William McNary

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William McNary

Template:30seconds Template:TOCnestleft William McNary is the pro socialist president of USAction and a long time friend and colleague of Barack Obama.

According to the organization's website;

William McNary has been called one of the most electrifying and inspirational speakers of our time. McNary serves as the President of USAction, the nation’s largest coalition of progressive grassroots organizations working together to win social, racial, economic and environmental justice.

Citizen Action/Illinois

McNary is also the Co-Director for Citizen Action/Illinois, an affiliate of USAction, working on an ambitious agenda that includes health care reform, environmental safety, public education and campaign finance reform.[1]

One of the leading advocates for health care reform, McNary has traveled extensively across the country addressing churches, labor unions, health care providers, senior citizen organizations and community groups.

McNary serves on the boards of the Center for Budget and Tax Accountability, Women's Voices Women Vote, and Public Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to public financing of elections. He has run Leadership Training forums where he teaches everyday citizens how to effectively lobby the legislature. These groups have included the AARP, the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the NAACP.

McNary was a labor union member of UNITE HERE where he was elected as the president of his local for two years. Over five election cycles, McNary has worked with the Rainbow/Push Coalition where he co-directed targeted voter registration and "Get Out the Vote" campaign efforts[2].


In November 1999 William McNary, became the president of USAction at the organization's founding conference in Arlington Heights Illinois. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky also addressed the convention. Schakowsky urged delegates to demand the "the rich start sharing their wealth with us".[3]


William McNary has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Iowa[4].

Radical IPA

Before joining USAction McNary served for 12 years as Legislative Director of Illinois Public Action(IPA)-now known as Citizen Action/Illinois.

Both IPA and USAction were and are heavily infiltrated by Marxists-several of whom have close connections to Barack Obama.

In the mid 90s IPA's board included Obama's long time friend, Democratic Socialists of America member Quentin Young, his one time boss and Communist Party USA/Soviet front activist Alice Palmer, long time supporter, "DSA friendly" Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Obama supporting, DSA linked unionist Tom Balanoff.

Several other DSA members were active in IPA and two Chicago Communist Party USA members, Frank Lumpkin and Bea Lumpkin are credited with major roles in building the organisation.

Radical USAction

USAction was founded by Heather Booth, who now serves as vice president under McNary. A former member of the 1960's radical organisation Students for a Democratic Society, Booth was closely connected in the '70s to the Chicago socialists who went on to help found DSA in 1982. Booth went on to found the DSA run Midwest Academy, an infamous training school for agitators, unionists and activists.

USAction's board includes several radicals including former Chicago DSA activist John D. Cameron. USAction Program Director Alan Charney was formerly DSA's National Director.

Northeast Action conference

The 2001 regional conference of Northeast Action on February 9-10 "brings together hundreds of progressive leaders, activists and elected officials for two days of discussions and workshops on public education, universal health care, clean elections, criminal justice reform, etc. Speakers included

The conference took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Braintree.[5]

DSA connections

2005 Debs Dinner


Every year Chicago Democratic Socialists of America hosts an awards dinner, named after prominent socialists Eugene V Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington. Most of the speakers and award recipients are DSA members, sympathetic socialists or communists.

William McNary was guest speaker at the 2005 Debs-Thomas-Harrington Dinner, with Frank Llewellyn[6].

The 47th Annual Eugene V. Debs - Norman Thomas - Michael Harrington Dinner was held on Friday evening, May 6, 2005, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago... Our featured speaker was William McNary, who spoke on the theme of the Dinner, "A Perfect Storm Rising: The Crisis in Health Care, Defending Social Security". The Dinner also heard from Frank Llewelleyn, the National Director of DSA

2011 Debs Dinner

The 53rd Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner was held in 2011, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro on Friday the 13th of May.

William McNary of Citizen Action/Illinois was Master of Ceremonies.

Sandra Shimon, a Greater Oak Park DSA member and an Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty board member, presented the Dinner award to ICADP's Jeremy Schroeder. In accepting the award, Schroeder made reference to the politics and values represented by Eugene V. Debs. Despite the victory in abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, the work of Illinois Abolitionists is not over. Not only is there the Federal death penalty, but proponents of the death penalty in Illinois are already attempting to bring it back.


Chicago DSA co-chair Ron Baiman presented the Dinner award to AFSCME's John Cameron. In accepting the award, Cameron noted that while both public and private employees may be represented in the workplace by a union, public employees, as voters, have some say in the meaning of their work, and this is the essence of socialism.

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky seized the time and the podium to second the Dinner's endorsement of Cameron's work. Despite now being in the minority in Congress, Schakowsky noted in passing, she was extremely optimistic as the conservatives in Congress have seriously over-reached themselves.

