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New Ground 142

May -- June, 2012

Contents

New Ground 142.1 -- 06.01.2012

0. DSA News

DSA National Expands
Congratulations Hollande
DSA in the News by Bob Roman
Chicago DSA vs NATO
Talkin' Socialism

1. Politics

Congress Hotel Strike by Tom Broderick
Other Labor News
The Left and the U.S. Elections

2. Ars Politica

Morbid Curiosity by Tom Broderick
My Kind of Town

3. Democratic Socialism

Taking Socialism Seriously: But What Is Your Alternative?
Year of the Cooperative

4. Upcoming Events of Interest

New Ground 142.2 -- 06.18.2012

0. DSA News

Democratic Left
Summer School
DSA in the News by Bob Roman
Talkin' Socialism

1. Politics

The Longest Strike in the U.S. by Tom Broderick
The Hands That Feed Us
May Jobs Report
Junk Food Deficiency
Austerity and Democracy

2. Ars Politica

Girls!

3. Democratic Socialism

Dude, Where's My Singularity?

4. Upcoming Events of Interest

New Ground 142.3 -- 06.29.2012

0. DSA News

DSA in the News
Summer School

1. Politics

Robin Hood Comes to Chicago
Prosperity Not Austerity!
Save the Dates
The Pension Amendment
Debt by Degrees
TIFs and School Construction
Rebuild Chicago

2. Upcoming Events of Interest


Another America

by Bob Roman

The 54th Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner on April 27 at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza was a "swank" affair, according to one conservative commentator who had attended the event, perhaps hoping to ambush Obama with an iphone. Alas, there were only the hoi polloi in attendance, an eagle's nest view of the west Loop, and far too much good food and drink to be credible. After all, doesn't one have to wear scratchy hair shirts and live on beans to be a socialist? This opulent abundance was obviously far more than lefties deserve.

The speakers clearly irritated our troll, too. Emcee Laurie Burgess greeted the crowd with bullet points (not bullets) from "Why We Are Democratic Socialists ". Speaking on behalf of Chicago Jobs with Justice , Susan Hurley spoke about what her organization had planned, including campaigning for a financial transactions tax. Honoree John Bouman spoke of the pleasure it was to address an audience directly, without strategy, about the need for a tax increase. The horror!

And then there was our featured speaker: Ruth Conniff, political editor for The Progressive . She mostly brought fresh news of the uprising in Wisconsin, relating it to the publication of Michael Harrington's The Other America fifty years ago. Harrington's book, and the reaction to it, represented the optimism of the sixties. Since Reagan, economic insecurity has taken its toll, reducing our imagination, fostering an ill-spirited meanness instead of solidarity. But times are changing. Walker's (among others) attack on the middle class has galvanized people, and outrage has spread beyond the confines of DSA members and readers of The Progressive. The era of passive citizenship, Conniff proclaimed, is over.

One could well imagine our troll at this point with indigestion, acid reflux, the beginnings of a migraine. For the troll seriously misliked the crowd's spirited rendition of "Solidarity Forever". To which one can only reply, most sincerely, with a query: Troll, why do you hate America?


Does Labor History Matter?

"The teaching of history shall also include a study of the role of labor unions." ­ llinois School Code

by Tom Suhrbur

I regularly conduct labor education programs for teachers, union members and others about labor history, organizing and the role of unions in society. It has become very clear to me that most Americans, including many union members, know very little about labor history; much of what they have learned has been distorted to discredit unions. One of the first exercises that I often begin with at my education program is to ask the participants to tell me something about Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Bill Gates and other prominent businessmen. Usually most of the participants, whether they are college faculty members or union apprentices just out of high school, can tell me something about these people. Next, when I ask them to identify A. Phillip Randolph, Eugene Debs, Samuel Gompers, Richard Trumka, George Meany, Cesar Chavez and others, most of them are stumped except for one famous union leader. Everyone seems to know Jimmy Hoffa -- not the current president of the Teamsters Union but his corrupt father who spent years in prison and disappeared in an apparent mob murder. Obviously unions need to get their story out to the public and to their own members.

Why do apprentices, let alone college faculty union members, know so little about labor history? While stories about the corporate elite and powerful are regularly covered in school textbooks and the press, unions are usually treated as a mere footnote in history. In general, the media depicts unions in a negative light. Union leaders are typically referred to as "bosses" in the press. Movies often depict unions as being controlled by gangsters. Strikes, "riots" and corruption get the most attention.

The labor movement has been under a relentless assault by our determined and well-financed political enemies. There is a whole industry backed by the National Manufacturing Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wealthy businessmen such as the Koch brothers and others promoting the anti-union agenda. They have financed conservative groups Americans For Prosperity, America Crossroads, the National Right To Work Committee, American Legislative Exchange Council, dozens of right wing think tanks and others to carry out their campaign against unions. Most Americans have very little direct contact with labor unions. If union members know so little about the past, what does the public think in light of the onslaught of anti-union propaganda?

History shapes how people think about the present and public opinion is very important for any group seeking to influence society. If unions are going to survive and thrive they need to tell their story. Unions have a great story to tell!

Unions have always been successful in improving the economic needs of their members. Employment in a union shop means higher pay and better benefits than similar work in a non-union shop. Most Americans realize this fact. What many Americans do not understand is that many of the successes of unions have also benefited them.

Unions have been instrumental in many of the economic gains enjoyed by working class and lower middle class Americans today. Unions successfully fought for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, minimum wage, 40 hour week, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and numerous other programs that have benefited all Americans.

Unions have always played a key role in the struggle for social justice. Prior to the Civil War, the emerging labor movement was inspired by two great ideas: abolitionism and social democracy. Many working class immigrants fleeing oppression following the demise of the 1848 Revolutions were ardent socialists. Trade union activists were outspoken in their opposition to slavery. Slavery was evil but so was "wage slavery." The labor movement supported the creation of a free, universal education system including laws against child labor and mandatory school attendance. After the war, the National Labor Union and later the Knights of Labor welcomed African-American into their ranks. In 1869, the National Labor Union adopted a resolution urging "our colored fellow members to form organizations in all legitimate ways, and send delegates from every state in the union to the next congress." While some unions had practiced racial discrimination in the past, many others especially the industrial unions included all workers regardless of race. In the early twentieth century, Industrial Workers of the World and other radical unions actively recruited all races. So did the Congress of Industrial Organization, signing up tens of thousands of African-Americans during the Great Depression. In 1941, A. Phillip Randolph, President of the Brotherhood Sleeping Car Porters' Union, was instrumental in planning a mass protest in Washington, D.C. to protest job discrimination in war industries and segregation in the armed forces. The protest was cancelled when President Roosevelt issued an Executive Order banning discrimination in the war industries but not in the armed forces. Keep in mind that until the 1960's, union halls were one of the few places where working class whites and African-Americans could meet together as equals. In the fight against Jim Crow segregation, United Auto Workers, AFSCME and other unions marched with Martin Luther King. King was assassinated in Memphis while supporting the sanitation workers strike.

