Keep Those Cards and Letters....
Youth Section Summer Conference
by Bill Dixon
On August 17th over fifty students and youth from across the country gathered at the University of Chicago, accomplishing an enormously promising renewal for DSA's Youth Section.
The conference was co-sponsored by over thirty progressive organizations and publications, including the National Organization for Women, the Nation, and the Coalition for New Priorities. The event served as a broad forum for dialogue, debate, and decision-making for DSA's newly arrived wave of campus militants. Sixteen panels, four plenary sessions, and countless conversations packed the conference, which was attended by over a hundred guests, speakers, and participants. Panel topics ranged from prisons and justice policy to feminist theory, the labor movement, education politics, health care, art and alternative media, "Queering America," liberation theology, and (get it?) "What's Left of the Democrats?".
The first plenary session,"Youth Politics in the 90's," featured Elizabeth McGee of the National Organization for Women, Jeremy Smith of the University Conversion Project, UoCDSA's own Daraka Larimore-Hall, and Paul Loeb, author of Generation at the Crossroads, a compelling study of progressive activism among students. McGee discussed the lessons to be learned from NOW's recent recruitment efforts toward feminist constituencies on commuter and working-class schools, too often an unfamilar terrain for mainstream feminism. Smith explained the UCP's recent growth as a "clearinghouse" for progressive student activists, and the role that UCP played in coordinating the nationwide protests against the Republican "Contract With America," a mobilization reaching over 100 campuses across the country. Giving a flawless socialist gloss to the questions surrounding campus politics now, Larimore-Hall urged the importance of long-term strategies, coalition-building, and an open, visionary dialogue. Continuing that theme, author Loeb gave a short account of how students overcome pessimism, cynicism, impossible standards, and narrow self-interest to become real-live activists, relating some wonderful anecdotes about a few of the anti-authoritarian personalities he discovered while writing his book. The session was very well-received and framed some crucial issues for the rest of the weekend.
Other plenaries addressed the ideological situation of the US and the global Left ("Socialism Now"), the relationship between capital, development, social justice, and neo-liberalism ("Global Capital and Socialist Transnationalism"); and questions around race, identity politcs, and socialist strategy ("Searching for Racial Justice").
The sixteen panel sessions were generally well-attended (usually between fifteen and thirty people) and featured three or four speakers. The format reflected the conference's "open" planning process, which solicited participation from area activists as well as national level contacts in hopes of generating discussion, publicity, and, of course, attendence. Indeed, the ratio of "conference organizers" to "conference goers" was rather close, and sometimes threatened to spawn a small circus of logistical controversy. Fortunately, good scheduling and other forces of order somehow prevailed.
The conference's political process passed several interesting resolutions, ranging from a serious strategy perspective on the Democratic Party to a principled endorsement of Billy Bragg's revisions to that ancient socialist anthem, the Internationale. Leadership also changed hands. Larimore-Hall and Raybblin Vargas, both of UoCDSA, were elected national co-chairs, and a national coordinating committee was also elected.
The welcome news of the conference's success couldn't have come soon enough for YS veterans, friends, and alumni. About a year ago, the Youth Section faced a dormant national leadership and only loose contacts on a handful of campuses. Those of us still around had pronounced the Youth Section DOA for the '94-95 school year. Signs of a revival began as a broader tide of activism swept through campuses this past winter and spring, largely focused on opposing the Republican "Contract With America." In March, about twenty folks gathered at Oberlin for a weekend of reassessment and networking. This meeting produced a planning committee for the August conference.
