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New Ground 72

September - October, 2000

Contents

  • Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia by Robert Roman
  • Working for World Class Public Transit: A Profile of the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit by Eduardo Aviles and Amanda Eichelkraut
  • Campaign for Care and Dignity by Bob Roman
  • You Don't Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone by William R. Kelley
  • Sue Cohen:
  • The Good Life by Miriam Rabban
  • Sue Cohen, We Miss You by Vicky Starr
  • Sue and Milt Cohen: 1989 Thomas - Debs Award
  • Other News compiled by Robert Roman
  • Air and Water Show Protest
    While We Were Sleeping
    Young Democratic Socialists
    Day Against Capitalism
    Save the Date
    US/LEAPs into Cyberspace
    Nike Truth Tour
    New Ground Archive
  • Open University of the Left Fall Quarter

  • Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia

    by Robert Roman

    Chicago DSA has endorsed the Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia. The Chicago campaign is part of a larger ongoing campaign in Colombia and in the U.S. to overcome the devastating effects of the endemic human rights abuses and the concomitant impunity allowed the perpetrators of these crimes.

    The Chicago campaign is planning two events in Chicago.

    The first is a Tribunal on Human Rights in Colombia. The Tribunal will conduct a public tribunal on the bombing deaths of 19 people, including 7 children, in the community of Santodomingo, Colombia, as a result of a military attack on the community on December 13, 1998. Community leaders claim that the Colombian Air Force targeted the village with rocket bombs. The military asserts that a guerrilla car bomb was to blame. The Colombian government has neither fully investigated nor assigned responsibility for the deaths. Surviving family members along with regional and national human rights organizations are convinced that international pressure and sanction is necessary to gain justice for the families of Santodomingo.

    The Tribunal will hear expert witnesses, review forensic evidence, and hear testimony from witnesses of the event. The findings of the Tribunal will be announced in early December in Chicago and later that month in Colombia. The Tribunal's findings include recommendations for ending the impunity of perpetrators and achieving justice for the victims of violence in Colombia.

    The Tribunal will consist of The Honorable Seymour Simon, Ms. Bernardine Dohrn, The Honorable Jesus Garcia, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Mr. Peter Baugher, Ms. Rita Fry, Ms. Maricela Garcia, and The Honorable Dom Rizzi. The hearings will take place Friday and Saturday of September 22 and 23, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Northwestern University Law School, 357 E. Chicago Av, Room 150, in Chicago.

    The second event is two days of Public Hearings on Human Rights in Colombia. These hearings are planned for January 26 and 27 of 2001. The hearings will address the scope and nature of human rights abused in Colombia, military and paramilitary collusion, the effects of "impunity", U.S. policy and the economic and geo-strategic interests behind the war on drugs, the dangerous liaisons in military funding, and the role of grassroots advocacy in changing U.S. policy.

    The Chicago Campaign for Justice in Colombia is the collaborative effort of the Center for International Human Rights of Northwestern University, American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, the Colombia Support Network, the Chicago Colombia Committee, the 8th Day Center for Justice, and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Order of Friars Minor Sacred Heart Province, Franciscan Community of Rodchester Minnesota, School of Americas Watch Illinois, Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The campaign works directly with Colombian members of the tribunal campaign, "Stop Impunity Colombia Demands Justice". If you'd like to help, contact the folks at the 8th Day Center for Justice at 312.641.5151.


    Working for World Class Public Transit: A Profile of the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit

    by Eduardo Aviles and Amanda Eichelkraut

    Citizen Action/Illinois is proud to announce the formation of the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit! The Campaign to Build Illinois Transit is a statewide coalition of concerned individuals, transit riders, labor groups, business leaders, and community organizations working to heighten awareness of public transit issues and concerns and build support for a more convenient, safe, affordable and accessible public transit system. Through an aggressive public education and statewide organizing campaign, the coalition will advocate for a world-class public transit system for the entire state of Illinois.

