ALEC-author of Stand Your Ground- In Chicago this Weekend

Fight or flight is well known in discussions on self defense. With the implementation of "stand your ground" (syg) laws, the "or flight" has been deemed legally inappropriate. Prior to syg laws, if you found yourself in a situation where you felt threatened with violence, trying to get away was encouraged. With the Trayvon Martin verdict, we face situations where someone can provoke a confrontation, murder an unarmed person and be protected by the law. "Make My Day!" has replaced fight or flight.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) put together the syg law that the Florida State Assembly passed in 2005. Florida became the first state in the nation to pass this kind of justified murder law. The NRA lobbied heavily for passage. In the five years preceding passage, the NRA provided $165,000 to the Florida Republican Party. Republicans were the majority party in both houses of the legislature and held the governorship. Twenty-two of the 23 legislators who received contributions from the NRA during the course of those five years voted for the bill.

With success under their gun belt, the NRA went to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and helped draft a "model bill" that could be used to enact syg laws around the country. ALEC is a cartel of corporations and elected legislators. The NRA is and was a member of ALEC. Syg laws have since been enacted in a majority of our states.

Corporations, corporate trade groups and corporate foundations fund more than 98 percent of ALEC's operations. The Koch brothers have been major funders of ALEC and ALEC has shown an excellent return on investment. The corporations provide legislators with "model legislation" which the legislators take back to their statehouses, where they introduce them as important public policy. There are nine task forces where public (sic) policy is shaped. Each task force has two co-chairs with one an elected official and the other a corporado.

The nine task forces are: Civil Justice; Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development; Communication and Technology; Education; Energy, Environment and Agriculture; Health and Human Services; International Relations; Justice Performance Project; and Tax and Fiscal Policy. Not by chance, the corporate co-chair of the Education task force comes from the Goldwater Institute, which promotes charter schools. The corporate co-chair of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force comes from American Electric Power, which is heavily invested in the coal industry. The corporate co-chair of the Health and Humans Services comes from Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Company. Mission + Money = Corporate Policy.

Thus far in 2013, ALEC introduced: 71 bills protecting corporations from being accountable for causing injury/death; 139 bills calling for the privatization of public education; and 104 bills to diminish public sector unions and collective bargaining.

ALEC is holding its 40th anniversary in Chicago from August 7th through August 9th. Featured speakers include: former Governor Jeb Bush; climate change denier and meteorologist Joe Bastardi; the "father of supply side economics, Art Laffer; and UK Conservative Member of Parliament, Conor Burns, admirer of Margaret ("there is no society") Thatcher.

Tom BroderickI invite you to join me in welcoming ALEC on Thursday, August 8th, at noon outside the Palmer House Hilton Hotel at 17 East Monroe.

 

Tom Broderick is co-chair of the Greater Oak Park branch of Chicago DSA.

What Is DSA? Training Call

May 30, 2017
· 57 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 95 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 27 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

June 13, 2017
· 14 rsvps

Join Bill Barclay, Chicago DSA co-chair, and Peg Strobel, National Political Committee and Feminist Working Group co-chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement. 9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Bill Barclay, chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 5 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.