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#155

July -- August, 2014

Contents

Talkin' Socialism
Les Orear, 1911 -- 2014
Socialist Reading Group
Overturn the Court's Undemocratic Attacks on the Rights of Women and Workers
DSA in the News
Socialist International Meets
Comments on the June Jobs Report
UAW
AFSCME

 

New Ground 155.1 -- 07.31.2014

0. DSA News

DSA Condemns the Israeli Bombing of Gaza and All Attacks on Innocent Civilians
Talkin' Socialism
DSA in the News
Meetings
You're a Big Help!

1. Politics

Low Wage Rising
Poverty Scorecard
Cook County Succeeds at Truth in Taxation
Minority Union at Volkswagen
Chicago Housing Authority

2. Democratic Socialism

Marxism and Democracy
Down with Social Democracy!

3. Upcoming Events of Interest

 

New Ground 155.2 -- 08.15.2014

0. DSA News

Vote Mujica
DSA in the News
You Could Help

1. Politics

Keeping Score for U.S. Trade
Commentary on the July Jobs Report
Jobs and STEM Graduates
The Debate Over Deportation Numbers
2013 TIF Analysis
On Strike

2. Democratic Socialism

The End of Capitalism?

3. Upcoming Events of Interest

 

New Ground 155.3 -- 08.29.2014

0. DSA News

The Criminal Record Is the New Jim Crow
Justice for Michael Brown
YDS Statement on Ferguson
"Wage Crisis"

1. Politics

Ferguson
Pay More, Live Less
The Income Gap
Environmental Scorecard

2. Democratic Socialism

A Co-op State of Mind

3. Upcoming Events of Interest

 


Protesting a Monstrous Deal

by Tom Broderick

We got word that US Representative Bill Foster (D-11) was having a fund-raiser in Oak Park. Rep. Foster is one of four Illinois Congressional Democrats who refused to sign a "Dear Colleague" letter against "fast tracking" the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. He also will not take a position against the TPP.

Greater Oak Park DSA organized a protest on Sunday afternoon, June 22, outside the Oak Park home where Rep. Foster was hoping to enjoy himself. Two dozen people from four Democratic and two Republican Congressional Districts rallied to our picket.

Oak Park is represented by Rep. Danny Davis (D-7). Rep. Davis was invited to Foster's fund-raiser and nine constituents from Davis' district took part in the protest. Although Davis did sign the no fast-track "Dear Colleague" letter, we hope that, like Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Davis takes a lead in fighting the TPP.

Godzilla joined us, carrying a sign that read: T.P.P. A Monster of a Bad Deal. We're not sure which Congressional District he was from, but he comprehends the issue.

Most of us paraded in front of the home, however Kaye Gamble and Mary Shesgreen from Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice and Leanne Reis-Ong from Occupy Naperville went to the alley. They caught Rep. Foster before he was able to enter his fund-raiser through the backyard. Applying an amiable mien, he told them that he would only vote for the TPP if it brought jobs to his community. The history of our recent trade agreements belie this hope.

In addition to haunting the alley and picketing in front of the home, we had four people, two on each side of the street, go door to door in the block. They knocked on doors, talked with neighbors, and handed them literature about "fast track," the TPP and the referendum that will be on the Oak Park ballot this November. They reported being well received.

The hosts of the fund-raiser were also amicable. Four of us went to the front door, introduced ourselves and explained why we were there. We were simply asked to stay off the lawn and allow people access. They even brought us water.

The Maine State Legislature passed the Maine Jobs, Trade and Democracy Act in 2004. This created the first-in-the-nation state commission "to assess and monitor the legal and economic impacts of trade agreements on state and local laws, working conditions and the business environment; to provide a mechanism for citizens and Legislators to voice their concerns and recommendations; and to make policy recommendations designed to protect Maine's jobs, business environment and laws from any negative impact of trade agreements."

State Senator Don Harmon was also invited to the Foster fund-raiser. He should take charge and introduce similar safeguards in Illinois.

