Political Parties

Honoring American Black Socialists

DSA's Democratic Left - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 09:11

W.E.B DuBois

A. Philip Randolph

Paul Robeson

Black socialists have long provided important leadership in the several struggles to improve the lives of African Americans in the U.S.

Categories: Political Parties

Socialist Coffee Hour

Madison ISO - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 15:00

Join us every week for a conversation about current events, history, and theory. Fueled by coffee!

Every Saturday at 2-3pm

Memorial Union on UW Campus

800 Langdon St, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Categories: Political Parties

Feb. 28: The Key to Black Liberation is Solidarity and Struggle

Seattle ISO - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 16:41

Tuesday, February 28
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

Over the past several years, the Black Lives Matter movement has shown the need for struggle against the racism built into our system. Just as in many other eras of American history, the fight for Black liberation has helped to support and spark resistance in other areas as well. Join us for a discussion about the role of solidarity in the fight for Black liberation and how we move forward in the Trump era.

RSVP on Facebook

Categories: Political Parties

Fighting Capitalism: The Case for Socialist Organization

Madison ISO - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 20:00

As president Trump horrifies us every day with new headlines, the Democrats fail to mount an effective resistance. The time is critical to move beyond politics-as-usual.

We must organize to resist Trump, but also capitalism—the social system that gave rise to his villainy in the first place. Organizing that alternative is our common challenge. We are in a decades-long fight for the future of humanity and the planet, and we must learn to act like it.

Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines and hope history turns back from the abyss. Now is the time to join a socialist organization and fight for a just future.

Join us for a presentation and discussion!

UW Madison – Sterling Hall Rm 1313

Categories: Political Parties

Join Us Each Week for Discussion and Debate!

Madison ISO - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 20:00

Each week the Madison Branch of the International Socialist Organization meets to discuss the issues of the moment and the ongoing project of building a fighting left that can resist and overcome the atrocities of Capitalism.

Join us for education, activism, and politics!

Thursdays 7-9pm

Sterling Hall Rm 1313
475 N Charter St
Madison, WI 53706
UW Madison Campus

Categories: Political Parties

Feb. 21: Seattle ISO Working Meeting

Seattle ISO - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 18:33

Tuesday, February 21
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will be a working meeting.  We’ll be discussing some of the political issues addressed at our national convention and also splitting up into working groups to organize different aspects of our local work.  Please join us to get involved with building the socialist movement in Seattle!

Categories: Political Parties

An abortion rights emergency

Seattle ISO - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 18:31
https://socialistworker.org/2017/02/13/an-abortion-rights-emergency Fed up with the continual anti-choice onslaught, years of ever-increasing legal restrictions and now an emboldened right wing holding rallies at clinics across the country calling for Planned Parenthood to be defunded, pro-choice forces turned out to loudly oppose the anti-choicers and defend the clinics.

SocialistWorker.org contributor Leela Yellesetty, a member of Seattle Clinic Defense and the International Socialist Organization, spoke at a rally at a clinic in Kent, Washington, outside of Seattle, about the importance of rebuilding an uncompromising fight for abortion rights. Here, we reprint her speech, with minor editing for publication.

February 13, 2017
THANKS SO much to everyone who came out this morning–and, believe me, I am not a morning person–but we all know why we’re here.

We are in a state of emergency for reproductive rights. With Trump in the White House and Republican majorities in Congress, the other side is emboldened, and they plan to go for the jugular–defund Planned Parenthood, overturn Roe v. Wade. It’s all on the table.

And the restrictions on the state level just keep coming. I just heard that in Arkansas, they passed a law allowing husbands to sue doctors to prevent their wives from having an abortion. A woman in Tennessee was charged with three felony counts for attempting to induce an abortion with a coat hanger.

We know the symbol of the coat hanger–a reminder of untold number of women who died, as many as 10,000 per year, when abortion was illegal in this country–and our slogan is: We won’t go back!

Unfortunately, we also know that these attacks aren’t new. The people we’ll be confronting today have been at this for decades now. They picket outside clinics, week in and week out, with their lies and doctored images of baby dolls smeared with ketchup. They harass and intimidate patients. They follow them. They write down their license plate numbers. Worse than that, they’ve firebombed clinics and stalked, attacked and murdered doctors.

