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New Ground

#150

September -- October, 2013

Contents

  • Chicago DSA at the March on Washington by Ron Baiman
  • U.S. Action Against Syria -- DSA National Political Committee
  • Working Fast Food: Can Low Wage Workers Be Organized? by Bill Barclay
  • On the Front Lines: Escorting at a Family Planning Clinic by Peg Strobel
  • Concealed Carry in Illinois by Sandra Shimon
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • Joe Schwartz
    Talkin' Socialism
    People
    GOPDSA Party
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Radical Feasts
    Living Wage
    Commentary on the August 2013 BLS Jobs Report

  • Upcoming Events of Interest
  •  

    New Ground 150.1 -- 10.01.2013

    0. DSA News

    Democracy at Work
    Fair Trade
    September Election

    1. Politics

    October Immigration
    Robin Hood Tax
    TAFTA?
    Unions and CoDetermination
    Is Fight for 15 for Real?
    Save the Dates

    2. People

    Jan Schakowsky
    Frederik Pohl
    Eliseo Medina

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Zombie Social Democracy with a Human Face?
    It's More Than Just the Economy

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

    New Ground 150.2 -- 10.15.2013

    0. DSA News

    Why Be a Socialist in the 21st Century?
    DSA in the News

    1. Politics

    What If We Default on Our Debt?
    TPP: It's Coming Up Behind You by Tom Broderick
    TPP: Vampire Politics
    Most Neighborhoods Left Behind

    2. People

    Gene Birmingham, 1931 -- 2013 by Bob Roman

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Social Europe?

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest

     

    New Ground 150.3 -- 11.01.2013

    0. DSA News

    DSA National Convention
    "The Feminine Mystique" at 50

    1. Politics

    Why Not a Robin Hood Tax?
    Rule 41
    Mayor 1%
    Working Families
    The September Jobs Report
    The Attack on Workers
    The ACA: Much Ado About?
    Social Democracy in the South

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest


    Chicago DSA at the March on Washington

    by Ron Baiman

    There were two Chicago DSA members (myself and Bob Simpson) on one of the seven buses to leave Chicago Friday night for the March on Saturday arriving back in Chicago Sunday morning. As far as I could tell just about everyone on our bus was either a union member or active in a union solidarity campaign (CTU, NNU, Steelworkers). Bob is a retired Chicago teacher and long-time CTU activist. The few exceptions were myself and my seat mate, a member of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church, where the CTU rally for the March was held on August 19. This is an important point that is almost entirely invisible in the mainstream media. The vast majority of the marchers were union members and were able to come because of union support (including myself -- many thanks to the CTU!). I expect the same can be said about the 1963 March. After all the key organizing leaders whom all credit with making the march a reality were A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin.

    Bayard Rustin was not only, like A. Philip Randolph, a dynamic African American socialist labor leader and organizer, but also gay. What a remarkable person who has left us with such a profound legacy! (Full disclosure: my Mom, Chicago DSA member Sydney Baiman, worked with Rustin at a Fellowship of Reconciliation interracial house in DC in the 40's.)

    When I was able to hook up with the fairly sizable (30-40 people from DC, other east coast branches, and even Atlanta) DSA contingent at the march, I was given a large poster of Bayard Rustin to carry around. I've never been such a celebrity! It seemed that every other person at the March wanted to take a picture of me. It didn't hurt of course that Michelle Rossi was carrying a Coretta Scott King poster along side me -- but Rustin seemed to be even more of a draw. Speaking of family histories, almost everyone on my bus appeared to have a freedom riders, civil rights, family story, most far more deeply rooted and/or tragic than my own. We all felt that we were living and remaking history.

    The organizers showed documentary (and other) films on the bus including some segments of "Eyes on the Prize," "Louder than a Bomb," and a clip of the march organizing rally at Mount Carmel with a series of very moving talks featuring some of the very personal family history alluded to above.

    At the march I attended (with the DSA contingent) an event with Congressman Conyers in support of the "Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act" HR 1000 that would use a Financial Transactions Tax to fund a large scale federal jobs program. DSAer's filled the room. I had a good discussion with a sizable graduate student contingent from the Philadelphia DSA Local about being a radical in academia. I didn't hear the speeches at the march due to a bad sound system and inability, given the crowds and the fencing, to get close to the speakers. So I didn't hear 9 year old Chicago school student Asean Johnson's condemnation of Rahm's education policies but he was without a doubt carrying the message of my bus! The energy, passion, and camaraderie of my fellow 2013 "Freedom Riders" will be forever remembered. On the way back we were contacted by WLS for Rev. Jesse Jackson's radio show, and one of our bus leaders (a young CTU organizer) made the same point loud and clear to all who were listening. We're coming back on fire to make that dream of social, economic, and racial, justice a reality!


    U.S. Action Against Syria

    DSA National Political Committee

    Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) opposes United States military intervention in the civil war in Syria. While we support the mass Syrian uprising against the brutal Assad regime, U.S. military power cannot liberate the Syrian people. Therefore, for the reasons outlined below, we urge our members and friends to lobby Congress to reject the president's request for the authorization of the use of force against Syria.

    The international community must condemn the use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria and support the United Nations inspectors' efforts to discover the perpetrators of such violence. But even if it is determined that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime, a unilateral air strike by the United States would not cease that threat. U.S. air power cannot surgically take out those individuals who can deploy such weapons. What it will do is kill many innocent civilians. And our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates that United States troops on the ground only serve to increase the level of violence in civil wars.

    DSA does believe that the international community should provide humanitarian aid to the millions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere. In addition, the United States and all other countries should engage in the necessary diplomacy to press Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah to cease their military aid to the Assad dictatorship. This would enable the Syrian people to liberate themselves, a task that cannot be accomplished by external powers.


