of just how the job market has changed with the Great Recession. In summary, they found:

    • During the recession, employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in mid-wage occupations.
    • In the weak recovery to date, employment growth has been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, with minimal growth in mid-wage occupations and net losses in higher-wage occupations.
    • In addition, workers' real wages have shown no growth since the start of the recession.
    • Even before the Great Recession, the U.S. labor market was already seeing inadequate growth in mid-wage occupations.

    For the complete report, CLICK HERE. (PDF)

    Privatization
    Public employees in Evanston, most especially AFSCME Local 1891, have formed a Community Labor Alliance for Public Services (CLAPS). The group is circulating a petition to stop the privatization of city services. CLAPS notes that Evanston city workers have a long history of providing quality services to the community and that the savings from privatization are often elusive or nonexistent. Private companies can bid low, push for a long-term contract until the city loses its equipment and expertise, then up the ante. Other communities have found that this work requires constant oversight to maintain quality. They have found that privatization is often a false economy once the cost of taking bids, auditing and monitoring the private contractor, the loss of city expertise in key areas and the loss of income for city workers who do business in the community are taken into account.

    In contrast, city of Evanston employees know the neighborhoods and what it takes to maintain quality city services. As one worker noted: "I've watched kids on my route go from grade school to college. We know the city, we know the people. We're connected in every way. If there is suspicious activity, we report it. We take pride in serving Evanston." CLAPS is asking residents of Evanston to sign the petition online at: www.SaveEvanstonServices.org .


    New Ground #137.2

    08.16.2011

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    September Membership Meeting
    Support "New Ground"

    1. Politics

    Tell Verizon: Stop Attacking the Middle Class
    Evanston Privatization
    Fair Food
    A Short Meditation on America's Loss of Manufacturing

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Worker Cooperative Developmental Models

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    September Membership Meeting
    There will be a membership meeting of Chicago DSA on Saturday, September 10, Noon, at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 in Chicago. Chicago DSA members will be getting more information in the mail, but save the date. Political discussion and election of delegates to the DSA National Convention will be the main items on the agenda.

    The 15th biennial convention of Democratic Socialists of America will be held on November 11-13 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, which is located in the Washington D.C. suburb of Vienna, Virginia. The convention site is accessible from the District of Columbia by public transportation. A convention web site has been set up HERE.

    Chicago DSA has 13 delegate allotted to it. This does mean that if you want to attend the convention, you're not likely to have any problem being elected delegate. DSA members living in zip codes 600 through 609 should contact the Chicago DSA office about being a delegate: chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or 773.384.0327. (If you can't attend the election meeting, we'll elect you in absentia.)

    Support "New Ground," Among Other Things
    It's during the dog days of summer that we come to you for support. So be nice to your dog by supporting New Ground and Chicago DSA. Participate in New Ground's annual Labor Day issue. A flyer (PDF) with all the details is HERE.

    If it makes a difference, you can put it on your credit card by going to the Chicago DSA web site and clicking any of the "Donate" buttons. The Pay Pal interface should have space for a message, but if you're getting an ad, we'll put two and two together when we get the copy. Deadline for copy is September 9.



    Politics

    Tell Verizon: Stop Attacking the Middle Class
    45,000 Verizon workers are now on strike to stop the attack on the middle class. The reason? Despite record profits, Verizon is refusing to bargain and is demanding that its workers add to those profits from their own pockets. In the last four years alone, Verizon made more than $19 billion in profits and compensated their top five executives more than a quarter of a billion dollars. But apparently that's not enough.

    Now they're refusing to bargain. Starting on June 22 Verizon pushed proposals that would let them outsource more jobs, including sending jobs overseas, slash sick days, eliminate benefits for workers who get hurt on the job and cut the healthcare benefits they promised retirees. And they haven't budged.

    That's why 45,000 CWA and IBEW members walked out on Sunday August 7th to force Verizon to abandon its Wisconsin-style tactics and come to the bargaining table and negotiate.

    America has had enough of corporate greed. Now is the time for Verizon to do the right thing and come to the bargaining table in good faith instead of trying to kill the American dream for 45,000 middle-class workers.

    Send a letter now to tell Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam to stop Verizon's attack on the middle class and share his company's success with those who made it possible. CLICK HERE.