They’ve built a mass movement aimed at returning us to the Dark Ages. And they’ve been succeeding with this strategy, despite the fact that they are and have been the minority. They’ve steadily chipped away at our rights for so long that, for millions of women in this country, abortion is legal in name only.

Well, the time has come to say enough.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AS MANY of you are probably aware, the political arm of Planned Parenthood has been discouraging counterprotests today. Their argument is that protests are stressful to patients and staff, and that we should not politicize the space around the clinic. We agree, but the reality is that space has already been politicized–by the other side.

We in Seattle Clinic Defense are there to block the bigots from harassing patients and to be a positive, supportive presence. In all our years of doing clinic defense, we have received nothing but enthusiasm from clinic staff, patients and community members who have had to deal with this harassment day after day.

Of course, we know today the clinic here is actually closed–which is kind of nice to know that the other side isn’t all that brilliant. Yet we are still being encouraged not to counterprotest, on the grounds that it will draw attention to them–that if we just ignore them, they will go away.

They haven’t gone away. In decades, they have not gone away. So while we have the utmost respect for the services Planned Parenthood provides, we respectfully disagree with their political strategy.

It’s time to stop compromising and apologizing. We support all of the amazing services that Planned Parenthood provides, from cancer screenings to birth control, but we must say loudly that we also support and applaud the fact that they perform abortions.

We need to be crystal clear on the fact that the ability to choose whether or when to have children is fundamental to women’s social, political and economic equality. Without access to abortion, we can be locked into abusive relationships, we can be locked into poverty, we can be locked out of educational and economic opportunities.

But we don’t stop at abortion rights. Reproductive justice is also about right to have children if and when we want them–which means it’s about the right to health care and child care and equal pay at decent wages. It’s about exposing and eradicating the deplorable campaigns of forced sterilization of women of color. It’s about the right to not fear that your children will be shot down by police, or that you will be separated from your children due to immigration raids.

My opinion is that the more we connect the dots, the broader and more inclusive our movement is, the more powerful we can become. We know that the attack on trans people, on LGBTQ people, is part and parcel of a campaign to restore reactionary gender norms in our society. Their fight is also our fight.

We know the fight at Standing Rock for Indigenous rights and clean water is the fight for the future of all of our children for an inhabitable planet. We know the fight against war and the welcoming of refugees is a fight for all of us.

And if there’s one good thing I can say about Trump, it’s that he’s a uniter–he’s united us in struggle against him.

The Women’s March a few weeks ago gave us all a sense of our power when we come together. But this is just the beginning. We need to get organized and keep up the pressure. On March 8, which is International Women’s Day–which is actually originally a socialist holiday–there has been an international call put out for a women’s strike.

We should see what we can do here, but just the idea of it is so powerful, because the reality is that women’s labor, both in the workplace, but also our unpaid labor in the home, is crucial to making this society run. This is at the heart of why the powers that be want to keep women in their place, and it is also where our potential power lies.

There’s so much more to say, for now, I encourage you all to get involved, organize and learn more. Check out the International Socialist Organization. Check out Seattle Clinic Defense. Get active in whatever way you’re able, but keep it up. I look forward to marching side by side with you today and on many more days to come!

Categories: Political Parties

Our answer to anti-choice intimidation

Seattle ISO - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 18:28

https://socialistworker.org/2017/02/08/our-answer-to-anti-choice-intimidation

Clinic defender and former abortion provider Michelle Farber explains why Planned Parenthood’s call for pro-choice protesters to stay away is the wrong strategy.

February 8, 2017

Members of Seattle Clinic Defense make a stand for the right to choose (Leela Yellesetty | SW)

I PULL up to the sidewalk outside my local Planned Parenthood clinic, coffee in hand, and stare out the windows, a light drizzle coming down. I pull on my mittens and meet up with the other defenders, and we unfurl our large banners.

One is bright red and reads “Trust Women.” The other, our canary yellow banner, says “Seattle Clinic Defense.” Our banners are one of our most trusty tools, used to block the signs of anti-choice forces from view and to announce to passersby that we are defending the clinic, its staff and its patients.

Since its inception in 2011 following the March for Choice here in Seattle, Seattle Clinic Defense has seen its ups and downs, hosted countless clinic defenses and coordinated two Northwest Reproductive Justice Summits.

