Get revved up about revolution this October

Happy October, comrades! It’s the month of revolution. So, what better way to spend it than by reading about a historic revolution from Octobers past?

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a major achievement in the socialist movement, a blow against capitalism and its hold over the world. It’s also still hotly debated and dissected today, 101 years later. To help you get through this time in history and the years that followed, the Southern Maine DSA Education Committee has compiled a recommended list of books on the Russian Revolution.

All of these books are available in the Southern Maine DSA library, and you can borrow any of them by filling out this request form, or by requesting one of the books from our chapter librarian, Marc Normandin, at one of our meetings or events.

And, if you would like to learn even more about the Russian Revolution, the Education Committee will be hosting a presentation and discussion of the historic event on October 22, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Community Room in the Reiche Community Center. Todd Chretien, editor of Eyewitnesses to the Russian Revolution, will lead this event.

To wrap up our month of focus on the Russian Revolution, this month’s book club entry is V.I. Lenin’s The State and Revolution. You can find this book in our library, at various booksellers, or for free online at Marxists.org. This book club meeting will be held at Quill Books & Beverage in Westbrook, ME, on November 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Solidarity!

Introducing the 2018 SMDSA Comrades!

The Comrades kicked off the 2018 Casco Bay League Softball season with a rainy 19-12 loss to What’s Up Buttercup on Sunday, May 6th in Portland. The Comrades started off strong with five runs in the first inning, but early pitching challenges allowed the Buttercups to surge ahead. Wet field conditions made things challenging, but the Comrades’ managed to contain the Buttercups’ lead and work on closing the run gap over the next several innings. Todd Chretien’s plate-spanking slide home was one for the record books (and also one for the first aid kit). The game was called in the 6th inning due to time. “I’ve managed a lot of teams, and this one has potential,” said Comrades manager Marc Normandin.

The Comrades face the Raging Thunder Bunts, on Sunday, May 13th at 3:30 pm at Kiely Field.

2018 Roster

 

 

 

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Zak Ringelstein for US Senate

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Zak Ringelstein for US Senate

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted on Monday, March 12 to endorse Zak Ringelstein for US Senate. In August, the National DSA endorsed the campaign, making Ringelstein, the only candidate for US Senate to be endorsed by the organization.

Ringelstein, a DSA member, has pledged to take no money from PACs, corporations, or special interest groups in order to be a true public servant who only answers to voters. He intends to introduce and support legislation to reverse Citizens United, end corporate campaign lobbying, and institute a federal voting holiday to make the polls more accessible to working people.

“As socialists, we are fundamentally opposed to the idea that corporate money has any place in politics, or even a fair and equitable society,” said Meg Reily, SMDSA Chair. “We’re happy to endorse someone who would prioritize reversing Citizens United and increasing voting rights, two issues that go hand-in-hand,” Reilly said.

“As a public school teacher and the son of a social worker, I am blown away by the way the DSA truly fights to increase the power of working Americans. It is not just an honor to receive their endorsement; we are now a mightier force for change because of the hundreds of passionate DSA members at our side who are ready to get money out of politics and unrig the system to create a more free, democratic, and humane society for all,” said Ringelstein.

Ringelstein came to politics from a former career as a public school teacher. As a rank-and-file union member, he helped form and lead PowerToPublic, a teacher-led campaign to expose billionaire Betsy DeVos’s attempts to defund our public schools. He wants to enact democratic socialist reform in Washington, including Medicare for All, public ownership of natural resources, including groundwater, increasing protections on public land, holding corporations accountable for their emissions, and divesting from fossil fuels. He supports medicare for all and full, publicly-funded reproductive healthcare for women, including abortion. He condemns the human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians and the US’s part in funding these actions, and he rejects the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.

Ringelstein is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face off against Independent incumbent Angus King in the Fall. Ringelstein expresses frustration at the lack of accurate media coverage on King’s voting record on gun control, as well as King’s sources of campaign financing. “One of the reasons I’m running is to force those conversations into the open,” Ringelstein said.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

*This press release has been update to reflect Zak’s membership status and the endorsement of National DSA.