    Working Fast Food: Can Low Wage Workers be Organized?

    by Bill Barclay

    In 1962 I graduated from Raleigh, NC's, high school for white kids. (African-Americans attended a different high school, although this was eight years after Brown v. Board of Education.) Two years later I dropped out of college and found a job at the Char-Grill, one of Raleigh's earliest fast food restaurants. I was paid $60 for a 48 hour week, the then federal minimum wage level. After four months I was promoted to "night manager" at the princely sum of $70/week ($525 in today's dollars). I was a "front line supervisor" as they are called in official employment statistics. And for all intents and purposes my career ladder was at an end. I could have stayed at the Char-Grill another ten years and still remained a shift manager, perhaps moving to the day shift but no further.

    I had not thought much about this experience for some time, but the rolling one-day strikes by low wage workers, with fast food workers in the lead, brought back a lot of memories. Yes, some things have changed since I worked at the Char-Grill. White males were the only employees at the Grill, while today the "food preparation and serving" occupation is almost 2/3 female and over 30% African-American and Latino.

    But much hasn't changed in the occupation ranked 6th in projected job creation during the 2010-2020 decade. The wages are still low at a little over $19,200/year, only a little over half the median wage for the economy as a whole. And the hours are long: on the night shift we were paid for 8 hours, from 5:30 to 1:30 with serving ending at 1 AM. But we had to stay until all was clean and restocked for the day shift. We were seldom done before 2 AM at the earliest. Since, as is the case today for almost all workers in this industry, we had no voice on the job (no unions), we simply provided unpaid labor to the owner.

    And the career ladders are still largely non-existent in fast food, as well as other low wage work. Only 2.2% of all workers in fast food are classified as professional, technical or managerial, compared to over 31% for the economy as a whole. Only 1 in 100 workers is an owner, in no small part because at the minimum wage it is impossible to accumulate the $500,000 to $1,000,000 in capital to invest as is required by fast food companies of their franchisees. Thus, mobility remains virtually nonexistent despite claims such as that by the National Restaurant Association: "The restaurant industry provides opportunities for millions of Americans, women and men from all backgrounds, to move up the ladder and succeed."

    Further, somewhat prefiguring the role of the wait staff in many restaurants today was the public performance aspect of our work. The Char-Grill had two hooks to entice customers. You got a "free" bag of French fries with all orders (whether you wanted it or not) and we all worked in a glass house: the entire French frying, patty cooking, bun dressing and drink drawing operation was conducted in full view of the clientele. Whether this endeared us to the customers I'm not sure; but it did not endear the customers to us. Like workers everywhere and every time who are the business's face to the public, we had ways of retaliating at customers who angered us or were rude or impatient.

    With almost 1 in 5 workers paid less than the economy wide median wage, the U.S. has a much higher ratio of low wage workers to total labor force than almost all other wealthy countries. The conventional wisdom has been that these workers cannot be organized because of high turnover and low skills. At least on the surface these characteristics do describe much of the sector. Yet today low wage workers -- somewhat like their 1930s predecessors in mass production industries -- are demonstrating a combativeness and an organizational capability that defies that characterization. And fast food workers are consistently among the leading activists. This suggests that, in fast food and other low wage work, there are features of the manner in which the work is structured that can be built upon to revitalize a labor movement that has largely failed organize the unorganized and, with a few exceptions, has been too slow to expand beyond the traditional areas of unionization.

    For example, in the arena of food service, I think there is something missing in the discussion of skills and turnover that consigns these workers to the unorganized and unorganizable: food service, especially fast food service, requires a high degree of cooperation and interaction among workers. Even in the very simple menu of the Char-Grill, the French fries, the correctly dressed hamburger and the right drink had to be the cashier's hands at the same time as the customer's order sheet. It may sound simple but it isn't . I saw several new employees enter the Char-Grill's workforce who failed to achieve the necessary level of fast, efficient and accurate interaction with the rest of the shift. They didn't last.

    A second aspect of most low wage jobs that should suggest that organization is possible is the difficulty, actually in most cases, the impossibility, of outsourcing this work. You can 't provide the attention and care of an home health care aide (#3 in projected job creation) from Indonesia or the operating and recovery room assistance of an orderly (#11) from India. You can't be a child care worker (#12), providing day-to-day care for someone's children, from Eastern Europe. You can't be a stocker or materials handler (#9) from Thailand. And, of course, you can't serve a five-star dinner or even a Big Mac from India or Pakistan.

    In many instances, the difficulty of outsourcing is not just a matter of technology, it is embedded in the interaction between people that is at the core of most of these jobs. This aspect has already been widely documented in health care, where face-to-face interaction between the patient ("consumer") and the provider (doctor, nurse, aide) is essential to the success of the endeavor.

    Yes, the struggle will be long and hard, and there will be both defeats and victories. But organizing the low wage sector is possible; it's been done elsewhere. In Denmark even the McDonald's workers are unionized. It's also essential to the revitalization of U.S. labor as a movement and, I believe to the development of a mass movement against inequality and thus a popular progressive Left in the U.S.

    So what can you do? When these workers walk out, wouldn't it be great if they were joined by people in their community on the picket lines? Maybe you could organize a delegation to visit management and express support for these workers. Or, since various unions are involved in strike support, find out from the nearest local how you can support the workers. Also, write a letter to your local paper or an op-ed in support of these workers. In the Chicago area, you can sign up for alerts on actions at http://fightfor15.org . To win, this struggle must become a community-labor coalition and we can make that happen.

     

    Editor's Note: A version of this article first appeared at Democratic Left: www.dsausa.org/democratic_left .


    On the Front Lines: Escorting at a Family Planning Clinic

    by Peg Strobel

    "Jesus talked to prostitutes. I follow Jesus' teaching," said the anti-abortion activist, explaining why she was engaging in conversation with a pro-choice clinic escort. I was at a family planning clinic in Chicago, escorting women who had appointments for abortions that day. Bill Barclay and I have served as escorts for the last couple of years in teams organized by the Illinois Choice Action Team (ICAT). My policy is not to engage with the antis; rather, I focus on the people who are coming to the clinic. But I overheard this anti's conversation with another escort.

    Some clients come by car and know there's a parking lot. They're easy. We wave them into the lot, past the antis, who try to talk them out of having an abortion. Those who come by public transportation have to walk past (or through) the antis, who try to entice them over to their women's center for counseling.

