The 2016 Eugene V. Debs – Norman Thomas – Michael Harrington Dinner will be Friday evening, May 20, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Madison and Halsted on Chicago’s near west side. It is, as always, a union hotel. You are invited, requested, beseeched to participate. We have a great program lined up; you won’t regret it.
The theme for this year’s event is Rauner’s Road to Perdition. If Governor Rauner prevails, our state is on its way to utter ruin. The alternative is the utter ruin of Rauner’s reactionary “Turn Around Agenda.” All roads lead to perdition for someone. It’s either them or it’s us.
Our keynote speaker will do justice to this topic: Alderwoman of the 10th Ward, Susan Sadlowski Garza. The first Chicago Teachers Union member elected to the City Council, she is also the first woman to represent Chicago’s 10th Ward. Described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “tough-as-nails,” she is Bernie Sander’s political revolution come to Chicago’s “gritty” southeast side.
Our honorees fit this mold too.
Many of you will know Jorge Mújica as the 2015 socialist candidate for Alderman of the 25th Ward who Chicago DSA endorsed and supported. He was then and is now the Strategic Campaigns Organizer for the Chicago Arise worker center. But Mújica has done so much more. In addition to being an organizer for worker centers, he has been an organizer for traditional labor unions. He has been a journalist for both print and broadcast media. Mújica was one of the three conveners of the historic 2006 immigrant rights march in Chicago that brought a million people out on the streets of Chicago. One is tempted to call him a renaissance activist.
Michael Lighty is the Public Policy Director for California Nurses Association / National Nurses United. In that position, he has been an effective advocate for a national “single-payer” health plan, for a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions, for limiting the role of money in politics, and for lesbian and gay equality. Did we mention the Bernie Sanders campaign? It shouldn’t be a surprise that Lighty also served as DSA’s National Director, 1990 to 1993. Michael Lighty is the Board Secretary of the Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Center and, somewhat more prosaically, Lighty has served on the Port of Oakland Commission and on the Oakland Planning Commission.
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- At the initiative of the Chicago City Branch, Chicago DSA turned out to support the Chicago Teachers Union’s April 1 strike. DSA members gathered around the banner, where we handed out signs for the occasion. At most about a dozen of us were together at any one time, but people checked-in then left to find friends and acquaintances until the size of the crowd ultimately made navigation (and cohesion) difficult. There were actions all day around the city, so DSA’s participation was rather more than those of us around the banner. Among those marching with us that afternoon were Jason Schulman from New York and DSA’s new labor outreach coordinator Russ Weiss-Irwin. You can find some photos HERE.
- Among other Chicago DSA members, Tom Broderick and Brian Noe attended this year’s Labor Notes conference, and helped staff a DSA table. At the same time, Jason Shulman and Chris Riddiough were in town to participate in panels at the Platypus gathering. Chicagoans Judith Gardiner, Marilyn Nissim-Sabat, and Bill Pelz were also listed as panelists for Platypus.
- About a dozen folks turned up for City of Chicago DSA’s Happy Hour in March. Another is planned for Wednesday, April 27, venue TBA.
- Alex McLeese conducted a Chicago DSA Meet-up on Danny Katch’s Socialism… Seriously.
- Dave Rathke and Rosemary Feurer have joined the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Board of Directors.
DSA in the News
DSA was mentioned in a South Philly Review article by Bill Chenevert about the opening of a Sanders office. DSA also earned a mention in a Village Voice article by Jesse Alexander Myerson about Sander’s Judaism. Sanders and the appeal of socialism was the topic of an article by Vincent Jackson at The Press of Atlantic City that used extended quotes DSA member Natalie Midiri. DSA was noted and DSA member Theresa Alt quoted, in a Cornell Daily Sun article by Madelline Cohen about political donations and the Sanders campaign. A similar article by Colleen McCain Nelson at The Wall Street Journal quoted DSA member Elias Kleinbock. Askia Muhammad’s article about Bernie Sanders and Black politics in The Final Call mentions DSA with extensive quotes from Harold Meyerson. Brad Edmondson mentions DSA in a reflection about Bernie Sanders at Ithaca Times. That DSA’s definition(s) of socialism don’t quite match Sanders’ is a reason to mistrust Bernie Sanders, argues Kodi Garcia at Medium (not a unique argument; expect to see more of this).
DSA was mentioned in a Counterpunch article by Ed Rampell that vented about “progressive” Clinton supporters.
Barbara Joye, as a DSA member, was quoted in an Atlanta Progressive News article by Gloria Tatum about a demonstration opposing various anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia. DSA was listed among the sponsors of a rally for “Just Lawmaking and Sensible Lawmakers” for Oklahoma in an article by Darla Shelden at The City Sentinel. DSA is among the organizations supporting a “Resolution to Raise the Minimum Wage for Wesleyan Students,” as reported by Aviv Rau at Wesleying. DSA was mentioned in connection with the election contest for president of the Undergraduate Council of Students at Brown University by Matthew Jarrell at Brown Daily Herald.
DSA was mentioned as part of a further elaboration of the Obama the Socialist mythology (connecting Obama with Sanders, with Yet Another Sequel in the making) by Monica Crowley at the Washington Times. On the other hand, DSA and its history was a major feature in a seriously and determinedly unsympathetic but informed review of The Future We Want posted at The Brooklyn Rail by Jason E. Smith.
DSA was mentioned in an article about Jacobin magazine by Meera Srinivasan at The Hindu.
Rochester Area DSA co-chairs Karen Vitale and Lyle Rubin were part of a panel discussing democratic socialism on radio station WXXI.
Hull-House Tour for DSA Members
On Sunday, May 22, noon to 1:00, Chicago DSA members and friends are invited to a special tour of the Hull-House Museum by Rima Lunin Schultz and Peg Strobel. Schultz is writing a book with Graham Cassano, “Eleanor Smith’s Hull-House Songbook: The Music of Protest and Hope in Jane Addams’s Chicago”; Schultz wrote the museum’s website Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and Its Neighbborhoods, 1889-1963. Strobel is former director of the museum; she co-edited Pots of Promise: Mexicans and Pottery at Hull-House, 1920-1940.
The tour will focus on the people and programs associated with Hull-House, the social settlement that Jane Addams co-founded in 1889. Her innovative approach to world peace began in the Hull-House neighborhood where she developed ideas and programs that engaged in the local, but were connected to a global, vision; this work was part of the reason for her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. A 13-building complex, Hull-House was home to social activists who were residents of the settlement and, with Addams, developed innovative programs to address critical urban issues, from immigration to racial integration, juvenile justice to labor organizing, and the role of theater, the arts and music.
Reservations are not necessary, but please arrived promptly at noon. Hull-House is located at 800 S. Halsted in Chicago, not far from the CTA Blue Line Halsted station.