You are invited to participate in the 2012 Eugene V. Debs --
Norman Thomas -- Michael Harrington Dinner. It will be held on
Friday evening, April 27, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, just
west of the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. The evening
begins with a cash bar at 6 PM. The Dinner is at 7 PM. The program
usually starts about 8 PM.
Michael Harrington's The Other America
was published 50 years ago this March. It eloquently revealed
poverty in the United States to be persistent and not isolated.
Dwight Macdonald's 40 page review in the New Yorker in
1963 was effectively a second publication. When Walter Heller
gave the book to President Kennedy, it got credit for catalyzing
what later became Johnson's "War on Poverty." There
are good reasons to be cynical about why poverty became a major
item on the nation's agenda back then. Yet contrary to conservative
cant, the social programs of the 1960s were not a failure even
if they were not a success. When The Other America was
published, nearly 30% of the U.S. population lived at or below
125% of the poverty line. Today, even in the lingering shadow
of the Great Recession and decades of conservative sabotage,
that number is a bit less than 20%. Our honorees this year are
outstanding examples of how the fight against poverty is basically
a fight for justice. This year we are honoring John Bouman and
Chicago Jobs with Justice.
is President of, and Director of Advocacy at, the Sargent Shriver
National Center on Poverty Law. He is also a leader in the Responsible
Budget Coalition, which waged a nearly successful campaign to
bring fiscal sanity to Illinois State government and to preserve
human service and education funding. Bouman was a leader in the
successful statewide effort to create the Family Care and All
Kids programs that provide health insurance to the working poor
and their children. He is recognized for being one of the most
effective and thoughtful public benefit advocates in the country.
Chicago DSA has a long history with
Chicago Jobs with Justice so we're not exactly impartial
when we call them Chicago's premier labor -- community organization.
Not long after Jobs with Justice was founded in 1987, Chicago
DSA was among the handful of organizations and individuals who
worked to get a chapter organized here in Chicago. Since then,
Chicago Jobs with Justice has been a vital part of the struggle
for universal health care, fair trade rather than free trade,
peace rather than war, labor rights, preserving public services,
and full employment.
Our featured speaker is Ruth Conniff.
She is the Political Editor of The Progressive, a panelist
on the PBS show "To the Contrary", and co-editor (with
Paul Buhle) of It Started in Wisconsin. Fresh from Wisconsin
where the Other America, the real America is fighting
back, she will provide an interesting perspective on today's
I hope you will be a part of this year's
Dinner. This is going to be a really good event. You won't want
to miss it, unless you must, and even then you'll want to be
represented in the Dinner's program book. Please do email or
call with any questions.
Robert M. Roman, Secretary
for the Dinner Committee