    According to the exhortations shouted by the antis, their center offers help to women. They care about the pregnant woman and her unborn child. They will offer her support and assistance through the pregnancy. But, as one of the fathers bringing his daughter to the clinic emphatically said, what they won't offer is babysitting while my daughter finishes her education, food when she is short of money or a job that would allow her to be a single mother and make a decent living.

    They also won't offer information. One teenager who was headed for the clinic ended up at the women's center, where she was given an ultrasound. She and her mother were put off repeatedly when they called for the results. They were stonewalled until the girl had advanced into the next (more complicated and expensive) level of abortion legality, technological intervention and expense. Then, they were told the ultrasound showed she was pregnant. Other options foreclosed, she was headed towards delivery. Score one for the antis.

    Most clients just come, park, enter the clinic and are served. The majority of the clients are young women of color. Some are accompanied by men, some by women. Some cars have car seats occupied (or not) by infants and toddlers.

    Many clients and their companions thank us for escorting. One client's companion asked how she could sign up for escorting. Most clients just pass through.

    Some antis merely do their rosaries, kneeling around the perimeter of the clinic and its parking lot. One young anti apologized for the verbal abuse a grandmotherly anti had shouted at an escort. "I want apologize for her," he said, "because she will not apologize herself. That's not what I consider to be Christian behavior."

    Occasionally there's more drama. One anti, an African American woman, makes a point to shout (especially to African American clients) that the clinic is engaged in genocide. One anti who entered the clinic in a threatening manner now has an order of protection against him. Some of the antis pray for us escorts. Some of them try to provoke us. One white male anti tried to talk about "racial pride" to an African American man who had accompanied a client. "Let me tell you about racial pride!" shouted the companion, walking toward the white anti. One anti shouted to a woman entering the clinic that God loved her baby, and they would help her. The woman shouted back, "God gave me a disabled fetus that cannot survive the pregnancy!"

    Periodically the clinic staff calls the police about the antis' behavior. Depending upon who comes, the antis and we are given different interpretations of the "bubble law" under which, within a 50 foot radius of the clinic entrance, an anti must stay at least eight feet away from clinic patrons and staff. Sometimes the responding police officer says the antis must stay well away from the entryway to the parking lot. Sometimes the responding officer says that the antis may wave a car down in the alley, blocking traffic, and hand out literature or engage in a conversation. If another car wants to pass through, the polite thing is that the driver of the car wishing to pass should tap the horn lightly and wait for the conversation to finish. Hmmmm.

    One anti made an offer to a man who regularly escorts several times per week: if you join us antis, we'll pay you more than you receive from the clinic to escort. Well, we escorts volunteer our time.

    As access to abortion narrows due to state legislation that will force the closing of clinics, clinics such as the one where we escort will draw from a wider reach. Already we've seen cars with license plates from Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi along with the usual ones from Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

    I escort to provide a service but also to remain anchored in the lived experience of women who need this service.

    If you want to act, consider these possibilities: 1) Find a group that is escorting at a clinic near you. 2) If you don't live near a clinic (as is increasingly the case), find out what the battles are in your community around sex education in schools and/or access to abortion and other reproductive health services in your state.

    In the Chicago area, if you want to escort, contact ICAT. ICAT volunteers escort between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at American Women's Medical Center, 2744 N. Western, Chicago; Elston Family Planning Associates, 5086 N. Elston, Chicago; Washington Family Planning Associates, 659 W. Washington, Chicago; and American Women's Medical; Center, 110 S. River Rd, Des Plaines. Volunteers are need Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but not all days at all locations. ICAT trainings for volunteers happen periodically.

    This war is not over. It is being fought on many fronts. Find one!

     

    Editor's Note: A version of this article first appeared at Democratic Left: www.dsausa.org/democratic_left .


    Concealed Carry in Illinois

    by Sandra Shimon

    The saga of concealed carry in Illinois began with the finding of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a total ban on concealed carry, as existed, was unconstitutional and the state was given a deadline to pass a law permitting concealed carry. The possibilities at this juncture were to write a law or challenge the finding in court. Opinions differed as to what course to take. Some urged Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, to appeal the finding and argued that the finding was an outlier and there was a good possibility that the decision would be reversed. Others felt there was no chance of reversal and validation of the opinion would put the legislature in a worse position than not appealing. The decision was not appealed so the result is conjecture.

    The concealed carry law promises to not preempt local ordinances. But it does reserve to Illinois the power to regulate and license the possession of handguns and handgun ammunition and invalidates local ordinances that are "inconsistent with this act". Further, local laws cannot regulate assault weapons "in a manner that is inconsistent with this Act" unless it was a local law passed no later than 10 days after the concealed carry law became effective. "The large print giveth and the small print taketh away."

    The law is so liberal on the subject of where guns can be carried that those with concealed weapons can legally carry a gun into your homes, businesses, etc. Anyone who objects to this policy may post a sign at every entrance giving notice that guns are not allowed. Theoretically, this could target the person who publicly lets it be known that no guns are allowed and defeats the possible benefit of criminals not knowing which homes might be protected by firearms and which are not, unless one felt that gun owners were sufficiently devious to post a sign indicating guns were not allowed while possessing guns themselves.

    The law was certainly not what many had hoped but was the least common denominator necessary for legislation to be passed. Governor Quinn did an amendatory veto addressing some of the most egregious faults of the bill. Unfortunately, the votes to support his amendments did not happen; however, a bill is being proposed that, at least, would prohibit guns in churches. As it stands currently, guns are prohibited in schools including pre-schools and child care facilities, state buildings, courts, etc., hospitals, broadly defined to include nursing homes, etc., public playgrounds, public parks athletic facilities, libraries, stadiums, zoos, gambling casinos, airports, nuclear facilities, bars and public transportation. The prohibition of concealed carry on public transportation is a particular target of the gun lobby.

    It is the opinion of gun advocates that concealed carry will have a positive effect on crime rates in Illinois. It is our fervent hope they are correct. It is anticipated that there will be 300,000 applications for concealed carry permits in the state. It will take some time to process those applications and after that we should begin to see the effect of concealed carry in Illinois. If it is true that the solution to gun violence is more guns "in the hands of the good guys," we should see results in the fairly near future. It should be noted that there is a well-established national trend toward reduction in gun crimes that will almost certainly be claimed by gun supporters to be a result of concealed carry.

