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New Ground

#149

July -- August,
2013

Contents

  • Scrap SB 744. Halt the Deportations by Tom Broderick
  • Report from Oak Park by Tom Broderick
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • DSA National Convention
    Going to the Convention
    Toward a 21st Century Socialism
    Talkin' Socialism
    Pensions and Revenue
    Community News

  • Commentary on the June 2013 BLS Jobs Report from CPEG
  • DSA News
  • Justice for Trayvon Denied: Renewing the Fight Against Racism
    The Obama Administration's Aggressive Quest to Punish Whistle Blower
    Marriage Equality Essential but Insufficient

  • Upcoming Events of Interest
  • New Ground 149.1 -- 07.31.2013

    0. DSA News

    We Get By
    DSA National Convention
    Real Immigration Reform
    March on Washington

    1. Politics

    Raiding the Slush Funds
    Teach for America's Mission in Chicago
    Tax Fairness

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Workers Control or Worker Cooperatives?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 149.2 -- 08.15.2013

    0. DSA News

    Moving
    Support
    Talkin' Socialism

    1. Politics

    No One Loves a Smart ALEC
    Heros in Company Uniforms
    Human Rights

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Toward a 21st Century Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest


    Scrap SB 744. Halt the Deportations.

    by Tom Broderick

    The "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Act of 2013" is know as the immigration reform bill. As the title suggests, Senate Bill 744, the product of a bipartisan "gang of eight" U.S. Senators [1], immigration reform is not the focus of this racist, class-based punitive bill. Who benefits from passage?

    As our destructive and costly wars against Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, our security complex will do well. According to a report issued by the Migration Policy Institute [2] in January, 2013, our federal government spent $18 billion in 2012 on immigration enforcement. This was more money than the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals and the U.S. Secret Service received in combination.

    Yet before the U.S. Senate would pass the original bill, Republicans, including Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the gang of eight, wanted even more money spent on "securing our border with Mexico." Rubio even said he would not vote for the bill he helped write and promote if the border couldn't be made more militarized. And so, our border with Mexico will get more physical fencing, the doubling of Border Patrol officers, increased use of unmanned drones, the potential deployment of the U.S. National Guard, and the hiring of additional prosecutors and judges. From the border, this security zone will extend 100 miles into the U.S. What changes will there be to the lives of residents within this security zone? How will an increase in the number of drones employed impact them? What does the Mexican government feel about this heightened security zone along their northern frontier?

    Oddly, the bill specifically mentions that the Tribal governments will be required to enforce the bill. Perhaps they will push to fence the entire perimeter of the U.S. and engage in the racial profiling that occurs along our border with Mexico? A Tribal officer stops a car for turning without signaling. When the European-American driver and the passengers cannot provide proof of U.S. citizenship, the tribal officer impounds the car and turns the driver and passengers over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation.

    DREAMers get a bit of a break from SB 744. Those who entered the U.S. before they were 16, graduated from a U.S. high school or received a GED, and attended at least two years of college, or served in the U.S. military for four years could apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status. After five years, they would be eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence Status and could immediately apply for U.S. Citizenship. The bill would also allow public universities to offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented students. This may be the highlight of the bill when it comes to benefiting immigrants.

    In addition, SB 744 gives the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the ability to establish streamlined procedures for people who have already been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). These are essentially immigrants who came here before their 16th birthday but are here illegally. They must meet certain standards dealing with education, criminal record and length of continuous residency in the U.S. As the bill is written, this streamlining would be the sole discretion of the Secretary of the DHS. As the U.S. House of Representatives ruminates SB 744, there is talk of limiting any pathway to citizenship to include only children who were brought here illegally.

    For legal immigrants, SB 744 creates a merit based visa system. "Track One" visas will be allocated on a point system that considers educational degrees, employment experience, the needs of U.S. employers, among other criteria. Once enacted, up to 120,000 Track One visas could be issued annually as long as unemployment remains under 8.5%. The number of Track One visas could be increased each year, up to 250,000 annually as long as unemployment remains under 8.5%. An unemployment rate of 8.5% is scandalously high, but Track One visa holders would probably be handed out to only the most valuable applicants.

