Cut Pentagon Pork, Not Public Services

“You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of the slums. . . . There must be a better distribution of wealth . . .And maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., speech to the SCLC staff, Frogmore, S.C., November 14, 1966

The Fiscal Cliff deal just approved by Congress was both good news and bad news.  The Good News:  99% percent of Americans (according to Wall Street Journal writer Laura Saunders) will see little or no change in their income taxes for 2013. Wealthy individuals with incomes above $400,000 a year will pay higher income taxes, and taxes on capital gains and dividends will rise from 15 to 20% to help address the federal deficit. Congress also agreed to assist low and moderate income families by: extending unemployment insurance, extending the Earned Income Tax Credit for a year and extending the American Opportunity Tax Credit (for college expenses) five years.  Most across-the-board spending cuts were postponed by two months. 

The Bad News is that within the next two months some politicians have vowed to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable Americans by cutting programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing, education and job training.

It’s tragic that Congress isn’t yet talking much about putting the Pentagon budget (which has doubled over the last 10 years) on a diet.

The celebration of Martin Luther King Day this month is an opportunity to recall that King once eloquently said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” A December 2012 Institute for Policy Studies report, “We’re Not Broke,” spells out ways that Congress can trim Pentagon spending by $195 billion a year without endangering our national defense (see www.ips-dc.org/reports/not-broke-2012). That could make a sizeable reduction of the national debt and prevent deep cuts to safety net services. The Jobs-Not-Wars campaign–which includes thousands of Americans from over 130 peace and justice organizations–urges Congress to “right size” Pentagon spending rather than cutting safety net programs (see www.jobs-not-wars.org).

If Dr. King were alive today, he would likely urge us to deepen the struggle against the triple evils of bigotry, poverty and militarism. Dr. King recognized that political and civil rights do not bring about full human freedom absent good jobs and economic security for all. That’s why Democratic Socialists of America is helping to build a broad coalition to mark the 50th anniversaries of Michael Harrington’s classic anti-poverty work, The Other America (1962), the 1963 March on Washington, and the not-yet-completed War on Poverty (1964). This DSA Fund project will work to renew efforts to eliminate mass poverty in the United States. (To find out more about DSA and the 50th anniversary project see: dsausa.org and 50thanniversaryproject.org.)

This article is available as a PDF, along with a two page version also available on PDF.

           

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 46 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 55 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

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

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

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

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
· 52 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 18 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.