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New Ground 64

May - June, 1999

Contents:

  • DSA Statement on Kosovo Issued by the Steering Committee of the National Political Committee
  • Whatever Became of the Peace Dividend? by Robert Roman
  • Setting the Terms for Globalization, From Below: the 41st Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner by Carl Shier
  • Markets and Socialism: an Unfruitful Debate? by Ron Baiman
  • More ... by Bob Roman
  • Other News compiled by Bob Roman
  • The Han Young Strike Continues
    The HOPE for Africa Bill
    Municipal Gains
    Campaign for Better Health Care
    Harrington Video
    DSA National Convention
    Mother Jones Dinner
    Gay Pride


    DSA Statement on Kosovo

    Issued by the Steering Committee of the National Political Committee

    April 21, 1999

    We are witnessing the third war in the Balkans in less than a decade. There can be little doubt that Serbian nationalism and a series of orchestrated "crises" by the Milosevic government are primarily responsible for the present tragedy. DSA members, like many on the left, are divided on the best way to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. We are opposed to the NATO bombing of Belgrade and other urban centers and we are deeply troubled by the possibility that the initial campaign may have accelerated Milosevic's ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo.

    DSA calls for:

     

    The situation in Kosovo demonstrates the need for a truly international peacekeeping force, under United Nations auspices, to separate and disarm combatants, protect the Kosovars from Serbian military and paramilitary forces, and protect the Serbian minority. Such a force could have acted against the genocides around the globe, such as the conflict in Rwanda, which the new isolationists dominating the Republican Party have used to justify standing on the sidelines. We have never believed that NATO had the moral authority to carry out such missions.

    We call on the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague to continue its work and vigorously prosecute all war criminals including those responsible for directing ethnic cleansing campaigns; and we call on the world community to provide humanitarian aid to rebuild the economic infrastructures in Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania that have been disrupted by this conflict.

    Balkan nationalism has been manipulated by all sides and all sides share in the blame for the present catastrophe. The U. S. government and the governments of most European nations have acted in the past to strengthen Milosevic and failed to support alternative democratic political movements because they were seen as politically suspect and less accommodating to Western economic and geopolitical interests. The West too easily abandoned the idea of a multi-ethnic democratic Yugoslavia during the rise of the chauvinistic and authoritarian Tudjman regime in Croatia and Milosevic in Serbia.

    If the twentieth century has demonstrated anything it is that nationalism in the Balkans can not be suppressed by military force alone. Serbia should not be demonized, nor should its responsibility as by far the strongest military power in the region be excused. To end Serbian ethnic cleansing diplomatic carrots must accompany the stick of peace keepers. Thus upon Serbian withdrawal of its military and paramilitary forces from Kosovo and the return of all refugees to their homes, the West should lift the economic sanctions and consider admission to the United Nations and other appropriate international organizations for the Yugoslav state.

    Finally we call on the world community to take the steps to create a permanent police force directed by the United Nations with the express mission of protecting the basic human rights guaranteed by the United Nations Charter.


    Avoiding the Politics of Posture:

    Whatever Became of the Peace Dividend?

    The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away.

    by Robert Roman

    The fiasco in Kosovo may divide the Left as no other issue has since the Vietnam war. In a fine fury of resolutionary socialism, groups are calling for a holy war against Serbian fascism, support for NATO intervention, support for UN intervention, support for the KLA as a national liberation movement, support for Serbian socialism, opposition to any intervention as it inevitably serves the interest of the ruling class. Pick one or pick several and combine them, you'll find the left supporting it.

    And to what end? It is hard enough to find the levers to build consensus for or against domestic policies, but if they are not obvious, at least the levers are there. Given the administrative nature of most foreign policy, what prospect is there for any change in a meaningful time frame? Much of the debate over Kosovo is so devoid of any prospect for influencing events that the energy it generates has more to do with posture than politics.

    If anything good can come of this mess (and a worse case scenario might be The End of the World as We Know It), it will come out of coalition building around issues that we agree on, whatever our specific position on Kosovo.

