Petitioning for Sanders

by Tom Broderick

Petitions to put Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders on the Illinois Primary Ballot won’t be submitted until January 6, which is just after the deadline for this article. The same holds true for delegates that we will elect to join him at the Democratic Party National Convention in Philadelphia in July later this year.

We hope to have one Chicago DSA member on the ballot as a Sanders delegate from the 6th Congressional District (CD): Alexander Franklin. The 6th CD is represented by Republican Peter Roskam, so we are very excited that Alex may go to Philadelphia and represent the views of Democratic Socialism from such a right wing stronghold.

Illinois will send 156 of 182 delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) pledged to vote for particular ­Presidential candidate based on the results of the vote tally from the March 15 Illinois Primary. Not only is it critical to vote for Bernie Sanders for President, you must look for the delegates pledged to vote for Bernie. Look for the Sanders’ delegates on your primary ballot and be sure to vote for them.

The remaining 26 delegates to the DNC will be officially designated as “Unpledged.” These are “Political Leaders and Elected Officials” (PLEOs) and will be made up from 14 Democratic National Committee members, 11 Members of Congress (1 Senator and 10 Representatives) and one Distinguished Party Leader (President Barack Obama). One reason to send the maximum number of electable Bernie delegates to Philadelphia is to influence these few “Unpledged” Super Delegates.

Working independent of the official Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign, Chicago DSA had comrades and friends circulating delegate petitions in the following Congressional Districts: 1 (Bobby Rush); 4 (Luis V. Gutierrez); 5 (Mike Quigley); 6 (Peter Roskam); 7 (Danny K. Davis); 8 (Tammy Duckworth); 9 (Jan Schakowsky); 11 (Bill Foster); 14 (Randy Hultgren) and 16 (Adam Kinzinger).

Elected Bernie delegates can influence the DNC. 102 delegates are to be pledged to presidential contenders based on the primary results in each CD. The more Bernie delegates sent to Philadelphia the greater their/our influence at the DNC. Rep. Jan Schakowsky will be a PLEO. She came out early for Hillary, but there are many voters in the 9th CD who mistrust Hillary’s deep ties to the world of trans-national investment and banking. Sending all of the elected Bernie Delegates to Philadelphia will deliver to Rep. Schakowsky a strong message in support of democracy.

Bernie delegates from districts that are heavily Republican can also sway events at the DNC. Sending a slew of Bernie delegates to the DNC from these districts will strengthen the voice of democratic values regardless of the upchuck delivered at the Republican National Convention. Voting for Bernie and his pledged delegates will only sow seeds for the future.

My appreciation to all the friends and comrades who freely gave time and energy in response to Chicago DSA’s outreach to get Bernie’s delegates on the Illinois Primary ballot: Giudi Weiss, Alec Hudson, Tom Ladendorf, Norm Groetzinger, Alexander Franklin, Sydney Baiman, Bill Barclay, Pat Dooley, Judith Gardiner, Paul Sakol, Hilda Schlatter, Diane Scott, Peg Strobel, Tom Suhrbur, Holly Graff, Tom Simonds, George Kazda, Gary Hagen and Dave Rathke. Hopefully I haven’t missed anyone that I knew helped, but if so, mea culpa.

The number of valid signatures to get Bernie on the Illinois Democratic Primary ballot was 5,500. Nearly 10,000 signatures were collected. Delegates for the ballot required 500 valid signatures from their respective Congressional Districts. In the CDs where Chicago DSA had petition circulators the unofficial counts are: more than 850 in the 1st, almost 800 in the 4th, more than 1,100 in the 5th, more than 1,300 in the 6th, more than 1,100 in the 7th, more than 700 in the 8th, more than 1,500 in the 9th, more than 1,000 in the 11th, nearly 1,000 in the 14th and almost 700 in the 16th.