    Evanston Privatization
    At the August 8th Evanston City Council meeting, several residents of Evanston took the time to speak out against the privatization of municipal services. You can see the entire meeting if you CLICK HERE.

    These public spirited citizens were organized by the Community Labor Alliance for Public Services (CLAPS), which also collected over 1,600 petition "signatures" to preserve these services. The fight isn't over. CLAPS is organizing Evanston residents to turn out at "Citizen Budget Input Sessions" on September 17 and September 22. CLAPS is also still collecting signatures on its petition. You can add your name if you CLICK HERE.

    Fair Food
    While the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has made considerable progress in getting Florida tomato pickers an additional penny per pound of tomatos picked, not all buyers of tomatos have signed on to the program. One of the notable hold-outs is Trader Joe's. The campaign supporting the CIW in Chicago is being revived, starting with a July 17th action at the Trader Joe's at Orchard & Diversey in Chicago. The next action planned is a September 9th action at the opening of a new Trader Joe's at 1147 S. Wabash in Chicago.

    A Short Meditation on America's Loss of Manufacturing
    At Dissident Voice, David Macaray writes:

    By now most people are aware that the United States produces very little of its own furniture, carpeting, toys, textiles, shoes, electronics and appliances.  Those once flourishing industries are a thing of the past.  Indeed, hard as it may be to believe, a sizeable number of American flags are now made in China.

    On a less urgent note, we've also lost our "novelty" manufacturing base.  It's true.  Our plastic, artificial vomit and artificial dog poop are now being produced in Asia.  While some people might greet this news with apathy, I see it differently.  If we've already lost our fake vomit and dog poop to foreign manufacturers, how soon before we lose our truck nuts? MORE.



    Democratic Socialism

    Worker Cooperative Developmental Models
    National Coop Month isn't until October, but the summer issue of Grassroots Economic Organizing has an in-depth look at worker coops, theory and actual practice. They try to answer:

  • Who initiates the development?
  • What are the primary goals?
  • Who funds the work?
  • What are the keys to actually developing a worker-ownership culture?
  • What is unique or novel about your strategy?
  • How do you know if you are succeeding?
  • You can read this special issue 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.

    Wednesday, August 17, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
    Rally Against Coal Ash Pollution
    Representative Adam Kinzinger's Office, 2701 Black Rd, Joliet
    Join Smiley subdivision at a rally to demand protection from coal ash pollution and for clean drinking water. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 17, 6:30 PM
    We Are Wisconsin
    Art In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Book launch of an anthology collection of essays on the Wisconsin uprising, edited by Erica Sagrans. MORE INFORMATION,

    Saturday, August 20, Noon
    Rainbow Beach Wade-In Commemoration
    Rainbow Beach, 3111 E. 77th St, Chicago
    Installation of plaque memorializing the Rainbow Beach Wade-Ins on the occasion of the 50th anniversary. Honorees include Norman and Velma Hill.

    Tuesday, August 23, Noon
    Solidarity with Pelican Bay Prisoners
    Federal Plaza, Adams & Dearborn, Chicago
    Activists across the country are partipating in a day of action in solidarity with Pelican Bay prisoners in California. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, August 25, 6 PM to 9 PM
    Give Your Choice a Voice
    Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, Chicago
    Women and men tell their stories about how the right to choose has affected their lives. Chicago NOW: MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, August 25, 7 PM
    The War on Drugs
    Multikulti, 1000 N. Milwaukee, 4th Floor, Chicago
    Showing of a documentary examining the role of the war on drugs in the prison-industrial complex. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, August 28, 2 PM
    Gasland
    Oak Park Public Library Veterans Room, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Showing of the documentary film "Gasland" on the issue of fracking. Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice.

    Sunday, August 28, 2 PM
    The Hobo College
    Hotel Florence, 11141 S. Forrestville Ave, Chicago
    For one afternoon only, Pocket Guide to Hell Tours brings back the historic Hobo College as an interactive reenactment. A part of Hobofest 2011. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 2, Noon
    First Friday Jobs Action
    State of Illinois Building, Randolph & Clark, Chicago
    Take action for a federal jobs program. Rally / press conference / demonstration responding to the Labor Department's August report on job creation. MORE INFORMATION.