    One promising possibility is military spending. It is not acceptable that this war, whatever its merits, is being financed by cutting housing subsidies to the poor and by cutting money available for food stamps, yet this is exactly what is happening. And while the additional moneys voted by this Congress are relatively free of "pork", the conventional beltway wisdom is that the next year's budget, being an election year, will bring the pigs swarming to the trough.

    Eliminate homelessness, preserve and expand Social Security, provide health care for all, provide the means for quality public education, even relative luxuries like a space program: under the self - imposed Congressional budgeting restrictions, you have a choice. We can either do these things or we can have a military that is capable of fighting two and a half wars anywhere in the world, simultaneously.

    To this end, Chicago DSA has joined with the Chicago Jobs with Justice Committee on New Priorities in building a broad coalition of groups that is committed changing our government's priorities. As a first step, the coalition is urging support for an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would cut the number of ground troops that the United States keeps permanently stationed in Europe from 100,000 to 25,000 over a period of three years. 15,000 would be removed by September 30, 2000, and an additional 30,000 would be removed each of the next two years. This amendment will be offered by Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Christopher Shays (R-CT).

    What can you do?


    Setting the Terms for Globalization, From Below:

    the 41st Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner

    by Carl Shier

    The 41st Annual Eugene V. Debs - Norman Thomas - Michael Harrington Dinner was held on May 7th at the Holiday Inn City Centre. It was a resounding success. The Program Book, 40 pages of congratulations to Awardees Jackie Kendall of the Midwest Academy and James Tribble of UNITE, was a record.

    Charles Kernaghan, Executive Director of the National Labor Committee and the featured speaker, gave a barn burning, spell binding address few will ever forget.

    The printed word cannot adequately report how Kernaghan, holding up a Nike shirt that sells for $79 in the U.S., described the horrible conditions under which young girls worked for 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week. They are not allowed to go to the washroom more than once a day, and drink horrible water also only once a day because more water would cause them to go to the washroom. For all their work, at a piece work pace, they earned 39 cents an hour.

    He told of a confrontation between Kathy Lee Gifford and a 12 year old girl from El Salvador, who told Gifford how life was, working on her garments, and how Gifford tried to minimize her complaints and was told off by Kernaghan. Kernaghan told how he spent from 6 to 7 months tracing down how many made-in-America clothes Walmart sold; this is the Walmart which advertises Buy American and supposedly sells made-in-USA goods. Kernaghan was blocked at every turn until he took a little audio tape recorder and talked into it as he walked through the stores looking for made-in-USA products. He found very few.

    Kernaghan said the stories of work in China, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala will continue. He praised the college students of the country for taking on the fight against sweatshops here and abroad.

    It was a great speech. You could hear a pin drop as he let his facts speak for themselves. Already we have received requests for a tape, which, unfortunately, we do not have.

    Carole Travis, of the Service Employees International Union and a past Awardee, was the MC. She opened the Program by calling attention to two tables of steelworkers who have been on strike for five months at the Tool and Engineering Company, whose owner is CEO of Fruit of the Loom and is the highest paid CEO in Chicago. Attendees were asked to write to William Farley at 233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 500, Chicago 60606, and join the strikers on the picket line at 900 W. 18th Street. A good round of applause signaled support for their strike and their efforts.

    First presenter was past Awardee, Heather Booth, founder of Midwest Academy. Heather spoke of Jackie Kendall's organizational ability, and how she inspired people to live up to their potential by giving them confidence in themselves. Jackie will go anywhere to help an organization draw up programs and help facilitate them. With Congressperson Jan Schakowsky who was in attendance, she fought for, and got, consumers the right to know the freshness of their food by having dates put on all perishable items.

    In accepting the Award, Jackie Kendall told how grateful she was to receive the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Award; how, at Catholic school, she became aware of socialism (for years, she said, she thought all socialists were nuns); and how one's life should be about what they can do to make life better through a just society. The Midwest Academy, Kendall said, gave her the opportunity to train women and men to stand up for themselves and work in good causes.

