Democratic Left

Celebrating Two Exemplary Lives

Niilo Koponen (1928 – 2013)

By Dick Farris

A memorial service was held on Jan. 5 for Niilo Koponen, homesteader, educator, legislator and life-long democratic socialist, at the Civic Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Over 300 community members came to honor and say goodbye to Niilo. Photo by Brian Allen.


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On the 41-Year Anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Struggle for Reproductive Rights Is Finally Gaining Some Momentum . . . But Getting Far More Difficult

By Noreen Connell

Almost from the moment the U.S. Supreme Court issued its weak decision that the legalization of early-stage abortion, like contraception, was based on the principle of privacy (rather than non-discrimination or the right of women to control their own bodies), conservative political and religious forces went on the offensive. So, for the last 40 years, it’s been trench warfare — both ideological and political — over access to legal abortion.


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Martin Luther King and Economic Justice

by Thomas F.  Jackson


In 1968, a united black community in Memphis stepped forward to support 1,300 municipal sanitation workers as they demanded higher wages, union recognition, and respect for black personhood embodied in the slogan “I Am a Man!” Memphis’s black women organized tenant and welfare unions, discovering pervasive hunger among the city’s poor and black children. They demanded rights to food and medical care from a city and medical establishment blind to their existence.

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The Bi-Partisan Neoliberal War Against the Poor

A Review of Chris Hayes’ MSNBC Special on the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty

By Joseph M. Schwartz

The Jan. 13, 2014 MSNBC Chris Hayes special on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty superbly demonstrated how the anti-poverty programs begun in the 1960s today take tens of millions of people in the United States out of the ranks of the officially poor. It also highlighted how addressing the needs of low-wage women, particularly by raising the minimum wage and publicly funding child care, would benefit men as well as women and children. Yet the program failed to analyze, in depth, how 30 years of bi-partisan “neoliberal” economic policies of deregulation, regressive tax cuts, defunding of social welfare programs, and anti-union policies have driven poverty rates close to those that existed before the War on Poverty.

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December Jobs Report: "Not Enough"

By Sharon Post, CPEG.

The theme of this month’s jobs report ought to be “not enough.” The latest disappointing numbers are far lower than the optimistic expectations voiced by many economists after ADP reported payroll growth of 238,000 in Dec. 2013. The Chicago Political Economy Group (CPEG) has been arguing for years that what job growth the U.S. economy has seen since the official end of the “great recession” has been inadequate. In fact, the total number of employed workers in the U.S. is still lower than it was before the start of the great recession.  The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced this morning that the economy added 74,000 jobs in Dec. 2013, falling far short of expectations. This anemic job growth brings the total employment in the country to less than what it was in Nov. 2007, the month before the great recession started. It’s important to note that if the economy had added the 200,000+ jobs that many expected, we would still not have reached pre-recession employment levels. Even a “good” jobs report would have been disappointing.

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War on Poverty: Initiated by Socialist Michael Harrington

Duane Campbell

harrington.jpgIt was good to read this week the many news reports and  articles recording the 50th. anniversary of the War on Poverty, and several even recognized the important role played by Michael Harrington with his best seller book- The Other America : Poverty in the United States (1962). However, they failed to report that Harrington was a leading socialist of his era.

Publishing  The  Other America was a seminal event  leading meetings with  President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver’s  work with the administration.  The book helped to shape President Johnson’s plans for  a War on Poverty.  

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For a Feminist Socialism

By Simone Morgen

Why a Feminist Socialism?




Why, indeed? Isn’t Rosa Luxemburg a socialist icon? Don’t socialism’s core values of equal treatment of all persons, without prejudice or disparate treatment, address feminist concerns?

Formally, yes – but a cursory examination of the ways in which issues are addressed even within socialist circles brings this into question. Even in these more favorable environs, the need for an explicitly feminist view remains. After all, patriarchy as a sex/gender system of organizing society existed long before the capitalist mode of production revolutionized society and colored its directives.

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The Tasks Before Us

Steve Williams speaking at the 2013 DSA National Convention

“I would say that there is a particular task for leftists at this particular moment that is similar but distinct from the task of progressives, those who are engaged in mass organizations. And I would say that there are two tasks that leftists at this moment have to take up. The first is very clearly articulating what is our vision of a better world. I think that’s a particular role and responsibility of the Left, and I think that we need to take that up and take it seriously….

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