Equal rights also meant women's rights. Throughout the history of both unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have played a major role in fighting for women's rights. Not only did the AFL-CIO support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) but many of its national unions such as AFSCME, SEIU and others worked tirelessly to pass it. Even though the ERA eventually failed to get enough states to ratify it, the principles behind the Amendment has been widely accepted in public discourse and through legislation.

While improvement in pay and benefits has drawn workers to unions, other factors are equally important in union organizing. Whenever I do labor history programs, I always get into a discussion about core union values such as solidarity, equality, fairness, democratic decision-making and social justice. History is full of examples of how these values have guided the labor movement. Deeply held values are what motivates people to support and even sacrifice for a cause. Values inspire people to join the military, political parties, and religions.

These core values of the labor movement are part of the American democratic tradition going back to 1776. In light of the growing economic inequality in the U.S., now more than ever, the labor movement should educate the public about its contributions to democracy and social justice. Labor history should be taught in our schools and in union halls.

There is an ongoing struggle in this nation to make this a "more perfect union" -- a just and democratic society. Unions have played a central role in this struggle. If we are to have a better future, we must have a strong union movement. The alternative is a society in which an aristocratic elite will own most of the wealth, control the government and dominate all aspect of American society.

Resources

Here are some sites that provide useful curriculum information on labor education:

DePaul University Labor Education Center;
Eugene V. Debs Foundation;
Illinois Labor History Society;
Labor History Links;
Labor Trail;
Teachers for Social Justice.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive but a place to start. -- Editor.


School for Trouble Makers

by Tom Broderick

The 2012 Labor Notes Conference was a three-day whirlwind of workshops, meetings, networking, actions along with music and fun. From Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6, labor and community activists met at the Crowne Plaza hotel near O'Hare airport.

Workshops were held over several time-blocks throughout the conference. Selecting which to attend was difficult. One plus in the program book was they were tracked by themes, such as Building Member Driven Unions, Community Coalitions, Public Sector and International. A few were offered more than once and several fed into others.

Linking the Occupy Movement with Labor rank and file was a key issue at the conference. One of the workshops and one of the meetings focused on labor and occupy. Occupy participants, both within and outside organized labor, were presenters at several of the workshops. Occupy was given credit for bringing the unfair wealth divide to national attention.

Larry Hanley, president, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), gave a provoking presentation during the Saturday morning opening session. He stressed the need for labor and community to work together for a better society, not just a stronger but isolated labor movement. Hanley did a national tour of some of his locals and during the discussions he had with individual workers, feeling alone, isolated and afraid were mentioned. He linked Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat to today's labor situation.

Rosa Parks acted, not just as an individual, but as part of a movement that had been well planned and prepared to respond. Her action sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, which continued for more than a year. Although she was arrested alone, she had a group behind her ready to pressure the bus company with the boycott, which ended in victory.

Today's labor movement, led by the rank and file, must forge real links with the 99% on issues that affect them. This includes a fairer distribution of wealth and a real, democratic discussion on what to do with our money.

There were two planned labor actions. On Friday, Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) had one school bus to take people into downtown Chicago to loudly picket outside a Capital Grille at Ontario and St. Clair. They could have had two busses. Some people didn't go because the bus filled up, and others traveled by car. There is something to be said for having ROC as your acronym when it comes to shouting out chants. ROC members were involved in several of the workshops.

The Saturday action was a short walk to a nearby Hyatt hotel in support of UNITE-HERE! Local 450. Several hundred people carrying picket signs and yelling The Hyatt is Cheap! Cheap and Mean! walked back and forth at the main entrance for half an hour. UNITE-HERE! is fighting to include in their contract that the out-sourcing of work to non-union workers is forbidden.

The two international workshops I attended were too short, even at 1 hour 45 minutes each, but very informative. The first was on Europe and the austerity programs. There were union folk from England, Portugal and France and there was an audience member from Germany who also provided information. Given the difficulties that Greece is facing, it would have been a real benefit to have someone from there. Two of the three speakers also referred to their local versions of the Occupy movement. They also spoke about the need for militancy ~ and the lack thereof in most cases ~ to fight back against the harsh austerity conditions being implemented.

On Sunday, I attended a second workshop that I think highlights the importance of Labor Notes and these conferences. This was called "China: Wildcat Strike Epicenter of the World". Academics and grass roots organizers from China joined facilitator Ellen David Friedman from the International Labor Center at Sun Yat-sen University for a presentation that I don't think will be made at very many locations.

All labor strikes in China are wildcat strikes. None are made with the backing or support of the single, state sponsored labor union. There are apparently tens of thousands every year and workers are fighting for better wages, safer working conditions and better living locations when they are housed by the businesses they work for. Do these demands sound familiar? A couple of web sites that were provided are: chinastrikes.crowdmap.com and clntranslations.org .


Other News

compiled by Bob Roman

The April jobs numbers are nothing to crow about, accourding to the Chicago Political Economy Group:

The April job numbers were uniformly dismal according to both the Household and Establishment Survey. 115,000 jobs were added, even less than the disappointing March numbers of 120,000 (since revised upward to 154,000), and not nearly enough to cover the rise in the civilian labor force. This led to a significant reduction in the labor participation rate, the key significant number. There is no sign of making up for the 5-7 million jobs lost in the 2008-9 recession. MORE.

The Airport Living Wage Ordinance remains not just buried in committee, but buried in a zombie committee, according to Progress Illinois. As the Council fiddles and Emanuel smirks, "workers are feeling increasingly agitated and uncertain." For good reason.

Emanuel is also messing with the nurses. The May 18th demonstration against austerity and for a Financial Transactions Tax has had it's permit pulled. The nurses are suing. Chicago DSA is among the endorsers of this march, and we expect to be there.


Letters

To The Editor:
I am concerned about our unhuman, unspeaking Fellow Citizens who seem to have a lot of money. They're the perfect ventriloquist's Dummy. And there are many ventriloquists -- manipulators -- of this dummy. Some are stern of face and stentorian of voice and pound on the podium because the dummy can't.

They would have us believe the economy will continue to revolve assuring themselves continuing profits as in the past. But we of the 99% are in the throes of losing our homes, bereft of jobs that might save our homes and continuing to feed ourselves and our families.
We have heard of perpetual motion machines that can work without the further input of power! We know better. They even think there are devices and ideas that work that way.

They are so unamerican as to suggest we are incapable of governing ourselves. They are suggesting we shouldn't have public schools which is one of the things that made this country great. They denigrate our water systems, our sewer systems, our highways, our public power systems.

So my fellow human citizens, let us get out there and vote. So we can eliminate the denigrators, the dummy voters, the ventriloquists and manipulators and unamerican thinkers.

Sincerely,
Fred J. Dietz, Sr.
Springfield



Upcoming Events

Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

Saturday, May 12 through Sunday, May 13
The People's Summit
Occupy Chicago, 500 W. Cermak, Chicago
A weekend of panels and workshops dedicated to the struggle for a better world! MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 12, NOON
Re-Dedication of the Studs Terkel Bridge
Division Street over the Chicago River, Chicago
Whose bridge? Studs' bridge! MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 12, NOON
March for Trauma Center
beginning @ 61st & Cottage Grove, Chicago
Demanding a full service trauma center at the Univeristy of Chicago Hospital. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 12, 12:30 PM
CDSA Executive Committee Meeting
Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee Ave, Room 403, Chicago
All DSA members are welcome.