    Important future considerations are whether, in light of concealed carry, alteration of self-defense legislation is necessary. Because the national and local gun owner's organizations will never give up, the tug-of-war will continue on where guns can be carried. Vigilance will definitely be required to reduce gun violence in Illinois. The Illinois State Rifle Owners Association declared at a recent meeting that they will be introducing 20 new bills in future legislative sessions. Their opinion is, that once passed, concealed carry can always be incrementally expanded. Another issue is whether the "good guys" (would that mean law abiding?) will be willing to comply with the new reporting requirements for private transfer when they consider the penalty for not doing so (a small fine) is not sufficient incentive to obey. What can be stated with certainty is that the issue is by no means settled.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

     

    Joe Schwartz

    Local DSA members put DSA National Vice-Chair Joe Schwartz to work when he visited Chicago at the end of August. On Thursday, August 29th, Schwartz spoke before a nearly SRO audience at the Oak Park Public Library. An outreach event for the Greater Oak Park DSA (GOPDSA), his talk mostly answered the question of why be a socialist in the 21st Century. The program was recorded by two entities (not counting the NSA), but at press time, we have no word on scheduling.

    On Saturday, August 31, GOPDSA organized a more informal and conversational potluck brunch with Joe Schwartz as the leader of the discussion. This meeting was aimed primarily at past and present GOPDSA members and prospective new members. Three people did join and others placed themselves on our mailing list.

    We also prevailed upon him to record two "Talkin' Socialism" programs. One is already posted on the web (see below). The other is an interview version of his talk on Thursday.

     

    Talkin' Socialism

    Episode 31 of Talkin' Socialism is posted on the web. This is a two part program wherein sociologist Dee Wernette interviews Joe Schwartz about his award-winning book, The Future of Democratic Equality. All Talkin' Socialism programs are available for listening or downloading at www.chicagodsa.org/audarch6.html .

     

    People

    At 94 years of age, Timuel Black continues to score honors. As part of the general ceremonies around the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, Black was recognized at Howard University along with several other organizers of the March. These included another Debs - Thomas - Harrington honoree, William Lucy, and Chicago ex-pats Norm and Velma Hill.

    Dr. Quentin Young is merely 90 years old this month, but the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group is celebrating the occasion with a fundraising birthday bash on Sunday, September 29 in Chicago's Union Station. Tickets start at $125. For more information, call 312.372.4292 or go to www.hmprg.org. If that were not enough (and it's not), a biographical documentary is being made about his life, The Good Doctor Young. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/TheGoodDoctorYoungTheMovie.

     

    GOPDSA Party

    All DSA members are invited to an afternoon potluck gathering at Tom Broderick's, 201 S. Ridgeland in Oak Park, 2 PM on Sunday, October 6. Bring what you like to share! Tom would appreciate a head's up if you're coming. RSVP to 708.386.6007.

     

    Presidential Medal of Freedom

    The White House on August 8 announced this year's Medal of Freedom awardees. They included DSA Honorary Chair Gloria Steinem. A few right-wing pundits lethargically roused themselves to point out that this was the second DSA member President Obama had so honored, thus proving... whatever it was said pundit wanted to prove. In fact, Steinem would be the fifth DSA member so honored, joining Dolores Huerta, John Sweeny, Millie Jeffrey, and James Farmer. If you were to include people who were self-described as socialists at various points in their careers, the count would be considerably more than just this handful. Indeed, it would also include the late Bayard Rustin, another of this year's awardees.

     

    Radical Feasts

    In addition to the GOPDSA potluck and to Dr. Young's birthday bash, two regular Midwestern events are coming up soon.

    The Eugene V. Debs Foundation is holding its annual awards banquet on Saturday evening, October 19, in the new banquet hall of the Indiana State Universty's student union in Terre Haute, Indiana. Tickets are $40 and may be obtained from The Debs Foundation, PO Box 9454, Terre Haute, IN 47808. The recipient of this year's award is DSA Honorary Chair and SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina. The Debs Foundation maintains the family home of Eugene V. Debs as a historical museum. More information about the event can be obtained by calling Charles King at 812.237.3443 or in the pages of the latest newsletter: CLICK HERE. (PDF)

    The 28th Annual Mother Jones Dinner will be on Saturday evening, October 26 in the University of Illinois at Springfield Public Affairs Center. The program is entitled "They Have the Money... We Have the People! Connecting Unions and Economic Justice." It will feature author and activist Bill Fletcher, Jr. and singer-song writer David Rovics. Tickets are $30 and may be obtained from Mother Jones Foundation, PO Box 20412, Springfield, IL 62708-0412. More information may be obtained from Jack Dyer at 217.691.4185 or Terry Reed at 217.789.6495.

    In connection with the annual Mother Jones Dinner, there will be a Mother Jones Memorial Ceremony on Sunday afternoon, October 27, at the Mother Jones Monument in the Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Illinois. Bill Fletcher, Jr., and David Rovics plan to be there, too.

    Living Wage

     

    Living Wage

    Combining a demand for a living wage with commemorating the March on Washington, GOPDSA members Bill Barclay, Peg Strobel, and Tom Broderick help out with a Stand Up Chicago! demonstration on North Michigan Avenue.

