An organizing workshop to build the movement for change based on human needs

WPA Workers, Chicago, Illinois by John Stenvall

Saturday, June 13, 2009
12:30-4:30 p.m.

Workers United Hall, 333 S. Ashland, Chicago
(Please use parking in the back; "Medical Center" stop on the Blue line)

Join other Chicago area labor, community, religious leaders, and activists working for peace, equality, social and economic justice, and be a part of a grassroots progressive movement to address the economic crisis. Help develop an agenda for connecting and fighting for workers' rights, the right to health care, stemming foreclosures, an end to wars and cuts in military spending. Plenary speakers will provide updates on four urgent and ongoing campaigns followed by breakout sessions that focus on organizing around these issues.

MC: Terry Davis, Committee for New Priorities


Michael McConnell, American Friends Service Committee


James Thindwa, Chicago Jobs with Justice


Dr. Anne Scheetz, Physicians for a National Health Program


Elce Redmond, S. Austin Coalition of Community Councils

Following the speakers, break-out sessions will combine a discussion of two issues, in an effort to build a synergy across issues and among different constituents. Participants will be asked to create specific action plans to move each of the campaigns forward. Break-out sessions include:

  • Health Care / Employee Free Choice
  • Wars & Militarism / Mortgages & Foreclosures
  • Employee Free Choice / Mortgages & Foreclosures
  • Wars & Militarism / Health Care
  • Employee Free Choice / Wars & Militarism
  • Mortgages & Foreclosures / Health Care

Report-back & Wrap-Up

  • Barbara Ransby, Ella’s Daughters & ARC 09.
  • Bamshad Mobasher, Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice

Musical Guest: Bucky Halker

Breakout Sessions will feature (for detailed information see the Event Schedule)

  • Mark Almberg, Physicians for a National Health Program
  • Bill Barclay, Chicago Political Economy Group
  • Jeff Bartow, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP)
  • Bill Bianchi, Chicago Progressive Democrats of America
  • Nick Bianchi, National Training and Information Center
  • Efrain Cortina, UNITE HERE! Local 1
  • Alan Jackson, Physicians for a National Health Program
  • Kevin Lindemann, DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition
  • Richard Monje, Workers United
  • Josh Noehrenberger, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • Karmen Ortloff, AFSCME Local 31
  • Marcia Rothenberg, Illinois Single Payer Coalition
  • Mel Rothenberg, Chicagoans Against War and Injustice; Jobs with Justice
  • Larry Spivack, AFSCME Local 31
  • Ebonee Stevenson, Southsiders Together Organized for Power (STOP)
  • Peg Strobel, Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice
  • Guidi Weiss, Illinois Single Payer Coalition
  • Mary Zerkel, American Friends Service Committee

For more details on the Breakout Sessions please download the Event Schedule.

Sponsoring Organizations:

Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice, Chicago Jobs with Justice, South Austin Coalition of Community Councils, Chicago Progressive Democrats of America, American Friends Service Committee, Committee for New Priorities, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Communist Party of Illinois, Chicago Labor for Peace Prosperity and Justice, Chicago Political Economy Group, Community Renewal Society, ARISE Chicago, Greater Chicago Caucus, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Illinois Single Payer Coalition, 14th Congressional District PDA, Young Democratic Socialists/Oak Park-River Forest, DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition, Social Action Committee of Third Unitarian Church, In These Times, DeKalb Interfaith Network, Chicagoans Against War & Injustice, Lincoln Park Neighbors United for Peace (Chicago), Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice, Unity Temple Social Mission Committee, Chicago chapter Tikkun Community, West Suburban Faith-Based PEACE Coalition, Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, Hyde Parkers for Peace and Justice, National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression/Chicago, Movimiento 10 de Marzo, Southsiders Together Organizing for Power, Logan Square Neighbors for Justice and Peace, Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice, Solidarity Chicago, Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women.