Saturday, May 12, 2 PM
The Occuprint Collection
Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted, Chicago
Pilsen artist Roy Villalobos leads a talk about the Occuprint poster exhibit and the power of the image in protest movements. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 12, 5 PM to 9 PM
Unsettled: Excavating History at the Hull House
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago
Art & History exhibition opening. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, May 14, 3 PM
Money for Education Not War
Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St, Chicago
Rally in support of increased education funding & more. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, May 14, 7 PM to 8:30 PM
IVAW Right to Heal Tour
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago
Veterans will share their experiences in the military and lead a teach-in on the military's mental health crises and related suicide epidemic. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, May 14, 7 PM
Drone Warfare
Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, Chicago
Medea Benjamin and Rafia Zakaria about remote control warfare. MORE INFORMATION.

Tuesday, May 15, 8 AM to 11 AM
Global Landscape for Cleantech and Climate Change
Baldwin/Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior, Chicago
Climate Change & Global Security; Global Policies Driving Cleaner Energy Development. RSVP Required. MORE INFORMATION.

Tuesday, May 15, 11 AM
Vigil for Family Unity
Immigration Court Building 525 W. Van Buren, Chicago
In defense of immigrant rights. MORE INFORMATION and STILL MORE.

Tuesday, May 15, 7 PM
Warehouse Workers for Justice
Lombard Mennonite Church, 528 E. Madison St, Lombard.
About the campaign. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 16, 10 AM to NOON
Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions
LaSalle & Jackson, Chicago
Demanding a 1 year moratorium. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 16, 1 PM to 2 PM
Occupying Mental Health Clinics
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 1 Garland, Chicago
Joseph Gibson leads discussion. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 16, 5:30 PM
Studs Terkel Centennial Celebration
Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
Birthday party for Studs and his fans. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 16, 6:30 PM
100 Years of Studs Terkel
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, Chicago
WFMT Critic-at-Large Andrew Patner explores Studs's life, legacy, and contributions to history through radio and TV clips. $15. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 16, 7:30 PM
"Bound for Glory"
Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
1976 bio-pic of Woody Guthrie. $5. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, May 17
Minimum Wage Lobby Day
Springfield, IL
Lobby for SB 1545. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, May 17, 2 PM
The Planet Over Profit & War
LaSalle & Jackson, Chicago
Bike rally protesting tar sands mining, starting @ above onward to Canadian Consulate. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, May 17, 6 PM
Teach-In on Afghanistan and NATO
Reba Place Church, 620 Madison St, Evanston
Includes Medea Benjamin. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, May 17, 7 PM to 9 PM
Know Your Rights
Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, Chicago
National Lawyers Guild training. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, May 18 through Saturday, May 19
Counter-Summit for Peace & Economic Justice
People's Church, 941 W Lawrence, Chicago
Peace & justice alternative to the NATO and G8 summits. $50. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, May 18, NOON
Protest the Global 1%
Daley Plaza, Dearborn & Washington, Chicago
For a Financial Transactions Tax and an end to austerity. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, May 18, 6:30 PM
Press Coverage of NATO
Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage, Chicago
Journalists discuss coverage, Q&A. $10. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, May 18, 7 PM to 10 PM
Unite! Inspire! Resist!
St Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square, 2649 N. Francisco, Chicago
An evening of arts to oppose NATO. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, May 18, 7 PM
Arab Spring, Libyan Winter
High Concept Labs, 1401 W. Wabansia, Chicago
Vijay Prashad on his latest book. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, May 18, 8 PM
"Soundtrack to a Revolution"
Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St, Chicago
Documentary on the Civil Rights Movement through song. $7. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 19, 5 PM
Student Movements Confront the 1%
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago
Panel with students from Chicago, Canada, Chile, UK. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 19, 6:30 PM
"Rising Waters"
1447 W. Superior, Chicago
Showing of documentary on global warming and the Pacific islands. MORE INFORMATON.

Saturday, May 19, 7 PM to 9 PM
Lifting the Shadow of War
Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington, Chicago
Speech and discussion by David Swanson. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 19, 8 PM
This Land Is Our Land!
Metro, 3730 N. Clark St, Chicago
Concert in celebration of Woody Guthrie. $26. MORE INFORMATION.

Sunday, May 20, 1 PM
NATO Shadow Summit for Afghan Women's Rights
Swissotel Hotel Lucerne Ballroom, 323 E. Wacker Dr, Chicago
Afghan women's voices re: human rights in Afghanistan. MORE INFORMATION.

Sunday, May 20, 10 AM
March for Justice and Reconciliation
Petrillo Music Shell, Jackson & Columbus, Chicago
IVAW returns their medals & thousands protest NATO. MORE INFORMATION & STILL MORE.

Monday, May 21, Midnight apparently
Shut It Down
Boeing, 100 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago
Beyond kicking Boeing to the curb. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, May 21, 7 PM
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken"
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago
Reading of stage adaptation of Studs Terkel's book. Reservation required. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 23, 4:30 PM
Mass Rally to Take Back Chicago
Daley Plaza, Dearborn & Washington, Chicago
Protest corporate welfare, especially CME Group. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, May 24, 6:30 PM to 9 PM
"Rokkosho Rhapsody"
Multi-Kulti Center, 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave 4th Floor, Chicago
Showing of documentary re: Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing facility. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, May 24, 7 PM to 11 PM
Food Not NATO
Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington Ave, Chicago
Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry on the 32nd anniversary of FnB. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, May 26, 10 AM
Memorial Day Massacre Commemoration
George Washington High School, 3535 E. 114th St, Chicago
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the massacre at Republic Steel. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, May 30, 7:30 PM
"Wild River"
Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Showing of Elia Kazan's movie drama about the TVA. $5. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, June 2, 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Studs on Film
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St, Chicago
Episodes of Stud's Place, Studs on a Soapbox, and other documentaries. MORE INFORMATION.


New Ground #142.1

06.01.2012

Contents

0. DSA News

DSA National Expands
Congratulations Hollande
DSA in the News by Bob Roman
Chicago DSA vs NATO
Talkin' Socialism

1. Politics

Congress Hotel Strike by Tom Broderick
Other Labor News
The Left and the U.S. Elections

2. Ars Politica

Morbid Curiosity by Tom Broderick
My Kind of Town

3. Democratic Socialism

Taking Socialism Seriously: But What Is Your Alternative?
Year of the Cooperative

4. Upcoming Events of Interest



DSA News

DSA National Expands
The DSA national office will be seeing two new staff. Jackie Sewell has been hired as the new YDS national organizer, replacing Andrew Porter. Sewell has served on the YDS Coordinating Committee and other national leadership postions. She began working with YDS in the Wichita State University chapter. After transferring to the University of Kansas, she organized a YDS chapter there. Sewell says, "As the next YDS National Organizer, I wish to continue organizing young leaders to make clear changes in their lives, universities, and communities. I understand that educating, agitating, and organizing youth in the United States is a difficult task, but I also believe that it is absolutely crucial to the progress of our society."