    "Track Two" visas will be allocated to legal immigrants who are caught in the backlog of employment- or family-based visa applications, to immigrants who have been waiting for a visa for at least five years and to individuals who have been legally residing in the U.S. for at least ten years. This track system reflects the class structure inherent in our society.

    A new worker visa program will be created. The "W" non-immigrant visa will allow low-skilled workers the ability to work for three years for registered employers in occupations with labor shortages. These visas could be renewed for an additional three years. Ultimately, W visa holders would be allowed to apply for merit-based green cards and to switch to other registered employers. Dependents would be allowed to join the W visa holder and they could also receive work authorization. This is a temporary work-related visa only and does not lead to citizenship. Industries and businesses that depend on low-wage workers will be able to continue exploiting workers, whether immigrants or citizens. We can count on continued wage stagnation and unsafe working conditions. Labor organizing will be difficult at best.

    Interior security measures include the Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS), which is supposed to be a database of eligible employees. E-Verify is one such system and it has proved problematic. Marriage/divorce related name changes and hyphenated names have led to employment denial. Workers disqualified by EEVS could find themselves without a source of income, exploited by employers, driven to the shadows, or turned over to ICE. If EEVS is going to become a reality, there must be clear and comprehensive safeguards in place that lead to swift rectification when mistakes occur. In addition, some kind of biometric system will be employed to track foreigners exiting the U.S. Exactly what kind of system is to be determined. How long before these security enhancements -- drones, employee eligibility database, biometric tracking system -- are used in the broader public sphere?

    SB 744 is said to include a "pathway to citizenship" for those who are illegally in the United States, but it is more an obstacle course or even a roadblock. The complicated and expensive pathway in the current bill excludes siblings, puts in place an age cap of 31 for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and bars same-sex couples and their children from applying for citizenship.

    If immigrants want to attempt the obstacle course, they must apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status. Eligibility for RPI status requires that applicants prove they have: Been physically present in the U.S. since Dec. 31, 2011; have maintained continuous presence in the U.S. until the date of their application; paid federal taxes; have not been convicted of certain crimes. Inability to prove any of this leads to deportation. So the pathway to citizenship offered in this bill, is full of opportunity for deportation.

    RPI status would span ten years in two stages. Successful navigation would allow individuals to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) Status. LPR status is commonly called "green card." Three additional years in LPR status would be required before an individual could apply for citizenship.

    When applying for RPI status, the individual would need to pay an undetermined initial application fee and a $1,000 fine. The fine could be paid in two installments. The first $500 with the initial application and the second $500, six years later when they have to reapply for RPI status and pay their second undetermined application fee.

    During both stages of RPI status, applicants would need to pass a background check, prove payment of assessed taxes, prove either full-time enrollment in school or regular employment with a gap of no more than 60 days. For the initial six year RPI stage, the applicant would need to prove income of at least 100% of the federal poverty level. For the subsequent four year stage, they would need to prove an income of at least 125% of the federal poverty level. They would also need to pass an English language test and a civics test, and, if applicable, register for Selective Service. Failure of any of this leads to deportation.

    Think about those criteria. The background check will look at the individual's criminal record among other things. Conviction of "any three misdemeanors" would push an applicant off of the pathway. Regular employment with a gap of no more than 60 days? Many immigrants, as well as many citizens, might have a tough time with that one. It is certain that because of their undocumented status, some applicants won't be working at "regular" jobs that keep employment records. Some of these applicants will have been working "off the books" and will have been paid cash, assuming they are paid. They could find themselves deported. There are seasonal jobs in construction for example. A gap of 60 days in a good economy is not unheard of. In this lousy economy, 60 days without work is not unusual.

