Apr 06

Matt Erard for Detroit Downtown Citizens’ District Council

Matt ErardDetroit Socialist Party member and current SPMI State Secretary-Elect Matt Erard has officially qualified for the ballot in the upcoming April 5th, 2011 election for the city of Detroit’s Downtown Citizens’ District Council, following his receipt of the Detroit Socialist Party’s nomination for that office at its February 2011 local membership meeting, and subsequent submission of the requisite number of valid signatures by the petition deadline earlier this month.

Since their initial establishment in the late 1960s, Detroit’s citizens district councils have been charged with the task of representing the interests of poor and working class city residents within each district of the city where “urban renewal” development and rehabilitation projects are intended to be slated. As mandated under both state law and the Detroit City Charter, the Detroit City Council and Detroit Planning & Development Department are required to maintain continuous consultation with each applicable citizens’ district council on all aspects of the planning process for each proposed development project prior to its approval, and to incorporate all citizens’ district council recommendations to the maximum extent feasible. Likewise, Michigan state law further empowers each citizens district council with the ability to delay the implementation of any proposed project that it votes to disapprove, and to additionally call upon any city department for information it seeks to obtain on behalf of its district residents….

Each of Detroit’s citizens’ district councils is composed of twenty-four members, with six members annually elected to three year terms and the remaining six members appointed by Detroit’s mayor. The Downtown Citizens District Council represents all residents living within Detroit’s central business district, bounded by the Fisher Freeway (I-75) to the north, the Chrysler Freeway (I-375) to the East, the Detroit River to the south, and the Lodge Freeway (M-10) to the west (except for the portion of the area lying south of Michigan Ave., which additionally extends a few blocks west of the Lodge.) [district map].

Detroit’s Chrysler Elementary School Church, located at 1445 E. Lafayette St. [map], will serve as the sole polling location for Detroit’s downtown district during the city’s upcoming Citizens District Council election on Tuesday April 5th, and polls will be open from 7:00AM-8:00PM on that date for all eligible voters who have not voted by absentee ballot. Although Matt Erard is running as the Socialist Party’s nominated candidate in the April 5th Citizens’ District Council election, neither he, nor any other candidates in the race, will have a party affiliation listed with their names on the election ballot itself.

The official website for Matt Erard’s 2011 Downtown Detroit Citizens’ District Council campaign can be found at: http://erard2011.spmichigan.org

Jun 12

Join the Socialist Party in Detroit, June 19th-26th!

Leading up to the United States Social Forum converging in Detroit this June, the Socialist Party of Michigan and Detroit Socialist Party will host the Summer 2010 meeting of the Socialist Party USA National Committee, taking place on June 19th-20th at Detroit’s historic Leland hotel. Convening at 10AM on both days, the SP National Committee meeting will hold session through the early evening of Saturday the 19th, and mid-afternoon of Sunday the 20th, in the main hotel conference room (entrance through the main lobby). Members of the public who are interested in observing the meeting, or any portion thereof, are welcome to attend. The Leland hotel is located at 400 Bagley St., Detroit, MI 48226, at the intersection of Bagley St. and Cass Ave.

Following the upcoming SP National Committee meeting, Socialist Party members from around the country will join tens of thousands of radical activists at the United States Social Forum, taking place at numerous Downtown and Midtown Detroit locations from June 22nd-26th. During the Social Forum, the Socialist Party will be sponsoring a total of four official USSF workshops. Details on the SP USSF workshops are below…

Socialist Party USSF Workshops:

Thursday, June 24th, 10AM-12PM: “Building International Socialist Feminism On-Line and In the Streets“.
Woodward Academy, Rm. 1435 (951 E. Lafayette St., Detroit, MI 48207 [map]).
Sponsor: Socialist Party USA
Presenter: Socialist Women magazine founder Susan Dorazio
USSF Track Listings: “Capitalism in Crisis: tearing down poverty, building economic alternatives & a solidarity economy” and “International Solidarity and Responsibility: building a unified response to global crises.”
Workshop Description:This workshop will explore the purposes of and possibilities for an on-line, activist, international socialist feminist work group. As we democratic socialists move the theory and practice of internationalism into the second decade of the 21st Century, we have the potential for bringing about broader and deeper forms of global consciousness and interdependence, ones that take the principle of solidarity to new levels. The creation of an on-line, activist, international socialist feminist work group can be envisioned in this context. Coming together at the international level, on both a personal and political basis, will enable us as to confront critical global issues—such as the climate crisis, the economic meltdown, imperialist wars and occupations, erosion of civil liberties, and the deterioration of the infrastructure of our cities, towns, and regions— in a particularly concerted and cooperative way. More structured than a network, this work group would help connect socialist feminist activists through the international coordination of movement-building projects, actions, and events. Work shop participants will share their experiences with organizing at the local, national, and international level, discuss how an international socialist feminist work group could further their personal and political work, and brainstorm the processes that would get such a work group started and keep it going.

