169-3 DSA News

Keith Ellison for DNC Chair

Adopted by DSA’s National Political Committee mid-December, the statement begins:

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is proud to endorse Representative Keith Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Great change is needed within the Democratic Party. The DNC’s gross mishandling of the primary election between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton demonstrates the need for a reinvigorated party that appeals to working-class voters of all races, ethnicities and genders. Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss to the most unpopular candidate in history — Donald Trump — clearly highlights the urgency of change.


DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

The United States needs a socialist movement and Ryan Cooper points at DSA at The Week. Ben Wolford interviews DSA National Director Maria Svart at Latterly. At KBOO, Bill Resnick interviews DSA’s Joe Schwartz for the “Old Mole Variety Hour.”

An account by Richard Moore of the Wisconsin November election re-count at Lakeland Times mentions DSA.

An event supporting Keith Ellison’s campaign to be DNC Chair got DSA a mention in an article by Steve Ahlquist at RI Future.

Andrew Stewart included DSA among the useless “progressive” bystanders at the murder of public education in Rhode Island at Counterpunch.

DSA was included in an article by Dan Arel about fighting Islamophobia at The New Arab (UK).

An article about District 13’s “movement house” in DC by Richard Marcil at Liberal America mentioned DSA.

Religion & Socialism

DSA’s Religion and Socialism Commission has an occasional podcast. Episode 2, just posted in December, is an interview with Laura Barrett, the new Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, conducted by Jean Darling, Senior Pastor at the People’s Church of Chicago. It was recorded at the Chicago DSA office. Darling and Barrett discuss the work of Interfaith Worker Justice and future directions for the organization, available through SoundCloud and through the Apple iTunes Store (free!).

Revolution at the Crossroads

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time — together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.



169-3 Politics

Oak Park as a Sanctuary City?

According to the newsletter of the Oak Park Democratic Party, there’s a move afoot to make Oak Park a Sanctuary Village, where the village would not cooperate with ICE regarding undocumented migrants. This would be considered at the Oak Park Village Board meeting, to be held at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, January 17, at the Village Hall, 123 Madison in Oak Park. As details become available, we’ll post the event on the Chicago DSA Events Page as this is something folks should attend.

The Economy We Have

Largely based on research and policy papers issued during 2016, the Economic Policy Institute has put together 13 charts that “show the difference between the economy we have now and the economy we could have.” It’s worth a look (and easy to spread via social media) HERE.

Keith for DNC

The Illinois Rally / Fundraiser for Keith Ellison has moved from the Logan Square Auditorium to the Wild Hare Restaurant, 2610 N. Halsted in Chicago. It’s Sunday, January 8, 3 PM to 5 PM. You can get in for as little as $50. MORE INFORMATION.

169-3 Democratic Socialism

Coop Trailer Parks

Residents at trailer parks are often at the mercy of the park’s owner. But not always. Sometimes, “trailer trash” rises up. At National Public Radio, Daniel Zwerdling writes:

…this was not an ordinary picnic. Residents were celebrating the fifth anniversary of a major achievement that could inspire similar communities across the country: The day they began to take more control of their lives.

Park Plaza is a mobile home park, or what industry calls a manufactured housing community. Five years ago, the residents banded together, formed a nonprofit co-op and bought their entire neighborhood from the company that owned it. Today, these residents exert democratic control over almost 9 acres of prime suburbs, with 80 manufactured houses sited on them.


169-2 DSA News

Only One Thing Can Save Us:
Unions and a Democratic Society

Talkin’ Socialism Episode 71, recorded 05.08.2015 at the 57th Annual Debs – Thomas – Harrington Dinner in Chicago. Tom Geoghegan argues that even as the U.S. labor movement crumbles, a revived but different labor movement is crucial to building a democratic society. How might that be done? Geoghegan has some suggestions and he notes: Disruption works.

Download to listen later [right click]:
MP3 (28.3 MB) or OGG VORBIS (18.6 MB) (29:30)


or add to your playlist using STITCHER or iTunes.

DSA 3 ArrowsDSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

Not all Greens are watermelons, as demonstrated by a risible essay by Lorna Salzman at New English Review, that includes DSA. The American Enterprise Institute’s Ramesh Ponnuru mentioned DSA in an education article at Bloomberg View. And because it’s AEI, Ponnuru’s article got echoed, some, around the web, including the Chicago Tribune. An article covering a White-supremacist conference in DC, by Hannah Gais at The Washington Spectator, included DSA among the opposing protesters. This was picked up elsewhere, including Newsweek. Blacklists have been a favored tool of the Right for a long long time. Peter Dreier reviews a new list that includes him, and mentions DSA, at The American Prospect. (Your editor suspects they’ll take down any individual entry when confronted with a lawyerly demand letter, but better than that would be a class action lawsuit.)

DSA was mentioned at the end of an election despair article by the editors of N+1.

David Michael Smith listed DSA as among the cosponsors for an anti-white supremacist demonstration at Texas A&M University at The Monitor. YDS’ Ross Lasker was quoted with respect to his participation in #NoDAPL in North Dakota by Keegan Kearney at Iowa State Daily. Peter Zillmer, president of University of Wisconsin Stevens Point YDS, was quoted opining about Trump’s cabinet choices in an article by Wesley Hortenbach at The Pointer.

YDS was recognized as a student organization by the Princeton Undergraduate Student Government according to Samuel Oh at The Princetonian.