    The presenter of the Award to James Tribble was UNITE's secretary - treasurer, Bruce Raynor. Bruce Raynor established a great record of militant organizing in the South and is likely to be the next President of UNITE. Raynor spoke of Jim Tribble's leadership on the front lines in organizing and negotiating, and his contributions at the International Board meetings of UNITE by being a union man who spoke his mind.

    In accepting the Award, Jim Tribble stated that he was honored to receive the Award and thus follow others in his union, such as Murray Finley, past President of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, Joyce Miller, who became President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and Arthur Loevy, Secretary - Treasurer of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers. Tribble spoke of what the union has meant to its members, many of whom work in entry level jobs. He stressed the importance of the Amalgamated - UNITE Building for classes in language, preparing for citizenship, and labor education. Tribble was proud that the building has a Debs Auditorium with one of Debs' famous quotations. The establishment of a full health facility for its members, and a Senior Citizen home adjacent to the Building, were measures that the union was proud of. He thanked UNITE people who attended and all the unions who contributed to the Program Book.

    The Dinner Committee decided not to do the traditional fund appeal by having members cover the hall with collection baskets. Instead, Jessica Shearer, National Coordinator of the Young Democratic Socialists, spoke on the work of DSA and the Young Democratic Socialists in many areas. She highlighted the fight against sweatshops here and abroad, and work for living wage ordinances in cities across the country.

    Prior to the serving of the Dinner, Mike Miles, past Executive Director of the Old Town School of Folk Music, entertained the participants.

    I would like to thank the Committee for presenting Marion and me with the basket of flowering Azaleas, recognizing the 60th Anniversary of our marriage of April 10, 1939. Even though I picked it up from the platform and got a caustic remark after the dinner by a woman telling me that marriage is of two people. It was wrong and I felt badly about not going up with Marion.

    One cannot finish a Dinner report without recognizing the work of Bob Roman. Chicago DSA and the Dinner Committee are so fortunate in having Bob coordinate the event. The amount of work necessary is great. Even in the guaranteeing of how many dinners we would serve, Bob was practically on target.

    To all those who contributed to the Program Book, attended the Dinner or otherwise worked to make this year's event a success, our appreciation.


    Markets and Socialism: an Unfruitful Debate?

    by Ron Baiman

     

    Market Socialism: The Debate Among Socialists

    By David Schweickart, James Lawler, Hillel Ticktin, and Bertell Ollman NY: Routledge

    Publication Date: 1998, 200 pages

     

    As a former participant in the "market socialism" debate of a few years ago in the pages of the DSA discussion bulletin Socialist Forum, I feel somewhat qualified to expound on what we have learned from it and in what ways it may still be fruitful to continue this "debate among socialists". I regret to report that I find this slim volume of expositions of the "old religion" of absolutist rejection of the market by Ollman and Ticktin, and defense of the "market socialist" vision and label by Schweickart and Lawler, to be singularly unfruitful.

    A major problem is that these positions are not exhaustive so that framing the issue as an either or choice between them is not productive. This dichotomy is reflected in the tendency of the participants to talk past one another by emphasizing the ways in which the affects of markets contradict and undermine the goals of "pure communism" and "freedom from necessity" on the one side, and the practical questions of allocation and transition from markets under capitalism, on the other.

    Another weakness of this book is the sterile debate between Lawler and Ollman regarding Marx's support, or lack thereof, for markets and worker cooperatives, which adds to the impression of scholasticism gone awry. The authors appear not to understand that, especially in light of Marx's notorious ambiguity on these matters, efforts to "claim Marx" for either position are of little importance to the general reader for whom this volume is targeted.

