Author Archives: BostonDSA

Book discussion: Remaking An American City

Join us for a book party & discussion:

Remaking An American City

How the Richmond Progressive Alliance turned a company town into a model for municipal action in the Trump Era!

Guest speaker:
Steve Early

Former CWA organizer, Labor for Bernie activist, & author of Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of An American City, and other books.

Introduced by Rand Wilson, local labor and political organizer.

January 25 from 7:00–8:30 P.M.
Porter Square Books, 25 White St. Cambridge, Mass.

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Refinery Town

Who should attend: Economic justice campaigners, immigrant rights defenders, foes of big money in politics, rent control advocates, Blue-Green alliance builders, public safety reformers, Bernie Sanders supporters taking "Our Revolution" to the local and state level.

"This timely book offers ideas for making change where it counts the most—among friends, neighbors, and fellow community members."  –  from the Foreword by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Co-­Sponsors: Beacon Press, CWA Local 1400, IBEW Local 2222, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Labor Notes, Solidarity, Socialist Alternative, Democratic Socialists of America.

For more event information, call: 617­-930-­7327.

Download a PDF Flyer HERE.

DSA/D&S Movie Night

Democratic Socialists of America, Boston and the Dollars and Sense Collective present: 

The Wealth of Nations: A New Gospel

Date:   January 12, 2017
Place:  Encuentro 5, 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02108-4701 (Near Park St. T)
Time:  7 PM

Discussant:  Autumn Beaudoin of Dollars and Sense

Disconnecting Adam Smith the economist from Adam Smith the moral philosopher has led to tragic distortions that have profoundly shaped our global economic system, as well as a complete misrepresentation of what Smith meant by a “free market.”  

“The Wealth of Nations: A New Gospel”, part of documentary series on capitalism,  shows how a

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Capitalism

misinterpretation of Adam Smith has led to distortions that have tragically shaped our global economic system.  The underpinnings of contemporary capitalism lie in an ideology born in the 19th century; one which privileges greed over other equally deep-seated human drives.   Smith did not favor a completely unregulated free market – in fact, he thought it would be disastrous.

The film features interviews with Noam Chomsky, economist Ha-Joon Chang, and Smith biographer Nicholas Phillipson, as well as archival footage of free market ideologues such as Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman.

Autumn Beaudoin believes that educating individuals about their personal finances is the first step in creating awareness around the ways in which the current capitalist financial industry is exploitative of the individual. In their role on the Dollars and Sense collective, Autumn directly engages in creating awareness of the necessity to change our current political and economic systems of oppression.

Film courtesy of Icarus Films.

Boston DSA’s Red Holidays Party

Holiday Marx

Happy Holidays from Comrade Karl

Wednesday, December 21 at 7 PM – 11:59 PM
at LIR (Boston’s Bay Back Irish Pub)
903 Boylston St., Boston MA 02115
Between Hereford & Gloucester Streets (Hynes Auditorium T Stop)
http://www.lironboylston.com/

If all you want for Christmas is democratic socialism, come to Boston DSA’s Holiday Party! It’s the closest thing you’ll get – at least in 2016.  Meet DSAers and have some red, red holiday cheer.

There will be a small cover charge to defray the cost of food.  Cash bar.

 #MerryMarxmas #Democratic #Socialism #TrySocialism
https://www.facebook.com/events/409816646075734/

Download a PDF Flyer HERE.

Socialism 101

SATURDAY, DEC. 10, 2-4 p.m.

ENCUENTRO 5,  9A HAMILTON PLACE, BOSTON, MA

At this event, we will introduce new DSA members and those looking to learn more about the theory and practice of democratic socialism through a workshop on what democratic socialism is and how it’s different from other political perspectives on the left. We’ll also have a practical organizing workshop to help new DSAers learn the ropes of effective day-to-day organizing.

In the second hour, we will have a special training in de-escalating harassment.

Questions?  Call Liz at (617) 702-2186, or email ehenderson@dsaboston.org

The Political Revolution Begins Now!

Download a PDF flyer HERE.

FIGHTING FOR OUR FUTURE: STRUGGLES FOR DEMOCRACY & HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL

SUNDAY, NOV. 20, 4-6 p.m.
MIT ROOM 35-225
127 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., CAMBRIDGE, MA

As the inspiring fight around Question 2 in Massachusetts, the Chicago teachers strike of 2012 and the recent wave of adjunct and graduate student organizing around the country have shown, education is an increasingly important site of struggle against privatization and corporatization, and for democracy and equality. Teachers, students and the communities that support them are ramping up efforts to create an educational system that serves the needs of all rather than those of corporate education “reformers” and the business elite they represent.

In this panel, we will discuss the current state of organizing to put the brakes on capitalism run amok in our education system, as well as visions of what an alternative, genuinely democratic system of education would look like. Panelists will talk about struggles in Massachusetts, across the country and abroad in Mexico.

PANELISTS:

Barbara Madeloni is president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Megan Erickson is an editor at Jacobin and is the author of Class War: The Privatization of Childhood.

Ellen David Friedman is an organizer with the United Caucuses of Rank and File Educators.

