Be the Change Congress Needs

by Tom Broderick
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) will be conducting an Advocacy Training in Oak Park. This training will be free of charge. It will be conducted by Maiya Zwerling, National Field Organizer for FCNL.

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM start and 9:30 PM end
Location: Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church, 405 S. Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302
RSVP: David Kelm 708.975.9300
For more information CLICK HERE or call Tom at 708.386.6007.

FCNL is a national Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest group that works to empower people like you and me to influence our national legislators (Representatives and Senators).

Person to person meetings with our elected officials and their staff are the most effective way to influence policy decisions. We all need to become more effective in influencing the policy decisions of our elected officials.

Time to hone our effective selves and move our elected officials to follow our lead.

170-2 Politics

Trump Mussolini

History Has Been Hacked

At Jacobin, Mike Davis provides an extended analysis of Trump’s victory. He writes:

Trump’s victory, of course, may turn out to be the ghost dance of a dying white culture, quickly followed by a return to Obamian, globalist normalcy or, conversely we may be heading into the twilight zone of home-grown fascism. The parameters of the next four years are largely unknown. Much depends on whether the Republicans succeed in incorporating the old industrial states of the upper Midwest into their mid-continental reich of solidly red Southern and plains states. In this case, their structural electoral advantages, as the National Review recently pointed out, might override the popular vote for another decade.

But whatever the scenario, the issue of the utmost immediate importance to the Left is whether or not the Sanders coalition, including the progressive unions that backed him, can be kept alive as an independent movement bridging the racial and cultural divides among American working people. An extraordinary restructuring of political camps, cadre, and patronage is taking place in an atmosphere of chaos and uncertainty, but we need to understand more clearly whether 2016 actually reflects, or necessarily anticipates, a fundamental realignment of social forces.

MORE.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Combating this new era of “alternative facts,” a research team led by Dr. Dana R. Fisher, Dr. Dawn M. Dow and Dr. Rashawn Ray from the University of Maryland, College Park provides data-supported facts about participants at the Women’s March. Teams of 2 surveyed participants throughout the march (full details of sampling and methodology available upon request) to understand who was protesting and why. In total, 527 people completed the survey (representing a 92.5% response rate).

MORE.

Protest Chicago

by Jodie Eason
The rise of activism has made it difficult for action-minded people to find out where and when people are gathering to raise their voices. The volume of protest events is large and increasing, and it’s hard to find a comprehensive list of events in one place. ProtestChicago.com is an online guide to Chicago-area protest events, striving to consolidate all area protests into one easy-to-use website.

ProtestChicago.com accepts any protest and rally event notifications from progressive organizations and lists them in a simple, clean format. Events are displayed in chronological order, and include all the relevant details  — including links to organizers’ own promotional media –- with no analysis, opinion, or comment. Visit the site to find the protest nearest you or use the submission form to submit events that aren’t listed.

Content is limited to progressive public rallies and protests.

Anti-Inaugural Address for Daley Plaza

by Alec Hudson
Afternoon everyone. You all know why we are here. The American political system has given us one of the most depraved, corrupt, and bigoted leaders in our lifetime.

While there is no escaping this far-right reality that is ahead of us, the sight of all of us out here in the streets standing up for justice and liberation for black and brown people, working people, women, lgbtq people, immigrants, and all oppressed communities gives us reason to hope. No matter how bleak the future seems we all have a vision of a society beyond the evils of racism, capitalism, misogyny, colonialism, and white supremacy. Our visions may not look exactly the same, but it does not matter. We who believe in progress must remember that an injury to one is an injury to all, that we cannot have true liberation from economic  oppression without liberation for all communities suffering from the evils of racism, capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy.

We in Democratic Socialists of America are  willing to work and struggle with anyone who has a vision of a future beyond these evils. We want to organize with those who do not care about loyalty to a party, particularly a party that talks progress but brings privatization to our public schools and black sites to our police departments. We want to organize for a system that cares about human need more than profit or property rights. There is much work to be done, but if we continue to stand and organize we will not only defeat the far-right but the very system of American capitalism, racism, homophobia, and oppression. We hope to see you in the streets. Thank you so much.

170-1 Politics

Demonstrations! Who Need ‘Em?

At Jacobin, Kenzo Shibata argues that the anti-Inaugural and Women’s Marches were important and best understood from the stand point of collective bargaining, specifically the tactic of a “contract rally”.

On Saturday, marchers showed their leverage over the president, essentially declaring themselves ungovernable. Trump clearly laid out an agenda of taking away the rights of every marginalized and exploited group in America while on the campaign trail. This was a preemptive show of force against that agenda.

The power of the march was in its diversity. Had only the “usual suspects” turned out — professional organizers, community leaders, political militants, and politicians — it could have been easily dismissed by Trump. Instead, it was a broad coalition, much like the most successful contract campaign rallies. The marches’ success can be measured in part by how it seemed to send the Trump campaign into a tailspin on its first full day in office.

MORE.