    In their defense, some of the participants, and Lawler in particular, attempt to find common ground by agreeing with the utopian vision of pure communism as an end result "certainly by the 24th century" (p. 189), and by outlining a path through market socialism to this final achievement. Schweickart also attempts to make peace with Ticktin and Ollman by outlining a fifty year transition period through market socialism after a socialist revolution, though he rejects the possibility of a society free from scarcity (and prices and markets) even in an ultimate pure communist utopia (p. 172). Moreover, some of the particular points made in the debate, e.g. Ollman's discussion of "alienation" under the market (p. 88 - 98), and Schweickart's review of his model of "economic democracy"(p. 17 - 20), may be useful "stand alone" introductions to the works of these authors, who are widely and deservedly recognized on the left as experts in these areas, even though little synergy can be gleamed from the juxtaposition of these discussions as opposing arguments.

    However, even when focusing on this "transition period" (or on something bordering on realism in terms of actualizable policy implications), the debate is cast is absolutist terms. For example, Ticktin advocates the removal of education, health, public transportation, housing, and utilities, completely out of the market as soon as possible (p. 161), and Schweickart chastising this plan for its impractical, inefficient, ideologically driven "anti-market" bias (p. 173).

    Schweickart in turn appears to base his transition scenario on an abrupt break with capitalist property relations and the institution of "economic democracy", or the Schweickart model of market socialism (which includes worker self-management and extensive investment planning) soon after the "revolution"(p. 174). In this regard, Lawler's more gradual transition through the establishment of worker cooperatives and market regulation appears more realistic, but seemingly contradicts the "market socialist" political orientation (p. 191). Why should "market socialists" focus on restraining and regulating the market? The feasibility of a property based transition strategy has, in fact, come under fire, in what I believe is a more fruitful rendering of this debate in Socialism after Communism: The New Market Socialism by Christopher Pierson (see my review in Science and Society, Summer 1998).

    In any case, the bottom line is that in this volume the reader is forced to choose between: a) a "hard" market socialist position (though, as noted, with worker democracy and economic planning) represented by David Schweickart, b) a "soft" market socialist position represented by James Lawler who agrees with Ollman and Ticktin on the ultimately possibility of "true" non-market communism but insists that the way to get there is through market socialism, or c) an absolute "market abolitionist" position which endorses the elimination of all markets as soon as possible because they are ideologically abhorrent and antithetical to the socialist project in the long and the short-term, as Ollman and Ticktin advocate.

    Lets be realistic. There is no way that a modern economy can operate without some form of markets. Schweickart's simple questions regarding housing: "Can anyone who wants one have a house on the beach?" (p. 174) points to the fact of scarcity no matter how productive the economy - there are scarcities of natural beauty (living in Chicago, like David Schweickart, I know!) and of created beauty which will not disappear. They will have to be allocated in some fashion, and making them all "public" will not do either. Who will get the Stradivarius violins? The "public" will ruin them. So we can either have administered (democratically or otherwise) allocation of all of these "scarce" items, or some form of equitable markets and planning, which will allow for a determination of how much people are willing to exchange for what attributes (who wants these goods the most), among the groups of individuals or households whose use of them will be most socially beneficial (using planning and regulation).

    If I sound somewhat like a Neoclassical economist, I'm not, but regarding scarce (even in an abundantly "productive" economy) commodity attributes, which are essentially what I'm talking about here, an approximate marginal utility theory is operative.

    The problem is that there is no feasible method of non-market allocation of these kinds of goods without absurdist collective meetings for every kind of consumer good, or the use of something approximating a market and differing from it in name only. The often cited, Albert and Hahnel model of participatory planning has been justifiably critiqued for both reasons, and is simply not viable (see Science and Society, Spring, 1992). A "non-market" solution does not and cannot exist, and even if one could be theoretically devised, in practice an attempt to legally prohibit "exchange" (which otherwise would inevitably lead to markets) would be an unenforceable Stalinist nightmare. To this extent I suppose I am taking the side of David Schweickart who does indeed do a good job of pointing out the contradictions in the Hahnel and Albert model in his book Against Capitalism (p. 329 - 334)