On Tuesday, November 4th, a referendum calling for Oak Park to be a TPP-Free Zone will appear on our ballot. As far as I know, GOPDSA is responsible for the only ballot referendum asking Illinois voters to weigh in on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


Vote Mujica


The 56th Dinner

by Bob Roman
The 2014 Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner took place on Friday evening, May 16, at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, a union hotel in downtown Chicago.

The Dinner was held somewhat later than usual for the simple reason that we moved the Chicago DSA office in January, and we knew very well that mailings and such would be on the back burner while the whole process of relocating took place. As it turned out, the planning for the event was very much delayed as well, more than we imagined it would be. But as is the case with live performance, come the date, it happens, ready or not.

Fortunately, we had two honorees, Robin Potter and Larry Spivack, who took their roles as honorees very seriously (This is not always the case.) and a speaker, Leone Bicchieri, who made a passionate and fresh presentation. The supporting cast was every bit as good: Bill Barclay as Master of Ceremonies, past honoree Rose Daylie to present the award to Larry Spivack, and Jackson Potter (a young labor activist from the Chicago Teachers Union who also brought news from the frontlines in Chicago) to present the award to Robin Potter. Ron Baiman ambitiously covered "Solidarity Forever" with his fiddle at the end. Also, a round of applause for those who helped: Bill Barclay, Bob Breving, Tom Broderick, Libby Frank, Bob Roman, John Scott, Sandra Shimon, Peg Strobel and Maria Svart who helped put the event together. Jackson Potter took the initiative to bring visiting representatives of a Mexican teachers union to the Dinner: Juan Melchor Roman, translated by Nieves Bolanos, spoke at the event.

Photos by John Scott are posted at www.chicagodsa.org/d2014 and on the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America Facebook page.


The Oak Park Living Wage Saga

by Tom Broderick

After more than a decade, we have the first positive step in enacting a Living Wage Ordinance (LWO) for Oak Park . Village Board after Village Board either did nothing or tried to submarine a Living Wage Ordinance proposed and promoted by Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America (GOPDSA).

A short history: Ron Baiman suggests that Oak Park should enact a living wage ordinance. Ron and I approach a slate of four candidates running for the Village Board. All four endorse our LWO. GOPDSA works to elect the candidates and all win. The newly elected board takes no action.

The Social Justice Committee of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Park and the Oak Park Coalition of Truth and Justice endorse the LWO.

We get the necessary votes to put a non-binding referendum on the 2008 ballot that calls for the voters of Oak Park to support our proposed LWO. It receives 60% of the popular vote and carries 93% of the precincts. Instead of taking up the issue, a newly elected Village Board calls upon the Community Relations Commission (CRC) to consider the implications that a living wage ordinance will have on the Village. The CRC is a volunteer citizen commission.

After 13 months of study that includes three public hearings, the CRC delivers a report to the Village Board that recommends that Oak Park enact a living wage ordinance. It is not as comprehensive as we'd like, but it passes with a 7 to 2 vote by the CRC.

A Village Board Trustee immediately moves that the board strip the recommendations from the CRC report. This undemocratic attack passes 4 to 3. Once again, the board hopes to have squashed the LWO.

After another round of elections to the Village Board, we start lobbying the new Trustees as well as the two Trustees who had voted against stripping the recommendations from the CRC report. We continue to do so after another election leaves only one Trustee who had endorsed stripping the CRC recommendation from the report, still serving on the board.

One board member let us know that during the June 16, 2014, meeting, the board would consider putting discussion of a living wage on their agenda. We gathered a dozen supporters to attend the meeting and five of us spoke to endorse moving forward. The text of Bob Simpson's testimony can be found online in New Ground 154.4; a video of his testimony is posted on Chicago DSA's Facebook page.

After some discussion, the board proceeded to call for consideration of a living wage ordinance. Village staff will put together an outline for the board to follow. This is supposed to be ready for the board by the second meeting in July, which is July 14, Bastille Day. Auspicious?

