167-3 DSA News

From Sanders to the Grassroots

At The Activist, Meghan Brophy writes:

From August 5-7, members of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS), College Students for Bernie, and the Student Labor Action Project gathered for a joint gathering, “From Sanders to the Grassroots.” The D.C. area conference represented what speaker Bill Fletcher Jr. called for: unity between progressives and socialists to amplify each other.

This conference was an unprecedented act of strategic unity for the U.S.-based student left. As our newly politicized generation navigates this tumultuous election, we have a long term vision and tactics for social and electoral change. “From Sanders to the Grassroots” provided a crucial space for student activists to network, discuss, and strategize together about how we can continue our political revolution against the billionaire class.

MORE.

DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

There are a number of difficulties in compiling DSA media mentions. One is that search engines like Google are not as omniscient as they’d like you to believe. Even legitimately journalistic sites have their backwaters, and those often don’t get included in query returns. Sometimes repeating the search with a slightly different query helps. Then there are the pay-walls. And visual or audio media where “DSA” is mentioned doesn’t get indexed unless the content is reflected in a transcript or a title. And of course, there’s the obvious question of what constitutes “legitimately journalistic.” There’s a lot of sites that pretend to be news but instead provide talking points or (particularly with right-wing sites) rhetoric with only an approximate connection to facts, and podcasts and video channels that range from political garbage to, at their best, web adjuncts to professional journalism.

All this leads into an introduction to The Benjamin Dixon Show. In terms of credentials, the show recently became a member of the Ring of Fire Podcast Network. The network includes a number of shows that get carried by left-wing talk radio stations, such as WCPT here in the Chicago area. Recently Dixon featured an interview with two DSA members as part of a discussion of millennial politics. It’s available via YouTube in five segments: Introduction to Millennial Politics, the Future of Economic Ideology and Policies, How Socialism Does NOT Stifle Progress, Socialism in a Pro-Capitalist Electoral System, and a United Global Workforce. The video production values are pretty good. There’s not much lacking that money couldn’t fix; give the program about $50,000 and you’d see something as professional as the rest of what’s on broadcast talk radio. The audio of the entire episode is available through Stitcher, through the iTunes store (the episode posted 8/17/2016) and soon on the program’s Soundcloud channel.

Elsewhere:

At the tail end of DNC stories, DSA’s growth in Texas was part of Jonathan Tilove’s account at the Austin American-Statesman and John Winstead mentioned DSA as participating in the Socialist Convergence at College Heights Herald.

Jim Smith mentions DSA as part of the “sleeping left” in an article promoting Jill Stein at Counterpunch.

Jared Brey takes a brief detour to a DSA meeting in an article about Katie McGinty’s campaign for the U.S. Senate at Philadelphia Magazine.

Modernizing U.S. Food Aid

Episode 67 of Talkin’ Socialism, recorded August 13, 2016. In the wake of World War II, the US launched an ambitious effort to help save lives by fighting the scourge of hunger. The idea was simple: take surplus US grain and send it to people in need around the world. Since then, US food aid has saved hundreds of millions of people from malnutrition and starvation. Now, over 60 years after the program was launched, it’s time for US food aid to be modernized. Millions of more lives could be saved simply by adding flexibility and efficiency to the program. Chicago DSA’s Alex McLeese interviews Oxfam America’s Adam Olson on the fight to reform food aid.

Download to listen later [right click]:

MP3 (27.2 MB) or OGG VORBIS (35.4 MB) (28:21)

SUBSCRIBE,or add to your playlist using STITCHER or iTunes.

Last Call for Labor Day

We need your help to advocate for fair trade rather than free trade, advocate for fair taxes not austerity, make higher education a public good instead of a commodity. Your contribution will provide support for Chicago DSA branches, in the City, in Oak Park, and maybe at Northwestern (and maybe elsewhere?) this fall. Your presence in these pages will be an affirmation of social justice and an encouragement to those who would build a democratic socialist movement for the 21st Century. Please take an ad in the annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. The details are HERE. (pdf)

If using plastic would make things easier, you can make a contribution HERE, using PayPal’s secure payment interface. You can also set up a monthly contribution that will nick you less each time than an order for carryout coffee.

167-3 Politics

Bernie, Hillary and Trump

by Tom Suhrbur

Bernie or bust! This is the sentiment among some Sanders supporters. It is so wrong. I supported Bernie Sanders in the primary and contributed more than $27 to his campaign. He best reflected my feelings about a wide range of issues such as income inequality, health care, social justice, environmental protection, trade and taxes. Sanders is absolutely right in supporting Hillary. A Trump presidency would likely give Republican control of all three branches of the federal government, embolden reactionary bigotry and undermine social progress for many years to come. Remember what happened the last time Republicans swept into power: two wars in the Middle East and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

MORE.