    Alternatively, we need go no further than Ticktin's bête noire, Alec Nove, to understand that without competition there is no consumer "choice" (see The Economics of Feasible Socialism, p. 203). If I like this painting better than that, or this concert better than that one, or this restaurant better than the other, I am comparing items which therefore stand in competition to one another vis a vis my choice. The producers of these items may not make a direct profit from my choice in a non-capitalist market economy, but the economic planners, whomever they may be, will have to respond to these patterns of consumer demand or the economy will be left producing unwanted and inferior goods. The chances are that the producers of the goods and services which are not in demand will resist the idea of reducing their output, so that the choice will reflect competition between these producers.

    This is not rocket science. Equitable consumer markets enforce accountability to consumers in ways that planners cannot because planners do not have the information and cannot supply the incentives. Markets also force innovation, as Marx and Schumpeter emphasized, in ways which planners cannot anticipate.

    On the other hand, major social choices, which require "voice" as opposed to "exit" in the famous Hirschman dichotomy, are best handled without markets.

    The problem with "market socialism" is not that it envisions (unavoidable) markets within socialism, but that as a sound bite for defining and politically orienting the socialist project, the "market socialist" label is politically self defeating - as Ollman points out (p. 119).

    The socialist project in the 21st century is not one of resuscitating markets within a non-market, centrally planned, Stalinist "socialism", but rather the opposite: to regulate, restrict, guide, and if necessary, eliminate markets, in order to achieve socialist goals and avoid the long-term destruction of the planet.

    Here, I would differ with Schweickart, and implicitly agree with Ollman and Ticktin, that socialist goals are often undermined by consumer markets, as well as by labor and capital markets. In fact as Christopher Pierson points out, most "market socialists", in so far as they are socialists, take much of the economy out of the market ("economic democracy" is a prime example of this). The "socialist" part of these models is typically a result of their non-market or anti-market characteristics. So what are socialists doing emphasizing the "market" as a characteristic that is equal to and even precedes "socialism"?

    Whatever the historic justification may have been for the terminology and political thrust ("let's bring markets back to socialism"), more suitable labels these days for the socialist project are perhaps: "socialism with markets", "democratic socialism", or (yes), "economic democracy". It is true that we socialists have got to get over our knee jerk antipathy to all things market - like (as Schweickart points out); however, we don't have to embrace markets as part of our core ideology. Markets are not going to disappear, and we need to recognize their value, particularly as stimulants of innovation, and of consumer accountability for private choices. But our job is mostly to restrain, reconfigure, and politicize markets in order to promote social choices.

    In this context, Pat Devine's distinction (in his book Democracy and Economic Planning) between "market exchange" and "market forces" may be useful. In a general sense it is the latter that we need to confront and not the former, though I would quibble with the idea of "negotiated coordination" taking on all "market force" decisions. Markets have a role in lessening direct personal dependency and oppression within political hierarchies ("invisibility" and market "veils" are sometimes good!) and in some cases increasing the efficiency of otherwise unobtainable outcomes.

    However, I find a "market socialist" political strategy within capitalism to be misguided and counter - productive. To this extent I would agree with Ollman and Ticktin that for the most part we socialists must work against unplanned, unregulated and misguided "Market forces" (with a capital "M") which generally serve to oppress and alienate us. As socialists we need to emphasize our core values and vision, and not confuse our position with Neoliberal market genuflection.


    More ...

    by Bob Roman

    It is easy enough to dismiss the debate between market and non - market socialisms as an argument over labels. Certainly that is in large part true. But the reason the debate persists and the reason it evokes such passion is that it speaks to a central aspect of socialist identity and hope.

    Perhaps this is captured best by Michael Harrington's favorite parable. Imagine, he might say, a desert civilization where water is precious, so precious that it is money. People fight and die and connive over it. Governments covet it. Marriages are made and broken because of it. Water is the basis of all exchange and the motivation of all that is accomplished.

