New Ground 132
September - October, 2010
132.1 -- 09.29.2010
0. DSA News
One Nation Working Together
by Frank Llewellyn
YDS at One Nation Working Together
Socialist International Presidium Meets in New York
One Nation Marches for Jobs
FBI by Bob Roman
2. Democratic Socialism
3. Upcoming Events of Interest
132.2 -- 10.15.2010
0. DSA News
Marching to Washington
(Chicago) DSA at 10.02.2010 by Bill
Barclay and Peg Strobel
A Social Medium of Our Own
Hotel Temperature Rising
And at Loyola University Too
Good News from Immokalee
Strike at UIC?
Lobby Against the Death Penalty
Social Media: What's It Good For?
The Tea Party's Cold War Roots
2. Ars Politica
Music Is Hell
3. Democratic Socialism
Red Plenty: Lessons from the Soviet
That Slightly Imaginary Scandinavia: the Welfare State in Europe
4. Upcoming Events of Interest
132.3 -- 10.29.2010
0. DSA News
Why We Marched
Another Victory in Immokalee
Regional Anti-War Rally
2. Ars Politica
of Gregory Koger by Hugh
3. Democratic Socialism
The Politics of Abundance
Are You Rich? by Bob Roman
The Zapatista Caracoles and Good Governments
To the Finland Station
4. Upcoming Events of Interest
the Next Generation
by Bill Barclay and Peg Strobel
Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) held
their summer conference and retreat on August 4 - 7 in Wurtsboro,
NY, and we were there. The turnout and the politics were impressive
and reassuring for anyone concerned about where DSA will go as
a new generation of socialists comes to the fore as leaders.
The 40 attendees were predominantly
from the northeast and midwest, representing chapters in NJ,
NY, OH, IN, and KS. However, there were individual members from
KY, SC, CA, and FL. Equally impressive, however, was the diversity
of the gathering. This was true by gender, race and ethnicity,
and class. YDS leaders were pleased because the 2009 conference
had seen an overrepresentation of white male members. In addition
to the mix of attendees, however, we were also very impressed
with the nature and sophistication of the politics and political
discussion. The conference included sessions on socialist values,
the nature of neo-liberalism and the need to build an explicitly
socialist organization. The retreat opened with a session on
socialist feminism and continued with an evaluation of strategic
plan adopted in 2009 as well election of leaders and discussions
of an "Activist Agenda." YDS members expressed a desire
to build stronger ties between DSA and YDS.
Most sessions began with presentations
by both YDS and DSA members followed by break out sessions in
smaller groups that allowed for maximum participation by attendees.
It was through the break out sessions that we saw most clearly
the level of political analysis in YDS. Participants not only
understood what were often challenging readings, they were also
able to develop the links between the theoretical analysis of
the readings and the political work in which chapters were engaged.
YDS chose as priorities campaigns for "free higher education,"
including endorsement of the October 7th national mobilization
to defend higher education, and "blue-green action"
that includes a national day of action to support unionized green
jobs to rebuild US education.
All of this is on top of the impressive
chapter work. The YDS chapter at William Patterson University
in NJ, for example, supported campus food service workers torn
by the Workers United -- UNITE HERE! battle. Like William Patterson
YDSers, Indiana University-Bloomington YDS members are exploring
ways to relate to off-campus communities. Several YDS chapters
are alive and well established, having survived the graduation
of their founding cohort. Others are rebuilding.
Having a campus focus enables YDS to
concentrate its resources. On the other hand, YDS does not have
a clear role for people to play in a chapter once they leave
campus. YDS members who advocate for more interaction between
DSA and YDS point to this factor, as well as benefits of DSA's
experience with labor in the William Patterson University labor
We came away buoyed by the realization
that the future of socialist action and politics is in good hands.
