Democratic Left

Stronger Together: Bianca Cunningham talks to Russ Weiss-Irwin

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From left: Bianca Cunningham, Sen. Bernie Sanders, CWA District 1 Vice
President Dennis Trainor, and former CWA President Larry Cohen. Photo
courtesy of CWA.

Bianca Cunningham is a DSA member in Brooklyn, NY, and chair of the NYC DSA Labor Branch. She led her coworkers to join Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1109 in 2014, becoming the first ever Verizon Wireless retail workers to unionize. Verizon fired her for organizing, and during the recent Verizon strike, picketers across the country chanted “Bring Back Bianca!” She now works as a staff organizer for CWA. This interview was conducted by email and phone in July, shortly before the NLRB ruled in her favor. —RW

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Isn’t It Time to Ban the Bomb?

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Ban the Bomb Rally, City Hall Park, New York City, 1959

By Lawrence S. Wittner

Although the mass media failed to report it, a landmark event occurred recently in connection with resolving the long-discussed problem of what to do about nuclear weapons.  On August 19, 2016, a UN committee, the innocuously-named Open-Ended Working Group, voted to recommend to the UN General Assembly that it mandate the opening of negotiations in 2017 on a treaty to ban them.

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Defeat Trump: Developing Latino Voter Outreach Campaigns

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Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here

By Dolores Delgado Campbell and Duane Campbell

Immigration issues along with the changing composition of the U.S. electorate will shape the 2016 Presidential and Congressional races, as well as many state races.

While working class non-union white voters in the upper Midwest appear to be abandoning the Clinton-led Democratic Party in response to immigration and neo- liberal trade policies, Latino voters are putting some traditional Republican and swing states in play, noticeably Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.  In these states with a close electoral contest, the Latino vote may make the decisive victory. 

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The Socialist Party's Legacy In The U.S. Labor Movement

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By Lawrence Wittner

The U.S. labor movement has been fueled by the passion and fire of socialists, anarchists, communists, and leftists of many types. Socialists have been active since the very beginnings of the nationally organized movement.

Probably the best-known among them is Eugene V. Debs. A moving orator and staunch union activist, Debs began his career as a leader of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and after as the founder and guiding light of the American Railway Union. During the great Pullman Strike of 1894, a powerful corporate-U.S. government alliance smashed the strike, imprisoned Debs and other union leaders, and destroyed this early industrial union. But Debs emerged from the ordeal as a popular symbol of unflinching class struggle, as well as the Socialist Party’s candidate for president in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

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Why Is Puerto Rican Oscar López Still A Political Prisoner?

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By Margaret Power

Oscar López Rivera is the longest-held Puerto Rican political prisoner in U.S. history. He has now served 35 years in U.S. federal prisons, including 12 in solitary confinement. The movement calling for his release has intensified, broadened and strengthened in the last few years. For example, on June 20, 2016, solidarity events with Oscar López took place on all six continents, and in 39 countries, including Chile, Cuba, Eritrea, France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Syria, Switzerland and Venezuela. In addition, five Nobel prize winners, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa); Jose Ramos-Horta (East Timor), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina), Jodi Williams (United States) and Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Ireland) took part that day in actions urging President Obama to release López. Who is Oscar and why is he still imprisoned? Why is the movement for his freedom growing, and how does it relate to the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico?

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Resolving the Left Impasse Over Elections

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here

By Kurt Stand

Differences

Organizing success requires establishing a framework that enables individuals to express their distinct voices in combination with others in an expanding circle of mutual support.  The goal – to form a union, stop police violence, prevent off-shore drilling, cut military spending – brings people together even though immediate concerns and/or long-term aims will vary greatly.  Success or failure in any given campaign resides in how close it gets toward its principle objective, and, crucially, whether people remain engaged.  Win or lose, the next step almost inevitably entails reaching out to those who stayed on the sidelines, advocated a different approach or stood in opposition in order to build strength for whatever follows. 

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Victory at Verizon Is a Victory for All

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NYC DSAers Support Striking Workers at Verizon

The strike this past spring by 39,000 Verizon workers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast was the largest and most significant since United Parcel Service workers struck the package giant in 1997. After decades of retreat in the face of attacks by employers and right-wing politicians, it’s a hopeful sign.

Verizon infuriated landline and call-center workers from Massachusetts to Virginia with demands to outsource more jobs, cap pension contributions at 30 years of service, and force workers to live away from home for months at a time.

After 45 days on the picket lines, the unions beat back these concessions. In the end, Verizon committed to adding 1,300 more jobs in the United States, doing away with a hated disciplinary program, and phasing in 10.5% raises over four years. Although the unions still took a hit on healthcare, workers emerged feeling that they had achieved an overwhelming victory against a corporate behemoth.

 

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Labor, the Left, and the After-Bern

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Bob Master talks with Joseph M. Schwartz 

Bob Master is legislative and political director of District One of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and special adviser to the CWA national president on national politics. He also serves as co-chair of the New York State Working Families Party. At 700,000 members, CWA was the largest international union to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for president in the Democratic presidential primary. Master played a leading role in defining CWA’s electoral strategy and is a leader in discussions among labor, electoral, and community activists as to how to build out of the Sanders campaign a long-term, more multiracial left trend in mainstream U.S. politics. DSA Vice-Chair Joseph Schwartz interviewed Master shortly after he addressed DSA’s Socialist Caucus (attended by more than 300 people, including more than 100 Sanders delegates) at the Democratic National Convention in July.

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