    Someone from this civilization, being told of a city where there are public water fountains and where children are sometimes allowed to turn on the fire hydrants in summer to frolic in the water, would be sure you were crazy. For that person would know, with an existential certitude, that it is human nature to fight over water and to do nothing without the motivation of water. And yet, here today, we have "socialized" water; no matter who you are in our society, you can be pretty certain of having a drink when you need one.

    And in some speeches Harrington would add that if we could solve the problem of economics then we might have an opportunity to learn how to love one another.

    But would we? And what would such a society look like? How would people live? This is beyond the ken of economics, and what little Marx said about it over the years, in sum, sounds vaguely like California. But there is a large body of speculative fiction that deals directly and indirectly with just this topic.

    There are a number of strands of opinion represented in this literature, and while space here is a scarce commodity, here are some major themes and some examples worth reading.

    The dominant opinion in the 1950s and early 1960s was that post-economic society would be the end of history, at least, if not the end of civilization and possibly the end of the world. The best example of this is the classic film, the 2001 / Star Wars of its time, The Forbidden Planet. The ruins of that civilization are all that we see, but the narrative makes the danger explicit of a society where all individuals have the power of a god. A fairly decent "novelization" of the screen play was published in 1956, but you'll have better luck finding the video. Another example is Murray Leinster's pulp quality novel, The Duplicators, which argues for at least the end of civilization. Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars begins in the city of Diaspar, where nothing has happened for hundreds of millions of years: the end of history for sure! (The story begins, incidentally, with the hero deep in what we would today call a virtual reality game. This was published in 1956.)

    More recent work is more kind, but would we learn to love one another? One complication is that not everyone might enter into the "post economic" society at once. This serves as the basis for conflict in a great many novels. Joe Haldeman's The Forever Peace is a particularly interesting example as it takes place in the near future with interesting consequences though, unfortunately, it's not a good story. Other better examples are almost any of Iain M. Banks' "Culture" novels; I'd recommend Consider Phlebas or The Use of Weapons. Other notable examples are Samuel Delany's Triton or John Barnes' A Million Open Doors.

    But would we learn to love one another? We might find other things to fight about. Some good examples are John Barnes' Earth Made of Glass or Samuel Delany's Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand.

    I've only just skimmed the surface, yet I can't end without mentioning Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy Green Mars, Red Mars and Blue Mars; or an interesting look at a society where markets, if important, have become clearly secondary, Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth; or Gregory Benford's high-tech anarcho-syndicalist The Jupiter Project.

    Ironically, while the political left wanders in ideological confusion, it's basic aspirations are still quite strong in speculative fiction.


    Other News

    compiled by Bob Roman

    The Han Young Strike Continues

    Since the flurry of solidarity of activity in Chicago last fall, the Han Young strike in Tijuana has been largely out of the news. But the fight is not over, and there have been interesting developments.

    On April 6th, the 15th District Court in northern Baja California ruled that Tijuana authorities had violated the law last June in suppressing a strike at Han Young. The local labor board had called the strike "nonexistent" last year, but now has publicly conceded that is legal.

    On May 3rd, the Han Young union again tied red and black strike flags across the Han Young factory gate. This brought production to an end because when the strike flags are put up in a legal strike in Mexico, the struck establishment must be closed and remain closed until a settlement is reached.

    On May 5th, two lawyers from the Baja California employers' association, COPARMEX, arrived at the plant accompanied by ten trucks of Tijuana municipal police and twenty scabs. The lawyers demanded the police remove the strike banners and the police were about to do so, but the confrontation had acquired an audience. Television crews from local stations, representatives of the federal Labor Department and activists from the PRD had arrived. The police told the scabs to go home. Less than a week later the police were back, in force, and escorted 70 scabs into the plant. This was largely a symbolic act as the scabs had no idea how to operate the equipment. The next day, the union once again tied the strike flags across the factory gates.

