Minutes of Jan 5, 2002 SF DSA Steering Committee

These minutes are tentative and unreviewed

Karen Boylan
Ross Boylan
Tom Gallagher
Betty Kallo
Michael Pugliese
Bob Randolph
Marty Roth
June Swan

Ross sent checks from the picnic to the National Office.  We should get the funds back, less cost of literature.

Britt Campaign

Tom Gallagher gave a report on Harry Britt's history in SF politics (for 14 years the successor to Harvey Milk, narrowly defeated in a run for Congress by Nancy Pelosi) and DSA (he was a national Vice Chair for many years).  Britt is running for state assembly.  The candidate to beat is Mark Leno, who has the big bucks, though he has been moving to distance himself from Mayor Brown.  Holly Their and Steve Phillips are also in the race; the first was initially thought to be Brown's candidate, though the latter seems to be.

The primary election is Mar 5 or 12, 2002.  There will be a lot of items on the ballot.  Every Sat and Sun there are literature drops, and phoning every evening.  Next Sat at 10 am there will be an office opening party for the campaign at 2150 Market St.  Next Fri at 6 PM there will be a labor fundraiser; Britt was endorsed by the SF Labor Council.  He also has the surprise endorsement of Carol Migden.  There is also an email newsletter.

Tom says the staff says Britt has rejoined DSA.

Tom said that raising money by phone seemed the best route; an event may be too ambitious (based on past experience with the list).  It might be useful to contact people throughout the Bay Area.  Getting and using the DSA mailing lists should not be a problem (Ross will check) as long as we're not giving them out.

Tom thought the cost of a mailing to at least the SF people (about $100) was something we could come up with somehow, perhaps from the campaign.

The proposal to do a mailing, subject to availability of funds, was accepted by consensus.  If it is not done before, we will do the assembly and mailing at our next meeting.

Ross will check with E-Bay about contacting people their for funds, and with national about using our lists, getting more current ones, and seeing if Britt's application is in..

Tom will draw up a post-card sized appeal and be in touch with Ross about doing the mailing.

SF Progressive Alliance

Michael and Betty will go to the next meeting at 7 PM, Jan 23.  If they can't make it they'll let Bob or Ross know as alternates.http://www.nukewatch.org/Congresswatch/housebills/pdf/HR2459.pdf

Kurt Stand

Ross repeated the story, detailed in earlier minutes.  There was support for sending a letter to Kurt, and possibly doing more.  Ross will draft something for the next meeting (or possibly earlier circulation),.

Tom Edminster in SF took quite an interest in the case.  Michael and Tom said they'd get contact info to Ross.

Peace Academy

According to a (fundraising) call from DSA, supporting HR2459 is a national DSA project.  The idea is to contact representatives about co-sponsoring the bill, which comes from Dennis Kucinich and is supported by the progressive caucus.  Everyone said they would contact their rep (neither Pelosi nor Lantos has signed on; Woolsey and Lee are co-sponsors).

This led to the question of the best way to contact Congress post anthrax scare.  The feeling was regular mail might not get through, and probably a phone call would have the greatest impact.  e-mail is another option.

More info is available at http://www.nukewatch.org/Congresswatch/housebills/HR2459.html (or in pdf)

Health Care

Betty reported that there are a series of hearings being held throughout the state on health care alternatives for CA.  Reportedly there are 7, probably coming out of a study funded by the legislature.  The Health Care for All Campaign, with which we have worked, is trying to turn people out for the hearings: some of the alternatives are quite good, and others aren't.  The hearings are being done by the state, throughout the state (including Oakland on Feb. 7).  Unfortunately, Jan 4 was the registration deadline, but perhaps it's not too late to get in.  The conference is all day, and is free unless you don't show up, in which case it costs $50!  (800) 858-7743 or (916) 278-6633 are the phone numbers for the conference.


Bob and Betty reported being impressed by "Incident at Oglala" on the events surrounding Leonard Peltier's conflict with the police.  Robert Redford apparently is pushing the 1.5 hr film, which describes the death squad environment leading up to the better known events.

Bob will look into making arrangements to show the film, perhaps as a kick off for a film series.  Anyone who would like to make their house and TV available, please speak up.  Ross agreed to publicize our need for same.

Discussion: What is Socialism?

We kicked off a wide ranging discussion of Socialism, using the pieces by Bob and Ross (in pdf or text ) as springboards.  It's difficult to summarize the discussion, but I noticed two axes of disagreement.  Some people felt they had a fairly comfortable sense of what socialism would be, and others felt quite uncertain and unhappy with the available answers.  Secondly, to the extent that there were specific visions, they ranged from central planning along the lines of the Soviet Union to a market economy with progressive taxation along the lines that some have called (not in the discussion) "slightly imaginary Sweden".

There was particular discussion of the merits and demerits of the Soviet Union, as well as the comment that we shouldn't get too hung up on it.

We will continue the discussion next time.  People are invited to contribute additional pieces for general consideration, and we will also look at Cy Gonick's "A Democratic Socialist Vision for the 21st Century ".  The Boulder DSA reported this sparked a good discussion in their group.

Ross is assembling various bibliographies on this subject.

Next Meeting

Sun, Feb.  3 at 2 PM at 11 Panorama Dr.

Minutes prepared by Ross Boylan January 5, 2002.
Spelling of Peltier fixed Jan 20, 2002 (thanks Jason Schulman).