Other News

compiled by Bob Roman

City Branch

Some time ago, Alec Hudson came to the Executive Committee with an idea of organizing a CDSA branch for the northside of Chicago. Due to Hudson’s impossible work schedule, it remained nothing more than a Facebook page for many months. With a new job and help from some new DSA members, the idea expanded to organizing a City branch. An initial meeting in December brought together 9 interested members, mostly new and mostly young, to brainstorm possibilities. A second meeting is planned for January 13 at the Harold Washington Library. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/City-of-Chicago-Democratic-Socialists-of-America-1552834828264784/. For those not on the web, give the office a call at 773.384.0327.

Incidentally, if you’d like to organize a CDSA branch, this is a good time to do it. Branches don’t need to be geographic in nature under our constitution. They can also be formed around a common interest or an institution. Established YDS chapters also have automatic recognition as a CDSA branch.

Talkin’ Socialism

Episode 59Reproductive Justice, recorded December 12, 2015. Chicago DSA’s Peg Strobel nterviews three activists from the Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF): Brittany Mostiller-Keith, the Fund’s Executive Director, and CAF board members Lindsay Budzinski and Sekile Nzinga-Johnson. They discuss the history of the CAF, how it operates, and most especially the concept of Reproductive Justice, including ongoing efforts to repeal the notorious “Hyde Amendment” that prohibits any Federal funding of abortion. The proposed legislation, sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee of California, would insure abortion coverage under Medicaid and other insurance programs.

Episode 58Norvelt: Hope Only in Hard Times? Recorded November 21, 2015. Chicago DSA’s Peg Strobel in conversation with Margaret Power, co-author with Timothy Kelly and Michael Cary of Hope in Hard Times: Norvelt and the Struggle for Community During the Great Depression, a discussion the New Deal planned community of Norvelt, Pennsylvania. Margaret Power explains how her personal history intersects with Norvelt and provides some insights as to how and why the politics of this region has changed since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Available at Talkin’ Socialism.

Cyber-Squatting

On December 19, someone registered the domain name chicagodsa.info. That’s no problem. There are any number of organizations that share the initials d.s.a., from the Deputy Sheriff Association to the Deaf Seniors of America. But the person who purchased chicagodsa.info has it pointed to our web site: http://www.chicagodsa.org. The “whois” record for chicagodsa.info has the identity of the owner privacy protected. The anonymous email address for contacting the owner, wx9yb59745t@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com, sends any emails to our office email address, chiildsa@chicagodsa.org. Furthermore, we have some reason to believe that the email address chiildsa@chicagodsa.info exists.

So far the registrar, Network Solutions, has been notably unhelpful in resolving this situation. For all the brave words in their terms of service, their only response to what is obviously a registration based on deceit has been a promise to pass along our concerns to the owner of chicagodsa.info. This may be difficult to do, depending on the information they were given, but it’s not likely we’ll hear of it, one way or another, in any case.

To be fair, it is possible that this is a misguided but benign action of an enterprising DSA member. If so, please raise your hand and ‘fess-up. We’ll be more relieved than cross.

But unfortunately, this is far more likely to be a prelude to mischief. There are any number of possibilities. One is a fake but inflammatory Chicago DSA web site. Another and more likely possibility is all the opportunities to be divisive and outrageous: emails, bulletin board postings, postings on email discussion lists, etc. It also could be useful for fake press releases.

If you should spot chicagodsa.info either as part of an email address or as part of a web link, please let us know. And keep in mind that, until notified otherwise, chicagodsa.info is not likely to be honest or a friend to the left, never mind DSA.

163-3 DSA News

Talkin’ Socialism

Episode 59 — Reproductive Justice — Recorded December 12, 2015.  Chicago DSA’s Peg Strobel interviews three activists from the Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF): Brittany Mostiller-Keith, the Fund’s Executive Director, and CAF board members Lindsay Budzinski and Sekile Nzinga-Johnson. They discuss the history of the CAF, how it operates, and most especially the concept of Reproductive Justice, including ongoing efforts to repeal the notorious “Hyde Amendment” that prohibits any Federal funding of abortion. The proposed legislation, HR 2972 sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee of California, would insure abortion coverage under Medicaid and other insurance programs.

Use the audio player below

or download to listen later [right click]:

MP3 (33.2 MB) or OGG VORBIS (40.5 MB) (34:32)
SUBSCRIBE,
or add to your playlist using STITCHER.