    Commentary on the August 2013 BLS Jobs Report

    Chicago Political Economy Group
    Once again the BLS monthly Employment Situation Report has given the lie to the idea, popular in Washington D.C. and Wall Street, that if we're just patient and don't do anything to upset the "jobs creators" (aka the 1%), they will come to our rescue and expand employment. The data make clear that they haven't. The private sector continues to fail the one fundamental measure by which we should judge an economy: the ability to provide jobs ­ especially living wage jobs ­ for everyone willing and able to work.
    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 #150.1

    10.01.2013

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Democracy at Work
    Fair Trade
    September Election

    1. Politics

    October Immigration
    Robin Hood Tax
    TAFTA?
    Unions and CoDetermination
    Is Fight for 15 for Real?
    Save the Dates

    2. People

    Jan Schakowsky
    Frederik Pohl
    Eliseo Medina

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Zombie Social Democracy with a Human Face?
    It's More Than Just the Economy

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Democracy at Work
    At a time when many are disillusioned with big banks, big business, and growing inequality in our country, employee ownership offers a real solution for workers and communities. As part of the DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition's Just Views program, DSA is cosponsoring a showing of the film Shift Change. The film shares on-the-ground experiences, lessons, and observations from the worker-owners on the front lines of the new economy. Afterward, GOPDSA's Bill Barclay and Peg Strobel will share insights about some of the pros and cons of coops and other business ownership arrangements.

    This Just Views program will be on Friday, October 11, 7:20 PM at the DuPage UU Church, 1828 Old Naperville Rd in Naperville. MORE INFORMATION.

    Fair Trade
    Chicago DSA has joined the Illinois Fair Trade Coalition.

    September Election
    Bill Barclay was elected male co-chair of Chicago DSA at the membership meeting in September. Prior to this, Barclay had represented the Greater Oak Park branch on the Executive Committee. Way back in history, he had been a part of the national leadership of the New American Movement, a predecessor to DSA.



    Politics

    October Immigration
    Your editor is of the sour and cynical opinion that SB 744, what passed the Senate as immigration reform, is a dangerous, racist fraud. Nonetheless, if you assume that House Republicans won't tolerate even lip-service immigration reform, that not even SB 744 will pass, it's a marvelously handy cudgel with which to beat their heads. Much of the immigration reform movement is gleefully doing just that with a series of demonstrations around the country, mostly on October 5, and a national march and concert in Washington, DC, on October 8. At least a half dozen events are planned for the Chicago area and several more downstate. More information is available at the official web site.

    Robin Hood Tax

    National Nurses United registered nurses joined with thousands of HIV/AIDS, environmental, and other activists on Sept. 17 in New York City to remind the world that governments can choose to prioritize people over corporations, and to demand that Congress immediately pass a Robin Hood sales tax on Wall Street financial transactions to meet human needs. Sept. 17 marked the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street as well as the beginning of a United Nations General Assembly to discuss global poverty, public health, and climate change.

    MORE.

    Over the past year, a movement to establish such a tax in the United States has been energized by the National Nurses Union under the theme "Heal America, Tax Wall Street." The Occupy Wall Street movement has also strongly supported the idea as one of the few specific policy measures they are willing to endorse. Last November, Senator Tom Harkin and House Representative Peter DeFazio introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress for an FTT, although, as I discuss later, the tax rate they are proposing is far more modest than it needs to be. There is also strong support for an FTT throughout Europe as, among other things, one crucial new way for the European Union to raise public revenues and oppose the austerity agenda now engulfing the region. In Europe, this proposal is not only being supported by traditional progressive communities, but also by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the U.K., the Pope, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, among others.

    MORE.

    TAFTA?
    In addition to a "Trans Pacific Partnership" free trade agreement, there's been a "Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement" (TAFTA) in the works for some years now. Public Citizen's Eyes on Trade greeted the release, by the British Embassy, of Yet Another TAFTA Touting Report with derision:

    If you say something enough times, does it become true? ...Pro-TAFTA think tanks have been rehashing the same set of starry-eyed prognostications of TAFTA economic benefits at a frequency (and concern for accuracy) that rivals iterations of the Fast and the Furious movie series.

    More to the point, they note:

    The study confirms again that TAFTA is not about trade. Since tariffs (an actual trade issue) are "already quite low" between the EU and U.S., pro-TAFTA government officials have readily stated that TAFTA's primary goal is not tariff reduction, but the "elimination, reduction, or prevention of unnecessary 'behind the border'" policies, ranging from Wall Street reforms to milk safety standards to GMO food labels.

    MORE.

    Unions and CoDetermination
    In New Ground 147.1, we noted the UAW's campaign, in cooperation with the German metalworkers' union IG Metall, to organize a labor board at Volkswagen's Tennessee plant. The campaign progresses, provoking odd contortions from Republican conservatives. An update from Reuters is HERE. More recently, not content with hand-wringing, the so-called National Right to Work Foundation has found patsies to file a complaint with the NLRB, reports Automotive News.

    Is Fight for 15 for Real?
    While covering the nation-wide walk-outs of low-wage workers for In These Times at the end of August, Micah Uetricht asked an awkward question that no campaign is ever pleased to hear: Is this a sea change or a PR campaign? One would expect brick-bats to follow, simply for asking. Possibly for that reason, three weeks later Uetricht posed the question to a panel consisting of "Peter Olney, organizing director of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and a former SEIU organizer; Jane McAlevey, former SEIU national deputy director of strategic campaigns and SEIU Nevada ex- ecutive director, who chronicled her experiences in Raising Expectations (And Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement (Verso); and Trish Kahle, a worker at Whole Foods and a member of the SEIU-backed Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, a new union that is leading the Fight for 15 campaign." While Olney and McAlevey have something to contribute, Trish Kahle provides most of the illumination HERE.

    Save the Dates
    The Labor Notes Conference is coming to Chicago, April 4 through 6, 2014. MORE.


    People

    Jan Schakowsky
    The Representative will be receiving Chicago Jobs with Justice's annual Charles Hayes award on October 17. This is very cool: Jan Schakowsky, the late Charles Hayes, and Chicago Jobs with Justice are all Debs - Thomas - Harrington honorees. MORE INFORMATION.

    Frederik Pohl
    Science fiction author, Palatine resident, and erstwhile DSA member Frederik Pohl died on September 2 at the age of 93. Pohl was one of the last remaining giants from the genre's first golden age in the 1930s. He pretty much covered all the positions on the field. As a fan, he was involved with the famous Futurians. He was a prolific author. He edited a number of SF magazines, including Galaxy and If during SF's "New Wave". He was a book editor responsible for the publication of Samuel Delany's Dhalgren and Joanna Russ' Female Man.