Any who read this and worked for Bernie’s campaign know that elections are but one step in the process of bringing forth democratic socialism. DSA is part of that process. Bread and Roses together breathe democratic socialism. There will be more work to do whether or not Bernie Sanders is elected President of the United States.

Editor’s Note: Paid for by Chicago DSA and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Dig it?


For more information on the delegate selection process, CLICK HERE.

163-2 Politics

Robin Hood Tax in Europe
At Democratic Left, Bill Barclay writes:

On December 8, ten nations announced an agreement on “core issues.”  Two in particular are important because, while they may seem technical in nature, they are key to an effective FTT.

First, the proposed FTT will apply on a “gross” rather than a “net” basis. That is to say, it will apply to all trades that occur, not just to those still in effect at the end of the trading day. This is a major defeat for the HFT constituency.

Second, in order to counter various tax avoidance tactics, the FTT will apply if at least one of the parties to the trade is a resident in one of the ten participating countries and/or if the asset traded is issued in one of these countries.

In addition, it looks as if the proposed FTT will apply to both the assets themselves as well as to derivatives based on the assets. This is very important, since it eliminates another way of avoiding the tax.


What Contract Do Police Deserve?
At The Chicago Reporter, Adeshina Emmanuel begins:

In the fallout from the release of the Laquan McDonald video, Chicago’s top cop lost his job. But the police officer who shot the teenager 16 times is still employed.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is captured on police dash cam video shooting McDonald, can thank the police union.

The Fraternal Order of Police contract with the city shapes how Chicago handles police misconduct allegations, disciplines rank-and-file officers, as well as when the city pays legal costs for police officers accused of wrongdoing. While activists have long called for changes to the contract, many people in local government have not been eager to take on that fight — until now.

With cries of reform ringing louder than before and a federal investigation of the police department, aldermen are demanding changes to a union contract that breezed through the City Council in 2014.


Praying for Godzilla
At Mayoral Tutorial, Don Washington writes:

So here you are listening to radio ads and watching media coverage where Bruce Rauner… of all people is painting Mike Madigan as Satan… which could be true. But then you think: hold up, isn’t Bruce Rauner Satan? Then it dawns on you that all the answers to this epistemological conundrum are bad and you cry out to a suddenly absent God: “In the name of all that is holy are we to understand that the only thing standing between Illinois becoming Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey or Kansas is Mike Madigan?” You know that moment in every good Godzilla film where you have to switch gears from can the heroes stop Godzilla to can Godzilla stop the aliens and their pet monster from destroying Tokyo? You know, the place in the film where everyone is hoping that after kicking a lot of furry or scaly ass Godzilla will lose interest and just wander back into the ocean? That’s where we are now… That would mean that Mike Madigan is Godzilla… I swear to God following politics is going to make me take to the drink.


Attention Should Be Paid
At In These Times, Joe Burns argues that the strike in Wisconsin at the Kohler faucet plant deserves more than cursory attention:

Two thousand workers at the Kohler faucet plant in Wisconsin have been walking the picket since November 16. Such a strike would have been commonplace decades ago. Nowadays it is a rarity. Major strikes of over 1,000 workers are few and far between. Even rarer are open-ended strikes at an industrial plant.

Today’s battered labor movement no longer thinks of watershed strikes; we are so beaten down and used to defeat that no particular loss is seen as critical. And sadly, it’s not as if labor must win this particular battle to survive. The truth is labor has learned to live with defeat. But a more fundamental point is at stake: Labor must redevelop the ability to win this type of strike if we are to have any chance of survival.


At Jacobin, Joel Feingold provides an account of the history of heroic struggles for labor rights at Kohler HERE.

Blue to Red, Red to Blue
At FiveThirtyEight, Aaron Bycoffe and David Wasserman present a clever online tool wherein the user can play with the demographics of the 2016 election. Devout marxists might not like the assumptions implicit in the demographic categories, but check it out HERE.


