PDA Meets in Chicago

By David Swanson, PDA
December 15, 2008, Chicago, IL

Saturday night in Chicago, national and state leaders of Progressive Democrats of America met to strategize and discuss the progress of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign. The meeting was held at the same hotel where PDA members were participating in a three-day United for Peace and Justice national assembly.

The UFPJ assembly and the PDA meeting were both extremely encouraging, and harmonized well. UFPJ not only endorsed PDA’s Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, but focused strongly on the general theme of shifting resources from the military and war to human needs. As part of that program, UFPJ’s over 200 delegates voted to work toward a massive demonstration in New York City on April 4th, the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against the Vietnam War at Riverside Church in 1967. The aim of the demonstration will be to draw connections between ending wars and resolving economic crises.

UFPJ also resolved to support accountability and prosecution of war criminals, finally joining in a serious way a movement that PDA has been leading for years. PDA will be represented on UFPJ’s newly forming Working Group on Accountability and Prosecution, which will be working hard in the coming days to oppose possible presidential pardons of crimes authorized by the president.

PDA’s meeting on Saturday brought together national leaders Carpenter and Steve Cobble, leader of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign Donna Smith, Illinois PDA leaders Laurel Bault, Bill Bianchi, and Lorin Klugman, Ohio leaders Michael Carano, Mary Nichols-Rhodes, and Dave Kelly, and PDA members from Indiana, Wisconsin, and other states. Also joining us were two Democratic candidates for the congressional seat in Illinois’ Fifth District expected to be vacated by Rahm Emanuel. They were Thomas Geoghegan, an author whose writings may be of interest and Matt Reichel. Both candidates spoke to the gathering in support of Healthcare Not Warfare as a campaign critical not only for its direct impact but also for its broader effects on the economy, including lowering the non-labor costs of production.

Smith, Carpenter, Cobble, and others reported on the progress of the campaign. A new ally from Canada was recruited to help inform Americans about the Canadian health care system. Lots of new and veteran activists devised plans for next steps. Carpenter reported on the meeting to the UFPJ assembly, to loud applause.

David Swanson is the author of the upcoming book “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union” by Seven Stories Press and of the introduction to “The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush” published by Feral House and available at Amazon.com. Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ConvictBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, and Voters for Peace, and a member of the legislative working group of United for Peace and Justice.