If you want to find out more about YDS, visit their new web site
and their online journal, The Activist, at http://www.theactivist.org/
the Death Penalty
by Tom Broderick
There's a sense that by a slight margin,
people support capital punishment. This year, between April 15
and April 19, Lake Research Partners from Washington, DC conducted
a telephone survey of 400 registered voters in Illinois. The
survey included three statements about the death penalty:
- The penalty for murder should be
- The penalty for murder should be
life in prison with no possibility of parole.
- The penalty for murder should be
life in prison with no possibility of parole and a requirement
to work to make restitution to the victim's family.
Survey participants were asked to pick
the statement that best reflected their position. Thirty-two
percent selected death as the appropriate penalty for murder.
More than 60% responded that they would prefer a sentence other
than death, with 43% choosing life without possibility of parole
and a requirement to work to make restitution to the victim's
The survey clearly shows it is time
to remove the death penalty and the threat of the death penalty
from our justice system. Illinois ranks second in the nation
when it comes to exonerating people wrongfully convicted and
sentenced to death. This does not prove we have a system that
works. It proves we have a system more concerned with conviction
than justice. It proves we have a system guaranteed to execute
Former Illinois Governor George Ryan
entered office a supporter of the death penalty. He signed the
first death warrant that crossed his desk and Andrew Kokoraleis
was executed. But Ryan was troubled. In 2000, Gov. Ryan instituted
a moratorium on executions and subsequently ordered a formal
review of the capital punishment process. He asked for recommendations
to reform the system.
Ryan got what he asked for, but the
commission's report ended with a warning that even if all their
recommendations were enacted, there could be no guarantee that
an innocent person would not be executed. In 2003, acknowledging
a broken system, George Ryan commuted the sentences of all who
had been condemned to death in Illinois. This was the largest
emptying of a state death row in the history of the United States.
As to the commission's recommendations for reform? About 25%
were eventually enacted.
Another poll question brought an answer
that initially surprised me. Participants were asked if they
were aware that Illinois has a death penalty. Only 39% knew that
execution was still an option in our state. But this makes sense.
More than ten years have gone by since we last executed someone
The emptying of our death row was well
publicized in Illinois, across the nation and around the world.
The moratorium on executions enacted by former Governor Ryan
was kept in place by former Governor Blagojevich and has been
maintained by current Governor Quinn. There has also been a state-wide
decline in death penalty cases. In day to day life, most people
in Illinois are not confronted by capital punishment, although
our pockets are picked to support it.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report,
since 2003 there have been 4,760 murders in Illinois, but only
16 death sentences have been handed down by our courts. Prosecutors
still seek the death penalty, ofte}8using the threat of execution
as a tool to plea bargain an admission of guilt to close one
or more criminal cases, or to turn one defendant against another.
The threat of death by professionals in our criminal justice
system strikes me as torture. I'd like to see that "right"
Poll respondents were also concerned
about the high cost of pursuing capital cases. Illinois spends
an estimated $12 million dollars annually to prosecute death
penalty cases. That money could be better put to use in crime
prevention rather than retribution. It could also be used to
help victims' families.
Death penalty cases take an average
of 10 years to complete. They generate a lot of attention. How
do the duration and media spotlight impact murder victims' families?
There are organizations of victims' families who oppose the death
penalty. Many family members say the long process is difficult
to endure. I've heard more than one say that the idea of putting
someone else to death for the murder of one of their family members
offers no justice.
The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the
Death Penalty is conducting two speaking tours this fall. The
first, mostly in the Chicago suburbs, is from September 14 through
23rd. The second tour, scheduled for October, will be in downstate
Illinois and is still being planned. The intent is to have one
exonoree and one victim's family member speak. For information,
check the ICADP website (www.icadp.org)
or contact Liz Moran at 312 673 3880.
In Illinois, the death penalty can only
be abolished by our State Legislature. Reach out to your current
Representative and Senator. Ask if they support repeal of the
death penalty. It's election time. The death penalty is one small
issue in the realm of state politics, but ask the candidates
who are running to represent you as your State Representative
and State Senator what their positions are on the death penalty.
Talk with all who are running in your district. Don't limit yourself
to Republicans and Democrats.
