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New Ground 143

July -- August, 2012


  • Robin Hood Sounds His Horn: Progress towards a Financial Transaction Tax by Bill Barclay
    Sidebar: The Speculative Sales Tax FAQ
    Sidebar: Prosperity Not Austerity!
  • Dolores Huerta Honored by Bob Roman
  • Anarchy! by Bob Roman
  • Keeping the Death Penalty Dead by Tom Broderick
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
    Congress Hotel
    Chicago DSA
    June Jobs Report
  • Letters
  • Upcoming Events of Interest
  • New Ground 143.1 -- 08.02.2012

    0. DSA News

    Pocket Pennies
    1001 Dancing Socialists
    DSA in the News

    1. Politics

    Tax Wall Street Not Main Street
    Hyatt Hurts by Tom Broderick and Bob Roman
    How Many Police?
    Media Rare

    2. People

    Joyce Miller

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 143.2 -- 08.16.2012

    0. DSA News

    DSA in the News
    Pennies from Cyberspace

    1. Politics

    Financial Transaction Tax
    Illinois Budget
    The Great Chicago Teacher Revolt
    Jobs Report
    Labor Day

    2. People

    Patricia Sexton

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 143.3 -- 08.31.2012

    0. DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    Democratic Left
    Democracy Endangered
    You Can Help

    1. Politics

    September 15 Is Chipocrasy Day
    The Robin Hood Tax
    The Dangerous Dozen

    2. Ars Politica

    Labor Day Song Circle

    3. Democratic Socialism

    How the Left Has Won
    Myth of the Monolithic Working Class
    Workers of the World

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    Robin Hood Sounds His Horn

    Progress towards a Financial Transaction Tax

    by Bill Barclay

    Five years into what Paul Krugman has labeled "the Long Depression," we still face the reality of a financial sector too big for the US political economy and too concentrated in the hands of a few institutions. Memories of the financial panic of late 2007 have faded and defenders of finance -- paid for by these same too big to fail institutions -- are busy undermining the limited reforms contained in the Dodd-Frank bill. So, what can we do?


    The reality is less bleak than it may first appear. An international movement to levy a tax on the trading of financial assets (FTT) is gaining ground in most of the world outside the US and has even begun to get some traction here. This growing movement has branded the FTT as "the Robin Hood Tax": a small tax on the trading, not the holding, of stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives.

    The most significant progress is being made in Europe. In February of this year, 9 Member States requested the fast-tracking of a European FTT, moving beyond the opposition to an EU-wide 27 tax expressed by the UK and some other nations. These nine countries -- Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain -- represent almost 90% of Eurozone GDP. On April 24, 2012, the EU Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee approved a proposal for an FTT at the EU level, with stocks and bonds taxed at a minimum rate of 0.1% and derivatives at 0.01% by 2014. Finally, on 23 May 2012, the European Parliament voted in favor of the committee's proposal for a financial transaction tax.

    Francis Hollande, the new French President, strongly endorsed an FTT during his campaign and his predecessor, Sarkozy, actually passed a modest such tax that will go into effect in late summer. France will then join the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other countries in levying a Robin Hood Tax. Even the German Prime Minister, Angela Merkel has expressed support for a Robin Hood Tax as have both of the other two major parties in the German parliament, the Social Democrats and the Greens.

    The US movement for a Robin Hood Tax is less developed. However, the National Nurses United, the most vocal in supporter of the tax, organized a large rally on May 18th in Chicago in support of the campaign. At the Illinois state level, Jobs with Justice as well as DSA, along with Progressive Democrats of America and Americans for Democratic Action, has been active in developing a campaign for a Robin Hood Tax under the label of a Speculation Sales Tax (SST). The SST proposal is for a very small tax of $1 per contract on all products traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (owner of the Chicago Board of Trade) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

    The logic behind a Robin Hood Tax is impeccable. First, it will simultaneously raise a significant amount of money and reduce the insanely high level of trading in financial markets. The money can be used for creating jobs or, as is being urged in European discussions, providing aid to the global South that has suffered from the fall out of the financial crisis. Second, the impact of the tax is lessened the longer one holds the asset. Thus investors, in contrast to short term traders, will experience almost no impact because a Robin Hood tax at 0.1% or even 0.25% (the levels widely urged) has little meaning for long term asset holders. In contrast, the high frequency traders that prowl our markets for fractions of a cent on stocks held for fractions of a second will have to find other, more productive work. Third, and very important, the Robin Hood Tax would assist in reducing the size of the financial sector by returning it to the utilitarian but essential role finance should have: efficiently raising and allocating capital for investment. This is in line with a recent IMF study that found financial sectors large relative to the size of the economy actually resulted in slower growth. Finance drained scare talent that could have been better used in medical research, engineering -- or perhaps even in the creation of sagas such as the story of Robin Hood.


    The Speculation Sales Tax FAQ

    1. What is the "Speculation Sales Tax?"
    The "Speculation Sales Tax (SST)" campaign is a proposal to levy a small fee, or "Speculation Sales Tax", on the trades done at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The fee would be $1 on every contract traded. The CME and the CBOE trade futures contracts and options contracts on stock indexes, interest rates, bonds and commodities. This "sales tax" would apply to all these products.

    2. How much money could such a tax raise for Chicago and Illinois?
    Because the volume of trading is so large, the amount raised would be large: over $6 billion based on trading volume in 2010 and 2011. Both buyer and seller would pay the tax so each contact traded would generate $2.

    3. That sounds like a lot of money. Can the CME and the CBOE really pay that amount? Wouldn't they move to some state without the tax?
    The tax is not on the exchanges. It is on the trades. Both the CME and CBOE have a large physical infrastructure in place in Chicago which would be very expensive to relocate. Their employees and most of their senior executives live in the Chicago region and their most important banking relationships are also in the Chicago area.

    4. So, who would be paying the tax?
    Most of the income from this tax would come from institutions and individuals who trade frequently. These are big banks, hedge funds and brokers as well as wealthy individuals who own the largest amount of financial assets and who do most of the trading in these assets.

    5. Would an SST make our markets less competitive by discouraging trading?
    No. Much of the trading that takes place on the CME and the CBOE in stock, currency and debt futures and options is unrelated to any productive activity in the real economy. For example, the total value of all the trading on these two exchanges is well over $90 trillion, many times the U.S. -- or even the world -- GDP. Most of this trading is for speculation, bets on the direction that the stock market or interest rates may go. Even if trading were to decline by 50%, these financial markets would remain liquid and attractive to traders from both the U.S. and abroad.

    6. That sounds like some of the activity that caused the Financial Crisis and the Great Recession.
    Yes. This trading is part of the huge growth in finance and financial activity that fueled the housing price bubble and generated outrageous paychecks or bankers, hedge fund managers and traders. We need to reduce the size of the finance industry if the US economy is to get back to the balanced growth that generates wide spread prosperity rather than riches for the top 1%.

    7. Wouldn't traders move their business to other exchanges that don't have a Speculation Sales Tax?
    Remember, the Speculation Sales Tax is only $1 -- and the average value of these contracts is over $225,000. There is very little incentive to move in response to this small tax. In addition, because all the activity (liquidity) in these products is concentrated on the CME and CBOE, traders would be very reluctant to move their business to a new market with little or no trading volume.

    8. Is there any experience of a Speculation Sales Tax that we could look at to see how it would work?
    Yes. Britain has had a stamp tax (a kind of Speculation Sales Tax) on stock trading for many years. It has provided needed government revenue and has not hampered the growth of the British stock market, which is now the second largest in the world. Similarly, Switzerland, Hong Kong, South Korea and (later this summer) France, also have taxes on the trading of financial assets. These all generate significant revenue for their governments.

