Democratic Left

Terrorism and Trump

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New Challenges for Social Justice Organizations

Bob Wing and Max Elbaum

The wake-up call is right there in the front page headline of the Dec. 11 New York Times: "Poll Has Trump Gaining Ground on Terror Fear."

Prior to the tragic burst of terrorist murders in Egypt, Beirut, Paris and then San Bernardino, California, significant aspects of U.S. politics were beginning to move in a positive direction. Pressure from #BlackLivesMatter and Raise the Wage campaigns was forcing issues of racism and economic inequality to the forefront of public debate. Climate change denialism was increasingly on the defensive. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was giving voice to a broad anti-corporate agenda. And the Republicans seemed to be lurching so far to the right that they might self-isolate or split.

 

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Mass Incarceration: Is Change Gonna Come ?

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By James Kilgore

Mass incarceration is trending. Criminal justice never even got on the radar during the 2012 presidential election; now it’s big-time news. The president and the pope have ventured behind bars. Politicians from Rand Paul to Cory Booker have sounded off on the need to end the War on Drugs and de-racialize criminal justice. The Koch brothers are on board, too. For those of us who have spent years in prison and many more campaigning for an end to mass incarceration, people in high places paying attention raises all kinds of possibilities. Yet even with all this change of heart, it’s hard to keep faith in a change of system.

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Welfare Rights, Wrongs and Attacks on Women: Michele Rossi speaks with Frances Fox Piven

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 National Welfare Rights Organization 1968/Jack Rottier

Right-wing talk-show host Glenn Beck has called her “one of the nine most dangerous people in the world.” DSA is proud to call her an honorary chair. Political scientist and sociologist Frances Fox Piven has inspired and angered political activists for decades. Almost 50 years ago, the Nation published an article by her and her colleague and husband Richard Cloward in which they argued that, with Democrats in control of the White House and Congress, poor people should claim the welfare benefits to which they were entitled. The result would swamp the system and lead to something new, a guaranteed annual income, which would end poverty as we knew it. The Cloward-Piven strategy, as it became known, was seen as a way for powerless people to take advantage of disruptive moments to make more than incremental gains. Later, the strategy was expanded to include massive voter registration drives. Cloward and Piven, with George Wiley, helped found the National Welfare Rights Organization, which, for a few years, was the militant voice of heretofore voiceless welfare clients. Michele Rossi talks with Piven about the impact of Bill Clinton’s so-called welfare reform and its enduring impact on the poor—Ed.

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YDS 2016: Generation Left

The Price We Pay: Film Review

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kloniwotski/Flickr

By Michael Hirsch

The figure of a gryphon, the legendary feral, clawed, winged creature that nests above the one-square mile City of London, Britain’s financial industry (akin to Wall Street, but with its own legal authority, too) is an apt symbol for an untrammeled center of global capital. A creature of prey, it is redolent as the guardian of ill-gotten, even murderous gain. What else is the financial center of the United Kingdom, which introduced the tax-free zone that modeled capital flight around the world?  The City predates the Cayman Islands or Switzerland as tranches for tax avoidance and is a main locus for starving the welfare state.  

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Talkin’ Bernie and Socialism

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Portland DSA Collecting Signatures For Bernie

 

By Dustin Guastella

Scene I: You’ve set up your table. The Socialists for Sanders sign can be seen from ten feet away. You’re wearing a DSA T-shirt. The table is stocked with flyers on Bernie’s positions. The sign-up sheet is in front of you. You’re building DSA and Sanders’s campaign. Someone walks up to the table.

Scene II: You’re at a party and somebody notices your Sanders button or T-shirt. “He seems like a nice guy, but what does he stand for?” “I like his ideas, but I really want a woman president.” “He doesn’t have a chance.”

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(Un)Equal Pay Day

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By Bill Barclay

Every year sometime in early April we reach the point where the average U.S. female worker has earned as much as the average male worker did in the previous year. It’s called “Equal Pay Day.”

But there’s another pay day we should be marking: the day on which the typical U.S. CEO of a large company receives as much compensation as the average worker will for the entire year. In 2016, that came very early: about lunch time on January 5th, the second work day of the year. The remaining 258½ days are gravy for the CEO. He – and it usually, although not always is a he – is piling up pay that the typical worker will never get.

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All Out for Bernie

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Metro Atlanta DSA members (from left to right) Barbara Joye, Minnie Ruffin, Barbara Landay, Brandon Payton-Carillo, and Adam Cardo marching to a Bernie fundraiser in Atlanta in September. Photo: Reid Jenkins.

By Elizabeth Henderson

From Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, to New York City and Washington, D.C., DSA locals and organizing committees are recruiting members, developing leaders, and connecting with new communities through work on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Conversations with local leaders from around the country show that people are more receptive to talking about socialism as a result of Sanders’ candidacy.

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Upcoming Events

Feminist Working Group

February 10, 2016 · 12 rsvps
Feminist Working Group

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's issues.  The first half hour will be Margaret Power talking about right wing women internationally.   7 PM ET/6 PM CT/5 PM MT/4 M PT.

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