In this time, I also moved from nursing student to midwifery student to abortion provider. I have been on both sides of a clinic defense, and my experiences defending clinics and taking care of patients inside an abortion clinic have led me to the conclusion that there is no more important place for pro-choice activists to be on February 11 than out in front of their local clinic, which will likely be under attack by anti-choice forces.

On February 11, Planned Parenthood clinics around the country will be targeted by anti-choice groups trying to get federal money defunded from Planned Parenthood health centers. Currently, the anti-choicers have 187 separate events planned in 44 states.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IN MY year as an abortion provider (I currently do not provide abortions as a clinic-based midwife), I saw hundreds of women through their choice to terminate a pregnancy, and I saw the great damage caused by the intimidation and harassment of anti-choice demonstrators.

Two years ago, when I worked at a reproductive health and abortion clinic, I would prepare women for their abortions by giving them medications beforehand and setting them up with a birth control method for afterward. I sat in a small, windowless room and surveilled the women sitting in front of me. They were all ages and from every walk of life.

One morning, a young woman in University of Washington sweats was hunched in the chair across from me. Tears ran silently down her cheeks.

I moved the little box of tissues closer to her on the table. “Want to tell me what those tears are about?” My neutral opening. Sometimes the answer is no. But today, after heaving a giant sob, the young woman’s voice exploded:

I just cannot believe those assholes! I felt totally fine about coming here today, about my decision. I cannot have a baby right now. But seeing them out there, praying, those giant signs…can you tell me, am I really killing a baby? Will it look like those pictures? Will it hurt them?

That day, the clinic I was working in had no pro-choice clinic defenders. Patient after patient came through my doors. Some, already feeling ambivalent about their decision, needed extra time, counseling and reassurance that their decision was the right one.

Some were angry. Some were defeated. Some just cried and didn’t want to talk about it. No matter how they expressed it, they were all affected.

A week went by, and I went to work at a different clinic. This clinic has a strong pro-choice defense group–there are two in our area, Seattle Clinic Defense and Tacoma Clinic Defense–and they had come out to support us that day. I would always honk my horn and wave as I pulled into the parking lot, already feeling a sense of solidarity and protection. Our community stands with us.

Inside the clinic, the feeling was electric. All of the staff’s moods were elevated. Many of my co-workers talked about ordering the clinic defenders pizza for lunch. Many of us rotated going out on our breaks to thank them for standing up for us and the services we provide. The patients were amazed by the group’s dedication.

That day, my conversations with women looked very different. Gone was the fear, intimidation and pain. We talked about plans for the future. I talked to a new mother, a law student, a high school senior picking colleges for the next year.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ACROSS THE country, Planned Parenthood’s political arm is asking that the enormous outpouring of support for counter-picketing on February 11 be redirected into fundraisers, volunteering for the organization, and simply utilizing the services. The organization is actively discouraging counterprotests.

In an e-mail from Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaii, we are told that “our patients come see us for high-quality health care, not for a political statement.”

Unfortunately, when anti-choice protesters are unopposed, patients are already getting a political statement–one that is directly challenging their reproductive freedom and feelings of safety and security in carrying out those choices.

The right is already emboldened by the victory of Donald Trump. Not opposing anti-choice forces on the ground sends the further message that we will tolerate harassment at our clinics.

When Seattle Clinic Defense first started, the political arm of Planned Parenthood also asked us to stop our counterpickets. Their argument was that it adds to the intimidation patients experience because they cannot tell who is an anti-choice demonstrator and who is there to support them. The group also argues that if we counterpicket, it gives right-wingers ammunition and motivation.

Our experience as clinic defenders was directly opposite to this, however. The multitude of our pro-choice signs and large banners made clear to patients that we were there to support them and the clinic. Many patients even risked further harassment to come closer to us and thank us for being there.

When Seattle Clinic Defense came out, the anti-choice presence was also different. They were not free to harass, yell at or attempt to hand flyers to patients. In order to try and avoid having to deal with us, the anti-choicers even moved their picket time to an earlier hour, when they were less likely to be able to see and harass patients.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AS LONG as there are anti-choice demonstrations in front of clinics, Seattle Clinic Defense will shield patients and staff from harassment. It is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood is actively demobilizing many people who would turn up to support them, and while we have the highest regard for the clinical services Planned Parenthood provides, we respectfully, but sharply disagree with their political strategy.

