Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America

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Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America is the The Twin Cities chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.

Elected Officers, 2017

Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America Elected Officers, 2017.

The two Co-chairs, who must be of different genders, serve as official contacts and spokespersons for external communication and convene Steering Committee meetings and quarterly member meetings.

Officials

Socfem Mothers Day fundraiser

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Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America Socfem Mothers Day fundraiser. From the lefBree Richardson, MacKenzie Brown, Emma Youndtsmith, Mandy Medley, Tracy Waterman, Amy Tran, Katie Black, Diana Walter

2018 activities and endorsements

According to Deb Ramage, writing in Southside Pride March 19 2018:

Our Revolution in MN / Our Revolution TC

This organization appears to be still growing, although not as explosively, and yet still experiencing growing pains. In 2017, it incorporated as an independent 501(c)4 while solidifying its ties to the parent organization; elected a board of directors; and spawned several local affiliates, including one in Saint Paul. Another group (with some overlap) is called Our Revolution TC, but this is misleading, as they focus only on Minneapolis.
OR MN held a major membership meeting in Alexandria, Minn., and is making a major effort to be an organization of statewide relevance. On Jan. 6, OR MN held a very ambitious online RCV (ranked choice voting) poll for statewide pre-caucus candidate endorsements. It was perhaps too ambitious. They ended up walking back endorsements for State House and two for Congress, because many members, mostly outside the Twin Cities, objected to all members having a vote in all districts.
When all the dust settled, the following slate had been endorsed (CD = Congressional District): Tina Liebling, Erin Murphy, and Rebecca Otto for governor, Ryan Winkler for attorney general, Jon Tollefson for state auditor, Rich Wright for CD 1, Dean Phillips for CD 3, and Ian Todd for CD 6. OR MN made no endorsement in CDs 2 and 8 in order for local chapters in those congressional districts to consider local issues.
Meanwhile, OR TC took a different approach.
Highly critical of the technocratic online approach of OR MN, they focused on one big membership meeting and in-person pitches before voting at the meeting on Jan. 21, followed by a caucus training session on Jan. 30. (OR TC is credited with doing great caucus trainings.) Their slate of endorsees: Angela Conley for Hennepin County Commission District 4, Anthony Hernandez, House 60A, Jamie Long and Meggie Wittorf, House 61B, Hodan Hassan for House 62A, Aisha Gomez for House 62B, Jim Davnie for House 63A, Erin Murphy for governor, and Keith Ellison for Congress in District 5.
Late breaking Our Revolution news: A new group is forming called Our Revolution POC. Too early to say what they will get up to, but it sounds promising. Expect both local OR MN and OR TC members to be very active at DFL conventions this year.

Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America

On Jan. 20, 2018, TC DSA (full disclosure—I am the co-chair of this organization) held its largest ever membership meeting at North Commons Park Rec Center, with standing room only and over 140 members in attendance. At this meeting, we signed up what was at least our 500th member, and TC DSA, along with the national DSA, is still growing. There was not a lot of pressing business to do, so the meeting focused on celebrating where we had come from over 2017 and broad stroke directions for 2018, including “pitches” from all the “branches” in the chapter.
DSA’s radical democracy structure is to have members self-organize into branches—semi-autonomous groups based on interest areas or geography. It takes a while to get bedded down, but in TC DSA it is really yielding fruit. We also have a few working groups and two hardworking committees: Operations, which does communications, fundraising and event planning, and Political Education, which plans socials and training sessions, among other tasks.