Another Rotten Cover-Up

At The Chicago Reporter, Curtis Black outlines what is known about the Chicago Police Department attempt to conceal the execution of Laquan McDonald. Black quotes Jamie Kalven of The Invisible Institute:

“The real issue here is, this terrible thing happened, how did our governmental institutions respond?” Kalven said.  “And from everything we’ve learned, compulsively at every level, from the cops on the scene to the highest levels of government, they responded by circling the wagons and by fabricating a narrative that they knew was completely false.”  To him this response is “part of a systemic problem” and preserves “the underlying conditions that allow abuse and shield abuse.”


Trans Pacific Partnership

Public Citizen has published an initial analysis of the key chapters of the proposed “free trade” agreement. It’s worse than we thought. Read about it HERE. (PDF)

Violence Against Women’s Rights

At Mother Jones, Nina Liss-Schultz writes:

Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.


Mergers and Alliance

National People’s Action, Alliance for a Just Society, and USAction are merging to form a new umbrella organization for consumer, community, and worker center organizations: People’s Action. Your editor doesn’t have any special insight as to the timing or the rationale for the union; the news was included in an email invitation to a reception, a form of bait perhaps. The three organizations already have some overlap in membership. Here in Illinois, Chicago DSA is a member of Citizen Action/Illinois, which is affiliated with USAction. Chicago DSA has a long history with Citizen Action/Illinois, back to when it was called the Illinois Public Action Council. They’re good people, even if we sometimes disagree.

Also in the works is an alliance between eight Chicago-area worker centers, the Raise the Floor Alliance:

Both a shared capacity builder and space for collective action, RTF represents the next step in the worker center movement. Founding members include Arise Chicago, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Chicago Community & Workers Rights, Chicago Workers Collaborative, Latino Union of Chicago, Restaurant Opportunities Center, Warehouse Workers for Justice and Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.

They’re celebrating the launching of this project on December 9 at the National Mexican Museum of Art. You can get the details HERE.

Chicago Afire?

by Bob Roman

Dry tinder, high wind, and a persistent spark is all you need for one hell of a fire. Ask any Chicagoan, where the Great Fire seems to have epigenetically impressed itself on the heredity of the natives. And in 2015 we have Bruce Rauner, a fanatically right-wing plutocrat Governor plus the huffing and puffing of a mostly cynical Democratic legislative leadership, and the dry tinder of a state in fiscal paralysis. With distress rising from the downtrodden into the business class, all it would take tonight is a pissed off cow. Two demonstrations this month suggest fire and smoke.

On November 2, Moral Monday Illinois held the latest and possibly the largest of its Moral Monday protests. Well over 500 people gathered at the Thompson Center in the Loop and marched to the Chicago Board of Trade. They shut it down. Several dozen people were arrested. Some went with the police cooperatively. Others were carried. This was not the scripted kabuki performance typical of many labor demonstrations of late. Those arrested do face charges, not a ticket, and Moral Monday Illinois was collecting for a bail fund.

The militancy was impressive and calculated to get the attention of the business class, media, and politicians, but the primary demand was more important: It was for a “LaSalle Street Tax”. Also known as a Robin Hood Tax or a Tobin Tax, it amounts to a small sales tax on trades done on the exchanges. It is something that Chicago DSA and our friends at the Chicago Political Economy Group have been promoting for years, and it’s an example of how this idea is making its way into political discussion, even legislation. Representative Flowers has a bill before the Illinois House and plans are afoot for a Senate bill in next session.

On November 10, Fight for 15 called a nationwide strike of fast food workers and others for a $15 an hour minimum wage and, for many, a union. I have no idea how many such workers walked out on Tuesday, but that is a close second in significance to the noise and visibility generated by demonstrations in 270 cities across the nation.

In Chicago, we had several actions. Two in the morning on the south and west sides were directed at workplaces. The grand finale was a very large, media oriented demonstration at the Thompson Center. It filled the plaza. These demonstrations are akin to high school pep rallies, but they do have a cumulative affect. It was not so long ago that a demand for a $10 an hour minimum was considered the radical edge of the possible. And by repetition, working conditions and collective bargaining may soon be placed on the agenda, too.

