Join us at Beers for Bernie

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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What is democratic socialism? Who defines it? Since U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders decided to run for president of the United States on the Democratic Party ticket, questions about Bernie and socialism are ubiquitous. In addition to curiosity, there are attacks from the left, center and right as Bernie draws large and enthusiastic crowds.

The Greater Oak Park chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (GOPDSA) invites you to join the conversation. We're hosting a free event: Beers for Bernie (BFB). While the event is free, beer will be available for purchase. BFB will be held at the Friendly Tap on Sunday, Jan. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. The Friendly Tap is located at 6733 W. Roosevelt Road in Berwyn.

New to politics or socialism? No worry, all are welcome. Members of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will be available to answer questions and share in conversation over beer.

Bernie's entry into the presidential campaign has generated a lot of interest in DSA and socialism. DSA has enthusiastically endorsed Bernie as a way to promote democratic socialism in the United States. 

I mentioned that his campaign has drawn some disdain. Much of that comes from a lack of understanding about democratic socialism. BFB is one way to learn more about it and move democratic socialism and Bernie's campaign forward.

Capitalism is an economic system based upon the maximization of profit. Social consequences of capitalism are only kept in check through the democratic process of people fighting back.

Concentrated wealth and power are working overtime to limit public participation in society: Think the pro-corporate ruling of Citizens United where personhood and corporatehood are conflated; think the push to limit access to voting through unsubstantiated fairy tales of voter fraud; think the damage to lives when health care is deemed a profit center rather than a human right; think the same when it comes to public education; think golden parachutes and tax-avoidance schemes while the financial elite push to limit or abolish Social Security; think what's stopping us from saving our planet from global environmental catastrophe.

DSA is an activist organization — the largest socialist organization in the U.S. — working to build progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics. At root, our socialism is a commitment to democracy as means and end. Since we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and the rentier class and increase the power of working people.

These reforms include: decreasing the influence of money in politics; empowering everyday people in workplaces and the economy; restructuring gender and cultural relationships to be equitable.

Curious? Want to help? Join us at Beers for Bernie on Jan. 31. 

Tom Broderick

Co-chair, GOPDSA

Reader Comments

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Art Kazar from Forest Park  

Posted: January 29th, 2016 5:45 PM

Sounds great. I'm going to spread the word to Forest Park Bernie supporters.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: January 29th, 2016 4:50 PM

The disdain people feel for Socialism comes from knowing what you really want to do, not from any misunderstanding. The statement you make which says an enormous amount about what you REALLY dream about is revealed as you wishfully think and say -- "...Since we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism...". You can call it Democratic Socialism but ending capitalism is why we know Socialism is just Communism in a new wrapper. No thanks.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 29th, 2016 4:14 PM

Read the fine print - - CASH BAR!!

Jenna Brown Russell  

Posted: January 26th, 2016 7:36 PM

Free beer!!

Bill Barclay  

Posted: January 26th, 2016 5:59 PM

I'm coming!

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