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Seth Levy in June primary for District Attorney, Cumberland County

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2018
Meg Reilly, Chair
megcreilly@gmail.com

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Seth Levy in June primary for District Attorney, Cumberland County

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted overwhelmingly on Monday, March 12 to endorse Seth Levy for Cumberland County District Attorney in the June Democratic Party primary. Levy is the first District Attorney candidate in the group’s history to earn an endorsement.

“I’m grateful to receive the endorsement of SMDSA,” Levy said. “Its members are some of the hardest working activists for progressive change. Having their support means more volunteers on the ground to get the word out about the opportunity to make criminal justice reform a reality.”

Levy’s platform highlights necessary criminal justice reform for Cumberland County. In particular, it focuses on expanding restorative justice as a more effective means of crime reduction. His success in addressing substance abuse disorders within the Veterans Court system, and his plan to try similar approaches in southern Maine, is a sorely needed new approach to dealing with the severe opioid crisis.

Levy also promises not to seek cash bail for low-risk defendants, so that they can remain employed, not separated from their families, and get into treatment when necessary,” according to his campaign website. Cash bail disproportionately impacts poor people, people of color, and drives defendants deeper into poverty, irrespective of the outcome of their case.“The evidence is clear that cash bail has little impact on public safety or making sure that defendants show up to court. Cash bail keeps people who are poor in jail,” Levy said.

“As Democratic Socialists, we know that class, power, and race all intersect in the criminal justice system,” said Meg Reilly, SMDSA Chair. “The current system blatantly treats rich and poor people differently. As District Attorney, Seth Levy would end cash bail, an archaic and classist system. The amount of money in your bank account should never factor into how you experience the criminal justice system. We look forward to Cumberland County leading the way in reforming our justice system to ensure that we’re rehabilitating, not punishing, members of our society,” Reilly said.

Levy is running a campaign funded by small individual donors, free of corporate, PAC, and special interest money. His campaign seeks to address the over-incarceration of people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and people living in poverty.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

For more information about the Southern Maine DSA or its endorsement process, contact:

Meg Reilly, Chair  megcreilly@gmail.com
Mikayla Damon, Vice Chair mikayla.damon@gmail.com
Kate Sykes, Secretary kate_sykes_writer@yahoo.com

http://southernmainedsa.org/
http://www.dsausa.org/

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Mike Sylvester for Maine State Representative, District 39

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Mike Sylvester for Maine State Representative, District 39

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted unanimously on Monday, March 12 to endorse Mike Sylvester for Maine House of Representatives District 39. In August, the national DSA also endorsed Sylvester, who is running for a second term, is a co-founder of SMDSA and the chapter’s first member to be elected to a state-level office.

“We’ve always been incredibly proud to be home to one of two open democratic socialist state representatives in the country,” said Meg Reilly, SMDSA Chair. “Mike is a longtime union organizer who walks the walk in the state house, and we’re looking forward to another term of him representing democratic socialist ideals in Maine’s capital.”

Sylvester currently sits on the House Labor Committee and serves as Organizing Chair of the Bull Moose Caucus, a body of 37 legislators willing to vote for progressive legislation regardless of Party affiliation.

During his term of office he has submitted many bills founded on socialist principles, including the Local Option Sales Tax bill to spread the financial benefits of tourism statewide and lower property taxes. He supports single payer healthcare and has been active in helping to pass ranked choice voting. He is a proponent of public sector right to strike, worker safety, safe consumption sites for opiods, and living wage legislation.

“I hope to speak and cast my vote for the people who are left out of the political process or who have given up hope that anyone is listening. An endorsement by groups like Southern Maine DSA, groups who are working on the ground and having conversations about how our state can be better, those are the groups whose endorsements mean the most to me,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester is running as a Maine clean elections candidate, and has pledged not to accept campaign money from corporations, lobbyists, or PACs. He is currently working to organize more DSA chapters across the state of Maine, and recruiting and mentoring democratic socialist candidates who wish to run for office.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

*This release has been update to reflect the endorsement of the national DSA.

