170-3 DSA News

After the Ellison Defeat

DSA’s National Political Committee adopted a statement on Democratic National Committee’s election of a Chair:

This weekend the Democratic National Committee (DNC) failed to choose Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) for Chair of the DNC. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) backed Ellison’s election as part of a rebellion of progressive Democratic Party activists against a neoliberal Democratic Party national leadership that places corporate interests ahead of the interests of working people.

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Planned Inequality

Recorded 05.13.2011  at the 53rd Debs – Thomas – Harrington Dinner in Chicago. Our featured speaker for that evening was Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago. Martire contends the wreckage of our public institutions, our soaring private and public debt, our stagnating economy, the growing stench of racism in our politics: these are the natural outcome of an intentional decades-long policy of massively redistributing wealth to those who were already very very wealthy.

Download to listen later [right click]: MP3 (21.3 MB) or OGG VORBIS (17.9 MB) (22:10)

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Northside Chicago Branch

by Bob Roman

The branch held its monthly meeting at the Bucktown-Wicker Park Library on Wednesday, February 22. Over 115 people attended. The occasion could probably best be described as an organizational meet-and-greet, where attendees were introduced to the branch and its working groups, and provided a networking opportunity. The day before, DSA members had been mobilized to participate in a counter demonstration to a bigoted, right-wing protest of a proposed multi-family housing complex in Jefferson Park. See coverage by Alex Nitkin and Maya Dukmasova. It turns out there were carpet-baggers on both sides of the issue, with a Republican Party club active in helping organize the protest.

Both the Northside and Southside CDSA branches are new entities. Over a year ago, the original intent was to organize a northside branch, but by the time it reached a formal decision, the scope had expanded to a city-wide branch. It functioned that way until the Trump explosion when it became really obvious that there was not just room but a necessity for more than one branch. January saw reorganizing meetings. Judging by the February Northside meeting, there is very likely room and maybe a need for at least two branches on the northside.

The Chicago DSA Executive Committee has yet to catch up with any of this, not to mention the establishment of a West Suburban organizing committee and a Northern Illinios organizing committee in DeKalb and prospects for organizing committees in Joliet and Kankakee.

Elsewhere in Illinois, there is now a Champaign — Urbana organizing committee and a Quad Cities organizing committee.

170-3 DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

David Weigel mentioned DSA members protesting at the end of his account of the election of Thomas Perez as DNC Chair at The Washington Post. It being The Washington Post, this got echoed at quite a few other sites. Jeff Stein also included DSA in his coverage of the DNC election at Vox.

Reuters distributed an account of DSA’s national growth by Justin Mitchell. Quite a few sites picked it up. Michael Moore added fuel to the fire by mentioning that DSA was among the organizations he had joined, and you should, too. It being Michael Moore, the post was reproduced on a good many other sites; Mark Hensch at The Hill even wrote a story about it. The video channel Now This also had an report featuring DSA’s growth. So you wanna be a socialist? Sara Bernard surveys your options in Seattle, including DSA, at Seattle Weekly. DSA’s growth was a minor part of John Reimann take on the developing mood in the U.S. at The North Star.

Jason Ruiz reported on the formation of a Long Beach, California, chapter of DSA at the Long Beach Post. The first meeting of the new Georgetown YDS chapter was covered by Claire Goldberg at The Georgetown Voice. The first steps by YDS activists toward becoming a recognized student organization at Boston College were noted by Chris Russo at The Heights. The activities of the YDS chapter at the University of Texas El Paso was the subject of a report by Michaela Roman at The Prospector Daily. Dave Kempa interviewed Linda-Ann Mattox of Sacramento DSA at Sacramento News & Review. Amber Enderton reported on the Sacramento DSA chapter in Elk Grove News.net. Kathie Obradovich reported on the growth of DSA chapters in Iowa at The Des Moines Register.

Steven Sherman at The Indypendent came away from the YDS national conference feeling a bit skeptical, but Emma Roller at Deadspin not so much.