    Since then, the fight has turned into a contest between local officials who attempt to find ways of circumventing the strike's legal status, primarily by targeting local union officials for arrest under spurious criminal charges, and the union's attempt to broaden the conflict by bringing the issue into federal venues. Arrest warrants have been countered with court injunctions. The political solidarity of the Tijuana ruling class has been threatened by Congressional investigations. The strategy, as it has evolved, seems to be working, at least in the sense that the strike continues and union organizing has become an electoral issue in the maquiladora zone.

    HOPE for Africa Bill

    HR 772, Congressman Jackson's HOPE for Africa bill covered in New Ground #63 continues to gain support in the form of cosponsors, including Illinois congressmen Jerry Costello (12th), David Phelps (19th), Bobby Rush (1st), William Lipinski (3rd) and Luis Gutierrez (4th). DSA member Major Owens has also signed on as a cosponsor. A few, such as Bobby Rush and Major Owens, also remain cosponsors of HR 434, the "NAFTA for Africa". In contrast, HR 434, has gained but one new cosponsor and has lost two.

    Municipal Gains

    The Chicago municipal elections are old news by now, but it's worth noting two victories. Ted Thomas, President of Chicago ACORN and a New Party candidate won his election run off, as did lakefront lefty Helen Shiller. Another New Party endorsed candidate, Floyd Thomas on the west side was not so fortunate. Ted Thomas, Helen Shiller and Floyd Thomas were all endorsed by Chicago DSA. In southern Hyde Park and South Shore, Leslie Hairston won over incumbent Barbara Holt. Unfortunately, Jesse Granato won reelection over Cynthia Soto on the near northwest side.

    Campaign for Better Health Care

    As New Ground goes to press, it looks like some manner of Health Care Bill of Rights will pass out of the Illinois Senate. Getting anything worthwhile out of Illinois Senate is an accomplishment worth crowing about, though the bill appears to be only just worthwhile. In the meantime, the Campaign for Better Health Care is looking for dedicated individuals interested in helping with their Medicare / Managed Care Help Line. For more information, give them a call at (312) 913 - 9449 or fax them at (312) 913 - 9559.

    Harrington Video

    So far we've arranged about a half dozen showings of the new video "Michael Harrington and Today's Other America: Corporate Power and Inequality", and it has consistently been a great experience. If you belong to a group or know of a group which would like to sponsor a showing of this stimulating program, give the Chicago DSA office a call: (773) 384 - 0327.

    DSA National Convention

    The 1999 DSA National Convention has been set for November 12 - 14, 1999 in San Diego, California. The convention rate of $79 plus tax has been established for single or double rooms. $10 per person will be added for triples or quads. The convention rate will be available from Wednesday, November 10th through Sunday the 14th for those who wish to tack on a day or two of vacation. Hotel reservations can be made immediately by calling the hotel at 1-800-676-6567 from 8am - 5pm, Pacific time. All reservations must be made by October 14th in order to get the convention rate. Elections for Chicago delegates will probably take place in September.

    Mother Jones Dinner

    In Springfield, Illinois, the annual Mother Jones Dinner is just about as much of an institution as Chicago's Debs - Thomas -Harrington Dinner. They've produced a video, "The Mother Jones Dinner: 10 Years and Counting" which highlights progressive labor speakers and entertainers, including Victor Reuther (UAW), Roberta Lynch (AFSCME), Cecil Roberts (UMWA), Diana Kilmury (Teamsters), and Tony Mazzochi (OCAW), with Utah Philips, Ann Feeney, John O'Conner, Joe Glazer and Kristin Lems. The video includes a guest appearance of Suzanne Croteau as Mother Jones. The video is 45 minutes and copies cost $15 each plus $3 postage. Order from: Mother Jones Foundation, P.O. Box 20412, Springfield, IL 62708.

    Gay Pride

    It's been a few years since Chicago DSA has had a delegation in Chicago's annual Gay Pride parade. The recently reorganized Gay Lesbian Bisexual Commission will be taking up the tradition again. If you'd like to participate, call Ben at (773) 363 - 9011 or the Chicago DSA office at (773) 384 - 0327.


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