Democratic Left

The Continuing Struggle for Immigration Reform

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By Duane Campbell

During the last year there was substantive unity between immigrants’ rights groups, community groups, religious groups, and major parts of organized labor in the effort to craft a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  Now, with the amendments and passage of Senate bill SB744 at the end of June, this unity is challenged.   The draft of SB744 by the Gang of Eight was always a compromise. There is, for example, a redesigned guest worker program, a new special status for H-1B hi-tech workers, enhanced border enforcement, an extended period of time required for application for legal status, and more.

Conservative Republican forces in the Senate amended the bill to achieve a massive   $46 billion expansion of border control and enforcement.  The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a network of grassroots community groups of which DSA is a member, sharply criticized these  developments. The Dignity Campaign and Presente (a new on-line group that claims to speak for the Latino community) has called the bill unacceptable, while the big Washington D.C. lobbying groups such as the National Council de La Raza continue to support the bill.   

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Class Struggle from the Couch

By Jon Hochschartner

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On Sept. 17, Grand Theft Auto V, the latest installment in the wildly popular video game franchise, will be released for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, perhaps as one of the final major games for the current console generation.

Older readers may not be aware, but video games have developed quite a bit since the Pac-Man booths of yore. Games increasingly include sophisticated plots, top-of-the-line voice acting, and graphics that could be mistaken on first glance for live-action film. I have little doubt their quality will increase exponentially in years to come and they will represent one of the most important media of the 21st century. Back in 2011, The Economist reported the video-gaming industry was already three-fifths the size of the movie industry. For that reason alone, games deserve serious critical attention.

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Low-wage Workers Rise for Pay Equity, Justice on the Job

By Alicia Newton

Low-paid workers are fighting back.

The day before Thanksgiving 2012 in Atlanta, I joined the nationwide Black Friday protest against Walmart. 

The largest corporate employer and retailer in the nation, Walmart has aggressively resisted organizing efforts for decades.  While Craig Jelinek, CEO and president of Costco, came out in support of raising the minimum wage, Walmart is mum.  Despite its $15 billion in annual profits, the mega-retailer bemoans recent sales numbers that are lower than expectations. 

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The Chicago Workers’ Collaborative: A New Organizing Model

By Bill Barclay

“Low wage labor is a subsidy to inefficient capital,” said the Labour Organization economist in Norway to me in 2010, “and that is why we fight against the creation of a low wage sector.” But what do we do in a country, like the U.S., that already has a huge low wage sector? And where eight of the 10 fastest growing occupations require only a high school education – or less? Established unions have made little progress in organizing these workers. But there are new organizing models that offer hope for the future.

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Education is a Democratic Right

Beth_Cozzolino_YDS_march_cropped.jpgCollege, in the popular imagination, is still seen as both a time of freedom & intellectual exploration, and as the gateway to future economic opportunity. Yet young people today are increasingly working harder & taking on debt just to get a degree whose value is becoming more questionable. At the same time, universities are increasingly being subordinated to the needs of the corporate world.

It hasn’t always been this way and needn’t always be this way. We suggest that in addition to being an important part of fighting for social justice & equality, a high-quality & accessible public education system can be part of the fight for a world which is not based on exploitation and economic inequality - a world beyond capitalism.

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Confidence Fairy MIA- Austerity Doesn't Work

Time to try Real Job Creation

Chicago Political Economy Group’s Analysis of Aug 2013 Jobs Report

September 6, 2013 - Bill Barclay

Once again the BLS monthly Employment Situation Report has given the lie to the idea, popular in Washington D.C. and Wall Street, that if we’re just patient and don’t do anything to upset the “jobs creators” (aka the 1%), they will come to our rescue and expand employment.  The data make clear that they haven’t.  The private sector continues to fail the one fundamental measure by which we should judge an economy: the ability to provide jobs – especially living wage jobs – for everyone willing and able to work.

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Unions and the Defense of Freedom

Democratic socialists, and all who are committed to social justice, democracy and freedom, must continually renew our dedication to the development of a vibrant global union movement.

The Solidarity movement eventually led to the collapse of an oppressive Russian-dominated regime in Poland.  The Black trade union movement in South Africa helped dismantle apartheid.  Democratic unions were a foundation of the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

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Statement on U.S. Action Against Syria

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) opposes United States military intervention in the civil war in Syria. While we support the secular pro-democracy elements in the mass Syrian uprising against the brutal Assad regime, U.S. military power cannot liberate the Syrian people.  Therefore, for the reasons outlined below, we urge our members and friends to lobby Congress to reject the president’s request for the authorization of the use of force against Syria.

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