For more information please contact:

  Downloads & Resources:
(1) Event Flyer/Poster
(2) Event Schedule
(3) Event Announcement (for email distribution)
(4) Background and Detailed Description


Watch this short TV program about the New New Deal Project and the June 13 event (28 mins).
A New New Deal - Creating a Progressive Movement for Change

A New New Deal - Creating a Progressive Movement for Change

"Public Perspective with Kevin McDermott (May 2009) - Interview with Bill Barclay from the Chicago Political Economy Group and Bamshad Mobasher from Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice. The interview covers joint efforts by Chicago area activists to build a movement from below responding to the economic crisis by addressing worker's rights, the right to health care, stemming foreclosures, ending the wars and diverting military spending to human needs. More information about the "New New Deal" project is available at: opctj.org/NewNewDeal "

Background Information and Event Details

Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice and several other organizations have embarked on a series of events and meeting with the long-term goal of promoting a wide-ranging multi-issue discussion of progressive solutions to the economic crisis and its root causes. We hope that this and other events like it will serve as catalysts in bringing together groups and individuals who are engaged in struggles for peace, equality, social and economic justice in order to collectively build a grassroots movement for comprehensive change. Creating connections across issues and constituencies that have vested interests in fundamental progressive change will help us develop the broad-based organizational structures necessary to advance a comprehensive people's agenda.

The June 13 event will be one step in that direction and will serve as a stepping stone for building a lasting alliance among various Chicago area groups. The event will build on a successful panel discussion organized by OPCTJ after the Inauguration titled "A New New Deal: What Should It look Like!" which presented progressive solutions in several of areas identified by President Obama as priorities. It will also build on similar efforts by other organizations such as ARC'09 (A Movement Re-imagining Change). This follow up event will focus specifically on four issues which are represented in current grassroots struggles or legislative campaigns; they must be considered as part of a just and comprehensive solution to the crisis. These issues are the following.

The Employee Free Choice Act - A strong trade union movement is an integral element in addressing underlying causes of the economic crisis and for strengthening and expanding the "middle class." EFCA will remove many of the current obstacles to workers who want to have union representation.

Single Payer Health Care - The skyrocketing cost of health care and the increasing number of those who are without health insurance or who are under-insured are the direct results of a health care system predicated on maximizing profits for the insurance companies. The most efficient and proven approach to break the link between profits and people’s health care needs is a single-payer nationalized system such as an expanded Medicare program.

Mortgages and Foreclosures - The number of foreclosures and evictions are skyrocketing. While the Wall Street is being bailed out, little has been done directly to stem the tide of foreclosures and to eliminate one of the man contributing factors to the crisis. There is a need to develop tactics and strategies on dealing with foreclosures both at the grassroots level on the ground as well as at the policy level.

Wars and Militarism - Congressman Barney Franks has proposed a 25% cut in military spending. Others have called for deeper cuts in the obscenely bloated military budget. These efforts together with bringing an end to the occupation in Iraq and reversing the escalation of war in Afghanistan are necessary not only to address long-standing neglect of areas such as infrastructure, green energy, education, health care, and others, but also to ensure that important progressive priorities do not fall victim to expanding military conflicts and quagmires.

Event Organization

The event will be geared, not just to educating the public on these issues, but primarily to organize and collaboratively develop specific action plans in support of these campaigns. It will bring key individuals and organizations engaged in these campaigns to help facilitate small group interactive sessions as part of a larger event. The event will be organized as a workshop with a plenary session and several break-out sessions. The opening plenary will include brief 10 minute overviews on each of the four issues presented by representatives of various organizations involved with each of the issues. Following the opening plenary, there will be several breakout sessions. Each of these sessions will be tasked with discussing two of the four issues in order to develop and build synergy across issues and among different constituencies. Facilitators with expertise on each of the focus issues will lead the breakout sessions with a focus toward developing action plans.

In the final plenary session, break out sessions will report back with a set of suggested action items or organizing tasks. These reports will be summarized and translated into specific actions with measurable goals or in resources that the participants can use their own organizing. Another goal of the final portion of the event is to get commitments from various participating groups in helping to actively organize a follow up multi-organization meeting/conference, possibly in the fall, in the Chicago area with the goal of developing a broad progressive alliance to promote comprehensive change.

Additional Resources and Related Events

Video / Resource Page for the January 2009 "New New Deal" PanelView video segments from this successful panel, held on Jan. 25 to discuss progressive solutions to the unprecedented domestic and global crises we all face.  Panelists discussed policy recommendations that can bring about real change. Topics included: the economy, green energy, health care, and foreign policy. The Panel was moderated by James Thindwa, Executive Director of Chicago Jobs with Justice, and featured Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, Robin Rich, of the United Steel Workers, Bill Barclay, economist and member of the Chicago Political Economy Group; and Bamshad Mobasher, DePaul University professor and a national steering committee member of United for Peace and Justice. The following resources related to the panel are available.