    Success would allow them to apply for LPR status. They would need to pay another application fee, which is currently $1,070 and an additional $1,000 fine. However, unless border security can be certified successful, the EEVS implemented, and the biometric system to track foreigners leaving the country is up and running, no green cards will be issued. It is unclear who certifies that the border is secure, so there is no certainty that this pathway leads to citizenship anyway. But if after three years, they are able to apply for citizenship, another application fee awaits. There are an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., so this application fee and fine program could raise significant money. This must be the "Economic Opportunity" in the bill's title.

    While on the pathway, all, or nearly all, federal means-tested public benefit programs will be denied applicants [3]. Though expected to work in order to provide for themselves and their families, they will be denied access to affordable health care and nutrition assistance, even while paying taxes. Eventually, they will be allowed to purchase private health insurance through the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but will not receive tax credits that help make the insurance more affordable.

    SB 744 creates a nonprofit corporation called the "United States Citizenship Foundation" (USCF). This foundation will be led by the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, a government agency. The director will appoint a "Council of Directors" from ten national community-based organizations that are considered allies of the immigrant community. The goal of the USCF is to provide assistance to those seeking RPI status, LPR status or citizenship. And they will need all the help they can get.

    No doubt, it would be essential that the appointed Council of Directors promote passage of SB 744 to be considered eligible for the pathway to the Council of Directors. This Council of Directors will award grants to eligible public or private non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the organizations employing these appointed directors. $100 million in grant money will be appropriated for a five year period. That works out to $20 million annually, which though not a lot of money, can be a boon to these NGOs. Although no doubt well-intentioned, I think many of the groups that really and successfully advocate for immigrant rights have accepted that there can be no immigration reform that doesn't embrace the punitive measures that are at the core of SB 744.

    One other group needs mention: Organizing For Action (OFA). OFA was created by the Obama presidential campaign to promote the policies of President Barack Obama. Immigration reform is considered a potential legacy bill for Obama. OFA is pushing passage of this bill so that it can be claimed as an Obama success story. It's hard to see how passage of SB 744 can be claimed a success unless more deportations is the goal. In the first four years of the Obama presidency, more immigrants were deported than during both terms of the former resident of the White House. According to a report issued earlier this year by the University of California, Merced [4], by the end of 2013, Obama will have deported more than 2 million people. This is more than all deportations from the United States made between 1892 and 1997.

    When I consider presidential legacy bills, I think of former President Bill Clinton's North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA led to major job loss in the United States and great upheaval in Mexico. It also provided unheard of legal sovereignty to sections of the global business community, so beware the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) [5], a trade agreement currently being worked on in secrecy by the Obama administration and others.

    NAFTA allowed the highly mechanized U.S. agriculture industry to destroy entire Mexican farming communities, making migration to the United States a matter of life and death. Capitalism's demand for the accumulation of higher profits encourages corporations to cross borders with no penalty for damage done as they go. But should a worker cross a border without the proper paperwork, they will be deemed illegal and subject to isolation, poverty, poor health, arrest, deportation and even death.

    Friends and allies intone that this immigration reform bill "is better than nothing." SB 744 expands militarization and policing within the U.S. It creates a separate and unequal guest worker program. It does not provide a secure path to citizenship. It discriminates against the LGQBT community. It creates a hierarchy based on the ability to pay for and navigate a complex system. This does not sound like it is better than nothing to me. This bipartisan bill was lousy when it was presented to the Senate by the gang of eight. It was made worse by the amendments.

    It is now in the U.S. House of Representatives and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) says he will not bring it up for consideration. Instead, he says that while immigration reform must be wrestled with, it is best to take a "step by step common-sense" approach and that border security must take precedence over legalization. This may mean that the House will break the bill into sections and vote on them in parts. For example, they may fashion a bill to ensure border security (militarization / policing / incarceration) and put that to a vote. Then they could fashion a bill on interior security (employee eligibility verification) and put that to a vote. Then they could fashion a bill on reforming the legal immigration process (who is allowed in to apply for citizenship/who is allowed in as guest workers) and put that to a vote. Then they could fashion a bill on what to do with those considered illegally in the country (citizenship/some form of work eligibility only/deportation) and put that to a vote.

