Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Striking Maximus Coffee Workers Need Your Help!

Our Striking Maximus Coffee Workers are out on the picket line at 3900 Harrisburg, Houston, Texas 77003 (Harrisburg, Milby, Rusk Streets). 

Come on out and give them encouragement. You can even walk picket with them. Bring some water, snacks, juice and yourselves. They will appreciate it very much. They will welcome everyone!

Elected Officials! Now is the time that you can show your support!

If you want to help them with their bills, make your checks payable to the UFCW, Local 455 Hardship Fund, 121 Northpoint, Houston, Texas 77060 and put them in the mail.

You can also call the Maximus owner, Carlos de Aldecoa at 713-545-54230, 832-589-2158, 713-221-9832 and tell him to settle this strike now and NOT cut their pay and benefits. Tell him that you support their fight for fairness. Carlos needs to get the message that he cannot do this to Workers and to Houston's East-End.

Thank you and in solidarity,
Richard C. Shaw

Harris County AFL-CIO Council

14th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty

This Saturday, November 2, 2013, is the 14th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty in Austin at the Texas Capitol at 2 PM on Saturday. Meet on the South Steps of the Capitol. We will march through the streets of downtown Austin with a stop in front of the Texas Governor's mansion and return to the Texas Capitol.

The march will be led by several exonerated death row survivors from Witness to Innocence who each spent many years on death row waiting to be executed for crimes they did not commit. They made it out of the system alive, but there are many innocent people still on death row and other innocents who did not make it out alive.

If you would like to help us with the expenses of hosting several death row exonerees, please donate. We have already raised $400 of our $500 fundraising goal for the annual march.

You can also send a check to:

Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731

Speakers at the march will also include family members of people currently on death row, family members of murder victims who oppose the death penalty, community leaders, faith leaders, activists and others. We represent a growing number of people across Texas and the nation who oppose the death penalty.

Some people you can expect to see and walk alongside of at the march include:

  • Timothy McKinney - Former death row prisoner in Tennesse, newly released!
  • Lawrence Hayes - Former New York death row prisoner
  • Mark Clements - Former Illinois juvenile life without parole prisoner and police torture victim
  • Shujaa Graham- Former death row prisoner in California and member of Witness to Innocence
  • Ron Keine - Former death row prisoner in New Mexico and member of Witness to Innocence*
  • Delbert Tibbs - former death row prisoner in Florida and member of Witness to Innocence.
*Several other former prisoners from Witness to Innocence.

  • De'Jaun Davis-Correia - Nephew of innocent and executed Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis. De'Juan fought alongside his mother Martina Correia and the Davis family to save the life of Troy.
  • Sandra Reed - mother of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed
  • Jack Bryson - Whose son was on the platform with Oscar Grant when Oscar was shot and killed by Oakland transit police
  • Barbara Lewis - Mother of Delaware death row prisoner Robert Gattis
  • Delia Perez Meyer - Sister of Texas death row prisoner Louis Castro Perez
  • Lawrence Foster, Sr. - Grandfather of former Texas death row prisoner Kenneth Foster, Jr. whose sentence was commuted to life in 2007
  • Airicka Gordon-Taylor - Cousin of Emmett Till and the Executive Director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, activist against police brutality and the new Jim Crow
  • The Kids Against the Death Penalty - young family members of Texas death row prisoner Jeff Wood, convicted under the unjust Law of Parties
We need your help to show the world that opposition to the death penalty in Texas is growing, so please attend the march.

If you cannot attend the march, please forward this email to people you know who might be interested.

Texas has executed 506 people since 1982 (as of Oct 28, 2013).

The annual march is organized as a joint project of several Texas and national organizations, including: Texas Moratorium Network, the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Witness to Innocence, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center, Kids Against the Death Penalty, The Austin Chronicle, Nokoa - the Observer, Democrats for Life, the Gray Panthers and Texas Democrats Against the Death Penalty.

Let us know if your organization would like to be listed a a sponsor.

We hope to see you at the march!