Amber Frost is being hired as a part-time office assistant, relieving some of the routine workload on the national director, Maria Svart, and financial coordinator Fatou Camara. This is a long overdue new position, made possible by a distinct upturn in contributions. Frost got her start with the YDS chapter in Bloomington, Indiana, and has also served on the YDS Coordinating Committee and other national leadership positions.

Congratulations Hollande
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) welcomes the recent European-wide popular rejection of the austerity politics of the 1%. In particular, DSA salutes the victory of socialist François Hollande in the French presidential election. Hollande ran on a platform that rejected the austerity policies of massive budget cuts pushed by the lords of finance. Such policies only serve to prolong both the Great Recession and the pain it visits upon working people and the poor. Hollande's program calls for a financial transactions tax and higher marginal tax rates on the rich to increase investment in education, including the hiring of 60,000 new teachers. His platform also calls for a major raise in the minimum wage and for lowering, from age 62 to 60, the age at which manual laborers can retire and receive full public pensions. To achieve such policies, the broad left must now win a majority in the June French parliamentary elections and stand firm on its pre-election pledges. The fight against the global capitalist politics of austerity must be truly international; thus the United States left must pressure the Obama administration to work with Hollande to restart the European economy and to propose similar programs in the United States that would highlight the complete failure of austerity policies. MORE.

DSA in the News
by Bob Roman
San Diego DSA's endorsements in the upcoming California primary was picked up by the Ocean Beach Rag, an on-line avatar of a 1960s underground journal of the same name. Rather more interesting, conservatives seem to dusting off the "Obama is a Socialist" narrative in much the same way they did in 2008. This time it begins with a Buzzfeed post purporting to uncover a "new" document about Obama's participation in a 1996 DSA forum. Within a day, the story was picked up by at least 3 dozen blogs (I stopped counting after that), including some that actually have an audience like The National Review or The American Spectator. This last item by Jeffrey Lord is notable as it agrees that this is not new, purports to trace its origin to a March, 2012, posting on a conservative blog Illogical Politics, and tries to justify the interest in such stale news by pretending another document will make a difference in media coverage and the attitude of the electorate. As many of the posts also included links to New Ground coverage of the forum, it's apparent that for all the noise it didn't generate much interest compared to 2008. When Dolores Huerta was awarded the Medal of Freedom, it was covered by a broad spectrum of mainstream media, none of which, not even Fox and not even liberal - left publications and sites, mentioned her DSA affiliation. This was left to the hardcore ideological conservatives. The Examiner network of news sites made sure to do so as part of its Beltway Confidential coverage of national politics. The Heritage Foundation also made sure to highlight the affiliation, and postings also showed up at Real Clear Politics and at Townhall. There were also several postings at various AM talk radio sites, and several dozen conservative blog sites either duplicated one or another postings or kitbashed a few. Even Rush Limbaugh got in on the act. Finally, the Oak Park Oak Leaves included coverage of DSA's participation in the May 18th National Nurses United rally in Daley Plaza.

Barclay Broderick

 Chicago DSA vs NATO
CDSA endorsed the May 18th National Nurses Union demonstration protesting the Global 1% and the Iraq Veterans Against the War May 20th March for Justice & Reconciliation. The latter demonstration was successfully merged into the other demonstration being organized to protest NATO and the G8.

Bill Barclay and Tom Broderick brought the Chicago DSA banner to the May 18th demonstration where they also collected signatures on a petition favoring a Financial Transaction Tax (more about this project in an upcoming issue). Bob Roman distributed copies of Democratic Left and New Ground.

Also see GOPDSA's Bob Simpson's coverage of the May 18th demonstration HERE.

In addition to banner and petitions, CDSA also made a donation to IVAW. DSA members played a variety of roles around the NATO summit beyond just marching. Some were involved in planning Occupy Chicago's People's Summit, teaching workshops at both the People's Summit and the Counter-Summit, serving as legal observers, providing housing for out-of-town demonstrators, and other Jimmy Higgins type stuff.

Photo Credits: Etaoin Shrdlu

 

Talkin' Socialism
Episode 15
-- Your Rights to Protest in Chicago
Recorded 05.12.2012: Chicago DSA's Tom Broderick interviews Melinda Power, sole proprietor of West Town Law Office, about protest and civil rights with a special focus on the current NATO protests. MP3 (28.3 MB) or Ogg Vorbis (22 MB).

Episode 16 -- Hyatt Hurts
Recorded 04.14.2012: Reverend Douglas Asbury, a Methodist Minister at Riverside United Methodist Church and member of the Methodist Hyatt Boycott Committee, and Jose Espinoza, a worker at Hyatt McCormick Place for 8 years, discuss UNITE HERE's boycott of Hyatt. MP3 (30 MB) or Ogg Vorbis (23 MB).

Broderick
Barclay



Politics

The Congress Hotel Strike
by Tom Broderick
This year will mark the ninth anniversary of the strike at the Congress Hotel. This is the longest on-going strike in the U.S. Members of UNITE-HERE! Local 1 walked out on their jobs after the Congress Management took away their healthcare without telling the workers and cutting their pay without discussion. Both of these are illegal, and the workers did get their back pay. However the management wouldn't negotiate on healthcare issues and told the workers they would not get any pay increase. The workers took to the streets and while they are still not back at the Congress, they remain firm that they will stay out as long as it takes.
 
Supporting these workers is very important this year. The lawyer representing the Congress Hotel is also the lawyer representing the Hyatt Hotel chain in Chicago. UNITE-HERE! Local 1 has been unsuccessful in getting a renewed contract with the Hyatt Chain for more than two years. This is also true nationally. One of the sticking points has to do with contracting out work to non-union outside contractors. In the Boston area, three Hyatt hotels asked their workers to train others in on-the-job training. The Hyatt management told the workers that these people would work in other hotels. This was a lie. After the training period, the workers were let go and replaced by the very people they had trained.
 
Feet on the street supporting these workers will not only remind people of the Congress Hotel, there will be a spillover effect on the Hyatt negotiations. Please consider organizing folk in  your congregations, organizations and elsewhere to come and support these workers.
 
The specifics:

Friday, June 15th from 4 PM to 6 PM.
Congress Hotel at 520 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago

 

Local 1 would like to get a general idea of how many people to expect. So if you could email me (or call 708.386.6007 voicemail) if you are coming, and if others are coming, I'd like to provide counts to the UNITE-HERE! Local 1.

In the meantime, watch this rap video about the Congress strike made by neighboring Columbia College students.

Other Labor News
Score one for AFSCME as registered nurses at west-side Loretto Hospital voted 80 to 40 for union representation. This is the second nursing staff in 6 months to vote in a union (National Nurses United in January) as opposed to changing affiliations. Depending upon how you chop the shops, these were the first such victories since 1991.