And that committee faced some interesting tactical questions. At first, shooting for great turnout, good publicity, and interesting politics, our original strategy involved building on the networks (phone, mail, e-mail) generated by the anti-Contract movement. The task would then be to organize a broad conference for progressive students from throughout the country, and in the process re-invent or at least revive the YS. But, as capitalist hegemony would have it, the momentum for such a effort turned out to be obviously lacking by the end of the school year. The Contract was no longer such a recognizable issue, and summer addresses of student activists were hard to come by. So, instead, we pursued a somewhat improvised mixture of national level endorsements, heavy local participation, and the generous institutional resources of the University. In hopes of improving the quality of our publicity, a conference statement was drafted around the theme "From Chicago to Chiapas," which linked the crisis of US liberalism to the politics of transnationalism. And every student group to the Left of Arlen Specter found itself bombarded with socialist e-mail.
And, somehow, it worked. Forget all the yammering about campus apathy and the death of the US Left. With a talented, committed collection of activists, the DSA Youth Section returns to action this fall, restructured and revived as the main organization of the US campus Left.
Chicago New Party Update
by Bruce Bentley
About 50 activists attended the Chicago New Party membership meeting in July. The purpose of the meeting was to update members on local activities and to hear appeals for NP support from four potential political candidates. The NP is being very active in organization building and politics. There are 300 members in Chicago. In order to build an organizational and financial base the NP is sponsoring House Parties. Locally it has been successful both fiscally and in building a grassroots base. Nationwide it has resulted in 1000 people committed to monthly contributions. The NP's political strategy is to support progressive candidates in elections only if they have a concrete chance to "win". This has resulted in a winning ratio of 77 of 110 elections. Candidates must be approved via a NP political committee. Once approved, candidates must sign a contract with the NP. The contract mandates that they must have a visible and active relationship with the NP.
The political entourage included Alderman Michael Chandler, William Delgado, chief of staff for State Rep Miguel del Valle, and spokespersons for State Sen. Alice Palmer, Sonya Sanchez, chief of staff for State Sen. Jesse Garcia, who is running for State Rep in Garcia's District; and Barach Obama, chief of staff for State Sen. Alice Palmer. Obama is running for Palmer's vacant seat.
Michael Chandler thanked the NP for its support in his electoral victory. His achievements to date included obtaining an increase of 30 police in the 24th Ward, citizen involvement in street clean-up and establishment of a 24th Ward Organization. William Delgado is exploring whether to run for State Rep in the 3rd District. He is a former social worker and spoke with compassion and dynamism. He considers himself a community activist who wants to be an advocate for change in the community. His presence in political office would be a benefit to the democratic left.
Indeed it was an exciting evening because the NP has two crucial components. First, the NP is a true "Rainbow Coalition" consisting of both young and aged African-Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians. Although ACORN and SEIU Local 880 were the harbingers of the NP there was a strong presence of CoC and DSA (15% DSA). Moreover a good 8% were younger Generation X'ers who are critically needed. A more diverse representation of Labor is missing. Secondly, the NP is taking "action." Four political candidates were "there" seeking NP support. The NP is strategically organizing via house parties and tactically entering only elections that they can win. Furthermore they are organizing a campaign on the "Living Wage Ordinance" in the Chicago City Council.
The NP has the following working committees: political, membership/fund-raising, public relations, and legal/finance. If you would be interested in participating in one of these committees or in helping out with any other New Party activities, contact Jeff Caveney at (312) 939-7490.
Carol*Simpson Productions announces its new labor cartoon web site. After ten years of doing cartoons for labor, alternative and mainstream publications, we are now at:
http//www.dsausa.org/simpson/cartoonweb.html We plan to change cartoons every week (more or less), so if you like what you see, drop by again. We welcome all comments and will try to respond. For more information, contact Bob Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Welfare Debate And Individual Responsibility
by Bruce Bentley
We know that the Republican attack on welfare is a smoke screen for economic and ideological class war by the elite. Moreover we know that when the Right speaks of individual responsibility that they are obfuscating the massive structural deficiencies in society. However "individual responsibility" is a half truth. It is only one part of the whole. The microcosm of individual deficiencies is dialectically interrelated with the macrocosm of structural deficiencies. As a result we are caught in a schizoid dualism or contradiction of those who advocate either "individual responsibility" or "government responsibility". The Left must fuse the micro-macro argument. We must have in our analysis and program not only structural change, but individual change because both are dialectically interrelated. This position is not a compromise nor a move to the center, rather it is based on the synthesis of this mirco-macro truism.