In Solidarity with Worker Centers in China

A new statement by the DSA National Political Committee notes:

Local political authorities in the Guangdong Province of China have launched a wave of repression against worker centers, their staff and activists.   These small NGOs have played a significant role in assisting internal migrant workers to exercise their basic rights, to fight for wages and social benefits to which they are legally entitled.  For example, the Panyu Migrant Workers Service Center in an industrial district of the city of Guangzhou assisted workers at the Taiwanese-owned Lide shoe factory to receive the compensation and social insurance in arrears they were owed when their factory was relocated.  The Panyu Center also assisted forty local sanitation workers obtain legally required severance pay from their former cleaning contractor and to sign new contracts with the new contractor.

Now the director of the Panyu Center, Zeng Feiyang, and one of its key worker activists Zhu Xiaomei have been arrested and placed under criminal detention on charges of “disrupting public order.”  Zhu Xiaomei, who played a leading role in assisting the Lide Shoe and sanitation workers, has even been separated from the one-year-old daughter that she was breastfeeding.  Several other staff and activists from four worker centers remain in detention, held incommunicado and refused their right to see lawyers.

MORE.

DSA in the News

At Counterpunch, Ben Burgis used DSA as a resource for clearing up a right-wing misconception about socialism.

Stopped for a man-on-the-street interview by the Chicago Tribune’s Oak Leaves, Tom Broderick mentions DSA.


163-2 DSA News

Tabling for Sanders
DSA members have been active circulating petitions to get delegates committed to Bernie Sanders on the Democratic primary ballot, particularly in the 7th Congressional District where folks from GOPDSA have been particularly active. On December 13, they organized a table at a west-side Chicago flea market. The table was staffed by DSA members from across the Chicago area. For more photos, CLICK HERE.

Fighting Back Against the Rising Tide of Nativist and Racist Reaction
Adopted by the DSA National Political Committee on December 1, the statement begins:

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) call on all progressives across the United States to join together in a broad coalition against the rising tide of racist and nativist politics in the United States. The nativist fear-mongering by one Democratic and 27 Republican governors about the alleged threat posed to U.S. residents by Syrian refugees (themselves often fleeing ISIL violence) and undocumented immigrants obscures the true violent threat to our collective security: nativist, racist and misogynist terrorism.

MORE.

Solidarity with the Muslim Community
A statement by the YDS Coordinating Committee, adopted December, 2015, begins:

History has shown us that fear-mongering and hatred towards certain minority groups is nothing new when it comes to political elections. Various societies over different periods of time have shown this to be true. A notable example is the hatred directed towards the Jewish community by the Nazis in Germany. Unfortunately, this year has proven that fear-mongering tactics are not for the history books but something we, as Democratic Socialists, need to fight in our current political climate.

MORE.

DSA in the News

At the Wall Street Journal (page 1!), Peter Nicholas wrote about the DSA National Convention, including quotes from several members, including Chicago DSA member Julie Allison. Peter Nicholas also posted a Wall Street Journal blog entry about Bernie Sanders, DSA, and democratic socialism, including a video that summarizes the entry. It being The Wall Street Journal, after all, the articles (particularly the video) were picked up by multiple sites.

Joseph Schwartz discussed the role of socialism in mainstream U.S. politics, including the Sanders campaign, and mentioned DSA in passing at In These Times.

At The Nation, Liza Featherstone recommends the Young Democratic Socialists as one of several possible cures for the violent.

Coverage at Hot Indie News of a Dump Trump / Refugees Welcome demonstration included a photo of the DSA contingent.

DSA News

DSA National Convention

Delegates met November 13 through 15 in rural Pennsylvania. Of particular interest to Chicago DSA, Peg Strobel was re-elected to the National Political Committee, DSA’s functional equivalent to a board of directors. For more details, see Barbara Joye’s account at Democratic Left. An album of photos from the convention is HERE.

The Young Democratic Socialists will be meeting February 12 through 14 in New York City.

City of Chicago DSA

Chicago DSA covers the Chicago metropolitan area in Chicago, zip codes 600 through 609. It’s a big expanse. While we have had members from DeKalb and Kankakee come to meetings, even serve on the Executive Committee, it’s a long way to come. So we encourage folks to form branches and YDS chapters. The latest branch, in formation, is a branch for the city itself. The first meeting will be on Wednesday, December 16, at the Harold Washington Library. You can get more information and RSVP HERE.

DSA in the News

Elizabeth Whitman at the International Business Times mentioned New York DSA’s debate watching party first in a round-up of such events in New York City.

As a preview to Bernie Sanders’ speech on democratic socialism, WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show included DSA’s Maria Svart as part of a discussion about the past, present and future of American socialism. In response to the speech, John Nichols mentioned DSA at The Nation: “Can Democratic Socialism Pass the Electability Test?” Harold Meyerson (who “hasn’t been to a DSA meeting in years”) pretty much agrees with Sanders’ definition of socialism at The American Prospect. Georgetown University’s The Hoya carried an account of Sanders’ speech by Toby Hung that included quotes from DSA staff David Duhalde and member Jules Bernstein.