Discouraging individuals from mobilizing and planning counterpickets cuts off the possibility of a grassroots movement that can be built out of the momentum of the Women’s March on Washington and elsewhere around the country, possibly the single largest day of protest in U.S. history.

In order to build a resistance that can weather the storm of the attacks on abortion rights, which we are sure to see, we need an independent, militant abortion rights movement. More importantly, we must not simply build a defensive movement, but present a way forward.

The process of building the new abortion rights movement will look different in every city, and will surely face the same fits and starts that all movements do.

In order to capture the energy of motivated and radicalizing new activists, it is vitally important that we as socialists argue for confronting the anti-choice attack on our clinics and continue to encourage the development of independent organizations that can start us on the path to the new women’s movement.

Categories: Political Parties

Earned Sick Day Legislation Introduced in Rhode Island

Working Families - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:41

PROVIDENCE – On Tuesday, an earned sick leave bill was introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly intended to benefit nearly 170,000 workers, more than 40 percent of private sector workers in the state. The Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act would enable all employees to earn sick leave to care for their health and the health of their families. The bill also allows workers to earn time to use as “safe time” for those escaping domestic violence. Under the Act, workers would earn one hour of earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours or seven days per year.

Senator Maryellen Goodwin and Representative Aaron Regunberg, the sponsors of the bill, were joined by workers, business owners, healthcare professionals, and survivors of domestic violence In the State House Bell Room to introduce the bill.

“The lack of paid sick time disproportionately affects lower income workers, who shouldn’t have to choose between taking a needed day off for a doctor’s visit and paying their bills,” said Senator Goodwin.

Representative Regunberg reinforced the message that earned sick days is an urgent priority for the state. “What we’re saying today is that this most basic security is a moral imperative. We should not go another year knowing so many of our neighbors have to go to work while ill, or have to send their children to school sick.”

Supporters of the bill anticipate far-reaching benefits for the state. Seven states, the District of Columbia, and several cities across the country have already benefited from passing sick leave legislation. Businesses in these cities and states have reported higher productivity and greater employee engagement with little to no increase in costs. Workers with earned sick leave are more likely to seek preventative care and treat illness early, curbing the spread of disease. If passed, Rhode Island will join the growing list of states, including neighboring Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont in passing this pro-family legislation.

Dr. Carla Martin, a practicing primary physician at Providence Community Health Centers, spoke on Tuesday to stress the connection between preventative care and access to earned sick days. “Without earned sick leave, many people don’t go to the doctor when they think they should because they simply can’t afford to lose that piece of their paycheck. Many patients see no choice but to delay their care. It’s very frustrating to know we could have helped someone if they’d been able to visit us sooner. And of course, more complicated health issues become a huge financial burden on my patients and the broader health care system.”

Many businesses in Rhode Island are already leading the way on sick days and they are finding the policy has returned positive results for employees and business. Kaitlyn Roberts, owner and founder of Easy Entertaining Catering in Providence, gives her employees, whether a full time staff member or an hourly employee, paid sick time off. “Hourly employees are just as important as salaried management. It is paramount to me that we treat them with the same care and dedication that we do to our long-term salaried employees. We have a very low attrition rate on hourlies and every business owner can relate to just how expensive turnover and training is.”

After listening to the personal testimonies presented in the Bell Room, the crowd of more than 100 supporters took the opportunity to speak about the importance of earned sick days with their representatives gathered in the House and Senate Chambers. At 4pm, the bill was introduced simultaneously to both chambers of the Assembly. Rhode Islanders filled the public galleries in the chambers to show their support for the measure.

Sandra Braz, an activities coordinator at Elmwood Adult Day in Providence spoke about the change she saw in her workplace when a policy of earned sick days was introduced. “My employer used to provide sick time based on preferential treatment. But the fact is, we all get sick. I’d see my colleagues call out for a few days when they or a family member got sick, but they would lose a piece of their paycheck. I joined with my fellow employees to create a union to call for the benefits we all deserve, including earned paid sick days. Now, I’m so glad we can all take care of ourselves and our families without risking our financial security.”