    When his name popped up on a membership list from national office in the mid-1990s, the news was a greeted with some excitement in the Chicago office. The CDSA political education director, J. Hughes, instantly got on the phone and arranged a forum with Frederik Pohl and Carl Davidson on the topic of Electronic Democracy at the New World Resource Center. It's really too bad we did not do more with him.

    Probably the best obits online are at Tor Books and the Wikipedia entry. Also see The Guardian, The New York Times, and even Malaysia's The Star.

    Eliseo Medina

    [October 1] is Eliseo Medina's last day as the Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU International. Medina is retiring from his job, though not from immigrant rights activism, after nearly fifty years working for social change. Medina helped expand Latino union membership, and increased Latino voting and political empowerment.

    MORE.



    Democratic Socialism

    Zombie Social Democracy with a Human Face?
    At the New Left Project, Andrew Kliman begins:

    The vision of a "post-work" society -- one in which the fruits of technological progress take the form of reduced work-time rather than more consumer goods and services -- has recently enjoyed a measure of renewed interest and support in parts of the left. There's the essay by John Quiggin, a social-democratic Keynesian economist and author of Zombie Economics; articles by Peter Frase and Chris Maisano in Jacobin magazine; and, from a somewhat different perspective, David Graeber's recent thoughts on "bullshit jobs".

    MORE.

    It's More Than Just the Economy
    At Canadian Dimension, Sam Gindin might be giving more credit to the failure of the left, but he is Canadian; there was a left there rather more recently:

    Discussions on the left about the economy might be summarized as warning that things are going to get a lot worse before they getworse. This is not just a matter of the sustained attacks on the labour movement but as much a reflection of the crisis within labour. For some three decades now, labour has been stumbling on, unable to organizationally or ideologically rebut the attacks summarized as 'neoliberalism.' Though the Great Financial Crisis held out the promise of finally exposing the right and its supporters and potentially opening the door to a union offensive and possible revival, the attacks on labour actually intensified and labour continues to have no coherent counter-response. As a prelude to directly addressing that impasse in labour, it is useful to begin with something that Greg Alb recently posed: What is the larger historical significance of this particular crisis?

    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 #150.2

    10.15.2013

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Why Be a Socialist in the 21st Century?
    DSA in the News

    1. Politics

    What If We Default on Our Debt?
    TPP: It's Coming Up Behind You by Tom Broderick
    TPP: Vampire Politics
    Most Neighborhoods Left Behind

    2. People

    Gene Birmingham, 1931 -- 2013 by Bob Roman

    3. Democratic Socialism

    Social Europe?

    4. Upcoming Events of Interest


    DSA News

    Why Be a Socialist in the 21st Century?
    Episode 32 of Talkin' Socialism recorded 08.30.2013: Is there a difference between "social democracy", "socialism", and "democratic socialism"? How applicable is European social democracy to the United States? What about DSA? And, yeah: Why be a socialist in the 21st century? Bill Barclay interviews DSA National Vice Chair Joe Schwartz.

    CLICK HERE [MP3 (30.1 MB). (32:51)] to listen or to download.

    DSA in the News
    Elections tend to be the occasion for many mentions of DSA in the mainstream press, and the New York mayoral election is a minor example. Republicans are describing Democrat Bill de Blasio as pursuing a class warfare strategy in New York City that comes directly out of the Marxist playbook. The web news site dnainfo.com followed up by gathering comments from lefties, including DSA's Frank Llewellyn.

    DSA's "market penetration" among conservative activists is really pretty good but we're seriously obscure, to say the least, among the general public. This really has to change, but it also has the pleasant consequence of making the delusional quality of what passes for conservatism that much more obvious, as when the web news site golocalworcester.com asked, "How Hard Has Massachusetts Been Hit by the Federal Shutdown?"

    Finally, Wikipedia now has a "category" entitled "Members of the Democratic Socialists of America." Most of the public figures who conservatives firmly believe to be DSA members are not listed. Where are the members of the Progressive Caucus? Heads up conservatives: obviously DSA must run Wikipedia, too.


    Politics

    What If We Default on Our Debt?
    At Democratic Left, Chicago DSA Co-Chair Bill Barclay writes:

    Let's begin by clearing up a possible lingering misconception about debt and defaults. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling and we default, does that mean the U.S. is broke? No. The U.S., like any country that 1) controls the creation of its own currency and 2) issues its debt in its own currency, cannot go broke. However, political calculations can impose deadbeat status on such a country.

    What about other countries, why don't they have this problem? The answer is equally simple. With the exception of Denmark, no other wealthy industrial society has a debt ceiling -- and Denmark's is set at over twice their actual level of government debt -- and it is not a political football. So yes, the U.S. is, as our national meme says, exceptional. The debt ceiling -- and any associated problems -- are our own creation.

    MORE.

    TPP: It's Coming Up Behind You
    by Tom Broderick
    "What's good for General Motors is good for America!" This misquote has relevance today, as transnational corporations work clandestinely to free themselves from governmental regulation through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Touted as a trade agreement for countries bordering the Pacific rim, passage will free transnational corporations from public accountability.

    Current negotiating partners: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Vietnam. Additional countries may join at a later date through "docking" provisions.

    Underway and under wraps since 2008, members of the U.S. Congress have had little to no access to the text and it has been declared "classified information" by the Obama administration. Congress members may not discuss the text with trade experts or the public. Some Congressional staff members are granted access to portions of the text but cannot reveal what they've read.

    In May, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the Chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Trade, submitted legislation requiring access be granted to members of Congress and their staff after he and his staff were denied access to the U.S. proposals. His subcommittee has jurisdiction over trade agreements.

    Approximately 500 corporate "cleared advisors" have access to portions of the text, which they may help refine. Why do these unelected corporados have this ability to shape the agreement? Because of their roles on U.S. Trade Representative advisory panels. There are also about 100 advisors from organized labor, environmental and other groups who have access to portions of the text. They cannot divulge what they've read.

    After viewing an edited version, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said "I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty."