As a member of the West Suburban Committee
to Abolish the Death Penalty, I made a visit to a Representative
in a near suburb to discuss capital punishment. He said he had
a personal, moral interest in abolition, but never had one of
his constituents asked him about the issue. As a constituent,
your contact could make a difference.
The moratorium on executions is at the
whim of the Governor. Any Illinois Governor could continue it
or lift it as a matter of choice. While I don't know the position
of all candidates, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn supports the
death penalty but has pledged to maintain the moratorium. Republican
candidate Bill Brady supports the death penalty and says he will
lift the moratorium on executions. Green candidate Rich Whitney
supports abolition of the death penalty and continuation of the
on the Swedish Model
by William A. Pelz
Most people have heard of Sweden. They
know it is a country in Northern Europe where many people with
blonde hair live. Beyond that, their impression is most likely
of a dark society depicted in Swedish mysteries like the recent
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or the earlier Martin Beck
series. Interestingly, the vast majority of Swedish mysteries
attack society from the left. This past July I had occasion
to travel to Sweden and visit her three largest cities: Stockholm,
Gotenburg and Malmo. I should stress that my remarks are more
impressionistic than scientific.
First, it is important to stress that
Sweden is no utopia. It isn't even what most leftists would consider
socialist and it has a center-right government in office as of
now. Yet comparing it to the red with blood from claw to fang
type of capitalism we have in the USA is interesting. Americans,
long use to hearing that they live in the best of all possible
worlds, might be surprised to see a kinder and gentler society.
Despite recent immigration, Sweden's
population is mainly descendants of the Vikings, not exactly
a crew renowned for their warm, fuzzy and peaceful ways. Moreover,
we often are taught that wars and injustice are inevitable. Yet,
Sweden has not been at war since 1814. Residents enjoy comprehensive
quality health care while women (and men) receive a year off
work after the birth of a child with no loss of pay. After age
one, there is free child care. Public transportation, like trains
between cities and subways and trams within cities, is clean,
efficient and practical.
There are certainly poor people but
they suffer less than in most nations because of public welfare
programs. During my time in Sweden, I saw no beggars with the
closest thing being an Iraqi peddler in the immigrant neighborhood
of Malmo who insisted it would be a mistake not to buy his tasty
figs. By contrast, my first day back in Chicago I encountered
eight beggars in my first hour out on the street. Of course,
there are over 17,000 homeless in Sweden according to government
statistics. Estimates for the USA run from 600,000 to as high
as 2.5 million.
Make no mistake, Sweden is a capitalist
country with tony districts where the well heeled gather in expensive
cafes. But, and this is a key point, the Swedish labor movement
has forced the capitalists to provide a standard of living that
would be the envy of many Americans. According to the CIA, Swedes
have a life expectancy of almost 81 years (9th best in the world)
while Americans can expect to die around 78 (49th among the world's
countries).* In Sweden, where the vast majority belong to unions,
bosses realize that any too severe attack on welfare capitalism
could re-ignite the class struggle of the early 20th century.
Of course, there are those who admire the American model, hate
immigrants and so on. In America, people such as these are often
touted as patriots. In Sweden, people in casual conversation
refer to these people as "the Nazis."
Of course, this Swedish Model can't
work cry the free market fanatics, their drones at the University
of Chicago Economics program, and the devotees of Murdoch's Wall
Street Journal. In fact, the pressure of global capitalism
has helped erode many of the advantages Sweden once enjoyed.
Still, even the Anglo-American business paper, the Financial
Times (23 August 2010) predicts a 4.5% growth rate and wonders
"might what has worked for Sweden now also work for others?"
If a clearly more humane, if far from perfect, society can be
achieved by the labor movement within capitalism, imagine the
possibilities if labor actually achieved socialism?