The DNC’s Right Realignment

At Democratic Left, Elizabeth Mahoney writes:

On July 26, concurrent to the Democratic National Convention’s star-studded attempt to make everybody forget everything that transpired during the primary, New York Mag published a great piece on the Florida senatorial race. What they call “the second-strangest campaign of the season” is worth reading about for a few reasons; because the general election might be able to defeat Marco Rubio’s mercurial reentry into national politics and hand a rare Florida win to the Democrats; because Alan Grayson — the $16-million-tax-haven owner, who, policy-wise, lands on the left wing of the Democratic Party — is great entertainment; and because Grayson’s primary rival, Patrick Murphy, is a quiet, but powerful, signal of where the Dems are headed.

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The Development of a Progressive Third Party

At The Activist, Pranay Somayajula writes:

With the volatile political climate of 2016 and the deep rift in the Democratic Party between its far-left and more moderate members, there have been numerous talks of the formation of a viable third party in the United States. Unfortunately, attempts to do so in the past few decades have never met with any major success, largely because of the way our governmental system has molded itself to fit the two-party system. The way things are now, it looks as though a revolution would be needed to make change. However, that is not the case. There is a simple solution to the problem that is staring us in the face as we speak.

MORE.

167-3 Democratic Socialism

Beautiful Rising

At Waging Nonviolence, Phil Wilmot writes:

Men wielding helium balloons stepped out of a car in Kampala’s bustling downtown on the morning of August 1, releasing them one by one into the open sky. Onlookers watched and wondered what the colorful display was all about.

 A few hours later, a video emerged online of another activist releasing balloons atop Naguru Hill, the highest point in Uganda’s capital city. In the video, the activist explained that the balloons carry a message announcing the launch of a new activist toolkit, Beautiful Rising, aimed at helping people put an end to injustices like militarism and dictatorship.

MORE.

Bernie, Hillary and Trump

by Tom Suhrbur

Bernie or bust! This is the sentiment among some Sanders supporters. It is so wrong. I supported Bernie Sanders in the primary and contributed more than $27 to his campaign. He best reflected my feelings about a wide range of issues such as income inequality, health care, social justice, environmental protection, trade and taxes. Sanders is absolutely right in supporting Hillary. A Trump presidency would likely give Republican control of all three branches of the federal government, embolden reactionary bigotry and undermine social progress for many years to come. Remember what happened the last time Republicans swept into power: two wars in the Middle East and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

While Hillary might be a flawed candidate, Trump is a disaster. The major differences between Trump and Clinton are the organizations and people supporting them. Although Hillary has had close ties to the wealthy, corporate elite (including Donald Trump), she cannot ignore the concerns of labor unions, environmentalists, minorities, feminists and other progressive groups. She needs their support to win. She has been pushed by Sanders’ insurgency to take positions on banking regulation, trade, student debt, minimum wage, environmental policies and a host of other reforms. Her election will create the political climate for progressive reforms. Progressives must continue to organize around the issues that Bernie raised in the primaries after the election.

Trump owes these groups nothing! He appeals to fear, anxiety and bigotry. He will appoint conservative, pro-corporate justices to the Supreme Court, deregulate environmental/ climate change regulations, increase funding for our already bloated military, kowtow to the NRA, oppose an increase in the minimum wage (He even said: “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.”), and possibly incite a disastrous nuclear arms race in the Middle East by encouraging Saudi Arabia to develop such weapons. His proposed tax cuts will go mostly to the wealthy and cause huge deficits leading to calls for cutting social services (but not the military). His wall is a joke and the deportation of 11 million undocumented aliens is not only inhumane but also devastating to families who have lived here for decades raising their children as Americans. Like Adolph Hitler, he says that he will order the military to use torture. Trump actually quoted Benito Mussolini in a tweet: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Anyone who questions his judgement is attacked personally even to the point of making fun of a disabled reporter. He is an ill informed, intemperate, narcissistic and dangerous demagogue bordering on fascism.