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Bob Maheu in June primary for Maine State Representative, District 65

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2018
Meg Reilly, Chair megcreilly@gmail.com

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Bob Maheu in June primary for Maine State Representative, District 65

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted on Monday, March 12 to endorse DSA member Bob Maheu for Maine House of Representatives District 65 in the June Democratic Party primary.

“I am pleased and honored to receive the endorsement of the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists,” Maheu said. “The chapter’s previous endorsements were for candidates running for office in the city of Portland, and now they’re supporting someone from the northernmost part of Cumberland County.”

The chapter endorses democratic socialist and anti-corporate candidates running in York and Cumberland counties who are committed to decreasing the influence of money in politics, making gender and cultural relationships more equitable, increasing the power of working class people over corporate interests and acting as public stewards for environmental resources.

“It’s really exciting to have an endorsed candidate from District 65,” said Meg Reilly, SMDSA Chair. “It goes to show that Democratic Socialism isn’t just for Portlanders. Organizers are currently expanding into the Bangor, Lewiston, and MidCoast areas as well. We’re really proud to endorse Bob for the New Gloucester and Poland area,” Reilly said.

Maheu, a former town Councilor in Fairfield, was inspired to enter state politics after serving as a volunteer on the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential election campaign, knocking on doors in his district for Senator Sanders.

Maheu speaks passionately about the need for the state to intervene in the opioid epidemic and says drug companies should be held financially accountable for the crisis. Maheu, who completed the AFL-CIO candidate training in January of this year, is a strong supporter of organized labor. He is currently seeking qualifying donation for a Maine Clean Elections campaign and has pledged to take no money from corporations or PACs. “We must all work together to eliminate pay-to-play politics,” Maheu stated in his endorsement interview.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

For more information about the Southern Maine DSA or its endorsement process, contact:

 

Meg Reilly, Chair  megcreilly@gmail.com

Mikayla Damon, Vice Chair mikayla.damon@gmail.com

Kate Sykes, Secretary kate_sykes_writer@yahoo.com

 

http://southernmainedsa.org/

http://www.dsausa.org/

 

 

Heavy Rotation: Labor in the Time of Trump

Southern Maine DSA recently presented Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 play “It Can’t Happen Here,” which asked audiences if European fascism could take hold in America. The question is still relevant today, but it contains another more practical question: What can we do to stop it?

California labor historian Fred Glass believes that labor history provides a doorway for ordinary working people who want to fight the rise of fascism in contemporary America. Sacramento DSA and the Sacramento Central Labor Council recently co-hosted Glass for this discussion about labor in the time of Trump.

Fred Glass is the author of  “From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement.”

It is Happening Here…

Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America Presents:

A Staged Reading of “It Can’t Happen Here”

Adapted from the play by Sinclair Lewis and John C. Moffitt and based on the Lewis Novel

On the Anniversary of the Inauguration: January 20, 2018

7:00 pm (Doors), 7:30 (Curtain)9:00 pm

Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St, Portland, ME 04102, USA

A donation of $10-20 is requested at the door.

Sinclair Lewis was the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature and also the first to decline the Pulitzer, which, in 1926, was given “for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood.” [1]

Best known for his critical treatment of American materialism, sexism, commercialism and capitalism, Lewis, the man, remained true to the democratic socialist ideals that fueled Lewis, the writer. “In America most of us—not readers alone, but even writers—are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of everything American, a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues,” Lewis declared in his Nobel acceptance speech in 1930, going on to describe the country as “the most contradictory, the most depressing, the most stirring, of any land in the world today.”[2]

Five years later, and over the course of only four months, Lewis would write the semi-satirical novel, It Can’t Happen Here, about the swindling of the American presidency by a dangerous demagogue, a so-called “man of the people” who rises to power by promising greatness for his militant followers, while vilifying immigrants, non-Christians, the poor, and the free press. Lewis was writing from a place of fear—namely that fascism, which was on the rise in Europe, could take hold in America.

His fears were not unfounded. In 1930, the country was digging itself out of the Great Depression: unemployment was up; manufacturing was down, and people were desperate to follow any law-and-order candidate who promised to restore their prosperity and self-respect. A 1939 pro-Hitler rally in Madison Square garden, attended by tens of thousands of fascist followers—all of them Americans—is a stark reminder of how close we came to the brink.