We know that if there is going to be a viable democratic left, that it must consist a true rainbow coalition of minorities, women, working and middle class. This includes welfare recipients and the white working class which includes the "angry white male." I want to show below that individual responsibility is a wedge issue that alienates us from most of the working and middle class. Furthermore, based upon the writing of the radical educator of the poor in Brazil, Paulo Freire, I want to show that welfare partially functions to dominate, control and suppress the poor from becoming "politicized."
Let me give you an example of this dialectical fusion of the mirco and macro or AKA "Nurture versus Nature debate." I am a social worker in a therapeutic Day School for emotionally and behavioral disturbed students K-12. On the one hand, our philosophy is that a student will develop their human potential in a safe, secure and nurturing milieu. This is the environment or "nurture" factor. On the other hand, our philosophy advocates that each student has the innate ability to develop their human potential. Hence they are responsible for their behavior. This is a fusion of opposites. The soft hand of compassion and the hard hand of tenacious accountability, resulting in: a school that is safe and nurturing.
Our job is to establish a healthy environment and by the same token demand individual responsibility and self mastery. The students change not from my power but from their own. Indeed, I influence them, but they create the change. The premise is that individuals have untapped dormant power. They are not sick and weak as the medical model advocates. This is a dialectical relationship and the fusion of the nature versus nurture issue-- both are necessary for change. Moreover the key is responsible individual "action" or as Freire states by "responsibility and conquest:"
"The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift . It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion." (Pedagogy of the Oppressed., p. 31)
This is the core issue of what maintains the poor to be victims and oppressed. They have "internalized the image of the oppressor " which consists inferiority and diffidence. Moreover they are fearful of change or freedom. Victimization leads to the psychology of oppression. For example, sexually and physically abused victims often end up choosing abusers for companions.
Individuals repeat what they have learned and experienced. I work with kids who will likely be sexual and physical offenders unless there is a change in this oppressed consciousness of self hate and inferiority. That is, the oppressed/abused becomes the oppressor/abuser. This is true with any type of learned behavior, family or social experience/oppression such as divorce, alcoholism, socio-economic class, gender, ethnicity or race.
Change is difficult. With freedom comes responsibility. Both can be frightful, whether it is a life stage, divorce, death, new job or bad habits. There is a caveat here regarding change and freedom for the oppressed or anyone. For the question remains whether the individual will sublimate their energy/drive to pro socially transform community or project their inner self-hate, inferiority on another group (i.e. demonization of others). The latter is self defeating behavior which can create a self-fulfilling prophesy and thereby justifying the oppressor's ideology. As a result the oppressed relinquish their power to the oppressor. Again Freire states:
"The 'fear of freedom' which afflicts the oppressed, a fear which may equally well lead them to desire the role of oppressor or bind them to the role of oppressed, would be examined. One of the basic elements of the relationship between oppressor and oppressed is prescription. Every prescription represents the imposition of one man's choice upon another, transforming the consciousness of the man prescribed to into one that conforms with the prescribers' consciousness. Thus, the behavior of the oppressed is a prescribed behavior, following as it does the guidelines of the oppressor." (Ibid., p. 31)
Granted that a welfare safety net is necessary since 2/3 of AFDC recipients are short term users. However the other 1/3 are long time users stuck in what pundits call the culture of dependency. I prefer to use Paulo Freire's term the "culture of silence." Freire states that dominance by the Masters establishes social control, "oppressed consciousness" and a culture of silence of the masses/Slaves. Examples are voter apathy and a feeble progressive left movement. Freire argues that the poor must develop critical consciousness through education. This will result in liberation and politicization or class consciousness. We must find a way out of this double bind. On the one hand we need a safety net. On the other hand welfare has functioned to control the masses during turbulent times such as the 1930s and 1960s (Fox-Piven & Cloward, Regulating the Poor). Likewise Freire notes:
"Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in 'changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them', for the more the oppressed can be led to adapt to that situation, the more easily they can be dominated. To achieve this end, the oppressors use the banking concept of education in conjunction with a paternalistic social action apparatus, within which the oppressed receive the euphemistic title of 'welfare recipients.' they are treated as individual cases, as marginal men who deviate from the general configuration of a 'good, organized,. and just' society, which must therefore adjust these 'incompetent and lazy' folk to its own patterns by changing their mentality." (Ibid., p. 36)
In contrast to Western Europe where everyone benefits from the welfare state, in the U.S. means-tested benefit programs exclude the middle class. The Right cunningly use this as a divide and conquer tacit between the middle class versus the aged and poor beneficiaries. Michael Harrington expressed this paradox: "the new entitlements coincided with, and even reinforced, a certain fragmentation and depersonalization of all of social life, a decline in solidarity, and a rise in possessiveness and what Siegel calls 'dependent individualism.' A welfare state that sought collective solutions to the problems of working people was put to uses for which it was never intended." (Socialism Past and Future, p. 136)
In conclusion, we must have in our analysis and program not only structural change, but individual change because both are interrelated. If we fail to do so, we will likely alienate the working and middle class. Meanwhile the poor must "participate" in their liberation. Generally individual responsibility is correctly interpreted by the Left as scapegoatism by the Right. However, it can also be viewed as the implicit and dormant human potential to create radical change in the Self and community.
The acceptance of individual responsibility does not mean the poor fend for themselves. On the contrary, we must continue to organize and maintain our solidarity with the poor who must autonomously "reflect" and take "action" with us. I will conclude with Freire who states the poor must "struggle for their liberation together with those who show true solidarity, must acquire a critical awareness of oppression through the praxis of this struggle. One of the gravest obstacles to the achievement of liberation is that oppressive reality absorbs those within it and thereby acts to submerge men's consciousness. Functionally, oppression is domesticating. To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis: reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it." (Ibid., p. 36)
Hope From The Ground: Reflections On The Revolution In South Africa
By Kathy Devine
For decades, union and community activists have marched for justice and peace, for health and safety, for workers rights and against the growing power of multinational corporations. We have worked for human rights and to diminish the racism, sexism and bigotry that surround us in the workplace, in our communities and throughout the U.S. But I have never felt more proud to stand with the labor movement than during the fight to crush apartheid tyranny and give birth to a free South Africa. Many of you were part of the Free South Africa Movement, and I hope you applaud yourselves. You helped to create the new South Africa, and your work will also help turn the U.S. around some day. Victories there will bear fruit on struggles here.
One year ago, all South Africans were able to vote in a remarkable election, and for the left it was the most hopeful and peaceful revolution of recent times. Today, South Africans with Nelson Mandela at the helm are creating a whole new nation, step by step, from top to bottom.
Conversion to democracy was a giant victory for organized workers and communities, who are the backbone of South Africa's Mass Democratic Movement. The ability to shut down transportation, construction, mines, plants, retail outlets, hospitals, schools, public services, domestic help, childcare help and communications is a powerful weapon. This movement made South Africa ungovernable except through alternative democratic structures - community, labor, student and political - which dominated large areas of South Africa. Step by step, these structures are now taking over legally. It is not an easy takeover.
Like the U.S., South Africa is a wealthy, industrial nation with a mild climate and gorgeous terrain; it is one of the world's richest countries in gold, diamonds and natural resources. If you went to Johannesburg today, you'd see a city like Chicago and feel as if you were in the U.S. Many observers believe South Africa is more similar to the U.S. than it is to the rest of Africa. Why not, since western corporations helped build the cities, the economy and the cheap labor system upon which apartheid was based?
