Chuck Turner

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Chuck Turner is a Boston socialist.

"Community organizer"

Writing in the Huffington Post of September 8, 2008, in an article entitled "From Organizer To Elected Official" Democratic Socialists of America member Peter Dreier listed several serving US politicians who had begun their careers as "community organizers". They were US Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Representatives John Lewis of Georgia, Jan Schakowsky and Danny Davis of Illinois, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Linda Sanchez of California, and Donna Edwards of Maryland, Washington House of Representatives Speaker Frank Chopp, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, state legislators Beth Low of Missouri, Michael Foley of Ohio, Gilbert Cedillo of California, Tom Hucker of Maryland, Tony Hill of Florida, and Crystal Peoples of New York, Alameda County (California) Supervisor Nate Miley, City Council members Jay Westbrook of Cleveland, Chuck Turner and Sam Yoon of Boston, and Melvin Carter of St. Paul, and San Francisco School Board member Jane Kim. [1]

Attieno Davis

The target was the presidential candidates' debate on Oct. 3, 2000, in Boston. For a week before the event, Boston police, state troopers, and secret service agents put out the word in the corporate media that no marches would be legally permitted.

The cops complained in the Oct. 3 morning press that death penalty protest organizers were refusing to return their agents' calls. They threatened that "illegal attempts to march will not stop the flow of traffic." They spoke of herding people into "protest pens."

But Kazi Toure, a former political prisoner and leader of the Boston Coalition for Mumia Abu-Jamal, told Workers World, "The people don't need any permit, and we never asked for one." As he spoke, activists pushed aside cop barricades in front of the Dudley Square police/court complex to make way for a sound stage to address the thousands of protesters pouring into the square.

Attieno Davis, representing Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner's 7th District Roundtable, blasted Democratic and Republican politicians for promoting HMOs and other for-profit health-care schemes that have left poor communities, especially people of color in cities and rural areas, with plummeting coverage.[2]

Joining DSA

In January 2001 Boston Democratic Socialists of America announced that "three respected local progressives have decided to join. Judy Meredith, the “People’s Lobbyist,” has long fought the good fight at the Statehouse. Chuck Turner, after years of effective organizing in Roxbury, is now making a big impact as a City Councilor. (Both Judy and Chuck are past recipients of our Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award.) And Andi Mullin is both Political Director of the Commonwealth Coalition and President of Boston NOW".[3]

Progressive propaganda event

According to Boston activist Jason Pramas, a couple of months after September 11th "shattered politics-as-usual for the American left", a number of local Boston activists in the labor-welfare coalition Working Massachusetts, in Jobs with Justice, and "in my group, the Campaign on Contingent Work", thought that the economic downturn accelerated by the terrorist attacks was actually creating an excellent climate for "progressives to take the political high ground in Massachusetts".

So in November of 2001, two ideas — Jobs with Justice’s plan to hold a Faneuil Hall speakout similar to the epic Democratic Socialists of America -led “Hearing on Economic Insecurity” in 1996, and a CCW/Working Massachusetts plan to hold a conference to help further unify the work of area progressives (and not-coincidentally) relaunch Working Massachusetts.

The major difference between "our event and the 1996 event" was that the worker panels testified to the local Jobs with Justice Workers Rights Board consisting of "eminent personages like Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and Boston College Professor Juliet Schor" (both DSA members) — rather than testifying to a panel of Congresspeople. A few politicians showed up, most notably Congressman Bill Delahunt, State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien and State Senator Warren Tolman, but the overall focus of the day was that the "area progressive movement should express public shock and outrage at the local state of economic affairs in the light of the mass media. And propose that a freshly-emboldened popular movement could change the current political equation in favor of working people."[4]

Paul Wellstone tribute

As the 2004 Democratic National Convention was poised to open in Boston , Jobs with Justice, , hosted a living tribute to the late Senator Paul Wellstone on July 25. Hundreds filled the historic Old West Church to tackle the question, “What must the Democratic Party do to live up to the progressive vision of Paul Wellstone?”

“Paul had the courage to stand the pain that comes with standing for something and not fall for anything,” said United Steelworkers of America union International President Leo Gerard. “That’s what the Democratic Party needs right now. He gave people a reason to fight, to hope.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), another panel member, called for “Wellstone Democratic Clubs” to mobilize neighborhoods into the political process to re-order national resources.

Many in the audience were students at Camp Wellstone, a workshop conducted in Boston for prospective candidates and campaign workers conducted by Wellstone’s campaign manager, Jeff Blodgett, also on the panel.

Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) pointed out that too many liberals, including himself, voted for “welfare reform” in 1996. He praised Wellstone as the lone voice defending welfare at the time.

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner quickly jumped in, igniting the audience with a clarion call for popular direct action to ensure accountability from a Kerry administration. “We need Kerry there and we need to be there to purge the cancer (of the Bush administration) from the soul of the body politic,” he said.

When Horace Small, the moderator, pooh-poohed the importance of trade in this election, Jim Hightower, author and radio personality, nearly jumped out of his seat.

“Tell that to Texas farmers who are losing their farms or workers who have lost their jobs to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement),” Hightower said. “Who the hell elected the WTO (World Trade Organization)? Right now, in Washington, there are too many 5-watt bulbs sitting in 100-watt sockets. The people are revolting – in the best sense. I think we are going to get George.”

Confessing to once being a Republican, columnist Arianna Huffington reminded the assembly of all the dirty tricks and disgusting tactics that are on the horizon as November nears. Saying that “Mobilization is the key,” she proposed reaching out to the 50 percent of the eligible electorate that stayed home in 2000. “If we are able to just energize 10 percent of those voters, we win.”

The program included the presentation of awards to two attorneys, Julie Patino and Nadine Cohen, both of whom have fought difficult battles to protect affirmative action and voting rights of Massachusetts residents and immigrants. Other panelists included Al Franken, media personality, noted Columbia professor Frances Fox Piven and Anna Burger, vice president of the Service Employees International Union.[5]

911 "Truther"

Chuck Turner was one of 100 "prominent Americans" who signed an October 26 2004 statement circulated by 911Truth.org calling on the U.S. Government to investigate 9/11 as a possible "inside job".[6]

...we have assembled 100 notable Americans and 40 family members of those who died to sign this 9/11 Statement, which calls for immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

In 2008 Chuck Turner, City Councilor, District 7, Boston, MA signed a statement circulated by the Partisan Defense Committee calling for the release of convicted “cop-killer” Mumia Abu-Jamal.[7]

Black Commentator

As of 2009 Chuck Turner was listed on the Editorial Board for the Black Commentator.[8]

References