It Can’t Happen Here became a bestseller, spawning radio, theater, film and television adaptations that have reached millions. Fascism did not sweep across America in a great wave, razing all democratic institutions in its path, as Lewis imagined—but of course that is only how it happens in novels. In real life, fascism takes hold by degrees so small and incremental that we barely notice the creep of authoritarianism until it is too late to turn back the tide. Lewis understood, more than any other writer of his time, that in order to prevent fascism from suffocating the flame of freedom, we must continually remind ourselves that it can happen here.

Cast of Characters:

Doremus Jessep – Herb Adams
Mary Greenhill- Mikayla Damon
Fowler Greenhill – Krys Bigosinski
David Greenhill – Meg Reilly
Lorinda Pike – Kate Sykes
Shad Ledue – Bob Mahue
Francis Tasbrough – Kelly McDaniel
Effingham Swan – Carl Pease
Julian Falck – Kenny Lynx
Henry Veeder – Seth Berner
Mrs. Veeder – Tracy Allen
Clarence Tubbs – Vinney O’Malley
Dan Wilgus – Barney McClelland
Adalaide Tarr Gimmitch/Narrator – Cynthia Handlen
Mr. Dimmick – Meg Reilly
Jim Nickerson – Cynthia Handlen
Walt Trobridge – Zach Ringelstein
Pastor Prang – Jack O’Brien
“Buzz” Windrip – Harlan Baker
Adelaide Tarr Gimmich – Cynthia Handlen
Narrator – Cynthia Handlen
Commentator – Joey Brunelle

 

[1] The Sinclair Lewis Society

[2] John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 15th edition, (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1980), 791 via Wikipedia

Ask a Socialist: “Are the wealthy moral? Do they care about the rest of us? Do they deserve their wealth?”

By Jeremy Mele

No. The wealthy and their representatives in Congress (hello, Senator Collins!) just voted to raise taxes on the working class, cut taxes for themselves, rob thousands of graduate students of the opportunity to pursue an education, and gut the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of working class families without health coverage.

The wealthy hold the power in our society, and they abuse it. Their abuse of power will hurt young and old alike. Their abuse will kill–literally kill–working people who, as the years go by, will increasingly go without health care. Their abuse will crash our economy.

The wealthy get wealthy through the exploitation of the working class. They pay subsistence wages to their employees, far below our  worth, while they rake in millions and billions. They rob. They kill. They pollute the earth. Their greed, unsated with their ill-gotten gains, drives them to use their control over politicians to write the laws in their favor, everyone else be damned. Even the few billionaires that give to charity cannot be said to be pure: they wouldn’t have those billions in the first place if they hadn’t cheated the working class, cheated society, and wrote the tax codes in their favor.

The wealthy are immoral.

They do not care about the rest of us.

A better world is needed.

A better world is possible.

Join us.

Have a question for Ask a Socialist? Email it to: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com

Heavy Rotation: Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

Heavy Rotation is back from Turkey Town with some new links, listens, and even a video game to play while you’re on the treadmill working off that extra piece of pie.

Side A: 

The outpouring of #MeToo stories shared on social media have been hard for many of us to bear, not just because  they reveal the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace, but also because it feels like we’ve been here before. In this October 27th Belaboured Podcast Episode, labor reporter Michelle Chen speaks with Ariane Hegewisch of the Institute for Women’s Policy and Research about how the labor movement can turn up the volume on the “whisper network” so we don’t end up here again. The rest of the program delivers more hopeful messages about a bill to decriminalize sex work (and create more labor protections for sex workers) in Washington, DC, a vote by graduate student workers at the University of Chicago to unionize, and a beefy first strike by McDonald’s fast food workers in the UK.

Side B:

McDonald’s Video Game may put you off capitalism (and burgers) for good. And, like all of Molledindustria’s radical games, it’s in the public domain. What’s not to like?

“Making money in a corporation like McDonald’s is not simple at all! Behind every sandwich there is a complex process you must learn to manage: from the creation of pastures to the slaughter, from the restaurant management to the branding. You’ll discover all the dirty secrets that made us one of the biggest [companies in] the world.”

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com