Your friends at

Texas Moratorium Network

We Endorse Kristi Lara

The Dallas AFL-CIO has endorsed Kristi Lara for Dallas Independent School District school board District Eight

The Socialist Party of Texas in Dallas echoes this endorsement.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Statement on the Government Shutdown and the Battle Over the Affordable Care Act

Statement on the Government Shutdown and the Battle Over the Affordable Care Act

by Stephanie Cholensky
Socialist Party USA Chair 10-4-2013
On October 1st, due to the inability of the two houses of Congress to reach a compromise on the budget, Americans witnessed the first government shutdown of the new millennium. The shutdown represents a clear failure of the two parties of capital – a failure that disproportionately hurts working-class people by withholding pay while those responsible keep receiving their paychecks. Unsurprisingly, its root cause is one of the most important issues on the mind of Americans today: universal access to health care.
When almost 50 million Americans are uninsured, attempting to get more Americans access to health care is indeed a noble cause. The Affordable Care Act enacts long overdue regulations such as preventing insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more because of a person’s sex or because of a pre-existing condition. However, the Act’s benefits to working people fall short under closer scrutiny, as it grants the care they should have had to begin with, but lacks a single-payer option and still leaves an estimated 30 million uninsured. The Affordable Care Act does call for public funding of health care, but these public funds end up in the pockets of the wealthy at the end of the day, making it hardly different from other corporate welfare programs.
Despite massive concessions made to health insurance companies and other private interests that have reaped astronomical profits off of America’s dysfunctional privatized health care system, Republican co-authorship, multiple amendments, and the passage by Congress and signoff by the president have, effectively, allowed Tea-Party Republicans to hold the government hostage until their demand to defund the Affordable Care Act is met. This was a futile effort, which did not stop the final and, arguably, the most important part of the bill from going into effect: the nationwide implementation of health care exchanges.
The question remains: why? Why are far-right political interest groups pulling out all the stops and spending millions of dollars to convince people not to sign up for health care on the exchanges, even when it stands to benefit insurance companies (not only by increasing their numbers of customers, but also by raising profits by creating a larger risk pool and funneling public funds earmarked for health care into private coffers)? Why are the governors and legislatures of right-leaning states refusing the Federal money they could bring to their state by setting up the exchanges themselves? Why are Republicans willing to bring so much ill-will toward Congress by allowing this shutdown in protest of this law?
These groups share a common fear of an unintended consequence that making health care more accessible to the uninsured will create: They fear Americans will start seeing health care as a human right rather than a privilege reserved for the wealthy. They fear that we will start asking why the United States pays so much more for so much less in health care. These have been trends long before the Affordable Care Act, as the uninsured rallied to demand answers.
The American health care system represents one of the most obvious and colossal failures of modern capitalism. People will not easily give up health care once it is available to them. The problem with this particular entitlement is that health care costs are rising; we cannot possibly sustain these rising costs under the privatized system. The problems of capitalism and the private health care system are obvious. The solution to this predicament is all around us, across our borders, across the oceans, and indeed in most countries of the earth: socialized medicine.

More Upcoming Events

Mon Oct 21 @ 4 pm
Intersection of Northwest Hwy & Midway Rd in Dallas
Protest against tar sands & Trans Pacific Partnership
Sponsored by Codepink, Veterans for Peace, Sierra Club, Texas ACE, et. al.

Sat Oct 19 @ 10 am
Perot Museum downtown Dallas off Woodall Rodgers
Protest of filthy energy propaganda contained therein
Part of the Global Frackdown national day of action
Sponsored by Texas ACE

Sat Nov 2 @ 11 am
Dealey Plaza (JFK assassination site)
March against Corruption, part of a nonpartisan national day of action against money in politics

Another protest of the shutdown @ Ted Cruz' office is in the works for this Fri. Stay tuned as details are finalized

What Do Socialists Think of Obamacare?

Michael Smerconish, SiriusXM Radio Host
What Do Socialists Think of Obamacare?
Posted: 10/06/2013 7:06 pm Huffington Post

You know who should be angry about Obamacare? Real socialists. The tea party opponents of the Affordable Care Act promised them a government incursion that the new law does not deliver.

Think back to the rallies of 2009 and 2010. All those signs mocking President Obama with the word socialist emblazoned upon them were as common as Gadsden ("Don't Tread on Me") flags. But the health-care exchanges that launched Tuesday bear no resemblance to what Merriam-Webster defines as "a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies."

And actual socialists have noticed.

"Obamacare cannot be considered socialist in any way," according to Greg Pason, the national secretary for Socialist Party USA.

"The ACA program relies on private health insurance companies to manage health services," Pason said. "A socialized system would not include 'health insurance,' but would be an actual national health-care system which would be publicly funded through progressive taxation and controlled by democratically elected assemblies of health-care workers and patients."