SEIU Local 73, representing nurses, social workers, speech pathologists and medical technicians at the Univeristy of Illinois Medical Center, went out on a 3 day demonstration strike on May 30. Negotiations on a contract have been going on for 14 months with no agreement. Local 73 doesn't exactly charge management with not bargaining, but they certainly feel management hasn't been doing its homework.

Machinists Lodge 851 took on a giant, Caterpillar, when they went out on strike on May 1. Caterpillar is notoriously anti-union, its subsidiary EMD, for a recent example, having locked-out the Canadian Auto Workers before moving production to a non-union facility in Muncie, Indiana. You may recall company brass attempting to blackmail Illinois over the recent tax increase. Machinist workers have recently rejected Caterpillar's latest offer. Brave hearts!

The Left and the U.S. Elections
New Politics has put together an on-line symposium of articles about the upcoming Presidential election. It pretty much represents most of the positions found on the left and, as such, is not especially encouraging. Nonetheless: MORE.


Ars Politica

Morbid Curiosity
by Tom Broderick
On the Saturday between the Friday National Nurses United Robin Hood Tax rally and the No to NATO rally and march on Sunday, I went to the Chicago Cultural Center and saw an exhibition that meshed with these activities: Morbid Curiosity. The exhibition was set up in two rooms. The first, along with the closing statement by the collection owner, Richard Harris, brought to mind the 99% vs 1% theme of the Occupy movement.

There are two distinct messages coming from the two exhibition rooms. The first is a collection of art and artifacts from several cultures, although European and U.S. elements dominate. The timeline is also long. The earliest material dates from approximately 2000 BCE and there are items from the 21st century included. Sculpture, painting, prints, photography, drawing and mixed media are all on display.

Entering the first room, you immediately see a colorful display of Mexican Day of the Dead material. This combines fun, reverence and the macabre. Touring this large room provides item after item reminding us that life as we know it is fleeting and that death is certain. A question that hovers: How do we live, knowing that our earthly time is unknown, but finite?

We are told that this room is set up as were "Kunstkammers," which were early forms of museums set up by "rulers, aristocrats and successful members of the merchant class." These were status symbols of the wealthy and were items of competition between them. These of course were colonialists and the displays were displays of wealth, culture and knowledge. Today, museum wings are named for this aristocracy.

The second room was about war and the damage done to one and all by war. A series of prints by Jacques Callot, a slide show of prints by Francisco Goya, another series of prints by Otto Dix, by the Chapman Brothers and another series by Sandow Birk. Callot's was called "The Message of War" and was published in 1633. Goya's was called "The Disaster of War" and was published in 1810. Dix's was called "The War" and was published in 1929. The Chapman Brothers was also called "The Message of War" and was modeled after Goya's earlier work. This was a revisit with a more explicit sexual focus and was worked on over several years with the first prints dating from 1999. The final group by Sandow Birk focused on our war against the people of Iraq. They are very large woodblock prints and drive home the violence done to one and all by the war in a cartoon-like style. However there is nothing funny in this series or any of them.

There is no glory in war. This theme was echoed at the Vietnam Veterans Against War / Iraqi Veterans Against War Memorial Day recognition that was held in Chicago on the Memorial Day morning.

Earlier I mentioned the closing statement by the collection owner, Richard Harris. In a brief statement by the exit, he talks about his early collecting of illustrated books and then, because he was an "entrepreneur" and had to look after his business interests, worked with professionals to build additional collections. He sold his collections for profit as desired and then built this collection using his own sensibilities. This statement is a nonchalant statement of wealth and power, recollecting the Kunstkammers of earlier time. This calm self-reflection of worth at a time when the Occupy Movement has focused a spotlight on the 99% vs the 1% is indicative of the remove the 1% experiences.

I would strongly urge you to visit Morbid Curiosity at the Chicago Cultural Center. It runs through July 8th and is on the fourth floor at 78 E. Washington Street in Chicago. The phone number is 312 744 6630. The website is www.chicagoculturalcenter.org.

My Kind of Town
At the Peoples Law Office, Flint Taylor writes:

"On May 11, 2012, My Kind of Town, a compelling play about Chicago police torture that was written by award winning investigative journalist John Conroy and directed by Nick Bowling, opened at the TimeLine Theatre in Chicago. Conroy, who has covered, investigated, and written about the torture scandal since 1989, has brought his deep journalistic understanding of the subject to the stage in a manner that the most seasoned playwright would be proud of." MORE.



Democratic Socialism

Taking Socialism Seriously: But What Is Your Alternative?
In this new anthology from Lexington Books, DSA member David Schweickart begins his contribution by explaining:

"Not long ago I received a call from my sister-in-law, a fundamentalist Christian, conservative on social issues but not particularly politicial otherwise. She made a surprising request. Her pastor had taken recently to railing against socialism. But she knows that I am a socialist and not a terrible person, so something didn't seem right. 'Could you explain to me,' she asked, 'what socialism is?' 'Don't refer me to a book,' she added. 'Just write up a few pages.'

"So I took up the challenge. I didn't attempt an academic treatise. I made no distinction, for example, between 'socialism' and 'communism,' nor did I attempt a short history of these terms or movements. I gave her, in essence, a brief account of my own version of 'socialism,' which included some institutional specifics, since the question, 'What is your alternative?' has been the central focus of my research and writing since graduate school days. Here's my multi-part answer to her question." (PDF)

Year of the Cooperative
2012 is the United Nations' International Year of the Cooperative, and Grassroots Economic Organizing celebrates the occasion in its latest newsletter, including articles on cooperative education, cooperatives as transformative strategies, and cooperative principles: HERE.

While at In These Times, Rebecca Burns asks:

"But do the swelling numbers of cooperative businesses constitute a force capable of transforming the broader economy? Governmental support for co-ops, though increasing at the behest of the U.N., is based on the principle that co-ops can create employment as part of a mixed economy, most often in sectors where capital has already retreated. And though most co-ops follow a set of seven principles ­ among them open membership, autonomy and concern for community ­ there are significant differences in how directly members or workers participate in decision-making and how explicitly they engage with broader economic justice movements." MORE.



Upcoming Events of Interest

Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

Wednesday, June 6, 6 PM to 7 PM
Something to Strike About?
Anthony Cappetta and Sarah Jane Rhee on issues facing Chicago public school teachers today. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, June 6, 7 PM
From Employee to Serf
Two Thirteen Building, 213 S. Wheaton Ave, Wheaton
Tim Bell, Senior Organizer for the Chicago Workers' Collaborative, will discuss why temporary workers have become the largest labor force in the State of Illinois. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 7, Noon
Strike!
Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St, Sycamore
Dr. Rosemary Feurer and former Anaconda employees on the 1968 strike in Sycamore. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, June 8, 6 PM to 8 PM
On Blackness Re-Imagined
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St, Chicago
Performance and conversation with Krista Franklin and Michael Warr. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, June 8, 7:20 PM
"Koch Brothers Exposed"
DuPage Unitarian Church, 4S535 Old Naperville Rd, Naperville
Showing of documentary followed by discussion. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, June 9, 11 AM
Community Forum
Holy Cross Hospital, 2701 W. 68th St Basement, Chicago
On jobs, Daley City College, and the Arturo Velasquez Institute. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, June 9, 2:30 PM
Austerity and Democracy
Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
Dr. William Pelz compares and contrasts responses to austerity in North America and Europe. An Open Univeristy of the Left event.