    Public transportation has many benefits. It helps to reduce traffic congestion and improves the environment through the reduction of air, water, and noise pollution. Public transportation also helps families save money. By utilizing public transit to travel to work, recreational activities, and cultural attractions, families can save thousands of dollars a year. Mass transit can also have a positive effect on economic growth and development. In this growing and prosperous economy, transportation options are even more important to the overall health, livability, and sustainability of communities.

    The goals of the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit are to:

    Illinois FIRST funding provided much needed investment in public transit capital improvements, but did not address the need for accessibility, system expansions, linking of system services, and fare reductions. Although the need for mass transit continues to increase, funding levels have remained virtually static for years. Therefore, the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit supports the Build Illinois Transit Plan to provide Illinois with a truly world-class public transit system. This plan advocates for an additional $4.4 billion over 5 years for mass transit for systems statewide and would provide over 4,000 accessible transit vehicles throughout the state to expand and improve service, while also allowing linking of services between communities.

    The Campaign's efforts officially kicked off in July 2000, with a successful series of transit summits throughout Illinois. The first summit, held in Waukegan on July 26th, was attended by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers from Lake County, including Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), Rep. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), Rep. Sidney Mathias (R-Buffalo Grove), and Timothy Osmond (R-Antioch). Testimony given by representatives from local businesses, the disability community, labor, environmental, religious, education, and others spoke to the need for increased public transportation options in their community. Summits were also held in Will County and Rock Island County. In October and November 2000, the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit will be hosting more transit summits in the Aurora area and in Central Illinois.

    The Campaign to Build Illinois Transit will also begin producing a newsletter this fall. A statewide steering committee will be formed and will convene in January 2001. This committee will help identify local transit needs statewide and will be involved with key decisions throughout the state legislative session.

    The Campaign to Build Illinois Transit is a project of Citizen Action / Illinois, the state's largest public interest group. There are currently over 140 Campaign coalition partners, which include community organizations, local municipalities, transit providers, labor groups, legislative officials and Chicago DSA. If you or your organization would like more information or would like to join the Campaign to Build Illinois Transit, please call Amanda or Ed at Citizen Action / Illinois at 312-427-2114 or e-mail amanda@citizenaction-il.org or go to http://www.citizenaction-il.org.


    Campaign for Care and Dignity

    by Bob Roman

    At the August Executive Committee meeting, Chicago DSA endorsed the Campaign for Care and Dignity. This campaign is being organized by AFSCME Council 31 and by SEIU Illinois Council. It is a legislative campaign to raise the wages direct care workers.

    Direct care workers are people who work with the developmentally disabled. While many direct care workers are employed by nonprofit service organizations, their pay is determined by the state of Illinois and paid for by state and federal funds. The average hourly wage for these workers is only $7.49; to be at the poverty level for a family of four, an employee would need to earn $8.19 an hour. Direct care workers suffer some of the highest injury rates of all employees. Lost work days due to injury among nursing home workers, for example, is higher than for miners and construction workers. Not surprisingly, the turnover rate among direct care workers in Illinois is about 80 percent.

    House Bill 4731 has been introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives by Representative Julie Hamos (D-Evanston). The bill would provide funding for a $1 an hour increase in wages for direct care workers who work with the developmentally disabled in privately run agencies. In addition, Senator Christine Radogno has taken the lead in introducing a Senate version. HB4731 has strong support among the providers of these services and from a broad coalition of community organizations. The bill will be considered during the November, 2000, veto session.

    As of the end of August, the Campaign for Care and Dignity had been endorsed by Advocates United, Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, Citizen Action / Illinois, Coalition for Consumer Rights, Fox Center Family and Friends, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Kiley Parents' Association, National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter, Rogers Park Community Action Network, and Women Employed. In the House, HB4731 has gained 54 cosponsors.

    For more information, contact Marrianne McMullen, Public Affairs Director for AFSCME Council 31 at 312.641.6060x310 or at marrim@afscmeillinois.org.