    Scrap SB 744. Halt the deportations. Draft an immigration reform bill that addresses the root causes of migration and that focuses on the needs of the estimated 11 million people now working and living in fear within our border.

    ----------

    [1] Charles Schumer, D-NY; John McCain, R-AZ; Robert Menendez D-NH; Marco Rubio, R-FL; Richard Durbin, D-IL; Lindsey Graham, R-SC; Michael Bennet, D-CO; Jeff Flake, R-AZ

    [2] Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery by Doris Meissner, Donald M. Kerwin, Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron.

    [3] Nonemergency Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    [4] Mapping the Shift From the Border by Tanya Golash-Boza.

    [5] For information on the TPP go to www.iltrade.org and www.citizen.org/tpp. In addition to this trade agreement being negotiated under wraps, it is likely that the administration will ask for "fast track" when it is sent to the U.S. Senate. This will allow for a rushed schedule and will bar amendments. It will be an up or down vote if the bill is granted fast track.


    Report from Oak Park

    by Tom Broderick

    The Greater Oak Park chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (GOPDSA) has recently worked on the following:

    Living Wage for Oak Park. We collected signatures on 300 post cards at Day In Our Village in Oak Park. These call on the Oak Park Village Board to enact an ordinance to pay a living wage ($15.00/hour minimum) to Village employees; to employees of contractors and sub contractors hired by the Village; and to employees of businesses given $50,000 by the Village in any one year. These cards were presented to the Village Board at the June 3rd meeting and they were urged to act to bring this about.

    Financial Transaction Tax (Robin Hood Tax). Along with members of National Nurses United, Americans for Democratic Action and Progressive Democrats of America, we met with Representative Danny Davis in late April asking him to co-sponsor Representative Keith Ellison's "Inclusive Prosperity Act" (HR 1579). Although he was a co-sponsor last year, Davis has yet to sign on to the current Bill. For more on this, see New Ground 148, "Report from the Jobs Lobby".

    Worker Justice. At the May GOPDSA membership meeting, we collected signatures on post cards for the Coalition Against Segregation of Temp Employees (CASTE). CASTE is working to get Ferrara Pan Candy Company to hire African Americans rather than just and only vulnerable immigrant temporary employees. The CASTE Project is connected to the South Austin CCC.

    The next meeting of GOPDSA will be Wednesday, July 24 at 7 pm. For additional information, please call Tom Broderick at 708 386 6007.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    DSA National Convention

    The DSA National Convention will be in California's Bay Area on October 25 through 27. The meeting will be at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville, between Oakland and Berkeley. Rooms there, reserved at the convention rate, will be $139 a night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights but $169 for Thursday, October 24. Free breakfast is provided and all rooms have fridges. The convention registration fee remains at $195.

    The program is still under construction, but confirmed speakers so far include John Nichols, Jose La Luz, and David Bacon. The national office is also "crowd sourcing" workshops and panels, this being rather more than just brainstorming. For more information, go to http://www.dsausa.org/convention or call 212.727.8610.

    Going to the Convention

    Chicago DSA will be electing delegates to the national convention at our regular August meeting on Saturday, August 10, here at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403, in Chicago. This at the 3 way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen avenues, served by CTA bus routes on those avenues and very near the Damen stop on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. (Wave as you pull out of the station!) Street parking is close if you're willing to pay and free if you're willing to walk.

    The National Office has apportioned 11 delegates to Chicago DSA. This includes the greater Chicago metropolitan area, essentially zip codes 600 through 609. You do not need to attend the August meeting to be nominated as a delegate. Call 773.384.0327 and leave a message or email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org and we'll put you on the list. Financial aid is a possibility.

    The August membership meeting will begin at 11:30 AM with the recording of Episode 30 of Talkin' Socialism. This half hour program will be on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. Please arrive prior to 11:30 AM if you want to sit in on the recording. We usually have some discussion of the program afterwards. The business portion of the meeting begins at 12:30 PM. We try to keep this to less than 90 minutes and we often succeed.