Sunday, June 10, 2 PM to 6 PM
Tribunal on Women and Climate Justice
Sacred Heart, 329 S. Ottawa St, Joliet
The second of two tribunals that will be held in the United States to highlight how women living in persistent poverty areas and impoverished communities are being affected by climate-related issues. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, June 11, 6 PM to 8 PM
"Bananas!"
637 S. Dearborn, Chicago
Showing of the documentary followed by discussion. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 14, 7 PM
Voting and Speaking Out
Popular Creek Library, 1405 S. Park Blvd, Streamwood, IL
Join ACLU staff attorney Ruth Brown for a discussion on voter suppression and attacks on free speech. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, June 15, 7 PM
A Call for Peacemakers
78th Place & Throop, Chicago
End of the school year march to proclaim "Peace in the Streets" MORE INFORMATION.


New Ground #142.2

06.18.2012

Contents

0. DSA News

Democratic Left
Summer School
DSA in the News by Bob Roman
Talkin' Socialism

1. Politics

The Longest Strike in the U.S. by Tom Broderick
The Hands That Feed Us
May Jobs Report
Junk Food Deficiency
Austerity and Democracy

2. Ars Politica

Girls!

3. Democratic Socialism

Dude, Where's My Singularity?

4. Upcoming Events of Interest



DSA News

Democratic Left
The Summer, 2012, issue of Democratic Left is now online with articles by Dick Flacks, Joseph Schwartz, Amber Frost and others HERE. (PDF)

Summer School
The Young Democratic Socialists are having their annual summer school on August 9 through 12 at the Valley Brook Inn in upstate New York. More information is HERE.

DSA in the News
by Bob Roman
Conservative pundits continue to be agitated about Obama's mid-1990s connection with the New Party and with Obama's award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dolores Huerta.

While some of the conservative out-gassing about "Obama's lies" about the New Party do not mention DSA (nor do any of the responses: The Atlantic and Media Matters for America and the Associated Press as examples), quite a few other publications and sites did... as context, dontcha know. Investor's Business Daily came up with an editorial:  "Democrats, Media In Denial Over Obama's Socialist Beliefs." The Examiner web sites filed Joe Newby's "New documents reveal Obama a member of far-left New Party" under "news and information". Catholic Online published what appears to be a re-write of a National Review press release. And of course, there's Newsmax and Powerlines. And Rush Limbaugh got into the act. Then there's the Montana Daily Inter Lake editorial. Breitbart.com had an article that was actually fairly good on the ideological nuances -- though the comments are worrisome, at least. Oh yes: Comedy Central too.

But for lefties in Chicago, the must read article is a follow up piece at Buzzfeed that solicited comments from others involved in the New Party. The comments are interesting but of special concern is the sidebar of meeting minutes, an internal memo, and New Party membership lists from Chicago. Were you a member of the Chicago New Party? Go see if you're mentioned.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom continued to fuel some conservative chatter, with commentary popping up at the Marietta Journal, Tulsa Today, The National Review, The Bandera Bulletin, Talk Radio News Service (who knew there was such a thing?), and, on a tangential topic, the Jerusalem Post, of all places. Where did that last one come from? See breitbart.com.

All the commentary complaining about Dolores Huerta's award neglects the fact she is not the first DSA member to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. DSA Honorary Vice Chair James Farmer received the award in 1998. Honorary Chair Millie Jeffrey received the award in 2000. And DSA member John Sweeny received the award in 2011. Dolores Huerta is also a 1976 Thomas - Debs Dinner honoree, Millie Jeffrey spoke at the 1981 Thomas - Debs Dinner, and James Farmer spoke at the 1963 Debs Dinner. If you want to expand "socialist" to include the late Social Democrats USA, there's Sidney Hook in 1985 and Al Shanker in 1998, though they may not have been members by then. And there are several other Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees who came out of the old Socialist Party, such as Helen Keller, Walter Reuther, David Dubinsky, Carl Sandberg, among others. Face it, conservatives, socialism is apple pie American! And Mom! There have been a few foreign socialists honored, too, such as Nelson Mandela (2002) and (bark! bark!) Tony Blair (2009).

DSA was mentioned in a foaming-at-the-mouth polemic against the labor movement in Rhode Island at GoLocalProv and in an attack on Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Atlanta DSA got mentioned as part of a protest against cuts in unemployment insurance at the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union.

Talkin' Socialism
Episode 17
-- Iran & the Drumbeats for War
Recorded 06.09.2012: Author, activist, and Communications Specialist for Stand Up! Chicago, Danny Postel, and author, activist, and Professor of Sociology and Islamic World Studies aat Lake Forest College, Ahmad Sadri, discuss the threats of war against Iran and Iranian civil society. MP3 (35 MB) or Ogg Vorbis (28 MB).



Politics

The Longest Strike in the U.S.
by Tom Broderick
The longest current strike in America continues. The rank and file of UNITE-HERE! Local 1 voted to rally on June 15 at the Congress Hotel to mark the ninth year of their strike. This is 3,285 days.

In his speech at the end of the rally, Henry Tamarin, President of Local 1, referred to the usual suspects being present again. Some of the groups that were on the pavement included Interfaith Worker Justice, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Several unions were represented by individuals wearing their union colors. The giant inflated rats were there as well. Tamarin also mentioned another group of usual suspects -- the Chicago Police Department., some of whom had been at all the previous rallies.

The picket line was larger this year than last. Weather probably had an impact on the gathering last year, as we marched in the rain. This year we walked from the north end of the building, to the south end and then around the corner to the west-end of the building and back. The line was solid the entire length of the picket. Chants included "Up Up with the Union, Down Down with the Congress." During this chant, pickets reach up during the Up Up and lower themselves during the Down Down. My knees won't let me do the Down Down portion, but it is fun to watch.

In addition to Tamarin's talk during the close, Father Larry Dowling spoke, as did Dolores Contreras, one of the original Congress Hotel strikers. Several of them were on the speaker's platform. Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez also spoke. The event closed with Young General doing his hip-hop song from the video produced by Columbia College students about the historic strike.

UNITE-HERE! is also engaged in a contract struggle with the Hyatt Hotel chain. One of the areas of concern for UNITE-HERE! is subcontracting work to temp agencies. Henry Tamarin said that that practice began in Chicago at the Congress Hotel which he said now has not much more than 15 actual employees. The rest are temps. It's also worth remembering that three Boston-area Hyatt Hotels asked their housekeeping staff to train other workers to learn how to become housekeepers. Once the new workers were at the level that the management considered acceptable, they fired their current staff and replaced them with the newly trained workers. Despicable by any definition of the word.

