News & Events

April 17, 2019

Socialism Defined
Last February, I wrote an NTD News commentary describing how Democratic leaders as far back as President Harry Truman have tried to establish an affordable healthcare system available to every American. I summed things up by saying, “As you can see, working toward universal health care is not a new concept, nor is it radical. America has been inching toward it for 75 years. It’s now possible we could be in the final push before this long-overdue reform becomes an American reality. But we’ve already begun to hear accusations from the right of, “Socialism!” “Communism!” “Radicalism!”
Since I wrote that essay, the noise coming from the right wing, led by Donald Trump, has only increased. Every Democrat supporting a progressive initiative is being labeled a “socialist.” And the more we Democrats succeed in generating public enthusiasm for our progressive ideas, the more Republicans are going to double down with their ominous warnings of “creeping socialism.” — Fear and the distortion of facts are always a right wing go-to tactic.
Now, you and I may understand that their accusations are false. I’m all for some form of universal healthcare. I believe we desperately need a national initiative to address climate change. I think a federally supported program to put a college education within the reach of every American who wants one is a good idea. But this does not mean my dream is to see the United States become some sort of centralized “socialist utopia.”
I’m a Progressive Democrat, and I like the sound of that.
I reject the label of “socialist.” — Not because I’m concerned about what the right might say about me. I simply don’t believe America should have a socialist society in the way socialism is formally defined. — And by “defined” I mean as in a dictionary.
Here’s what three major dictionaries I checked all pretty much say: “A Socialist is an advocate or supporter of Socialism” which is…: “The theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of capital, land etc. in the community as a whole.” And one dictionary went on to say, “in Marxist theory, Socialism is the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to Communism , characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.”
Those are not descriptions of an American society I yearn to see take shape. And those dictionaries leave little room for giving “socialist” and “socialism” a less hardline interpretation. (What a handy campaign weapon for Republicans.) The power of this pejorative in 2020 worries me.
I do realize there is a “softer” form of socialism called “Democratic Socialism.” One professor called it “anti-authoritarian socialism” or “socialism from below.” The Scandinavian countries are best known for this type of governance. The quality of life they have achieved is admirable and for millions of Americans it is enviable. But our United States is not like any of those nations. Our history, and diversity, our societal sensibilities are quite different. However, the one thing we definitely do share is a belief in basic democratic principles. (By the way, Scandinavia presently has 58 billionaires. So apparently Democratic Socialism in that region is not headed in the direction the political philosophers Marx and Engels intended!)
One of our party’s leading candidates for President, Bernie Sanders, does insist on identifying himself as a Democratic Socialist. And it’s true, the major programs he advocates do involve federal involvement on the broadest scale, as they might in Scandinavia. However, there are goals Senator Sanders champions that do not differ that radically from plans proposed by several other progressive Democrats running for president or serving in Congress.
We are entering what is sure to be a brutal battle to unseat Donald Trump. It seems to me that a leading Democratic presidential candidate bragging that he’s is proud to be a socialist, no matter how gently that word is modified, does not help our cause. We are not trying to win votes in Europe. We are trying to win votes in our purple states. I know it’s probably too late for Bernie to modify his preferred identity but I’d sure like to hear him use the word “progressive” a lot more and maybe “socialist” not at all.
Logically, a label shou ldn’t hold that much power over thoughtful voters. Unfortunately, labels too often do. So to wrap up this monologue, here are some more dictionary defined labels that you may find especially enlightening.
Liberal : Favoring reform, open to new ideas, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; not bound by traditional thinking; broad-minded.
Progressive : Favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters....A person who is open to or favors new ideas, policies or methods.
Conservative :
Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to 
restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
Those first two definitions fill me with hope. And that third one says all you need to know about what we are up against.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Thursday, May 16, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Spring Networking Pop-Up

When : Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
What : Let’s get together and talk politics! New Trier Democrats invite you to join us for drinks, mingling and conversation. Here’s a great opportunity to network with like-minded people in our area and form connections with other Dems and activists. Drinks will be available for purchase. This event is not a fundraiser – It’s just an opportunity to have fun and meet other area Dems as well as some of our local representatives.
Other Events of Interest
Inclusion in our "Other Events of Interest" List – whether it’s a fundraising event for a specific candidate or an event concerning a particular issue – does not mean that the New Trier Democrats have endorsed that candidate or adopted that position on an issue. 
Tomorrow, April 18, 2019: Ida’s Legacy Second Annual Luncheon

When : Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Where : InterContinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Ida’s Legacy’s Second Annual Luncheon will feature Faye Wattleton, former CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ida’s Legacy, in honor of Ida B. Wells, was formed in response to the 2016 election, and is the only Illinois PAC with a focus on developing and supporting progressive African-American women candidates. For more information or to purchase tickets,  register online .
Tomorrow Night, April 18, 2019: Lambda Legal’s Bon Foster Civil Rights Celebration

When : Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Where : Morgan Manufacturing, 402 N. Morgan St. in Chicago
What : Lambda Legal’s Annual Civil Rights Celebration. Premium open bar, hors d’oeuvres reception and entertainment.  Tickets and Sponsorship Link . Contact Carla Avila, National Events Coordinator, at (312) 663-4413 x 323 for more information.
This Saturday, April 20, 2019: Rep. Brad Schneider’s “Congress on Your Corner” in Mt. Prospect

When : Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 10:00am to 11:00am
Where : Mount Prospect Library, 10 S. Emerson St., Mt. Prospect
What : Congressman Brad Schneider will answer questions from constituents and brief attendees on his work in Washington. The event is open to the public.
This Saturday, April 20, 2019: Stamp Money Out of Politics

When : Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Where : Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 North Knox Ave., Chicago. Free parking in the lot and close to the Montrose Blue Line stop.
What : The Stamp Stampede sponsors an event to “Stamp Money Out of Politics” by stamping paper currency with anti-big-money and pro-voting rights messages. Attendees are invited to bring $1, $5 and $10 bills to have them stamped at the event. Food and drink will be provided. Free ice cream from Ben & Jerry. Attendees will receive their own stamp to take home. For more information or to RSVP,  register online  or call Jim at 773-972-5730.
Sunday, April 28, 2019: The Stevenson Center Presents “An Analysis of Prescription Prices: Can We Afford the Cure?”

When : Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 2:00pm
Where : The Stevenson Center on Democracy, 25200 N. St. Mary’s Rd., Mettawa (Libertyville)
What:  Tom Gochenour, part time staff pharmacist and chief compounder for Rush University Medical Center, will trace the evolution of the prescription marketplace from 1972, the year he became a pharmacist, to the present. Through this journey, he will refer to sentinel events and legislation that has led to our current condition in which the list price of some medications can cost over $25,000 per month. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
Saturday, May 4, 2019: A Safe Place 7th Annual EmpoweRun 5K

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 (Registration begins at 7:30am; Race starts at 9:00am)
Where : Independence Grove Forest Preserve, 16400 Buckley Road in Libertyville
What: Get your team together and run or walk the scenic trails of the forest preserve. All runners receive a t-shirt, goody bag, and access to family fun activities. All proceeds raised that evening help A Safe Place continue to provide lifesaving services for survivors of domestic violence.  Link to register now.
Saturday, May 4, 2019: CASA Silver Anniversary Gala

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 6:00pm
Where : InterContinental Chicago, 505 Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Lake County holds its Silver Anniversary Gala celebrating the people who helped CASA change the lives of over 2,000 abused and neglected children over the past 25 years. The evening features cocktails, dinner, music, dancing and auctions. Special guest speaker: Alison Myers, former Lake County CASA child. For more information or to purchase tickets,  register online.
Sunday, May 5, 2019: The Stevenson Center on Democracy Hosts “Building MLK’s Beloved Community”

When : Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2:00pm
Where : The Stevenson Center on Democracy, 25200 N. St. Mary’s Rd., Mettawa (Libertyville)
What : A team from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago will speak about their work building safe, peaceful and just communities. Director of Programs Chris Patterson will describe Nonviolence Chicago’s background and initiatives; Kejuan Scott, a participant, will talk about how Nonviolence Chicago and the READI program have positively impacted his life; and Teny Gross, the Executive Director, will tell us about Nonviolence Chicago’s role in building and supporting the city-wide collaborative architecture of violence prevention and intervention services.  Register here , and for more information regarding this event contact Tara Dabney via email at
Monday, May 6, 2019: Jan Schakowsky’s Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch With Nancy Pelosi

When : Monday, May 6, 2019. Registration opens: 11:30am, Luncheon and program: 12:00 noon to 2:00pm
Where : Hilton Chicago International Ballroom, 720 South Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Join Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky at her 18th Annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as Keynoter.  Register online. For more information, call Sarah Gersten in Jan’s office at 847-424-1998 or email
Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Indivisible Evanston’s May Meeting on Healthcare

When : Tuesday, May 7, 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Lorraine G. Morton Civic Center, Parasol Room, 4th Floor, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston
What : Join Indivisible Evanston for its monthly meeting and find out how you can take action to resist the Trump agenda in 2019, as well as how you can help support progressive legislation and candidates for office. Their May meeting will feature an in-depth look into Healthcare with Panel Speakers: Leslie Combs, District Director for Jan Schakowsky; John Berryman, Physicians for a National Health Program; and Graciela Guzman, Protect Our Care IL. All are welcome to come, learn, and to get involved! For more information or to RSVP, visit  their Facebook event page .
Thursday, May 9, 2019: Women Employed Hosts “The Working Lunch”

When : Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 11:00am to 1:30pm. Networking reception: 11:00am; Program: 11:45am
Where : Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom, 151 East Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago
What : Come to “The Working Lunch” for an energizing conversation with influential leaders about manifesting and celebrating the power of women from the boardroom to the ballot and beyond. For additional information or to purchase tickets,  register online .
Friday, May 10, 2019: A Safe Place Hosts Wine Women & Shoes 2019

When : Friday, May 10, 2019 from 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Where : Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, Ten Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
What : A Safe Place hosts its third annual Wine Women and Shoes fundraiser. The event features unlimited wine tasting, a multi-designer marketplace, charming Shoe Guys serving up must-have items on silver platters, raffles, silent and live auctions, and other attractions. Proceeds support the work of A Safe Place, assisting victims of domestic violence. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
Monday, May 13, 2019: League of Women Voters of Cook Co.’s Annual Meeting With Assessor Fritz Kaegi

When : Monday, May 13, 2019; 9:30am: Registration, Coffee/Muffins; 10:00am: Annual Business Meeting; 11:30am to 1:00pm: Buffet Luncheon
Where : University Center, Lake Room, 525 S. State St., Chicago. Directions and parking info at
What : LWVCC holds its Annual Meeting and Luncheon. Featured speaker at noon: Fritz Kaegi, the new Cook County Assessor. All members of Leagues in Cook County (and friends) are welcome. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or email or call 312-939-5935.
Need help contacting your
representatives in government?

Visit our website for a complete list of everyone who represents the residents of New Trier Township - from Federal to Village level - and links to contact them.
Still not a member of the New Trier Democrats?
Your participation in grassroots political action
will make a difference. Come join us!

When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process by: participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, and playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain  free admission  to select forums and events throughout the year.    

Come be a part of New Trier Township's grassroots political community.    
New Trier Democrats memberships are on a calendar year basis. We encourage our members to renew their dues annually every January.
Paid for by the NTDO-FED and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board’s official website ( or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.