He's right. Under the ACA, health insurance in America is still being delivered by private practitioners and paid for by private insurers. In fact, the vast majority of Americans who receive their health insurance from employer-paid plans will see no discernible change in their coverage or delivery, and need not access the exchanges. The only people who have to access the exchanges are the uninsured or those in the individual market (the 12 million to 15 million who purchase insurance for themselves). Soon, small businesses with 50 or fewer workers will go on the "SHOP exchange." Seniors are another group that should experience no change.

"Those who are reliant on Medicare need not be concerned, either," Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News told me. "Medicare has its own separate enrollment period. It starts in just a couple of weeks. The Medicare enrollment period is if you want to switch within Medicare to a different plan. ... But regarding the Affordable Care Act and the health insurance exchanges, you don't have to do anything."

The ACA as implemented bears little resemblance to the fears that were once expressed in fierce opposition. Typical was an event that occurred Aug. 2, 2009, when Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, and Sen. Arlen Specter faced a raucous crowd at the National Constitution Center prior to the passage of Obamacare. On that summer Sunday, an overflowing crowd booed and jeered the duo. The Inquirer reported that a group in the back continually disrupted the gathering with shouts of "Assisted suicide," "Abortion," and, of course, "Socialism." One photograph shows a sign that said, "Welcome to the United States Socialist Republic."

On Friday, I asked Sebelius whether those complaints bore any resemblance to what has just been implemented.

"Well, it actually, Michael, couldn't be further from socialism," she told me. "These are private insurance plans being sold in a very competitive market. So one of the things the Affordable Care Act has done is to create a market. We had monopolies in many states for people who were in the so-called individual market -- one company selling whatever they wanted and actually very few consumer protections. So, many of the people now eligible for not only financial assistance from the federal government, but insurance products for the first time, have the same kind of easy way to shop that people could shop for a television and look at an amazon.com website."

The further irony is that those who were quick to level the "socialist" charge were advocating for the right of people to remain uninsured and burden everyone else, which CNN's Jake Tapper recently raised with Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah): "When did Republicans start saying, 'That's OK, you can freeload'?"

"I don't think that's a fair characterization of the Republican position on this at all," Lee replied.

Tapper responded: "If you're against the individual mandate, or any sort of requirement that people have health insurance, then that is your position."

The only liberty interest being sacrificed under the ACA is one's ability to be uninsured. And even that is violable. Carey reminded me that you can still exercise your right to be uninsured, but you will pay a fine.

Obama never effectively rebutted the socialism charge, not that it would have made a difference. The proof that the opposition was rooted in something other than the S-word was evident when Mitt Romney captured the GOP nomination, even though Romneycare and Obamacare have so much in common: Each fashioned a government solution to the problem of the uninsured, and both provided universal coverage, utilized exchanges, offered a subsidy to those who cannot afford coverage, and included no opt-out provision.

Only time will tell if the "affordable" portion of the act's title is warranted. In a Time magazine piece in February, Steve Brill explained that the disparity in health-care costs was often dependent upon who was paying the bill, and argued that we need government regulation of pricing. He worries that Obamacare is all about who pays rather than how much is paid. It's much too soon to know if it will work, and surely it will be tweaked.

The only thing for certain is what it isn't -- socialism.

Follow Michael Smerconish on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@smerconish

Endorsements in the November Elections

The AFL-CIO has announced its endorsements for the upcoming election featuring 9 constitutional amendments. Dallas ISD will also have an election for dist. 8 of its school board at the same time. The school board is a nonpartisan election. Since we are a political party rather than a charity, endorsements are appropriate.

AFL-CIO ENDORSEMENTS (source: Gene Lantz):

YES on amendment #1 enacting partial or total property tax exemption for spouses of veterans & killed in action

YES on amendment #2 abolishing state medical education board & state medical education fund (these haven't been used in years)

No endorsement on amendment #3 increasing tax exemption for long term storage of aircraft parts

YES on amendment #4 enacting partial property tax exemption for donation of housing to veterans & their surviving spouses

No endorsement on amendment #5 allowing homeowners age 62+ to use reverse mortgages to purchase residences

YES on amendment #6 approving use of rainy day funds for water projects

No endorsement on amendment #7 giving municipalities autonomy on filling city council vacancies w/less than a year to go. Mandatory special elections would no longer be required.

No endorsement on amendment #8 abolishing hospital district in Hidalgo Co.

No endorsement on amendment #9 authorizing State Commission on Judicial Conduct to issue more types of sanctions against judges.

