Democratic Left

The October Lesser Depression Jobs Picture: Grim No Matter How You Look at It

By Ron Baiman

Though payroll jobs (establishment survey) increased by 204,000 in October, overall employment (household survey) declined by 735,000, indicating that the U.S. employment situation remains dismal.  More telling, long-term employment of 27 weeks or more remains at 4.1 million, approximately double the level in prior recessions (see: http://www.tcf.org/blog/detail/graph-americas-long-term-unemployment-crisis-continues).  The official unemployment rate also remained essentially unchanged, increasing slightly from 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent.  The more accurate U-6 unemployment rate, which takes into account discouraged workers and workers working part time who would like full-time work, also rose from 13.6 percent to 13.8 percent in October.

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Remembering Doug Ireland: Comrade and Friend

By Michael Hirsch

I got the news the modern way that DSA comrade Doug Ireland passed: from the flurry of anguished emails late at night on October 26. Another good one gone, and WAY too soon.

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An Economic Bill of Rights For the 21st. Century

By Pat Fry

 A day-long conference of academics, economists, labor and community activists discussed an Economic Bill of Rights for the 21st Century – a program of full employment with the right to a job and living wages.

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DSA Convention: "Coming Out Swinging in the Age of Obama"

By Duane Campbell

The 2013 DSA convention held in Emeryville, Cal. Oct. 25-27 brought together socialists from all areas of the country to build mutual support, solidarity and motivation to continue the activism needed in these difficult times. 

The Friday convention plenary began with reports from Maria Svart, our national director, as well as members of the National Political Committee and co-chairs of the Young Democratic Socialists, plus presentations on the politics of the current situation by Honorary Chair Gus Newport and Michael Lighty, political director of National Nurses United and former DSA national director.

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New Generation of Chinese Migrant Workers

By Jenny Chan

Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted with the permission of the author from a longer article that originally appeared in Labor Notes.  That article began with a critique of a talk given by Leslie Chang, author of Factory Girls.  In her book and talk, Leslie Chang propounded a positive vision of young female factory workers liberated from village life and transformed into successful, self-driven entrepreneurs through learning English and computer skills.

 What is life really like for China’s 262 million rural migrant workers, the core of the new working class?

 Young Chinese workers, better educated than their predecessors, have strong expectations of higher wages, better working conditions, and career advancement. The rural households from which they come retain land-use rights to small plots of land in their native villages. For many, this land staves off starvation in times of adversity, but it cannot provide a livelihood — least of all for the increasing numbers of second- or even third-generation rural migrants who grew up in the cities and have no farming skills.

 Young migrants generally return to their villages only to marry and have children. This pattern persists because most “low-skilled,” “low-educated” migrants are not permitted to change their household registration (hukou) from rural to urban. Even after years of working in the city, these families are denied equal access to many welfare, health, and retirement benefits, and their children cannot receive urban public education, especially in the higher grades.

 

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September Jobs Report

Economy Still Stagnating; Wealth, Income Gap Still Widening

 By Luiz Diaz-Perez

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the September Employment Situation report on Oct. 22. This came 18 days after the scheduled Oct. 4 release because of the 15-day government shutdown. As expected, the September report portrays a stagnant economy, creating jobs barely at a pace commensurate with population growth and far from a rate that would reflect an economy on the road to recovery.

 Nonfarm employment increased by all of 148,000 jobs, a smidge below the 150,000 or so jobs commonly believed to be needed to keep pace with population growth. This rate was half of the 300,000 new jobs that should be created monthly in an economy working its way out of the doldrums. Unchanged was the number of Americans working part time who otherwise desire fulltime work: 7.9 million.

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Obama is not a socialist, but we are! Convention notes

Last week right-wing politics in the Congress forced the nation precariously close to a default on the national debt that could  have produced  a second great economic crisis.  The Democratic Socialists of America view this political corruption and cynicism as an opportunity to organize a New Left -- a powerful political movement left of the Democrats working with labor, workers organizations, immigrant groups and social movements to -- Rebuild a Participatory Democracy in a Multicultural U.S.

Our 2013 Convention in Emeryville, (next to Oakland, California) met  Oct. 25/ 27 to select a new NPC and to set the political direction of DSA for the next two years.   Speakers at the convention included  John Nichols, Tom Hayden, union leaders Jose La Luz and Michael Lighty, immigrant rights activists Catherine Tactaquin and David Bacon,  Joe Schwartz, Maria Svart , Steve Williams and more.

John Nichols was outstanding in his talk to the outreach event on Friday, as was Stephen Williams.  JohnN.jpg

 

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Socialism and Sports

By Lee Levin

The two great loves of my father’s life were the Green Bay Packers and golf.  Every fall Sunday we worshipped at the altar of the Green and Gold.  My brother and I learned, at an early age, that we could only talk during commercials and half time.  Our Sunday routines created my love of armchair sports.  Today, in addition to following pro football, I watch college basketball and football, pro basketball, baseball and tennis.  Too often feminists and leftists dismiss the importance of sports in society and only focus on the machismo culture encouraged by professional/college athletics.  Although that culture is real to an alarming extent, I dare say it is also an elitist attitude that is not conducive to mass organizing and needs to be re-considered.

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