South African workers are employed in the same industries, for many of the same corporations and with nearly identical divisions as U.S. workers. Here and there, workers have much in common; John Deere, Royal Dutch/Shell, Stewart Warner, IBM, Arthur Anderson, Coca Cola and Pepsi are part of our common ground. We have much to learn from and to teach each other.
In the non-racial COSATU, there is only one union per industry within the powerful federation. There are two other small federations, one for black workers and one organized by whites to maintain their status. COSATU unions include all major industries and public services, with the most recent addition being a farmworkers union.
Earlier this year, Cole Wright and I visited the new South Africa. Now retired, Cole was a long-time leader of the packinghouse union, United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. He had fought segregation in the South, in Chicago and in South Africa. Our visit was made possible by local unions, with no small nudge from DSA's Carl Shier. It was a deeply moving experience.
Cole and I were part of the Labor Network Against Apartheid, whose purpose was to stand with South African workers. We learned more than we were ever able to give. Through what they taught us, South African workers have repaid us for our solidarity but they are nonetheless deeply grateful for the international support during their fight to end tyranny.
We were warmly welcomed by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa/NUMSA, who opened doors for us to meet workers in many settings and ensured we were looked after everywhere we went. We were greeted by allies whom we had hosted in Chicago during apartheid, including nurses we had brought to the U.S. several years ago and an Alexandra Township leader.
With South African comrades, we visited Johannesburg, Capetown and Durban; townships and squatter camps outside the cities; worksites, a farm, schools and hospitals; homes of families and community leaders; highrise tenants; a township commemoration of slain youth leaders; metal, clothing, domestic and municipal workers; union meetings; a workers education session; elected COSATU worker representatives; and officials of several unions. In free time, we walked on Durban's magnificent beaches where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean, to Parliament and on Table Mountain overlooking Capetown.
Movement ranks have lost much of their dynamic young leadership to government, benefiting the new government but causing temporary organizing setbacks in unions and communities. In the first election, many union leaders were sent to Parliament; others serve in the executive and at local levels. Because they are the most highly skilled South African blacks, union leaders are sought after by corporations as well as government. Despite the loss of leadership, COSATU is strong and healthy, and organized at its base.
At Caterpillar, we had an appointment to tour the premises. Upon arriving, managers denied us access because "Peoria" told them not to let us enter. However, CAT stewards came outside the gates to meet with us. CAT/SA workers had taken several actions on behalf of U.S. strikers. They wanted to hear what was happening and I brought messages from the UAW international office. CNN International later reported that U.S. workers were denied entrance to CAT, making the company look bad once more.
We visited Crown, Cork & Seal, a Pennsylvania company that had fired 300 workers several years ago. USWA had pressured the company to rehire some of the workers. At Crown, we were also denied access, by a U.S. manager, despite an appointment, but we did meet with stewards on the premises. A day later, laid-off Crown workers staged a sit-in at the manager's office and protested our being denied into the plant. Multinational companies sure don't like it when workers from one country and another link up. That makes me think it is all the more important for us to do it.
At a South African company which manufactures table tops and cabinets, workers took us through and gave us a detailed explanation of everything in the plant. We didn't see a manager until the end of our day there, although management had put up a slight fuss when we first arrived.
At one union meeting, 500 metalworkers spontaneously rose and sang when we were introduced. After Cole and I made a few remarks, a local leader speaking for the workers movingly said that many had believed that U.S. workers had forgotten about South Africa since apartheid, and they were most pleased to see us!
South African unions are fighting to require corporations to bargain industry-wide; this is not now required, but allowed. NUMSA, for example, negotiates with all auto companies (Toyota, GM, Mercedes, Ford, Volvo, etc) at once, and annually. A recently-won master auto contract gives workers a real say in any restructuring and guarantees no industry layoffs.
