Tag Archives: workers’ rights

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.

Book cover image

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.

6/8/14 Honoring Jake Schlitt and Cecily McMIllan

Boston DSA Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards Reception

Date: Sunday, June 8
Time: Social 3 PM; Program 4 PM
Place: Workmen’s Circle, 1762 Beacon Street, Brookline
More Information: 617-982-3033

Join us at Boston DSA’s annual awards reception, this year honoring two activists separated by six decades but united in the cause of social justice — Jacob Schlitt and Cecily McMillan

Jacob Schlitt

Jacob Schlitt

JACOB SCHLITT has been a labor, civil rights, Jewish community and democratic socialist activist since the 1940s.  He has been an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, a staffer for the Jewish Labor Committee, and a volunteer with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters for the historic 1963 March on Washington.  In 1973 Jake participated in the founding convention of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, which later evolved into DSA.

Cecily McMillan

Cecily McMillan

CECILY McMILLAN also began her activism early on, mobilizing her Atlanta high school classmates against the Iraq war. In 2011, Cecily participated in the uprising against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union policies, and joined DSA. After moving to NYC she was one of the initiators of Occupy Wall Street.  Cecily has recently been convicted of an alleged assault on policeman during a 2012 NYC Occupy rally; if she’s unable to attend the reception, heraward will be accepted by her defense committee (http://www.justiceforcecily.com).

For Democratic Socialists of America’s statement on the conviction of Cecily McMillan, go to http://www.dsausa.org/justice_denied_for_cecily_mcmillan.

Admission to the reception is $35 ($15 for low income, or whatever you can afford), which includes hors d’oeurves and an open bar.

Download a PDF FLYER with more details, including information on program book greetings and sponsorships HERE.

Honorary Chairs for DSA Awards Reception

FORMER CONGRESSMAN BARNEY FRANK; REP. RUTH BALSER; SEN. PATRICIA JEHLEN; DICK BAUER—Co-Chair, New England Jewish Labor Committee; ARTHUR BERNSTEIN—former YPSL, brother of Julius; JULES BERNSTEIN—labor attorney; SHEILA DECTER—Director, Jewish Alliance for Social Action; ELLEN FEINGOLD—former Director, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly; MICHAEL FELSEN—past president, Workmen’s Circle;SHELAGH FOREMAN—Director, Massachusetts Peace Action; DAVID HARRIS—Managing Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School; GEORGIA HOLLISTER ISMAN—Director, Mass Alliance; JOHN McDONOUGH—Director, Center for Public Health Leadership, Harvard School of Public Health; RABBI BARBARA PENZER—Co-Chair, New England Jewish Labor Committee; STEVEN TOLMAN, President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO; RAND WILSON—Communications and Policy Director, SEIU Local 888

 *affiliation given for identification purposes only

7/14 Boston Democratic Socialists of America Members’ Meeting & Summer Bar-BQ

Happy Bastille Day!

Celebrate Bastille Day with DSA!

Sunday, July 14
2:30 – 3:00 pm Gather
3:00 pm (sharp) Meeting begins
4:30 or so Barbeque (Pot luck)

Join us for good talk, good food, and camaraderie.  Proposed discussion topics for the members’ meeting include…

Bangladesh workers’ solidarity:  Boston DSA has been joining in rallies in support of justice for garment workers in Bangladesh who have been killed in factory fires and a catastrophic collapse.  Litu Kabir of the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia and the Boston-based Bangladesh Workers’ Solidarity Network will be on hand to fill us in on what is happening and what the campaign is about, and get the discussion started.

Massachusetts 5th CD Race:  Now that (DSA-endorsed candidate) Ed Markey will be the new U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, there will be another special election for his Congressional seat.  There is promising to be a crowded field of Democratic Primary candidates, several with fairly solid progressive credentials.  Do you have a favorite?  Come prepared to tell us who, and why, as we kick off a preliminary discussion as a prelude to a possible DSA endorsement in late July or August.

It is also possible that we will have somebody on hand to tell us what is happening over the summer with organizing fast food workers.

Location: 24 Bridge St., Newton MA 02458

 Directions are HERE.  We can pick people up at Watertown Sq. between 1:45 and 2:15 or so (earlier if necessitated by transit schedules) – call 617-448-5341.  Child care can possibly be arranged for the meeting portion (only) if requested at least 4-5 days in advance.  Same number or email webmaster@dsaboston.org.

 Interested non-members are welcome.


The NSA Link to Brazil and Turkey

NSA surveillance of the entire population reflects Pentagon concerns that the type of uprisings occurring in Brazil, Turkey, and recently in Egypt will come to the United States.  Planning documents released by the military since 2006 reveal growing fears about unrest generated by environmental or economic disaster.

 If the Pentagon is preparing for a turbulent future, then DSA should be thinking ahead to the next period of mass protest.

 The Pentagon is warning that there is a good possibility of political unrest in the U.S.  Since 2006, the military has produced a series of studies predicting that weather shocks generated by climate change, shortages of energy because of peak oil price increases, or general discontent over economic hard times could lead to civil unrest.  For example, the Pentagon ran war games in 2010 to explore the implications of a “large scale economic breakdown” in the U.S. disrupting food supplies and other essential services.  Participants were exploring how to preserve “domestic order amid civil unrest.”