    New Ground #137.3

    09.01.2011

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    We Are the Alternative
    Final Call

    1. Politics

    On Labor Day, the Middle Class Is Losing
    Unequal Exchange and the Rentier Economy
    Blackmail: Not Just for Crooks Anymore
    Saving Chicago Schools
    "But If You Have a Warrant, I Guess You're Gonna Come In"

    2. Democratic Socialism

    A Left Double Standard for Democracy?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest


    DSA News

    We Are the Alternative
    Chicago DSA Membership meeting on Saturday, September 10, Noon, at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403 in Chicago. DSA's new National Director Maria Svart will talk about DSA's growth, good opportunities for organizing, and the new programs that are being developed. The business agenda will include election of delegates to the 2011 DSA National Convention. Chicago DSA has 13 delegate allotted to it. This does mean that if you want to attend the convention, you're not likely to have any problem being elected delegate. DSA members living in zip codes 600 through 609 should contact the Chicago DSA office about being a delegate: chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or 773.384.0327. (If you can't attend the election meeting, we can nominate you in absentia.)

    Final Call
    It's during the dog days of summer that we come to you for support. So be nice to your dog by supporting New Ground and Chicago DSA. Participate in New Ground's annual Labor Day issue. A flyer (PDF) with all the details is HERE. After all, next to a dog, New Ground is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

    If it makes a difference, you can put it on your credit card by going to the Chicago DSA web site and clicking any of the "Donate" buttons. The Pay Pal interface should have space for a message, but if you're getting an ad, we'll put two and two together when we get the copy. Deadline for copy is September 9.


    Politics

    On Labor Day, the Middle Class Is Losing
    In Oak Park's Wednesday Journal, Tom Broderick writes:

    To make peace with a militant worker movement, President Grover Cleveland and the U.S. Congress rushed through a national labor holiday that same year. Over time, the labor movement created the first middle-class majority nation in the world. Millions of working Americans gained tangible benefits: health benefits, paid vacations, child labor laws, equal pay for equal work, safer working conditions, domestic partner benefits. But sharing wealth with those who produce it is a burden for those who control it. READ MORE.

    Unequal Exchange and the Rentier Economy
    From the Chicago Political Economy Group: The ability to generate income without producing real value-added output is a key characteristic of a "Rentier Economy". The U.S. has since the mid-1970's increasingly become such an economy. In this new CPEG Working Paper, a schematic "Rentier Economy" is grafted onto a simple "Free Trade Unequal Exchange" model, which highlights the labor exchange, inequality, and efficiency characteristics of Rentier (U.S.), Unequal Exchange (German), and Developing Country (China), economies. CLICK HERE.

    Blackmail: Not Just for Crooks Anymore
    At Clawback, Greg LeRoy writes:

    Sears Holdings Corporation (the successor of Sears, Roebuck & Co. that includes K-mart and Lands End) is playing "job blackmail," threatening to relocate its corporate headquarters and 6,000 jobs from a Chicago suburb to Virginia or Massachusetts. (Three large companies have extracted subsidies of $100 million or more this year by threatening to leave New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois.)

    The problem is, Sears -- a troubled company that is majority-owned by a hedge fund investor -- has already been to the taxpayer trough, leaving a terrible economic development legacy. Twenty-two years ago, it threatened to relocate from its famous Sears Tower in Chicago's Loop to Texas or North Carolina. Instead, as a retention payoff, it got a subsidy package worth an estimated $178 million to relocate 29 miles northwest to the distant, affluent suburb Hoffman Estates. In a 2003 report, we labeled the move state-subsidized sprawl. READ MORE.

    Saving Chicago Schools
    At Catalyst, Cassandra West writes:

    Trying to maintain the momentum of the Save Our Schools Rally last month in Washington, D.C., that drew thousands from around the country, a small group of teachers, activists and public school advocates met Saturday morning to hash out the next steps of a still crystallizing local agenda.

    Save Our Schools-Chicago is still young and searching for a more powerful and media savvy way to craft its message, but it seems almost everyone at Saturday's meeting could agree on one point: public education is under attack and this is the moment to fight back. READ MORE.

    "But If You Have a Warrant, I Guess You're Gonna Come In"
    At the Chicago Social Justice Project, Tracy Siska addresses the question of why the Chicago Police continue to make arrests for small quantities of marijuana. "It is imperative that communities understand the police arrest for purposes other than prosecution," he writes.
    READ MORE.


