Patricia Ireland

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Patricia Ireland ...

"Socialist Feminists: Who Are We Now?"

The Democratic Socialists of America Feminist Commission held a conference entitled "Socialist Feminists: Who Are We Now?" January 8-10 1993 in Washington, D.C. The conference was designed to help set a socialist feminist agenda for the Clinton era.

Over 100 people attended the opening-night plenary, which featured Heidi Hartmann of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, NOW president Patricia Ireland, D.C. activist Gwen McKinney, and Kay Ostberg of the Human Rights Campaign Fund.

Saturday afternoon's session was entitled "Breaking Bread: Can We Be Part of a Multiracial Women's Movement?" Speakers included Juanita Webster, of DSA's African American Commission and the Feminist Commission;Tomasa Gonzalez, of DSA's Latino/a Commission and the Feminist Commission; and Cindy Deitch of the Feminist Commission.[1]

Anti CCRI campaign/DSAer?

Democratic Left, November / December 1996, page 19

In 1996 Democratic Socialists of America activists in California were deeply involved in the unsuccessful struggle to defeat Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights initiative, which sought to ban "affirmative action". At DSA's 1995 National Convention, the organization made opposition to CCRI a "major focus for our Activist Agenda".

According to campaign co-ordinator, Sacramento DSA leader Duane Campbell, "several prominent DSAers also contributed to the effort against 209. DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta was a tireless campaigner and fundraiser. Huerta, alongwith Jesse Jackson, Eleanor Smeal, Patricia Ireland and Elizabeth Toledo, participated in a Freedom Bus tour throughout California, Each of them spoke from their own views on the significance of this campaign in building a spirit of hope and of struggle. The tour, well covered in the media, clearty showed the need to work together to build broad coalitions of labor, civil rights, and women's organizations..[2]

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Patricia Ireland, National Organization for Women was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[3]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1997 Chicago DSA member Bruce Bentley wrote;

There is a class struggle in process in the Congress with the Progressive Caucus around such issues as the Welfare Bill, NAFTA and Single Payer Health Care.

As a result of this DSA's Political Director Christine Riddiough organized a meeting with the Congressional Progressive Caucus with the purpose and cogent task as to: "How can we unite our forces on a common agenda?" Those in attendance included Richard Trumka, Noam Chomsky, Patricia Ireland, William Greider and Jesse Jackson.[4]

"The Progressive Challenge: Capitol Hill Forum"

On January 9, 1997, over 600 people attended "The Progressive Challenge: Capitol Hill Forum" sponsored by the House Progressive Caucus, Democratic Socialists of America, and a host of other progressive organizations.

The primary goal of this day-long "kick-off" forum was to "identify the unifying values shared by progressives at this point in US history, to help define core elements of a forward-looking progressive agenda, and to pinpoint ways to connect that agenda with the concerns of millions of disillusioned people who lack voices in present politics and policy-making."

After a welcome by Representative Bernie Sanders, an impressive array of legislators, activists, and thinkers offered their insights. Senator Paul Wellstone, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Patricia Ireland of NOW, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Noam Chomsky, William Greider of Rolling Stone, and DSA Honorary Chair Barbara Ehrenreich were among the many who spoke.

Some emphasized the importance of the conventional, if difficult, process of progressive candidates building grassroots campaigns that treat voters with intelligence and challenge prevailing wisdom regarding what values and issues motivate ordinary Americans struggling to make ends meet-as opposed to using polls and focus groups to concoct "designer" campaigns to appeal to upscale "soccer moms." Other speakers reminded those present that great changes are made by people acting outside of the corridors of power to define justice and "political reality," and the electoral and legislative processes are not the only arenas worthy of activists' attention.[5]

References

  1. Dem. Left, Jan./Feb. 1993. page 8
  2. Democratic Left • November / December 1996 • page 19
  3. CAF Co-Founders
  4. DSA National Director Addresses Chicago DSA Membership, New Ground 51, March-April, 1997
  5. [Democratic Left • Issue #1 1997 * page 7-8]