Democratic Left

The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform: To Citizens United v. FEC, add McCutcheon v. FEC.

By Shawn Gude

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling — in which the justices struck down a cap on the total contributions an individual can make in an election cycle — provoked a paroxysm in the campaign finance reform community, reminiscent of the Citizens United backlash.

McCutcheon, Demos warned, “will do incalculable harm to our democracy.” The Supreme Court “might as well have tied a big bow around Congress and deliver[ed] it to the 1%” the Sunlight Foundation charged. And Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attacked the Supreme Court for “paving the way toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson will control our political process.”

Read more
1 reaction

An Occupier’s Trial

By Maurice Isserman

cecilymcmillan.jpg

Cecily McMillan has had trouble concentrating on the master’s thesis she is supposed to be writing this spring under my direction at the New School in New York City, a study of the political beliefs and career of the late, great socialist, pacifist, and civil rights campaigner Bayard Rustin.

Read more
Add your reaction

Nothing is Certain Except Death and Taxes – and Maybe Not Taxes, at Least for Some

By Bill Barclay

taxation_image.jpg 

Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the feller behind the tree. – Sen. Russell Long

Taxes are what we pay for civilized society. – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Read more
2 reactions

Bowl a Strike for Reproductive Freedom

By David Anderson 

Bowlathon3.jpg

Everybody knows abortion became legal for all women with the “Roe v. Wade” Supreme Court decision in 1973. Fewer people know that in 1976, poor women lost that fundamental right to determine whether or when to have children. That is the year that the Hyde Amendment (named after Illinois Republican congressman Henry Hyde) was passed, which barred the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions. It ended the provision of abortions for poor women through Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for low-income Americans. The amendment inspired the passage of other similar provisions applying to a number of other federal health care programs (for government employees, U.S. military personnel and their families, Peace Corps volunteers, Indian Health Service clients and federal prisoners).

Read more
Add your reaction

Economy Still Limping: CPEG March Jobs Report

By Luis Diaz-Perez

A limping economy reflected in feeble jobs numbers and inadequate policy prescriptions – those are the conclusions to be drawn from the Department of Labor’s March jobs report and Federal Reserve Bank Chair Janet Yellen’s March 31 speech in Chicago.

The March jobs situation illustrates the problems of a static economy which added 192,000 jobs, down from February’s 197,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. Unemployment among African Americans rose over the previous month, from 12 to 12.4 percent, while Latino unemployment decreased slightly from 8.1 to 7.9 percent.

Read more
1 reaction

Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future

By Maria Svart

Capitalism has entered a new phase. Regardless of whether it is a sea change or a shorter-term window of opportunity, new possibilities now exist to build a socialist left in the United States and greatly strengthen and expand DSA. Essentially, capitalism is losing the flexibility to repair the damage caused by its own failures. As a result, the system is losing the once unswerving loyalty of a sizeable and growing portion of the population.

Despairing that the government is capable of applying sufficient stimulus, even former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers admitted recently that economic stagnation may be the “new normal” and could last for decades.

Read more
3 reactions

Michael Lighty Speaking at DSA’s National Convention

Michael Lighty helped to kick off DSA’s two-year national strategy review at our 2013 national convention by arguing that neoliberal capitalism’s belief that “there is no society, just individuals,” (as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher claimed) yields a politics of austerity and environmental degradation which impoverishes children, guts pensions, and threatens the future of the planet.

Read more
Add your reaction

April is Abortion Bowl-A-Thon Month

By Peg Strobel

Bowlathon3.jpg

Socialist feminists know that women deserve free abortion on demand, a full range of reproductive health care and family services and an economic system allowing for full employment and compensation for caring for the elderly and young. "Reproductive justice" is a concept that moves beyond the notions of "choice" and "rights." It links the calls for reproductive choice (a woman's right to control her own body) to the broader issues of economic justice and human rights (creating conditions that enable people to have children, not only to not have them). Access to abortion is one small, but critical, part of reproductive justice.

Read more
3 reactions

Adolph Reed's premature burial of the U.S. Left

by Michael Hirsch

Back in the day, (a cliché, I know) Adolph Reed wrote a waspish piece in the Village Voice, “Liberals, I Do Despise,” which made something of a splash and was hard to refute — this when the Voice was widely read, not a freebie and well-worth paying for — as he attacked a coterie of Clintonistas for “a politics motivated by the desire for proximity to the ruling class and a belief in the basic legitimacy of its power and prerogative.” He called it “a politics which, despite all its idealist puffery and feigned nobility, will sell out any allies or egalitarian objectives in pursuit of gaining the Prince's ear.”

Jump ahead 18 years and Reed is still banging on the same tin drum. Only now he targets the entire left.

Read more
Add your reaction

Putting a Face on the Working Poor

paycheck-to-paycheck2.jpgBy Natalie K. Midiri

In the few days that have passed since HBO aired the Shriver Report’s new documentary, “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert,” the story of a single mother of three from Tennessee surviving on a $9.49 an hour income, the report has received harsh criticism throughout the blogosphere for choosing a white woman (Gilbert) to be the face of the working poor in America given that women of color are twice as likely to be members of the working poor. 

In many respects it’s obvious why Gilbert made the cut. We never once hear her raise her voice to her children, and she worries about how she will pay for the medication she needs to manage her thyroid. Despite the back-breaking nature of her work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at a nursing home, she still manages to tell the residents that they are not alone, that she -- if no one else -- loves them. While we do hear her admit that she could really use “some help,” we never once hear her complain about her 16-hour work days, even when going to work means leaving a sick child behind. In nearly all respects, Gilbert comes off as a member of the “good poor,” who deserve help only because they are completely self-sacrificing, committed to hard work and do not exhibit any of the destructive vices stereotypically associated with the poor.

Read more
Add your reaction
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    19  20  Next →

Upcoming Events

DSA Webinar: Building Healthy Diverse Chapters (7pm Eastern)

April 21, 2014 · 6 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

We all want our chapters to be diverse and attractive, but how do we get there?

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

NOTE: This training is at 7:00pm Eastern. The same training takes place later at 9:00pm Eastern. Please RSVP for the webinar that works best for your schedule.

Instructors:

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

In Building a Healthy Chapter you will learn how to:

  • Get new people to come back after their first or second meeting.
  • Develop a healthy culture in your group that is both professional and fun.
  • Examine assumptions about people different from yourself so you can create a space that is accessible to all ages, colors, genders and gender identities, backgrounds, etc.
  • Avoid being dominated by one or two people, who are either cranky, or cliquey, or just talk too much.
  • Take specific steps that will make your chapter's culture more professional, friendly, effective, and welcoming to new people.

Training Details

  • Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  • Workshops will be via free webinar, so you need a computer with internet access. Or, you can request the slides as a PDF in advance and listen via phone conference call.
  • Your computer must have microphone and speakers, or you can follow along on the phone via conference call, but you will have to pay for any long distance charges.
  • You can participate in every one, since each workshop builds on the previous ones, or just attend once in a while.
  • Workshops will generally be the first and third Mondays of each month from 7:00-8:30pm Eastern Daylight Time and repeated at 9:00-10:30pm Eastern Time.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 40 hours in advance.
  • NOTE: This training is scheduled for 7:00pm Eastern Time (6pm Central, 5pm Mountain, 4pm Pacific).
Share