166-2 DSA News

Talkin’ Socialism:

The Crime & Tragedy of Honduras

Episode 65, recorded June 16, 2016. On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military exiled the democratically elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. On March 2, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a leader in the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, was assassinated. The proximate cause was her leadership in the campaign to prevent the damming of the Gualcarque River, but Gualcarque dam was but a part of ts256nationwide corporate resource extraction project that has earmarked almost 30% of the country’s land for mining concessions and the construction of hundreds of dams to power them.

In this episode of Talkin’ Socialism, Chicago DSA’s Tom Broderick is in conversation with Victoria Cervantes (La Voz de los Abajo) and Celeste Larkin (Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America) about these developments in Honduras and the solidarity campaigns for human rights in Honduras and for justice for Berta Cáceres.

MP3 (34.3 MB) or OGG VORBIS (28.3 MB) (35:41)


or add to your playlist using STITCHER or iTunes.

Socialist Reading Group

Chicago DSA’s Socialist Reading Group will be meeting Saturday, July 9, 2 PM at the Chicago DSA office. The reading this month is the first three chapters from From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. MORE INFORMATION.

The Peoples Summit

DSA in the News

Paul Kengor asserts socialism is a rebellion against God, using DSA as an exhibit, at The Stream.

The Peoples Summit was the occasion for David Weigel to mention DSA at The Washington Post. Renee Nal decided to attend The Peoples Summit, pretending to be a communist, and found that it was organized by DSA and they’re all communists, at Examiner! Dan La Botz’ account of The Peoples Summit at New Politics included DSA. At Yes Magazine, Rosemary Lane’s account of The Peoples Summit included a DSA mention. The Sanders campaign, The Peoples Summit, and groups like DSA are mostly useless unless they organize a new party (or join the Green Party), opined Glenn Ford at Black Agenda Report. ACTTV (a left-wing video propaganda site) interviewed a DSA member at The Peoples Summit. (They interviewed more than one DSAer but only “Roger” was identified as such.) Kshama Sawant mentioned DSA in passing in connection with The Peoples Summit at Counterpunch as did Rose Ann DeMoro at The Huffington Post. Chicago DSA member Vince Hardt wrote up The Peoples Summit for Occupy.com.

Valerie Gonzalez quoted DSA member Gerard Lynch in her coverage of the Texas Democratic convention at KGNS TV.

Gabe Carroll explains the U.S. Left, including DSA, to readers of The Hindu.

Bob Rinearson conjures the shades of the 1968 DNC in Chicago, mentioning DSA as part of his spell, in discussing the upcoming Republican National Convention at the Fort Wayne News~Sentinel.

The People’s Summit among DSA chapters: The Young Democratic Socialists had a brief account at The Activist. At Metro Atlanta DSA, Barbara Joye provided a summary account, with photos, and there are short videos of presentations at their Facebook page. Rand Wilson at Boston DSA provided a brief account.

Rauner’s Road to Perditionrauner

You weren’t able to attend the 58th Debs — Thomas — Harrington Dinner? You missed a great event. While it’s not as good as having been there, the audio record of the 2016 Dinner is now posted on the web. You can listen to the speakers at the event’s web page HERE.

From Sanders to the Grassroots

“From Sanders to the Grassroots: Continuing the Political Revolution Among the Student Left” is a unique conference bringing together the Young Democratic Socialists and the College Students for Bernie. With millennials more open to democratic socialism than any other youth generation, these two groups are collaborating to best unite new progressive energy growing on campuses. Learn more here on the conference page of “From Sanders to the Grassroots.”

The conference will be held on August 5 through August 7 at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. More information is available HERE.


166-2 Politics

opff15Fight for 15

Fight for 15 fast food workers are making progress in Oak Park! On Tuesday, July 5th the Village Board and trustees will continue the discussion and include the $15 living wage for Oak Park in their meeting’s agenda. Stand with us as we turn up the pressure in front of McDonald’s, at 111 Madison, then join the Village Board meeting to make sure trustees hear from fast-food workers and supportive members of the community who have been leading this fight for social and economic justice.

When: Tuesday, July 5, 7 PM
Where: McDonalds @ 111 W. Madison, Oak Park, for a brief rally then off to the evening’s Village Board meeting.


Police Deserve a Contract, But…

At In These Times, Adeshina Emmanuel writes:beating

With the DOJ investigation in Chicago underway and the FOP contract up for renewal in June 2017, should the movement for police accountability turn its eye to the contract renegotiations? This in turn raises a thorny question: Will upholding civil rights require curtailing collective bargaining rights?