Earned sick leave has broad bipartisan support across the country. Polls show that more than 80 percent of voters nationally believe that workers should be able to earn sick time.

The Rhode Island Earned Sick Days Campaign is a coalition of groups including AARP, Center for Justice, Economic Progress Institute, Fuerza Laboral, Jobs with Justice, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Rhode Island Working Families, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, RI SEIU State Council, SEIU 32BJ, District 615, Teamsters Local 251, UNITE HERE, Local 26, and Women’s Fund of RI united to ensure passage of a  statewide measure to allow workers to care for themselves and their families without fear of lost income or job loss.

The post Earned Sick Day Legislation Introduced in Rhode Island appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

Documenting Texas' Forgotten Radical History

DSA's Democratic Left - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:11
The staff of Austin underground left newspaper The Rag in the early 1970s.

By Richard Croxdale and Glenn Scott

Texas may seem like a very red state at the moment, but it has a radical history. Teaching that history is why we started People’s History in Texas in 1976, beginning a journey that would lead us to produce 20 educational videos about the often-forgotten struggles for social justice that have played a crucial part in our state’s past.

Returning to Austin (even now, Texas is not all red) in 1974 from teaching Chicano middle-school students, Glenn (one of the authors of this piece) was inspired to create educational materials for young women who faced a dearth of books, articles, stories and movies about women's history that depict women as active participants in society. To deliver on her vision, she gathered a group of young radicals and feminists to found a non-profit whose aim was (and still is) discovering the history of Texans who have been neglected or underserved by the educational process.

Categories: Political Parties

It was right to confront the anti-choice bigots

International Socialist Organization - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 13:17
Socialist Worker journalist Elizabeth Schulterounds up reports from around the country as supporters of reproductive rights made it clear they are ready to stand up to the right-wing assault. February 13, 2017

All over the country, thousands turned out at Planned Parenthood clinics to show their support for women's right to choose and to counter anti-abortion groups who called a February 11 day of action in support of the federal government defunding the women's health care provider.

Whether it was the huge crowd in Minnesota, where thousands gathered to face off against anti-abortion fanatics, or the counterprotesters in places you might not have guessed--the 200 people in Peoria, Illinois, the hundreds in Reno, Nevada, the dozens in Evansville, Indiana--the opposition to the anti-choice bigots on February 11 showed the huge support for a woman's right to choose around the country.

But not only that. The mobilizations showed people's willingness—eagerness, really—to take on the anti-abortion right.Read more

Categories: Political Parties

Resistance and Reaction in the Age of Trump—International Socialist Review Issue #104 is now out!

International Socialist Organization - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 20:51

Issue #104 of the International Socialist Review is now out! The ISR is offering new subscribers a 50% discount off their normal rate. Enter discount code “DUMPTRUMP” at checkout to take advantage of this offer.

Below we are publishing the new issue’s editorial—“Resistance and reaction in the age of Trump.” Visit the ISR’s website today to subscribe and view other newly released articles!

- - - - -

Resistance and Reaction in the Age of Trump

US politics in the past months has experienced, to quote the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, “an abrupt turn in the objective situation.”

Very few of us on the left expected that the next president of the United States would be a corrupt, narcissistic billionaire swindler, an open sexist and self-confessed serial abuser, and a man the Far Right hails for his open racism and nationalist xenophobia. Donald Trump successfully positioned himself as a right-wing populist, anti-establishment candidate who would tear up free trade, deport immigrant “job-stealers,” and restore good jobs for “real” Americans. And it worked.

Democrat Hillary Clinton positioned herself as the bland realist candidate of the status quo (“America is already great”). She thought that she could take the votes of women, workers, Blacks, and immigrants for granted. The “clear favorite of the US capitalist class,” as Charlie Post’s essay in this issue notes, Clinton loudly touted her establishment support. She thought she could win by pointing at Trump and saying that she wasn’t him. But her lackluster campaign failed to shake her popular image as a friend of Wall Street.Read more

Categories: Political Parties

Introduction to the ISO Study and Discussion Series

Seattle ISO - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 17:24

 

Thinking of joining the ISO? Join us for this 4-part introduction to Revolutionary Socialism and organizing with the ISO.

“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.”
— V.I. Lenin.

