Democratic Left

Martin Luther King and Economic Justice

by Thomas F.  Jackson



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In 1968, a united black community in Memphis stepped forward to support 1,300 municipal sanitation workers as they demanded higher wages, union recognition, and respect for black personhood embodied in the slogan “I Am a Man!” Memphis’s black women organized tenant and welfare unions, discovering pervasive hunger among the city’s poor and black children. They demanded rights to food and medical care from a city and medical establishment blind to their existence.

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The Bi-Partisan Neoliberal War Against the Poor

A Review of Chris Hayes’ MSNBC Special on the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty

By Joseph M. Schwartz

The Jan. 13, 2014 MSNBC Chris Hayes special on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty superbly demonstrated how the anti-poverty programs begun in the 1960s today take tens of millions of people in the United States out of the ranks of the officially poor. It also highlighted how addressing the needs of low-wage women, particularly by raising the minimum wage and publicly funding child care, would benefit men as well as women and children. Yet the program failed to analyze, in depth, how 30 years of bi-partisan “neoliberal” economic policies of deregulation, regressive tax cuts, defunding of social welfare programs, and anti-union policies have driven poverty rates close to those that existed before the War on Poverty.

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December Jobs Report: "Not Enough"

By Sharon Post, CPEG.

The theme of this month’s jobs report ought to be “not enough.” The latest disappointing numbers are far lower than the optimistic expectations voiced by many economists after ADP reported payroll growth of 238,000 in Dec. 2013. The Chicago Political Economy Group (CPEG) has been arguing for years that what job growth the U.S. economy has seen since the official end of the “great recession” has been inadequate. In fact, the total number of employed workers in the U.S. is still lower than it was before the start of the great recession.  The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced this morning that the economy added 74,000 jobs in Dec. 2013, falling far short of expectations. This anemic job growth brings the total employment in the country to less than what it was in Nov. 2007, the month before the great recession started. It’s important to note that if the economy had added the 200,000+ jobs that many expected, we would still not have reached pre-recession employment levels. Even a “good” jobs report would have been disappointing.

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War on Poverty: Initiated by Socialist Michael Harrington

Duane Campbell

harrington.jpgIt was good to read this week the many news reports and  articles recording the 50th. anniversary of the War on Poverty, and several even recognized the important role played by Michael Harrington with his best seller book- The Other America : Poverty in the United States (1962). However, they failed to report that Harrington was a leading socialist of his era.

Publishing  The  Other America was a seminal event  leading meetings with  President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver’s  work with the administration.  The book helped to shape President Johnson’s plans for  a War on Poverty.  

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For a Feminist Socialism

By Simone Morgen

Why a Feminist Socialism?

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Why, indeed? Isn’t Rosa Luxemburg a socialist icon? Don’t socialism’s core values of equal treatment of all persons, without prejudice or disparate treatment, address feminist concerns?


Formally, yes – but a cursory examination of the ways in which issues are addressed even within socialist circles brings this into question. Even in these more favorable environs, the need for an explicitly feminist view remains. After all, patriarchy as a sex/gender system of organizing society existed long before the capitalist mode of production revolutionized society and colored its directives.

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The Tasks Before Us

Steve Williams speaking at the 2013 DSA National Convention

“I would say that there is a particular task for leftists at this particular moment that is similar but distinct from the task of progressives, those who are engaged in mass organizations. And I would say that there are two tasks that leftists at this moment have to take up. The first is very clearly articulating what is our vision of a better world. I think that’s a particular role and responsibility of the Left, and I think that we need to take that up and take it seriously….

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YDS on the Front Lines of the Student Movement

by Neal Meyer. National Organizer for YDS

The school year got off to a strong start for the Young Democratic Socialists. More than 40 YDSers and 10 DSA and outside speakers gathered in August in Washington DC for our annual summer leadership retreat. We heard from writer and activist Bill Fletcher, author and DSA honorary chair Barbara Ehrenreich, DSA Vice-Chair Joe Schwartz and DSA National Political Committee member Peg Strobel, in addition to many others.

Alexandra Deane from Vassar YDS was elected to her first term as YDS co-chair, and Matt Porter was re-elected to serve as co-chair. The full list of new members of the Coordinating Committee will be available on the new YDS website, currently under construction. The conference was also an opportunity for YDSers to thank outgoing national organizer Jackie Sewell for all her hard work and to welcome the new national organizer, Neal Meyer.

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Immigration Reform: Legislation or Building a Transformative Movement

Catherine Tactaquin Speaking at the 2013 DSA National Convention

“I think the question of immigration is actually a great window to look through in terms of the task that the Left and I think all progressives have. . . . Comprehensive immigration reform basically is a package deal of compromises that was cobbled together, a lot by the leadership of the Democratic Party, based on focus groups on what the bottom line is that the public will support and endorse, and frankly has a lot of bad stuff in it. Unfortunately that’s what’s on the table now. …

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