At the January meeting, we had a 2017 in Review session that highlighted a staggering 50+ events, actions, social gatherings and membership meetings that TC DSA had in the course of 54 weeks. The highlights of the list included:
  • protesting against Trump’s immigration policies in several mass actions
  • endorsing Ginger Jentzen for Minneapolis
  • sending 15 delegates, alternates and observers to the DSA Conference in Chicago in August
  • attending the Bde Maka Ska vigil for victims of alt-right terror in Charlottesville, Va.
  • about 20 of us spending Labor Day picketing fast food establishments and flashmobbing a Home Depot along with CTUL and allied organizations
  • doing free brake-light replacements in CTUL’s parking lot
  • hosting a public talk on universal health care and “health justice” by “rockstar” young DSA pundit Tim Faust (attended by over 130 people)
  • our second annual meeting attended by 105 members
  • a major event at the U of M called the Campus Labor Institute, bringing labor and student activists together
  • a fabulous social event Bowl-cialism at Memory Lanes Bowling to end the year with a beer and a hug
Since January, TC DSA continues to be quite busy. A large number of us participated in the mass demonstrations against US Bank and for the Water Protectors. This was preceded by a “Know Your Rights” teach-in by two lawyer-members and by joining with other groups for signmaking and marshall training.
Our Socialist Feminists Branch put on a great social-fundraising event at Moon Palace Books—complete with DJs and cocktails—called The People’s Prom.
A new Electoral Branch has formed out of last year’s Election Guide Working Group, and their attention is laser-focused on the midterms and what TC DSA can do. We tracked caucus participation of our members (all DFL as it turns out, although we have a significant minority of Green Party members) and found that at least 24 members have been elected as delegates to SD, city or county conventions.
We will have information tables at some DFL conventions. Another new branch, on Housing Justice, is working on campaigns for rent control and other tenant rights areas. And finally, the Universal Health Care Working Group is gearing up to do canvassing to educate voters about “Medicare for All.”

ISAIAH

ISAIAH is a multi-faith mobilizing organization where participation can be either by church or other faith group or by individuals. They held a press conference on Jan. 18 to launch the #claimingourvoices public agenda for 2018. They also concentrate heavily on “flooding” the caucuses, encouraging their members to run for party offices and delegate slots, and providing “faith agenda” informational packets and swag and organizing tips. They have been active for a couple of election cycles already, so they also put time in on “accountability” of electeds, and lobbying the Capitol.
Their main focuses for this year are on racial justice and climate justice.
Future Issues …will also include activities of CTUL (Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha) 15Now, renter’s rights coalitions, labor unions, CUAPB (Communities United Against Police Brutality), and various peace and anti-imperialism groups.
FFI Both OR TC and TC DSA have newsletters to keep you informed. You can sign up for TC DSA’s biweekly Little Red Letter directly on their Facebook page: Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America. For ISAIAH news by email, start with their Facebook page and go to their website, where there is a sign-up page.[3]

Minutes of the Re-energizing Meeting, 19 February 2012

Membership Meeting, Democratic Socialists of America, Twin Cities Local, 19 February 2012

Location: 2210 E. 40th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In attendance: Members: Kate Baird, Alan Makinen, David Pera, Deb Ramage (convener). Members joining the meeting in-progress: Dan Frankot, Neal Gosman. Guests: Doug Mann.

After attendees introduced themselves, the meeting was called to order by Deb Ramage at 5:30 PM.

I. Agenda: A seven-point agenda provided by Deb Ramage is approved ; the use of Rusty’s Rules of Order is approved for meeting process. Ramage notes that the last TCDSA meeting was held 23 October 2011 at Davanni’s restaurant, Minneapolis. No minutes are known to have been taken of the meeting.

II. Meeting Officers: Deb Ramage volunteers to facilitate the meeting. Alan Makinen volunteers to take meeting minutes. Kate Baird volunteers to account for donations collected.

III. Structure Committee: Deb Ramage asks for volunteers to serve on a structure committee tasked with composing a proposal for new TCDSA bylaws that will be reported back to the membership [and national DSA] for review. Kait Baird, Alan Makinen, and David Pera volunteer to serve on the committee.