    You Don't Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone

    by William R. Kelley

    Striking Steel: Solidarity Remembered, by Jack Metzgar. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.

    Jack Metzgar's book is an attempt at a three-way reconciliation: of New Left with Old Labor, of a son with his father, and of historical memory with historical truth. In all of these he succeeds nicely, falling short only when he attempts to venture into the realm of historical explanation. A satisfactory explanation, though, would require a treatment much longer than the few chapters he gives to trying to account for what he has found.

    What Metzgar found, and offers to us, is a huge gap in historical memory. What has disappeared is any awareness of the tremendous social importance of unions in the period from the end of World War II to the end of the 1970s. Metzgar begins on a personal note with an incident where even his father, as strong a union man as one could want, for a moment forgot "what we all owe the union," then traces this lacuna through popular culture to the major written histories that cover the period.

    To show that there is a gap Metzgar writes a history of the massive Steel Strike of 1959. Taken as the "largest strike in U.S. history," this becomes a springboard to show the importance of the strike to the continued strength of the union, the importance of a strong union to its members, and the importance of a strong union movement to other, non-unionized workers around the country.

    It is in the historical portions that the book is at its strongest. The narrative is brisk and engaging, and whenever the larger history is intertwined with personal material the reality of the history is brought vividly to life. Metzgar begins with a general history of the formation of the CIO, the organization of the Steelworkers, and the trajectory that led to the Big One, the strike of 1959. He continues with a chapter on the history of the strike itself. At every point Metzgar highlights the important positive effects unionization had on steelworkers.

    Metzgar even devotes a chapter to an eloquent defense of the reason for the strike and the Steelworkers' insistence on "no backward steps." This was Section 2-B, which addressed work rules: in particular, past practice and "local working conditions." The author is placed in the unenviable position of justifying exactly the kind of thing that has often been pointed to as one of the "excesses" of unionsand succeeds! Rather than thinking in terms of "rigid union work rules," he adopts instead the concept of "workplace rule of law," and shows what a difference a rule of law can make to the lives of the workers. If the workplace rule of law is, at base, designed to prevent arbitrary abuses of management power, then to have given way on Section 2-B would indeed have opened up a loophole any good lawyer could have used to unravel many of the bonds the union had crafted to rein in management. It all makes sense.

    Next, he shows how important the Steelworkers' success in defending the workplace rule of law was to stopping a general management counteroffensive and facilitating a gradual spread of the standards won by unions to the rest of society. I can't have any complaint about that. In the early 1980s I worked for an employee benefits consulting firm, and it was understood that unionized shops set the standard by which everyone else in the company would be measured. Whenever the union won a new benefit or an extension of an existing one, everyone else had to be adjusted upwards also, even if only just enough to offer them more than what came to union members. This, a senior consultant told me, was so management could give all the salaried employees the message that, whatever they were doing, they deserved better than the guys on the shop floor. When the union newsletter runs the cartoon of the union member holding up the rest of the world, this is no joke. Metzgar does a good job pointing it out.

    Metzgar has succeeded in his first goal, then, to restore to memory the central significance of the union movement of the 1950s and show the presence of an absence in the conventional narratives of the time. The three chapters devoted to the Steelworkers, the strike, its reason and its importance are solid, readable, and exciting. They are the heart of the book. At the same time, those who adopted the perspective of the New Left can come to terms with Old Labor, and a son can reconcile with his father. The book is well worth it if only for this.

    Metzgar's second goal is one of accounting for the presence of this gap or lacuna in historical memory. He devotes two chapters to this, one to why participants in union culture could forget their own past and one to why the general culture would be so forgetful.

    While he only mentions the word once or twice, what Metzgar is trying to do is account for is what is called hegemony in the formation of mass consciousness. The concept, in its modern form, comes from the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. It was fine for Marx and Engels to write, in The German Ideology, that

    The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: i.e., the class, which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.

    This insight, which starts from taking a critical historical perspective on observed outcomes and initially seems plausible enough, proves problematic as soon as an analyst tries to understand this in terms of a historical process that would tend to result in the outcomes observed. Gramsci tried to talk about processes by talking about hegemony, or influential political leadership by one member of a group. A class fragment exercises hegemony over the rest of society whenever it articulates positions in such a way that it appears, in the experience of the members of society, to speak for everyone.

    Metzgar gives hegemony to the professional middle class; in particular, everyone who has been through the homogenizing process of going to college, becoming part of the salariat, and reproducing this class-based perspective in their own cultural productions. Metzgar, as a college professor from the working class, and who as such shares the split consciousness of all those who make this transition, is a close observer and seems to be on solid ground here.

    For example, when he notes the concerted efforts of representatives of business to distribute educational material on the virtues of the capitalist system that, amazingly, provides all the benefits attained by unions without mentioning unionization, or when the Rubberworkers were unable to have the history of the union movement included in the general history taught to Akron schoolchildren, these are telling moments in the erasure of unions from history.

    However, how could it be that those who were so involved in the "culture of unionism" would themselves forget, particularly if, as he writes, at one time they were so aware of their difference? Metzgar provides lots of vivid pieces of historical narrative but none of it is woven into a whole. Union politics may have led some to discount the 1959 strike, and disenchantment with the union may have led others to discount the importance of unionization overall. The business class had its reasons for dismissing unions, liberal professionals had theirs, and the New Left had its own scathing critique. Upwardly mobile children had their own causes for forgetfulness. In short, after the 1960s unions were just abandoned by nearly everyone with whom they may have made common cause or at least have bothered to remember them.

    Here his answer is less satisfactory. Even if all their former allies abandoned them, why couldn't the unions themselves, which seemed to be such powerful institutional actors in the late 1950s, assert themselves in such a way as to defend their own importance, at least to their members? Rather than a hodge-podge of pieces of narrative, Metzgar would have done better, I think, to have included a consideration of the way in which the hegemony of the professional middle class penetrates even the consciousness of the working class and its children.

    To understand the workings of hegemony Metzgar needed a broader comparative perspective. He would have found that not just regarding unions, but in general, collective enterprises are nearly invisible when compared to the celebration of the individual. For instance, why isn't public health better remembered? Epidemiologists know that a great deal of the improved lifespan of Americans is due not to heroic surgeons but to basic public health measures: clean water, clean air, sanitary waste disposal, mass vaccinations, and things like that, but this is nearly invisible compared to the triumphs of the latest advances in surgery. We've heard of Jane Addams, but who are the people who eliminated Chicago's mosquito-borne disease problems of the late 19th and early 20th centuries? Similarly, engineering is almost always collaborative work. How many famous engineers can you name? We all know who Neil Armstrong is, but who designed the Saturn B-5 booster? Metzgar is on the trail of something bigger than the invisibility of unions.

    Similarly, Metzgar could use more historical depth. When he writes that the view of the U.S. as having three classes was a mistake that "began in the fifties" (p. 211), he is simply wrong. If he had looked back into classic work done by anthropologists and sociologists of the United States: Middletown, Middletown Revisited, Democracy in Elmtown, Lloyd Warner's Yankee City series, Plainville, etcetera, he would have developed a better basis for comparison, and would have seen that the rough outline in terms of three classes long predates the 1950s.

    So Metzgar has not fully accounted for the hegemony of certain class fragments bearing certain images of an ideal America. An answer might begin by noting that no one is just a steelworker, or merely a member of a union. Instead, personal identity is built up from a variety of social relations engaged in by an individual, and many of these involve relative status ranking. This is a basic pathway through which hegemonic ideas of heroic individualism can come to take up residence in one's soul. One can hardly blame Metzgar for not going there, however, since the topic needs more than a few chapters.