This is a small step, but it is the first time our board will consider the issue. We still have an uphill battle. The President of the Village Board immediately called for involving the Chamber of Commerce. I have come to refer to our Village Board as the Village Board of the Chamber of Commerce of Oak Park.


Other News

compiled by Bob Roman

Talkin' Socialism

Three new episodes of Chicago DSA's podcast are now online at www.chicagodsa.org/audarch6.html .

Drop Student Debt: Episode 41, recorded June 29, 2014. Liz Henderson, chair of DSA's Drop Student Debt Campaign, is interviewed by Chicago DSA co-chair Bill Barclay. Just what is the magnitude of the problem, why is it a problem, and what have DSA chapters and at-large members been doing about it?

Disability and Poverty: Episode 40, recorded June 14, 2014. Disability rights activists Tom Wilson, Rene David Luna, and Susan Aarup explore the relation between disability and poverty. They touch on the issues of independent living, poverty programs that place barriers to employment, discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, sub-minimum wages, and more.

Pope Francis: Poverty and Social Justice: Episode 39 , recorded May 10, 2014. With the new Pope Francis, how has this changed the conversation about poverty and social justice? What has changed in the Catholic Church, and what has stayed the same? Our guests for this program are Sisters Kathleen Desautels and Dorothy Pagosa from the 8th Day Center for Justice. Sandra Shimon does the interview.

Our podcast once again has an RSS feed, meaning you can have the latest episode delivered to your computer automatically once you subscribe. This is, incidentally, entirely anonymous, entirely between you and your own computer.

Les Orear 1911 ­ 2014

Just two weeks after this year's Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner, Les Orear died. He was President Emeritus of the Illinois Labor History Society and had been an honoree at the 50th Dinner in 2008 .

We're not competent to provide an obituary. But Orear was the last honoree in a distinct Dinner tradition: Someone who had made an important contribution through their work in the old United Packinghouse Workers union. There will be no more. The Packinghouse Workers long ago merged into what is now the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. We may find people to honor there, but they'll be very different gems.

Here is the text of Les Orear's award:

For your constant devotion to the cause of the working class;

For your career as an organizer and as a journalist for the legendary United Packinghouse Workers of America;

For your work as founder and President of the Illinois Labor History Society;

For a lifetime helping working people remember their history and become conscious of their common interests;

The Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present you with its annual award this 25th day of April, 2008.

Chicago Reading Group

The group will be meeting on the third Saturday in August, but will return to its regular schedule of meeting on the second Saturday of each month at 2 PM in the conference room at 3411 W. Diversey in Chicago. In July, the group was just finishing up a two session discussion of the Italian marxist Antonio Gramsci. For information about future sessions, contact Adam Hamilton at 847.431.4569.

Overturn the Court's Undemocratic Attacks on the Rights of Women and Workers

DSA's statement on the end of June, 2014, Supreme Court Rulings begins:

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) condemns three recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) as infringements on the rights of women and working people. The three rulings at the end of June threaten the rights of women to reproductive freedom and the rights of working people to form strong unions. Despite conservative claims to be "strict constructionists" who are opposed to "judicial activism," the five Republican-appointed judges on the Court are increasingly enacting a reactionary policy agenda that enhances the power of elites at the expense of the vast majority.

MORE.

DSA in the News

Cecily McMillan was released from prison on July 2nd, and she held a press conference that was covered by the Associated Press. The AP account did not mention DSA, but Democracy Now did, as did Mike Malloy's interview with her on July 9.

The Examiner's Columbus web site had this account of the campaign for a $15 minimum wage, mentioning DSA as a participant.

Socialist International Meets

The Socialist International held its Council meeting in Mexico City June 30 and July 1. DSA was not in attendance though the Democratic Party, through its foreign affairs National Democratic Institute (an "Associated Organization") was there, as was the Democratic National Committee's Political Director. A full list of participants is HERE.

