Democratic Left

How Chicago Voted: Race, Ethnicity and the Neoliberal Agenda

By Bill Barclay


The short and quick summary of Chicago’s mayoral election is easy. In the primary, 21% of the voters chose neither Mayor 1% nor Chuy. Jesus (Chuy) Garcia needed to get three-quarters of that vote in the runoff to beat Rahm Emanuel. He didn’t. The two candidates split this vote and Rahm won the election 56-44%. The runoff increased turnout, drawing about 2 in 5 registered voters compared to the 1 in 3 that voted in the primary. Garcia’s vote increased by 60% over the primary, and Emmanuel’s by 50%.

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The Case for Bernie: Part Two


(This is the second part of a two-part article. Find Part One here)

The Democratic Field: Clinton v. Warren v. Bernie

By Dustin Guastella

The media have already christened Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Clinton’s coronation should come as no surprise, as she has positioned herself as a friend of Wall Street (and Wal-Mart). She advocates fiscal discipline and so-called  “privatized Keynesianism” and takes her political advice from “the markets.” She prides herself on her role in gutting welfare, her aggressive foreign policy and her close relationships with Republican leaders. Most damning of all: BENGHAZI! I don’t think I have to convince readers of this blog that she is the epitome of a neoliberal Democrat and her candidacy represents what Tariq Ali calls “the extreme center”.

Many progressive Democrats are frustrated by her supposedly inevitable victory. They want someone to challenge Clinton. Unfortunately, they don't want Bernie. For months now, progressives in and outside the party have called on “populist”  Senator Elizabeth Warren to run. And even though Warren has made it clear that she won’t, organizations like MoveOn and Democracy for America (and even to some extent the Working Families Party) have committed to a “draft Warren” campaign. Worse yet, some of the same progressive forces who want her to run don’t necessarily want her to win. They would like to see her “toughen Hillary up” for the general election and pull her to the left on economic issues, but ultimately they are content with a Clinton victory.

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The Case for Bernie: Part One


By Dustin Guastella

Senator Bernie Sanders has been mulling over a presidential run for the past few months and is set to make an announcement this week or next about his potential candidacy. Bernie, a self-proclaimed and vocal socialist, is a talented campaigner, a remarkably successful politician and broadly popular across the ideological spectrum in his home state. Should he decide to run, socialists need to play an active role in building his campaign, but we also need to think carefully about why a Bernie candidacy is important and how socialists should best support and shape such a campaign. For starters, I don’t think socialists should work for Bernie in the hopes of "reclaiming" the Democratic Party (when was it ours to begin with?). Further, Bernie’s presidential run shouldn’t be seen as a means to pull Clinton to the left, a failing strategy for sure.

The real benefit to building a viable campaign for Sanders in 2016 is the possibility of uniting burgeoning social movements and newly radicalized youth into an organized force. With the help of thousands of grassroots activists, Bernie could run an effective and inspiring campaign. It would be a chance for leftists to flex our electoral muscles and for millions to see that there is an alternative to the policies of neoliberal capitalism. If we’re smart, a Sanders presidential campaign could help us build DSA nationally while uniting coalition forces at the local level that could be mobilized for future socialist campaigns. Using Sanders as a mouthpiece and tribune, we could promote socialist analyses and bring issues like income inequality and workplace democracy into national political debates – and we could do all this not as good liberals but as socialists.

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Mapping Anti-Violence Strategies


Among the often unacknowledged side effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the war on drugs are the economic and physical violence they inflict on women, particularly brown and black immigrant women. Driven from their homes, where U.S. policies and practices make it difficult or impossible for them to earn a living, or widowed by the disastrous militarization of the war on drugs, which has killed an estimated 120,000 people in Mexico in the last nine years, or fearing for their lives, as femicide against workers and students throughout Mexico has increased, women go north. 

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Greasing the Fast Track… to Global Catastrophe


By Paul Garver

No, the acronym ISDS does not refer to the Islamic State (ISIS) -- though ISDS may pose an equally grave menace to the world in the long run.

ISDS stands for Investor-State Dispute Settlement.  Thanks to the recent WikiLeaks publication of the classified draft Investment Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (to have been kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement), we know that the ISDS is to be the unaccountable supranational court for multinational corporations to sue sovereign governments and obtain taxpayer compensation to recover the alleged loss of “expected future profits.”

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Fight for $15 Today

Today thousands of people across the country will be taking part in a huge strike for better pay and working conditions. From fast-food to home care, airport, construction, and Walmart workers to adjunct professors and other underpaid workers, folks from every corner of the country and the globe will be joining together across industries for the Fight for $15. 
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Jane to the Rescue: Breaking Barriers to Abortion Access

Chicago Women's Graphics Collective,

By Christine R. Riddiough

1965. That was the year the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold vs Connecticut that it was unconstitutional for the government to prevent married couples from having access to birth control. It was still illegal for unmarried women to get birth control unless they had a medical reason for requiring it. Abortion was illegal throughout the United States. It was not until 1973 that the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that bans on abortion in the first trimester were illegal. Sex education was non-existent. Most women growing up in that time knew little or nothing about sex or reproduction.

1965 seems like ancient history now. But if we look at what’s happening to reproductive rights, it doesn’t seem to be quite such a distant past.

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Equal Pay for All!


By Bill Barclay

We have reached the day of the year when a typical working woman can finally say, “Well, I’ve caught up with what my male colleague made last year.” April 14 is the official date. Of course, assuming that her male colleague didn’t take a three-month unpaid vacation in the interim, she is now, again, more than three months behind him.

We all know there is a gender difference of about 20% in median pay. But what does this mean over the course of a lifetime? And does this percentage difference stay constant across the income hierarchy? 

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Upcoming Events

DSA Webinar: Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch

May 09, 2015 · 16 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

So you are now a member of DSA, but there is no local chapter where you live. You are thinking of starting a local chapter, but you're not quite sure how to do it.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 3:00pm Eastern (2:00pm Central, 1:00pm Mountain, noon Pacific). Please RSVP.


  • Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy.

In Starting a Local from Scratch you will learn:

  • how other locals got started in recent years
  • how to find out who is already a member
  • the importance of a comrade
  • how to recruit new members
  • the importance of a mentor
  • how to become a recognized organizing committee
  • how to become a chartered local
  • what works best to bring new people in

Training Details

  • Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you think you can't do it by computer, contact Theresa Alt
  • You can participate in every workshop, since each one builds on the previous ones, or just attend once in a while.
  • Workshops will generally be on a Saturday each month from 3:00-4:30pm Eastern Time.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 36 hours in advance.