    Similarly, there is one chapter that, in a basic way, is not part of the overall subject of the book. After explaining the importance of Section 2-B to the Steelworkers, and touching on the question of whether work rules affect productivity, Metzgar takes a chapter to address the question of whether a strong labor union "harmed" the steel industry. It is easy enough to see why he wanted to address it. It seems like many of those he has known are actively hostile to "productivity," since they identify it with personal exhaustion. Still, a question like this deserves a book-length treatment of its own, and it hurts the overall flow of the text to try to treat it as an aside.

    There are two issues that must be addressed: (1) whether work rules harmed "productivity" and (2) whether the proportion of revenues returned to labor made U.S. steel so expensive that it was (a) priced out of the emerging global market, (b) made so unprofitable compared to other steel sources that capital fled the U.S. steel industry, or some combination of the two.

    As for the first question, Metzgar is able to show that productivity in the U.S. steel industry, as measured in annual tons shipped per wage worker, continuously improved from the period 1940 to 1984, and remained higher even than Japanese workers as late as 1982. But then he starts to lard it on unnecessarily, writing that productivity figures are distorted because "the industry loaded up on salaried employees during this period, increasing their proportion of the total workforce from 12 percent in 1942 to 31 percent by 1982" (122). Yet his own Table A shows that the change in proportions was largely due to declining numbers of wage laborers (the source of their increased productivity, of which he is justly proud) and not a huge increase in salaried employees. With the exception of the boom years from 1965 to 1970, when salaried employment averaged 129 thousand, from 1956 to 1980 salaried employment averaged 115 thousand and only fluctuated within 4 percent on either side of it. Similarly, once he had shown that conventional journalists had gotten the story wrong by relying too heavily on the anecdotes of retired middle-managers, he didn't need to conclude by charging them with "chicken-shit Presbyterianism." Really, debunking their myths should be enough.

    As for the second issue, whether the proportion of revenues returned to labor were so high as to have one or more debilitating effects on the industry, Metzgar answers "yes," more or less (pp. 136-8), and then quickly changes the subject. He looks instead to all the beneficial changes wrought by all that money flowing into the hands of working people. He treats it as an extension of New Deal policies designed to combat underconsumption due to inadequate income. All of this is very true, but it can't hide the fact that he said yes. Since he doesn't go farther, it is hard to tell what message we are supposed to take from this. "We Gutted Steel So Our Children Can Visit Us in Arizona?" Or, "We Sucked the Bastards Dry So . . ." -so what? What would be enough to serve as a justification for destroying an industry?

    As an answer to the question he posed in his chapter subhead, "Did the Steelworkers' Standard of Living Wreck the Industry?," none of the ancillary benefits matter. The only telling point he makes is that, given the inherent antagonism between capital and labor, and given the absence of a strong mediating influence on the part of government, it is hard to see how things could have turned out differently at the time. That is an important argument, but the chapter is too short for him to develop it enough. The result is a weak conclusion to a chapter that didn't need to be in the book at all.

    Still, although this is not a perfect book, at the heart of it is a compelling portrait. Metzgar has a wonderful way with historical narrative. The story is intrinsically important, and is particularly timely when private-sector union membership has fallen to new lows and we are surrounded by a mendacious market triumphalism. With any luck this book could well serve to reinsert a memory of the importance of strong unionism into America's narrative of itself.


    The Good Life

    by Miriam Rabban

    Sue Cohen lived the good life. The life that she lived was full of meaning, full of comrades, reading, thinking and acting. Sue shared her life with her husband Milt, a truly decent man, who fought the good fight until he died several years ago. Sue met him on his way back to Chicago from fighting in the Spanish Civil War with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. She fell and stayed in love. Together, they fought many battles over the years. With Milt, Sue was active in key movements of their time, from civil rights to union fights. She was involved in the women's movement and brought insights from consciousness raising groups to her relationship with Milt.

    I got to know Sue and Milt through the Hyde Park Branch of DSA, when I lived near them in the neighborhood. I had the privilege of learning from them the meaning of comrade. They shared their experience, their insights, their energy, their wisdom. But beyond these invaluable gifts, they also were able to connect with people to convey concern about their lives, their being. Sue and Milt were totally trustworthy.