A Welcoming Illinois

On January 14, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights put together a platform of policies to make local communities, Illinois, and the United States a welcoming place for refugees and immigrants. They are planning a lobby day in Springfield on February 15. To find out more about the platform, to sign up to lobby, and more: CLICK HERE.

In west suburban Cook County, Oak Park and Melrose Park are considering ordinances making them welcoming communities. Greater Oak Park DSA helped turn out at the Oak Park Village Board meeting and provided testimony in support.

Know Your Rights

At South Side Weekly, Meaghan Murphy writes:

Chicago is often referred to as a sanctuary city, a city that protects immigrants. But as the August 5 raid showed, the specific parameters of those protections matter a great deal. Chicago protects immigrants through city ordinance, through CPD directives, and through public services. The primary mode of this protection is “non-cooperation”: the City of Chicago and its departments will not cooperate with federal authorities to arrest, detain, or deport undocumented residents. This is what the Welcoming City Ordinance ensures. But many in Chicago are demanding more.

MORE.

Poisoned at the Roots

At Religious Socialism, Adam Joyce writes:

The violence of U.S. life, from police brutality to entrenched economic exploitation, is regularly blamed on “bad apples” — individual aberrations in an overall just and good system. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States makes it plain that we are dealing with more than rotten apples or even rotten trees, but with an orchard rooted in white male supremacy and exploitative capitalism. This twisted orchard has been planted and sustained by many, but white Christians are some of its primary cultivators.

MORE.

A Left Vision for Trade

At Dissent Magazine, Eric Loomis outlines the problem and has some suggestions for solutions:

…we must seek to appeal to the concerns of working-class people who either voted for Trump or were so unmotivated by Clinton that they did not vote at all. Articulating a progressive line on trade policy, following the lead of politicians such as Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, and Keith Ellison, while also seeking to guide those politicians with new ideas need to be major goals for the labor left. Ultimately, we must spend the next four years advancing a positive agenda for global labor that both rejects the neoliberalism that has dominated national debate for the past four decades and empowers workers around the world to fight for their rights.

MORE.

Everyone Is Joining the Resistance

by Bob Roman

Everyone is joining the resistance to the Trump agenda, whatever that may be, for we all fear the worst and anything less than that is still pretty bad. Everyone is joining, including what passes for the Democratic Party in Chicago’s 48th Ward, where U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky held her “Anger to Action” community forum on Saturday, January 7. All the local politicians were on the program: 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, State Senator Heather Steans, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Appropriately, 48th Ward Committeewoman Carol Ronen served as the master of ceremonies.

The event was held at the old Broadway Armory on Broadway near Thorndale. It drew somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400 people (estimates vary). It was standing room only for a crowd that was largely older and white. The people of color in the audience were mostly not African-American.

Had this rally been held in a January prior to an election, it would not have been all that unusual and it would have had a fairly tight focus on mobilizing election volunteers to action and on getting money to flowing. But without an election, having Democratic politicians organize such an event is decidedly unusual. It was one of several rabble rousing events that Representative Schakowsky appeared at between the New Year and the Inauguration.

While the rally had some ordinary organizational aspects (list building, for example), the emphasis was very much on getting attendees active in non-electoral politics, of which the Women’s March on Washington was the headliner yet but one of several options presented. There was even an organization fair after the rally and a promise of follow-up emails with more activism opportunities. Senator Steans attempted to incite a Twitter bomb, though I’m inclined to think it fizzled, and there was a social media workshop after the rally as well.

The rally did not get much coverage in the media. Indeed, it did not seem to be designed as journalist bait. Among other things, the politicians actually gave speeches rather than providing the strings of sound bites that, in the worst cases, become one non sequitur after another. The speeches were largely what you would expect from a Democratic Party gathering: reproductive rights, LBGT rights, the Illinois budget impasse, education, Obamacare (most especially Obamacare), Social Security…. What is missing from this list? Labor. The labor movement was mentioned precisely three times. The first time was not by a politician but by an activist thanking SEIU for their assistance with the Women’s March on Chicago. The next two times were by Representative Jan Schakowsky who mentioned the need to defend labor rights and, later, the need for $15 / hour and a union.

The point is not to beat up on clueless liberal politicians (though if you wish to do so, dear reader, be my guest). The fact is, having a tin ear is not a survival trait for professional politicians, and this was not a largely union audience. Yet despite the audience, Schakowsky touted the labor movement. That labor was not an automatic inclusion for the others suggests that the labor movement is becoming, even in the minds of liberal Democratic politicians, what conservatives have always accused it of being: a special interest, supportive mentions optional. Friends like these do not have your back; labor has gone from having a seat at the table to being on the table.

Representative Schakowsky, at least, gets this. Even supportive mentions in passing are important. Liberal non-union audiences need to understand that the success of their agenda depends on the health of the labor movement, that there is a considerable overlap between the agendas, that the people who oppose labor’s agenda are largely the people who oppose theirs. All politicians who profess themselves to be friends of labor need to take part in this public education else they are not really friends.

The complete video of the forum is available via the Women’s March on Washington – Illinois Facebook page.

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.