Dan La Botz teaches labor history at the City University of New York and has written extensively on teachers’ struggles in Mexico.

Open a PDF flyer at THIS LINK.

VOTE NO on Question 2

By Julie Johnson

logo-no-on-2largerQuestion 2 would dramatically lift the cap on charter schools, handing over our public schools and our public dollars to unaccountable private entities.  There is so much that is wrong with this ballot question and the future consequences for our public schools in Massachusetts–and across the country–are so potentially devastating, that it is difficult to know where to begin. 

So let me begin by saying that any progressive and certainly any democratic socialist should not only be Voting No on Question 2 but should be working as hard as s/he can to stop this blatant power grab by corporations and wealthy individuals.  It is a threat to democracy and to the very concept of what it means to be “public”–that is, people working together for the common good within public institutions, that have the support of the public and are governed by the people.

Charter schools now cost Massachusetts public schools over $450 million annually and Question 2 could cost our public schools nearly $1 billion within five years.  Over time, Question 2 has the potential to turn most of our public schools across the state into privately-run entities, funded primarily by local tax dollars with no local accountability.  No community in the state is immune to the expansion of charter schools.  Charters are authorized by the state and neither local officials nor the local community have any meaningful role in the approval or oversight process.

I highly recommend a recent report, Who Controls Our Schools?  The Privatization of American Public Education, by Haven, Hines, Rosenfeld and Salett, that explains and details the growth of charter schools and who is now behind them:  “The charter movement should be seen less as a one-dimensional desire for academic excellence and more as a radical, ideological, and political drive for power and control over what has been one of our basic institutions of local authority.” 

Here’s a link:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.alternet.org/images/who_controls_our_schools_pdf_ebook_1_1.pdf,

For those who have read Jane Mayer’s book, Dark Money, you will understand that these same people–very wealthy individuals and corporations, primarily politically conservative, but not always so–who have the money and the power to change public opinion and public policy, to further their own agenda.  What I find particularly offensive is the billions of dollars that are lost to our public institutions through “charitable” giving, where control of those lost tax dollars go to what corporations believe are important and worthy of support, such as charter schools, while our public schools are starved of the resources they need to educate our poorest students.

I have been told that it is  “not true” that Q2 could lead to privatization in Massachusetts, that charters are “public schools” and there is no “privatization” because there is state oversight and charters can’t be run by for-profit corporations, that we have funded our schools adequately and that charter schools are “needed” because of our “failing” schools, that charter schools work better because they don’t have all those “union rules” or those “political” and “unenlightened” school committees, that the loss of funding does not hurt our regular public schools, that charter schools don’t discriminate and that they do take all students and do better with them than our regular schools.

And they are wrong on all counts.

All you need to do is take a look at the websites of the two campaigns, as well as their campaign finance reports, to see the different interests, money and support behind the two sides of this question.  It could not be clearer:  opponents of Question 2 are the two Massachusetts’ teachers’ unions (MTA, part of the NEA, and the AFT, part of the AFL-CIO), Jobs with Justice, the NAACP, over 200 local school committees, and numerous other local or statewide community organizations and unions, with money coming primarily from public school teachers through their union, mostly in Massachusetts, but some from the NEA (public school teachers across the country).  The organizations in support of Question 2 are all corporate or corporate-related, including the real estate industry, or are charter school advocacy organizations and other corporate education reform entities, and these organizations are funded primarily by dark money (i.e., donations whose sources do not have to be publicly disclosed; in this case, when disclosed they are found to be made by conservative billionaires and their corporate foundations.)

A number of years ago, I spoke at a charter school forum opposite Jim Peyser, Baker’s current Secretary of Education but at that time, he was at the Pioneer Institute, as I recall.  I argued that one of the reasons for charters in Massachusetts was to allow charters to develop innovations that would then be shared with the public schools to help them improve.  I remember the debate in the Democratically controlled Legislature, and I argued that charter schools were not fulfilling their promise, because most did not have innovative educational practices and that any such innovations that were coming out of charter schools were not replicable in our public schools.  I was surprised by Peyser’s countering argument.  Essentially, he said that he didn’t believe there were any educational innovations that a charter school could develop that were not already being done somewhere by a public school.  No, he said, the real innovation of charter schools is their “governance”, that they are not controlled by “political” bodies (i.e., elected school committees).

I am acutely aware that our K-12 public education system is one the only areas that has not yet been privatized or taken out of the public domain, and I am therefore always aware of the serious threats to public education in this country and in Massachusetts.

Question 2 is a real threat.  Please join me in voting No on Question 2. 

Julie Johnson is a former Chair of Boston DSA, presiding during the merger of DSOC (the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee) and NAM (the New American Movement).  She has worked as a lobbyist for the Massachusetts Teachers Association since 1989.

Report from the “People’s Summit” and upcoming meeting with Sanders’ Democratic Convention delegates!