Featured speaker was Ralph Martire, the Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Martire, who began his career as a corporate lawyer. "Mergers and acquisitions," he sighed. But Martire wielded statistics with passion and clarity to reveal the intersection of tax policy, education, class, and racism.

The Dinner closed with the singing of "Solidarity Forever," this time led by Christine Steyer, a singer who graciously donated her talents.[7]

Anti Iraq war activism


William McNary has worked closely with several Chicago socialists in oppostion to the Iraq War.

From left to right, Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward), William McNary, Catherine Buntin, Carl Davidson and Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward) hold a press conference at Federal Plaza in Chicago, Sept. 21, to launch mobilizing efforts for the Midwest regional antiwar demonstration on Oct. 27.

Joe Moore is a leftist Democrat Party activist and a strong Barack Obama supporter. Carl Davidson is a leader of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). Like Heather Booth he was active in Students for a Democratic Society and has worked very closely with Barack Obama. He helped organise the famous 2002 Chicago peace rally where Obama first made his name as an opponent of the Iraq War. In 1994 Ricardo Munoz attended the founding conference of Committees of Correspondence in Chicago.

Communist Party connections

William McMary, 28th Communist Party USA Convention, Chicago 2005

William McNary has close ties to the Communist Party USA.

McNary wrote an article opposing drug company profiteering for the February 16 2002 edition of the Communist Party USA newspaper Peoples Weekly World.

Every year the Illinois branch of the Communist Party USA hosts a banquet to raise funds for the party paper.[8]

Honoring legendary fighters for social justice, the annual Illinois People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet raised $6,100 for the 2002 Fund Drive here Oct. 20. William McNary, president of USAction and veteran of countless successful union and community battles, gave the keynote address. In his speech McNary told of his own personal tragedies, from which he has found the strength to fight until social justice is won, and gave a call to all present, “We must be in it to win it.”

Also in October 2002, McNary was interviewed in Peoples Weekly World.

No matter the issue, if it affects working people, William McNary, president of USAction, is there, fighting the good fight for social and health security, quality public schools and against the right-wing agenda.
“That’s a big order but it can be won with leadership and organization. If we had elected leaders who would stand as firmly for these issues as others stand for Wall Street, we’d be well on the road to winning them,” he said in a recent interview. “If we are to win these things we must build political power at the grass roots,”

In July 2005 William McNary was a keynote speaker at the Communist Party USA National Convention in Chicago. Of the fifteen speakers and panellists listed, only McNary and James Thindwa were not confirmed Communist Party members[9].

McNary/Obama ties

William McNary has worked closely with Barack Obama over many years.

In May 2008 McNary told the Huffington Post[10];

I am also a voter. And in this election, I am supporting Barack Obama, whom I've known and worked with for years. I am also an elected delegate to the Democratic Convention for Barack Obama.

According to David Moberg, a writer for the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America linked magazine In These Times;

He collaborated with United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ), a metropolitan Chicago faith-based organization formed in 1997 by the IAF, to expand children's health insurance in Illinois. For its part, UPAJ gave Obama a prominent platform to address its multiracial, metropolitan membership during his 2004 bid for the U.S. Senate. William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois, a coalition of labor, community and citizen groups, says, "Barack was not just willing to meet with community-based groups, not only to be a good vote for us, but he also strategized with us to help move our position forward

Also from David Moberg in In These Times;

William McNary, president of USAction, a national network of statewide progressive citizen groups, personally—but not organizationally—supports Obama as a “genuine progressive” who will “expand the boundaries of American democracy,” and heal the rupture with the rest of the world Bush caused with the war in Iraq.

According to the pro-Democratic Party blog TPM Cafe;

William McNary is...one of Obama's personal friends and long time supporters - someone Obama went to when considering his run for Senate and for president. William loves Obama and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt he would not serve on an organization board that was trying to favor Clinton over Obama.

At the 2008 Democratic Party Convention in Denver, McNary compared Obama to Martin Luther King[11].

When this country was first started, the only ones who could vote were white men with property. The we extended the boundaries of democracy to include women and people of color and religious minorities. Who would have thought we would have expanded the boundaries of democracy so wide that someone like Barack Obama, an African American, could run and win. So Barack Obama is not just a culmination of King's dream, he's the culmination of the American dream.

McNary and the Communist Party USA both supported Barack Obama in his 2004 Senate race. While outside the Democratic Party mainstream, Obama was able to win by stitching together a coalition of socialist/communist dominated unions and "community organisations.

