A Tale of Two Cities and Rev. Pinkney

Recorded August 25, 2016. It’s a story of racism, class, corporate power and the denial of democracy and justice. It is a story of how neoliberal policies are affecting all parts of our country. Tom Broderick interviews Robert McKay and Paul Sakol about how Reverend Edward Pinkney ran up against an obdurate and vindictive local Establishment in Benton Harbor / St. Joseph, Michigan, that has put him in jail… for possibly a long time.

Robert McKay is a member of the Central Coordinating Committee to Free Rev. Edward Pinkney and a spokesperson for the Free Reverend Pinkney Campaign.

Paul Sakol was the Executive Director of the Blue Gargoyle Social Service Agency in Hyde Park covering the south side of Chicago from 2002 to 2007. He was the Executive Director of the Lupus Foundation branch in Illinois 2009 to 2011. He is a social worker who did psychotherapy and administration for various mental health and social service agencies in Chicago and northeastern Indiana. He worked for the Federal Government in DC for 9 years early in his career for HUD and the OMB. His education includes an MBA and an MA in Social Work both from the University of Chicago. He is an LCSW in the State of Illinois.

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For More Information

Black Autonomy Network Community Organization

Justice4Pinkney

Two Towns, Two America: The Story of Rev. Edward Pinkney” by Paul Sakol

Why Is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution” by Jackie Miller


Modernizing U.S. Food Aid

In the wake of World War II, the US launched an ambitious effort to help save lives by fighting the scourge of hunger. The idea was simple: take surplus US grain and send it to people in need around the world. Since then, US food aid has saved hundreds of millions of people from malnutrition and starvation.

Now, 60 years after the program was launched, it’s time for US food aid to be modernized. Millions of more lives could be saved simply by adding flexibility and efficiency to the program.

Chicago DSA’s Alex McLeese interviews Oxfam America’s Adam Olson on the fight to reform food aid.

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Adam Olson is Oxfam’s Regional Advocacy Lead and Advocacy Advisor for Illinois and neighboring states. Oxfam is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. Adam’s work focuses on breaking cycles of poverty through change in in public policy and private practice. He regularly collaborates with policymakers, allied organizations, community leaders, and academics. His work is entirely nonpartisan, and is not related to elections.

About Oxfam America

Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. As one of 18 members of the international Oxfam confederation, we work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. Oxfam saves lives, develops long-term solutions to poverty, and campaigns for social change. Oxfam America is a nonpartisan organization, and works closely with members of all parties and backgrounds.

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FIRE: From Boom to Bust in Chicago

Recorded July, 2016. That’s Finance Insurance Real Estate, the sector of the economy that many observers assert dominates the politics of many cities. Does demand and supply accurately describe how commercial real estate markets function? How are development decisions made? Can you tell whether you’re in a boom or is it a bubble? Chicago DSA’s Bill Barclay interviews Professor Rachel Weber about the political economy of urban development and about her new book, From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago.

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Rachel Weber is a Professor in the Urban Planning and Policy Department and a Faculty Fellow at the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches courses and conducts research in the fields of economic development, urban policy, and public finance. She is the author of Swords into Dow Shares: Governing the Decline of the Military Industrial Complex and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning, a compilation of 40 essays by leading urban scholars. Her latest book, From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. In addition to her academic responsibilities, she has served as an advisor to municipal planning agencies, political candidates, and community organizations on issues related to municipal incentives, property taxes, and neighborhood revitalization. She was appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Tax Increment Financing Reform Task Force in 2011 to provide recommendations to his new administration for reforming this financing tool.


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The Crime & Tragedy of Honduras

Recorded June 16, 2016. On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military exiled the democratically elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. On March 2, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a leader in the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated. The proximate cause was her leadership in the campaign to prevent the damming of the Gualcarque River, but Gualcarque dam was but a part of nationwide corporate resource extraction project that has earmarked almost 30% of the country’s land for mining concessions and the construction of hundreds of dams to power them.

In this episode of Talkin’ Socialism, Chicago DSA’s Tom Broderick is in conversation with Victoria Cervantes and Celeste Larkin about these developments in Honduras and the solidarity campaigns for human rights in Honduras and for justice for Berta Cáceres.

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Vicki Cervantes is a founding member of the Chicago based solidarity and human rights organization, La Voz de los de Abajo. La Voz de los de Abajo was created in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras. After the military coup in Honduras in June 2009, La Voz de los de Abajo helped to found the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN). Vicki is currently the North American coordinator in North America for the HSN. She travels regularly to Honduras and spends time in the campesino and indigenous communities and with the resistance movement.

Celeste Larkin is Public Policy Coordinator Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN). CRLN is a grassroots organizing and advocacy institution in Chicago that focuses on changing U.S. interventionism and trade policy in Latin America. CRLN also works to stop deportations in Chicago and change immigration policy to make life better for immigrants.



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Who Watches the Watchmen?

Recorded May 14, 2016. Tom Broderick interviews Ciera Walker, Congregational Organizer at the Community Renewal Society, and Rev. Christopher Griffin, an activist with the Community Renewal Society, about the Society’s proposed FAIR COPS ordinance and about their report Who Watches the Watchmen?