Timothy Sheridan hypes the conflict between centrist Democrats and the left, personified by YDS, at OU Daily. The Indypendent posted an online forum on the future of progressives and the Democratic Party wherein DSA got mentions. Jon Ward and Hunter Walker mentioned DSA in a Yahoo News account of Tom Perez’ campaign to be DNC Chair. Creede Newton interviewed Samuel Ronan, a candidate for DNC chair, at Al Jazeera, and yes, absolutely, there is room for DSA in the Democratic Party in his opinion.

Patrick Iber reviewed recent books about Sanders and socialism, mentioning DSA, at The Nation.

On Valentine’s Day, the Alliance for Community Services attempted to deliver a valentine to Illinois Governor Rauner, asking him to have a heart regarding human services, and DSA was listed among the participating organizations at eNews Park Forest.

Wilson Pava’s account of 2017’s “Historic Thousand on J Street” march in Raleigh included DSA in the landscape at The Davidson.

Eugene Weekly noted the availability of non-violent direct action training, co-sponsored by University of Oregon YDS.

Kyle Scott Clauss at Boston Magazine mentioned DSA in discussing just what constitutes a “sanctuary” anything. Geoff Meldahl from Chattanooga DSA was quoted in Shaka Cobb’s coverage of an immigrant support vigil at Dalton Daily Citizen. YDS’ Dominic Chacon was quoted in Grecia Sanchez’s coverage of a “Day without Immigrants” at The Prospector Daily.

At The Glass Block, Brooks Butler Hays mentioned DSA in reviewing the history of workers’ bookshops in Pittsburgh.

Jeremy Moule noted DSA among the groups developing a local “Platform for a Progressive Movement” at Rochester City Newspaper.

DSA got mentioned in connection with single-payer health care in Jetta Rae’s coverage of Rep. Barbara Lee’s Fruitvale town hall meeting at Hoodline. According to Susan Maloney at The Badger Herald, DSA members raised a similar question at a town hall meeting for Republican Senator Ron Johnson, notable for the Senator’s absence. DSA was among the organizations sponsoring a town hall meeting defending the ACA, according to Kasey Bubnash at Missoulian.

Conor Lynch examined Slavoj Žižek’s argument that Trump is good for the left, citing DSA’s growth as one item in its favor, at Salon. Miles Kampf-Lassen cites the same evidence in his argument that the anti-Trump resistance is starting to win at In These Times. Your editor thinks this is akin to having stage 4 cancer and thinking, “Well, at last I’m getting my weight down to a healthy level.” And speaking of medical care, will Trump’s rampage over Obamacare lead to Medicare for all? Brendan Gallagher explored the prospect at Merry Jane, including DSA among those pushing for it. And Rick Paulas explained how Trump led him to socialism and DSA at Vice.

At Spiked, Tom Bailey mentioned DSA in passing while examining what he felt is the growth of conspiracy fantasies on the left. Rafael Khachaturian also mentioned DSA in passing in an essay about the “Deep State” concept at Jacobin.

170-3 Politics

The U.S. Economy in 2016

At Democratic Left, Bill Barclay and Peg Strobel begin:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This phrase from Charles Dickens’ novel about the French Revolution, Tale of Two Cities, aptly describes the starkly different views of the U.S. economy in 2016 and progress (or not) in the years since the financial panic of 2008.

The best of times: by the end of 2016, official unemployment dropped from 5.0% to 4.7%, reaching what Federal Reserve Bank (“the Fed”) Chair Janet Yellen called close to “full employment.”  The worst of times: at his first press conference as president, Trump insisted that “there are 96 million [people] wanting a job and they can’t get [one].”  Since 60% of Trump voters believed that unemployment went up during Obama’s eight years in office, Trump’s claim makes perfect fantasy sense.

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It’s Only a Law, Unless…

There is actual enforcement. At the Chicago Reporter, Melissa Sanchez writes:

Several aldermen and workers’ advocates have launched a campaign to spur Chicago to toughen enforcement of its minimum wage and other labor ordinances with a new Office of Labor Standards.

