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Progressive Heroes: David Green

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These days, when calling yourself a liberal can be an albatross around your neck, most activists working around people-power issues refer to themselves as progressive. That doesn’t work for Dr. David Green.

"We don’t mince words. We’re a socialist body," says Green, a Farmington Hills neurologist and chair of the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.

Green and Wayne State University professor Ron Aronson met in 1996 at a national DSA meeting in Washington, D.C. There they agreed to attempt a revival of the Detroit chapter – about 100 dues payers who had not had a meeting in years. Now, with Green at the helm, DSA is in the middle of Michigan’s political wars.

The most prominent issue is the living wage, which lawmakers in Lansing are trying to reverse through legislation. Green has been central in this issue.

"I helped to write the ordinance for Warren and put together a fact sheet for the Warren campaign," says Green.

Green has also brought unionists and progressive groups together around this and other issues. The DSA is active with MichUCAN (Michigan Universal Health Care Network) working for a single-payer health care system, preventing the privatization of Social Security and Medicare and unionizing health care workers.

"Each leftist group working alone can’t accomplish much," he points out. "Two years ago, the Progressive Challenge was an attempt to bring together groups in a coalition – Gray Panthers, Alliance for Democracy, U.S. Peace Council, Peace Action, Jobs with Justice. We work together on things. In the ‘98 election cycle, when everyone was talking impeachment, we were talking about issues."

"He has a devotion that social change, improving the world, making a difference, really matters," says Aronson. "He gets other people to work and draws other people in."

Not bad for a guy who says he works 60 to 70 hours each week at his private practice in Farmington Hills. Not to mention being a family man with a wife and two children. He makes a point of making time for them.

Sarah Green, his 11-year-old daughter, attests to that and more. At 7, she walked the picket line with striking newspaper workers. She says Nelson Mandela was great because he went to jail for standing up for people. She appreciates her father’s activism, and in considering her own future says, "I would like to do that."

Now that makes him a real hero.

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