Thursday, June 24th, 3:30PM-5:30PM: “Thinking System from the Grassroots
Wayne State University Student Center Rm. 277 (On WSU main campus – 5221 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48201 [map]).
Sponsor: Socialist Party USA
Presenters: Socialist Party of New York City
USSF Tracks:“Capitalism in Crisis: tearing down poverty, building economic alternatives & a solidarity economy” and “To the Left: building a movement for social justice: intersections and alliances across race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability… “
Workshop Description: Where capitalism fails to meet the needs of people, spaces are created for activists to organize alternatives that fulfill needs by empowering individuals and communities. In New York City, activists have worked to create community centers, create community supported agriculture and have struggled to create a city that meets the needs of the poor and working class. Simultaneously, activists have localized national organizing against war and militarism in order to create a more peaceful society. Such political activities work to address the immediate needs of people, but also contain alternate world-views within them, thereby challenging the larger anti-ideological trend of Saul Alinsky influenced community organizing. This panel will bring together multiple generations of activists who have engaged in radical grassroots organizing in order to discuss how they have attempted to employ larger theoretical frameworks. Panelists will address questions such as, how does theory influence the type of organizing they do and the tactics they use? What are the advantages and limitations of working within a theoretical framework when doing community organizing?

Friday, June 25th, 10:00AM-12:00PM, “Independent Socialist Political Action, the Ballot Box, & the Labor Party Question in the U.S.
Wayne State University, Manoogian Hall, Rm. 150 (906 W. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 [map])
Sponsor: Socialist Party of Michigan
Presenters: Eric Chester (1996 SP vice presidential candidate and author of Socialists and the Ballot Box: An Historical Analysis [1985] and True Mission: Socialists and the Labor Party Question in the U.S. [2004]), Matt Erard (Socialist Party of Michigan State Chair, National Ballot Access Coordinator for the 2008 SP presidential campaign, and regular SP candidate), more panelists TBA.
USSF Tracks: “Capitalism in Crisis: tearing down poverty, building economic alternatives & a solidarity economy” and “Democracy and Governance.”
Workshop Description:: “This workshop will engage in a contemporary and historical examination of independent socialist political action in the United States, as well as the various efforts that have been undertaken throughout the past century to develop a mass-based labor party capable of sustainably breaking through the United States’ long-standing two-party system. Particular attention will be given to analyzing the factors underlying the historically recurrent tendency of such efforts to quickly falter back into two major parties, as well as historical exceptions to this tendency, and the comparative developments and trajectories of such efforts in other nations abroad. The workshop will also strive to identify what immediate and long-term goals independent socialist action can best be aimed at achieving, what kinds of organizational questions (if any) may have determinative impact on its success, and how efforts at independent socialist political action can most effectively relate to contemporary social movements and grassroots struggles.

Friday, June 25th, 3:30PM-5:30PM: “Beyond the Two-Party System: Electoral Reforms that Can Make a Difference”
Woodward Academy, Rm. 1436 (951 E. Lafayette St., Detroit, MI 48207 [map]).
Sponsor: Socialist Party of Michigan, other co-sponsors TBA
Presenters: Detroit Socialist Party Chair Veronica Nowakowski, other panelists TBA
USSF Tracks: “Democracy and Governance” and “To the Left: building a movement for social justice: intersections and alliances across race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability… “
Workshop Description:As one of the only two-nations in the world lacking uniform ballot access standards for candidates and parties seeking nationally elected office, the U.S. ballot access restrictions are not only among the world’s most disparate, but also among its most restrictive. Correspondingly, to the extent that alternatives running outside the two major parties are able to gain access to election ballots, they tend to remain strongly disadvantaged by the U.S.’s plurality voting system, while being customarily excluded from most election media coverage and election debates. In response to such widespread impediments to meaningful electoral participation, a number of grassroots movements and coalitions for participatory election reform have been slowly but steadily growing over the past decade. In support of such efforts, this workshop will strive to provide an in-depth investigation into key reform measures that can significantly help level the playing-field for alternative political voices. Through the active input of participants, this workshop will then aim to develop a set of key areas for strategic focus that all participants can bring back to focus-related grassroots organizations and networks in their locales.

The Socialist Party USA will also have a general literature table at Cobo Hall, (intersection of Jefferson Ave. and Washington Blvd. [map]), which is serving as the USSF’s central logistical headquarters.

USSF Venues Map
Socialist Party USSF Logistics Page
2010 U.S. Social Forum Main Website
USSF Program Book
USSF Leftist Lounge Party (June 25th)

Apr 16

All Out on May 1st!

Socialist Party of Michigan Sponsored/Endorsed May Day Events – Saturday May 1st 2010:

Socialist Party May Day Statement

Socialist Party Statement on Arizona’s New Anti-Immigrant Law

9:00AM – 11:00AM: Protest Barack Obama in Ann Arbor. Meet at the corner of S. Main St. and E. Stadium Blvd. (map) just outside of the Michigan Football Stadium where Obama will be delivering the 2010 University of Michigan commencement address.