    9. Are other counties considering a similar tax?
    Yes. There is an international movement to apply financial transaction taxes. The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for a Speculation Sales Tax and the European Commission has also said they favored such a tax. Interest in a Speculation Sales Tax is also emerging in Brazil and South Africa.

    10. All this sounds good. Are there any other benefits from a Speculation Sales Tax?
    An economy heavily dependent on financial activities serves only the few and generates large inequality between the 99% and the 1%. An additional benefit of a Speculation Sales Tax would be a reduction in the role of finance and financial speculation in our economy. Further, we could use SST revenues to create jobs, address Illinois budget problems, help fund pensions, etc. Very little has been suggested -- and nothing done -- to help move us in this direction of greater balance between the financial and the real economy. A Speculation Sales Tax is not the complete answer, but it would help.

    Prosperity Not Austerity!

    Illinois political leaders including Governor Pat Quinn propose to solve the state's budget crisis by severely cutting the state's social safety net. They have approved cuts to pensions and the state's Medicaid budget by $2.7 billion (19%). Staff at state parks and other institutions is being slashed; education funding at all levels is declining, organized labor is being weakened and proposals for privatizing public assets and services abound.

    Their cuts will affect, among others, 3 million people who depend on Medicaid for access to health care, hundreds of thousands who believed their retirement was secure and a whole generation of Illinois' young people who can no longer afford the education necessary to find good jobs.

    Cuts don't produce jobs or prosperity; they only increase unemployment and decrease consumption. The state collects less in income and sales tax, and falling revenues, in turn, trigger more calls for budget cuts. The politicians are putting us in a downward economic spiral.

    Like the Greek politicians, Illinois' leaders are forcing the working people of Illinois to suffer the results of the financial crisis caused by Wall Street's casino operators.

    There's a better way.  Instead of cutting and privatizing, our politicians should think outside the conservative fiscal box and implement new progressive economic approaches. These include:

    -> Creates new jobs rebuilding infrastructure, supporting green energy and investing in local economies,
    -> Increases the minimum wage to ensure living wage jobs,
    -> Creates a state-owned development bank dedicated to investing in Illinois' economy,
    -> Builds family services jobs as careers.

    • A Medicare for All (Single-payer) system for financing health care in Illinois would cost far less than the current system and thus help reduce the state's long term deficit while providing high quality universal medical coverage for all.

    We can't cut our way to prosperity. A progressive approach will solve the state's fiscal crisis by building prosperity and health for all. It's the smart thing to do.

    Take Action!

    This petition drive is a joint project of Northeastern Illinois Americans for Democratic Action, Chicago Democratic Socialist of America and Progressive Democrats of America-Illinois.

    Dolores Huerta Honored

    by Bob Roman

    When President Obama honored Dolores Huerta with the Medal of Freedom at the end of May, most media coverage stuck with the basics. Huerta was a founder of United Farm Workers and directed their historic Grape Boycott. Obama had borrowed the union's slogan, Sí, se puede, for his 2004 and 2008 campaigns. But Huerta is also an Honorary Chair of DSA. The day hadn't ended before a number of conservative institutions, such as the Heritage Foundation, were making her DSA membership their lede. Obama, they argued, is therefore some kind of dangerous radical. Outside of some dozen or so conservative media outlets (Rush Limbaugh, for example) and several dozen conservative blogs, most of this gleeful ranting barely made it into mainstream media.

    But Dolores Huerta is not the first DSA member to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. DSA Honorary Vice Chair James Farmer received the award in 1998. Honorary Chair Millie Jeffrey received the award in 2000. And DSA member John Sweeny received the award in 2011. Dolores Huerta is also Chicago DSA's 1976 Thomas - Debs Dinner honoree, Millie Jeffrey spoke at the 1981 Thomas - Debs Dinner, and James Farmer spoke at the 1963 Debs Dinner. If you want to expand "socialist" to include the late Social Democrats USA, there's Sidney Hook in 1985 and Al Shanker in 1998, though they may not have been members by then. And there are several other Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees who came out of the old Socialist Party, such as Helen Keller, Walter Reuther, David Dubinsky, Carl Sandberg, among others. There have been a few foreign socialists honored, too, such as Nelson Mandela (2002) and (bark! bark!) Tony Blair (2009). Face it, conservatives, socialism is apple pie American! And Mom!


    by Bob Roman

    More Powerful Than Dynamite by Thai Jones, Walker & Co, 2012, $28.00
    In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti by Susan Tejada, Northeastern University Press, 2012, $27.95

    Thai Jones' first book, Radical Line, was an excellent and honest memoir of three generations of radical activism in his family, beginning with his Communist grandparents, his Weathermen parents and himself. This second book firmly establishes Jones as a historian in the "history as narrative" or story-telling camp. Its structure reminds me very much of John Brunner's novel, Stand on Zanzibar, which of course was an homage to Dos Passos' U.S.A. trilogy. Jones doesn't attempt a self-conscious metaphor of video or movie, fortunately, but the structure does provide a convenient space for context, something that is often missing from narrative histories. Context makes the past far less of a foreign country.

    The book began when Jones discovered that three young radicals had blown themselves up in an East Harlem apartment in 1914 with a bomb intended for John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The parallels with the three Weathermen who had similarly blown up their Greenwich Village bomb factory are obvious and eerie, but almost no one remembers the 1914 incident. The 1914 building still stands. It was technological progress of a sort, I suppose, that the Greenwich Village townhouse was solid gone.

    1914 turns out to be an extraordinarily interesting year, especially in New York where revolutionary anarchism confronted a progressive (in the Republican, technocratic sense) city administration at a time of economic distress and dislocation. The Ludlow Massacre in connection with the Colorado Fuel & Iron strike that year reverberated across the country, including New York. While Marx's irritated comments about history not exactly repeating itself apply, there are many useful observations to be had from Jones' narrative: In particular, Mayor John Purroy Mitchel's almost accidental discovery that the cure for street riots and rebellion is, often enough, freedom to peaceably assemble and speak. Sound familiar?

    The lesson was slow to spread. In 1920, two Italian immigrant anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were arrested for a payroll robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. The robbery had resulted in the murder of two of the guards. Sacco and Vanzetti were given a sensational and unfair (even by the standards of the day) trial. They were finally executed in 1927 after a long legal and propaganda battle that was the cause of the day for anarchists, communists, socialists, liberals, and civil libertarians.

    If Thai Jones wrote about an utterly obscure topic, Susan Tejada's In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti covers a topic that has been continually written about and argued over for the nearly 100 years since it happened. Does she add anything new? It's gotten to the point where one almost needs to be a scholar of the literature to have a qualified opinion. I'm not a scholar of any kind, but I think she has, both concerning the trial and the crime and especially concerning the biographies of Sacco and Vanzetti.

    And that is the point of Tejada's book: Who were Sacco and Vanzetti? The result is a cross between a meticulous biography, history and a true-crime page-turner. Better still, Tejada also includes a survey of historians' conclusions about the crime -- whodunnit and all -- and she adds her own. She's honest about the violence in politics at the time, both from the Establishment and from the left, and she provides some of the context needed to understand it. Tejada does not much cover the covert, self-serving manipulation of the campaign to save Sacco and Vanzetti by various parts of the left. This is a reasonable omission but those new to this history should know that she doesn't cover everything.