UNITE-HERE! is planning a week of action in several cities in the U.S. and Canada focusing on the Hyatt campaign. This will lead to a call for a global boycott. The specifics are not complete, but in Chicago, the general outline is:

  • Monday, July 23rd, Hyatt Visibility Day with young folk taking the forefront, making the struggle visible around the Chicago area.
  • Tuesday, July 24th, Community Day with community groups taking the forefront, focusing on Hyatt Hurts themes. A newly formed Community Outreach committee will be working on these specifics.
  • Wednesday, July 25th, Medical Community Day with the medical community taking the forefront. The medical community is the largest money-making group for the Hyatt chain.
  • Thursday, July 26th, Mobilization Day. This is still in formation, but the idea is that the public is center stage, supporting the union's workers and their families.

As more information becomes available, Chicago DSA will keep you informed. For more coverage of June 15, see ABC7, UNITE HERE!, and Pinterest.

The Hands That Feed Us
The Food Chain Workers Alliance has released a new report, The Hands That Feed Us. They bill it as the first study of its kind, looking at wages and working conditions across the entire "food chain" industry. Warehouse Workers United and Coalition of Immokalee Workers are members of the Alliance. MORE.

May Jobs Report
Chicago Political Economy Group comments on the BLS' latest numbers on the real economy:

A sputtering recovery crying out for a jump start. That is the picture confirmed by the May employment and unemployment report released June 1st by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) inched up to 8.2% between April and May in response to the deficiency in the rate of job creation over the same period. Only 69,000 (seasonally adjusted) jobs were created, far short of the 113,000 that are needed simply to keep up with the growth in the labor force that is caused by population growth each month.

It comes as no surprise. In the U.S. private spending and lending continue to be hobbled by the large overhang of debt resulting from the financial binge and bust of the 2000s. It is most evident in housing foreclosures and the dearth of construction activity. Throughout the economy, however, demand is weak and federal government action to stimulate it, heretofore inadequate, at best, is now dwindling to virtually nothing. MORE.

Junk Food Deficiency
At New City, Hugh Iglarsh begins his review of Born with a Junk Food Deficiency:

Martha Rosenberg's scrutiny of Big Pharma and agribusiness is so bleak and unrelenting, it sometimes seems to go beyond muckraking into something more closely resembling war correspondence. On one side of the battlefield are the pharmaceutical companies, depicted here as blockbuster-fixated marketing organizations that, having run thin of obvious diseases to treat, seek to convert the fixed circumstances of life -- being young, being old, being male, being female -- into medicable ailments. Their comrades-in-arms are Monsanto and other gene-tinkering research companies, whose overarching mission is to overwhelm and supplant nature with profit-driven science. Allied with both of them are revolving-door regulatory agencies and interest-conflicted professional associations, and much of the authority and knowledge structure of society, from the military to the university to the media.

On the other side is just... us, reduced to guinea pigs and passive inhabitants of an increasingly chemicalized reality. Only in America are prescription drugs treated as advertisable commodities, creating the widespread impression, after sufficient battering by pharmaceutical TV commercials, that every variety of human suffering and inadequacy is a preventable symptom of pill deficiency, and producing an irresistible pressure on even the most conscientious of physicians to prescribe, prescribe, prescribe. MORE.

  Austerity and Democracy
On Saturday, June 9, Chicago DSA Political Education Officer Dr. William Pelz spoke at the Open University of the Left. Popular responses to the imposition of austerity have differed among Western European nations and the United Sates. European working and middle classes have collectivized their opposition via such traditional mechanisms as trade unions, community organizations, and new electoral formations. American opposition has struggled with historically similar but far weaker institutions. The presentation, followed by Q&A, attempts to describe and explain the contours of this diverse movement to expand economic and political democracy, and the degree to which these movements align and diverge.


Ars Politica

Girls!
At The Activist, Amber Frost writes:

Recently, a firestorm of internet frenzy has erupted around a new HBO show, Girls. Centered on young 20-somethings in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, the show's marketing insinuates believable stories about flawed (yet loveable) believable characters that make mistakes while trying to navigate adulthood. Sounds great, right? Of course not! It's highly funded mass media! It's going to get things horribly wrong! The biggest issue that's come under scrutiny is the whitey white whiteness of the show, despite being set in one of the most diverse cities in the world. People are understandably annoyed at the continued erasure of people of color from cool and introspective projects. However, in this magical age of internets, there has (of course) already been backlash to the backlash, and I, (being the hip young trendsetter that I am) intend to be ahead of the curve on the backlash to the backlash to the backlash, because I enjoy shouting into the wind about contentious issues! (I have backlash on vinyl, my backlash is French, you probably wouldn't have heard of it, etc etc.) MORE.



Democratic Socialism

Dude, Where's My Singularity?
At The Baffler, David Graeber notes the absence of flying cars, interplanetary travel, and all the other Sci-Fi props of his childhood; discovers a declining rate of innovation rather than an acceleration, and blames it on... MORE.



Upcoming Events of Interest

Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

Tuesday, June 19, Noon
Robin Hood Comes to Chicago
JP Morgan Chase, 10 S. Dearborn, Chicago
National Nurses United kicks off their Robin Hood campaign for a financial transaction tax. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, June 20, 1 PM to 2 PM
Vatican Clash with 'Radical' Nuns
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington 1 Garland Room, Chicago
Featuring Dr. Prudence Moylan. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, June 20, 11 AM
Climate Change and Public Health Plan for Cook County
ELPC Office, 35 E. Wacker Dr, Chicago
MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, June 20, 7:30 PM
"You and Me"
Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
1938 film directed by Fritz Lang. $5 MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 21, 6 PM to 8 PM
A Reading with Tyehimba Jess
Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St, Fl 8 Terrace, Chicago
Poetry reading. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 21, 6:30 PM
What Next for the Fisk Power Plant Site
St. Pius Hall, 1919 S. Ashland Ave, Chicago
What do YOU want to see at the Fisk Plant Site? MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 21, 7 PM
Voting and Speaking OUt
Round Lake Beach Civic and Cultural Center, 2007 Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach
ACLU's Adam Schwartz and League of Women Voters Rosemary Heilemann. MORE INFORMATION.

Friday, June 22, 5:30 PM to 8 PM
An Untold Story of the Conservative Vice Lords
In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave 2nd Floor, Chicago
In the late 1960s, gang members in North Lawndale decided to make a change and enter the civic arena. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, June 23, 2 PM
2012 Dyke March
Margate Park, Marine Dr and Ainslie, Chicago
MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, June 23, 1 PM to 4 PM
Community Forum on Privatization
SEIU, 300 S. Ashland, Chicago
Privatization, sale of infrastructure, and the inherent dangers of the investment trust. MORE INFORMATION.

Sunday, June 24, Noon
43rd Annual Pride Parade
Montrose & Broadway, Chicago
MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, June 27, 7 PM to 9 PM
Ben Hecht's House Party
5120 S. Kenwood, Chicago
A 1920s literary salon organized by A Pocket Guide to Hell. $20 RSVP by 6/25

Wednesday, June 27, 7:30 PM
"After Tomorrow"
Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
1932 film directed by Frank Borzage. $5 MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 28, 6:30 PM
"Deep Green"
Multi-Kulti Center, 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor, Chicago
Showing of documentary followed by discussion. MORE INFORMATION.