IV. Doug Mann, candidate for Minneapolis School Board. Mann speaks about his candidacy: This is his third run for a seat on the Minneapolis School Board. His support increased on his second try and he thinks he can build on that success in his current campaign. He has found support in the Minnesota Green Party in the past, especially among the Nader wing of the party, but he has not been able to garner the supermajority required to attain a GP endorsement, he says. He has had good support from students, having received the highest vote among all candidates in 2008 in the University of Minnesota campus district. He considers his chances poor of an endorsement by the DFL. However, an early TCDSA endorsement could improve his chances of success in the primary election. He brings a concern for social justice; the system is failing low-income students. And he seeks to end racism in public education. He would be an advocate on the school board for compliance with desegregation law, which the board has evaded. He discusses his opposition to the G. W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which pushes a corporate agenda on public education; for example, charter schools. This agenda has also been embraced by the Democratic Party. | A brief discussion follows about the function and responsibilities of the school board and Mann’s relationship with the teachers’ union. He has received support from individual teachers, he says, but not from their union, noting the close relationship between the union and the DFL. | Mann asks for TCDSA’s endorsement of his candidacy. Ramage says that it is now appropriate to move for an endorsement. Makinen questions whether a quorum of the membership is present and if an endorsement should be voted without the local having decided an endorsement process. There is time between now and the August primary to create an endorsement process, he notes. An alternate tack might be for a leader of TCDSA to make a personal, but organizationally identified, endorsement of Mann. Pera comments on the over-reliance on testing in the US education system. Both Republicans and Democrats are trying to undermine the power of education and postal unions, he says. Ramage points out that now is a good time for TCDSA to make an endorsement because the issues Mann is running on are being talked about. There is no parliamentary reason nor concern about election law that should prevent us from making an endorsement of Mann at this time, she says. Pera wonders if an endorsement by a self-described socialist organization might be used as red-baiting against Mann. Mann assured that he has long been public about his socialist politics. Baird moves that TCDSA endorse Doug Mann’s candidacy for Minneapolis School Board. Dave Pera seconds. The motion passes on a count of hands with two abstentions (Gosman and Makinen).

V. Action Plan, 2012-2013:

A. Occupy Minnesota. Ramage and Baird discuss their participation in Occupy actions and deliberations. Ramage reports that Occupy Minnesota coheres despite ideological tensions between various constituent organizations and tendencies (which have been written about more broadly in The Nation magazine). There has been dispute about the use of consensus or majority rule in decision making processes. Currently a 90 percent majority is required to approve a decision at general assemblies. Anarchist activists seem more concerned about being co-opted by the DFL than by the many Stalinists who are also involved in the movement. Ramage is positive about the Occupy homes (anti-foreclosure) activism. TCDSA members could help here on various tasks like building fences, doing neighborhood canvassing, providing food, supplying child care. Baird asks for thoughts on how to get TCDSA members to show up for Occupy Home actions. Frankot thinks that members are willing to participate. Ramage suggests pointing members to weekly All Committee Meetings that are held at Walker Community Methodist Church, in Minneapolis. Dinner is served at 5 PM; meetings begin at 6 PM. Also, members should sign up for e-mail alerts at the occupyminneapolis.mn website. Baird and Ramage comment that FBI infiltration and surveillance of such meetings is commonly accepted as a given.

B. Student Loans. Baird advocates involvement in efforts to reform student lending, which would include terms for renegotiation or forgiveness. Such a proposal could be brought to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Currently, government repayment terms are flexible, but private lenders are inflexible and tougher. Ramage asks for more information about how the system works and how to petition for policy change.

C. Food Democracy. Baird reported that GMO food labeling laws are being passed by state legislatures. She proposes that TCDSA join with other groups involved in this issue in Minnesota. Makinen says that he can research what groups are active in the state on this; he is familiar with the issue from his work at a food co-op.

D. May Day Parade and Festival. Ramage describes the event, organized by Heart of the Beast Theatre, which has been held in Minneapolis for many years. She asks if there is interest in participating this year with a table and/or a parade contingent. There is interest in having some presence at the event. Frankot agrees to look into the cost of a table space, but says he does not want to work the table.

E. Other Ideas: Mann suggests that TCDSA participate in Juneteenth activities. Neal Gosman explains that he is interested in initiating an internet space, a collectively constructed wiki, which would be moderated and coordinated, that would encourage a discussion among, for example, Occupy activists, with the goal of better articulating the movement’s common sense ideas. He wonders if TCDSA is interested in taking on such a project. Ramage says that she would be willing to work on the project. A discussion follows on the need to collect e-mail addresses from members so that they can be better informed about projects they could join and communication done more affordably (than through the mail). Pera comments that he has never been asked for his e-mail address. Makinen suggests sending a follow-up membership mailing asking these questions and to include a dues payment reminder. Ramage will put together a mailing that will include minutes from this meeting.[4].