    Both More Powerful Than Dynamite and In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti tell the stories of the principal characters beyond the scope of each book. This is both a bit voyeuristic and extremely interesting. And there is context that both books miss. When Mayor Mitchel found that letting radicals have their rallies with minimal police interference was a great pacifier, Mitchel's policy did not go unchallenged. Until the mid-1920s, state and local government had the same rights to regulate speech on government property as did private property owners. This meant that a public official allowing unpopular speech (speech that could have otherwise been banned) could be portrayed as being complicit with the speakers: in other words, "soft on" and with no excuse. It was a great incentive for official violence. You can blame the early American Civil Liberties Union for the change in law.

    If "Black Bloc" anarchists and communists seem somewhat nostalgic for those days, it should be no surprise. They share, with libertarians, the idea that the state is an inherently and inevitably oppressive institution. Police raids, arrests, and broken heads serve to demonstrate that idea, garner sympathy and support as it's unfair, and excuse retaliatory actions that lead to more raids, arrests, and broken heads, and thence... to what? Revolution? Given the grudging government toleration (with notable lapses) of dissident speech, it's probably also not surprising that today's anarchists and communists are punks compared to then. Maybe that's no bad thing.

    Keeping the Death Penalty Dead

    by Tom Broderick

    The records of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty (ICADP), also known for a while as the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, are now archived in the Richard J. Daley Library at The University of Illinois at Chicago. They are open to the public, though the material will not be circulated. Hopefully researchers and activists will find the records useful. The library is at 801 S. Morgan on the UIC campus.

    ICADP was formed in 1976 by Mary Alice Rankin, a conservative Catholic from Oak Park, after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on executions in the United States. Rankin and ICADP lobbied Illinois Governor Jim Thompson to keep Illinois an execution free state. That was not to be but thirty-five years later, ICADP was victorious.

    On Tuesday, June 26, ICADP held their annual membership meeting at the Daley Library to celebrate the victory and the archiving of the records. In addition to many of the current board members, Jeremy Schroeder, former executive director of ICADP, Illinois Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7), abolition leader in the House and Senator Kwame Raoul (D-13), abolition leader in the Senate were present.

    Jeremy Schroeder was the key strategist in the victory. He is currently on staff at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and is focusing his attention on several states. Chicago DSA presented Jeremy with our 2011 Debs-Thomas-Harrington award for his work.

    Representative Yarbrough is stepping down from the legislature to run for Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Representative Yarbrough spoke of the roller coaster ride that the victory felt like, commenting that she did not like the ride down roller coasters. She has done outreach to legislators in other states in pursuit of abolition elsewhere in the country.

    Senator Raoul called his work to abolish the death penalty the most important legislative work of his life, but said that the same problems that the death penalty was prone to, infect so much of the criminal justice system. He urged the ICADP activists to remain engaged in the struggle to reform the justice system. Senator Raoul has also been involved in the education of members of legislators in other states.

    The meeting also included a vote for the new ICADP board. ICADP is not dissolving but will continue to monitor the machinations of those in the Illinois legislature who want to bring back the death penalty. Several attempts have been made to reinstate capital punishment, but none have had any success. It would be folly to not keep vigilant.

    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    Congress Hotel

    At least a half dozen Chicago DSA members joined several hundred UNITE HERE members and labor activists at a June 15 demonstration outside the Congress Hotel in downtown Chicago. The demonstration protested the Congress Hotel's management's stubborn refusal to bargain on the occasion of the 9th anniversary of the start of what has become the longest ongoing strike in the United States.

    One of the issues in the Congress Hotel strike is the outsourcing of jobs to temp worker agencies. This is also an issue in the unresolved contract negotiations between UNITE HERE and the Hyatt hotels. The union is planning actions for July and asks that you save the dates:

    • Monday, July 23rd, Hyatt Visibility Day with young folk taking the forefront, making the struggle visible around the Chicago area.
    • Tuesday, July 24th, Community Day with community groups taking the forefront, focusing on Hyatt Hurts themes. A newly formed Community Outreach committee will be working on these specifics.
    • Wednesday, July 25th, Medical Community Day with the medical community taking the forefront. The medical community is the largest money-making group for the Hyatt chain.
    • Thursday, July 26th, Mobilization Day. This is still in formation, but the idea is that the public is center stage, supporting the union's workers and their families.

    For more coverage of the Congress Hotel protest, see New Ground 142.2.

    Chicago DSA

    The annual June membership convention did bring some changes to the Executive Committee. The female Co-Chair position remains vacant. Dr. William Pelz was re-elected as Political Education officer. We do have a new Treasurer. Michael Baker retired to work on raising a family, and Peg Strobel was elected to replace him. Strobel also serves on DSA's National Political Committee. CDSA officers serve two year terms.

    June 2012 BLS Jobs Report

    For the third month in a row, the BLS reported a number of new jobs insufficient to simply to provide jobs for the new people coming into the labor force. Officially 80,000 new jobs were created in June 2012 -- when the number required to simply absorb new entrants is 110 -- 120,000. June was also the last month of a quarter in which the average new jobs/month created was 75,000, down sharply from the January -- March 2012 average of over 210,000/month. As earlier CPEG analyses noted, we've seen this pattern before: relatively strong spring job growth (but still much too weak to seriously impact the job losses caused by the financial crisis of 2007), followed by a declining rate of job creation in the second quarter. READ MORE.


    To the Editor:

    Our economic situation remains in shambles.

    The other day I did note an article about Ben Bernanke, our man in charge of the Federal Reserve. It seems he was manipulating bonds around. For such effort, I give him the title of The Don Quixote of the Bonds.

    I picked up a copy of Paul Krugman's book entitled End This Depression Now. Krugman happens to be the winner of a Nobel Prize in economics. He says we need deficit financing for jobs rather than austerity. I agree. In economics, supply and demand are big terms. In our situation, demand cannot be met because our citizens have lost their homes, their jobs, etc. There the system fails. This is an idea tried by FDR with some success!

    I did see this idea in action. I am old enough to have worked on WPA myself. My older brother (deceased now) and I both drove two horse slips moving dirt for a road working crew that was updating the road past our farm in Jackson County, Illinois. Dad, a lover of horses, made a deal to get the road crew to make the road ditches deep enough to drain some fields south of the house and save him from figuring out some way of draining those fields.

    To get this job done we had to move a small rise in the road to lower parts of the road. My brother and I, with our horse-drawn slips, moved that dirt. We didn't get paid by the WPA either.

    Fred J. Dietz, Sr.


    Dear Friends:

    Chicago DSA began publishing New Ground in November of 1987, a birthday month New Ground shares with Norman Thomas and Eugene V. Debs. For 17 of those 25 years, Chicago DSA has been publishing a special Labor Day issue of New Ground. Once again we are coming to you for help. More than usual, we're counting on your continued support.

    Please take an ad in this 17th annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. Your visible support in New Ground is an affirmation of democratic socialist values and progressive politics at a time when such a commitment is more important than ever. It's also an opportunity to promote projects that you are involved with. A flyer with the prices, ad dimensions and other information is HERE. (PDF)

    But if circumstance or shyness forbids it, please make a contribution. A minimal New Ground totaling 28 pages over the year costs about $2,200: union printed and union delivered, only the writing and editing volunteered. A far too modest two thousand dollars beyond that pays for most of our political work. The delusional right-wing imagines we have an inside line to George Soros. If we did, this would hardly qualify as spare change and there would be no worry. But we only have you, friend. Will you help?

