Democratic Left

Fed Up with Wall Street, Democrats Look to the Left

 Harold Meyerson

The Democratic Party's romance with Wall Street may finally be breaking up. In the past 10 days, a diverse group of Democratic senators scuttled Larry Summers's candidacy  for Federal Reserve chair and New York Democrats voted for the mayoral candidate  whose campaign was an attack on Michael Bloomberg's care and feeding of the super-rich at the expense of the rest of the city. Former commerce secretary (and JP Morgan Chase executive) William Daley's surprise withdrawal  from the Illinois Democratic gubernatorial primary is one more indication of Wall Street's diminished sway.

Democrats have reached a watershed. After two decades in which the party has moved leftward on social issues but has largely accepted the financial sector's economic preferences - for smaller government; a greater role for markets; and reduced regulation, particularly of finance - the abject failures of the market economy are pushing the party leftward. 

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Why the Revival of US Labor Might Start with Nonunion Workers

By Amy B. Dean

For workers in America, it can be hard to know where to turn when a boss pays you late or not at all, doesn’t provide benefits, or just yells at you for no good reason.

That’s why Working America, a “community affiliate” of the AFL-CIO that focuses specifically on nonunion workers, launched a website last month that makes it easy to get that kind of information. FixMyJob.com is a bit like WebMD, but instead of typing in your aches and pains, you tell it about problems at your workplace. Launched on June 5, the site quickly garnered 5,000 visitors, according to Working America organizer Chris Stergalas.

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Bracero Program Will Hurt Farmworkers

by David Bacon

Migrant farmworkers stopped work at Sakuma Farms in Washington state to raise the piece rate for picking—and to try to stop the grower from replacing them with contract guestworkers from Mexico. The Sakuma Farms workers are mostly indigenous Mixtec and Triqui migrants from Oaxaca and southern Mexico, who now live in the U.S.  Guestworker programs give employers leverage to pit workers against each other. Photo: David Bacon.strikebacon.jpg

On Saturday, Oct 3,  immigrant rights groups rallied  in many cities to demand immigration reform. Some are asking the House of Representatives to pass a bill similar to the one passed by the Senate in June (S. 744). The Republican leadership in the House has refused to hold such a vote

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Harrington’s Heritage

By Jack Rothman

Nowadays—especially among the young--Michael Harrington’s name isn’t  well known and his writings and accomplishments are scarcely recognized. Still, Harrington clearly was the most significant American socialist leader of the last half of the twentieth century. A recent dismissive and inaccurate portrayal of him (Socialist Worker, May 2013) moved me to reflect on and set straight Harrington’s place on the left and in the progressive movement.

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Michael Harrington

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Last Chance for Discount Rate at Convention Hotel

As the last week demonstrates, building a left-wing movement in the United States is more important than ever.

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Expand Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 Must be Expanded to Provide Paid Leave

 By Peg Strobel and Bill Barclay

Oct. 3 is the expected day when federal legislation will be introduced calling for paid family and medical leave. DSA endorses a policy of paid parental family and medical leave. A group called MomsRising is hosting a “blog carnival” that day to draw attention to the issue and the legislation. We submitted the blog post below as DSA's contribution to the carnival.

 

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Breaking the Deadlock

Given the insanity coming out of Washington, D.C. (or should we say emanating from right-wing state capitals and gerrymandered political districts around the country), building a left-wing movement in the United States is more important than ever.

DSA’s national convention is a time to gather with democratic socialists from around the country and exchange political ideas and activist skills. Our community can feel diffuse much of the time, but at conventions we spend three days re-energizing and making future plans for building our movement.

Register now!

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A Century and Counting: The Campaign for National Health Insurance

By Gerald Friedman

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.” -Winston Churchill

The campaign for universal health insurance passed the century mark last year, the centennial of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 Progressive Party platform calling for national social insurance. Since then we came close to establishing the type of national health insurance system found in every other affluent democracy several times.  Health insurance was included along with old age pensions, welfare, and unemployment insurance in President Franklin Roosevelt’s original proposal for Social Security; it was dropped from the final act from fear that it would jeopardize the rest of the program.

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