Thursday, June 28, 7 PM
Can War with Iran be Averted?
Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, 303 Dodge Ave, Evanston
A conversation with Dr. Trita Parsi and Rabbi Brant Rosen. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, July 2, 7 PM
What's Next for Occupy
Wheaton Franciscans Tau Center, 26W171 Roosevelt Rd, Wheaton
Occupy Naperville founders and spokespersons will be discussing strategy for what comes next for the Occupy Movement. MORE INFORMATION.


New Ground #142.3

06.29.2012

Contents

0. DSA News

DSA in the News
Summer School

1. Politics

Robin Hood Comes to Chicago
Prosperity Not Austerity!
Save the Dates
The Pension Amendment
Debt by Degrees
TIFs and School Construction
Rebuild Chicago

2. Upcoming Events of Interest



DSA News

DSA in the News
DSA was mentioned, in passing, in the San Francisco Chronicle's coverage of the National Nurses Union's SF rally for a "Robin Hood Tax". The Young Democratic Socialists Winter Conference was included in an In These Times aggregation of articles on the student debt crisis. And DSA was mentioned, in passing, in this article about Dolores Huerta in, of all places, Avionics Intellegence.

Summer School
The Young Democratic Socialists are having their annual summer school on August 9 through 12 at the Valley Brook Inn in upstate New York. More information is HERE.



Politics

Robin Hood Comes to Chicago
On Juneteenth, National Nurses United kicked-off the national campaign for a "Robin Hood Tax" (a tax on the sale of things like stocks, bonds, derivatives). They hit 15 cities plus a couple of actions in Washington, DC. Read about it HERE.

In conjunction with this campaign launch, National Peoples Action released this video.

Prosperity Not Austerity!
Illinois political leaders including Governor Pat Quinn propose to solve the state's budget crisis by severely cutting the state's social safety net. They have approved cuts to pensions and the state's Medicaid budget by $2.7 billion (19%). Staff at state parks and other institutions is being slashed; education funding at all levels is declining, organized labor is being weakened and proposals for privatizing public assets and services abound.

Their cuts will affect, among others, 3 million people who depend on Medicaid for access to health care, hundreds of thousands who believed their retirement was secure and a whole generation of Illinois' young people who can no longer afford the education necessary to find good jobs.

Cuts don't produce jobs or prosperity; they only increase unemployment and decrease consumption. The state collects less in income and sales tax, and falling revenues, in turn, trigger more calls for budget cuts. The politicians are putting us in a downward economic spiral.
Like the Greek politicians, Illinois' leaders are forcing the working people of Illinois to suffer the results of the financial crisis caused by Wall Street's casino operators.

There is a better way.  MORE.

Save the Dates
UNITE-HERE! is planning a week of action in several cities in the U.S. and Canada focusing on the Hyatt campaign. This will lead to a call for a global boycott. The specifics are not complete, but in Chicago, the general outline is:

  • Monday, July 23rd, Hyatt Visibility Day with young folk taking the forefront, making the struggle visible around the Chicago area.
  • Tuesday, July 24th, Community Day with community groups taking the forefront, focusing on Hyatt Hurts themes. A newly formed Community Outreach committee will be working on these specifics.
  • Wednesday, July 25th, Medical Community Day with the medical community taking the forefront. The medical community is the largest money-making group for the Hyatt chain.
  • Thursday, July 26th, Mobilization Day. This is still in formation, but the idea is that the public is center stage, supporting the union's workers and their families.

As more information becomes available, Chicago DSA will keep you informed. For more information, also check UNITE HERE Local 1.

The Pension Amendment
A proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution to make it more difficult to raise retirement benefits for public workers will be on the ballot this November. The Center for Tax and Budget Accoutability has put together a report that provides an overview of the state pension systems' underfunding and an analysis of proposed amendment: HERE.

Debt by Degrees
At N+1,

"exchange value is not, as Marx had it, a distortion of a commodity's underlying use value; use value, instead, is a fiction created by exchange value. In the same way, systems of accreditation do not assess merit; merit is a fiction created by systems of accreditation. Like the market for skin care products, the market for credentials is inexhaustible: as the bachelor's degree becomes democratized, the master's degree becomes mandatory for advancement. Our elaborate, expensive system of higher education is first and foremost a system of stratification, and only secondly -- and very dimly -- a system for imparting knowledge." MORE.

TIFs and School Construction
Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education recently completed a study on just where Tax Increment Financing district funds are being spent when they are being spent on school construction. Read about it HERE.

Rebuild Chicago
The Action Now Institue, the 501c3 arm of Action Now (what was once ACORN Chicago) has come up with a clever plan that turns lemons into lemonade. It's a way to use the Chicago Infrastructure Trust as a vehicle for creating affordable housing out of foreclosed properties. The report is HERE.



Upcoming Events of Interest

Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

Monday, July 2, 7 PM
What's Next for Occupy
Wheaton Franciscans Tau Center, 26W171 Roosevelt Rd, Wheaton
Occupy Naperville founders and spokespersons will be discussing strategy for what comes next for the Occupy Movement. MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, July 2, 7 PM
Wood Guthrie and the Great American Folksong
Blue Island Public Library, 2433 York St, Blue Island
Buck Halker performs and discusses music by Woodie Guthrie. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, July 4, 4 PM
Occupy Independence
Lincoln Park, 1650 N. Stockton, Chicago
MORE INFORMATION.

Tuesday, July 10, NOON
Rally Against Leucadia
Thompson Center, Randolph & Clark, Chicago
Join opponents of the Leucadia coal gasification plant for a rally asking Gov. Quinn to veto legislation that guarantees funding for the new plant. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, July 11, 7 PM
The Meaning of Work
Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St, Sycamore
Dr. Monica Bielski-Boris from the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations will speak about the changes confronting workers since the industrial revolution. MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 PM
"Christmas in July"
Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Directed by Preston Sturges 1940. $5. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, July 14, 12:30 PM
Chicago DSA Executive Committee
CDSA Office, 1608 N. Milwaukee Room 403, Chicago
All DSA members welcome.

Saturday, July 14, 9 PM to 11 PM
100th Birthday Woodie Guthrie
Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark, Chicago
Bucky Halker with special guest Lani Aloha. $15. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, July 21, 10 AM
Peoples Hearing on Police Crimes
Kennedy-King College Building Y, 6401 S. Halsted St, Chicago
MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, July 23, 6 PM to 7:30 PM
Can Gangs Change?
Art In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor, Chicago
Can gangs change? Can gang members bring peace to the streets today? How can they become forces for positive social change? MORE INFORMATION.

Wednesday, July 25, 7:30 PM
"La Belle Equipe"
Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Directed by Julien Duvivier, 1936. $5. MORE INFORMATION.

Saturday, July 28, 1 PM
Bug House Square Debates
Washington Square Park, 901 N. Clark St, Chicago
Celebrate Chicago's long history as a hub of free speech with an afternoon of public debate, soapbox speeches, heckling, and music. MORE INFORMATION.


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