A high level of discussion took place among workers we met and at union meetings. Meetings were long, well attended and very democratic. They were chaired by elected full-time workers with staff attending. The meetings were on time, orderly, respectful and moved along with no nonsense. Workers also sang at every meeting.
An interesting occurrence is that many white metalworkers are leaving their own union and joining the non-racial and majority-black NUMSA, a stronger union. These workers hope to protect their higher living standard, while NUMSA hopes to equalize standards. How this will be resolved is a dilemma that labor faces.
In South Africa, wages are low, and health and safety conditions are poor. Yet in many ways unions have more rights than in the U.S. Because they're well organized in the workplace, workers' rights are high on the list of negotiating demands and unions take quick action when denied reasonable requests. Workers seem to believe that protecting their rights is the ticket to balancing the scales between labor and capitol in the long-term. Even during apartheid, the fight for labor rights was given equal billing with one- person-one-vote by trade unions.
South Africa today is in a state of transition. With only one year since the installation of a temporary national government, the new South Africa is in the process of becoming.
As part of writing a democratic constitution to govern the new South Africa, issues are being thoroughly and publicly thrashed out by all political parties. There is also public dialogue of what laws should be enacted by the new Parliament. When we were in South Africa, the first budget of the new South Africa was passed, and much debate took place about who should be granted amnesty and how for past crimes of the state.
The process of adopting the constitution and laws is inclusive and rather complicated. Proposed legislation relating to economic policy, for example, is agreed to by a body equally representing labor, business and government, like 3-party negotiations, with each party coming to the table after going to their constituencies and before going to Parliament, and with community organizations involved as well. This body considers issues such as the budget, taxation, industry restructuring and all labor bills, and tries to reach consensus.
In years past, township organizations had boycotted government services and people refused to pay the regime's taxes. The new government is trying to get people to pay up so there is money for improvements, but people don't want to pay because there are yet no tangible improvements. Parliamentary leaders such as former metal union leader Moses Mayekiso, now campaign for people to pay their fair share and cooperate with the government. The ironies are many, since under apartheid Mayekiso was tried for treason for leading the boycott of government services.
The first registration drive to get people on voting rolls for the first democratic local elections in November was taking place. In last year's national elections, everyone of age could vote and there was no registration. South Africans are setting up voting boundaries, regional and local governing structures, everything from scratch. It is estimated that 70% of the people will be registered as a result of the first voter drive conducted over several months time. Despite this, many people we met do not consider voting the priority.
Rather, many have put their trust in democratic constituencies, and not on politicians even if the politicians are their own. They believe in organizing from the bottom up. For example, only after votes from the ranks on up can COSATU advocate a position with the new government. Workers issues are thoroughly debated on the shop floor, and by the time union leaders take a stand publicly and in parliament there is one united, mandated position. We saw that happen with the labor relations bill while we were in South Africa. It was amazing to watch.
Today, the government is led by the African National Congress with the massive support of unions. But, on the ground, there is skepticism about public officials. Labor and community organizations roles vis a vis government is an issue of much debate. The debate seems thoughtful, not rancorous, and focused on the long-term.
This month, South African women reenacted a 1956 march, when 20,000 marched to the capital to stop the apartheid regime from imposing pass laws on women. Even though you may not see it on our corporate-run media, South Africans have not stopped marching.
With legal barriers down, economic segregation is the order of the day. Outside cities are large areas called townships, where black workers had to live under apartheid. Townships remain segregated. They are less violent today, but otherwise no better off or perhaps worse off than before. Impoverished people from former homelands (wastelands where those not useful to the white-run economy were forced to live) now move to townships and set up massive squatter areas, where there are no public services whatsoever. In rural farm lands owned by whites with black workers, land ownership is the predominant issue and some progress is being made in that arena.
No description of apartheid is as bad as what it is. Yet South Africa is not depressing, because South Africans with their long history of fighting back seem utterly determined to create a totally new nation. Our trip confirmed what we already believed, that the fight for a new South Africa is about economic rights, and the most critical issues to be faced, in addition to the economy, are illiteracy and land rights.