    In 2012, a leaked copy of the investment chapter of the TPP was posted on the Web. The agreement allows transnationals to bypass domestic courts and laws and sue governments that are TPP signatories in extra-judicial tribunals. These tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers rotating between acting as judges and as advocates for the transnationals suing the governments.

    Lawsuits can be brought before these tribunals in search of expected profits that are denied because of national or local laws governing labor rights, the environment, health and safety and whatever other laws the transnationals feel undermine their rights (sic).

    If the above doesn't boil your blood, President Obama wants to bring back Trade Promotion Authority ("Fast Track", as it's commonly known) to speed passage. Fast Track allows the U.S. Congress to transfer its authority to regulate commerce between nations to the Executive Branch, as it did with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Passage of Fast Track authority would prohibit public hearings, witness testimony, Congressional debate or amendments to the TPP. After limited time for review, our Legislators would cast an up or down vote.

    Transnational corporations have no allegiance to people, place or thing except as they may yield profit. The TPP would codify this. The first thing we must do is scuttle Fast Track. The following U.S. Representatives from Illinois have already come out against Fast Track/Trade Promotion Authority. If you are a constituent, please call them and thank them:

    Bobby Rush, D-1, 773 224 6500
    Luis Gutierrez, D-4, 773 342 0774
    Jan Schakowsky, D-9, 847 328 3409
    Cheri Bustos, D-17, 309 966 1813
    Daniel Lipinski, D-3, 312 886 0481
    Danny K. Davis, D-7, 773 533 7520
    William Enyart, D-12, 618 233 8026

    The following U.S. Representatives from Illinois have yet to come out against Fast Track/Trade Promotion Authority. If you are a constituent, please call them and let them know you oppose Fast Track because it subverts the democratic process and cedes too much authority to the Executive Branch:

    Robin Kelly, D-2, 773 568 2623
    Peter Roskam, R-6, 630 232 0006
    Brad Schneider, D-10, 847 793 0625
    Rodney Davis, R-13, 217 403 4690
    John Shimkus, R-15, 217 446 0664
    Aaron Schock, R-18, 309 671 7027
    Mike Quigley, D-5, 773 267 5926
    Tammy Duckworth, D-8, 847 413 1959
    Bill Foster, D-11, 630 585 7672
    Randy Hultgren, R-14, 630 232 7104
    Adam Kinzinger, R-16, 815 431 9271

    After you make your call, please email Tom Broderick and let me know which Representative you called and what response you got.

    TPP: Vampire Politics
    Because it ain't dead until you see the stake impaling the heart. The recent APEC summit, sans Obama, only made "progress" toward reaching an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Lori Wallach, at Public Citizen's Eyes on Trade, opines:

    Perhaps the most lasting effect of Obama not attending the APEC summit due to the government shutdown is that it reveals there is little chance that this Congress will delegate its constitutional trade authority to grant Obama the extraordinary Fast Track powers he says he needs to finish TPP and that other countries want in place to ensure Congress is handcuffed before they make concessions that could cause them political woe at home.

    MORE.

    Most Neighborhoods Left Behind

    Tuesday, October 8th, Grassroots Collaborative held a press conference at City Hall to release a new report, "Downtown Prosperity, Neighborhood Neglect: Chicago's Black and Latino Workers Left Behind," detailing how the job creation benefits of TIF and city investments go almost exclusively to white, college-educated city residents or suburb-dwellers, and not to the Black and Latino residents of Chicago neighborhoods.

    "Our report shows spending billions of dollars of TIF money in downtown has only gotten Chicagoans one out of four of the new jobs created. Prioritizing downtown to the exclusion of neighborhoods is an economic development strategy failing most of the people in the city," said report lead author Eric Tellez, Research and Data Manager for the Grassroots Collaborative.

    MORE.


    People

    Gene Birmingham, 1931 -- 2013
    by Bob Roman
    The Reverend Eugene Birmingham, a longtime DSA member, died on October 2, apparently as a result of unsuccessful emergency surgery. Gene had been involved with Chicago DSA for many years. He became a member of our Executive Committee as Treasurer in a special election in September, 1993. Immediately thereupon, Gene recalled, he was asked to come up with a budget, a rather intimate task for an organization he had only recently been introduced to. In 1996, he was elected Secretary, and he served in that position until retiring in 2011. In between, he also helped maintain the West Suburban (DuPage, Kane, and Will counties) branch of Chicago DSA, and he served as Master of Ceremonies at several of our Debs - Thomas - Harrington dinners.

    You might think that, knowing Gene for as long as I have, it would be easy to compose a story of, or at least about, his life. But I find myself struck not dumb but inarticulate. Pieces of Gene float about me, each amounting to hardly more than a vignette or a sketch, unorganized, a jumble. At this point, I can only think to have Gene speak for himself:

  • Religion and Socialism by Gene Birmingham
  • Pharaoh's Welfare: the Myth of Private Charity by Gene Birmingham
  • Candles in a Dim Time by Rev. Eugene Birmingham
  • A Future for Socialism by Gene Birmingham
  • Simon says: Campaign Finance Reform! by Gene Birmingham
  • Festival of the People I by Gene Birmingham
  • Townhall Meeting on Campaign Finance Reform by Gene Birmingham
  • United Power: Alinsky Comes Home to Chicago by Gene Birmingham
  • Media in the Public Interest by Gene Birmingham
  • The War Against Parents by Gene Birmingham
  • Back to Basics: A Conference on the Future of the American Left by Harold Taggart and Gene Birmingham
  • DuPage Civic Fair by Gene Birmingham
  • A Future for Progressivism? by Gene Birmingham
  • Cornel West Speaks at DePaul by Eugene Birmingham
  • Rally Against Hate by Gene Birmingham
  • Praxis Makes Perfect by Rev. Gene Birmingham
  • DuPage Civic Faire by Gene Birmingham
  • Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner 2002 by Gene Birmingham
  • Prophesy Deliverance! by Gene Birmingham
  • Chicago Anti-War Protest by Gene Birmingham
  • The West Suburban Peace Movement by Gene Birmingham
  • Ethical Globalization by Rev. Eugene Birmingham
  • Matters of the Spirit Matter to Everyone by Gene Birmingham
  • Religion and Socialism Commission by Rev. Gene Birmingham
  • A World to Win by Gene Birmingham
  • Religion and Socialism
    Recorded 02.12.2011: Gene Birmingham, a retired minister of the United Church of Christ, and Maggie Shreve, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, discuss religion and socialism. (29:05) Download: MP3 (26.6 Mb).