*CIA Factbook 2010
by George Milkowski
I am a Green Party candidate for the
Cook County Board for the 13th District. I decided to run because
I am fed up with the Republicans and Democrats and I feel that
the Green Party has a chance of bringing about needed change
in this nation. I believe the Republicans are, and generally
have been, a disaster for the ordinary working citizen in this
country. The Democrats aren't any better as they have no backbone.
In the Congress, both Pelosi and Reid have been too interested
in being polite and "bipartisan" to get anything done
and the majority of congressional Democrats are more than willing
to go along with them. When Pelosi first became Speaker, she
responded to the media that the possibility of a George W. Bush
impeachment is "...off the table." I ask, "Why
not?" It seemed clear to me that Bush had blatantly violated
numerous U.S. laws and U.S. treaties. In the Senate, Reid has
been just as bad. Any time Republicans threaten to filibuster,
Reid caves in to them without a fight. The same goes for the
way he deals with blue dog Democrats and the "independents"
like Lieberman. Why couldn't he push through progressive legislation
and then let the Republicans kill it and let them become known
as the obstructionists that they are instead of kowtowing to
them, thus making the Democrats look incompetent? This is what
Harry Truman did in the late 1940s. Attacking the "do nothing"
Republican controlled Congress worked for him quite well. The
current state of the health care bill is good example. Although
it has a few good points, it is more of a really good bill for
the drug and health insurance industry; it is not real reform.
The Obama administration has been the
same. After nearly a year in office, he has been successful in
continuing many Bush policies. He is prolonging and expanding
the wars. He has ignored the issue of "don't ask, don't
tell" in the military. He supports continued illegal domestic
spying on citizens. He wants to close down "Gitmo,"
but wants to transfer its illegal functions to Bagram. He has
taken no real action against the Wall Street oligarchs. He believes
the big financial institutions are too big to fail and thus guarantees
treasury funds that allows them to continue in their greedy behavior,
knowing that Obama will, like Bush, cover their asses when, not
if, they screw up again. Yet he expects working people like the
members of the UAW to take cuts in pay, benefits, and job security.
He didn't present a strong health care bill to the Congress to
be a starting point for health care reform and instead caved
in on every crucial point raised by the Republicans to try to
On the state level, it is the same.
For thirty years the General Assembly and the various governors
from either of the two larger parties have ignored the mounting
debt crisis Illinois is facing. Now the Great Recession has decimated
working families. Illinois' proposed solutions include increased
borrowing that further weaken the State's credit rating, cutting
programs that directly affect the poor and the working class,
and/or raising taxes (heaven forbid!!). I will give Governor
Quinn credit for trying to tackle the problem by proposing to
change the income tax laws in a way that would raise needed revenue,
but not impact the poorest of our society, but he is an exception,
not the rule.
Chicago is a one party state that is
run, very poorly, by Daley and what is left of the machine. He
has been able to replace the machine with privatization and Tax
Increment Financing districts, which gives the Mayor a lot of
clout by being able to dole out TIF funds to the faithful and
withhold the same for those who won't toe the line. Again, the
ordinary Joe gets shafted!
Lastly, at the County level, patronage
still seems to reign supreme. This, paired with the general incompetence
of County "leadership," has resulted in a failure to
deliver services to those in our society who are most in need
Are Democrats better for the average
citizen than the Republicans? I believe they are, but I would
contend that they are only marginally so. That's why I decided
to go Green.
One common theme at all levels of government
is the apparent influence of money, especially of big money.
This is what attracted me to the Green Party. The Green Party
accepts no corporate donations and thus is only beholding to
the voters, not to those holding the fattest checkbooks. As long
as the influence of the very wealthy and the large corporations
continues unabated, it is unlikely that any change in policy
from any level of government will occur.
If elected to the Cook County Board,
I propose that the County establish its own bank, modeled after
the bank incorporated in 1919 in North Dakota and still in operation
today. It would conduct all the functions of a regular bank,
but also concentrate on helping small businesses, which are the
real generators of jobs.