Among other things, the Council passed a "Declaration on Puerto Rico" (PDF).

For those interested, a full account is HERE. DSA's affiliation with the Socialist International is under review.

 

Comments on the June Jobs Report

At the Chicago Political Economy Group, Joe Persky writes:

The economy continues to tread water, without making significant progress. The federal government refuses to provide the stimulus required by the situation. Federal employment continues to fall, while state and local employment are recovering slowly. Overall government employment remains below its 2007 level.

MORE.

Jobs per Month

UAW

The saga of the UAW's campaign to help workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen palnt to organize continues. The Tennessean reports:

CHATTANOOGA - In a move that is unusual but not unprecedented, the United Auto Workers union has sidestepped its loss in a worker vote in February and created a local union to represent workers at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee.

MORE.

Here in Illinois, Citizen Action will be honoring the UAW's new President, Dennis Williams, at their annual dinner on September 19. Williams had been the UAW's Region 4 Director here in Chicago. More details are HERE.

AFSCME

Henry Bayer is retiring as Director of AFSCME Council 31. He will be replaced by Roberta Lynch. More details are HERE.


Upcoming Events of Interest

Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties.


New Ground #155.1

07.31.2014

Contents

0. DSA News

DSA Condemns the Israeli Bombing of Gaza and All Attacks on Innocent Civilians
Talkin' Socialism
DSA in the News
Meetings
You're a Big Help!

1. Politics

Low Wage Rising
Poverty Scorecard
Cook County Succeeds at Truth in Taxation
Minority Union at Volkswagen
Chicago Housing Authority

2. Democratic Socialism

Marxism and Democracy
Down with Social Democracy!

3. Upcoming Events of Interest



DSA News

DSA Condemns the Israeli Bombing of Gaza and All Attacks on Innocent Civilians
Statement adopted by DSA's National Political Committee:

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) condemns the massive and indiscriminate bombing of Gaza civilians by the Israeli armed forces. We support the immediate acceptance and implementation of a comprehensive cease fire that would end all combat in Gaza and lift Israeli enforced restrictions on the ability of the people of Gaza to engage in the economic commerce and travel necessary for basic human survival.

MORE.

Talkin' Socialism
Episode 42 -- Food Insecurity -- Recorded July 12, 2014. Dr. Angela Odoms-Young, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ted Lucore, a volunteer with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, explore the dimensions and consequences of hunger in America. For more information on the subject, see:

  • Hunger in Our Schools: Teachers Report 2013 (pdf)
  • Map the Meal Gap
  • Feeding America
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • Cruel Irony: the Food Insecurity of Restaurant Workers
  • Listen or (right click) Download: MP3 (34.2 MB) or OGG VORBIS (41.7 MB) (37:20)

    DSA in the News
    DSA National Political Committee member Joe Schwartz was on the right-wing Chuck Morse Show concerning the latest in the Mid-East. This was also the occasion of a mention in passing at the Canadian online publication Digital Journal.

    The National Review, published an attack on MSNBC news anchor Jose Diaz-Balart that mentions DSA in passing. The New York Post published an sexist attack (disguised as a news article) on Cecily McMillan. This didn't mention DSA. But when it was rewritten by Right Wisconsin ("Veteran Anti-Walker Protester Threatened to Kill Cops' Families in New York") and Downtrend ("The Angry, Violent Face of Leftist America") to increase the level of sexism, DSA also came into play.

    An article at Jacobin regarding the New York Green Party and Working Families Party mentions DSA (actually Chicago DSA) in passing.

    Worcester, MA, In City Times mentioned DSA in passing as part of the Mass Allliance Against Predatory Lending.

    Meetings
    The CDSA Executive Committee will be meeting at 12:15 PM on August 16, the 3rd Saturday rather than the usual 2nd Saturday. Likewise, CDSA's Socialist Reading Group will be meeting that afternoon at 2 PM. However, the next episode of Talkin' Socialism will be recorded at the usual time of 11:30 AM on Saturday, August 9. For more information, see our Events page.

