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New Ground 117 Chicago DSA


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Obama with membership in the Chicago Democratic Socialist organization in the 1990s.

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New Ground 117 Chicago DSA

  1. 1. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA About Home New Ground Events Debs Dinner Links Join DSA Audio Email us CDSA Your contribution is appreciated but, because of our advocacy work, not tax deductible. New Ground 117 March - April, 2008 Contents Politics 2008: the Terrain and the Issues by Bill Barclay Capital Punishment Is Percolating in Illinois by Tom Broderick Cook County Saved? by Bob Roman Prelude to Revolution: May June 1968 in France No Private Armies by Bob Roman Other News compiled by Bob Roman Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now An End to Slavery in the Fields Have a Heart Resurrection Quentin Young to Be Honored Obamarama SEIU Healthcare New Ground 117.1 - 03.17.2008 0. DSA News DSA Labor Commission Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now! 1 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  2. 2. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA 1. Politics Finally Getting Immigration Right Campaign to End Slavery in the Fields Comes to DC Troops Out Now 2. Upcoming Events of Interest New Ground 117.2 - 03.28.2008 0. DSA News YDS Is Hiring Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now Sustainable World, They All Said 1. Politics Down with the Exploitation King! May Day Make Oil a Public Utility New Labor Alliance 2. Upcoming Events of Interest New Ground 117.3 - 04.21.2008 0. DSA News Guess Who's Coming to Dinner DSA Labor Network Statement Greater Oak Park DSA Meeting 1. Politics End Boeing Torture Flights May Labor Fora 2 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  3. 3. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA 2. Democratic Socialism Another Perspective on the Culture of Poverty 3. Upcoming Events of Interest New Ground 117.4 - 05.05.2008 0. DSA News Chicago DSA Membership Meeting The Red Letter 1. Politics CNA v SEIU v CNA v SEIU v ... No War on Iran Catch the Flame 2. Democratic Socialism Happy Birthday Capitalism, Socialism, and Work 3. Upcoming Events of Interest Politics 2008: the Terrain and the Issues by Bill Barclay The Candidates One way of thinking about the political terrain that progressives face in 2008 is through the biographies of the three remaining presidential candidates their inclinations, their strengths and weaknesses. Taking this approach is not to advocate the great (wo)man theory of history but simply to a useful device for thinking about tactics and strategy. Starting with the likely Republican nominee, John McCain, we see an individual who, although his 3 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  4. 4. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA biography might suggest otherwise, was not shaped by the Vietnam War in the way that most who lived through that era were. McCain was a Navy bomber pilot during the early phases of the war and had no experience in fighting on the ground in Vietnam. He was shot down in 1967 and remained a prisoner of war until 1972. Thus he experienced neither the growing anti-war sentiment nor actions of the US populace nor the debilitating effect of the ground war against a guerrilla army. He also, of course, comes from military family: both his father and grandfather were senior naval officers. His biography and his Vietnam experience make him inclined to continue the Iraq War until "victory" is obtained. Hillary Clinton's persona was partially formed during the 1960s but shaped even more profoundly by the experience of husband's presidency. The right-wing attack machine grew and matured during the Clinton years, resulting in both an effective media presence and a disciplined Republican party at the national level, more along the lines of British parties than the loose formations that characterized the US during most of the post World War II decades. The Clintons received the brunt of the attacks, partly for what they did or didn't do but mostly because they were there, the national representative of the Democratic Party. One result of this is a battle-scarred, hunker-down mentality on Clinton's part, including a strong reluctance to admit any mistakes such as voting for the Iraq War. Equally important, and a measure of the success of the right-wing attack machine, she carries very high negatives that seem undiminished to date in the presidential campaign. Barack Obama's biography was not written on the national political stage. As a result, his image and persona in the minds of the electorate is the least defined, something that has worked to his advantage to date in the campaign. Obama's defining characteristic is youthfulness, a generational shift that for many voters represents the possibility of alternative futures that may break the mold of US politics that has dominated the Clinton and the (latter) Bush years. This perception is, at least in part, the impetus for the large turnouts that Obama draws and for the pattern of a shift by Democratic voters from an initial inclination towards Clinton to support for Obama as actual primary dates approach and they learn more about him. For progressives who have wondered for years where the "missing" cohorts were (most of our meetings have the over 55 crowd and a sprinkling of under 25s) here is the answer. Obama has mobilized the 20 to 45 year olds in a way that no one else has in recent memory. A large number of people who are repulsed by much of the Bush administration's policies and political culture but who have been passive are now entering the political arena. For most, Obama is their chosen vessel, although Clinton mobilizes some also. Like all such vessels he is an imperfect one and, of course, not the one we would have chosen but nobody asked us. There is, of course, the question of whether the mobilization that Obama's campaign has managed to date can be continued to the election. But of greater significance is where, over the long run, their 4 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  5. 5. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA entry into politics takes this new cohort and where they themselves direct it. While some will undoubtedly drop away, many will find their lives transformed by the experience of political participation and will continue their involvement. The mobilization is real and offers a real opportunity. What can we progressives make of it? The Issues and the Campaign The biographies of the candidates intersect with and help define the issues on which each party seeks to fight the 2008 presidential election. It is clear that the GOP wants to fight the campaign around the issue of 9/11 and terrorism, leaving the War in the background. Bush will do his best to define this context by: (i) getting and keeping the War off the front pages (the "Surge has worked," which may well have been the goal all along); and (ii) developing high visibility prosecutions of Guantanamo prisoners. The administration has already begun building the latter case, charging the detainees with war crimes and seeking the death penalty. As the Pentagon's General Counsel, William Haynes, put it, "we can't have acquittals If we've been holding these guys for so long, we've got to have convictions." This strategy plays to McCain's strengths and his instincts. The risk for him, however, is that the War gets back on the front pages because the facts on the ground shift. Such a change may occur either because the insurgents reemerge with more cooperation among the different factions, because the long anticipated deterioration of US troops occurs due to lengthy tours of duty, or because the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates further. McCain will have some trouble with the Christian fundamentalist right, but, come election day, they will vote for him who else do they have? Whether there will be enough disaffection that turnout from this segment of the population is somewhat lower than in the last few elections remains to be seen. The strategy for the Democratic nominee, either Clinton or Obama, is less clear. Edwards' exit from the race allows the remaining two contenders to adopt the pundits' favorite advice of "moving to the center." While at first glance such a shift may seem adverse to progressives' hopes for this election, the reality may be less of a threat. Where is the center in today's US political terrain? On at least three key issues, the center is where the left staked out positions not long ago. Large majorities believe that: (i) something substantive should be done about global warming; (ii) the Iraq War was a mistake and troops should be brought home as fast as feasible -- the Republican claims of progress may actually strengthen the case for bringing the troops home; and (iii) a national health care plan is necessary, even if the particulars are unclear to many. 5 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  6. 6. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA One other issue may end up overwhelming any of the above: the possibility of a significant downturn in the economy. The "stimulus package" agreed to by Congress and Bush will have little if any impact. The Fed is already worried about inflation and that worry will make them more hesitant on further rate cuts. Housing foreclosures are growing rapidly. Although today there is limited sympathy for people who are seen as taking on more risk than they should and generally making bad financial decisions, that opinion may change as more people are pushed out of their homes and a contraction in consumer spending drives the downturn. Normally an economic crisis such as this should be to the advantage of the Democratic candidates, especially since McCain has confessed to know little about economics. (He has assured us that he will remedy that lack by reading Alan Greenspan's book.) Of course, neither Clinton nor Obama have established much of a record on economic policy, and both candidates have economic advisors from the earlier Clinton administration, so there are significant opportunities and risks here. What Should Progressives Do? First and foremost, we should welcome the entry into the political arena of those mobilized by "the Obama Phenomena." This generational shift holds the future of U.S. politics in its hands. Welcoming means working with them, not standing on the sidelines telling them of Obama's faults; the right-wing attack machine can do that very well and needs no help from us. Second, we must do all in our power to continue the shift away from the GOP that began in the 2006 elections. Pushing this shift does not mean enrolling in the Obama (or Clinton) campaign, although there is a role for those who want to do so. It does mean working to expand the electorate, particularly by adding voters are the young end. These young voters and potential voters are overwhelmingly against the War, do not have the same obsession with issue such as gay marriage that their elders often do, are concerned even terrified about the threat of global warming, and are worried about their future in terms of health care and retirement. Further, the numbers of these new voters identifying themselves as Democrats or independents overwhelm the numbers who identify themselves as Republicans. Thirdly, we have to insist that there is a significant difference (and a difference that will make a difference) between the two parties today. Unlike the time when George Wallace, running as a third party candidate, could claim there was not "a dime's worth of difference" between the Republicans and the Democrats, studies of voting patterns and ideological commitments show the smallest amount of overlap between Democratic and Republican House and Senate members in more than two generations. Put another way, there is a real difference between a party that is in denial about global warming, seeks to turn social security into a private insurance scam, is against a national health plan unless it can be accomplished by tax cuts, would continue to place obstacles in the path 6 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  7. 7. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA of workplace organizing, and wants more Supreme Court Justices on the Scalia and Roberts model on the one hand, and the alternative, whether the banner is that of Obama or Clinton at the national level. And, of course there is one more task for progressives in this election: to maintain an organizational independence from either party. Whether we participate in the electoral work at the national, state or district level, our organizations must continue to have their own life and dynamics. Thus if a Peace and Justice organization or a community group or a DSA or a Progressive Democrats of America chapter works in an electoral campaign, the work should be done as the group or the chapter, not as a set of atomized individuals absorbed into the party apparatus. This independence is crucial not just to demonstrate the contribution that we make to an electoral campaign but also because, when the voting is over and the term of office begins, we must be prepared to pressure those elected to live up to their rhetoric and promises. Such post-election pressure requires an independent basis for mobilizing for our politics. Editor's Note: Bill Barclay is a charter member of DSA out of the New American Movement, an Oak Park activist who represents the Greater Oak Park Branch on the Chicago DSA Executive Committee. Capital Punishment Is Percolating in Illinois by Tom Broderick As I write this, it's been nearly nine years since the State of Illinois carried out its last execution. Just over five years ago, former Governor George Ryan commuted the death sentences of one hundred sixty seven human beings. It was an historic event. To give this perspective: Oklahoma Governor Lee Cruce spared the lives of 22 in 1915; Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller spared the lives of 15 in 1970 and New Mexico Governor Tony Anaya spared the lives of five in 1986. Governor Ryan spared more than four times the combined total of these other three mass commutations. Abolitionists in Illinois and elsewhere took part in lusty celebration. And then we stalled. We couldn't use this sweeping victory to bring about abolition. But, capital punishment is percolating in Illinois: Anita Alvarez is the Democratic Party candidate for Cook County State's Attorney. She wants our Legislature to deal with capital punishment. Originally, she suggested a referendum appear on the 7 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  8. 8. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA ballot so that the public could give direction. However, ballot referenda are non-binding, so she now says it makes more sense for the Legislators to take up the issue. This is a call echoed by many: The Chicago Council of Lawyers, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Sun-Times among others. Given the inability of our Legislature to recognize that we have a criminal justice system that is more criminal than just, I see small chance of this body taking any significant action. This doesn't mean that we stop fighting. The tide is turning. Newspapers across the country (even in Dallas, Texas) are calling for abolition. The New Jersey state Legislature recently abolished the death penalty. The first state to do so since the U.S. started killing again. Several states have put a hold on execution. The U.S. Supreme Court is looking at whether the lethal injection system we use is cruel, and therefore unconstitutional. The same system that we use to kill humans has been outlawed in the killing of animals because it is considered cruel. Of course, in the United States of America, we enacted laws to protect animals from working under cruel conditions before we enacted laws to protect children from the same fate. During the primary run, I spoke with Ms. Alvarez' campaign manager, Dan Kirk on the issue of the death penalty and the current moratorium on execution. Mr. Kirk told me that Ms. Alvarez supports the death penalty as "appropriate for certain heinous crimes." On the other hand, she understands that there are problems with the system that have yet to be rectified, so she supports the moratorium. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the mid 1970's, eighteen people in Illinois have been condemned to death and then found innocent and released. There are likely others who have been less fortunate. It's amazing to hear a public prosecutor admit value in putting a hold on extermination. It has always seemed to me that the slightest possibility of executing an innocent person should rally all ~ even the most tough on crime ~ to end this cruelty. Taking a human life is a cruel and an unusual act, period. Exterminating in the name of justice is a heinous crime. Yet DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett wants Governor Rod Blagojevich to end the moratorium on executions. He claims it is unfair to have capital punishment without following through with executions. Joining him is State Representative Dennis Reboletti (R Elmhurst), who has introduced a House resolution to resume executions. No doubt they are impressed with the Iraqi approach: sentence and exterminate within 30 days. In this country, we have condemned people to death only to have them proved innocent 30 years after they have been condemned. Thirty days? Thirty Years? Haste? Justice? Birkett's wish to ramp up the execution process may well be a product of his mishandling of the Jeanine Nicarico murder. Initially Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez were condemned as the 8 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  9. 9. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA murderers. They were found innocent after spending several years on death row. Brian Dugan has been a suspect for twenty years. He has repeatedly offered to plead guilty for the murder in exchange for not facing execution. Instead, Birkett wants to go for death. This is a costly and senseless abuse of official power. The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty cites estimates of up to $10 million in costs for Birkett's desire. If Cruz and Hernandez had been quickly put to death, the case would be closed and there would be no question of guilt. Dugan who? The Nicarico case? Once the condemned are killed in the middle of the night, justice is served. Birkett would not be responsible for murdering the innocent because we execute justice, not human beings. If Cruz and Hernandez had been quickly put to death, there would be no question of prosecutorial ineptitude or misconduct either. Former Governor George Ryan appointed a blue ribbon panel to investigate capital punishment in Illinois. After two years of research, the panel submitted a report that called for approximately 100 reforms to improve the system. In closing their report they declared that even if all reforms were enacted, there would be no guarantee that an innocent person would not be executed. Our Legislators enacted about twenty percent of the committee's suggested reforms. Birkett's call for resuming executions not-withstanding, there is no proof that even these few reforms we have enacted have made any difference in terms of justice. In fact, the refusal by our Legislators to confront the flawed and biased nature of our capital punishment system was key to the Chicago Tribune's editorial decision to call for abolition: "Who gets a sentence of life and who gets death is often a matter of random luck, of politics, of geography, even a matter of racism." Can anybody with a conscience call this abomination justice? We now have a new abolition (?) movement in Illinois: Abolition in Illinois Movement (AIM). AIM is pushing the idea that the cost of capital punishment outstrips its benefit. On the surface, I can only agree. However, AIM is promoting Life Without Parole (LWOP) as the natural option to extermination. AIM is also looking to expand the number of crimes that would make one eligible for mandatory LWOP. We have a race and class biased justice system, which means our system is flawed. It is also myopically focused on retribution. Those convicted need to suffer. Restorative justice is not a part of the discussion. I am also concerned that an expansion of LWOP-designated crimes would put more juveniles at risk of being sentenced to our penal system for life. Some juveniles commit horrific crimes, but condemning people this young to a caged life is also horrific. I am an atheist, but this is clearly hell's answer to humanity. 9 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  10. 10. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA AIM does not represent the abolition movement that I am part of. There are people who cannot be allowed to live and walk among us. This is unfortunate, but true. However, expanding LWOP is not a humane remedy to the injustice of execution. When we condemn someone to death or to LWOP, we have essentially said we don't believe this thing has any humanity. Cage it forever or kill it. The truth is that thing is still human. No matter what that thing did, it is still human. He or she is still one of us. If we had a society that treated people with dignity and respect from cradle to grave, there might be some merit in discussing whether or not snuffing human beings was just. And I'm not sure of even that. But we don't have anything remotely resembling such a culture. We live in a society that devalues life, that is racist, class biased, and sexist. The facts around women being sentenced to death revolve heavily around physical abuse. Back to AIM: If cost is the issue then putting more people in prison for the rest of their lives is questionable. As humans age, in or out of the penal system, the need for and cost of health care increases. It is estimated that the health care costs for elderly prisoners is three times that of younger prisoners. If AIM has addressed this, I missed it. And I don't have the time to get into the quality of health care administered in our penal institutions. Representative Tom Cross, R-84, may re-introduce his "NoDoubt" bill. This is supposed to narrow the application of capital punishment. Currently we have a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. The "NoDoubt" bill is supposed to limit capital punishment to only those who are clearly guilty and clearly deserving of execution. When this bill was previously floated it was divisive on both sides of the argument. Then our State Prosecutors came out solidly against the bill. Their concern seemed to be that such a standard would effectively prohibit success in capital cases. In a recent phone conversation with Rep. Cross, he said he wasn't sure about re-introducing the bill. He didn't want to introduce it as some kind of exercise. The first time around, the bill passed the House. After the fuss made by the prosecutors, particularly the retiring Cook County State's Attorney, Dick Devine and the previously mentioned Birkett, the Senate chose to let the bill die through procedural inaction. The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ICADP) is about to issue its yearly report on the death penalty. This report is the premier source on information on the death penalty in Illinois. ICADP follows the use of capital punishment throughout the state. This information is 10 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  11. 11. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA compiled in the report, which among other things, is delivered to each and every State Legislator in Illinois. Then key Legislators are targeted for personal meetings. The ICADP report presents death penalty developments and trends in Illinois, across the nation and even internationally. The United Nations General Assembly voted 105 to 54 with 29 abstentions to adopt a moratorium on the death penalty. The United States was one of the 54 "no" votes. The report looks at statewide use of the death penalty, the crisis of police accountability and the risk of wrongful convictions. It presents death penalty reform in Illinois for the past year. This is one of the shorter sections of the report. "Key reforms in the areas of arbitrariness were again ignored, notwithstanding the disturbing patterns in capital cases documented in each ICADP report since 2003." There is also section on the cost of the death penalty: remember the possible $10 million price tag that Birkett may stick the state with in his desire to prosecute a defendant who would plead guilty in exchange for a sentence that let him live. The report finds that "the record of the continuing failure of the Illinois capital punishment system is clear. Public officials have had the opportunity to enact comprehensive recommendations for reform for over five years, and have failed to do so. The combination of a failed system and a failed reform effort requires the General Assembly to confront the need to eliminate the death penalty." Finally, I want to mention that in the recent primary, there were six Democratic Party candidates seeking the office of Cook County State's Attorney. Three supported abolition of the death penalty: Tommy Brewer, Howard Brookins and Larry Suffredin. Now this gives me hope. Editor's Note: Tom Broderick is a "single co-chair" of Chicago DSA's Executive Committee and Co-chair of the Greater Oak Park Branch. The ICADP's annual report is (or will be) posted on their web site: . Cook County Saved? by Bob Roman Supporters of county health care services (and supporters of county government in general) had some reasons to celebrate on March first after the Cook County Board, very much at the last minute and by the skin of their teeth, passed a "balanced" budget that preserves County services, including 11 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  12. 12. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA health care. Better still, from the perspective of the Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services, was the passage of an ordinance that essentially puts the county's Bureau of Health Services into receivership. The ordinance passed is largely the ordinance proposed by the Network except for one major pill embedded in the dog food. The original legislation proposed a board formed entirely independently of County government by representatives from a list of stakeholder organizations. As passed, representatives from a select list of "stakeholder" organizations will meet to nominate candidates for the independent board. From that list of 20 candidates, Todd Stroger (as County President) will select 9 board members. This board will be expected to reorganize the Bureau into a reasonably efficient organization, including setting up a billing system that will allow for greater reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. After three years, unless the County Board decides otherwise, management of the Bureau will return to the County Board. The reform ordinance was a way of taking health services out of the stalemate between those wanted to raise taxes and were defensive regarding management and those who, out of opportunism or out of middle class outrage or out of a hidden libertarian agenda, felt no tax increase was necessary but a lot of "fat cutting" was. The Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services was formed early last year with the blessings and support of AFSCME and SEIU when it became obvious that Cook County was headed for a fiscal crash landing with health services being one of the biggest casualties. Chicago DSA signed on in October. Based at Citizen Action/Illinois, it did a great deal of the coalition building necessary for this victory. Some of the members do not love some of the others though apparently they worked together well enough while facing the crisis. Afterwards, the self-congratulations often did not credit others in the effort. A great deal of credit also belongs to Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon. By some accounts, his shuttle diplomacy at the climax pretty much clinched the deal between County President Todd Stroger, liberal board member and swing vote Larry Suffredin, and some of the other stakeholders. The tax increases were no larger than immediately necessary and the health services reform ordinance was largely what the Network had proposed albeit possibly less "independent." Taxes were the big story for the mainstream media. This increase will make the sales tax in Chicago the highest in the nation. In addition to being regressive, it will likely discourage commerce compared to the suburbs. But this is only a small part of the story. The sales tax increase is estimated to be worth $400 million in additional revenue per year but only brings $74 million (the increase happens just in time for Christmas shopping) against the estimated $234 million deficit this year. The rest of this year's deficit is being made up by the anticipated surplus next year. But according to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Cook County's revenue problems are primarily structural. 