By Rand Wilson

The People’s Summit

About 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters met in Chicago from June 17 to 19 searching for the way forward to continue the Political Revolution and fight against the takeover of government by the “billionaire class.” Despite Hillary Clinton’s apparent victory in the primaries and likely nomination, the mood at the People’s Summit was very upbeat. Most of the people at the conference clearly felt that through the Sanders Campaign we have achieved something very important.

The main conference organizers — National Nurses United and National People’s Action — had a highly structured agenda which somewhat limited discussion and participation. The conference reflected the Sanders’ movement, but it didn’t provide a direction for the future.  It was about vision, not organization or strategy.

Many of the speakers implied their support for Clinton — but did not state it outright. More explicit was the need to keep building the movement for “down ballot” candidates who embrace the Sanders’ platform.  There were no resolutions. It was not the founding convention of anything, but rather an opportunity to share perspectives and ideas for the future. 

The conference showed how all of the social movements could come together to create a larger political movement with a comprehensive program for social change.  The thorny question of whether and how to do that, within or outside of the Democratic Party remained the key unanswered question.  DSA leaders and members were highly visible throughout the weekend. For more on the conference from a DSA member click here.  

Rand Wilson & Comrades at the People's Summit

Rand Wilson & Comrades at the People’s Summit

June 28 meeting with Sanders’ Democratic Convention delegates

In April and May of this year, 45 Congressional District and At-Large pledged delegates were elected to support Bernie Sanders at the 2016 National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia from July 25 to 28.

The state Democratic Party has provided us with something usually lacking on the left: Instead of self-appointed leaders, we now have a diverse, statewide group of 45 elected representatives committed to the Sanders’ platform. It would be a very exciting prospect if after the election these delegates could serve as leaders of a network in Massachusetts dedicated to continuing the “political revolution” with the support of the Sanders campaign and access to its large list of donors.

All Bernie Sanders’ supporters are urged to attend a meeting on June 28 at the Ironworkers Local 7 with the many of these elected convention delegates. This meeting will also be an opportunity to strategize about plans for activities both inside and outside the national convention as well as deepen our collective discussion about the future.

Rand Wilson is an elected delegate from the 7th Congressional District.  He works for SEIU Local 888 and has volunteered with the Labor for Bernie network.  

Download a PDF flyer for the June 28 meeting HERE.

CALL FOR THE PEOPLE’S SUMMIT: BUILDING THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION

People's Summit Banner

Fri June 17 – June 19
10:00 am Fri special  DSA program; conf. ends shortly after lunch Sunday

McCormick Place, 2301 S Martin Luther King Dr, Chicago, Illinois 60616

Register:  http://www.dsausa.org/peoplessummit  or http://www.thepeoplessummit.org/
Note: If you are a DSA person, it is better to register through DSA. Thanks.

In a time of turmoil and opportunity, we invite you to participate in a historic convening of organizations and individuals committed to social, racial and economic justice.  On June 17-19, in Chicago, after the party primary season and before the party conventions, we seek to bring together activists committed to a different kind of agenda: a People’s Agenda that can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality and freedom.

The Summit will further deepen the relationship between participating organizations, develop  community leaders, and begin strategic organizing to build power.  It will include plenary and workshop sessions devoted to key issues such as the Fight for 15, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, voting rights and expanding democratic participation, a tax on Wall Street speculation to fund human needs and jobs, climate justice toward a sustainable economy, improved Medicare for All, the fight for free and debt-free higher education, secure retirement through expanding social security, ending HIV/AIDS, achieving Constitutional pay equity for women, and ending deportations and support for DREAMers, among others.

We will take action in Chicago against the big money system of politics that expands the power of the wealthy and corporations at the expense of the people. We will also celebrate with music and a “festival of joyous rebellion.” And we will plan how to move our People’s Agenda nationally and locally to help build the broad movement for people and the planet.

We hope to see you in Chicago, June 17-19, at McCormick Place.

Partner organizations include:

National Nurses United; Reclaim Chicago; National People’s Action; The People For Bernie Sanders 2016; Progressive Democrats of America;  People Demanding Action;  United Students Against Sweatshops; Food & Water Watch;  Democratic Socialists of America

If you are from New England, going to the Summit, and interested in doing some networking before hand, email webmaster@dsaboston.org

Political Revolution Tour 2016 – Somerville

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where:
Crossfit Somerville
35 Prospect Street, Somerville MA 02143
(btwn. Webster & Somerville Aves.)

when:
Saturday, February 20th
1-3pm (followed by canvass)

As the rise in popularity of Bernie Sanders over the last six months has confirmed , American Voters are excited about the possibility of a Sanders presidency. Despite the stigma once attached to his identification with Democratic Socialism, he continues to surge in the polls, raise record-breaking amounts of grassroots donations and draw tens of thousands to volunteer and attend events. Sanders is calling, explicitly, for a “political revolution.” But what does that mean? Join us as we bring activists together to discuss the nature and limits of the U.S. political system, the power of democratic socialist ideas and how we can build a long lasting political movement to fight for radical change. Somerville for Bernie will lead a canvass in Somerville directly following the training.

more info:
703-919-6379
jaredscreename@aol.com
Download PDF Flyer HERE.

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