Souring Chicago’s Sweet Treat

At Truthout, Jim Hightower writes:

In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco’s monumental 10-story plant in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood had been expecting some sweet news from their corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renown facility — after more than half a century and millions of Oreos — was about to receive a $130-million modernization investment to upgrade equipment and to add new production lines. So, the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 of last year when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made.

In Salinas, Mexico.


BCTGM Local 300 reports that Nabisco’s Oreo page is dunked in comments deploring the outsourcing of work to Mexico: Boycott Mexico-made Oreos! And then there is the plaint of the laid-off Nabisco workers…

Fight Like a Genius

At Mayoral Tutorial, Don Washington writes:

…We’re not uniting/fighting with Clinton. We’re fighting the ding-danged system that gave us her. The same way we’ve been kicking President Obama and his Department of Justice around to the best of our ability because that guy… he’s not on our side either. I think of Clinton as a stuffed suit, pant suit, fancy jacket, whatever, that was handpicked to give us a sense of social progress while putting a woman’s face on some bad public policies. So we need to be smart about how to fight the system that produced her & our conditions. Think how far we’ve gotten and strong we’ve gotten w/ a Neo-liberal President to fight that highlights the difference between meritocratic, liberal/neo-liberal nonsense and actual justice. Now understand how weak and how bad things were w/ “W” as President. You remember how things went when corporate power and proto-fascist leanings came together in an ideologically empowered idiot? Do you recall how much ground we lost and do you know how much ground we’re losing and damage that is being done to us in states with GOP Governors and majorities? You know and it should piss you off. If it doesn’t there is not much I or anyone can do for you.


Illinois Green Party

ilgp200gray-150x150Right at the deadline, Illinois Green Party supporters submitted over 50,000 signatures to put a slate headed by the presumptive Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein on the November Illinois ballot. Bill Kreml is listed for Vice-President, Scott Summers for U.S. Senate, and Tim Curtin for Illinois Comptroller. The Green Party has two candidates for Congress: Rob Sherman for the 5th Congressional District and Paula Bradshaw for the 12th Congressional District. Karen Roothan, DSA member George Milkowski, and Michael Smith are running for the Metropolitan Water District of Greater Chicago.

Erik Fink

Chicago DSA ex-pat Eric Fink had hoped to be the first independent candidate for the North Carolina State Senate… in living memory and then some. He needed 5,255 valid signatures but had 4,269. He would have been the sole candidate running against incumbent Senator Phil Berger, a Republican. Fink’s campaign was featured in Dissent Magazine’s Belabored Podcast #102.

A Really Yuge Union Merger?

It’s old news to some, but AFSCME and SEIU are considering a merger, and a resolution to that effect was passed at May’s SEIU National Convention in Detroit. There are obvious organizational, structural and cultural differences between the two unions, what with SEIU favoring regional mega-locals and AFSCME still very much shop-based as just one of the more obvious. But the Supreme Court’s systematic erosion of workers’ rights in the context of right-wing control of so many state governments has them a bit beyond worried, and there’s a growing realization that public employee unions are just not going to make it if private sector and independent sector unions remain as weak as they are today.

SEIU seems a bit more enthused about the prospect than AFSCME, judging by the quote from AFSCME President Lee Saunders: “The point of this [SEIU] resolution is not to get a merger. That’s not what we’re trying to do, but it is an option that exists and can’t be ignored.”

166-2 Ars Politica


Folks who’ve been around Chicago for a while, which is to say since around the turn of the century, will remember the HotHouse, a great south of Loop venue for radical politics and the arts. Since it closed in 2007, they’ve been working on finding the money for a new home while sponsoring cultural and political events at third party sites. The latest development is an agreement with the Alhambra Palace Restaurant for a series of “world music” events (and more) starting in the fall:

HotHouse has been contracted to develop the Alhambra Palace Restaurant into a new stage for World Music and Global Culture.

This fall HotHouse will be launching a new performing arts and culture series in the beautiful and centrally located Alhambra Palace Restaurant.

At Alhambra, HotHouse will be building a seasonal series on the main stage to showcase the important artists and voices seldom presented in Chicago — particularly from Africa and the Middle East. In the Marrakesh room on the second floor, we will be providing a new home for emerging cultural expression and a gathering space for grassroots organizers from communities around the region. Please look out for a CALL FOR PROPOSALS TO BE ISSUED SOON. We are seeking original projects to present in these beautiful spaces.