    Toward a 21st Century Socialism

    Why be a socialist in the 21st Century? Joseph M. Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair and Professor of Political Science at Temple University, will discuss why while the global economic crisis has given rise to protest movements against neo-liberal austerity it has yet to generate a revived left strong enough to govern in the US or western Europe. How a "next left" might be constructed will be the topic of his talk and our discussion.

    Save the date: Thursday, August 29, 6:45 PM to 8:30 PM

    Where: Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, 60302

    Talkin' Socialism

    Episode 28 ­ Someone Like Me. Recorded 06.08.2013: Meet Cathy Youngblood, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood. Youngblood was running to be added to the Hyatt board with the support of the UNITE HERE union through a campaign called "Someone Like Me." Crisscrossing the country since 2012, Youngblood had been speaking to workers and community leaders about the need for strong worker board representation to help correct years of abuses at Hyatt. This will, she argues, make it a better hotel for the people who work there, the families who stay there, and the shareholders who have seen the formidable chain decline in revenue and value recently. The interview was conducted by Tom Broderick.

    Since the program was recorded, the Hyatt corporation held its stockholders meeting where Cathy Youngblood lost the election by many dollars. But Hyatt and UNITE HERE have come to a tentative contract agreement. At press time, the contract was still in the process of being ratified, and some Hyatt facilities were still on the boycott list, but this may be formally resolved by the time you read this.

    Episode 29 will be recorded on 07.13.2013. Armando Robles and Ricky Maclin will talk about the New Eras Window cooperative that grew out of the Republic Windows strike. It will likely be posted on the web by the time you read this.

    These programs and others can be accessed HERE.

    Pensions and Revenue

    On July 3, the Illinois Pension Conference Committee held one its hearings in Chicago. Two hearings were held in Chicago and one in Springfield. The Committee is charged with resolving the differences between the pension plans passed by the Illinois Senate and the Illinois House. Among those testifying was past Chicago DSA Co-Chair and Chicago Political Economy Group member Ron Baiman. He presented finings in collaboration with research from CPEG's Bill Barclay regarding potential solutions to Illinois' structural revenue problem, including closing huge tax loopholes, a financial transaction tax, and a graduated individual income tax. More information, including a video of the testimony, can be accessed HERE.

    Community News

    • Citizen Action/Illinois will be honoring Representative Keith Ellison, Co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, at its 2013 Annual Dinner on September 20. The event will be at the Chicago Hilton & Towers Grand Ballroom. Tickets start at $150. CLICK HERE for more information.
    • Iraq Veterans Against the War will be holding their national convention in Chicago August 1 through 4. The plenary panel and fundraising event will be a panel on 21st Century Militarism featuring Nick Turse and Christian Parenti. This will be on Friday, August 2, 7 PM, at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington in Chicago. Suggested donation is $10.
    • Henry Tamarin has stepped down as President of UNITE HERE Local 1, but will still be doing work on special projects for the union.
    • The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is organizing a coalition for a Chicago march for justice on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. On Wednesday, August 28, 11 AM, the march will start at Federal Plaza, Adams and Dearborn, and after a stop Thompson Center, will end at a rally in Daley Plaza. The main demand is for police accountability, primarily through an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. CLICK HERE for more information.
    • The Organization of the North East and the Lakeview Action Coalition have been negotiating a merger for the past several months. They have finally voted to tie the knot. The new organization will be named "Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside" aka ONE Northside. More information can be found HERE.
    • The Young Women's Empowerment Project is more-or-less shutting down, though some of the specific projects they have been engaged in will continue to operate under other auspices. There's a story here, but for the time being you'll have to be satisfied with what you can find HERE.


    Commentary on the June 2013 BLS Jobs Report

    From the Chicago Political Economy Group:

    The June unemployment situation, as depicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its July 5 report, looks like May redux: Unemployment rate stuck at 7.6%; number of persons unemployed stuck at 11.8 million; number of persons unemployed for at least 27 weeks stuck at about 4.3 million or 36.7% of all unemployed persons. Even the increase in the number of persons employed (195,000 vs. 175,000 in May) was far too small to force a change in the long term trajectory of job creation, which has averaged 182,000 per month over the last year.