The campaign comes just weeks after The Chicago Reporter found that enforcement of the city’s 2014 minimum wage ordinance has been largely ineffective. The city has investigated just a quarter of the 454 complaints filed since the ordinance went into effect in 2015, has recovered lost pay for only a few dozen workers and has yet to fine a single company for violating the ordinance. After questioning by the Reporter, the city said it would begin issuing fines.

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Rauner & the Legacy of PATCO

At Labor Notes, Chris Brooks writes:

For the first time in four decades as a union, 28,000 Illinois state workers could be going on strike, facing down a Republican governor who campaigned on the promise to force a showdown with the union.

In a 20-day vote that ended February 19, members from the 70 locals that comprise AFSCME Council 31 voted in favor of strike authorization.

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You can show your support for public employees and place yourself on a list to be mobilized by going to Keep Illinois Working.

The Alabamafication of America

Guess who really won the Civil War? At Harvard Political Review, Drew Pendergrass writes:

The lesson is simple: populism rises above all other concerns in Alabama. Demagoguery has a long track record of success in the South, and a politician who sufficiently channels that energy can say and do most anything — “grab them by the pussy,” for example — and still win by a landslide. George Wallace’s racism cost Alabama millions in economic development and outside investment, yet his populist appeal won elections. He served several nonconsecutive terms as governor, including one as late as the 1980s.

Trump won the election with the same flair as Folsom. With his cabinet picks and his agenda, it looks like Trump will govern like an Alabamian as well, with the classic strategies of a Montgomery politician.

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170-3 Ars Politica

“I Am Not Your Negro”

Leonard Pierce writes:

There is a moment, late in I am Not Your Negro, where the great writer and thinker James Baldwin is appearing on Dick Cavett’s talk show to discuss the one subject that consumed him like no other during his life: America’s compulsive reluctance to address the reality of its treatment of black citizens. As Baldwin holds forth on the subject, as eloquent and expressive as he ever was, Cavett interrupts him. Displaying the same maddening determination to show ‘both sides’ of a one-sided issue that still plagues our media today, Cavett, or some well-meaning producer, or perhaps a meddling network S&P man, decides to bring on a professor of philosophy from Yale to provide an entirely unnecessary counter-argument. Why, this ancient and learned Caucasian demands, must Baldwin always focus on issues of race? We are all human, and surely we love or loathe one another on specific aspects of our hearts and souls, not by the color of our skins. Why do you, he asks of the impudent Mr. Baldwin, insist on making it all about black and white?

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170-3 Democratic Socialism

Socialism and Apple Pie

At Jacobin, Paul Heideman presents an excellent short history of socialism in early 20th Century America with the mildly revisionist argument that our country never possessed any special immunity against socialist politics. Heideman begins:

In the middle of Bernie Sanders’s unexpected surge in the Democratic presidential primary, Missouri governor Jay Nixon echoed some folksy wisdom against him: “Here in the heartland, we like our politicians in the mainstream, and [Sanders] is not — he’s a socialist.’’

Nixon would no doubt be shocked to learn of his own state’s history with the red menace. In the early twentieth century, the Socialist Party of America boasted 135 locals in Missouri. In St. Louis alone, 24 of the city’s 28 wards had a local.

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West Suburban DSA

by Sam Miemczewski
West Suburban Illinois Democratic Socialists of America (WSDSA) had our first meeting on January 8th with 17 people in attendance and by our second meeting on February 12th we doubled that with 35 people in attendance. We just passed our by-laws and constitution and filed paperwork to become a chapter! We have four working committees: women’s rights, minority’s rights, legislation, and education. We formed a coalition with other groups and helped to organize a protest against Republican Congressman (6th District) Peter Roskam and had nearly 1000 people show up! We’re eager to work as a team with CDSA and other Illinois chapters and OC’s as they continue to form so that we can effectively organize to push DSA values in our communities. WSDSA is happy to be a part of such an ambitious organization and we hope to serve as a strong democratic socialist outlet for our comrades residing in the Western Suburbs of Illinois. MORE INFORMATION.