I would also like to eliminate the County
property and sales taxes and replace them with an income tax
based on actual, not adjusted, incomes. All individuals would
get a $25,000 personal exemption with a $40,000 exemption for
couples, and $2,000 exemptions for each dependent. Such a tax
would burden the poor and working families the least. The wealthy
should not object because this tax would be deductible on federal
income filings, in contrast to current sales taxes, which are
not deductible. Businesses would also be eligible for a $25,000
personal "personnel" exemption per full time
worker, up to fifty workers.
Cook County Jail has a program currently
called the Virtual High School Program that originally focused
on teen offenders to try to give them real high school diplomas.
This program has caught the attention of Loyola and University
of Chicago professors because of the education and life skills
it provides as well as the potential to reduce the teen recidivism
rate (although some judges are sending much older inmates into
the program to reduce jail overcrowding). Preliminary evidence
indicates that the program appears to be working. If it is, then
it should be expanded.
The Green Party provides a viable alternative
to the shortcomings currently exhibited by the both major party
administrations. I feel my candidacy will strengthen the Green
Party and the programs I propose will address essential issues
faced by the citizens of Cook County.
Editor's Note: George Milkowski has
been a member of Chicago DSA since 1994. The local has not made
any endorsements for the 2010 General Election and at press time
there is no indication that it will, but we do have an interest
in encouraging our members to run for public office. Folks desiring
more information or to become involved in Milkowski's campaign
can call him 773.262.7026, email him at email@example.com
. or go to http://northsidegreenparty.org/drupal/
. Larry Sufferdin is the incumbent and the Democratic Party candidate
for the 13th District. His campaign can be found at http://www.suffredin.org/
or call 312.603.6383 for information. For you conservatives out
there, the Republican Party candidate is Linda Thompson LaFianza.
You can try contacting the Evanston Township Republican Party,
the Democratic Party Lost Its Soul
by Bob Roman
Kennedy vs. Carter: The
1980 Battle for the Democratic Party's Soul by Timothy Stanley (University of Kansas Press,
Kennedy vs. Carter is an historical narrative covering 1976 through
1980, a time when liberalism, left-wing radicalism, and labor
were in retreat. Its author, Timothy Stanley, is a fresh British
historian (Leverhulme Research Fellow at Royal Holloway College,
University of London) and a left of center Labour Party activist.
Because these years are considered a turning point in American
political history, it's a subject worth reading about. Obama
in particular seems vulnerable to comparisons to Jimmy Carter
though Marx would probably furiously scribble a two or three
page tirade against such superficial foolishness, as he did in
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. But DSA members
have an additional reason to read Stanley's book as it's one
of just a few histories of mainstream politics that spends any
time discussing the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
(DSOC), a predecessor to DSA.
Stanley is very much a traditional historian,
for whom the past is a foreign country and for whom history is
as much story telling as social science. This makes for a very
readable text with a wealth of details, each contributing to
the narrative. If you lived through the Carter Administration,
you'll find much to be reminded of but also some that's new.
If you are too young for that, you'll learn much about the period,
though the book's focus is pretty tight on the years in question
and the conflict between Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter in particular.
Some context will be lacking.
For context, you might pick up Judith
Stein's recent (Yale University Press, 2010) Pivotal Decade.
While there is some overlap with Stanley's work, Stein's concern
is just how the United States economy traded industry for finance.
As this had (and has) profound consequences for the union movement,
it drives many of the events described in Stanley's book. Also
worth referring to: William Greider's book on the Federal Reserve,
The Secrets of the Temple (Simon and Schuster, 1989) and
Michael Harrington's presentation on the crisis of economic theory
Kennedy vs. Carter is a polemical book. The conventional argument
concerning this transitional decade is, in Stanley's words, "that
while President Jimmy Carter had been a moderate, decent man,
his base had failed to appreciate the changing dynamics of the
era. The American public rediscovered its innate conservatism.
