Democratic Left

On the Front Lines: Escorting at a Family Planning Clinic

"Jesus talked to prostitutes. I follow Jesus' teaching," said the anti-abortion activist, explaining why she was engaging in conversation with a pro-choice clinic escort. I was at a family planning clinic in Chicago, escorting women who had appointments for abortions that day. Bill Barclay and I have served as escorts for the last couple of years in teams organized by the Illinois Choice Action Team. My policy is not to engage with the antis; rather, I focus on the people who are coming to the clinic. But I overheard this anti's conversation with another escort.

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This Land is Our Land

The working class has always created its own art, of and for itself. America, like its international counterparts, has a long tradition of grassroots working class art and one of the most well known purveyors of this tradition is Woody Guthrie. Most Americans have an image of Guthrie - the ragged, Dust Bowl refugee Oakie hopping trains with his guitar. In schools across the country and spanning several generations, children have sung "This Land Is Your Land" and celebrated the hugeness and beauty of America.This_Machine_Kills_fascists.jpg Though this song is often seen as a patriotic anthem, Woody saw the song very differently.

 

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ALEC-author of Stand Your Ground- In Chicago this Weekend

Fight or flight is well known in discussions on self defense. With the implementation of "stand your ground" (syg) laws, the "or flight" has been deemed legally inappropriate. Prior to syg laws, if you found yourself in a situation where you felt threatened with violence, trying to get away was encouraged. With the Trayvon Martin verdict, we face situations where someone can provoke a confrontation, murder an unarmed person and be protected by the law. "Make My Day!" has replaced fight or flight.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) put together the syg law that the Florida State Assembly passed in 2005. Florida became the first state in the nation to pass this kind of justified murder law. The NRA lobbied heavily for passage. In the five years preceding passage, the NRA provided $165,000 to the Florida Republican Party. Republicans were the majority party in both houses of the legislature and held the governorship. Twenty-two of the 23 legislators who received contributions from the NRA during the course of those five years voted for the bill.

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The Lesser Depression is Still With Us: Employment Report for July 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ labor market bulletin for July reports that total non-farm employment increased by 162,000 jobs and the unemployment rate inched down to 7.4 percent (down 0.2 percentage points from 7.6 percent in June). A closer look at the fine print of the gross statistics reveals that structural problems remain.

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The Forgotten Radical History of the March on Washington

 The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which occurred 50 years ago this Aug. 28, remains one of the most successful mobilizations ever created by the American Left. Organized by a coalition of trade unionists, civil rights activists, and feminists — most of them African American and nearly all of them socialists — the protest drew nearly a quarter of a million people to the nation’s capital. Composed primarily of factory workers, domestic servants, public employees, and farm workers, it was the largest demonstration — and, some argued, the largest gathering of union members — in the history of the United States.

 That massive turnout set the stage not only for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which President John F. Kennedy had proposed two months before, but also for the addition to that law of a Fair Employment Practices clause, which prohibited employers, unions, and government officials from discriminating against workers on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex. And, by linking those egalitarian objectives to a broader agenda of ending poverty and reforming the economy, the protest also forged a political agenda that would inspire liberals and leftists ranging from President Lyndon Johnson to the Black Power movement. 

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Leonard Peltier, One of the World’s Longest-Held Political Prisoners

In the Coleman, FL, Penitentiary, about 60 miles west/northwest of Orlando, there's an American who's been in U.S. prisons fighting for his freedom and the freedom of his people for almost four decades. Leonard Peltier, an Anishinabe-Lakota, was wrongfully convicted of killing two FBI agents in a shootout on the Pine Ridge, SD, Indian reservation on June 26, 1975. He and other members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were there at the request of traditional Lakota people on that reservation who were opposing the exploitation of their mineral resources and were met with much oppression as a result. AIM supported their efforts and sent a contingent of its members, led by Peltier, to protect the people.

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Real Immigration Reform Would be a Giant Step Toward Workers’ Rights and Democracy

Statement by the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, July 17, 2013

Democratic Socialists of America has long fought for a swift path to citizenship for all undocumented workers and their dependents.  As socialists, it is our conviction that all those who contribute labor to a society should have the full rights of citizenship.

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Autumn, Trayvon and The Rigged System

A recent post making waves on Facebook comparing the Trayvon Martin murder to the murder of the girl Autumn Pasquale has troubled me. For the first time in years I've felt compelled to write something about it.

Christian Perez

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