    In solidarity,
    Robert Roman
    Editor, New Ground

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

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Saturday, July 14, 12:30 PM
    Chicago DSA Executive Committee
    CDSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee Room 403, Chicago
    All DSA members welcome.

    Saturday, July 14, 9 PM to 11 PM
    100th Birthday Woodie Guthrie
    Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark, Chicago
    Bucky Halker with special guest Lani Aloha. $15. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, July 15, 11 AM through 3 PM
    Like a Secondhand Sea
    11 AM - Marquette & Joliet @ Chicago and Fairbanks, Chicago
    NOON - Captain George Wellington Streeter @ 435 E. Illinois, Chicago
    2 PM - River Reversal Dedication @ Centennial Fountain, East River Dr & McClurg Ct, Chicago
    The story of how human contact has altered Chicago's waterways. A Pocket Guide to Hell production.

    Tuesday, July 17, 6:30 PM
    Winning Marriage Equality in the Courts
    Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago
    Update from ACLU & Lambda Legal. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, July 17, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Open House
    Citizen Advocacy Center, 182 N. York Rd, Elmhurst
    And intern summer party. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, July 20, Noon to 1:30 PM
    Ninth Annual Supreme Court Term Review
    Mayer Brown LLP, 71 S. Wacker Dr, 33rd Floor, Chicago

    Saturday, July 21, 10 AM
    Peoples Hearing on Police Crimes
    Kennedy-King College Building Y, 6401 S. Halsted St, Chicago
    UPDATE, MOVED: Teamwork Englewood, 815 W. 63rd St., 2nd Floor, Chicago

    Monday, July 23, 6 PM to 7:30 PM
    Can Gangs Change?
    Art In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
    Can gangs change? Can gang members bring peace to the streets today? How can they become forces for positive social change? MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, July 24, 7 PM
    Freedom to Marry and Religious Liberty
    Grayslake Public Library, 100 Library Lane, Grayslake
    Featuring ACLU's Colleen Connell and Edwin Yohnka. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, July 25, 7:30 PM
    "La Belle Equipe"
    Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
    Directed by Julien Duvivier, 1936. $5. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, July 26, 7 PM
    Freedom to Marry and Religious Liberty
    Romeoville Recreation Department Bodine Room, 900 W. Romeo Rd, Romeoville
    Featuring ACLU's Colleen Connell and Edwin Yohnka. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, July 28, 1 PM
    Bug House Square Debates
    Washington Square Park, 901 N. Clark St, Chicago
    Celebrate Chicago's long history as a hub of free speech with an afternoon of public debate, soapbox speeches, heckling, and music. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, July 31, 6 PM
    AFTRA / SAG Senior Radio Players
    Chicago Cultural Center Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph, Chicago
    Comedy double header from the series "The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy" and "Easy Aces". MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 1, 6:30 PM
    Myth-Busting the Tar Sands
    Wheaton Franciscans Tau Center, 26W171 Roosevelt Rd, Wheaton
    Ann Alexander, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council Chicago Office, unpacks some of the myths around Canadian tar sands. MORE INFORMATION.

    New Ground #143.1



    0. DSA News

    Pocket Pennies
    1001 Dancing Socialists
    DSA in the News

    1. Politics

    Tax Wall Street Not Main Street
    Hyatt Hurts by Tom Broderick and Bob Roman
    How Many Police?
    Media Rare

    2. People

    Joyce Miller

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    DSA News

    Pocket Pennies
    Ask any journalist. Raising money from the web is a largely barren territory still being explored; on the web, people are not overly forthcoming with cash. And why should you pay? With a newspaper or magazine, there is a physical product that someone made and someone delivered to home or to store. There is a physical something. With the web and with email, there is instead this nebulous thing that reproduces with no more apparent human agency than a colony of bacteria for less marginal expense than a millionth share of a petri dish. But New Ground and Chicago DSA do need your help if we are to be to be more that a bacterial culture on the web. There are two ways to contribute. One is to go to chicagodsa.org where clicking on the "donate" button will take you to a secure PayPal page that will accept most credit cards. The other is to take an ad in our annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. Yes, this is social media 1.0 and so 19th century but not obsolete. For a PDF with all the details, CLICK HERE.

    1001 Dancing Socialists
    The Young Democratic Socialists are having their annual summer conference on August 9 through 12 at the Valley Brook Inn in Wurtsboro, New York. More information is HERE.

    DSA in the News
    Well, somebody's got to blow our horn:

    • The start of negotiations toward a "Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement" in San Diego brought out a swarm of protesters. Thanks to the work of the DSA San Diego local, DSA was mentioned as one of the groups protesting and lobbying the negotiations in an Associated Press article that was picked up around the country, including this example in the Boston Globe.
    • Closer to home, the 30th anniversary of the Crossroads Fund was covered in the Windy City Times. They noted the group's annual special event that includes an award named after the late Dr. Ron Sable, a DSA member.
    • Conservative Robert Elliott imagined he was writing a political hit piece for one of the Examiner web sites when he rummaged around through DSA National Director Maria Svart's Facebook friends list. Not well done, either, except it actually is a bit interesting if you're curious about what's become of some of the past YDS organizers. Turns out socialism is no barrier to a career in politics. Attempting to change that may have been the point of this article.
    • When contract negotiations between SEIU and the Village of Oak Park got bogged down, GOPDSA co-chair Tom Broderick got this op-ed published at Oak Park's Wednesday Journal.
    • One candidate for the Minneapolis School Board, Doug Mann, touted his DSA endorsement, according to the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
    • And finally, DSA was attacked at World News Daily, mentioned in Rock Cellar Magazine, mentioned in passing in an Examiner article about an Indianapolis labor picnic, plus letters to the editor in Boulder's Daily Camera and in the New York Times.


    Tax Wall Street Not Main Street
    It's not just our campaign for a "Speculation Sales Tax"; the European Union, France, and Hungary probably have more to do with it. But you can tell when the thieves, liars, and vultures are getting nervous when their hired academics start studies a spinning. In this case, the Cato Institute has just released a study that contends that "a financial transaction tax could have results that are exactly the opposite of those hoped for by its proponents." This is pretty much the way libertarian ideologues react to any proposal.

    On the more positive side, Mother Pelican has assembled a bibliography of articles from both the U.S. and the E.U., pro and con, on the financial transaction tax. It's not at all complete but a good place to start. Closer to home, the University of Illinois' Farm Doc Daily posted "Is There a Transaction Tax in Your Future?" To help educate voters and elected officials, Northside Action for Justice is petitioning to put an advisory referendum on the November ballot across Rogers Park and parts of Edgewater asking voters to weigh in on adding a sales tax onto derivatives, futures contracts and similar financial transactions. During the Illinois primary, a similar question passed in Uptown with 75% of the vote.

    You can show your support by signing an online petition HERE. If you'd like to circulate hardcopy petitions for signatures or if you'd like to attend planning meetings for this campaign, email Tom Broderick. We're already getting pages of signatures back from sheets distributed with the New Ground 143.

    Hyatt Hurts
    by Tom Broderick and Bob Roman
    Hyatt Hurts! is the campaign launched by the union UNITE-HERE! calling for a boycott of all but a few Hyatt Hotels around the world. How does Hyatt hurt? Subcontracting jobs to temporary agencies. Working conditions that cause physical pain. Worker intimidation. Turning heat lamps on strikers during a blistering heat wave. For more detailed information on how Hyatt hurts and the boycott, visit www.hyatthurts.org.