 

The sessions will be held on Tuesdays at 6pm at the Common Good Cafe, 1415 NE 43rd St.

 

January 31 & February 7

Session 1: The Socialist Alternative

• Reading p. 1-27 in the Where We Stand Packet: sections on Socialism, not capitalism; Workers’ power; Revolution; and Internationalism

• Optional Reading: Chapters 3, 6, and 7 of Meaning of Marxism

 

February 21

Session 2: Marxism and Oppression

• Reading p. 28-30 in the Where We Stand Packet: section on on Full Equality and Liberation

• Optional reading: Chapter 11 of Meaning of Marxism

 

February 28

Session 3: The Revolutionary Party

• Reading p. 31-32 in the Where We Stand Packet: section on the Revolutionary Party

• Optional reading: Chapter 8 of Meaning of Marxism

 

March 7

Session 4: How the ISO is Organized

Members’ Toolkit p. 2-10

Categories: Political Parties

Feb. 14: No Meeting

Seattle ISO - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 17:23

The Seattle ISO will not be having our normally scheduled Tuesday night meeting this week.  Please join us next week on Feb. 21 at 7pm at the Common Good Cafe, 1415 NE 43rd St.!

Categories: Political Parties

We Can Resist Trump’s Immigration Orders

DSA's Democratic Left - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 18:55

By Duane Campbell

The chaos created by Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is only the beginning of a crisis that Trump and his allies are creating.  Less noticed was Trump’s rollout of executive actions on immigration and the border wall on Jan. 25. These executive orders were the opening act of what is certain to be an aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigration.  The left responded quickly to the Jan. 27 ban on refugees with important protests and significant legal challenges.  However, Trump has created so many crises in his first weeks that it would be easy to miss the long-term train wreck being created by Trump’s earlier executive actions on the border wall and the expansion of arrests and deportations.

On Jan. 25 Trump signed an executive order on immigration that directs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to use a  broadened definition of  “criminal” and focus deportation efforts not only on those who have been convicted of crimes, but also those who have been charged, or “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”  This order will increase the number of persons subject to deportation by at least 2 million and the order will triple the number of agents in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office and give them broad power to ultimately decide who should be deported. Increased deportations have already begun under this new executive order. 

Categories: Political Parties

2/12 – Orange County Meeting

SP-USA: California - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 05:30

WHEN:
2/12 @ 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:
The Old Ship British Pub
1120 W 17th St
Santa Ana, cA 92706

Open to the public, minus fascists, racists, sexists, Islamophobes, agists, homophobes, transphobes, and other assholes.


Categories: Political Parties

2017 WESA Symposium –

Working Families - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 01:06

Certain policies not only make working people’s lives better, but also make our communities stronger and make Maryland a more attractive place to live and work, like —
Equal Pay, Fair Scheduling, Earned Sick Leave, Affordable Child Care and a Statewide $15 Minimum Wage.

The Women’s Economic Security Agenda (WESA) is a strategy for improving the economic stability of women and their families in Maryland. We must continually press our state legislators to act with urgency* …Message us to get involved and #pushwesa

And special thanks again to everyone who made the February 6th 2017 WESA Symposium successful. We’re so grateful to our Cosponsors* pictured here-

Symposium Co-Sponsors – right to left: Charly Carter, Andrea Johnson, Emily Martin National Women’s Law Center, Joanne C. Benson, Anita Rosen AAUW – Maryland, Denise Herietta Norfleet-Walker, Ben Orr Maryland Center on Economic Policy, Rebecca Wagner, Advocates for Children and Youth, Dante Bishop, Sandy Bell, Maryland National Organization for Women, Diana Philip NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Aletheia McCaskill Tender Tots Childcare Facility, Ginger Macomber, Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Maryland, Boaz Young UFCW Local 400, Jennifer Dwyer, Larry Stafford Jr. Progressive Maryland, Not pictured: Delegate Ariana Kelly, Joseph Kitchen, Ruth Martin

The post 2017 WESA Symposium – appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

Statement: Budget Plan Protects Wealthy Individuals, Weakens Working Families

Working Families - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 18:26

In response to Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget plan address delivered on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lindsay Farrell, Director of Working Families Organization:

Today, the Governor sent a $1.3 Billion invoice to everyone in the state – except our richest high net worth individuals. Despite what the Governor says, this budget plan does not allow communities to “lift each other up.” In reality, it’s poor, working and middle class people that will lift up the wealthy by shouldering the larger burden of balancing the budget. Rich people are off the hook.