    I remember the peace that I felt sitting with Sue in her living room. She would talk about the books that she read, the people whom we knew, the issues to be addressed.

    Sue and Milt demonstrated for me what a full life of active political engagement and deep human decency can be. They provided me with real living models of what I admire in human beings. And this living example has sustained me through times when the poor match of good politics but meager humanity could disillusion.

    A few days before I sat down to write this remembrance of Sue, I was asked about influences on my life, and why I am now working to strengthen neighborhoods in the Bronx. I was silent for a moment and thought. And the image of Sue came into my mind's eye. She had a profound influence on me, because she showed me how I hope to live. To honor Sue, I can try to follow her example and aspire to a life of engagement and decency. We all can.

     

    Sue Cohen, We Miss You

    by Vicky Starr

    Sue Cohen, 86, died on the 3rd of July. Her husband, Milt Cohen, passed away in January, 1994. They have been missed by all of their Chicago friends since they moved to Portland, Oregon to be with their daughter and her family.

    One more old-timer will not be with us. Sue was in frail health. She died instantly of a heart attack.

    Several of us who kept on communicating with her were the beneficiaries of her wisdom and keen intellect. Sue was always up to date on the political scene. Because of her prolific reading, she was able to suggest good books for the reading menu.

    For those of us who spoke with her regularly, our lives are diminished. She will be sorely missed.

     

    Sue and Milt Cohen

    For fifty years you two have put your lives on the line in unflagging struggle for a better world. While Milt went to Spain to fight fascism with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Sue worked with the Unemployed Councils and stood courageously against police terror in the 1937 Republic Steel Company massacre.

    When you were called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, Milt, you stood up for all Americans by insisting for nine long years that we have a right to express our political beliefs. You carried on your struggle for civil liberties and against political harassment through the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.

    You both worked in the civil rights movement. Milt, your efforts with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs to build coalitions of Jews, African-Americans, and Hispanics have helped heal this city's divisions. You then applied these skills to movements of the handicapped and the poor.

    Sue and Milt, you have spent countless hours registering voters, passing literature and petitions, and working to elect progressives. Your efforts were pivotal in convincing Harold Washington to run for Mayor.

    With the New American Movement and now as Chair of Chicago DSA, you have refused to let us become complacent, Milt. No matter what the burdens, no matter what the set-backs, you both have risen again and again to strategize with us about the way forward to a just society.

    The Norman Thomas - Eugene V. Debs Committee is honored to present you with its award on this 6th day of May, 1989.


    Other News

    compiled by Robert Roman

    Air and Water Show Protest

    A major part of Chicago's summer cycle of bread and circuses (we have become the "city that entertains" rather than the "city that works"), the 42nd Annual Air and Water Show took place, as usual, on the weekend of August 19 and 20. And as usual for the past seven years, the folks at the Eight Day Center for Justice were out there to protest the inherent militarism of the event as well as the distorted priorities reflected in our bloated military budget. This year Chicago DSA endorsed the event. Mark Weinberg reports:

    "I leafleted at the Air and Water Show for a few hours on Sunday. I don't know how many other DSAers showed up but our presence was needed. The leaflet was well done and the reception was more indifferent than hostile; most people know that military recruiters are lying when they say you'll be doing fancy flying rather than cleaning latrines. I hadn't realized before how heavy and misleading the recruitment message was during the show."

    While We Were Sleeping

    Chicago DSA was among the cosponsors of this year's Chicago Media Watch conference for media activists. The conference, entitled "While We Were Sleep", was held at the Crown Center on Loyola University's lake shore campus on September 9 and 10. About a hundred people heard some dynamite speakers. It was a good two day conference. It would have been an excellent one day event.

