Anthony Hill, Black Lives Matter, and DSA

Hill_vigil_Lorraine.jpg
Community members attend a vigil for Anthony Hill last spring. Credit: Metro Atlanta DSA

By Adam Cardo

I first became involved with DSA in the fall of 2014, as part of my larger political realignment brought on by the Black Lives Matter movement. After spending the summer volunteering for a moderate Democrat in Georgia, I began a semester at American University in Washington, D.C., taking classes while interning for another moderate Democrat. Fully enmeshed in mainstream “progressive” politics, I was all set to become a neoliberal Democratic Party apparatchik. However, two events transpired to lead me to the socialist light. The first was my involvement with the Metro Washington, D.C. DSA chapter, which I discovered through a mutual acquaintance. The other crucial event was the non-indictment of the police officers who murdered Eric Garner. The murder and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement brought into focus the entrenched racism that formed the bedrock of the U.S. society and economic system, the critical link between capitalist exploitation and white supremacy and the need for a total replacement of capitalism with socialism to create a better world.

After returning to Georgia, I quickly joined the Metro Atlanta DSA chapter, which was already involved with local Black Lives Matter groups. Besides solidarity with the events in Ferguson and Baltimore, Atlanta BLM activism mostly centered around the murder of Anthony Hill. Anthony Hill was a 27-year-old African-American Air Force veteran whose bipolar disorder was exasperated by his deployment overseas.  During a psychotic episode, a naked Hill was shot and killed outside his apartment by DeKalb County Police officer Robert Olson in March of 2015.  Local activist groups who led the protest included Rise Up Georgia and #It'sBiggerThanYou, as well as myself and several fellow Atlanta DSA members. After an initial protest outside Hill's neighborhood, activists focused their efforts on securing an indictment of the accused officer with marches and rallies. The struggle culminated in a campout outside the DeKalb County courthouse during the week of January 17, when the officer was successfully indicted on all six counts against him.

The events surrounding Anthony Hill show the power of Black Lives Matter in countering the racial policing that predominates in the United States, while connecting it to the larger white supremacy that pervades our culture. However, we must be aware of the time and resources required for such a struggle. That a campout was needed to secure even the limited victory of potentially finding a police officer guilty shows how much time and energy these fights require. This is especially true in Georgia, where legal protections for officers are considered the most extensive in the nation. In the case of a grand jury, Georgia law gives accused officers access to the grand jury’s meeting, as well as the opportunity to address the panel without the threat of cross-examination or a rebuttal by prosecutors.

Bringing all these lessons together, it is critical for DSA to aid the Black Lives Matter movement in their struggle. Since outside mass struggle is the critical factor in securing legal victories (albeit minor ones), it is important for DSA locals to aid local Black Lives Matter-affiliated groups with grassroots organizing and mobilization. Even things as simple as phone banking for small, local events can have huge impacts on the momentum surrounding campaigns. DSA has a huge opportunity to connect with newly radicalized people of color, and it is an opportunity we can not pass up.

If you want to work more around the Black Lives Matter movement and other anti-racism work, you can become a part of the DSA Anti-Racism Working Group by emailing me at acardo1120@gmail.com.

Adam Cardo is the President of Emory University Young Democratic Socialists and a member of Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

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· 36 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

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· 51 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

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May 02, 2017
· 6 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
· 44 rsvps

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· 69 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 18 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.