The Governor’s budget plan aims to generate revenue from the people who can afford it the least. Even where on the budget plan it appears that wealthy people are tapped to contribute towards fixing the budget deficit through property tax increases, its poor people that will be hit the hardest because they can afford it the least.

  • Cutting the state Earned Income Tax Credit will raise taxes on close to 200,000 low-income families in our state.
  • Middle class and poor homeowners are asked to take another cut on the property tax credit.
  • And this budget assumes $700,000 is sacrifices from social workers, caretakers for people with disabilities, employment counselors and our public safety workforce.
  • Last year, after our state budget made $900 million in cuts to poor and middle class families, and laid off over 2,000 workers, we saw our state economy take a huge hit with over 13,000 layoffs between June and December.

Essentially, this plan will weaken our economy by lightening the pocketbooks of the vast majority of residents in the state, the residents that actually drive economic growth.

By and large, Governor Malloy’s budget plan shields the state’s high net worth individuals because of this belief, as he’s stated before, that raising taxes on wealthy people “punishes success.” The problem is that “success” at the top hardly benefits the middle and working class people that enable it. As a state, we’re over reliant on big business and the finance sector, and there’s the unrealistic expectation that if these sectors remain healthy, then everyone else will benefit. Well, the stock market is booming, profits are up, and we have 18% more millionaires in the state than 7 years ago. Yet, the middle class is stagnating and wealth disparity is still among the highest in the nation. It’s simple supply and demand: when regular folks have more money to spend, our economy grows.

We can raise the revenue we need to narrow the budget deficit simply by making our tax code more equitable, and we hope our legislature will stand up to the Governor to do so. For example, closing the “carried interest” tax loophole would help stabilize Connecticut’s unbalanced revenue structure in which the wealthiest families pay half the effective tax rate than the poorest families. Taxing carried interest fees similarly to how other income is taxed can contribute $520M/yr, and narrow Connecticut’s $1.5B deficit by more than one third. Right now, billionaire financiers in CT pay lower tax rates than everyone else. Fixing the budget is all hands on deck. Millionaires and billionaires should carry their own weight. That’s a good start.

The post Statement: Budget Plan Protects Wealthy Individuals, Weakens Working Families appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

NYWFP Endorses Marvin Holland for City Council

Working Families - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 17:00

Originally published in the Amsterdam News:

The Working Families Party recently endorsed Marvin Holland for the City Council’s 9th District seat. The WFP labels Holland a “voice for Harlem” in uncertain times and a new face in city government.

The special election for the 9th District City Council seat, once occupied by Inez Dickens, takes place Feb. 14.

“With his extensive experience in organized labor and longstanding dedication to the Harlem community, Marvin Holland has proven time and again that he knows how to fight for working people,” said WFP New York State Director Bill Lipton in a statement. “During these uncertain times, when families fear the loss of vital government services in the Trump era, we know that Marvin will be a voice for working families in the City Council.”

 

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Categories: Political Parties

New Report Spotlights CT Billionaires Who Avoid Paying Equal Tax Rates

Working Families - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 08:15

With more cuts hurting the state’s economy expected to be announced during Governor Malloy’s budget address on Wednesday, a new report by CT Hedge Clippers, a coalition aiming to close the “carried interest tax loophole, profiles some Connecticut’s wealthiest hedge fund and private equity billionaires who’ve exploited the tax loophole, making millions and billions of dollars in lost revenue to the state. All indications from the Governor suggest that he will continue to protect this special class of billionaires, and shift the responsibility of reducing the state’s $1.5 billion deficit onto regular taxpayers and workers once again.

According to the report, “Connecticut is home to a small set of hedge funds and private equity managers who are among the richest human beings on the planet, benefitting from an unfair tax loophole that lets them avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

The report can be viewed here.

Taxing carried interest fees similarly to how other income is taxed can contribute $520M/yr, and narrow Connecticut’s $1.5B deficit by more than one third, according to the report. [1] A state bill to close the “carried interest” tax loophole was introduced last week by coalition members and 35 legislators, including State Representatives Robyn Porter and Josh Elliott. The bill would recapture lost revenue which should be federally taxed at the  top bracket at 39%, raising badly needed funds for schools, towns, health care and protecting essential public services in Connecticut.

