Part 2 here
In 1983 the Chicago socialists involved in the annual Thomas-Debs Dinner joined with members of the New American Movement to form the Chicago branch of a new Marxist organisation, the .
While the Thomas-Debs people were mainly ex Socialist Party or former Trotskyists, the NAM people were largely former “new leftists” or ex Communist Party USA members.
The New organisation heavily infiltrated the Chicago Democratic Party and was to play a key role in electing Chicago’s socialist mayor, Harold Washington and in furthering the careers of two other local politicians, Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama.
One woman, closely associated with the DSA, long time Chicago Democratic Party activist, Sue Purrington played a role in Mosely Braun’s decision.
From the Chicago DSA website
The 34th Annual Dinner was held on May 1, 1992 at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. The Master of Ceremonies was Michael Lighty, who was then the Executive Director of DSA. Sue Purrington, the Executive Director of Chicago NOW, and Dr. Quentin Young, President of Physicians for a National Health Program, were the honorees. The featured speaker was Jose LaLuz, who was the National Education Director of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.
Young and Laluz were also DSA members.
We honor you as a career fighter for women’s rights and equality…
You were instrumental in persuading Carol Moseley Braun to start her campaign to become Senator from Illinois then you produced votes to back up your pledge of support.
Another DSA linked activist associated with Moseley-Braun was Milt Cohen.
A long time Chicago Communist Party activist, Cohen was later active in the New American Movement, then in DSA.
According to the Chicago DSA’s New Ground
Cohen was a leading supporter Harold Washington;
In 1982, Rep. Harold Washington issued a challenge to register 50,000 new voters in preparation for the coming mayoral election. Milt helped organize a grassroots movement which met the challenge by more than double. Later he chaired the Chicago Coalition for Voter Registration.
Milt joined the 1983 Washington campaign full-time. He later said that hard-won victory was his greatest satisfaction. The Washington movement clearly reflected Milt’s long-time priorities: anti-racism, political independence, and progressive multi-racial coalitions.
A few months after his election, Washington issued a proclamation declaring Milton M. Cohen Day a day for Chicagoans to honor a man “who has dedicated his life to the unceasing struggle for the civil and economic rights of all people and has worked for 50 years in the cause of progressive change and reform politics in Chicago and a more democratic, humane and peaceful America and world.” Mayor Washington noted that to honor Milt Cohen is to honor “thousands of rank-and-file activists who work day and night in the struggle for jobs, justice, and peace.”
And Carol Moseley-Braun;
Carol Moseley Braun’s election to the Senate in 1992 was another landmark for Milt. He had helped recruit Braun for her first legislative race in 1978, and one of his last projects before leaving Chicago was soliciting DSA members to participate in the Braun campaign.
Chicago DSA put a big effort into Carol Moseley Braun’s successful 1992 Senate campaign.
From Chicago DSA’s New Ground;
Progressive forces in Illinois made history November 3 by electing Carol Moseley Braun as the first African-American woman to the US Senate.
Braun beat beat Republican millionaire Rich Williamson soundly, 57%-43%. Former DSA Youth Organizer Jeremy Karpatkin directed Braun’s field operations. Chicago DSA contributed volunteers and money to Braun’s campaign.
Part 4 here