Jennifer Nguyen Moore campaign

Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America supported Jennifer Nguyen Moore in 2018.

Although we put forward our best effort this campaigning season, Jennifer Nguyen Moore will not be advancing past the primaries for the position of Ramsey County Commissioner. Thank you to Kevin McClean and Tim Schaeffer, our DSA allies for coordinating volunteers in a crucial moment during the campaign. During our Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts, we had 2-5 DSA members at each session, making phone calls, knocking on doors and connecting with voters. A big thank you goes out to all of our volunteers and supporters. Without your support, we would not have been able to reach the people we did, or connect with the community in such a meaningful way. We are beyond proud and grateful for the army of staff who invested their heart and soul in this movement.[5]

Supporting Ginger Jentzen

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In 2017 Socialist Alternative member Ginger Jentzen stood for Ward 3 of the Minneapolis City Council.

She was endorsed by Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America.

Personnel

Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America Labor and Economic Justice Branch, contact Ian Ringgenberg.[6]

Leading members Kim William Jones, Jon Martinson, Brad McGarr.[7]

Contact

Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America contact in July 2017 was Nicholas Rea.[8]

Facebook 2017

As of July 4, 2017;[9]

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Admins

Facebook page, as of March 12, 2017

Facebook page, as of March 12, 2017;[10]

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Admins

Other Members

More members had been added by October 15.[11]

More names were added by June 2 2018;

Facebook, 2009

The following were listed as administrators on the chapter's Facebook group:[12]

Members

The following were listed as members on the chapter's Facebook group:[12]

Former members:

History/Influencing the DFL

Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America

There has been a Twin Cities Local of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for as long as there has been a DSA. The activity level, membership level and name recognition of DSA in the Twin Cities has waxed and waned over that period. In the 1980s, the group was very involved primarily in the peace movement and opposing the covert wars in Central America, aligned with religious socialism, the sanctuary church movement, and to some extent, local unions and leftist academics. Then there was a time when our closest alliances were with Native American activists, as we joined in to the counter-protests defending Ojibwe spearfishing and had Rev. Steve Charleston, a Native American clergyman, as a chair and mentor. The mid 1990s saw the DSA local get involved with the New Party (which morphed into Progressive MN before fading away after the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone), Teamsters for a Democratic Union, and a group trying to start an independent labor party. When OWS came to the Twin Cities, DSA members joined in there too. There were short periods of inactivity, but never enough to allow the chapter to fall away.

The Bernie Sanders run for the Democratic nomination changed all that. Sanders used the term “democratic socialist” to describe his place on the left-right spectrum, although he has never been a member. Suddenly, across the U.S., DSA membership and interest in the group escalated. Since early 2016, the membership rolls for the state of Minnesota have increased about fourfold. The chapter decided to do something it had never done before—hold a convention, adopt a constitution and by-laws, and elect officers. There is so much interest in the state that a separate chapter has formed in the Twin Ports/Duluth area, leaving the Twin Cities chapter to concentrate on the actual Twin Cities, while staying in touch with other outstate members. That was Twin Cities DSA 2.0. Now, with the election of Trump and yet another membership surge, it’s time for Twin Cities DSA 3.0.