DSA was a focus and DSA members quoted in a global post-election article by Abi Wilkinson at New Statesman. DSA was mentioned as one of the beneficiaries of Team Bernie New York’s disbanding at Newsday’s Daily Point. DSA was a major focus of a post-election survey of socialists by Jared Brey at Philadelphia Magazine. An attack on Jill Stein’s recount effort gets DSA a mention by Brenden Gallagher at Merry Jane. Dan Arel mentioned DSA in the context of left disunity at The Hill. Anti-Trump protests got DSA mentioned by Donald McCarthy at Paste Magazine. Advice from Turkey by Justus Links on how to survive the Trumpocalypse mentioned DSA at Open Democracy. Want to fight Trumpism? DSA is one of several places to be in New York, according to David Colon at Gothamist. DSA is also making lists, including a 5 fun things list at Gothamist compiled by Scott Heins and 5 things you can do to resist Trump by Dan Arel at Patheos.

Democratic socialism and DSA was the focus of an article by Jake Johnson at Common Dreams.

Dana M. Nichols’ obituary for Michael Israel included his role in DSA at Calaveras Enterprise.

Peter Frase was interviewed by John Light about Frase’s Four Futures book at Moyers & Company, and DSA got a mention.

We’re Multiplying

The City of Chicago Branch CDSA is dividing into separate Northside and Southside branches.

169-2 Politics

Tea Part(ies) of the Left?

Former Congressional staffers have distilled their observations on the techniques used by the Tea Party and they have compiled them in a document, Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. Your editor thinks it’s worth reading, though it leaves out money and is focused almost entirely on Congress. Even if most Tea Party groups operated on a potluck basis, you can assume that they brought more money and access to the table than most lefty groups would be able to scrape up: Political outsiders, maybe, but with more ammunition. Likewise, there were several reasonably well-monied national groups that were able to finance Tea Party events around which local groups could organize or otherwise use for networking. These national centers led many lefties to dismiss the Tea Party as an astroturf phenomenon when in fact it may have been better described as “sod.” National centers with some money are not totally absent on the left (think People’s Summit, for example), but this lack will require some experimentation. Nonetheless, this is a good guide to self-organizing. You can read the document HERE.

Welcome to the Second Redemption

In the first of a 3 part series at Mayoral Tutorial, Jack Knight writes:

Our first foray into multiracial democracy did not go well. The words “ended in tears” would not begin to cover the bitter racist reality that asserted itself in the wake of our first failed experiment with hope and change. Right from the start white Americans in the “reconstructed” states resisted with communal, legislative, judicial and economic violence and would only move as far as the federal government was willing to take them. When and wherever white citizens took control of their states their laws reflected their views and they fought federal law very hard in ways that actually did damage to not only their interests but those of their children. Reconstructed states rejected everything from education to infrastructure to deny them to freed slaves. If this sounds like the refusal to take Obamacare and federal infrastructure money and looks like what the GOP is doing in every state where they hold control the legislature, judiciary and/or the executive branch then it should.

Here’s how things went down. From 1865 to 1877 the feds made an attempt to create a multiracial democracy. The states resisted. The white citizens resisted federal legislation from Congressional Bills to Constitutional Amendments and did not just roll back local and state laws that protected the rights of newly freed slaves they eradicated them. Communities were terrorized by first random individuals, then by organized groups of angry white citizens, then by legislation and social norms of the most strident white citizens and finally by full force of state sanctioned violence carried out by white citizens. America went from being on the path to multiracial democracy to spending from 1877 to the Civil Rights era creating Jim Crow and its attendant horrors. From the occasional pogrom like the destruction of Greenwood/Tulsa and/or the more personal carnival like lynchings to the creation of public policy designed to bar Black Americans from not just public services but from private participation in economy and wealth creation, the new status quo severely limited the freedoms and safety of Black Americans.


Lobby the Electoral College

Demonstrations are being organized in every state capitol on December 19 to call on electors to vote their conscience. MORE INFORMATION.

Women’s March on Washington

In addition to counter-inaugural demonstrations on January 20, there will be a Women’s March on Washington on January 21. You can get information on Chicago participants HERE. A good article on the organizing effort was posted at DNA Info.

Keith for DNC

For those interested in intervening in the affairs of Democratic Party Inc, Congressman Keith Ellison’s campaign to become Chair of the Democratic National Committee is coming to Chicago for a rally fundraiser. This will be on Sunday, January 8, 3 PM to 5 PM at the Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Blvd in Chicago. The campaign is asking $100 for tickets, and you can obtain tickets HERE.

Time Limits to Housing Assistance?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Housing Authority have come up with the brilliantly stupid idea of reducing the size of the waiting list for housing vouchers (now up to 43,000) by limiting the length of time families can collect housing assistance. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has a reality check HERE.

Meanwhile, Emanuel and his City Hall Disciples have been setting up slush funds that are not especially transparent or accountable, and TIFs are only one of several varieties. Curtis Black at Chicago Reporter has a good survey of the goodies. It’s a bit outside the scope of the article, but Black misses one cute aspect. Intended to finance capital improvements to the CTA Red Line, the new transit TIFs represent a dedicated revenue stream that ought to increase from the improved CTA service. That revenue stream could be borrowed against or even sold (as part of a “public / private partnership”) should the Federal money not come through… or even if it does.

Menu Money

At the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability:

Every year, Chicago divvies up $65 million among its 50 aldermen — or about $1.3 million per ward — as “menu money,” which each alderman gets to spend however they choose. According to PB Chicago, at least nine wards use “participatory budgeting” to assign menu money to local projects, bringing together constituents to suggest, debate, and vote on a particular road resurfacing project, park rehabilitation, or mural they’d like to see completed.

But how do all of these decisions — made at a participatory budgeting hearing or in a ward office — add up? What’s the big picture on what Chicagoans are getting for this $65 million?