    At the end of July, the union organized of a multi-day, multi-city campaign to spotlight abuse suffered by housekeepers at Hyatt Hotels, coinciding with a call for a global boycott. In Chicago, DSA's involvement was primarily with the Tuesday, July 24, Community Day. A flash religious ceremony was held at the reception area of the Chicago Hyatt Regency on East Wacker Drive. Nearly 150 people from the Chicago area entered the Regency in small groups through different entrances, including about a half dozen DSA members.

    At 11 AM. Father Larry Dowling of St. Agatha Parish led Mass in support of the housekeepers. The stories of three Chicago area Hyatt housekeepers formed the centerpiece. We carried file folders into the Hyatt and on the inside of each folder was a photograph of one of the three. When the service began, we unfolded them and held them up.

    Carmen Sandoval has worked in housekeeping at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare for more than 30 years. A few years ago, Hyatt got rid of their laundry department where Carmen's husband worked. This added stress to her job as a housekeeper, especially during this economic recession. Carmen says housekeepers are pushed to do more work and work faster, causing injuries. She takes Tylenol every day to complete her shift.

    Angela Martinez works as a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. A few years ago, Hyatt renovated the hotel and brought in larger and heavier beds, making her job more difficult. She is unable to lift the mattress because of the pain the additional weight causes. Fitted sheets would help this situation, but unlike other hotels, Hyatt refuses to use these.

    Sonia Ordonez used to work as a cook at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for six years. She is a single mother who was fired after speaking out about her working conditions at Hyatt. She has shared her story with community leaders and to an annual shareholder meeting of the Hyatt. Most recently, Sonia wrote a guest blog post for Mother Talkers. To read this remarkable story, CLICK HERE.

    We gathered at the Hyatt Regency to support these women as well as all people struggling to put food on their tables and live with dignity. After about 10 minutes, Hyatt Security told us to leave the building. We filed out singing "We Shall Not Be Moved." The service continued on Wacker Drive in front of the Regency, under the glare of Hyatt Security.

    Chicago DSA also had a presence on the final day of the international week of action. This day brought several hundred pickets together on three separate lines outside the twin towers of the Hyatt Regency. There were a few DSA members but also a delegation of about 100 UNITE HERE members from Detroit. For the occasion, Hyatt had posted three large banners proclaiming Hyatt is great place to work. Nay, not just a great place but an award winning place to work. If this sounds familiar, it's because Resurrection Health Care did much the same thing in the face of an organizing drive from AFSCME.

    The campaign did succeed in generating press, though some of it was related to a mixed NLRB ruling on a Hyatt complaint. See Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, In These Times (Cathy Youngblood), In These Times (Boycott), Progress Illinois, and UNITE HERE Local 1.

    This is a somewhat existential conflict for the union. Industry-wide contract negotiations will be starting soon in Chicago, and the Hyatt hotels are not the only ones contemplating outsourcing and increasing workloads as a way of squeezing out even more generous profits. Interest in the Congress Hotel model is spreading; indeed, Hyatt's lawyer in Chicago, Peter Andjelkovich, also handles the Congress Hotel's labor relations.

    When both events were complete, we chanted "We'll be back!" Come on Hyatt, make it not so. Prosperity is a fine thing, but not by hurting your workers.

    How Many Police?
    Over at the Chicago Justice Project, Tracy Siska writes: "The Chicago press is filled with conjecture and propaganda about how many officers Chicago should have based mostly on the figure of 13,500 officers that is stated in the CPD's budget.  How the city got to this number is something of a mystery.  This point will be the topic of blog in the near future but suffice it to say the validity of this number as a current figure for proper police staffing is in serious question." MORE.

    Meanwhile, the People's Law Office comments on the quarterly report of the Independent Police Review Authority HERE.

    Media Rare
    At Chicago Media Action: "So, contributing to the primary evil -- namely, the elites' desire to control speech and information so that they can line their own pockets -- have been: a poor station manager in the case of Northeastern Illinois University and WZRD; an insufficient understanding of how to adapt to the changing media landscape in the case of the City of Evanston and Evanston Community Media Center; and not giving a shit in the case of the NMMA and Radio Arte." MORE.


    Joyce Miller
    A founder and past president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the first woman to be elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council died on June 30. Miller received Chicago DSA's Thomas - Debs award in 1983, and continued to be a supporter of the Dinner and of Chicago DSA for the rest of her life. MORE.

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Saturday, August 4, 10 AM to 12:30 PM
    Stop the Violence Summit
    First Baptist Congregational Church, 1613 W. Washington Blvd, Chicago
    Meeting to address violence in the community. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, August 4, 8 PM
    TIFs and Corporate Welfare in Chicago
    Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
    Featuring Ben Joravsky. College of Complexes $3 Tuition plus $5 board. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, August 5, 2 PM to 4 PM
    From Hiroshima to Fukushima
    Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge Ave, Evanston
    Presentation and conversation with Professor Norma Field and Mr. Yasuteru Yamada. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, August 5, 6:15 PM to 7 PM
    Remembrance Vigil: Hiroshima Anniversary
    Water Tower Monument, Michigan Ave & Chicago Ave, Chicago
    To coincide with the vigil at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 8, 4:30 PM to 6 PM
    Chicago Boycotts Chick-fil-A!
    Chick-fil-A Loyola Water Tower, 30 E. Chicago Ave, Chicago
    Informational picket outside their only Chicago store. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 8, 5:30 PM to 8 PM
    No TIF for UofC and Hyatt
    53rd & Lake Park, Chicago
    Press conference and picket protesting proposed Tax Increment Financing District for a Hyatt hotel at 53rd & Lake Park. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 8, 7:30 PM
    "Hallelujah I'm a Bum"
    Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
    1933 directed by Lewis Milestone featuring Al Jolson. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, August 9, 7 PM to 8:30 PM
    Public Schools Chicago Students Deserve
    St James Church, 6554 N. Rockwell, Chicago
    Community forum including speakers from parents, Local School Council, Chicago Teachers Union. 773.743.7387 or MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, August 10, 6 PM to 10 PM
    Posters from the Chicago Women's Liberation Union
    Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted, Chicago
    Reception and gallery show of original silkscreen prints, with Estelle Carol. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, August 10, 7 PM
    "The Invisible War"
    Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton, Arlington Heights
    Documentary on the epidemic of rape within the U.S. Military. MORE INFORMATION and MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, August 12, 1 PM to 3 PM
    "Granito: How to Nail a Dictator"
    National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St, Chicago
    Documentary featuring rare footage and interviews from the massacre of nearly 200,000 Maya people in 1980's Guatemala followed by discussion. RSVP required. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, August 12, 5 PM to 8 PM
    Benefit for the Family of Delfino "Don Vale" Mora
    McKellin's Pub, 2800 W. Touhy, Chicago
    Featuring the Blue State Cowboys. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, August 12, 2 PM to 6 PM
    Summer Picnic
    Lombard Lagoon Shelter, Grace Street & Marcus Drive, Lombard
    West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition's summer picnic. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 15, 9 AM to 2 PM
    DreamRelief Day
    Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, Chicago
    Assistance in applying for work permits. MORE INFORMATION.