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Our Interviewees

Christopher Griffin

Christopher L. Griffin is a product of the Chicago Public Schools graduating from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. He then attended Columbia College in Chicago where he studied Photography and Film. As a member of the First Baptist Congregational Church in Chicago, Illinois he received his calling into ministry in 1979 and was licensed at the age of 16. His desire to follow his calling took him to seminary where began his biblical studies at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

He was a founding member of Son Light Ministries, a youth drama ensemble comprised of youth and young adults from various churches in the Chicago area. He was also a youth supervisor in the district and state Illinois Missionary Baptist Conventions from 1981 through 1994.

He has been guest speaker on numerous occasions for a variety of social justice and religious organizations over the years such as the Older Boys & Girls Youth Conference, the Midwest Missionary Baptist Youth Conference, the Northwood River District, Illinois Missionary Baptist Convention, the International Sunday School Broadcast, the LEADERS Network and the Community Renewal Society.

Rev. Griffin has served in many areas of ministry over the years. Most recently he served as Youth Pastor of the Y-LIFE Ministry for high school aged youth (2009-2015).

In May of 2015 after 35 years of service he resigned as the Assistant Pastor of Administration at First Baptist Congregational Church (2011-2015) and joined Soul City Church on Chicago’s near west side.

Chris resides with his wife of 27 years (Angela) in East Garfield in Chicago and is currently employed by the City of Chicago where he has worked for 30 years.

They have two daughters, Angel Imani and Ashley Nyota.

Ciera Walker

Ciera Walker is the congregational organizer for the south side of Chicago and south Suburbs. Ciera is committed to serving the vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished. As a Chicago Native, Ciera was raised on the Southside of Chicago and in her late teen she moved to Texas. Ciera studied at Lamar University and received a bachelor’s degree in social work. She continued her studies art University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work, and received a Master’s degree in Social Work, with a concentration in community health and urban development.  By being exposed to the structural racism in Chicago and the blatant racism in the south, Ciera took a vow to stand against social and economic injustice.

Ciera is also an ordained Minister through the Church of Jesus Christ House of Prayer INC. She is married to Pastor Christopher Walker and to their union they have four children.

(Now a Word from Our Sponsor)

The 2016 Eugene V. Debs – Norman Thomas – Michael Harrington Dinner will be Friday evening, May 20, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Madison and Halsted on Chicago’s near west side. It is, as always, a union hotel. You are invited, requested, beseeched to participate. We have a great program lined up; you’ll love it.

The theme for this year’s event is Rauner’s Road to Perdition. If Governor Rauner prevails, our state is on its way to utter ruin. The alternative is the utter ruin of Rauner’s reactionary “Turn Around Agenda.” All roads lead to perdition for someone. It’s either them or it’s us.

Our keynote speaker will do justice to this topic: Alderwoman of the 10th Ward, Susan Sadlowski Garza. The first Chicago Teachers Union member elected to the City Council, she is also the first woman to represent Chicago’s 10th Ward. Described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “tough-as-nails,” she is Bernie Sander’s political revolution come to Chicago’s “gritty” southeast side.

Our honorees fit this mold too.

Many of you will know Jorge Mújica as the 2015 socialist candidate for Alderman of the 25th Ward who Chicago DSA endorsed and supported. He was then and is now the Strategic Campaigns Organizer for the Chicago Arise worker center. But Mújica has done so much more. In addition to being an organizer for worker centers, he has been an organizer for traditional labor unions. He has been a journalist for both print and broadcast media. Mújica was one of the three conveners of the historic 2006 immigrant rights march in Chicago that brought a million people out on the streets of Chicago. One is tempted to call him a renaissance activist.

Michael Lighty is the Public Policy Director for California Nurses Association / National Nurses United. In that position, he has been an effective advocate for a national “single-payer” health plan, for a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions, for limiting the role of money in politics, and for lesbian and gay equality. Did we mention the Bernie Sanders campaign? It shouldn’t be a surprise that Lighty also served as DSA’s National Director, 1990 to 1993. Michael Lighty is the Board Secretary of the Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Center and, somewhat more prosaically, Lighty has served on the Port of Oakland Commission and on the Oakland Planning Commission.

Please plan to attend this remarkable event. Tickets must be ordered by Tuesday, May 17th. You can order them online or by mail using this printable (PDF) form.

The favor of your reply is requested.

Good Jobs, Clean Jobs, and Nuclear Energy in Illinois

Recorded 04.25.2016 – Tom Broderick interviews David Kraft, director and a founder of the Nuclear Energy Information Service. Kraft discusses the state of the nuclear energy industry in Illinois and the ongoing efforts by various interests to pass their own versions of a “Clean Jobs” bill. This legislation would create thousands of jobs by increasing energy efficiency, developing renewable energy sources, and meeting or exceeding EPA carbon emission standards.

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David A. Kraft is a 64 year old resident of Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in the Chicago area, and graduated from Lane Technical High School. As an undergraduate he attended Northwestern University in Evanston, and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where he majored in astronomy and psychology respectively. He attended the Industrial Areas Foundation’s Alinsky Institute for Social Change.

Mr. Kraft worked as a social rehabilitation worker and clinical therapist in the Uptown area of Chicago for nearly 12 years. With seven other environmental activists, he founded the Nuclear Energy Information Service — NEIS — in 1981 to provide the public with reliable information about nuclear power and radiation hazards, and energy alternatives to nuclear power. He is currently the director of the organization.

For More Information

Nuclear Energy Information Service

Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition