Only One Thing Can Save Us

Unions and a Democratic Society

Recorded May 8, 2015 at the 57th Annual Debs – Thomas – Harrington Dinner in Chicago. Tom Geoghegan argues that even as the U.S. labor movement crumbles, a revived but different labor movement is crucial to building a democratic society. How might that be done? Geoghegan has some suggestions and he notes: Disruption works.

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Only One Thing Can Save Us by Thomas Geoghegan

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The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan

Recorded 11.03.2016 — Chicago DSA’s Aaron Armitage interviews Cecily McMillan on her memoir. McMillan is a DSA activist who had been involved in the Wisconsin protests

Cecily McMillan
McMillan at press conference upon release from Rikers Island.

against Governor Scott Walker and in Occupy Wall Street. In an almost accidental connection with Occupy, she was arrested under dubious circumstances for assaulting a police officer, convicted, and sentenced to Rikers Island.

This interview explores the intersection of the personal and the political. In particular, McMillan describes growing up in an isolated rural Texas town, her dawning awareness of a larger world that leads to a continuing reassessment of her sense of identity. McMillan and Armitage discuss the Walker protests and Occupy Wall Street: It’s good, bad, and inadequate aspects.

In the end, many of the problems facing the poor

Cecily McMillan
McMillan at Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

and marginalized end up being regarded as personal problems. But, as McMillan notes at the end, “if it becomes personal, there is no language to deal with it.”

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The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan by Cecily McMillan

Michael Harrington on Socialism

This particular speech by Michael Harrington was given in early 1971 at the Reynolds Club at the University of Chicago. The meeting was sponsored by the University of Chicago chapter of the Young Peoples Socialist League. In many ways, the speech is classic Harrington: a mix of the pragmatic and the utopian, with an awareness of the complexities that ideology often obscures. Some parts of the speech are 1960s quaint, but with the consequences of the Sanders movement still unfolding in this second decade of the twenty-first century, there are also aspects of the speech that are very worthwhile keeping in mind if we want the revolution to continue.

Michael HarringtonMichael Harrington is probably best remembered as the author of The Other America: Poverty in the United States. Published in 1962, it documented how, after two decades of unprecedented prosperity, there were still a substantial number of Americans who were poor and that it was not simply a matter of race or rural isolation, but something that was endemic all across our country. The book was not the first to document this state of affairs. But it was eloquent, thorough, and well timed to catch a growing wave of liberalism in the early 1960s. It was, in fact, given credit for inspiring the Johnson Administration’s “War on Poverty”.

The timing of the book was also fortunate in that Harrington was just finding his voice as a public speaker, allowing him to take advantage of the “buzz” and to become a player in mainstream politics. This also enabled him to become the last public spokesman of any consequence (until Bernie Sanders, perhaps) for democratic socialism in the United States.

This recording is a redigitization of a file posted in Chicago DSA’s Audio Archive.

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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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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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