    New Ground #143.2



    0. DSA News

    DSA in the News
    Pennies from Cyberspace

    1. Politics

    Financial Transaction Tax
    Illinois Budget
    The Great Chicago Teacher Revolt
    Jobs Report
    Labor Day

    2. People

    Patricia Sexton

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    DSA News

    DSA in the News
    The Michigan primary election last week provoked some coverage that included DSA. The Daily Caller had this relatively decent commentary about Representative John Conyers' tough renomination fight, the article's rationality quite the contrast with the reader comments. Media coverage also extended to local races in this article in Michigan's Macomb Daily about the contest in the 28th District, where the Detroit DSA was also working for Jon Switalski. Both Conyers and Switalski won nomination, and it is said that DSA members contributed about 10% of Conyers' primary campaign budget. Conservative Trevor Loudon has been on a book tour promoting Barack Obama and the Enemies Within (He means DSA, folks, even though we're far more American than he is.), but one of his latest obsessions is how DSA designed both ObamaCare and RomneyCare. You didn't know that? Neither did we. But this provoked a commentary at Boston's public radio WBUR. The conservative Manhattan Institute's City Journal blames whatever is or was wrong with the NYC's Upper West Side not on DSA but on folks like DSA's Ruth Messinger. And finally, DSA gets mentioned in connection with the one year anniversary of the Verison strike in Union City.

    Incidentally, the Verison negotiations drag on. Don't just sit there, CLICK HERE.

    Pennies from Cyberspace
    And while you're in motion, Chicago DSA and New Ground need your help, too. There are two ways to contribute. One is to go to chicagodsa.org where clicking on the "donate" button will take you to a secure PayPal page that will accept most credit cards. The other is to take an ad in our annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. Yes, this is social media 1.0 and so 19th century but not obsolete. For a PDF with all the details, CLICK HERE.


    Financial Transactions Tax
    At the Economic Policy Institute, Andrew Fieldhouse writes:

    "France recently pushed ahead of the European Union in implementing a financial transactions tax (FTT). Championed by both France and Germany, the European Union has been moving toward an FTT for several years, albeit with strong resistance from the United Kingdom. The new French FTT is fairly narrow in its base: 0.2 percent on the sale of stock of publicly-traded French companies valued above EU$ billion (most FTT proposals would apply varying rates to range of assets-stocks, bonds, options, futures, and swaps-to minimize tax distortions and arbitrage opportunities). What's unusual about France's move is their additional high-frequency trading (HFT) tax, targeting algorithmic computer trades executed within half a second, as detailed by Steven Rosenthal on TaxVox." MORE.

    At the Real News Network, National Nurses United Political Director Ken Zinn is interviewed high frequency trading and the Financial Transactions Tax.

    Please petition for a Speculation Sales Tax in Illinois HERE.

    Illinois Budget
    The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has released its analysis of the FY2013 General Fund Budget. There's some wonky novelty in what Illinois is doing, but the general picture ain't pretty and hasn't changed:

    "The FY 2013 General Fund budget, under which the state is currently operating, demonstrates the continuation of a significant flaw in the state's overall fiscal system: revenue growth will again fail to keep pace with the need for public services. This pattern of revenue underperformance is long standing, and has contributed substantially to Illinois' structural deficit. The report concludes with recommendations of how to raise the additional revenue needed to sustain public service investments." READ MORE.

    For information about Illinois pensions, CLICK HERE.

    The Great Chicago Teacher Revolt
    At Daily Kos, GOPDSA's Bob Simpson writes:

    'On the eve before the Great Depression, what the NEA called "America's great crisis", Chicago's teachers found themselves in a contradictory and uncomfortable position. Although their pay and working conditions were better than the blue collar workers in the city, their work in the classroom was becoming increasingly difficult. There had been a dramatic increase in Chicago public school students all through the 1920s which left the schools scrambling for funding.

    'The schools were largely financed through property taxes, and powerful corporations, along with real estate interests, had been dodging taxes for decades. The system was plagued with corruption and mismanagement and by the late 1920s was bogged down in lawsuits, court actions and a business-led tax strike. To make matters worse, the appointed school board had become a cesspool of financial corruption, especially under the gangster-tainted reign of Mayor William Thompson, an ally of Al Capone. By 1929, the year of the Wall Street stock market crash, Chicago was essentially broke.' READ MORE.

    Jobs Report
    The Chicago Political Economy Group's commentary on the July BLS Jobs Report begins:

    "The 163,000 jobs recorded as created in July represent only a one month reported statistic. While this is a higher than expected number, a more reliable figure is the three month average from May ­ July 2012. With revised figures, job creation sits at 104,000 new jobs in the economy. This number barely meets the 110,000-120,000 jobs needed to absorb new labor force job entrants and is not a sufficient amount of jobs to satisfy the number of unemployed workers. The net gain in employment is only some 43,000 jobs and at this rate it would take us 297 months, or 25 years, to provide enough jobs for unemployed workers." MORE.

    Labor Day
    For a list of union Labor Day events around the State of Illinois, CLICK HERE.


    Patricia Sexton
    Professor Emeritus of Sociology at NYU and author more than 15 books on education, women, and especially workers and the labor movement, and widow of Brendan Sexton, former Education Director of the United Autoworkers union, died early August 11 at home in her sleep. MORE.

    Upcoming Events of Interest

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

    Saturday, August 18, Noon to 4 PM
    Chicago Air & Water Show Anti-War Contingent
    North Ave & Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
    Highlight the true purpose of these war machines. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, August 18, 7 PM
    "Woke Up Black"
    Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, Chicago
    Screening plus discussion with director and cast. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, August 20, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign Meeting
    Workers United Hall, 333 S. Ashland Ave, Chicago
    Weekly meeting. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, August 20, 7 PM
    Redistricting: What It Means to You
    Dell Webb Subdivision, Prairie Lodge, Rte 47, Huntley
    Mary Schaafsma, Interim Director, IL League of Women Voters. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, August 21, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
    Northside Public Education Forum
    Old Town School of Folk Music Szold Hall East Building, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

    Tuesday, August 21, 6:45 PM to 8:45 PM
    LaGrange Public Library, 10 W. Cossitt Ave, LaGrange
    Documentary on Washington dysfunction. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 22, 7:30 PM
    "This Day and Age"
    Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
    1933 Cecil B. DeMille. $5. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, August 23, 5:15 PM
    "Invisible War"
    Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 E. North Water St, Chicago
    Film showing followed by facilitated discussion. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, August 23, 6 PM
    Painted Tongue
    Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N. Carpenter, Chicago
    Spoken word performances. And beer. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, August 23, 6:30 PM
    Town Hall Meeting on the Cook County Budget

    Saturday, August 25, 5 PM to 8 PM
    Intersections Release Party
    Bronzeville Community Gardens, 51st & Calumet, Chicago
    Release party for AREA Issue 12. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, August 27, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign Meeting
    Workers United Hall, 333 S. Ashland Ave, Chicago
    Weekly meeting. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, August 28 through Saturday, September 1, 10 PM to 5 PM
    The Art of Human Rights
    ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St, Winnetka
    Reception on Thursday, August 30, 5 PM to 8 PM. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 29, 3:30 PM
    Support the Responsible Bidders Ordinance
    Chicago City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St, Chicago
    Demonstration in support of the Responsible Bidders Ordinance that guarantees that contractors in public buildings provide good jobs with fair wages and benefits. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, August 29, 6:30 PM
    "Iron Jawed Angels"
    Oak Park Public Library Veterans Room, 834 Lake St, Oak Park
    Video showing plus Jennifer Friedes. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, September 2, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
    Historic Pullman Walking Tour
    Visitor Center, 112th & Cottage Grove, Chicago

    Monday, September 3, 9 AM
    Pullman Labor Day Bike Ride
    Historic Pullman district. 30 Miles. $15. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 3, 10 PM to 11 PM
    "The Last Pullman Car"
    WTTW Channel 11
    First broadcast since the original 1984 air date.