Under apartheid, jobs, land, and property and voting rights were stolen. Whites gained all privileges; people of color were denied. Everything is now being decided democratically and then recreated. The scope of undoing the scourge of apartheid is absolutely overwhelming. We returned to the U.S. tired, with some skepticism but also with a great deal of hope.
What did we learn? We learned that we can teach South Africans much about health and safety, and to organize women workers and older workers. They can teach us much about organizing, creating democratic structures and educating members. We learned that to win big victories takes people prepared to pay any price for however long it takes.
We learned that international union solidarity is more important now than ever, and is always a two-way street. We've got to stick together from Chicago to Birmingham, from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada, from North America to Africa. Solidarity means people here, there and everywhere. U.S. workers and communities are often isolated from the rest of the world.
We must become part of international movements. For how else will it be possible to curb the greed of international corporations?
In a world dominated by inequality and multinationals, organized workers of South Africa stand as an example to us of solidarity, courage and tenacity.
They have been a beacon of hope to many people throughout the world. They will, I believe, overcome the legacies of apartheid, and then will have helped us to begin to win our battles as well, for they will help even the odds between people and corporations.
Other DSA News
Chicago DSA raised about $700 to help subsidize the Youth Section's Summer Conference. The conference went about as well as expected, and in some respects better. One enormously interesting development was the geographic and ethnic diversity represented at the conference. While the Pacific Coast was absent, campuses as far west as Colorado and as far south as Birmingham, Alabama were present. At the final business plenaries, about a third of the participants were women and about a quarter were persons of color. The coming year could be interesting.
The Socialist Summer School, a joint project of Chicago DSA and Chicago CoC, held its last class the final week in August. The classes had been well attended, with as many as 30 participants in some classes. The consensus at that final class was not to wait for next summer but to continue the project. Chicago DSA, Chicago CoC, and school participants will be meeting to plan another series of classes. If you would like to participate, call the Chicago DSA office (312) 384-0327.
DSA members from around Chicago and Illinois gathered at Navy Pier on August 27th to help the Staley Worker Solidarity Committee put pressure on Pepsi, including members of West Suburban DSA with one difference: West Suburban DSA is organized. Donn Schneider, George and Caroline Lesica and Gene Birmingham helped leaflet the Sunday afternoon crowd, while another group got the crowd's (and the media's) attention from a rooftop with a banner display.
Keep Those Cards and Letters....
By Bob Roman
Having rejected the A. E. Staley Company's current "best" offer by 57 to 43 percent, the locked out members of UPIU Local 7837 must anticipate the on coming winter with mixed emotions. But as the shadows lengthen toward autumn, the struggle continues in diverse arenas.
In the courts, the demonstrators arrested in June, 1994, achieved a limited victory when a jury found them not guilty of obstructing police and mob action, but guilty of trespassing.
In state government, the union is asking that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs remove the Staley Company's exemption from a variety of state taxes. These exemptions had been granted on the condition that Staley maintain some 1,600 full time jobs at the Decatur facility.
On the Federal level, the Staley company is becoming increasingly entangled the Archer - Daniel - Midland antitrust investigation, including being sued by Pepsi for damages from price fixing.
But most of the visible activity centers around the campaign pressuring Pepsi (and others) to cease purchasing Staley corn sweetener. Activists around the country have been targeting Pepsi sponsored summer events as excellent opportunities to spread the word, including the August 27th opening of Navy Pier, as well as leafleting and picketing Pepsi - owned companies like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried.
You can help by sending the enclosed postcard. If you've already sent it, send it again. Or call Pepsi at (800) 433-2652.
National DSA | Chicago DSA | About DSA |
Other DSA Locals | email@example.com
This page: http://www.dsausa.org/about/Locals/Chicago/NG/9509.html