    You're a Big Help!
    Our annual Dinner pays the rent and utilities, but most of what we have available for politics, for public education, and to give contributions comes from the other, nickel and dime fundraising that we do: like our annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. That, for example, is what pays for most of our newsletter. Your participation is earnestly solicited, and it can be anywhere from $10 for a line greeting to $500 for a full page ad. You can find the details HERE. (PDF)

    Your public display of solidarity is almost as important as any money. Please help.



    Politics

    Low Wage Rising
    On Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, over a thousand workers from the fast food industry gathered to demand their right to unionize and to a $15 / hr wage: By any means necessary, including occupying restaurants. Laura Clawson has accounts HERE and HERE.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, a new group, "United Working Families" has formed arround the 501c4 arm of the Grassroots Collaborative, Grassroots Illinois Action. The Chicago Sun-Times published an account. Action Now has posted an interview by WBEZ's "Afternoon Shift" with their Director and United Working Families board member Kathlyn Johnson HERE. Also, WTTW's Chicago Tonight had some extensive (5 minutes) but fairly lame coverage (Godzilla money vs Mothra money). You can find the United Working Families press release HERE.

    The main additional ingredient in United Working Families is the Chicago Teachers Union, which has been taking to the community the same face-to-face organizing it did among its own members in preparation for its most recent strike. Bob Simpson has an account of one of those meetings HERE.

    Poverty Scorecard
    The Shriver Center, last month, released its 2013 review of the U.S. Congress on poverty issues:

    The 2013 Poverty Scorecard, published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, is a comprehensive analysis of the voting records of every U.S. Senator and Representative on poverty-related issues. The votes used to evaluate the members cover a wide range of subject areas including budget and tax, food and nutrition, health care, immigrants, cash assistance, domestic violence, legal services, workforce, education, voting rights, and employment rights.

    Read the report HERE. (PDF)

    Cook County Succeeds at Truth in Taxation
    This has been covered locally, but if you're not familiar with Clawback, the blog of Good Jobs First, this is a good opportunity to check it out. Thomas Cafcas writes:

    One year ago today, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced plans to print TIF revenue diversions on county property tax bills. We previously blogged about this effort, eagerly awaiting this TIF transparency enhancement.

    Wait no longer! The Cook County Clerk's office made good on its promise of taxpayer transparency and has issued property tax bills containing information about TIF for each individual property owner. For that we congratulate them on bringing needed sunlight to TIF in Chicago and other municipalities in Cook County.

    MORE.

    Minority Union at Volkswagen
    At Labor Notes, Alexandra Bradbury writes:

    The brand new Local 42 has already begun signing up and swearing in members who work at the VW plant. Membership is dues-free for now, since there's no official recognition or contract. But the UAW says it has an informal "consensus" with the company to recognize and deal with the local "as a members' union that represents those employees who join" when it signs up a "meaningful" share of the workforce.

    MORE.

    At Talking Union, Wade Rathke adds:

    The UAW is opting to play both the long and short game in my view.

    In the short game they will have a local, office, and organizers. The new 2000 workers won't be added until the line is ready in 2016. If they have the majority to win an election, and they file before 2016 and win, then, bam, those 2000 are automatically accreted into the union. If they were committed to playing an NLRB strategy, any organizing department would try to get it done before the uncertainty of 2000 new workers is added to the mix, since those 2000 will be walking on eggs, glad to have a job, and not ripe for an election until possibly 2018.

    The long game that the UAW's Casteel is also embracing is exciting for labor in the USA. He is flatly saying that VW is willing to recognize them as a "minority union" on a "members' only" basis, which is common in the public sector in non-collective bargaining states, and common elsewhere in the world, for example in the United Kingdom where a minority expression of interest wins consultation rights with the companies for your members.

    MORE.

    Chicago Housing Authority
    The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has just published an analysis of the Chicago Housing Authority's budget and finances and "found that over the last five years in particular, the CHA's reserve funds have grown significantly. During that same five-year period, the CHA had an average annual surplus of $107 million." This at a time when tens of thousands were on an indefinite waiting list for vouchers and the Authority was failing to meet its construction and rehab goals. Read about it HERE.



    Democratic Socialism

    Marxism and Democracy
    Back in June of 2006, the online journal Palinurus reprinted this 1981 essay by Michael Harrington that begins:

    Karl Marx (and Frederich Engels) was a democratic socialist in the most profound sense of the phrase. More importantly for the purposes of this essay, the vision, methodology and analyses which are Marx's living heritage are democratic as theories and as guides to praxis. Indeed, I would argue that the development of Marxism since the death of Marx and Engels has made this last point so compelling that [...] those who do not understand it or, worse, who take up arms against it, are anti-Marxists no matter what they call themselves.
     
    The anti-democratic societies of the Right and pseudo-Left have demonstrated conclusively that collectivism without democracy is the specific form for perpetuating class rule in the late twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. So I do not write simply as a scholar but as a militant as well. To be sure, I will try to be scrupulously careful in documenting and interpreting the democratic foundations of the Marxist perspective. But that intellectual task is obviously related to the search for an emancipatory socialist politics under conditions which Marx himself never experienced or, for that matter, even imagined. I turn to the past in Marx's spirit: to gain insights for transforming the present and future.

    MORE.

    Down with Social Democracy!
    At The Activist, Ryne Tipton begins:

    For many across the world, social democracy is the staple of a civilized society. A hefty state that is able to provide a number of social protections: maternity leave, universal healthcare, guaranteed pensions, and the like has been the ideal goal of most modern, self-described social democrats. Shifting from the central issues of socialist theory -- namely the alienation of labor and the dialectic relationship between the interests of labor and capital, social democrats have deviated from their original course of "evolutionary socialism" a la Bernstein and Lassalle to a modern course of neoliberal, Third Way politics -- concerned only with alleviating the most basic ills of capitalism without fundamentally rejecting the system itself.

    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 #155.2

    08.15.2014

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Vote Mujica
    DSA in the News
    You Could Help

    1. Politics

    Keeping Score for U.S. Trade
    Commentary on the July Jobs Report
    Jobs and STEM Graduates
    The Debate Over Deportation Numbers
    2013 TIF Analysis
    On Strike

    2. Democratic Socialism

    The End of Capitalism?

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    Vote Mujica
    Chicago DSA members hosted a house party that yielded over $1500 to Jorge Mujica's campaign to become Alderman of the 25th Ward.

    DSA in the News
    Cornel West's criticism of President Barack Obama at a DC rally opposing the bombing in Gaza made the news, earning DSA a mention at Pakistan's The Nation and Venezuela's TeleSur.

    You Could Help
    Our annual Dinner pays the rent and utilities, but most of what we have available for politics, for public education, and to give contributions comes from the other, nickel and dime fundraising that we do: like our annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. That, for example, is what pays for most of our newsletter. Your participation is earnestly solicited, and it can be anywhere from $10 for a line greeting to $500 for a full page ad. You can find the details HERE. (PDF)

    Your public display of solidarity is almost as important as any money. Please help.



    Politics

    Keeping Score for U.S. Trade
    At The Wednesday Journal, Jack Metzgar begins an assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with:

    It seems illogical and unfair to be against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without knowing what is actually in the agreement, which nobody yet does. Likewise, as a matter of practical trade negotiations, it can seem mindlessly obstructionist to deny President Obama and his trade negotiators Fast Track Authority - through which they would have the power to negotiate a trade agreement which would then be voted up or down by the U.S. Congress with no opportunity for amendment. But as long as TPP advocates present current negotiations as based on the success of past trade deals, blind opposition is clearly justified.

    MORE.