    Young Democratic Socialists

    DSA's youth group, the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS), will be having its Fall Conference at the University of Chicago on October 13, 14 and 15. The Fall Conference is something akin to YDS' national convention. The focus is mostly internal, with selection of the national leadership and resolutionary socialism on the agenda. Tentative plans include workshops and training on prison justice, working with labor, anti-sweatshop activism, racial justice activism, and feminism. Bill Fletcher of the AFL-CIO will be the keynote speaker. For more information, contact the DSA National Office at 212.727.8610 or check the web site http://www.dsausa.org/youth.

    Day Against Capitalism

    On Tuesday, September 26, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold their semi-annual joint meeting in Prague, Czech Republic. Tens of thousands will take to the streets in Prague that day to protest these harmful institutions and their advance into Eastern Europe. In cities across the U.S., coalitions of labor, community, students and faith-based activists are organizing against local targets to highlight the same issues that our sisters and brothers will be protesting in Prague.

    Chicago is no exception.

    The Chicago May Day Coalition, of which Chicago DSA is a part, is planning a 4:00 PM demonstration at the Board of Trade, Jackson and LaSalle, in Chicago.

    Save the Date

    The evening of Wednesday, October 25, is the date tentatively set for the newly revived North Lake Front Branch of Chicago DSA. The location will probably be the newly revived No Exit Café in the Rogers Park neighborhood. John Chavez-Pedersen was selected to serve as the Branch Representative on the Executive Committee until the branch organizes itself. If the original boundaries are maintained, the branch will be entitled to two representatives.

    Detroit DSA

    Detroit DSA's Douglass - Debs Dinner is planned for October 21 this year. The honorees will be Detroit City Councilmember (and DSA member) Maryann Mahaffey and UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker.

    US/LEAPs into Cyberspace

    The U.S./Labor Education in the Americas Project is in the process of setting up a web site, http://www.usleap.org. The site already has the latest information on their Kimi and Yoo Yang campaigns, and more is promised as time allows. They solicit your opinion on the site, so give it a visit.

    The latest issue (August, 2000) of US/LEAP's newsletter has some particularly good coverage of the ongoing crisis in the banana industry. The situation is a particularly good illustration of both the value of unions and the "race to the bottom" pressure generated by unregulated international trade.

    Nike Truth Tour

    The Nike Truth Tour sponsored by the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) stopped in Chicago on Wednesday, August 9, in time to link up with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) which was having its national convention in Chicago at the same time.

    The two groups joined forces with UNITE! to organize a demonstration at Niketown on north Michigan avenue. The demonstrators infiltrated the store and, at a pre-arranged signal, unfurled banners and began chanting.

    The in-store demonstration was largely without incident except that one USAS student, Jonathan, was arrested upon a complaint by Niketown, apparently because he was videotaping the event. Niketown dropped out as a complainant, being replaced by one of the security guards, possibly to avoid making Jonathan a "victim" of corporate oppression.

    Some 200 people participated in the demonstration and the informational picket line.

    New Ground Archive

    Back issues of New Ground are now available on the web. Go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive.


    Open University of the Left Fall Quarter

    Location: Lincoln Park Branch Library, 1150 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago

    Cosposored by Chicago DSA.

    October 4, Wednesday, 6:30 PM

    Third Parties in America

    Political outsider Jeffrey Vega leads a discussion about 3rd party campaigns in American history using as a touchstone David Reynold's book Democracy Unbound: Progressive Challenges to the Two Party System (South End Press 1997) with responses from a panel of activists.

    October 18, Wednesday, 6:30 PM

    "Capitalism and Elections."

    Discussion by DePaul University Philosophy Professor Bill Martin, author of Politics in the Impasse: Explorations in Postsecular Social Theory (State University of New York 1996), Humanism and its Aftermath: The Shared Fate of Deconstruction & Politics (Prometheus Books 1998), and a forthcoming book on Jean-Paul Sartre.

    October 17, Tuesday, evening

    Should Progressives and the Left Support Nader or Gore?

    Save the date for a real debate! Two speakers for Nader and two for Gore with a soapbox for the audience. This event will be at the HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago. This event is still in the process of being organized; stay tuned for more details.

    For more information, call David Williams at 773-486-1823.


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