Obama has also received the backing of several independent Latino elected officials led by State Sen. Miguel del Valle, Rep. Cynthia Soto and Alderman Ray Colon. Alderman Joe Moore also backed Obama.

From the Peoples Weekly World February 28th 2004;

The race for the Democratic nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat in Illinois has boiled down to a three-person race, according to polls. Millionaire Blair Hull has a slight lead after pouring $18 million of his own money into an advertising blitz. State Sen. Barak Obama and State Controller Dan Hynes trail him, with a large undecided vote remaining. The primary will be held March 16.
At several campaign rallies across this city on Feb. 21, Obama said that after the presidential race, the Senate race in Illinois might be the most important. He noted the historic potential of his campaign, aside from helping break the Republican majority. If successful he would be only the third African American since Reconstruction elected to the U.S. Senate.
Of all the candidates, Obama can boast the most diverse support. While Hynes has the backing of the state AFL-CIO and the bulk of the Democratic machine, Obama has the support of several key unions including the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; Service Employees; Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees; the state American Federation of Teachers; Chicago Teachers Union and Teamsters Local 705, the second largest in the country. Obama has a 90 percent voting record on labor issues in the Illinois Senate.
In addition to widespread support in the African American community, Obama has also received the backing of several independent Latino elected officials led by State Sen. Miguel del Valle, Rep. Cynthia Soto and Alderman Ray Colon. Alderman Joe Moore from the North Side is also backing him.
Many progressive organizations have thrown their support to Obama, including the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. In its endorsement, Citizen Action/Illinois praised Obama’s 96 percent voting record on consumer issues. President William McNary said Obama “will be a strong voice in Washington on behalf of working families.”

Take Back America

The 2008 Take Back America Conference was covered for People's Weekly World by the paper's former editor, Tim Wheeler-who interviewed William McNary;

William McNary, president of USAction, told the World he believes the nation is on the verge of sweeping change not seen in a generation. He emphasized, “Real change can only happen when real, ordinary people get in motion.”

America's Future Now!

William McNary was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference.[12]

Tax Rates for Millionaires and Billionaires

On June 7, 2011 Rep. Jan Schakowsky, joined by senior citizen, labor representatives and a Chicago-based millionaire, called for higher tax rates for the wealthy on the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts.

Schakowsky slammed the failed promises of the Bush administration that claimed the tax cuts would reduce the national debt in 10 years. Instead, Schakowsky pushed for the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2012 as well as additional revenue measures to address the deficit without endangering Medicare and many programs important to the middle class. Other speakers included Joe Persky, professor of economics at University of Illinois at Chicago; Brian Bates, attorney and millionaire; Bea Lumpkin, senior citizen activist and Communist Party USA member; Dr. Margaret Huyck, president of the Older Women’s League; John O’Grady, president of AFGE Local 704; and William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois and president of USAction.

In March, Schakowsky introduced the Fairness in Taxation Act to create new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires.[13]

Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

In 2014 William McNary served on the board of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.[14]

William McNary is the Co-Director for Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization working on an ambitious agenda that includes the fight for workers’ rights, advancing public education funding, utility rate and insurance rate reform, environmental safety, and protecting consumers from unfair predatory loan practices. He previously served as the Legislative Director for Citizen Action/Illinois.

He is the Legislative Chair of “A Better Illinois” a coalition dedicated to making the Illinois tax structure fairer in order to provide the revenues needed to create jobs, educate our children, provide for health care, human service, and public safety.

One of the nation’s leading advocates for health care reform, McNary is one of the founding members of Health Care for America Now!, the largest national grassroots health care coalition which led to the successful passage of the national Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Obama.

He is the Co-Chairman of the Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services, dedicated to reforming, rescuing and restoring the Cook County public health safety net.

McNary has been appointed by 2 Illinois Governors, the Illinois Attorney General, the Cook County Board President and other State Constitutional Officers to serve on several state boards, task forces, and transition teams. Most recently, Governor Pat Quinn appointed McNary to serve on the Illinois Campaign Reform Task Force where he spearheaded the push for public funded clean elections to lessen the influence of corporate campaign money.

McNary served as the founding president of USAction, one of the nation’s largest coalitions of progressive grassroots organizations. He served as a surrogate speaker for President Barack Obama in his first run for President. He was also elected as an Obama delegate and served as Illinois Convention Floor Whip at the Denver Democratic Convention in 2008.

McNary also serves on the board of the Voter Participation Center, an organization that empowers unmarried women, people of color and other underrepresented groups to participate in the democratic process.

Over seven election cycles, McNary has worked with the Rainbow/Push Coalition where he co-directed targeted voter registration and “Get Out the Vote” campaign efforts. He has a degree in journalism and communications from the University of Iowa.[15]