    MORE.


    DSA News

    Justice for Trayvon Denied: Renewing the Fight Against Racism

    Democratic Socialists of America joins the broad civil rights and progressive community in expressing its outrage at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Only an insane, ALEC-inspired "stand your ground law" combined with the racist assumption that African Americans automatically pose a threat to anyone's person and property enabled George Zimmerman to be acquitted.

    MORE.

    The Obama Administration's Aggressive Quest to Punish Whistle Blower Damages U.S. International Relations

    Edward Snowden's revelations of the National Security Agency's extraordinarily pervasive invasion of privacy rights should have triggered an equally far-reaching debate over the proper balance between our needs for liberty and for security.  We have already sacrificed too many of our precious democratic freedoms on the altar of a never ending "war on terrorism." The very term "war" exaggerates the real level of threat that terrorism poses and enables our government to deploy the rhetoric of "war" to justify unnecessary restrictions on our civil liberties.

    MORE.

    Marriage Equality Essential But Insufficient

    Democratic Socialists of America celebrates the two Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality as a major step in the unending struggle for equal rights for the LGBTQ community. A reactionary Supreme Court has had to recognize that most Americans now accept marriage equality. The Court's decision will enable married same-sex couples to access federal benefits and strikes down Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage in California.

    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.


    New Ground #149.1

    07.31.2013

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    We Get By
    DSA National Convention
    Real Immigration Reform
    March on Washington

    1. Politics

    Raiding the Slush Funds
    Teach for America's Mission in Chicago
    Tax Fairness

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Workers Control or Worker Cooperatives?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    We Get By
    with a little help from the enemies of capitalism, subversives, malcontents, trouble-makers, and quaint devotes of equality and social justice: a shaggy, sinister, misbegotten lot in bourgeois eyes, but you're our heros. Help support New Ground and take a stand for socialism. CLICK HERE. (PDF)

    DSA National Convention
    The DSA National Convention will be in Emeryville, California, in the Bay Area, on October 25 through 27. Confirmed speakers at this time include David Bacon, Tom Hayden, Jose La Luz, Michael Lighty, John Nichols and Catherine Tactaquin. MORE INFORMATION.

    Chicago DSA has been apportioned 11 delegates. We will be electing delegates at our August 10 meeting, 12:30 PM at the Chicago DSA office. If you'd like to be a delegate but can't attend, let us know by email or by leaving a phone message at 773.384.0327.

    The meeting will be preceded at 11:30 AM by the recording of Episode 30 of "Talkin' Socialism" on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. MORE INFORMATION.

    Real Immigration Reform
    Statement by the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, July 17, 2013:

    Democratic Socialists of America has long fought for a swift path to citizenship for all undocumented workers and their dependents. As socialists, it is our conviction that all those who contribute labor to a society should have the full rights of citizenship.

    As of today, the Republican majority in the House remains the major obstacle to moving towards this goal. Speaker John Boehner refuses to bring comprehensive immigration reform to the House floor unless a majority of the Republican caucus favors doing so. By frustrating the majority will of the entire chamber, Boehner threatens to preclude any immigration reform beyond further wasteful and deadly militarization of our border with Mexico

    DSA will join the efforts of the immigrant rights and labor movement to pressure House Republicans to bring a bill to the floor that includes a clear path to citizenship for all undocumented people. At the same time, we will work with our allies to change those parts of the Senate bill that restrict the labor rights of those on the path to citizenship, exclude large numbers of the undocumented from said path and accelerate the violent and wasteful militarization of the border.

    MORE.

    March on Washington
    The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington will be observed in Washington, DC, commemorated and argued over by a wide variety of events (information HERE and HERE), including some events even a Republican could love. DSA, however, is participating in the march and rally on the National Mall on August 24. Information about busses from Chicago and elsewhere can be found HERE. If you're going, join the DSA/YDS contingent. RSVP and more information (meeting point, tabling, reception, transportation) is HERE.