    Democratic Socialism

     

    Social Europe?
    When Chicago DSA argued against the passage of NAFTA, we maintained that we needed a fair trade agreement rather than a free trade agreement and that an example (not necessarily a model) of such an agreement existed: the European Union's Social Charter.

    Well, just how has that been working out? At the Chartist, Philip Whyman begins:

    Over the past decade the left has increasingly embraced European integration as a bulwark to globalisation. However, the view that the EU provides the potential for realising a progressive social and economic policy is problematic. The creation of a 'Social Europe' is patchy in both coverage and generosity, because at least four variants of the European Social Model (ESM) exist. Moreover, the neo-liberal framework associated with Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) requires the separate formulation of monetary policy by the independent European Central Bank (ECB) from nationally determined fiscal policy, itself constrained by the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), leading to a lack of policy coordination prejudicial to the construction of a progressive economic framework. Hence, this approach is the antithesis to traditional democratic socialist objectives.

    MORE.



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    New Ground #150.3

    11.01.2013

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    DSA National Convention
    "The Feminine Mystique" at 50

    1. Politics

    Why Not a Robin Hood Tax?
    Rule 41
    Mayor 1%
    Working Families
    The September Jobs Report
    The Attack on Workers
    The ACA: Much Ado About?
    Social Democracy in the South

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest


    DSA News

    DSA National Convention
    We'll have a report on DSA's recently completed National Convention in New Ground 151. Until then, you can read brief accounts HERE and HERE.

    "The Feminine Mystique" at 50
    DSA National Vice Chair Christine Riddiough will be in Chicago on Friday, November 8, to participate in a seminar at the Newberry Library entitled "The Feminine Mystique". The day-long event will provide reflections on "the book that inspired, angered, and forever changed America." You can find more information about the event, free and open to the public, HERE.


    Politics

    Why Not a Robin Hood Tax?
    At The Nation, John Nichols writes:

    For House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan and the Republican Party's unofficial austerity caucus, the shutdown and debt-ceiling fights did not end in defeat. As part of the deal to end reopen the government and avert a "full-faith-and-credit" crisis, they got an agreement to establish a House and Senate conference committee that is charged with pulling together a bipartisan budget plan.

    Ryan makes little secret of his agenda. The Wisconsin Republican is already talking about implementing the "entitlement reforms" he's been pitching for years. So no one should rule out the prospect that the committee will entertain proposals for the roll-the-dice experiments with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid voucher schemes, hiking retirement ages, establishing means tests and reducing protections against inflation. At the same time, Ryan would reduce the corporate tax rate and eliminate the alternative minimum tax -- completing the "Robin Hood-in-reverse" scenario that so appeals to austerity advocates.

    MORE.

    Rule 41
    The Grassroots Collaborative orchestrated another wonderful rally on October 15 against the corporate priorities that dominate the adminsitration of Mayor 1%. Some interpret the rally as a first step toward finding a candidate to oppose Emanuel in the next mayoral election. Viewed that way, the participation of "reliable vote[s] for mayoral initiatives" like Alderman Joe Moreno could be viewed as hedging by some members of the mayoral fan fan club.

    But more to the point, legislation with as much of two-thirds of the city council signed on as co-sponsors remains bottled up in committee. This has been so typical of the Chicago City Council. Ben Joravsky, at the Chicago Reader, has a suggestion on how to irritate Mayor Emanuel, find out who is for real and who is not, and do some legislating, all in one easy step.

    Mayor 1%
    So what is it with Emanuel and the rich? Is it simply that he finds Bruce Rauner a true kindred spirit? Aaron M. Renn in City Journal (not a left-wing publication in any way, fyi) suggests Emanuel is following a sensible urban strategy given the circumstances (see New Ground 150.2, "Most Neighborhoods Left Behind"), one not unique to Chicago, but in the long run, one that will not work. CLICK HERE.

    Working Families
    When the New Party suspended operations, much of the infrastructure went into establishing "Working Families" parties in states that allow some kind of joint nomination ("fusion") of candidates, most notably New York but also Connecticut, Oregon, and South Carolina. The party is contemplating expanding to Illinois, according to the October, 2013, issue of Ballot Access News.

    The September Jobs Report
    The Chicago Political Economy Group comments:

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the September Employment Situation report on Oct. 22. This came 18 days after the scheduled Oct. 4 release because of the 15 day government shutdown. As expected, the September report portrays a stagnant economy, creating jobs barely at a pace commensurate with population growth and far from a rate that would reflect an economy on the road to recovery.

    Nonfarm employment increased by all of 148,000 jobs, a smidge below the 150,000 or so jobs commonly believed are needed to keep pace with population growth. This rate was half of the 300,000 new jobs that should be created monthly in an economy working its way out of the doldrums. Unchanged was the number of Americans working part time who otherwise desire fulltime work. There are 7.9 million of these workers.

    MORE.

    The Attack on Workers
    Most DSA members don't need to be told, but it's nice to see it compiled and documented in one place, as it's done in this report just released by the Economic Policy Institute.

    The ACA: Much Ado About?
    At Dissent Magazine, Colin Gordon writes:

    ...In the rush to defend the ACA [Affordable Care Act] (and the larger ideal of a robust public sector) against the GOP's suicide caucus, we are smearing a lot of lipstick on a pretty ugly pig. This is a timid law that will likely show timid results in the long run. Real health reform -- like that proposed in 1948, 1965, 1972, and 1992 -- demands that we confront three problems studiously avoided (and in some respects made worse) by the ACA.

    MORE.

    Social Democracy in the South
    At In These Times, Cole Stangler writes about Bernie Sanders' three day road trip through the South, economic justice, and the possibility of a presidential run.


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