We need look no further than Brazil or Turkey or Egypt to see what the Pentagon and its spy agency, NSA, might fear.  In these countries, smoldering discontent over the political system being unresponsive to the needs of the general public combined with faltering economic growth to generate weeks of massive street demonstrations.  In Greece, and to a lesser extent in Spain, austerity measures imposed by financial institutions triggered recurring street protests.  The generals also understand, from watching these movements and tracking the genesis of the Occupy Movement, that these things happen very fast.

It is not implausible that concerns about political disorder are an element in the cluster of reasons for developing a robust surveillance operation.  An operation capable, with the flip of a few definitional switches, of launching massive and detailed spying expeditions against American citizens with no prior history of political disobedience.

While we can and will speak out against NSA surveillance and against Pentagon planning for troop deployments in the United States, I would argue that we should also be thinking about the nature and meaning of the next round of citizen unrest.  If Pentagon planners and analysts raise the specter of unhappy citizens expressing their anger and alienation in the streets, then we owe it to ourselves and the future to put a little thought into how we should prepare for those types of events.

What we do know

We know that, in the event of large scale political disorder, DSA and its membership will not jump into the fray with destructive fantasies about armed revolution.  DSA is built upon a realization that non-violent political change is the only way to create a better society.

We also know from the lessons of Occupy that DSA and its membership will be able to provide grassroots leaders and active participants with thoughtful information about the nature of our economy and our political system, and an appreciation for the contributions of millions of working people of every ethnic, racial, and gender group to our collective history.

What we still need to find out

There is one thing we really don’t know yet, something we really should be able to tell people who want the world to change: how they can increase their political power in ways that perpetuate momentum for political change after the streets cool off.

In many countries, including Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Spain, England, and the United States the political establishment, that is, the mainstream, left-of-center and right-of-center political parties, have responded to The Great Recession with policies explicitly favoring economic elites and imposing losses on the general population.

As a result, political protestors in all of these countries have rejected party politics and presented themselves as speaking for the general population or the 99%.  While this is a welcome inclusiveness, all of these movements have had difficulty answering the question – where do we go from here, how does this positive political energy get channeled or institutionalized into greater democratic decision-making?

I will be writing a post next week exploring this issue.  Until then, I invite DSA members to send in comments about steps that should be taken along the road to grassroots political power.

Monte Pearson is a DSA member who also blogs at PerilsofEmpire.com

June 7 – Honoring Jennifer Doe, Shelagh Foreman & Andi Mullin

Democratic Socialists of America 2013 Awards Reception

DATE: Friday, June 7: 6:00 pm Social, 7:00 pm Program
PLACE: 58 Berkeley Street, Somerville
MORE INFORMATION: 617-354-5078

Boston DSA is proud to honor three of Boston’s best activists:
» Jennifer Doe retiring from Jobs with Justice
» Shelagh Foreman Program Director of Massachusetts Peace Action
» Andi Mullin, Director of the Campaign for Our Communities

Honorary Event Chairs:
Brian Corr, Cambridge Peace Commission*
Harris Gruman, SEIU*
Rep. Denise Provost
Rand Wilson, SEIU Local 888*
*affiliation given for identification purposes only.

Jennifer Doe has spent the last 10 years as an organizer for Jobs With Justice, primarily responsible for worker organizing and labor support. Prior to that she monitored and recovered workers’ back wages in Worcester County for the Foundation for Fair Contracting, organized Community and Political Outreach for the Pioneer Valley Building Trades, and headed Research and Strategic Campaigns for the Laborers’ Union Eastern Region.

Shelagh Foreman is Program Director of Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) and a core member of 20/20 Action, an Amherst based peace and environmental group. Shelagh has worked for more than three decades on nuclear disarmament, represents Peace Action on the Political Committee of Mass Alliance, and is chair of MAPA’s Iran Task Force. She is also a painter and print maker who has studied art or taught art history at the Cooper Union, Columbia University and the Museum School.

Andi Mullin, Director of the Campaign for Our Communities, has led the struggle to fund our state’s essential public services through progressive taxation. From 2007–2011 Andi was Director of Legislation and Governmental Affairs for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and before that served as Legislative Agent for AFSCME Council 93. She has also been in the leadership of other progressive groups ranging from Mass Alliance and NOW to the Committee for Boston Public Housing and RESPOND, which provides services to battered women and their children.

The awards our honorees will be given are named after DSA Founding Chair Michael Harrington and A. Philip Randolph, or Gene Debs, Norman Thomas and Julius Bernstein—all democratic socialist leaders of the last century active in the labor, civil rights and peace movements of their time who embody the values DSA seeks to carry on today. These awards have been given since 1977 to honor deserving activists; past recipients include Rand Wilson, Matt Taibbi and Sen. Patricia Jehlen. Admission is $35 ($15 low income), which includes hors d’oeurves and an open bar. So join us on June 7!

Yes! I want to join Boston DSA in honoring Jennifer, Shelagh and Andi!
Ticket Information

Purchase tickets online by clicking on the appropriate link below:

Low Income/Fixed Income: Includes One Admission Regular: Includes One Admission Supporter: Includes One Admission Patron: Includes Two Admissions Benefactor: Includes Five Admissions

Supporter ticket purchases include a free listing in the event journal in the September Yankee Radical. If you’d like to give a special greeting, go HERE.

Because of the activist work we do, donations to Boston DSA are not tax deductable.