166-2 Democratic Socialism

Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in the Age of Political Revolution

2016 was a game changing year for leftists and progressives. We are finally reemerging as a vital and powerful force after an extended period of stagnation and demoralization, and we face a political landscape more favorable than perhaps at any time since the 1960s. For roughly 30 years after the end of World War II, the United States and non-Communist Europe experienced solid economic growth, declining inequality, expanding social services and increasing working-class power, coupled with landmark advances toward racial, gender and sexual equality. In countries such as France and Sweden, labor and socialist movements even made significant (if fleeting) progress toward a democratic socialist transition. Though these gains were tainted in countries such as the United States by the racialized and gendered manner in which they were distributed, this period represents the high-water mark of working-class strength and security in the 20th century.


Contemporary Capitalism and Why We Need Marxism

Mel Rothenberg and Bruce E. Parry argue  that a Marxist materialist analysis is fundamental in understanding and articulating the current international social/economic conjuncture.

“We sketch the theoretical framework underlying such an analysis, apply this framework broadly to describing the key phenomena defining our era, and draw some general strategic conclusions on what political approach and tasks revolutionary Marxists should be currently focusing on. To do all this in a relatively short essay necessitates a necessarily cryptic and schematic presentation, but we felt this was worth doing in view of the absence of such analysis among Marxist activists. There are a number of worthy lengthy and more detailed treatises written by scholars and academics, some of the most relevant of which we reference. Unfortunately these works are often theoretically dense and do not ordinarily find their way to left activists, the primary intended audience of this essay.”


“White Trash” and Class in America

At On the Media, Brooke Gladstone interviews author Nancy Isenberg about her book White Trash: the 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. You can listen to itHERE. (14 minutes)

166-1 DSA News

Revolutionary Picnic

You and yours are invited to join in a 4th of July potluck picnic in my backyard. I have no grill, so all food will have to be brought ready to share. This picnic is the Greater Oak Park branch of Oak Park DSA’s socialist salon ~ a social gathering

Picnic start: 1 PM

Picnic location: 201 S. Ridgeland, Oak Park. I have a backyard, a smallish front porch and of course an apartment. Hopefully the weather is good and we can relax and move freely around the whole place.

Picnic end: 5 PM

What to bring: Bring what you like to share ~ food, drink, entertainment.

Questions? Call Tom at 708 386 6007.

Hope to you can join us.

Disability Integration Act

Adopted by DSA’s National Political Committee:

Democratic Socialists of America expresses its support for The Disability Integration Act (SB 2427). This critical bill would ensure that seniors and people with disabilities would have the financial resources necessary to receive in-home and community-based services as an alternative to institutionalization. More broadly, the bill would stop states and insurance companies from denying these individuals the right to continue living in their communities. In addition to personally touching the lives of many DSAers, DSA believes this bill is important because we view it as part of a larger fight to secure basic civil rights for seniors and people with disabilities who have lacked them for so long. As democratic socialists, we believe the struggle for genuine equality involves ensuring all people have the capacity to lead flourishing lives and to participate as equal members of society with all their brothers and sisters. Consequently, we view the fight for a society that enables people with disabilities to live good lives with dignity as a central component of our democratic socialist vision.

Sanctions Against Venezuela

Adopted by DSA’s National Political Committee:

In the past year, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has been dismayed to see President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators led by Marco Rubio (R-FL) violate US and international law to impose sanctions against the nation of Venezuela. We call on the President and Congress to reverse these actions and stop seeking to undermine the Venezuelan people and their legitimate, democratically elected government.


DSA Condemns Mass Murder in Orlando

Democratic Socialists of America condemns the perpetrator of the mass killing and wounding of innocents at the LGBTQ night club Pulse in Orlando Florida this past weekend on Latin nigh. We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families and the LGBTQ and Latinx community of Orlando and beyond.


DSA in the News

Frank Gaunt listed YDS as one of his big high school accomplishments in a profile of “20 Under 20” at Columbia Business Times.

The Indypendent’s interview with People for Bernie organizer Winnie Wong mentions DSA in the context of organizing for the People’s Summit. Steve Schwartzberg and Steve Balkin mention DSA in a similar context at Chicago’s The Beachwood Reporter. In a Huffington Post essay about the general state of Democratic politics, Robert Kuttner mentions DSA. David Lightman, reporting for the McClatchy chain of newspapers, includes DSA in a discussion of the future of the Sanders movement. Gabriel Debenedetti at Politico mentions DSA in connection with the People’s Summit, as does Scott Galindez at Reader Supported News. In discussing a post-Sanders movement, Bob Master mentions DSA at New Labor Forum. It’s all orchestrated to lead lefty sheeple to the graveyard of social movements (DSA?), contends Jeff Mackler at Counterpunch. Dan La Botz mentions DSA in connection with the People’s Summit at Viento Sur.