Having a rational and democratic structure has given us the groundwork to analyze and respond to our present situation. Our members are eager to do something meaningful to resist Trumpism’s many ills, from xenophobia, racism, and misogyny to corruption, privatization, brutal union-busting, partisan dirty tricks, and deliberately increasing the toxic wealth inequality that is destroying our country. We have to focus, as do all the resistance groups. But we are a socialist advocacy group, neither single-issue, nor a political party. We have decided, in this first year under Trump, that one of our priorities is going to be local politics. Although if subgroups within the local in other geographic areas arise with the resources to concentrate on other cities, for 2017 we are getting involved in politics in Minneapolis, because the issues that Minneapolis will be grappling with in the electoral season happen to align with the issues our members here are most interested in, and which coincidentally are also issues the national DSA is interested in. These include such issues as sanctuary cities and protecting the human rights of immigrants, opposing big banks and predatory capitalism, improving wages and working conditions, and protecting and expanding ballot access. DSA is a nonpartisan nonprofit education and advocacy organization. As such, with some legal maneuvering we can endorse candidates, and we can do unlimited lobbying and advocacy, unlike charitable nonprofits. But we cannot have ties to any particular party. Nevertheless, in Minneapolis, one cannot affect policy without engaging with the DFL.
So to kick off Twin Cities DSA 3.0, we will be introducing, through our Minneapolis resident members, three resolutions in the DFL precinct caucuses to be held in Minneapolis on April 4, 2017. One resolution will ask the DFL to support the Minneapolis City Council in exploring the option of creating a municipal bank, as a profound way to break its relationship with Wells Fargo, an institution that conflicts with its values on many levels. Another resolution will be directed toward asking the city to consider an expanded definition of its “sanctuary city” status. This is something a number of other progressive cities have recently been moved to do, due to the increasing severity of immigration laws and their enforcement to be expected from the new administration. Still another resolution will ask the DFL to direct the city to put opposing the pre-emption legislation currently in the Minnesota Legislature very high on its legislative lobbying agenda. Pre-emption is a catch-all term for state efforts to prevent cities from passing their own wage, hour and working condition laws that are more labor-friendly than those of the state. Republicans and neoliberal Democrats alike are using this tool to clamp down on the more liberal city administrations and try to stem the tide toward higher minimum-wage laws, fairer scheduling laws, and rights to sick and safe time, all of which are “on the table” in Minneapolis.[14]

About

The chapter is involved in election campaigns of progressive candidates from Minnesota and organizes DSA events to help progressive movements and policies in our state. The chapter is in contact with members of the Canadian NDP, the Mexican PRD and maintains contacts and relationships with Socialist International parties in Western Europe. They support the Minnesota steelworkers' "blue-green alliance" and local anti-war campaigns. The chapter periodically publishes the "Fist & Rose" newsletter. As at Nov. 22, 2010, the Twin Cities DSA local had been meeting monthly for twenty years. Up until recently, the chapter met at the home of the late Corbin Kidder, a founder of the local.[13]

1990 activity

In 1990 Twin Cities DSA reactivated, intiating what coordinator Dan Frankot predicted will be a "sharp emphasis on direct involvement by DSA in local issues." Having adopted housing; health care and electoral work as the Local's priorities, members were getting involved in Paul Wellstone's campaign for U.S.Senate and "have heard from area homeless advocates and the director of Minnesota's Health Care Campaign, Tim Sullivan, about joining their efforts". [15]

1991 activity

The Twin Cities local held a series of discussion groups at the Meridel LeSueur Center for Peace and Justice on the history and policies of democratic socialism.[16]

1992 activity

In 1992, Stephan Peter, a DSAer who is also a member of the German Social Democratic Party, spoke at a meeting of the St Paul-Minneapolis DSA in November on the political situation in Europe.

DSAers Gene Martinez and Anita Martinez hosted a fundraiser for the Wellstone Alliance. Senator Paul Wellstone spoke to the DSAers and Democratic Farmer Laborites in attendance.[17]

May Day 2000

Twin Cities DSA co-sponsored “May Day 2000: College Students, Labor Movements, Political Action,” a conference at Anoka Ramsey Community College. DSA National Director Horace Small was the highlight of this event, and DSA had a literature table. Other speakers included Billie Davenport, President, Teamsters Local Union 2000, and Mary Rosenthal, State Director for the National AFL-CIO. Our local is meeting .[18]

Supporting Wellstone, Dayton and Gore

In 2000 Minnesota Democratic Socialists of America decided to focus all of its efforts as a group the next two years on reelecting Senator Paul Wellstone, who "is closest to DSA’s ideology. Although divided on Gore vs. Nader, they are 100% united behind Wellstone. Wellstone is being targeted by the Republicans and Bush administration for defeat."