12 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  13. 13. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA The taxes the County has available to it will not cover the anticipated increases in expenses. If this year's deficit was about $200 million, next year's will likely be about $400 million. The problem is resolved for this year, and with management efficiencies maybe next year, but feces will be airborne again in 2010. In this context, a possibly independent and professional board may be a risky victory. Stroger is certainly sensitive to the issues of services and good jobs in "The Community." Cynics will sneer, with more than a little justification, "patronage" instead. Yet most patronage these days is not in the form of jobs but in the form of contracts. Politics is nowhere near as labor-intensive as it once was; money counts for more. If County finances become impossible, what better armor for a politician's hind end than an independent board to make nasty decisions like privatization or massive cuts? The other part of the tax story, though, is the money not being collected. Some of this is part of the current left critique: the ubiquitous Tax Increment Financing districts that skim increases in property tax revenue to opaque and unaccountable local projects. But with regard to property taxes, there is always a considerable pool of other money that is not being collected. Tax bills that are being appealed, bills that are being contested in court, bills that are being settled for change on the dollar, bills that won't ever be paid. Likewise, the sales tax is also evaded. How many dollars are missing? It can amount to more money than you might expect, but that's a subject for another story. Prelude to Revolution: MAY - JUNE 1968 IN FRANCE April 5, Saturday, 4 PM New World Resource Center, 1300 N Western, Chicago Panelists: Michael Löwy, Joanna Misnik, William A. Pelz Forty years ago, poetry ruled the streets. The uprising of May 1968, during which tanks rolled onto the streets of Paris, was not just a radically defining moment in French history. The revolt by workers and students became a model of how to successfully challenge capitalist power and culture. Tens of thousands of students and 10 million striking workers 13 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  14. 14. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA (roughly half of the working population) took to the streets and shut down the country. Protesters behind barricades battled police whose tear gas and grenades could not stop the insurgency. Without airplanes, transport, gas, or telephone lines, ordinary life was at a standstill. The French government almost fell as President De Gaulle fled to West Germany, and those who thought revolution was not possible in the prosperous West were shocked as the impossible emerged on the streets. More than a student revolt, May-June 1968 was a unity among generations of people who achieved consciousness together, forging one of the biggest general strikes in history and a massive wave of popular factory and university occupations that made it impossible for the French government to intervene. Old and young workers struck for a 40-hour week with no reduction in wages, old-age pensions at 60 for men and 55 for women, a fifth week of paid holidays for young workers, and expanded trade union rights. A militant women's movement won the struggle for national nursery care, improvements at all levels of education, and the right to abortion. Throughout France action committees controlled by workers, professionals and students administered production and distribution of vital goods and services. All aspects of culture were transformed under democratic control of artists and intellectuals. Indeed, for almost 90 days the entire mode of existence in all its social manifestations came under attack. Join us as we examine this remarkable chapter of 20th century history, and reflect on how May-June 1968 has influenced contemporary social justice movements in Chicago and around the world. Michael Löwy, born in Brazil, has lived in France since the 1960s. He is emeritus research director in sociology at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. He is a prolific author of many books in several languages. Joanna Misnik was expelled from France for her trade union activism and for her participation in the Marxist tendency led by Ernest Mandel. A life-long anti-war and union militant, she worked on the Jesse Jackson 1984 presidential campaign and is a member of SEIU Local 73. Dr. William A. Pelz is an historian of European history and an activist. This event is co-sponsored by Open University of the Left , the Chicago Socialist Party , Solidarity-Chicago Chapter, Chicago DSA and the New World Resource Center . 14 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  15. 15. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA No Private Armies by Bob Roman Back in 1879, Herman Presser was busted for leading, down the streets of Chicago, a parade of armed men from the Instruct and Defend Association. He had no permit for the parade nor had the Association any license from Illinois to function as a militia. Loosely affiliated with the Socialist Labor Party (which eventually forbade joint membership), this militia had been active in Chicago since 1874 as a counter-threat to armed private employer security forces that were frequently used to "discourage", by any means necessary, strikes and strikers and unions in general. Something of an anarchist, Presser nonetheless appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that his (and the Association's) rights under the 2nd Amendment had been violated. The Court, no surprise especially as it was 1886 just after Haymarket, decided Illinois and the other states had every right to regulate private militias. Fast forward to the 21st Century. The infamous private mercenary army, Blackwater, has invaded Illinois, establishing a training facility in northwestern Illinois' Jo Daviess County. Local citizens, mindful the loose gun play and casual disregard for human rights documented in connection with Blackwater and other "private security firms" react by forming Clearwater. The group has the immediate aim of forcing out a bad neighbor, but its overall mission is "to preserve the public nature and civilian control" of the military and of the police. More information about Clearwater can be found at . With the active support of Clearwater, Illinois State Representative Julie Hamos (Democrat from Evanston) has introduced HB 5700, a bill that regulates such private security firms as Blackwater. A synopsis of the bill describes it as: "Creates the Limitations on Private Military Contractors Act. Provides that no State funds shall be used to contract with or purchase services from any private military contractor or related security or law enforcement training entity for training of law enforcement officers or security guards; no military weapons or explosives may be used by private military contractors or related security or law enforcement training operations, except on secured U.S. military bases, other established government- regulated facilities, or government-related facilities designed for that purpose; and, in the event of any natural disaster, civil disorder, labor dispute, or terrorist attack, no personnel trained by any private military contractor shall be used, employed, or contracted with to patrol, guard, control, contain, or arrest any Illinois resident or citizen 15 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  16. 16. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA nor to provide any type of security services of any kind during such emergencies. Effective immediately." As New Ground goes to press, HB 5700 had been assigned to the House Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Committee and a hearing on this and two other items of legislation had been scheduled for March 13 in Springfield. In order for the legislation to go anywhere, members of the Illinois House of Representatives need to hear from you: members of the Committee in particular but not at all exclusively. What the bill needs now is cosponsors. So in addition to asking your representative to support the bill, ask your representative to become a co-sponsor. For more information on the campaign, contact Mary Shesgreen at 847.742.1406. Other News compiled by Bob Roman Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now! The 50th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner welcomes Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee and AFL-CIO Executive Committee member, as our featured speaker. With Rose Ann DeMoro we have someone well qualified to speak, and speak well and forcefully, on the nation's need for a national and universal health care program. This year, we are privileged be honoring: · Les Orear, President Emeritus (and founder) of the Illinois Labor History Society ; · Dr. Mardge Cohen, Medical Director of Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment and long-time Chicago-area advocate of universal health care; and · Laurie Burgess, stellar labor lawyer and partner in the firm Jacobs, Burns, Orlove, Stanton, and Hernandez. This year's Dinner will be a bit earlier than usual, Friday evening, April 25. And it will be at a new location: the Crowne Plaza - Chicago Metro at Madison and Halsted in Chicago. For more information call 773.384.0327 or go to 16 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  17. 17. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA To order tickets or to place an ad in the Dinner Program Book, go to /d2008/flyer50.pdf See you on April 25th! An End to Slavery in the Fields The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is launching a national petition drive calling on Burger King and other food industry leaders to work with the CIW to: improve the wages and working conditions of the men and women who harvest their tomatoes, and support an industry-wide effort to end human rights violations and modern-day slavery in all of Florida's fields. The petitions will serve as notice that those who sign are "prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now, and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so." The campaign comes on the 200th anniversary of the US ban against the importation of slaves, and echoes key strategies of the early abolitionist movement that helped hasten the end of slavery in the 19th century. To learn more, go to In Chicago, members of the Chicago Communities for Fair Food have made presentations at some local schools. Members of Greater Oak Park DSA have tabled at some local churches. And we've begun (with the warmer weather) to leaflet a few Burger King stores. If you'd like to join in, give the Chicago DSA office a call at 773.384.0327 or email us at . Have a Heart Resurrection On Saturday evening, March 1st at the Chicago Hilton and Towers on South Michigan Avenue, Resurrection had its annual "Monarch Ball" to raise funds for charity care. It's a worthy enterprise, except that Resurrection Health Care needs to start at home with its charity; it has consistently opposed efforts by its staff and by the community it avows to serve to improve care and to improve working conditions. So some hundred or so members of HEART/AFSCME and friends (including a few DSA members) were present to ask Resurrection Health Care to have a heart, to cease opposing union organizing efforts and to abide by community benefit agreements. This comes on the heels of the National Labor Relations Board issuing an unfair labor practice complaint against West Suburban Medical Center (a Resurrection operation) for using an "overly broad rule which prohibits 17 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  18. 18. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA employees from speaking to coworkers about concerns affecting conditions of employment and which discriminatorily singles out union supporters." A hearing on the complaint was scheduled for March 12. It was a decidedly chilly Saturday evening on March first, and the police attempted to make it colder by insisting the demonstration be on the other side of Michigan Avenue, in the park. Here's one way to avoid a lousy police order. Tracey Abman was the picket captain. She's also a handsome woman with a fine and engaging smile. When we got the order to move, she asked to speak to the officer in charge, by name. While they had a long and animated and smiling discussion, the rest of us formed up a picket line, small at first but it grew rapidly as more folks arrived. By the time the conversation was over (it took a while), moving this otherwise peaceable crowd across the street would have been a major pain in the butt. The line stayed. Quentin Young to be Honored Protestants for the Common Good will be presenting DSA member Dr. Quentin Young with its William Sloan Coffin Award for Justice and Peace on Sunday, April 6th. This will take place at the organization's annual dinner that is being held at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St in Chicago. The program includes a 5:30 PM reception and 6:30 PM dinner and program. Tickets are $150 and they'd appreciate having your reservation by March 28. You can do this online at or by calling 312.223.9544x23. Obamarama This is interesting if you're an extreme right-wing ideologue of if you're a DSA member. It probably doesn't mean much for mainstream politics. Right-wing bloggers have discovered Chicago DSA's 1996 endorsement of Obama for the Illinois State Senate and Obama's participation that same year in a University of Chicago Young Democratic Socialists townhall meeting on "Economic Insecurity". This news started in New Zealand (it is the world wide web indeed) where a local libertarian has been obsessing over Chicago DSA's links to mainstream Chicago politics. The news gradually (by web standards) spread to right-wing blogs here in the States. It even managed to pop up in a few conservative mainstream venues. More recently, the conservative Accuracy In Media combined this with some juicy Communist Party associations (communist mentor unmasked!) and threw it out as an example of how the news media has a liberal bias for not reporting the story. Of course, many right-wingers had been convinced Obama is a "socialist" already. If you're wondering why, it's mostly because the term "socialist" for these folks has about as much content as 18 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  19. 19. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA "fascist" does for many lefties; it's an insult not a description. So the news from New Zealand was greeted with an "Aha" by these folks more than anything else. Much of this noise sounds pretty nice to lefty ears; you can't buy this kind of publicity. But as it's all been on right-wing sites, not too many folks bother to follow up on the links, even when they were provided. On the other hand, this ten day wonder had been pretty much ignored by the left. Until recently when In These Times ran a story warning of the eventual "Red-Boating" of Obama should he win the Democrat's nomination for President. They probably have it wrong. For influencing more than a handful of voters, the story has no legs. But because DSA and "socialism" generally has become a hate object among the sort of folks who blow-up Federal office buildings and reproductive health clinics (or would like to), the eventual implications for Barack Obama (and for the country) may be far more serious. SEIU Healthcare As New Ground goes to press, the boards of SEIU Locals 4, 20, and 880 have voted to merge, forming "one big healthcare union," so to speak, in Illinois and Indiana. This is part of yet another round reorganizations and mergers within the Service Employees International Union. You could think of this ongoing process as Andy Stern's version of the Cultural Revolution, and it's proving to be about as controversial within the larger labor movement and in some places within SEIU. Not here. This merger is subject to ratification by the membership, however the only uncertainty is how many members will vote. SEIU Local 4 represents workers in nursing homes: certified nurse's assistants, rehabilitation aides, housekeeping and dietary workers. SEIU Local 20 represents workers in hospitals in a variety of positions, including some physicians. SEIU Local 880 began life as an independent union, a project of Illinois ACORN that later affiliated with SEIU. It represents home care workers and day care workers. Some 70,000 of the 90,000 members of the new "SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana" will come from Local 880. The hope is that the larger organization will more efficiently and forcefully represent the interests of the membership. And that the savings from the economies of scale can be applied toward organizing. New Ground #117.1 19 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  20. 20. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA 03.17.2008 Contents 0. DSA News DSA Labor Commission Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now! 1. Politics Finally Getting Immigration Right Campaign to End Slavery in the Fields Comes to DC Troops Out Now 2. Upcoming Events of Interest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DSA News DSA Labor Commission Eric Ebel At the November 2007 Democratic Socialists of America Convention in Atlanta, a group of DSA labor activists formed a Labor Network to revitalize DSA's relationship to the labor movement. We have set up a blog, "Talking Union" (, as a forum for democratic socialists, labor activists and their allies to address the challenges facing the labor movement today. The blog features democratic socialist perspectives on labor issues as well as useful articles, materials and postings by others. To submit materials for the blog, send them to We also have a Yahoo Groups discussion list. The discussion list is restricted to DSA members. To 20 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  21. 21. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA join the discussion list, go to or send an e-mail to In addition, we will work to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed -- this was one of the priorities adopted at the Atlanta Convention -- including producing literature relating the fight to rebuild the labor movement to other struggles by the progressive community. We also plan to inform socialists and progressives about international labor solidarity, and the need to renegotiate NAFTA and similar free-trade deals. DSA members are invited to join the DSA Labor Network by signing on to the DSAlabor list and contributing to the blog. Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now! The 50th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner welcomes Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee and AFL-CIO Executive Committee member, as our featured speaker. She will speak on the great unmet need for universal health care. This year, we are privileged be honoring: Les Orear, President Emeritus (and founder) of the Illinois Labor History Society; Dr. Mardge Cohen, Medical Director of Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment and long-time Chicago-area advocate of universal health care; and Laurie Burgess, stellar labor lawyer and partner in the firm Jacobs, Burns, Orlove, Stanton, and Hernandez. This year's Dinner will be a bit earlier than usual, Friday evening, April 25. And it will be at a new location: the Crowne Plaza - Chicago Metro at Madison and Halsted in Chicago. For more information, go to: To order tickets or place an ad in the Dinner Program Book: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Politics Finally Getting Immigration Right 21 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  22. 22. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Democrat Bill Foster defeated Jim Oberweis for Congress in Illinois' 14th Congressional District, a heavily Republican District in Chicago's western suburbs. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights' Josh Hoyt looks at the results to conclude that "a reasonable solution oriented approach to immigration combined with a hard offence on Republican hypocrisy can successfully neutralize a harsh attack on Democrats for being soft on illegal immigration..." To read more: Campaign to End Slavery in the Fields Comes to DC The Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) petition drive to end sweatshop conditions in Florida's tomato fields received a warm welcome in Washington, DC. Senator Richard Durbin joined Senator Bernie Sanders, Representatives Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and representatives from dozens of human rights, religious, labor, and student organizations joined the CIW's call to end sweatshops and slavery in the fields. Senator Sanders decried the "desperate conditions, conditions that in some cases are so extreme that even the Bush Administration has brought slavery charges," in Florida's fields, and announced that a hearing into those conditions is scheduled for April 15th. Senator Durbin announced that a letter had been sent to "seven companies -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Kroger Co., Publix, Safeway Inc., US Food Service, Supervalu Inc., and Sysco Corp. -- asking them to join McDonald's and Yum Brands in the extra penny a pound program." See the complete report (including photos and video) at: Save the Date: Monday, March 31st is declared a Student / Farmworker Alliance National Day of Action, and the Chicago Communities for Fair Food is planning an action, details TBA. Troops Home Now The 5th anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq will be the occasion for protests around the nation and the world. Here in Chicago, actions are planned for Wednesday, March 19 and Thursday, March 20. For more information, see "Upcoming Events" below or go to: For information about the rest of the country, go to: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 22 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  23. 23. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Upcoming Events of Interest Compiled by Libby Frank 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 Tuesday, March 18, 11 AM Ella Baker and Women in the Civil Rights Movement Oakton Community College TenHoeve Center, 1600 E. Golf Rd, DesPlaines A lecture by African American Studies scholar Dr. Barbara Ransby, part of Oakton CC Women's History Month. For information, go to Wednesday, March 19, 6 PM Protest the War Federal Plaza, Adams and Dearborn, Chicago Rally on the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq war. March to Bughouse Square. For more information: Wednesday, March 19, 6 PM to 8 PM 3rd Annual Women of POWER Conference Southwest Youth Collaborative, 6400 S. Kedzie, Chicago The Women of POWER Conference represents the coming together of Afro-Latina activists from Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America who are working to transform their communities. This coming together of women of the African Diaspora bridges and shares information and experiences that enlighten and develop collaborative networks of support. For information, go to or Thursday, March 20 Resist the War "A day of creative actions throughout the downtown and metro area followed by a permitted 'Convergence' at 5 PM at the Federal Plaza," Dearborn & Adams, in Chicago. For more information: 23 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  24. 24. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Friday, March 21, Noon Annual Good Friday March for Justice Starting at northeast corner of Congress and Michigan The 8th Day Center for Justice's annual march for justice. This year's theme "Rise Up". For information, see Friday, March 21, 9 PM Art Against War The Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, Chicago First event of the Art Against War at the Heartland Cafe, featuring Carol Williams and The Amoreys. Cost $5. See Saturday, March 22, 2 PM The 2008 Election: Realizing the Potential for Change Columbia College Ferguson Auditorium, 600 S. Michigan Av, Chicago Presentation with Q&A by Carl Bloice. Sponsored by Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism - Chicago. For information, email or call 312.927.2689 Saturday, March 22, 6:30 PM Union Worker Struggles in Colombia Autonomous Center, 3460 W. Lawrence, Chicago Edgar Paez, International Representative of SINALTRAINAL (Food Industry Workers Union) of Colombia will lead an in-depth discussion on conditions for workers and union organizing in both Colombia and the U.S. For more information, go to: Saturday, March 22, 7 PM Birthright Unplugged Replugged Mercury Cafe, 1505 W. Chicago Av, Chicago Opening reception for a photography exhibit which chronicles the experiences of North Americans visiting Palestinian villages and Palestinian children visiting their ancestral lands. Sponsored by Jewish Voices for Peace and American Friends Service Committee. 24 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  25. 25. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA For information, email, also see Saturday, March 22, 8 PM 19th Annual Nelson Algren Birthday Party St. Paul's Church, 2215 W. North Av, Chicago Celebrating the 99th birthday of the late Nelson Algren, this year's event will honor Chicago progressive writers Kari Lydersen, John Conroy, and John K. Wilson. A blend of spoken word, music, and video. Admission $7. For more information, go to: Saturday, March 22, 8 PM Fundraiser for Bush 4 Defendants Decima Musa, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago Suggested donation $20 Wednesday, March 26, 12:30 PM Achy Obejas - Chicago Writers Series Oakton Community College Footlik Theater, 1600 E. Golf Rd, DesPlaines Havana-born Achy Obejas is the author of Days of Awe, a critically-acclaimed novel about the tensions between public and private identities set against the backdrop of the Jewish community in Cuba. She recently published her first collection of poetry, This is What Happened in Our Other Life. For information, contact Lynn Woodbury 847.635.1953. Thursday, March 27, 6 PM to 8 PM The March of the Mill Children The Rice Building, 810 W. Van Buren, Ste 110, Chicago A speech by Mother Jones, adapted and performed by Betsy Means, music performed by Bucky Halker. Admission, $10 Sponsored by AFSCME DISTIRCT 31 · USW DISTRICT 7 · CHICAGO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS · SEIU STATE COUNCIL · OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 150 · ILLINOIS STATE POSTAL WORKERS UNION · POSTAL WORKERS PEORIA AREA · IBT JOINT COUNCIL 25. To register, call 312.996.2127. Friday, March 28, 7 PM The Vagina Monologues Oakton Community College Rooms 145-152, 7701 N. Lincoln Av, Skokie Student production as part of Women's History Month and benefit for V-Day. $12 general, 25 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  26. 26. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA $8 students and seniors. See: Saturday, March 29, 10 AM to 12:30 PM Women and Work: Climb That Ladder to Equality Kennedy King College U Building, 740 W. 63rd St, Chicago Conference honoring and featuring Rev. Addie Wyatt, Anne Ladky, Margaret Schmid, Kina McAfee, Lynda DeLaforgue, Jerlean Fleming, and Melanie Ferrand. Katy Jordan, CLUW, emcee. For information see: New Ground #117.2 03.28.2008 Contents 0. DSA News YDS Is Hiring Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now Sustainable World, They All Said 1. Politics Down with the Exploitation King! May Day Make Oil a Public Utility New Labor Alliance 2. Upcoming Events of Interest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 26 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  27. 27. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA DSA News YDS Is Hiring Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the US, and an affiliate of the global Socialist International, seeks an organizer for its youth division, the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS). YDS is an organization of campus-based chapters and regionally-based groupings of younger (under 30) socialists who wish to develop a political and cultural space of their own, yet one that is an integral part of DSA. The organizer works out of DSA's national office in New York City and travels throughout the United States to speak to both new and experienced YDS campus chapters, as well as to independent progressive students interested in learning about democratic socialism. Applications are due by April 21. For a complete description of the job and how to apply, go to: Yes We Can: Universal Health Care Now! The 50th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner welcomes Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee and AFL-CIO Executive Committee member, as our featured speaker. She will speak on the great unmet need for universal health care. This year, we are privileged be honoring: Les Orear, President Emeritus (and founder) of the Illinois Labor History Society; Dr. Mardge Cohen, Medical Director of Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment and long-time Chicago-area advocate of universal health care; and Laurie Burgess, stellar labor lawyer and partner in the firm Jacobs, Burns, Orlove, Stanton, and Hernandez. This year's Dinner will be a bit earlier than usual, Friday evening, April 25. And it will be at a new location: the Crowne Plaza - Chicago Metro at Madison and Halsted in Chicago. For more information, go to: To order tickets or place an ad in the Dinner Program Book: 27 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  28. 28. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Sustainable World, They All Said The Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society met on Monday 24 March, in Santiago, Chile, in the midst of great media interest, with the participation of H.E. Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile, and chaired by Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile and a Special Envoy for the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Change. To read more about the event, photos, documents, and video, go to: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Politics Down with the Exploitation King It's time for Burger King to take responsibility for the sweatshop conditions and human rights abuses in its tomato supply chain. Action in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, as part of a national day of action: Monday, March 31st 5:00 PM: Meet at the Fullerton CTA Red Line stop 5:30 PM: March on Burger King, 1401 W Fullerton Ave. Organized by Chicago Communities for Fair Food Contact: Lexi Carlson, Details: Tomato pickers in Florida's fields face sweatshop conditions every day: Sub-Poverty Wages: Tomato pickers make, on average, $10,000/year No Raise in Nearly 30 Years: Pickers are paid virtually the same per-bucket piece rate(about 45 cents per 32lb. bucket) today as they were in 1980. At this rate, workers have to pick 2.5 TONS of tomatoes just to earn minimum wage in a typical 10-hour day. 28 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  29. 29. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Denial of Fundamental Labor Rights: Farmworkers in Florida have no right to overtime pay and no right to organize or bargain collectively. In the most extreme cases, farmworkers face conditions of modern-day slavery. By using their bulk purchasing power, fast food giants like Burger King play an active role in creating the miserable conditions in Florida's f ields. By refusing to work with the CIW to improve farm labor conditions, Burger King continues to perpetuate farmworker exploitation. The CIW is a membership-led organization of mostly Latino, Haitian and Mayan Indian low-wage immigrant workers based in Southwest Florida, winning precedent -setting agreements with Yum! Brands (parent company of Taco Bell) in 2005 and with McDonald's in 2007. These agreements directly improve working conditions in these companies' tomato supply chains. How much longer will Burger King stand in the way of progress? May Day! Save May 1st for another May Day march. Starting in Union Park at Ashland and Lake with a 10 AM rally, the march will leave the park at Noon for a 1:30 PM rally in the Federal Plaza (Adams and Dearborn). They hope to end by 3:30 PM. The organizers observe: "This year marks a critical point in the fight for dignity, justice and Legalization for the 12 million undocumented. Together we have won victories in the past 2 years by the millions defeating HR4437. Together our voices were heard through the resistance led by Elvira Arellano and Flor Crisostomo against separation of families. Now, we are calling on you so that again our voices and demands can be heard, the only thing that stands against us is the vocal minority of hate and the danger of division. Now is our time. Let nothing divide us. Together, We are the New Majority." For more information, go to: Make Oil a Public Utility This is what Ed Ludwig in the Albany Times Union suggested. Les Schlosberg forwarded it on to us with the comment, "Isn't this something DSA, nationally and locally could circulate around the country?" To check out just what Ed Ludwig had in mind, go to: 29 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  30. 30. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA /23/2008 or the Common Dreams reprint at: New Labor Alliance "The Communication Workers of America, the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers, and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, which together represent well over 2 million workers, will develop common strategies and share resources to help elect candidates who support working families, and to advocate on public policy issues. The new alliance, which has committed to invest resources heavily in the next two years to help achieve its goals, has identified four top priorities: Passing the Employee Free Choice Act, which allow workers to exercise their right to organize free from employer coercion; winning universal health care; and, protecting jobs by promoting fair trade." To read more about this, go to: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Upcoming Events of Interest Compiled by Libby Frank 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 Saturday, March 29, 10 AM to 12:30 PM Women and Work: Climb That Ladder to Equality Kennedy King College U Building, 740 W. 63rd St, Chicago Conference honoring and featuring Rev. Addie Wyatt, Anne Ladky, Margaret Schmid, Kina McAfee, Lynda DeLaforgue, Jerlean Fleming, and Melanie Ferrand. Katy Jordan, CLUW, emcee. For information see: Saturday, March 29, 2 PM "The Bases Are Loaded" 30 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  31. 31. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Albany Park Branch Library, 5150 N. Kimball, Chicago Showing of a documentary by journalist Dahr Jamail about permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, followed by discussion. Sponsored by Albany Park Neighbors for Peace. For information Tuesday, April 2 through Thursday, April 4, 5 PM to 6:30 PM African American Peace Makers as Agents for Change Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Residents' Dining Hall, 800 S. Halsted, Chicago Tuesday, April 2, Dr. Beverly Guy Sheftall on "African American Women PeaceMakers"; Wednesday, April 3, Bill Fletcher Jr on "African American PeaceMakers on a Global Stage"; Thursday, April 4, Dr. Manning Marable on "African American PeaceMakers: A Historical View". Co-Sponsored by University of Illinois Office of the President, UIC Department of African American Studies, UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIC Great Cities Institutes, UIC Office of the Chancellor, The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council and Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. For information, go to: Friday, April 4, 4 PM Genocide: Crimes Unpunished, Lessons Unlearned University of Chicago International House, 1414 E. 59th St, Chicago Keynote address by Ambassador Francis Deng. The opening event on a conference the crime of genocide: the legal, social and political framework for dealing with present crimes and deterring future acts. Workshops and panel discussions all day Saturday, April 5. Sponsors include: the Darfur Action and Education Fund, the Norman Wait Harris Fund for the Center for International Studies, the International House Global Voices Program, and the Human Rights Program. For more information, go to: Friday, April 4, 6:30 PM to 9 PM Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice 3rd Annual Conference Loyola University, 6525 N. Sheridan Rd, Chicago Registration and keynote speaker Jose Vasquez of Iraq Veterans Against the War in Flanner Hall Auditorium. Free and open to the public. To register for the conference, go to: Saturday, April 5, registration at 8 AM 31 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  32. 32. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice 3rd Annual Conference Loyola University, 6525 N. Sherican Rd., Chicago To register for the conference, go to: Saturday, April 5, 11 AM to 1 PM Getting Paid to Cause Trouble Roosevelt University Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Av, Chicago Organizers from local and national unions and community organizations will talk about what they do and why they do it. There will be plenty of time for questions and conversation too. For more information, go to: Saturday, April 5, 1 PM to 4 PM The Hip-Hop Generation: Race, Gender, and the Elections University of Chicago Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St, Chicago Performances and discussion around race and gender in the 2008 elections featuring Bakari Kitwana, Rosa Clemente, William Upski Wimsatt, Maya Rockeymoore, Vijay Prashad, M1, AquaMoon, Crystal Moon. For more information, go to: /e73e8929-3de0-4788-9edf-0b399be2d91b Saturday, April 5, 4 PM Prelude to Revolution: May - June 1968 in France New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western Av, Chicago Panel discussion featuring Michael Lowy, Joanna Misnik, and William Pelz. Sponsored by Open University of the Left, Chicago Socialist Party, Solidarity - Chicago Chapter, New World Resource Center, and Chicago DSA. For information: Sunday, April 6, 6 PM to 9 PM Islamophobia A La Turka Restaurant Private Dining Room, 3134 N. Lincoln Av 2nd Floor, Chicago A panel discussion about America's latest hate object, featuring distinguished academics Janet Afary, Marcia Hermanson, Valentine Moghadam, Gunes Tezcur. Cost $20 (for buffet dinner from the restaurant. Sponsored by Tikkun Chicago. For more information or RSVP, email Ina Marks at or call 773.327.0465 32 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  33. 33. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA Monday, April 7, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM Historical and Social Perspectives: Childbirth in the U.S. Jane Addams Hull House Museum Residents' Dining Hall, 800 S. Halsted St, Chicago Welcome the newest book from the creators of Our Bodies, Ourselves, as we explore the history of health care for pregnant women in the United States, beginning with midwives and dramatic change that happened with physicians taking over pregnancy and childbirth, and the movement over the last 30 years to take back some of the control for women over their birthing experience. To RSVP or for information, call Patricia Newton 312.413.1924 or Regina Rust 312.413.4255 Wednesday, April 9, 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM Journal of Ordinary Thought Release Party Harold Washington Library Chicago Authors Room, 400 S. State 7th Floor, Chicago Celebrate the release of the latest issue and hear readings and discussion from and about the latest issue. For more information, go to: Friday, April 11, 6PM to 7:30 PM Ending the U.S. Health Care Crisis Northwestern University School of Law, Lincoln Hall, 357 E. Chicago, Chicago Representative John Conyors explores the U.S. health care crisis and the options for reform in 2008 and the possibilities of a single-payer solution. Sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the American Medical Student Association. For information or to RSVP email Also see Monday, April 14, 6 PM to 8 PM "Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed" Jame Addams Hull House Museum Residents' Dining Hall, 800 S. Halsted St, Chicago A showing of a documentary film about the political career of Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, followed by a discussion with Barbara Ransby. For more information, go to: Wednesday, April 16 Ad copy deadline for Debs Dinner Program Book . 33 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  34. 34. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA See New Ground #117.3 04.21.2008 Contents 0. DSA News Guess Who's Coming to Dinner DSA Labor Network Statement Greater Oak Park DSA Meeting 1. Politics End Boeing Torture Flights May Labor Fora 2. Democratic Socialism Another Perspective on the Culture of Poverty 3. Upcoming Events of Interest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DSA News Guess Who's Coming to Dinner You! At least, we hope so. It's not too late to make reservations for the 50th Annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner. Send an email to with the number of tickets desired, your name and address or leave a message at 773.384.0327 with the same information. We aren't taking credit cards (the ticket prices will go up, again, when we do) but you can either mail us a 34 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  35. 35. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA check or pay at the door. Tickets are $60 each. This year's Dinner will honor Les Orear, founder and President Emeritus of the Illinois Labor History Society; Laurie Burgess, labor attorney with Jacobs, Burns, Orlove, Stanton, and Hernandez; and Dr. Mardge Cohen, Medical Director of Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment. The Dinner begins with a cash bar at 6 PM. Dinner is served at 7 PM. The program begins at 8 PM. There is one change in the program, our featured speaker, Rose Ann DeMoro, had to withdraw from our event. There's a story behind this, and you can find part of it at: DSA Labor Network Statement DSA's Labor Network adopted a statement on the attempted disruption of the recent Labor Notes conference in Dearborn, Michigan. You can read it here: Greater Oak Park DSA Meeting Will be at the home of Tom Broderick, 201 S. Ridgeland in Oak Park. An advisory referendum regarding a Living Wage Ordinance will be on November's ballot plus other branch business and food. For information, contact Tom at 708.386.6007 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Politics End Boeing Torture Flights Michael Baker When most people think of the Boeing Corporation, they think of commercial airplane manufacturing like that of the familiar Boeing 747. However, as many readers of New Ground will be aware, Boeing is involved in much more than just commercial airplane manufacturing. Boeing is also involved in such things as the manufacture of military aircrafts and missiles, the militarization of the US borders with its contract to build a " virtual fence" along the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders, and even the militarization of outer space. In brief, Boeing is a war profiteer and one of the largest war profiteers in the United States. And to make matters worse, Boeing has been conducting its war profiteering at the expense of Chicagoans, 35 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM
  36. 36. New Ground 117 - Chicago DSA as one of the incentives among many to relocate to Chicago in September of 2001 was a waiver from paying city taxes for 20 years. Among its plethora of concerning business dealings, one of Boeing's most shocking is its involvement in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program. Extraordinary rendition is the apprehension and extra-judicial transfer of individuals, particularly suspected "terrorists," to countries known to employ torture. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) describes the practice as follows: "Extraordinary rendition" is the illegal practice of abducting foreign nationals for detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons. Recent accounts of rendition have demonstrated a chilling pattern--black-clad masked men grab foreign nationals, beat and strip them down before loading them onto planes for destinations unknown to their families or governments. These victims are then taken to secret "black site" prisons around the world. Others are delivered to nations like Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Morocco that are notorious for torturing prisoners. Once there, detainees experience unspeakable horrors-often kept in squalid conditions, they face the brutal practice of waterboarding, electrocutions, beatings, extreme isolation, and psychological torture. Boeing has facilitated extraordinary renditions through its wholly owned subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. Jeppesen's services have included flight plans, fueling arrangements, and even hotel bookings for those delivering victims into the hands of torturers. In May of 2007, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of extraordinary rendition victims against Jeppesen, noting that: In providing its services to the CIA, Jeppesen knew or reasonably should have known that plaintiffs would be subjected to forced disappearances, detention, and torture in countries where such practices are routine. Indeed, according to published reports, Jeppesen had actual knowledge of its activities [violating the Alien Tort Statute of 1789]. Unfortunately, in February, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in deference to the CIA's claim of "state secrets." The ACLU is appealing however. Over the past few months, a Chicago coalition has emerged to educate the public about Boeing's involvement in extraordinary rendition and to pressure Boeing to stop its participation in the extraordinary rendition program. The coalition is called the Coalition to Ground Boeing Torture 36 of 48 9/24/2009 9:50 PM