    Commentary on the July Jobs Report
    At the Chicago Political Economy Group, Bill Barclay and Ron Baiman begin:

    The July "Employment Situation" Report from the BLS has stimulated a range of responses. On the plus side for workers, over 200,000 additional people were employed compared to June. This extended the string of positive jobs numbers for private sector employers to 52 months, among the longest on record. Over the past 12 months, the US economy has generated a little over 2 million new jobs.

    So, what can we say about who is and isn't employed? And, are there any concerns that remain about the recovery from the "Great Recession?"

    The answer to the latter question is, unfortunately, yes. And that yes is connected to the who has -- and more to the who has not -- the jobs that have been created over the 5+ years since the official end of the Great Recession.

    MORE.

    Jobs and STEM Graduates
    At Governing, Mike Maciag writes:

    Policymakers have focused much attention in recent years on increasing the number of workers with training in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

    While this group makes up a relatively small share of the nation's workforce, many policy analysts view them as a key component to improving the economy. In 2005 a coalition of groups issued a study stating U.S. higher education institutions needed to double the number of STEM graduates. Business leaders also frequently cite a shortage of STEM grads. Last year a letter signed by CEOs called on President Barack Obama and Congress to grant additional visas for high-skilled immigrants to help fill job openings.

    But a Census Bureau report published earlier this month indicates something different. The analysis of American Community Survey data found that a surprising 74 percent of STEM graduates did not have STEM jobs. The findings, widely reported in the media (see here and here), gave credence to claims that there's a surplus of U.S. workers with STEM training.

    MORE.

    The Debate Over Deportation Numbers
    At The Society Pages, Tany Golash-Boza observes that the demographics of undocumented migrants "removed" from the United States does not much match the demographics of undocumented migrants to the United States:

    The total increase in removals from 1998 to 2011 was 227% (from 173,146 to 391,953). Mexicans experienced the largest increase in absolute numbers. Central Americans experienced the largest proportional increase: 4.34 times as many Central Americans were deported in 2011 as in 1998. Notably, the number of European, Asian, Caribbean, and African deportations remained flat.

    Overall, deportees disproportionately go to the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, 97.5% of all deportees were sent to the Americas, with only 2.5% going to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Deportation rates are not reflective of the countries of origin of non-citizens in the U.S., as nearly all deportees are Latin American even though a quarter of undocumented immigrants are from other regions of the world.

    MORE.

    2013 TIF Analysis
    Civic Lab's TIF Illumination Project combed through all 151 annual reports for Chicago's Tax Increment Financing Districts to construct an overall picture of the state of their finances. Among other things, they note that while property taxes diverted to TIF Districts declined 8.3% to $412,083,831, over $1.7 billion was sitting in TIF accounts on January 1, 2014. MORE.

    On Strike
    Workers at Golan Moving & Storage in Skokie are on strike, even some of the scabs. You can read about it HERE.



    Democratic Socialism

    The End of Capitalism?
    At New Left Review, Wolfgang Streeck writes:

    I suggest that we learn to think about capitalism coming to an end without assuming responsibility for answering the question of what one proposes to put in its place. It is a Marxist -- or better: modernist -- prejudice that capitalism as a historical epoch will end only when a new, better society is in sight, and a revolutionary subject ready to implement it for the advancement of mankind.

    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 #155.3

    08.29.2014

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    The Criminal Record Is the New Jim Crow
    Justice for Michael Brown
    YDS Statement on Ferguson
    "Wage Crisis"

    1. Politics

    Ferguson
    Pay More, Live Less
    The Income Gap
    Environmental Scorecard

    2. Democratic Socialism

    A Co-op State of Mind

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest



    DSA News

    The Criminal Record Is the New Jim Crow
    Episode 43
    of Talkin' Socialism, recorded August 9, 2014. Ruth McBeth, an Assistant Public Defender for Cook County and an activist with The Next Movement, and Anthony Lowery, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Safer Foundation, discuss the vicious feedback cycle of poverty and crime and incarceration, with a special focus on Illinois. The program proper is 30 minutes but includes an extended question and answer session.