Governor Malloy has opposed the bill, stating, “I don’t think it’s in the best interest of Connecticut to lead that discussion, because we have employers who have large number of employees in our state.” [2] He later stated, “it would be detrimental to the state.” [3]

“Why is Governor Malloy so protective of this class of millionaires and billionaires at the same time he is asking for sacrifices from middle class and low income workers and families,  ? The state lost over 13,000 jobs in the second half of last year following the layoffs and  disastrous cuts affecting the most vulnerable people in our state budget,” said Lindsay Farrell, Executive Director of the Working Families Organization. “Why should financiers get preferential treatment and lower effective tax rates when their investments do not support the economic growth and job creation they did decades ago?”

A recent Atlantic article reported the finance sector is not the major economic engine it once was.[4] According to the Roosevelt Institute, “every dollar of earnings or borrowing used to be associated with a 40-cent increase in investment. Since the 1980s, though, less than 10 cents of each earned or borrowed dollar is invested. [5] This means fewer jobs created and more money winding up as shareholders’ profits, and ultimately, siphoned out of Connecticut’s economy.

Despite a quiet influx of financiers [6] to Connecticut in recent years, business lobby groups continue to stoke fears about businesses and millionaire residents leaving the state if forced to stop paying special tax rates that are lower than those paid by teachers or truck drivers, for example. The evidence flatly contradicts their claim.

According to Connecticut Voices for Children, the number of returns filed by earners with incomes above $1,000,000 increased by 18 percent and their AGI increased by 21.2 percent between 2010 and 2014. This means the millionaire population grew by 18% [7] during a period of time in which investments in Connecticut’s workforce were on the rise.

Who Would Pay in Connecticut: Meet the Billion Dollar Men

The report profiles a handful of the state’s top financiers, their sky-high incomes, lavish spending and how they made their money, which includes gaming drug trials, investments in dirty energy, fossil fuels and junk food, and pillaging of Puerto Rico’s economy.

  • Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, Westport

         Net Worth: $15.9 billion

  • Steve Cohen, Point72 Asset Management, Stamford

         Net Worth: $13 billion

  • Paul Tudor Jones, Tudor Investment Corporation, Greenwich

         Net Worth: $4.6 billion

  • C. Dean Metropoulos, C. Dean Metropoulos & Co., Greenwich

         Net Worth: $2.5 billion

  • Cliff Asness, AQR Capital, Greenwich

         Net Worth: N/A

  • William E. Macaulay, First Reserve Corporation, Greenwich

         Net worth: $1.3 billion

CT Hedge Clippers works to expose how hedge funds & private equity billionaires influence Connecticut government & politics in order to expand their wealth, power, & influence. We tell the stories of people whose lives have been ravaged by the devastating effects of unchecked greed that causes income inequality and decimates our communities. We unmask corrupt politicians, research front groups and special business interests that conspire to exploit workers, amass obscene amounts of wealth, and wreak financial havoc on our economy. And we give voice to business leaders who fight for tax equity and recognize how their success is enabled by the communities that support them.

The Coalition includes Working Families Organization, Make the Road CT, Strong Economy for All, AFSCME Council 4, AFT and AFL-CIO.

Last week, Proposed Bill 6973, an act to close the “carried interest” tax loophole, was introduced with the support of 35 legislators. Similar bills are planned or have been introduced this year in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island as part of a regionally coordinated effort between lawmakers.

Sources

  1. Hedge Papers No. 43: CT Billionaires and their Lucrative Loophole
  2. CT Mirror: Malloy Happy to Defer to Trump on Hedge Fund Tax Break
  3. Record Journal: Advocates Says Closing the Tax Loophole Could Create $500 in Revenue
  4. Atlantic: Finance is Ruining America
  5. Roosevelt Institute: Disgorge the Cash: The Disconnect Between Corporate Borrowing and Investment
  6. Greenwich Time: For Norwalk, Bethel and others, Big Momentum in 2016
  7. Connecticut Voices for Children: Alternate Revenue Options

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Categories: Political Parties

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