[I]n an act of extreme and arrogant opportunism, Edward Kennedy
agreed to lead [liberals] in an ill-considered, futile charge
against the president. His defeat in the 1980 Democratic presidential
primaries suggested that liberalism was on the decline even among
Democrats." Stanley hopes to demonstrate that liberalism
and the left were still a very potent force during the later
1970s, and that Kennedy was actually a stronger general election
candidate than Carter; among other things, despite his liberalism,
Kennedy also drew support from conservatives. "The American
public in the 1970s," Stanley writes, "was neither
liberal nor conservative, but instead anxious, angry, and desperate
for leadership from any direction."
Stanley supports his argument in detail,
including a fair amount of polling data. It's helpful that Stanley's
"revisionist" version of the late 1970s is largely
common sense; he mostly needs to demonstrate Kennedy's potential
strength as a candidate against Reagan and Anderson. I think
he does that. It's more difficult to imagine Kennedy overcoming
the advantage that came with Carter's incumbency to win the Democratic
nomination, but the case Stanley makes does serve to demonstrate
the strength of liberals and the left in the late 1970s.
The book has a number of weaknesses
and problems. In discussing conflicts within what he calls liberalism,
Stanley draws a distinction between "older New Deal liberals"
and what he refers to as the "New Politics." He never
adequately defines the terms, though he does deal with it briefly
in the introduction. Mostly, you are left to pick up what is
meant from the context of its usage. New Politics are Democrats
who are "liberal" on social, environmental, civil rights,
or foreign policy issues, but "conservative" on economic
issues, particularly those related to labor. Typically, these
are politicians who represent constituencies where the labor
movement was weak if not absent: suburban or rural districts,
states in the Great Plains, the south, or the Rocky Mountain
It also would have been helpful to discuss
just where the term "New Politics" came from. I vaguely
recall it being in the vocabulary of insults used by George Meany
/ Max Shachtman social democrats, evoking the disastrous National
Conference for New Politics held here in Chicago in 1967 (a big
to-do: some 5,000 attended, few left unscathed). You can get
a better sense of Stanley's thinking from an essay he posted
at The Utopian about the U.S. Anti-Vietnam War movement:
"The Long Haired Conservatives: the Children of '68 Reconsidered"
There are also relevant references included in the book's notes,
but these are sources inconvenient to the average reader.
While Stanley does use a considerable
amount of polling data, this is all integrated into the text.
This is where well done tables and graphs could have made his
argument much more compelling. The same data could be used to
game possible alternate outcomes of a Kennedy - Reagan - Anderson
1980 election, but that would likely have made for a dry and
Being British, and a lefty, Stanley
takes organizations more seriously than most academics and political
observers in the United States. Consequently, one gets an account
of the doings of not just political leaders but various political
organizations as well. Given the multitude of national organizations,
Stanley inevitably must be selective. The New Democratic Coalition
(a 1970s version of Progressive Democrats of America) ends up
with but one mention, in passing, and no listing in the index,
for example. So how does DSOC rate several pages?
During the 1960s and 1970s, there was
an effort on both the right and the left to "realign"
the Republican and Democratic parties so that all the conservatives
would be Republican and all the liberals would be Democratic.
On the right, William Buckley and the Young Americans for Freedom,
among others, led the effort. On the left, getting a later start,
there were groups including DSOC and the New Democratic Coalition.
Both sides had some reason to believe that a majority of the
electorate would be on their side.
Among Democrats, this effort at realignment
was conflated with a populism that sought to cut out the middle-man
of party organization, making candidates, as much as possible,
directly selected by the Democratic Party electorate. And as
public officials, they were to have some accountability to that
same electorate. The demand for direct selection of candidates
led to an accelerated spread of primary elections over conventions
and caucuses as a means of selecting candidates, delegates, and
party officials. This has facilitated the "realignment"
of what we call the Democratic and Republican parties.
On the national level among Democrats,
the effort at accountability led to the establishment of a "mid-term"
national convention. The first such convention was held in 1978.
It was the only such convention because of the near success of
Democratic Agenda, a project of DSOC, at holding Jimmy Carter
accountable to the many promises he made to win his nomination
by the Democrats in 1976. Democratic Agenda elected, lobbied
and organized convention delegates, and came very close to defeating
a sitting president on a number of votes. The votes were close
enough that Carter's victories were counted as defeats. An American
analyst would have ignored the organizational details and labeled
Democratic Agenda as a stalking horse for the Ted Kennedy for
President campaign and paid no more attention to Democratic Agenda.
Stanley does not.
Democratic Agenda at the 1978 convention
gave DSOC a great deal of "street cred" among political
professionals. It also is the root of the enduring DSA stereotype:
that DSA works exclusively within the Democratic Party.
Oh, yes. Carter's floor manager (thus DSOC's
chief opponent) at the mid-term convention? Hillary Rodham.
This was accomplished on a shoestring
by mainstream standards. Democratic Agenda had a yearly budget
of about $61,000 (in 2009 dollars, about $217,000) half of which
was donated by three unions: the UAW, the Machinists, and AFSCME;
a Washington office; one full time director and two part time
field staff. Part of the point Stanley is making is that Democratic
Agenda was able to accomplish so much with so little because
it was sailing with the political wind.
Stanley does get some things wrong.
He moves DSOC off the stage with a paragraph that begins dramatically:
"an acrimonious internal split tore DSOC apart over primary
tactics." This is story telling. In fact, no such split
occurred and the reference he cites does not support it. He is
correct, however, that the opening DSOC exploited was closing.
The 1978 mid-term convention was the only one the Democrats ever
held though a carefully neutered 1982 mid-term "conference"
was held in Philadelphia, mostly as a way of gracefully backing
out of having such meetings. The 1980 Democratic National Convention
was the last where delegates actually had much autonomy or anything
of consequence to decide. Subsequent conventions became extended
TV commercials for the putative nominee. DSOC never came to any
consensus regarding what to do in response and the debate about
that was indeed sometimes heated. Instead, DSOC began negotiations
with the New American Movement to merge, all the while continuing
to press the Democratic Agenda lever (later rebranded and repurposed
as "Democratic Alternatives") like some over-trained
pigeon in a Skinner Box. Even so, DSOC continued to grow. Stanley
notes that membership stood at about 3,000 in 1979. That year
the organization set a goal of 5,000 members by 1980, and exceeded
Stanley also misattributes the December,
1980, "Eurosocialism and America" conference to Democratic
Agenda. The conference brought together political leaders (indeed,
future presidents and prime ministers) from Europe and the United
States for an extended policy discussion. Some 2,000 people attended,
and an unknown number were turned away by the Washington, DC,
fire marshal for exceeding the venue's capacity. The conference
was a DSOC project, held under the auspices of the Institute
for Democratic Socialism, DSOC's 501c3 affiliate, and it says
so in the reference Stanley cites (Eurosocialism and America,
edited by Nancy Lieber, Temple University Press, 1982). The conference,
incidentally, seriously irritated AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland
and the now defunct Social Democrats USA; the AFL-CIO did its
best to sabotage the event while not being too public about it.
These are minor points but worth mentioning
because, after all, this is a DSA newsletter.
Friday, October 1, 9 AM to 5 PM
Howard University, Armour J. Blackburn
University Center - Hilltop Terrace, Washington, DC
The U.S. economy is in the midst of
the greatest jobs crisis since the Great Depression. But this
crisis is more than a short run phenomenon. For many decades
we have experienced a long-term failure to generate jobs for
all. A fundamental restructuring of the U.S. economy is essential
to overcome both the crisis and reverse the long-term failure
to generate jobs.
A number of proposals have been offered
to make jobs a central priority of U.S. economic policy. Our
purpose in calling this conference is to bring together the proponents
of these various programs, to discuss their similarities and
differences, and develop a strategic perspective on how to proceed.
We invite all who wish to contribute
and further this effort to participate.
Current sponsors include: the Howard
University Economics Department, the Chicago
Political Economy Group, the National
Jobs for All Coalition, the Center
for Full Employment and Price Stability, the Center
for Economic and Policy Research, the Center
for Tax and Budget Accountability, and the U.S.
Solidarity Economics Network.
At registration, a donation of $20 will
be requested to cover expenses and lunch. The fee is waived for
Registration 9 AM to 9:30 AM
Welcome 9:30 AM to 9:45 AM:
Howard University Representative
Jobs Proposal Presentations 9:45 AM to
Introduction and Moderator: Haydar
Kurban, Howard University. Ron Baiman, Chicago Political
Economy Group & Center for Tax and Budget Accountability;
Joshua Bivens, Economic Policy Institute; Mathew Forstater,
Center for Full Employment and Price Stability & University
of Missouri, Kansas City; Darrick Hamilton, New School
for Management and Urban Policy & Center for Economic Policy
Analysis; Philip Harvey, National Jobs for All Coalition
& Rutgers University Law School, Camden; John Schmitt,
Center for Economic and Policy Research; Jeffrey Thompson,
Political Economic Research Institute & University of Massachusetts,
Summary and Discussion of Similarities
and Differences of Jobs Programs 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Chair: Janet Griffin-Graves,
Howard University. Helen Boushey, National Jobs for All
Coalition & Brooklyn College; Michael Golash, Amalgamated
Transit Union, Washington, DC; Lisa Saunders, University
of Massachusetts, Amherst. The morning panelists and attendees
will engage in a facilitated discussion and exchange.
Lunch Break 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Strategic and Political Considerations
3 PM to 4:45 PM
Panelists (institutional affiliation
for identification only): Moderator - Aisha Thompson,
Howard University; Treston Davis-Faulkner, National Jobs
with Justice; Trudy Goldberg, National Jobs for All Coalition
and Aldephi University; Rodney Green, Howard University;
Julie Matthaei, U.S. Solidarity Economics Network &
Wellesley College; Elce Redmond, South Austin Coalition
(Chicago); Mel Rothenberg, Chicago Political Economy Group
& University of Chicago.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
compiled by Bob Roman
That's for the folks who contributed
to our annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. Your contributions
make this publication possible. In terms of money, this was a
somewhat better than average year. We've done better but we've
also done very much worse. The average amount contributed was
also not a record but it was larger than usual, a healthy $57.
What was somewhat out of the ordinary was how many contributors
were happy with just tossing money in the pot. This seems to
have been a trend these past few years but especially notable
this year. Folks were just plain shy.
will be holding its annual banquet on Saturday, October 2, at
Indiana State University's Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The event begins at 6 PM and this year honors Bobby Duval, who
is being recognized for his human rights work in Haiti. Tickets
are $35 and may be obtained from The Eugene V. Debs Foundation,
PO Box 9454, Terre Haute, IN 47808. The Debs Foundation maintains
the family home of Eugene V. Debs as a museum. More information
is available at 812.237.3443 or at http://www.eugenevdebs.com
National Lawyers Guild - Chicago will be honoring People's Law Office attorneys
Joey Mogul, John Stainthorp, and Flint Taylor. The dinner will
held on Saturday, November 13, at the Irish-American Heritage
Center's 4th floor Erin Room, 4626 N. Knox in Chicago. More information
will be available at http://www.nlgchicago.org/
or by calling 312.913.0039.
Illinois Labor History Society will be holding its annual banquet on Friday,
November 19, at the National Association of Letter Carriers,
3850 S. Wabash in Chicago. The event begins at 5:30. This year's
dinner has special importance to the Society as they are raising
money specifically for rehabbing the Haymarket Monument in time
for its 125th anniversary next year. Apropos, they will be inducting
both the monument itself and the late Irving Abrams into the
Union Hall of Honor. Tickets remain at $75 each and may be obtained
from The Illinois Labor History Society, 28 E. Jackson Blvd,
Chicago, IL 60604. More information is available at http://www.illinoislaborhistory.org
or by calling 312.663.4107.