The Socialist Party of Texas joins with the AFL-CIO in making these endorsements.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Honoring John Stanford

The Socialist Party of Texas joins its comrades in the Communist Party of San Antonio in saluting and honoring the life and activism of John Stanford.

John's iconic life in the Movement over a 70 year period shows an incomparable dedication to activism and commitment to a new society.

Stanford was a long-time fixture in San Antonio activism. For years the proprietor of the  "All Pints of View" bookstore served as a fixture at local demonstrations and city council meetings.

In 1963, Texas government officials and local police raided the Stanford bookstore and seized its contents under the provisions of a state anti-Communist law. John took the case through the court system all the way to the United States Supreme Court and won.

Juancho Stanford, presente!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Another Shutdown Protest

Another protest of the shutdown has been called for Thursday Oct 10 @ 1 pm @ 1255 W. 15th St. #170 in Plano. It is called by Zen Biasco, a member of Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

More Upcoming Events

Robert Reich's INEQUALITY FOR ALL now showing @ the Angelika Film Center Dallas @ Mockingbird Station (Mockingbird & Central Expy next door to the DART station). Falls short of denouncing capitalism (Reich would've lost his job @ Berkeley if he had done that), but some good insights about the threat of plutocracy to democracy & the role of unions in combating inequality. Jobs w/Justice Texas sponsored a special screening last Tue.

GMO OMG showing @ the historic Texas Theatre 231 W Jefferson Blvd Oak Cliff 75208 Sun 10-6-13 early afternoon, followed by Skype conversation with the filmmaker (extra screening by popular demand announced at Tue's screening, not on theatre website yet).

Sierra Club monthly general mtg @ REI (upstairs mtg room) on LBJ Fwy westbound frontage rd between Welch Rd & Midway near Addison. Tue 10-8-13 @ 6:30 pm. Organic snacks served.

Jobs w/Justice monthly mtg @ UAW 848 union hall 2218 E Main St Grand Prairie 75050. Wed 10-9-13 @ 7 pm

Formation of the Corpus Christi chapter of Texas Alliance for Retired Americans @ IBEW hall 2301 Saratoga Blvd Corpus Christi 78417. Tue 10-8-13 @ 9 am. This was discussed after the protest of the gov't shutdown in front of the N Dallas Social Security office; organizer Judy Bryant will be going down there for this inaugural.

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans Dallas & Mid Cities chapters brunch w/Cong. Marc Veasey @ GP public library 760 Bardin Grand Prairie. Th 10-31-13 @ 1:30 pm

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Upcoming Events

Wed Oct 2 @ 11:30 am
N Dallas Social Security office
10824 N Central Exwy
Dallas 75231
"Enough is Enough" protest against Republican't gov't shutdown & suspension of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & other gov't services
Sponsored by Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, a member of AFL-CIO

Th Oct 3 @ 12:30 pm
CWA hall
1408 N Washington Av
Dallas 75204 (Old E Dallas)
Dallas chapter Alliance for Retired Americans monthly mtg

Sat Oct 5 @ 10 am
Northaven United Methodist Church
Preston @ Northaven in Preston Hollow
Dallas 75230
Dallas Area Progressive Christian Alliance quarterly mtg
Interdenominational coalition of leftist & left leaning Christians organized against the radical right

Sat Oct 5 @ 3 pm
Reverchon Park
3505 Maple Av
Dallas 75219
"National March for Dignity & Respect" for immigration reform
Sponsored by Texas Organizing Project

Sat Oct 5 @ 7 pm
Central Market
Upper Greenville in Dallas
"Bee against Monsanto Outreach Action" against GMOs & pesticides/herbicides, for organic foods
Sponsored by N Texas Light Brigade
Bipartisan support

Fri Oct 11-Sun Oct 13
Huston Tillotson University
Grassroots Democracy Convergence
Sponsored by Move to Amend
There is a registration fee on a sliding scale to cover expenses

Sat Oct 12 @ 1 pm
Dallas City Hall
March against Monsanto Dallas against GMOs, pesticides, & herbicides, & for organic foods
Part of World Food Day global day of action
Bipartisan support

Every Sat @ 6 pm (they run on Hawaiian time; come around 6:20 or so) except near major holidays
Mecca Restaurant
Live Oak @ Skillman in Lakewood (E Dallas)
College of Complexes weekly free speech forum before an ideologically diverse audience
Oct 5: reproductive justice
Oct 12: JFK assassination