Join us in demanding: An End to the Obama Administration’s further Escalation of U.S. Imperialist Aggression, Military Spending, and War! Immediate Withdrawal of all U.S. Forces from Iraq and Afghanistan! End U.S. Bombings in Pakistan & U.S. Financial Backing for Israeli Aggression in Palestine! Real Health Care Reform through the Establishment of Free Universal Medical, Mental, Dental, and Vision Coverage for All! The Establishment of a Massive Nationwide Public Works Program to Provide Meaningful and Well-Paying Work for All!

The Demonstration is sponsored by the Ann Arbor Coalition Against the War and endorsed by the Socialist Party of Michigan.

10AM – 8PM: All-Day May Day Celebration in Grand Rapids. MLK Jr. Park (Fuller Ave. SE & Franklin St. E) (map).

Performances throughout the day by: BMG Entertainment, Chance Jones, Euphoria, Kelly O’Brien and the Bridge Street Special, Jihad Islam, Pain and Glory, Organel Williams and the Bottom Line Band, Alexis, and Todd Krabs, more performers, as well as speakers TBA.

11AM-1PM – Community Potluck. Bring food to share or just bring an appetite. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. “Really, Really Free Market” The goal of the really really free market is to gather a variety of people from the community to share a talent, information, something one has an abundance of, or something anyone wants to share. Hopefully some art, music, bicycle repair, moped repair, hair cuts, Yoga, Clothes, fruits and veggies.
1PM to 4PM – Stop Targeting Our Kids (STOK) will offer a range of kids activities such as face-painting, coloring, and games.

The 2010 Grand Rapids May Day Celebration is Sponsored by: Grand Rapids Hip Hop Coalition, the Bloom Collective, Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Workers Solidarity Alliance, Lansing Workers Center, Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, Grand Rapids IWW, US Social Forum, Stop Targeting Our Kids, Our Kitchen Table, and the Socialist Party of Michigan.

12PM – 3PM: Fifth Grand Peaceful March for Immigration Reform – Detroit. Gather at Noon at Patton Park (W. Vernor Hwy. & Woodmere St., southwest Detroit, MI). March 3 Miles down Vernor Hwy. to Clark Park (W. Vernor Hwy and Clark St.) for 2pm rally. (map).

Join us in demanding: An End to the Raids & Deportations! Immediate Legalization for All! Close Inhumane Immigrant Detention Centers! Pass the Dream Act! End Home Foreclosures, Evictions, & Utility Shutoffs! Pass Michigan Senate Bill No. 29 (Two Year Home Foreclosure Moratorium)!

6PM – 12AM: Detroit Socialist Party Benefit Show Featuring musical performances by The Kalashnikovs, Best Idea Ever, The Clots, Telecollision, and Junk– at the Painted Lady Lounge, 2930 Jacob St. Hamtramck, MI 48212 (map). $5 cover (goes to support the Detroit Socialist Party). (18+ age-limit due to bar location).

Jan 09

Detroit Socialist Party to Host Monthly Free Movie Nights at the Painted Lady Lounge in Hamtramck

Beginning January 17th, the Detroit Socialist Party will be hosting free Sunday night film screenings each month at the Painted Lady Lounge in Hamtramck.

The Painted Lady Lounge is located at: 2930 Jacob St. Hamtramck, MI. 48212. A map and driving directions can be found here. Admission to the DSP movie nights is free, however, there is an 18+ age-limit due to the bar location.

Note: Check the Meetings & Events Menu in the Right Column of this Site for Info on Upcoming DSP Movie Screenings Each Month!

Aug 26

Detroit Socialist Party Re-Chartered

Following nearly a half decade since Detroit last had an organized Socialist Party local, the Socialist Party of Michigan has re-chartered the Detroit Socialist Party, with jurisdiction covering the entirety of Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties.

The Detroit Socialist Party carries a long and pronounced history that largely overlaps with that of the formative years of the Detroit and U.S. industrial labor movement. In its early history, the Detroit Socialist Party had as many as sixteen separate branches, ran candidates for nearly every elected city post, and operated numerous local offices and meeting halls, including the still-standing “House of the Masses,” at Gratiot and Saint Aubin…

With respect to the particularly key role the Detroit Socialist Party played in the formation and development of the United Auto Workers up through the early 1940s, the directly following emergence of today’s prevailing ‘business unionism’ model was largely personified by Walter Reuther’s concurrent break from the Detroit Socialist Party. Even as late as 2004, the Detroit Socialist Party was among the most conspicuous organizations challenging the attempted privatization of the Highland Park Water Department, on which the 2007 documentary film The Water Front focuses.

Metro Detroit area SP members held a re-organizing meeting at Detroit’s Cass Cafe on July 4th 2009 – the 308th birthday of the city of Detroit – at which they signed a local charter application and elected an interim Local Executive Committee. Its next meeting will be held at 3PM on Sunday August 30th at Cafe 1923 in Hamtramck. The newly re-organized Detroit Socialist Party can be contacted at Detroit @ spmichigan.org