Third-Party Activists to Meet in Decatur May 2-4

Activists from throughout the United States will meet in Decatur, Ill., over the weekend of May 2-4 to discuss ways to strengthen the movement for a progressive alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties.

The National Independent Politics Summit/97 is being organized by the Independent Progressive Politics Network in collaboration with leaders of the labor movement in Decatur, which was the scene of some of the most significant labor battles of the 1990s.

Thousands of workers from A.E. Staley, Caterpillar and Bridgestone/Firestone plants in Decatur fought against downsizing, 12-hour rotating shifts, reductions in benefits, outsourcing and layoffs. At the same time, a 25-union coalition formed to run independent labor candidates for city council and school board, leading to the ouster of an anti-labor mayor, the election of a union city councilperson and winning control of the school board.

The summit will be organized to maximize interaction among progressive third-party and independent politics groups in the U.S. Discussion will include how to strengthen the movements for publicly financed elections and proportional representation, key issues such as the assaults on welfare and social security, and key strategy questions such as how to relate to progressive Democrats and the relationship between local and national third-party building.

Ted Glick, national coordinator of the IPPN, explained what his group hoped to accomplish:

"We will decide on concrete actions we can take to defend our communities, our jobs, our incomes, our rights and our futures, all of which are under attack by the corporate elite and its two parties."

For information, contact the IPPN at 718-624-7807.

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