    Democratic Socialism

    A Left Double Standard for Democracy?
    At the New Compass, Sveinung Legard wonders whether "socialists and communists apply a double standard when they assess the level of democracy of let's say Norway and Venezuela. This might not seem very severe, but what happens if these regimes do things to oppress their own populations in the name of socialist democracy? Or what happens if Leftist parties come to power in Norway, and claim they are creating a bottom-up democracy even though they are only relegating ordinary citizens to decide on minor issues such a paving roads or improving sewage systems?" READ MORE.

    And speaking of roads, at Upside Down World, Franz Chávez has this account of a conflict in Bolivia that would sound very familiar to a citizen of Norway -- or, for that matter, even the United States with Evo Morales playing the part of Eisenhower. CLICK HERE.

    But when you come right down to it, after all the various leftists have had their turn on the soapbox, just what might "socialism" mean to a member of a poor community in say Nicaragua or El Salvador. Also in Upside Down World, Slobhan B. Lozada tours these two countries and comes back with these obsevations. CLICK 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.

    Friday, September 2, Noon
    1st Friday Demonstration for Jobs
    State of Illinois Building, Randolph & Clark, Chicago
    Monthly demonstration / press conference to comment on the Labor Department's release of employment numbers and to advocate for a Federal jobs program. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 2, NOON to 1 PM
    Jobs Not Cuts Action
    State of Illinois Building, Randolph & Clark, Chicago
    After the monthly demonstration / press conference, a march to Verizon Wireless at 209 S. LaSalle to demand that Verizon preserve good jobs by negotiating a fair contract with their workers. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 5, 11 AM
    Labor Day Rally for Fair Trade
    Grant Park, Congress & Columbus, Chicago
    Trade negotiators from throughout the Pacific Rim are now gathering in Chicago to hammer out the details on the largest regional free trade agreement the U.S. has ever seen. Corporate lobbyists are pushing hard for a business-as-usual pact that some are already calling "NAFTA of the Pacific." We need your help demanding a Fair Deal or No Deal on international trade. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, September 6, 5:30 PM
    The Man Who Never Died
    Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
    William Adler speaks about his new book on Joe Hill. Music by Buck Halker. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, September 6, 6:30 PM
    The Guerrilla Girls
    UIC Student Center East Illinois Room, 750 S. Halsted St, Chicago
    Feminist masked avengers. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 8, 6 PM
    Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement Teach-In
    Roosevelt University Congress Lounge, 430 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago
    Fair Trade or Business as Usual? Panelists include Celeste Drake, Jane Kelsey, Patricia Ranald, Sanya Reid Smith. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 8, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Attica's Legacy
    Mess Hall, 6932 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago
    Reading and reception to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion. Also view the photographs of John Shearer and others documenting the Attica Uprising. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 9, 5 PM to 6:30 PM
    Picket for Fair Food
    Trader Joe's, 1147 S. Wabash, Chicago
    Help persuade Trader Joe's to sign on to paying a cent more per pound of tomatoes to support tomato pickers. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, September 10, 10 AM
    Community Forum on Immigration
    Benito Juarez High School, 2150 S. Laflin St Door 15, Chicago
    Representative Gutierrez and invited experts on changes in DHS deportation policy. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, September 10, NOON
    Chicago DSA Membership Meeting
    Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee Room 403, Chicago
    DSA National Director Maria Svart on future directions for DSA; election of delegates to DSA National Convention.

    Saturday, September 10, 2:30 PM
    9-11 Afghanistan War
    Merlo Public Library, 644 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago
    A public forum with Andy Thayer and Mary Dean. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 12, 5 PM to 7 PM
    South Lakefront Transit Study
    Apostolic Church of God Banquet Hall, 6347 S. Kenwood, Chicago
    Dog & Pony show plus feedback on the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, September 17, 2:30 PM
    Crashing the Tea Party
    Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
    Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio talk about their new book, "Crashing the Tea Party: Mass Media and the Campaign to Remake American Politics." An Open University of the Left Event. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, September 18, 2 PM to 4 PM
    Afghanistan: 10 Years and Counting
    United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Ave, Chicago
    Featuring Robert Naiman and Mary Dean. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 23, 7 PM
    Fear and Loathing in Afghanistan
    Sisters of the Living Word Assembly Hall, 800 N. Fernandez Ave, Arlington Heights
    Teach-in on the war and occupation in Afghanistan as we approach the 10th anniversary of our involvement there. MORE INFORMATION.


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