Many of Trump supporters are working class and lower middle class whites. Trump claims that he loves the “poorly educated.” Really? Apparently he thinks these supporters are so gullible that they believe his absurd claims that Obama was born in Africa, thousands in New Jersey celebrated on the streets on 9/11, Mexico will pay for his wall, Ted Cruz’s father was involved in JFK’s assassination and countless other ridiculous statements. Like P.T. Barnum, Trump assumes that there is a “sucker born every minute.” He obviously holds his “poorly educated” supporters in high contempt. He jokingly stated that, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.” He appeals to the angst that corporate capitalism has created for the working class. Low paid jobs, longer hours of work, economic insecurity, and the terrorism. These are real concerns created by decades of conservative, economics policies and military adventurism in the Middle East. Trump does not have real solutions to these problems but knows how to exploit them for his personal aggrandizement.

167-2 DSA News

Support New Ground

Your contribution will help us advocate for fair trade rather than free trade, advocate for fair taxes not austerity, make higher education a public good instead of a commodity. It will provide support for Chicago DSA branches, in the City, in Oak Park, and maybe at Northwestern (and maybe elsewhere?) this fall. Your presence in these pages will be an affirmation of social justice and an encouragement to those who would build a democratic socialist movement for the 21st Century. Please take an ad in the annual Labor Day issue of New Ground. The details are HERE. (pdf)

If using plastic would make things easier, you can make a contribution HERE, using PayPal’s secure payment interface. (Chicago DSA does not see your credit card information.) You can also set up a monthly contribution that will nick you less each time than an order for carryout coffee.

Gramercy!

Campaigning Against the TPP

Chicago DSA (which is to say, Tom Broderick mostly but not exclusively) has been accumulating postcards signed by passers-by at various fairs (including CDSA’s table at the Bughouse Square Debates) that express opposition to Congress approving the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. While it’s true that both Clinton and Trump oppose approval, that simply means the mostly likely time for approval will be during the post-election lame duck meetings of Congress. Don’t think it can’t happen.

The card collection phase is largely over. Broderick is now organizing meetings with staff at Representatives’ District Offices (plus local offices of Senators Kirk and Durbin) to hand over the signed card and to reinforce their message. If you’d like to be a member of a delegation, give Tom Broderick a call at 708.386.6007 or email tbroderick@chicagodsa.org.

Continuing the Political Revolution

Statement adopted by DSA’s National Political Committee begins:

Democratic Socialists of America believes that the Left must balance two crucial tasks in the November 2016 elections. On the one hand, the progressive movement must roundly defeat Donald Trump’s racist, nativist, Islamophobic and misogynist presidential campaign, as well as isolate and delegitimize the far-right hate groups that his campaign has strengthened. On the other hand, the Left must sustain and expand the independent electoral and social movement capacity built by the insurgent Sanders campaign, while broadening it out in an explicitly antiracist and multiracial direction. Thus, through November, DSA will prioritize two goals:

  1. Building an independent “Dump Trump” movement, primarily in swing states where we have the capacity to make an impact, and
  2. Developing local multiracial coalitions and campaigns that can build independent socialist organizing capacity and challenge neoliberal, pro-corporate Democrats in November.

MORE.

Towards an Anti-Racist Socialism

Adopted at the Summer, 2016, Young Democratic Socialists conference:

Historically, the United States has played out the most systematically capitalist and imperialist form of oppression to prevent the liberation of the vast majority of people. From the Atlantic Slave Trade to Mass Incarceration, From the Trail of Tears to the continuous migration from the Global South, from the taking away of lands to the denouncement that people of color can never think on their own, the United States has always engaged in some of the most horrifying systematic forms of dehumanization against the working poor, but more specifically people of color. To shift the politics of this country, by definition we must engage in anti-racist struggles. Young Democratic Socialists should engage in building anti-racist politics not merely because in the upcoming years the United States will transform into a country where the majority of people are people of color, but because it is the ethical politics to engage in.

MORE.

DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

Tristan Rader included DSA in a “what-I-saw-of-the-DNC” article at Lakewood Observer. DSA was used as an identifier in Christopher Hass’ nomination postmortem at In These Times. Ryan Cooper made DSA a part of his discussion of post-convention election politics at The Week. Jake Johnson revisited the War on Poverty and, linking it to the DNC, mentioned DSA at Common Dreams. DSA also comes up (towards the end) on episode 5 of NBC’s campaign trail podcast “The Trail Tapes” where Jake Heller interviewed Brian Nowak of Buffalo DSA. (There’s a video version & an audio version; the video is the better, and more emphatically DSA, if you’re time-challenged.)

Liza Featherstone mentioned DSA in a post-campaign speculation at am New York, and so did Barry Sheppard at Green Left (Australia).

In an essay that’s odd even for Counterpunch, Andrew Stewart mentioned DSA in passing.

Nicole Contosta mentioned DSA in passing in an account of the Jill Stein campaign at University City Review.

DSA was mentioned in passing in “Unofficial Orientation Series 2016: Rage Update” at Wesleying.

