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Bring America Home:

the 52nd Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner

by Bob Roman

The 2010 Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner gathered together people representing Chicago's legal, labor, liberal, and left communities to honor the People's Law Office and the United Electrical Workers' Western Regional President Carl Rosen. Author William Greider was our featured speaker. The event was held on Friday evening, May 7, at what is becoming its current home, the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, located at Madison and Halsted in Chicago.

Kim Bobo was our Master of Ceremonies. We have been so fortunate to have her help at our Dinners. In my opinion, she's the best since Leon Despres.

Flint Taylor accepted the award to the People's Law Office from GOPDSA Co-Chair Tom Broderick. Taylor went on to recognize some of the people, present and not, who helped found the law collective and helped make it one of the major resources in defense of civil liberties in Chicago. He spoke briefly about the history of the People's Law Office and its current work.

Carl Rosen accepted the Debs Thomas Harrington award from Chicago DSA Co-Chair Ron Baiman. Rosen found this conceptually difficult. The United Electrical Workers (UE) sees itself as, and tries its best to be, a rank-and-file union; in that context, an officer of the union accepting an award could be seen as presumptuous. So he used the occasion to promote Warehouse Workers for Justice (www.warehouseworker.org ), a UE project that is organizing warehouse workers in Chicago's southwestern suburbs, most of whom are not actual employees but temp workers (despite years on the job for some) with all the vulnerability that comes with that status.

The theme of this year's Dinner was "Bring America Home!" This was a deliberate variation on the title of William Greider's latest book, Come Home America, though it works very well as a demand the left should be making more vociferously of the Obama Administration. Greider's speech was drawn mostly from the latter part of his latest book, and dealt with what we can do to change the direction our country is headed. It was an optimistic talk, and for those of you who missed it, I would suggest reading the book. Or, if you live in Chicago and have cable, the event was taped for later broadcast on CANTV, Chicago's public access cable network.

As someone who has helped organized these dinners for the past twenty years, I want to thank all of you who supported this year's event. It was especially important this year because DSA has become one of the right-wing's favorite hate-objects. (To be fair, they have so many!) Considering what's become of ACORN, this is not a trivial matter. In justifying their passion, conservatives do exaggerate our influence. But with your help, we'll do our best to live up to their paranoia.

For an unconspiratorial, all-volunteer organization like Chicago DSA, this is a tall order. But the 52nd Annual Dinner was an optimistic affair, and the participation this year of so many good people gives us all the more reason to be so. Thank you.

2010 Eugene V. Debs -- Norman Thomas -- Michael Harrington Award

People's Law Office

For representation and assistance to groups and individuals advocating progressive social change;

For work defending the left against repression by the State;

For work holding police accountable for corruption and brutality;

For efforts at establishing the constitutional rights of prisoners;

For the role played toward abolishing the death penalty;

Because this work so aptly illustrates what Debs meant by "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

The Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present the People's Law Office with its annual award this 7th day of May, 2010.

 Taylor & Broderick

Flint Taylor (People's Law Office) and Tom Broderick (DSA) Photo by John Scott

2010 Eugene V. Debs -- Norman Thomas -- Michael Harrington Award

Carl Rosen

For your work building coalitions between Labor and the Community;

For your support of a progressive politics that includes immigrant rights, universal health care, peace, and the abolition of the death penalty;

For your cultivation of rank-and-file unionism whose most recent culmination was the Republic Windows occupation;

For your leadership in all these things and more,

The Debs -- Thomas -- Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present you with its annual award this 7th day of May, 2010.

 Rosen & Baiman

Carl Rosen (United Electrical Workers) and Ron Baiman (DSA). Photo by John Scott

 Dinner Attendees

Ron Baiman at the podium. Photo by John Scott

 grip & grin

From left to right: Carl Rosen, Flint Taylor, Kim Bobo, and William Greider. Photo by John Scott

Eugene V. Debs -- Norman Thomas -- Michael Harrington

52nd Annual Dinner



Carl Rosen

President, United Electrical Workers Western Region
Bring America Home

Honoring the

People's Law Office

Bring America Home


William Greider

Columnist for The Nation; Journalist; Author: Come Home America (2009), The Soul of Capitalism (2004), The Secrets of the Temple (1989), and others

and our Master of Ceremonies, Kim Bobo (Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, 733 W. Madison, Chicago

Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. -- Dinner at 7:00 p.m. -- Tickets @ $60

Tickets must be reserved no later than Tuesday, May 4. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door at $70 per person. Make sure you and your organization appear in the program book! For more details: call 773.384.0327 or email chiildsa@chicagodsa.org or CLICK HERE for to download a printable (PDF) flyer with more information..

Auspices: Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation with 501c4 IRS status;
contributions are not tax-deductible.

 Dinner Tickets


 Reserved Tables

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door at $70 per person.

Order your tickets today using your credit card or PayPal account from our secure order page.

Use the button on the left to order individual tickets.

Use the button on the right to order reserved tables. A reserved table seats 8.

Can't attend? We welcome your contribution:

Bring America Home! As Frederick Douglass said, "power concedes nothing without a demand," and in these early years of the 21st Century, "Bring America Home!" must be our demand to the powerful. It is not a cry of isolationism. It is a demand for priorities that are sensible for the majority of Americans: for health care instead of bombs, for productive jobs instead of billions to bail out a financial elite, for fair trade agreements instead of free trade agreements, for internationalism instead of empire. Bring America Home! is the theme of the 2010 Debs ­ Thomas ­ Harrington Dinner.

To address this theme, we have William Greider: reporter, editor, columnist for The Nation, and author. Among his many books are Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, Who Will Tell The People? : The Betrayal of American Democracy, One World Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism, and The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy. His most recent book is Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country. Greider writes about capitalism and about democracy and explains how these two value systems are in collision. There isn't a speaker better suited to these times. This is someone you will not want to miss.

This year we are honoring Carl Rosen. Rosen is President of the Western Region of the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE). He is also a vice-president of UE nationally and a member of UE's General Executive Board. Rosen serves as an officer of Chicago Jobs with Justice, an organization he helped start. These are the bare bones of his work. The truly interesting stuff is his involvement with the historic, successful Republic Windows occupation that once again made plant occupations a viable tactic for the labor movement and his work for immigrant rights, against the wars, for the abolition of the death penalty, and in favor of universal health care. Please join us in honoring Carl Rosen and his work.

For the second time in the history of the Dinner, we are honoring an organization: the People's Law Office. The People's Law Office (PLO) has its proudly controversial origins in the legal battles following the 1968 Democratic Convention: a "law collective" that worked "in the movement for the movement and with the movement." To be brief, the PLO's work has been an illustration of what Eugene Debs meant when he said, "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." In recent years, the PLO has worked to curb police misconduct and brutality and has worked to abolish the death penalty. Please join us in honoring this resource for social justice.

These two honorees have done work worthy of your recognition. If you cannot attend (or even if you can), please consider placing an ad in the Dinner Program Book. Information about the Dinner and the Program Book is here. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. More information about Chicago DSA and the work we do can be found at our web site, www.chicagodsa.org.

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