Boulder Weekly posted an account of the DSA National Convention by David Anderson.

Samuel Hux found his former affiliation with DSA and socialism a useful ornamentation for an  ornamental essay at New English Review.

Central New Jersey DSA protested Governor Chris Christie’s bigoted stance toward Syrian refugees with a picket line outside his home and were written up by Lindsay Rittenhouse for nj.com, a web site for several New Jersey newspapers. An account by Charles Kim is posted at Democratic Left.

CBS News New York’s coverage of the Million Student March didn’t actually mention DSA, but it did focus on William Paterson University’s event with quotes from YDS activist Tyler Brenes, who helped organize the protest, and extended shots of the WPU YDS banner.

Democratic Socialism and the Rise of Student Protests in 2015

A statement by the YDS Coordinating Committee begins:

Over the last few weeks, student activism across the country has generated a successful wave of protests over the continuation of micro-aggressions, global White Supremacy, and student debt. The first protests at the University of Missouri ignited when University President Timothy Wolfe presented no action against the racial incidents occurring on their campus, including a swastika drawn on the wall with human feces. Following this, protests at Yale sparked as a result of email threads debating the effects and outcomes of cultural appropriation. At Harvard Law School, students woke up to hate crimes and defacing the portraits of tenured black professors. In addition students, including members of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS), across the country at Ithaca College, the City College of New York, Hamilton College, William Paterson University, UC Riverside and UC Davis among others held demonstrations in solidarity with the racial justice protests occurring, but also to demand an end to student debt. Alongside the student protests, political violence has emerged all over the country in an attempt to impose fear.  In Minneapolis, five BLM organizers were targeted and shot by white supremacists. We live in a time of great crisis.

MORE.

Socialist International Council

DSA’s affiliation with the Socialist International was a subject for debate at the recent DSA National Convention. For the time being, DSA is still a member. The Socialist International Council met in Luanda, Angola, November 27 and 28. An account of the meeting is (or will be) HERE.

Norvelt: Hope Only in Hard Times?

Episode 58 of Talkin’ Socialism: Chicago DSA’s Peg Strobel in conversation with Margaret Power, co-author with Timothy Kelly and Michael Cary, of Hope in Hard Times: Norvelt and the Struggle for Community During the Great Depression, a discussion the New Deal planned community of Norvelt, Pennsylvania. Margaret Power explains how her personal history intersects with Norvelt and provides some insights as to how and why the politics of this region has changed since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

 Download to listen later [right click]:

SUBSCRIBE, or add to your playlist using STITCHER.

DSA in the News

November 1, 2015 through November 13, 2015

At the History News Network, Lawrence Wittner details the list of prominent Americans who were socialists, mentioning DSA as a rapidly growing contemporary manifestation of democratic socialism. The essay has been picked up elsewhere. At The Nation, John Nichols mentions DSA and Michael Harrington to explain why grassroots Democrats have no problem with democratic socialism. Nicole Blair used DSA to help explain what Bernie Sanders means by democratic socialism at /Slant.

The Sanders campaign at Columbia was the context for mentioning a newly forming YDS chapter in an article by Emma Tueller Stone in the Columbia Daily Spectator.

And who is Bernie Sanders? asks Jessica Geggert at Mic, referring to DSA for a definition of democratic socialism.

At the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chris Potter wrote up the DSA National Convention.


Talkin’ Socialism

Restorative Justice can be individual and it can be social. Restorative Justice addresses the past but it encompasses the future. Bellissima Opera, based in Oak Park, Illinois, has begun a major project celebrating people who transcend racial and political divides.

The Transcendence Triptych is an operatic triple-bill. The first piece is Outside the Ring. It is based on the friendship that developed between two boxers, the German Max Schmeling and the American Joe Louis, after their fights in the 1930s. The second, Reconciliation, highlights an extraordinary act of forgiveness that happened during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in post-apartheid South Africa. Future Perfect draws its inspiration from workshops with Chicagoland youth on themes of diversity, interconnectedness and transcendence.

Richard Pokorny interviews Bellissima Opera Artistic Director Christine Steyer about this work in progress: Its origins, its current state, upcoming events, and how you can become involved. This episode includes the Chicago première performance of the aria “Transcendence.”

Use the audio player below or

download to listen later [right click]:

MP3 (36.8 MB) or OGG VORBIS (12.8 MB) (38:21)