PDA-IL Leaders, activists and allies strategize in Springfield. See pics.
Submitted by Illinoisnoki1 on Wed, 02/27/2013 - 13:37
Springfield, Saturday Feb 23rd.
At the PDA-Illinois Network's first state-wide meeting, chapter leaders, grassroots activists and allies heard six speakers address strategies for overcoming the challenges facing progressives in Illinois today.
Speakers included a current state representative, a progressive small business person who ran for office, president of the Illinois Education Association, a local SEIU contract negotiator and two of Illinois' leading progressive activists. All of these speakers are on the forefront of progressive action in Illinois.
Naomi Jakobsson: state representative IL
district 103, Champaign Urbana
A co-leader of the effort for a progressive income tax in Illinois as a solution to the budget crisis, Naomi introduced HJRCA2, a joint resolution for a constitutional amendment to allow a progressive income tax system. She invites PDA support.
John Leasch: lead organizer, Northern IL JwJ and former congressional candidate.
John stressed giving priority to actions that empower the average person in politics, the workplace, and the community. He said we need to evaluate how well American style of capitalism is working for the majority.
Marlene Suarez, Democratic candidate for state house in 2012, progressive small business person
Marlene said progressive candidates should appeal to basic humanity: everyone’s work is worthy of the same consideration from government and the community. We counter those who discredit the worthiness of the low wage workers by saying, "Don’t hurt others because you have been successful."
Ricky Baldwin, SEIU Local 73 chief negotiator, University of Illinois food/service employees
Retirement funds in Illinois were stolen. Instead of paying the negotiated amount into pension funds, legislators used the money for other purposes. Regulations without workplace organizations are ineffective. Only shop floor organizing units can enforce regulations. We need to maintain the safety net.
Cinda Clickna, President of Illinois Education Association.
Amazed at what’s happening to labor in the states. Just electing Democrats won’t solve labor’s problem.
Unions need to work in coalitions with each other and with outside groups to speak for those who rely in the state for pensions and social services.
Steve Alesch is Executive Director of Illinois Move to Amend (MTA).
Corporations have been steadily gaining legal power since 1885.
Strong support for MTA has been demonstrated in Illinois.
Strategy: pass local resolutions and a state ballot initiative. Congress won’t do it until it is forced to. PDA is invited to join the coalition and become an MTA partner
In follow up discussion participants agreed that PDA should focus on building alliances through issue activism and where feasible, work to become the progressive wing of local Democratic Parties. Issues should be clearly defined so as to appeal to the people in a local area, particularly groups who are prone to vote for progressive candidates.
To get on the PDA Illinois Network mailing list, contact Bill at email@example.com
More pictures below
from Senator Dubin's office.