Conservative news site CNSNews used DSA as an icon for an article by Michael Morris examining Gallup poll results re: American attitudes toward “socialism”. At Counterpunch, Lawrence Wittner mentions DSA in examining the rise of socialism in opinion polls. DSA’s Maria Svart is quoted by Kevin Williamson at National Review in an interesting variation on the old “too much democracy” argument conservatives like to make. Lawrence Wittner takes a more historical approach, mentioning DSA, at Huffington Post. George Souvlis interviewed Cornel West about the state of politics in Black America at Open Democracy, and you can’t mention Dr. West without mentioning DSA.

At Washington Times, Tammy Bruce revisits lefty involvement in anti-Trump protests, including DSA in the credits.

John Nichols mentioned DSA at The Nation when discussing appointments to the Democratic National Conventions’ platform committee. Ron Radosh provides his own take on the subject at the right-wing propaganda site, PJ Media. Joanna Estrada mentioned DSA in passing while discussing the possibility of replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair at the Fayette Advocate. And at New York Magazine, Eric Levitz also mentions DSA in connection with Sander’s continuing campaign.

At The Salt Lake Tribune, Randy Thomson of Utah DSA calls upon Democratic politicians to practice what they preach.

Debbie Medina’s campaign for a New York State Senate seat earned DSA mentions in an article by Nicole Disser at Bedford and Bowery.

DSA got mentioned in an article by Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones regarding the affect of the Sanders campaign on the Green Party and the Peace & Freedom Party in California running up to the primary.

Barbara Ehrenreich, identified as an honorary co-chair of DSA, was interviewed at Margins.

Don Rose defends Trotskyites (or is it Trotskyists?), using DSA, at Chicago Sun-Times.

Aaron Bandler’s attack on Senator Elizabeth Warren at Daily Wire mentioned DSA, using Trevor Loudon as a source (heh).

Ed Strauss’ obituary of Bogdan Denitch at Workers’ Liberty mentioned DSA.

Alex McLeese

Alex McLeese was elected to Chicago DSA’s Executive Committee at our June 11th meeting. He’ll be sharing the responsibilities of Political Education Director with City of Chicago branch representative Alec Hudson.

Defeating Inequality: A Global Plan

DSA is nominally a member of the Socialist International. The International’s Commission on Inequality held it’s first meeting in Brussels on June 3 and 4.

As a result of this first round of discussions on tackling global inequality, the Commission members agreed on a series of fundamental policies that need to be put into effect to deliver a reduction in inequality. These included the need to end tax havens; implement more progressive taxation; explore ways to tax capital at a higher rate than wages where applicable; create a link between GDP and Gini coefficient as a measure of prosperity; reaffirm the crucial role of education as a prerequisite for reducing inequality; end discrimination on the grounds of gender, nationality and ethnicity; reform international institutions in order that they reflect contemporary realities; couple economic justice with climate justice and a reduction in emissions; intensify the struggle against corruption; tie minimum wages to median income; and pursue conflict resolution to bring the stability needed to reduce inequality.


166-1 Politics

For a LaSalle Street Tax

On Tuesday, June 7, four or five dozen supporters of a LaSalle Street Tax gathered in front of the Bilandic Building (aka State of Illinois Building, appropriately on LaSalle Street across from the Thompson Center) for a rally and press conference prior to a hearing on State Representative Mary Flower’s HB106. “LaSalle Street Tax” is the local name for a Financial Transaction Tax, essentially a sales tax on sales on stock trades and the like. National Nurses United and Chicago Teachers Union were the backbone of the event, but DSA was well represented by at least seven members. Local coverage was reasonably good. For coverage outside the pay-walls, see:

Ag Exports Lag Under Trade Deals

At Eyes on Trade:

Time and again, U.S. farmers and ranchers have been promised that controversial “free trade” agreements (FTAs) would provide a path to economic success by boosting exports. Time and again, these promises have been broken. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal that U.S. agricultural exports have lagged, agricultural imports have surged and family farms have disappeared under existing FTAs. Undeterred by its own data, USDA has repeated the standard FTA sales pitch with a factsheet claiming that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would expand the status quo trade model, would “support expansion of U.S. agricultural exports, increase farm income, generate more rural economic activity, and promote job growth.” That promise contradicts the actual outcomes of the FTAs that serve as the TPP’s blueprint.


166-1 Democratic Socialism

Lessons from Latin America

Dissent has posted a roundtable discussion about lessons for democratic socialism coming out of Latin America’s “pink tide”. Organized around an essay by Patrick Iber, it includes critiques by Javier Buenrostro, Sujatha Fernandes, Bryan McCann, and Thea Riofrancos: HERE.

Also see:

Redeeming Chavez’s Dream by Mike Gonzalez
Assessing Che by Samuel Farber