For those saturated in right-wing web propaganda, the mere mention of “DSA” suffices, thus Charles Boyd at Lakeland Times.

Our Revolution

Bernie is launching his new organization, Our Revolution, to keep his vision for a political revolution in the U.S. alive. The City of Chicago branch of Chicago DSA wants to play its part! Join our watch party as we help go forward. Refreshments and snacks will be available: Wednesday, August 24, 7:30 PM to 10 PM at the Chicago DSA office, 3411 W. Diversity, Ste 7, Chicago, IL 60647. REGISTRATION. MORE INFORMATION.

167-2 Politics

Putting Wall Street to Work

A new report by Josh Bivens and Hunter Blair at the Economic Policy Institute examines the consequences of a Financial Transaction Tax (aka “Robin Hood Tax” or “LaSalle Street Tax”). They find:

A well-designed financial transaction tax (FTT) — a small levy placed on the sale of stocks, bonds, derivatives, and other investments — would be an efficient and progressive way to generate tax revenues. Gross revenues from a well-designed FTT would likely range from $110 billion to $403 billion. And net revenues (including offsets from reduced income, payroll and capital gains taxes, and increased borrowing costs) would likely be substantially higher than some other recent estimates indicate. This is mainly because other estimates’ assumptions about the volume of financial transactions an FTT would crowd out are too high, and because an FTT is likely to redistribute rather than reduce overall incomes. Regardless of the level of revenues raised, an FTT would be a win-win for the U.S. economy. Higher revenues would result in more funds for social insurance programs and much-needed public investments. Lower revenues would be the result of the FTT crowding out financial transactions of little value to the U.S. economy. This would boost Americans’ incomes through lowering fees on financial services, such as the management of 401(k)s and other accounts.

MORE.

Trump: “Believe Me”  by Tom Suhrbur

Trump has many numerous outlandish statements during the Republican primary races. The millions of people who voted for him apparently believe that… MORE.

Ending Too Big to Fail?

At Democratic Left, Bill Barclay writes:

Remember when bankers crashed the economy, destroyed your retirement savings, drove unemployment to over 9% — and then got a bail out from the rest of us? It was only seven years ago, but many seem to have forgotten. Neel Kashkari hasn’t. The former overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the program to take toxic debt off the books of the major banks, Kashkari is now calling for ending “too big to fail” (TBTF). Kashkari was appointed president and CEO of the Minneapolis Fed in late 2015.

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The Status of Women Workers in Illinois

At The Illinois Update, Mira Staykova writes:

A new Economic Commentary by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute finds that women are overrepresented in unstable, low-paying sectors. While women make up half of the Illinois workforce, they are disproportionately concentrated in sectors that offer low wages and very little room for growth.

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“Catalyst” and “Chicago Reporter” to be Merged

Catalyst is being merged into the Chicago Reporter by their owner, Chicago’s Community Renewal Society. At Columbia Journalism Review, Jackie Spinner writes:

Editors of the organizations say the post-merger publication will be poised to deliver big-picture education coverage through the lens of race, inequality, and poverty, the Reporter’s longtime areas of focus. The trade-off is a move away from some of Catalyst’s traditional strengths, such as oversight of the public schools bureaucracy.

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LeftElect

Back in May of 2015, a group of various lefties (not exclusively Trots and Watermelons) put together a conference on independent (that is: not Democratic Party) electoral politics. It was a modest affair that nonetheless exceeded the organizers’ expectations, despite the disconcerting presence of a strong minority of folks who intended to work on Bernie Sanders’ campaign. That fly in the ointment influenced the timing of this upcoming second conference. It is tentatively scheduled to be in Chicago on March 3 through 5, 2017, when the organizers can ask Sanderistas: How’s that political revolution thing working out for you? You can get the latest HERE.

167-2 Democratic Socialism

Venezuela After Chavez

At New Left Review, Julia Buxton judges:

It has been a revolutionary period, when people who had always been excluded finally had a voice and the opportunity to access power. Over the last century of Latin American politics, the left has consistently been kept out of government by U.S.-backed military interventions. This was the first time that left-wing movements were able to exercise power throughout the region for so long. The popular classes have become much more conscious of their rights and their potential strength than they had been before. Those rights are no longer seen as something handed down to the masses from above by charismatic leaders, as was the case with an earlier generation of populists like Perón and Vargas. The Bolivarian Revolution in particular has transformed social relations in Venezuela and had a huge impact on the continent as a whole. But the tragedy is that it was never properly institutionalized and thus proved to be unsustainable.

MORE.