The Twin Cities Local also started a Social Democratic Action caucus in the Democratic Farmer/Labor Party. SDA canvassed regularly for Mark Dayton and Al Gore.[19]

2002 activities

2002
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For Twin Cities DSA the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone was a personal as well as a political loss, as most many local members knew Wellstone individually. DSA’s Social Democratic Action caucus in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is working to keep Paul’s legacy alive and to move the DFL in a solidly progressive direction. According to Stephan Peter , ome of the local’s members have worked to form a permanent International Commission within DSA and recently hosted a meeting with Swedish Social Democrats and Left Socialists..[20]

According to Dan Frankot, the Social Democratic Action Caucus of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, founded by DSA, "is organizing around various issues and will work to reelect Paul Wellstone for a third term to the Senate."[21]

In 2002, Bill Blaikie was the House Leader of the Canadian New Democratic Party and his party’s trade expert. Blaikie, who represents Winnipeg-Transcona, and Chicago’s Raul Ross Bineva, a member of the Mexican Party of the Democratic Revolution ), accepted an invitation by Twin Cities DSA to explore collaboration between the three “Socialist International” member organizations in the upper Midwest. [22]

"Building a Multilateral Future"

On October 9, 2004, DSA co-hosted the first of a series of international dialogues that "unite American progressives with their counterparts from around the world. The topic, the future of multilateralism,could not have been more relevant".

The participants were Robert Goebbels, member of the Luxembourg Socialist Labor Party (LSAP) in the European Parliament, vice president of the Party of European Socialists grouping in the European Parliament, and previously Foreign Minister of Luxembourg; Jo Leinen, member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the European Parliament, chair of its constitution committee and member of the committee for foreign affairs, human rights, common security and defense policy; and, representing American progressives, Donald Fraser, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and its committee on international relations, and former mayor of Minneapolis.

Alexa McDonough, the Canadian New Democratic Party’s peace and international development advocate in the Ottawa Parliament and former leader of the NDP, intended to participate in the panel, but was called away to tend to a crisis in her riding

The dialogue was the centerpiece for the Midwest Regional DSA retreat, and also had wide support from other organizations. It was initiated by the DSA International Commission and the DSA FUND and cosponsored by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) Education Foundation; the Freeman Centerat the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute,which donated the meeting space; and the Washington office of the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which provided the travel costs for the speakers. Professor Don Ostrom, president of the DFL Education Foundation, welcomed the panel and the audience on behalf of Minnesota’s progressive community, while Stephan Peter, a member of Twin Cities DSA’s Executive Committee and a co-chair of DSA’s International Commission acted as moderator.[23]

Martin Sabo, US Congressman from Minnesota was also invited, but may not have appeared.[24]

Socialist partnership

In 2005 Stephan Peter was invited to give a talk on U.S. politics at his German SPD local in Dillingen, with which the Twin Cities local had established a sister partnership.[25]

Canadian connection

In 2008 Twin Cities DSA and the DSA International Commission played host to a prominent northern member, Canadian politician/activist and New Democratic Party member Marianne Cerilli, in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Cerilli was caucus chair and opposition critic for Environment, Housing, and Immigration and held a ministerial portfolio in Family Services and Housing in the Manitoba Legislature. She also ran second in the 2006 election for mayor of Winnipeg. 120 students and community members at a local community college attended, and there was an informal international talking circle of over 20 DSAers and friends in downtown Minneapolis.[26]

Reaching out

In 2009 Twin cities DSA collaborated with the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Progressive Caucus and the local Socialist Party USA , and sent a member to Germany to develop a sister partnership with a German SPD local.[27]

Occupy Minnesota

Several members, including Lance Goldsberry of the local Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America took part in the Occupy Minnesota (Wall Street) event, Sunday October 9th, 2011.[28]

Americans of all types were at this event- anarchists, socialists, tea-partiers, Ron Paulites, libertarians, and ordinary people, all protesting Corporate power and its alliance with government. It is not shrill to suggest that unchecked corporate power is leading to a nascent fascism. Average Americans are being asked to sacrifice, while the rich and corporations are not being asked to sacrifrice. Corporate profits are privatized, while corporate losses are socialized.

References