    Tuesday, September 4, 5 PM
    End the Wars
    Gather @ LaSalle & Jackson, Chicago
    March on Obama National Campaign HQ. MORE INFORMATION.

    New Ground #143.3



    0. DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    Democratic Left
    Democracy Endangered
    You Can Help

    1. Politics

    September 15 Is Chipocrasy Day
    The Robin Hood Tax
    The Dangerous Dozen

    2. Ars Politica

    Labor Day Song Circle

    3. Democratic Socialism

    How the Left Has Won
    Myth of the Monolithic Working Class
    Workers of the World

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

    DSA News

    Talkin' Socialism
    [A longer version of this article by Bill Barclay first appeared at Talking Union.]
    Episode 18 of the Talking Socialism podcast features Leone Jose Bicchieri, Executive Director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative (CWC) talking with Bill Barclay.  The discussion provides a fascinating account of how a part of the labor movement -- and CWC most definitely considers itself part of the labor movement -- fights for the rights of the large and growing number of temp workers, helping these workers, many of them recent immigrants, to gain a voice in the workplace and the community. CWC's model is not that of charity, simply providing services to temp workers, but instead asks that the workers themselves make a commitment as evidenced by the dues requirement the CWC asks of all its members.

    Bicchieri describes CWC's three pronged approach as a focus on the 350,000 plus temp workers in northeast Illinois, the establishment of community based workers' centers that have formalized organizational structure with benefits for the whole family covered by member dues, and "bringing down barriers" that seeks to built links between Latino, white and African-America workers. The model integrates the workplace and the community, recognizing that to be successful, contemporary labor organizing must involve both of these venues. One of the most exciting current campaigns involves CWC in close cooperation with the "Warehouse Workers' for Justice" campaign to organize the huge transit centers in the Joliet, Illinois area. WWJ was founded by UE after the Republic Windows sit down in 2008.

    Download or Listen: MP3 (30.6 MB) or Ogg Vorbis (27.7 MB).

    Democratic Left
    The Fall, 2012, issue of Democratic Left is posted HERE (PDF). It includes articles by Nelson Lichtenstein, Mimi Abramovitz, and Michael Lighty, among others.

    Democracy Endangered
    The statement adopted by the DSA National Political Committee begins:

    The 2012 election poses an extreme challenge to the future prospects for democracy in the United States. This threat demands the focused attention of the broad Left -- the labor movement, communities of color, feminists, the LGBTQ community, environmentalists and peace activists. The task for the U.S. Left is two-fold.  First, we must defeat the far-right threat to democracy.  Second, we need to build a grassroots, organized Left capable of fighting the corporate interests that dominate the leadership of both major political parties.


    You Can Help
    It is ineffably lame to answer "How?" with "Send us money." But for a fact, it's true. Every year, New Ground produces a "Labor Day" issue that includes ads from supporters in exchange for their contributions. Think of it as a way of "liking" New Ground that answers the old adage: "Talk is cheap. Whiskey costs money." We always hope to cover the cost of New Ground and the web site from this campaign. Some years we come close, other times not so much. The details are in this PDF file HERE. But this is the thing: we need your ad copy by Tuesday, September 4.

    If you'd just like to make a contribution or to pay with plastic, go to the Chicago DSA web site and click on any DONATE button. This will take you to our secure Pay Pal site.

    The upside is that while huge contributions are welcome, New Ground is a work where even very modest contributions make a big difference.

    (Not that it'll affect most of you, but the IRS wants us to remind folks that CDSA is a 501c4; your contribution is not tax deductible.)


    September 15 Is Chipocrasy Day
    On September 15th, Chipotle Mexican Grill will hold the second annual "Cultivate Festival" in Lincoln Park. The day-long festival -- "bringing together food, farmers, chefs, artisans, thought leaders, and musicians" -- is a celebration of Chipotle's self-proclaimed holistic commitment to "food with integrity."

    Despite Chipotle's claim to be the fast-food leader in social accountability, the burgeoning restaurant chain has for many years now refused to sign a Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker organization in Florida. This is an agreement four other leading fast-food companies signed long ago, including McDonald's, Chipotle's former parent company. By signing a Fair Food Agreement, Chipotle would be joining the CIW's Fair Food Program, the only social accountability program of its kind that combines worker-to-worker education, a complaint mechanism with protection against retaliation, and a third-party monitoring organization that investigates and resolves complaints as well as carries out regular field and farm office audits to measure compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct.

    So, on September 15th, the CIW and allies will head to the Cultivate Festival in Chicago to show Chipotle that promoting itself as sustainable is not enough - it must include workers' rights, and workers themselves, in its vision of a food system that claims to be based on integrity.

    Fair Food activists are planning a series of creative actions inside the festival -- creating a festival inside of a festival of sorts -- to unveil the truth behind Chipotle's marketing. Combining prayer, theater, music, and a few surprises, the counter-festival will highlight the contradiction between the attention Chipotle pays to sustainable meat and animal welfare, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, simultaneously refusing to partner with the CIW in the Fair Food Program, the program for real social responsibility that is today changing the pervasive poverty and powerlessness of the farmworkers who pick Florida tomatoes. If you're interested in hearing a presentation from the CIW between September 1st-12th, or to get involved in the festival, contact Claire Comiskey at claire@interfaithact.org or 262-385-4250.

    The Robin Hood Tax
    The Chicago Gazette favors National Nurses United's proposal for a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions in an editorial that notes:

    It is not only a bunch of idealistic nurses who support the tax. Others behind it are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, entrepreneur Warren Buffett, the Vatican, the Salvation Army, Nobel Prize winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and President Ronald Reagan's budget director -- the man charged with implementing Reaganomics -- David Stockman. MORE.

    You can support a Robin Hood Tax for Illinois by signing a petition for one HERE.

    The Dangerous Dozen
    While most people are familiar with products like Weber Grills, few of us know about the safety conditions of the workplaces where such name-brand products are manufactured. Hundreds of the workers at the Palatine, Illinois, based Weber Grill factory do not work directly for the company. Instead they work for Metro Staff, a temporary agency with employee staffing and recruiting offices located through out the Chicago land area. Metro Staff leads the list in a new report released today by the Chicago Workers Collaborative (CWC). The Dangerous Dozen list is not limited to local staffing companies such as Metro Staff (#1 most dangerous) or Ron's Temporary Help (#3 most dangerous). Major national companies like Select Remedy (#2 most dangerous) and Aerotek (#9 most dangerous) belong to the Dangerous Dozen club as well. Dangerous Dozen's author, Sohni Choudhary, a CWC Intern from the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health, also includes quotes from interviews she conducted with CWC members, temp workers who labor for Dangerous Dozen and other staffing agencies HERE.

    Ars Politica

    Labor Day Song Circle
    On Sunday, September 2, at the Third Unitarian Church, 301 N. Mayfield in Chicago, celebrate the U.S. labor movement at the Annual Labor Day Sing-Along, combined with UNITE-HERE! Local 1 HYATT HURTS! campaign and news of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' campaign against Chipotle Sunday, September 2, 2012,11 AM to NOON.

    Between songs, Matt Fennell, Local 1 boycott organizer, will discuss the HYATT HURTS! Campaign and two Local 1 workers will talk about the abuse they suffer at Hyatt hotels. This program connects historic labor struggles as celebrated in song with a current labor fight, asking the very real question: Whose Side Are You On?

    Democratic Socialism

    How the Left Has Won
    Sure to be controversial, particularly with those Marxists rooted primarily in The Communist Manifesto, James Livingston writes at Jacobin Magazine:

    "When did you stop beating your wife?" "Why can't Johnny read?" "Why did the Harlem Renaissance fail?" "Why is there no socialism in the United States?"