    Listen or (right click) Download: MP3 (43.8 MB) or OGG VORBIS (59 MB) (47:52)

    SUBSCRIBE.

    Justice for Michael Brown: Community Control of Police and Equality for All
    Statement by the DSA National Political Committee, August 21, 2014:

    Democratic Socialists of America calls for a full federal civil rights investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and an end to the militarization of local police forces. The action of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department exemplifies the dangers to the lives of ordinary Americans, particularly people of color, posed by overly aggressive, heavily armed police forces.

    MORE.

    YDS Statement on Ferguson

    The murder of Michael Brown by the Ferguson police was a tragedy that has affected us all. YDS understands that police violence is not limited to individual police officers or departments, but rather part of a larger bourgeois structure that has existed historically to keep working class people, especially African Americans, under a constant and barbaric state of surveillance.

    MORE.

    "Wage Crisis"
    GOPDSA will be co-sponsoring a showing of the documentary Wage Crisis on Sunday, 2 PM, September 28, at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion led by Bill Barclay, Tom Broderick, and Bamshad Mobasher. For more information,
    CLICK HERE.



    Politics

    Ferguson
    The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports, not surprisingly:

    Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown "raises important issues about race that need to be discussed." Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown's death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting.

    MORE.

    At New America Media, Andre F. Shashaty writes:

    On the surface, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., was about local police using deadly force on an unarmed young man. But on a deeper level, it reflected the increasing poverty and economic decline that affects ethnic communities all over America.

    Despite rosy reports in the media about the end of the national foreclosure crisis and the recession that followed, all is not well in our inner cities and suburbs with largely minority populations, like Ferguson.

    The foreclosure crisis was hard on many Americans, but it was a disaster for communities of color, including the citizens of Ferguson.

    MORE.

    At Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok writes about Ferguson:

    You don't get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant "low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay."

    MORE.

    For more on this, see ArchCity Defenders' Municipal Courts Whitepaper (PDF) and All Things Consider: "In Ferguson, Court Fines and Fees Fuel Anger".

    Pay More, Live Less
    How the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership could inflate your medical bills:

    To try to combat the twin problems of unaffordable healthcare and unsustainable deficits, U.S. federal and state governments already use several tools to tamp down the cost of drugs ­ for Medicare, Medicaid and for military healthcare under TRICARE and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Many more such cost containment policies have been proposed.

    Yet, the TPP threatens to chill such proposals and even roll back existing policies to rein in exorbitant medicine prices. Leaked draft TPP texts ­ an intellectual property chapter, investment chapter and healthcare annex ­ contain expansive rules that would constrain the ability of the U.S. government to reduce medicine prices. Getting these terms into the TPP was a key objective of large U.S. pharmaceutical corporations that stand to reap monopoly profits from expansive patent terms and restrictions on government cost containment efforts. This incentive may explain why pharmaceutical corporations have lobbied Congress for the TPP more than any other industry.

    MORE.

    The Income Gap
    At Governing, Mike Maciag writes:

    A report published [August 11] by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) examines the issue at the metro area level, highlighting a wide wage disparity across many regions. The analysis, conducted by IHS Global Insight, projects further income inequality in the coming years, calling it a "structural feature of the 21st century economy."

    Although the economy finally reached pre-recession job levels nationally earlier this year, the report notes that many of these new jobs pay substantially lower wages. The manufacturing and construction industries still haven't recovered, while the fastest growing segments of the economy tend to be lower-paying jobs in hospitality, health care and administrative support.

    Nationally, the average wage of jobs lost from 2008 to 2009 was $61,637, compared to $47,171 for positions gained since. This wage gap of 23 percent is much larger than that of other recent economic recession recoveries, according to the report.

    MORE.

    Environmental Scorecard
    The Illinois Environmental Council released its 2014 legislative scorecard for Illinois HERE.



    Democratic Socialism

    A Co-op State of Mind
    At In These Times, Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo surveys the state of the cooperative sector with special attention to New York's Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative.


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