Fight for 15 on Nov 10 2015
Peg Strobel, Alec Hudson, and Bill Barclay were among the many DSA members at the November 10 demonstration

Arise Chicago organized a bus to the demonstration from Oak Park that Greater Oak Park DSA, several west suburban congregations, and fast food workers helped fill. Chicago DSA mailed a few hundred postcards that promoted the bus and the demonstration to the usual suspects in the greater Oak Park area. We also did a similar mailing to people and organizations in downtown Chicago. And we promoted the event using the web, including Facebook, and with emails.

Where does that leave us? In mid-air with a dozen plates in play. This is a work in progress, and we invite your incendiary participation.

Feel the Bern: A Great Chicago Fire

by Tom Broderick

New Ground: Chicago Democratic Socialists of America and the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce? The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce manages the indoor winter and outdoor spring through fall farmers’ markets in Logan Square on the near northwest side of Chicago, very near our office. Lisa Wallis, a Chicago DSA activist, suggested we apply for a table at the indoor market last winter and ask market visitors to sign petitions urging Senator Bernie Sanders to run for President of the United States. On our application, we also stated that we’d be promoting DSA. To our surprise, we were approved and provided a table and two chairs and a very good location within the market. Although this was before Bernie had announced that he was going to run, many people knew who he was and were happy to sign our petition. We had a copy of several of his position papers and one visitor read through all of them, said she would sign the petition, but felt that Bernie was not radical enough. Lisa Wallis, Michael Milligan and Tom Broderick staffed the table and enjoyed our first Bernie outreach.

When the outdoor market opened, we applied for space and were supplied a table, two chairs and a tent. This was still before petitions to get Bernie or his delegates on the Illinois Ballot were available. The response was tremendous. We had the four page flier “Who Is Bernie Sanders And What Is His 12 Point Agenda” printed by Chicago DSA at a union print shop, campaign buttons produced internally by Bob Roman and two versions of bumper stickers printed by Chicago DSA at a union print shop. We also had copies of New Ground and Democratic Left on the table. We had sign up sheets for folk who wanted more information on DSA as well as for folk who wanted to help with Bernie’s campaign. We ran out of sign up sheets for those who wanted to help with the campaign and had to use the blank back side of the sheets to keep up with the interest. Alec Hudson and Bill Barclay handled the first shift, Tom Ladendorf and Peg Strobel staffed the second shift and Jan Sansone and Tom Broderick took the last shift. We all commented on the enthusiasm of the primarily young, white market visitors. Let’s hope they vote.

Oak Park has an annual event called Day In Our Village, where local social, religious, civic and educational organizations can rent space to erect a tent and present themselves and their purposes. The Greater Oak Park chapter of Chicago DSA has taken advantage of this for years. This time we focused on Bernie: basic information about him, along with our petitions urging him to run. Oak Park is often referred to as a liberal community, and while it might be liberal on social issues, it is fiscally conservative and so of course we did encounter people who scoffed at the term “socialist.” We also encountered folk who declared themselves Republican as they strode past. It was also apparent that in Oak Park more white people than people of color knew the name Bernie Sanders. Along with our push on Bernie, we had copies of Democratic Left and New Ground available. Day In Our Village is an all day event and several comrades helped with set up, take down and staffing our tent.

GOPDSA @ Oak Park’s Day in Our Village

Our experience at Day In Our Village made it clear that it was necessary to do outreach in areas of Chicago where a white skin tone was less prevalent. To that end, we took the “12 Point Agenda” to the African Arts Festival, which was near Dyett High School at the north end of Washington Park. Dyett High School gained fame for the hunger strike that local parents staged to have the school both remain open as a public school and offer a curriculum focusing on green energy technology. Visitors to the Festival were overwhelmingly African-American. While there were some who said they didn’t know who Bernie was, this was a minority. Many smiled as I handed the Agenda to them and said “We Love Bernie.” Nobody told me they were Republican although two said they were going to vote for Hillary because we could not endure another Republican in the White House. As this was an entrance to an event, and I was there early in the day, most people were going in, leaving little opportunity for discussion. But I was wearing my DSA hat with one of our Bernie stickers pasted on the brim and one of our Bernie campaign pins. I was also able to hand out a few pins to folk who took a moment to talk with me. In about two hours, I handed out 200 fliers.