    What happens when we refuse to answer leading questions like these, which contain conclusions that should be in contention?

    What happens when we stop looking for socialism in all the wrong places?


    Myth of the Monolithic Working Class
    At The Activist, Phillip Logan writes:

    One not familiar with the discussion would be puzzled as to why one would have to discuss the myth of the working class. Yet, once one takes into account the hard lessons learned from the twentieth century, and the resilience of dogma among larger parts of the radical left, the conversation doesn't seem so off-kilter. While the Communist Manifesto, with its romantic prophecies of world revolution, still resonates amongst the young and many coming into the fold of socialist politics, it is often lost in the grandiloquent revolutionary fervor of Marx's prediction, the universal self emancipation of the working class has never come true. MORE.

    Workers of the World,
    the "International Journal on Strikes and Social Conflicts," is a new publication of International Association Strikes and Social Conflicts, The premier issue includes an article by Chicago DSA's William Pelz, "The Significance of the Mass Strike During the German Revolution of 1918-1919". (For those obsessed with obscure history, Richard Roman (yes, that Richard Roman) is also a contributor.) A conference is planned for next May in Dijon, France. This first number of Workers of the World is out and posted on the web 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.

    Sunday, September 2, 11 AM to NOON
    Annual Labor Day Sing-Along
    Third Unitarian Church, 301 N. Mayfield, Chicago
    Musical celebration of the U.S. labor movement plus updates from UNITE HERE re: Hyatt Hurts! and Coalition of Immokalee Workers re: Chipoltle. MORE INFORMATION.

    Sunday, September 2, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
    Historic Pullman Walking Tour
    Visitor Center, 112th & Cottage Grove, Chicago

    Monday, September 3, 9 AM
    Pullman Labor Day Bike Ride
    Historic Pullman district. 30 Miles. $15. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 3, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
    Labor Day Rally
    Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago
    for jobs, dignity and a fair contract for Chicago teachers. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 3, 11 AM Start
    Caravan for Peace
    Little Village Arch, 4005 W. 26th St, Chicago
    A trans-border march for peace and justice with poet Javier Sicilia. Multiple stops and activities concluding Tuesday, September 4 in Chicago. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 3, 10 PM to 11 PM
    "The Last Pullman Car"
    WTTW Channel 11
    First broadcast since the original 1984 air date.

    Tuesday, September 4, 5 PM
    End the Wars
    Gather @ LaSalle & Jackson, Chicago
    March on Obama National Campaign HQ. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, September 5, 5 PM
    Foreclosure Protest: Ed Demarco
    Fannie Mae, Madison & Wacker, Chicago
    Rally followed by march to Obama HQ. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, September 5, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
    "Studs' Place": Lost and Found
    Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St, Chicago
    Screening of 4 lost episodes, discussion. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, September 5, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign
    Teamster City, 300 S. Ashland, Chicago
    Weekly meeting. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 6, 3 PM to 5:30 PM
    The Unveiling of Louise Bourgeois' Maquette for Helping Hands
    Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago
    Plus a celebration of Jane Addam's birthday. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 6, 7 PM to 9 PM
    The Citizens United Decision
    Citizen Advocacy Center, 182 N. York St, Elmhurst
    Discussion: upholding free speech or diminishing democracy? MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 7, 6 PM to 9 PM
    Out of the Shadows
    Thomas Masters Gallery, 245 W. North Ave, Chicago
    Opening reception for a print exhibition of Vivian Maier's photography. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 7, 6 PM to 10 PM
    Fighting Back: the Life and Art of Peggy Lipschutz
    Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted, Chicago
    Opening reception of exhibition of art by Peggy Lipschutz, including a screening of Never Turning Back bio documentary. Also see September 14. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 7, 6 PM to 8 PM
    Toying with Danger
    M Lounge, 1520 S. Wabash, Chicago
    Release party for the September-October issue of The Chicago Reporter. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, September 8, 12:30 PM
    CDSA Executive Committee Meeting
    Chicago DSA, 1608 N. Milwaukee Room 403, Chicago
    All DSA members are welcome.

    Monday, September 10, 9AM to Noon
    Kids Count Symposium
    St Alexius Medical Center, 1555 Barrington Rd, Hoffman Estates
    The consequences of austerity for kids. RSVP REQUIRED.

    Tuesday, September 11, 5:30 PM to 7 PM
    Improving Judicial Selection
    Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson, Chicago
    Panel discussion on judicial reform. REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

    Tuesday, September 11, 7 PM to 9 PM
    Jail the Killer Cops
    Trinity Episcopal Church, 26th & Michigan, Chicago
    Forum on police brutality and impunity. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, September 12, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign
    Teamster City, 300 S. Ashland, Chicago
    Weekly meeting. MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, September 12, 7 PM
    Rabbi Alissa Wise and Chicago Divests
    Oak Park Maze Branch Library, 845 Gunderson Ave, Oak Park
    Is TIAA-CREF really socially responsible. MORE INFORMATION. (PDF)

    Wednesday, September 12, 7 PM
    Multikulti, 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
    Documentary and discussion on how trustworthy is our voting system? MORE INFORMATION.

    Wednesday, September 12, 7:30 PM
    After Mandela"
    Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St, Chicago
    Douglas Foster on his book about the struggle for freedom in post-apartheid South Africa. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 13, 6:30 PM to 9 PM
    "Bitter Seeds"
    Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston
    Documentary and discussion on the effect of GMOs and the "New Green Revolution". MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 13, 7 PM
    Sonia Sanchez
    Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior, Chicago
    Poetry reading. MORE INFORMATION.

    Thursday, September 13, 7:30 PM
    Arrested Justice
    Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St, Chicago
    Beth Richie on her book on Black women, violence, and America's prison nation. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 14, 6 PM to 10 PM
    Fighting Back: the Life and Art of Peggy Lipschutz
    Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted, Chicago
    Opening reception of exhibition of art by Peggy Lipschutz, including a screening of Never Turning Back bio documentary. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 14, 6 PM
    Portraits of Truth
    HumanThread Center, 645 W. 18th St, Chicago
    Opening reception of photo exhibit featuring Milton Rogovin and Sheila Barabad, with an open mic poetry reading. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 14, 7:20 PM
    DuPage Unitarian Church, 4S535 Old Naperville Rd, Naperville
    Showing and discussion of documentary on the effect of big money on democracy. MORE INFORMATION.

    Friday, September 14, 8 PM
    "Band of Sisters"
    Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St, Chicago
    World premier. The world of Catholic nuns post Vatican II. MORE INFORMATION.

    Saturday, September 15, 11 AM to 7 PM
    Chipocrasy Day
    Lincoln Park, LaSalle & Clark, Chicago
    Join Coalition of Immokalee Workers in exposing Chipolte's "Cultivate Festival" as chipocrasy. MORE INFORMATION.

    Monday, September 17, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
    In Celebration of Constitution Week
    Citizen Advocacy Center, 182 N. York St, Elmhurst
    Featuring Jessica Ahlquist. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, September 18, 7 PM
    Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti
    DePaul University Lincoln Park Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Room 325, Chicago
    Jeb Sprague discusses his book investigating right-wing paramilitarism in Haiti. MORE INFORMATION.

    Tuesday, September 18, 7 PM
    "Why We Fight"
    Lombard Mennonite Church, 528 E. Madison St, Lombard
    Documentary on the American war machine. MORE INFORMATION.

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