In Illinois and across the country momentum is building in support of implementing a Medicare for All Single-Payer health care system. This system would bypass profit-greedy corporate insurance companies and includes 100% free universal coverage for all.

The U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world, and yet we are ranked 37th for the quality of care when compared to other advanced industrial countries. Over 40,000 people die unnecessarily and close to one million people are forced into home foreclosure and bankruptcy every single year because of our corporate-controlled health care system.

It is time to join the rest of the industrialized world and make access to healthcare and medicine a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT, regardless of ability to pay.

Come hear what you and your organization can do to bring health care for all to our state and country.
Join us at a panel presentation to find out what you can do to help make this happen. Speakers will include:

Dr. Pamella Gronemeyer, MD, Illinois Single payer Coalition and Clair Irwin, local member, Illinois Insulin 4 All

Sunday June 23rd at 1 PM
Champaign public Library
200 W. Green St.
Robeson Room A and B

Sponsored by: Chambana Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Co-sponsors: Central Illinois Jobs with Justice, Channing Murray Foundation; Illinois Single Payer Coalition, Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA); Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign; U-C Friends Meeting, Peace and Service Committee.

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It’s Not an Immigration Crisis, It’s a Global Labor Tragedy

The number of Central American families seeking refuge in the US has greatly risen in the last few years.

An underclass of “undocumented” workers in the U.S., sweatshops in Asia, child miners in Africa, contract ironworkers in Dubai … we live in a world of globalized labor exploitation. This doesn’t just mean a world where workers in many countries suffer exploitation; it means a world in which labor is kept artificially divided and controlled by a regime of nation-state boundaries. If the problem of the twentieth century was the problem of the color line, the problem of the twenty-first century will be the problem of the borderline as the mechanism of human repression.

This global caste system is the new “prison house of nations,” although we don’t all feel the prison bars. A few, like many here in Champaign-Urbana, can soar across borders for career, education and vacation, or stay at home and enjoy food, clothing, and goods produced by others’ labor, but most of the world remains bound by an international economic system that allows produce to travel, but not the producers. This makes it easy to forget that it’s the absence of decent wages, environmental oversight, or social safety nets at the production end that makes things affordable at our end. We may come into contact with the victims of labor exploitation through travel, sporadic brand campaigns, or heart-wrenching profiles of child laborers, but we think of these horrors as anachronisms to be corrected by individual companies or countries, not symptoms of a global pyramid scheme. Continue reading

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GEO Statement Against the Proposed ICE Detention Center in Dwight, Illinois

February 28, 2019

We, the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO, strongly condemn the proposed construction of a private prison in Dwight, Illinois. The Dwight Planning Commission met on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 to discuss the annexing of private land for a privately run, federal immigration detention center. The detention center would serve to detain up to 1,200 undocumented immigrants. The Dwight Planning Commission voted in favor of annexing the private land for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center. The Dwight village board will be meeting on Monday, March 11, 2019 to have a final vote on whether to approve the contract with the Immigration Centers of America. More than 100 protestors, including Dwight residents and activists from across the state of Illinois, attended the February 19 meeting to voice their opposition to the proposed plans. Continue reading

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The Labor Problem

Eugene V. Debs (1885-1926) was a trade unionist, a founding member of the IWW, and candidate for President of the Socialist Party five times. In his last run, in 1920, he got almost a million votes while in a prison cell.

by Eugene V. Debs – unsigned editorial in Locomotive Firemen’s Monthly Magazine, vol. 3, no. 5 (May 1879), p. 146.

Whatever politicians may say to the contrary, however much they may attempt to lead the masses away from the truth, the fact remains that the labor question is the great problem of the immediate future. Politicians may howl over the Southern question; so-called statesmen may cry “revolution” at each other, but the thinking man knows that most of it is done for effect; he knows, further, that the future outlook is ominous for peace and prosperity, if the wants of the laboring man are not met as they should be. Like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, the labor issue looms up, prominent, awful, grand; and he only is a true friend to his country, who understands the great difficulty, and will use his honest endeavors to solve it. The solution, we hope, will come steadily, peacefully, but come it must, though it be necessary to bring it here on the terrible wings of revolution. Not the revolution of bloodshed, but a revolution that will overwhelm the enemies of the laboring classes beneath ruin unutterable. God hastens the day, say we. Organization is the great secret of success. A body of men—no matter who they are, or for what purpose they come together—if they are well organized, they will succeed. Our readers will recognize the truth of this by looking at our own grand Brotherhood. We are as one man, from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon—East, West, North, South—the same great body of honest, hard-working men. One great body, with one noble heart, beating responsive to the wishes of every member. Let us persevere in our objects, let us organize more fully, and we shall become more of what we are already: a power in the land for good. Brothers, gird on the armor, the whole world is a battlefield, and we must be the heroes in the fight for our rights.

Edited by Tim Davenport, 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR · February 2017 · Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

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Chief Illiniwek: A Brief History and Call to Action

Former U of I President Michael Hogan (2010-2012) with pro-Chief students.