We also went to St. Pius V Parish in a predominantly Hispanic area of Chicago. Here we were able to utilize the English language/Spanish language “Who Is Bernie” flier that we produced internally. Thanks to our National DSA office for the translation and thanks to Peg Strobel for producing them. People were entering and exiting church or passing by. Not a lot of people wanted to stop and talk and I’d say the brief interactions I had with people convinced me that few knew who Bernie was. Our work there may have been the introduction of Bernie to this community.

Toward the end of the summer, Alex McLeese, Bill Barclay and Tom Broderick traveled to “Fighting Bob Fest” in Madison, Wisconsin where we joined with our Madison DSA comrades to promote Bernie and DSA. This was a decidedly left political gathering and many groups were tabling for Bernie. Alex did an outstanding job of corralling people passing by the table to discuss not only Bernie, but pushing a democratic socialist agenda.

Paul Sakol, Alex McLeese, Peg Strobel, Bill Barclay and Tom Broderick worked around Humboldt Park, which has a diverse community including a strong Puerto Rican presence. Again offering us a chance to use our bi-lingual fliers. Paul Sakol and Bill Barclay went to a community center in the Austin neighborhood. Austin has a large African-American presence and a young women posted information about Bernie on her Facebook page.

Finally on Wednesday, October 14, petitions to put Bernie on the Illinois Primary ballot were provided. Each petition had space for ten signatures and GOPDSA was given 50 copies and urged to turn in as many signed and notarized petitions as possible on the following Monday. Though not immediately in everyone’s hands, by Monday, Julie Allison, Peg Strobel, Bill Barclay, Ron Baiman, Sydney Baiman, Jan Sansone, Hilda Schlatter, Paul Sakol, Joe Kransdorf and Tom Broderick submitted more than 270 signatures to the Bernie campaign staffer working in Illinois. That is more than 5% of the 5,000 maximum number of signatures that can be submitted. We have since turned in additional signatures and we were told that the state-wide count was over 3,200 signatures as of November 4.

DSA is working independently from the official Bernie campaign and are taking no direction from them. We are a creative group. We took a variety of signature gathering approaches. Of course visiting friends was prominent, but also walking several blocks from a CTA train station on the way home from work, standing by the Lake Cinema, standing outside Unity Temple Unitarian Church and Third Unitarian Church before and/or after service, sitting in a lawn chair in front of an apartment near a CTA train station and stopping commuters and passers-by, taking them to a business meeting among non-profits, taking them to a writers’ group, and sitting on a park bench on a shopping mall in downtown Oak Park and to various farmers’ markets as that season wound down.

At press time, the petitions to get Bernie’s delegates on the Illinois Primary Ballot were not yet available. The official campaign wants to create a slate of Bernie delegates for each Congressional District. The upside? Each collected signature is good for the entire slate. The downside? Double petition work for the circulators. But gathering petitions to get Bernie’s delegates on the Illinois Primary Ballot is critical. We need to get all of his delegates to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in July, 2016. In Illinois, we get to elect a portion of delegates to go to the convention. Delegate petitions (unlike Bernie petitions) must be signed by registered voters who live in the Congressional District where the delegates live. Paul Sakol, a GOPDSA comrade, is hoping to be a Bernie delegate. We hope to enlist more Chicago DSA members to circulate petitions within their districts to enhance Bernie’s chances to become President of the United States.

Editor’s Note: Paid for by Chicago Democratic Socialists of America and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.