    Politics

    Raiding the Slush Funds
    The Chicago City Council is offering to raid the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts for their surplus funds. But an ordinance doing so, introduced into the City Council on July 24, applies only to TIFs with 2012 revenues greater than $1 million. Any revenue not already encumbered to a specific project is to be returned to the appropriate taxing body. This applies to fiscal year 2012 only. It's also ambiguously worded as to whether the ordinance applies to uncommitted revenue for 2012 or to accumulated uncommitted fund balances as of 2012.

    Some 32 of Chicago's 50 Aldermen have signed on as co-sponsors, though this is no indication that the ordinance will make it out of committee, pass, or be sustained over a veto.

    According to the TIF Illumination Project, a bit less than half of the TIF districts had revenues over a million, but these reported fund balances of $1.5 billion. The others had balances totalling $190 million. There's no report on how much of either is unencumbered.

    Teach for America's Mission in Chicago
    At Jacobin, Kenzo Shibata asks:

    Why would CPS throw more money into recruiting recent college graduates with five weeks of training and no teaching certificates into the district when it lets go of highly-qualified, certified, veteran teachers?

    MORE.

    Tax Fairness
    The coalition "A Better Illinois" is a lead organization promoting a graduated income tax in Illinois. They're planning "Days of Action" around Illinois on August 10, September 14, and a TBA date in October. Details are TBA also, but you can find out more, as soon as it's available, HERE.



    Democratic Socialism

    Workers Control or Worker Cooperatives?
    Some argue there's a difference. At Grassroots Economic Organizing, Dario Azzellini says:

    ...among the contemporary examples of worker control in our book -- Argentina, Brazil, India and Venezuela -- you will find also cooperatives. Usually, however, these are based in collective ownership, without any option of individual property; all workers have equal shares and equal voice. They use the cooperative form because it is usually the only existing legal form of collective ownership and collective administration of workplaces. But cooperatives as such are no alternative to capitalism.

    Most cooperatives are embedded in the framework of the capitalist economy and compete on the capitalist market following the logics of profit-making. Many cooperatives have employees who are not part of the cooperative. Mondragón Corporation in the Basque country, one of the most advanced examples of a cooperative network, is worker owned but in many cases, not worker managed. In order to survive in highly competitive markets, it has even outsourced production to Asia and Latin America.

    As mentioned, cooperatives in general retain an individualistic notion of ownership: shares can be traded, inherited or accumulated by individuals, and this enables unequal distributions of shares. Cooperatives rarely question private ownership of the means of production; they tend to see this individualistic notion as the source of the right to participate in decision-making and benefits. This notion, and its logic, is also fundamental to capitalism. Hence, cooperatives may represent a positive step in democratizing ownership of enterprises within the frame of capitalist economy, but not an alternative.

    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.


    New Ground #149.2

    08.15.2013

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Moving
    Support
    Talkin' Socialism

    1. Politics

    No One Loves a Smart ALEC
    Heros in Company Uniforms
    Human Rights

    2. Democratic Socialism

    Toward a 21st Century Socialism

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Moving
    As politics rise, like gases they expand. And so the DSA National Office has risen to larger quarters. The new address:

    DSA
    75 Maiden Lane, Suite 702
    New York, NY 10038

    Support
    Most of the stuff Chicago DSA does is not hugely expensive, especially when done by volunteers. That makes it ideal for modest contributions. Expanding the print edition of New Ground to an 8 page book would cost less than a grand. Improving the quality of Talkin' Socialism and our other internet / web based projects would be even less. Advertising would be nice but we have no budget for it. (We rely on Trevor Loudon.) Except for extraordinary years, our annual Dinner pays the rent and essentials. For everything else, we depend on you. To participate in our annual Labor Day issue of New Ground, CLICK HERE. (PDF)

    To make an online contribution, click on the donate button HERE.