On March 13, 2007, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, after approximately 20 years of debate on the Illiniwek tradition, directed

“… the immediate conclusion to the use of Native American imagery as the symbol of the University of Illinois and its intercollegiate athletics along with the related regalia, logo, and the names ‘Chief Illiniwek’ and ‘Chief, and … [that] the Chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus manage the final disposition of these matters.”

Many Trustees acted not out of concern for American Indians but because the NCAA, after seven years of careful study, established a policy prohibiting the use of American Indian imagery in intercollegiate sports. The Trustees had been warned both from within and outside their ranks to resolve this issue through their own initiative, but they lacked the will to do so. The 2007 policy was a resounding repudiation of those Trustees and politicians who had undermined the will of the university’s administration, faculty and students for decades. As the News-Gazette stated at the time, “If it wasn’t for a few well-placed politicians the mascot would have been gone by now.” Continue reading

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Attacks on the Campus Left Then and Now: Fighting Student Activists on Illinois’ Campus in the 1930s

In the 1930s, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was home to a thriving anti-war and anti-imperialist community of different radical, socialist, and communist groups. The National Student League (NSL), later called the American Student Union (ASU), the Communist Youth League, the Left Forum, the Socialist Study Club, and the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom formed a consistent opposition to the university’s support of US imperialist warmongering through its mandatory Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs; promoted progressive economic responses to the Great Depression, like unemployment benefits and minimum wage laws; and fought racial, ethnic, and gender oppression.

Thirty years before the massive wave of campus activism in the 1960s, these students formed an alternative to the liberal capitalism that had allowed the Great Depression to destroy millions of lives, supported and reproduced class, racial and gender oppression, and was increasing the likelihood of another global war. In response to the students’ efforts, the liberal-bourgeois establishment—university leaders, business and community members, and, on occasion, even other students and student groups—fought to crush the student left with a variety of tools. This article will discuss a few of these tactics, and it will highlight the historical continuity between these attempts to dismantle the student Old Left and those against the contemporary Left on campus. Continue reading

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The value of community

By Molly Zupan, representing UIUC Urban Planning 478 Spring 2019 students

This spring semester, a group of urban planning and architecture students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have collaborated on creating visual, physical and written representations of the public history and urban landscape of the Champaign-Urbana area, and of the residents that live, work and play beyond campus boundaries. This is our call to action.

Facilitated by Professor Ken Salo, of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, our class dove into the cultural, political and historical dynamics that lie beneath the Champaign-Urbana community and continue to impact how it is structured today, as well as the daily lives of its residents. Continue reading

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On the Topic of Islamophobia and Nationalism

From the time we are little until we are fully grown, most of us are taught the basic saying “treat others the way you want to be treated.” It represents the action of being courteous and kind, to not disrespect or belittle another, because one wouldn’t want that to happen to oneself. But what happens when not everyone behaves that way, when there are those that would rather bring about entire ideologies that dehumanize and attack specific groups of people based upon an aspect of their identity?

White supremacy. Islamophobia. Xenophobia. All words synonymous with hatred and bigotry. And they form a rising epidemic in today’s world, as seen by the global shift towards supporting right-wing politicians, perhaps best exemplified here in the US by the election of Donald Trump as president. When people in power fail to denounce white supremacy for what it is, an ideology of hate, they allow nationalists the platform to continue to grow and spread their message. Continue reading

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Unacceptable Levels—Our Body Burden, Our Planet Burden

Our planet is drowning in synthetic chemicals. Our bodies have become synthetic chemical processing plants. A 2005 Environmental Working Group study of umbilical cord blood revealed that babies are born already pre-polluted with over 200 industrial contaminates. Hundreds of the more than 80,000 pervasive, toxic, man-made concoctions make their way into our bodies every day, but only a handful have been tested for safety. Our government thinks this is an “acceptable level of risk.” Innovations from World War II, chemistry originally designed to kill for warfare, were unleashed after the war to meet the public’s ever-increasing demands for consumer conveniences to fill busy, prosperous lifestyles. The material basis of our society is built on fossil fuel feedstocks. 90% of man-made chemicals come from oil, coal, and gas. Hydrocarbons are plentiful and easy to work with. We eat, drink, breathe, wear, touch, and slather our bodies with petrochemicals every day. “We live in a sea of chemicals.”

In February, the Sierra Club and Peoples Climate Movement, with other local organizations, screened the film Unacceptable Levels at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign. In 2009, the smell of chlorine in a glass of water led an everyday guy named Ed Brown to start asking serious questions about how polluted the world around him and his family just might be. Over two years, Brown asked a lot of questions and traveled thousands of miles. He spoke with experts, authors, doctors, scientists, CEOs, and environmental advocates who helped open his eyes to the magnitude of this unrealized threat to our collective health. (Industry reps and government officials refused his invitations to speak with him.) He shares this journey with us in his film because he feels that “we are all in this together.” Continue reading

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Welcome to the IMC

Come in.

I am writing to invite you deeper into the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. I lead a lot of tours of the IMC. Some of you know more of the history than I do. The IMC has been around, in various forms, for almost 20 years. The IMC has been at 202 S. Broadway in Urbana since 2005, but you would be surprised how many people have never been inside. Continue reading

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