Memorial Day 2014 - Remembrance and Resolve

"As we approach Memorial Day, we need to think not only of remembering our fallen sons and daughters, but also to resolve to protect future generations from such occasions."    Vietnam-memorial-soldier.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Memorial Day is upon us. Neighbors are hanging flags in front of their homes. Parades are planned for Main Street. Veterans are searching the back of closets for worn uniforms. And arrangements are being made to bring bouquets of flowers to cemeteries across the nation. We are preoccupied with thinking about heroes and the sacrifices they made to keep our country safe.

Our leaders talk at length about our need for defense in a perilous world. Almost everything can be cut from the emaciated national budget except our defense expenses. The president needs mounting unrestricted authority to send our armed forces and drones anywhere to thwart our many malevolent enemies. This talk of threat and danger to our very being is broadcast recurrently by the political class and the media and widely accepted as truth by citizens as a patriotic duty.

Psychologists give the name “projection” to ascribing to others your own wishes and intentions. The United States has rarely been attacked (Pearl Harbor is an exception), and in modern history was never invaded. Standing as a military colossus, the most powerful armed entity in world history, there is scant fear that any nation or force could defeat us or significantly harm our interests. Invasions don’t come our way, but incursions do emanate from us and penetrate other nations on an astonishing scale—a reality most Americans ignore or discount, abetted by their leaders.

Those leaders have taken our young people into innumerable wars and military actions globally since the end of World War II. These armed infiltrations are conducted under the guise of protecting our liberties or the liberties of others, while in large measure they are efforts to expand our power and financial control and exploit fertile resources—actions tagged imperialism by serious scholars and objective observers. We have to peer directly into the face of that war record to begin to comprehend its scope. A partial accounting identifies the following assaults:

Korean Conflict, 1950 – 1953; Operation PBFORTUNE, Guatemala, 1952; Operation Ajax, 1953; Operation PBSUCCESS, Guatemala, 1954; Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuba, 1961; Vietnam War, 1962 – 1973; Laotian Civil War, 1962 – 1973; Cambodian Civil War, 1969 – 1970; Operation Powerpack, Dominican Republic, 1965 – 1966; Operation Urgent Fury, Invasion of Grenada, 1983; Operation Blue Bat, Lebanon, 1958; Operation Eagle Claw, Iran hostage crisis, 1980; First Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1981; Operation El Dorado Canyon, Libya, 1986; Iran-Iraq War, 1987 – 1989; Operation Just Cause, Panama 1989 – 1990; Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1989; Persian Gulf War, Iraq, 1991; Operation Desert Storm, 1991; Operation Desert Shield, 1991; Somali Civil War, 1992 – 1994; Operation Provide Relief, 1992; Operation Restore Hope, 1992 – 1994; Yugoslav wars, 1994 – 1999; Bosnian Conflict, 1994 – 1995; Kosovo Conflict, 1997 – 1999; War on Terrorism, 2001 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan 2001 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines 2002 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa 2002 – present; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003 – present; Waziristan War, 2004 – present; War in Somalia, 2006 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara 2007 – present

 As we approach Memorial Day, we need to think not only of remembering our fallen sons and daughters, but also to resolve to protect future generations from such occasions. Dead soldiers are pawns and victims--more than they are heroes. We need to give thought to restraining the excess exercise of the war option by our country. Beyond that, we ought to memorialize the utter futility and ugliness of war itself.  

As a veteran of World War II, I can still remember the wounds and suffering of that long-ago time. That experience brought home to me that every war symbolizes the failure of humans to conduct their affairs in a sensible and civilized way. I look for the day when we stop celebrating wars in the language of glory and grandeur and recognize that every war marks the very lowest level to which humanity sinks.  

We should honor the fallen, but more so we must be peacemakers who thwart the creation of further generations of wasted young men and women.

 Jack Rothman was a  founding organizer for the Los Angles DSA chapter. He was a professor of community organizing at the University of Michigan and UCLA Schools of Social Work. His book, Strategies of Community Intervention, has been the leading text in the field. 

 Photo credit.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Paying for the Revolution (9pm Eastern)

June 23, 2017
· 46 rsvps

Are you new to socialist organizing? Or after many years do you still struggle, raising money from members when you need it but without a steady flow of income or budget to plan ahead? Are you afraid to tackle fundraising because it seems so daunting or you are uncomfortable asking people for money?

In this webinar, you will learn why fundraising is organizing, and how to do it – face to face, through fundraising events, and other ideas.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

Instructor:

  • Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt talt@igc.org.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  6. Participation requires that you register at least 21 hours in advance -- by midnight Thursday for Friday's webinar.

NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5 pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 8 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.