    Talkin' Socialism
    Episode 30 -- The Trans Pacific Partnership -- Recorded 08.10.2013: The Trans Pacific Partnership: What is it? Why is it being concocted in secret? How might it affect you? Tom Broderick interviews Celeste Larkin, Public Policy Coordinator for the Chicago Religious Leadership Network and an activist with the Illinois Fair Trade Coalition. For more information, Larkin suggests Flush the TPP!, Citizens Trade Campaign, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Illinois Fair Trade Coalition, and her own Chicago Religious Leadership Network. Some recent developments are recounted in Democracy Now on secrecy and the expanding scope of the agreement and on how it would nullify corporate regulations. For those concerned, Larkin asks that you contact your U.S. Representative to ask they join a "dear colleague" letter expressing serious concerns about the lack of Congressional consultation. CLICK HERE.



    Politics

    No One Loves a Smart ALEC
    At Democratic Left, Tom Broderick points out the connection between "stand your ground" and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) put together the stand your ground (syg) law that the Florida State Assembly passed in 2005. Florida became the first state in the nation to pass this kind of justified murder law. The NRA lobbied heavily for passage. In the five years preceding passage, the NRA provided $165,000 to the Florida Republican Party. Republicans were the majority party in both houses of the legislature and held the governorship. Twenty-two of the 23 legislators who received contributions from the NRA during the course of those five years voted for the bill.

    With success under their gun belt, the NRA went to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and helped draft a "model bill" that could be used to enact syg laws around the country. ALEC is a cartel of corporations and elected legislators. The NRA is and was a member of ALEC. Syg laws have since been enacted in a majority of our states.

    MORE.

    The Chicago Federation of Labor and allies organized a protest to ALEC's 40th anniversary meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago this last August 8. Several hundred ( or maybe a few thousand) attended a very loud and angry Noon hour demonstration. John Nichols has an optimistic account HERE. You can view CANTV's live coverage of the demonstration HERE.

    Heros in Company Uniforms
    At The Bobbosphere, Bob Simpson begins:

    Sometimes heroes come dressed in company uniforms: perhaps MacDonald's, or maybe Subway, Wendy's, Mrs. Fields or those Whole Foods distinctive black aprons. That kind of hero was out in the streets of Chicago on July 31 and August 1. They had walked off their jobs to support the Fight For $15 campaign led by the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC). 

    WOCC is a new union in town. Currently with several hundred members and growing, it wants a $15 an hour wage for food and retail workers in Chicago. There are similar groups in other large American cities.

    I had the privilege of picketing with WOCC at a Northside Chicago Whole Foods on July 31. I was with also WOCC on August 1 from early morning to early evening as WOCC strikers marched through the Chicago downtown, picketing a number of low wage workplaces and sharing their stories.

    MORE.

    Human Rights
    Recalling the campaigns from the civil rights movement to desegregate specific venues, the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign and others observed that undocumented migrants were welcome as organ donors but were not permitted on the waiting lists for those organs. A hunger strike, pickets, meetings with hospital managements followed, with some success.

    But as Rebecca Burns notes at In These Times:

    Ultimately, it may not matter much whether hospitals say that they're rejecting patients because of their immigration or their insurance status. Either way, the result is the same: The healthcare system excludes the majority of undocumented immigrants and "extends border enforcement to the hospital," says Rozalinda Borcila, an organizer with the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign, which is supporting the hunger strike.

    This pattern is unlikely to change under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which excludes the undocumented. Nor will proposed immigration reform measures help: The Senate plan would continue to bar both undocumented immigrants and those on the path to citizenship from the provisions of the ACA that assist low-income people in getting health insurance. The result is that most immigrants in the process of earning citizenship will likely remain uninsured for 10 years or more, according to the National Immigration Law Center.

    MORE.



    Democratic Socialism

    Toward a 21st Century Socialism
    Why be a socialist in the 21st Century? Joseph M. Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair and Professor of Political Science at Temple University, will discuss why while the global economic crisis has given rise to protest movements against neo-liberal austerity it has yet to generate a revived left strong enough to govern in the US or western Europe. How a "next left" might be constructed will be the topic of his talk and our discussion.
    When: Thursday, August 29, 6:45 PM to 8:30 PM
    Where: Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, 60302



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