Democratic Left

Fighting for the Right to Vote in Georgia

3_DSA_arrestees_Oct27.jpg
DSA members Greg Ames, Daniel Hanley and Lorraine Fontana arrested at Georgia Secretary of State's office. (Credit: Reid Freeman Jenkins)

By Barbara Joye

On Monday, Oct. 27, eight men and women were arrested when they refused to leave the Georgia Secretary of State’s office until some 40,000 registration applications submitted in three counties are processed and the voters’ names entered on the rolls so they can participate in the mid-term election. A group of about 60 supporters held up signs saying “Let us vote!” in the hallway outside the sit-in. The arrestees -- who included three DSA members -- and their supporters are participants in Moral Monday Georgia (MMGA, see below). Early voting is already underway in Georgia.

The National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on behalf of Third Sector Development, the national NAACP and the Georgia NAACP, asking for a writ of mandamus, which would order the counties to do their jobs and register the missing names by Nov. 4. The three counties of course have large minority populations and are Democratic strongholds. (Two other counties have been dismissed from the suit since it was filed.)

Read more
Add your reaction

Spinning Straw Men into Gold: Seeking Insight from Old Lesbian Praxis

OLOC_Image.png
Oxfordblues84/Flickr

By Susan Chacin

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC), a national group with 17 chapters, held its National Gathering, "Lesbian Activism Changing the World," in Oakland, July 23-27, 2014. Pictures of the event are on the OLOC website; main sessions were recorded and are available for purchase.

People often laugh when they hear about OLOC. The idea that old lesbians would organize sounds quaint. This betrays ignorance of two facts:  1) ageism is a problem in our culture and our movements, and 2) lesbian feminists have been at the core of the “second-wave” women’s movement (from the 1960s through the early 1980s) that changed our culture. Many have been leaders in civil rights, labor, community, anti-war and socialist organizing. At least seven women there had been part of the “new communist movement.”  

Read more
Add your reaction

DSA Statement on the Islamic State and the Crisis in Iraq and Syria

Once again the United States government is ignoring history and trying to solve an intricate political crisis, the rise of the so-called Islamic State (I.S.), by aerial bombardment. The bombing by the U.S. and its “allies” must stop, as must the threat of further military escalation. Bombing is a blunt, indiscriminate tactic that kills innocent civilians and often drives innocent bystanders to support the very foes we bomb.

Read more
Add your reaction

Socialists, the 2014 Elections and Beyond- Part 2

Jorge_Mujica.jpg
Jorge Mujica /votemujica.org

By Joseph M. Schwartz

The Fight for the Senate: What’s at Stake for Progressive Social Movements

In part due to a massive corporate political offensive, the center of socio-economic policy discourse has shifted to the right over the past 40 years. However, the national Democratic Party leadership’s move to the pro-corporate center masks the underlying reality that the ideological differences between the two parties are the greatest since the civil war.  The extinction of pro-labor “liberal” Northeast Republicans and white “blue dog” Southern Democrats means the respective party congressional caucuses vote in a more uniform manner than in the past. Given that 92% of Republican votes come from whites, and 42% of Democratic votes come from people of color (and that Democrats outside of right-to-work states are heavily dependent upon labor movement ground troops) it is no accident that 100 percent of Democrats in the House and Senate support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 while only 2 percent (!) of Republicans do.  The Democratic Senate caucus backed the Employee Free Choice Act 51-4, while not one of 45 Republican senators supported the bill. 

How much can change politically if the Republicans take the Senate in November, given their impregnable House majority and a consensus-oriented President who did not move against Wall Street even during the two years when he had a Democratic Congressional majority?

Read more
Add your reaction

Socialists, the 2014 Elections and Beyond

GettyImages_50477040.0.jpg
Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

 By Joseph M. Schwartz

The Dialectic between Social Movements and Electoral Politics

Throughout modern history, the property-less, women, people of color, and undocumented immigrants have fought and died for the right to vote.  People understand that those who hold state power shape everyone’s lives through legislation and the administration of the law. Democratic social movements, however, have never solely relied upon their electoral numbers to bring about social reform; they have also protested against and disrupted the dominant rules of the game in order to redistribute power and resources. Social change has come most rapidly when people believed the state may be responsive to their needs; the militancy of the 1930s and 1960s arose when, first, trade unionists and, later, civil rights militants protested because the nominally liberal governments they helped elect were not fully responsive.

A 40-year corporate offensive against the gains of the 1960s has rolled back some of these gains, particularly in regards to reproductive justice – such as abortion access -- and income support for single mothers with infants. But even this offensive needed democratic numbers; the corporate-funded, think-tank propaganda of Tea Party politicians worked to deflect the anger of white middle and working-class voters away from the oligarchs and towards people of color, feminists, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and the poor.  On the other hand, the gains in human rights experienced by the LGBTQ community illustrates how social mobilization can lead to democratic change even in a conservative era. Thus, the complex interaction between social movements and electoral politics is a permanent fixture of capitalist democracies.

Read more
Add your reaction

Southern Workers: In for the Long Haul

After the UAW’s bid to represent workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee was narrowly defeated last winter, mainstream pundits wrote off the AFL-CIO’s much-vaunted commitment “to develop a Southern organizing strategy.” But the obituaries are premature. Just days after the vote, panelists at a crowded forum in Durham, North Carolina, rejected the pessimistic conclusion that organizing unions in the South remains futile and pointed to areas of potential growth. Their common message was that unions can win in the South through a variety of tactics, such as reaching out to new constituencies, cultivating and mobilizing community support, running innovative campaigns, recruiting and retaining public sector workers, and political action.

Read more
Add your reaction

YDS Report from Ferguson

cornel-west-jsw-73a.nbcnews-ux-560-440.jpg

By Femi Agbabiaka

This weekend, I, along with several other students from the University of Missouri-Columbia, traveled to Saint Louis to stand in solidarity with the protestors in Ferguson. What I saw and experienced there was astonishing and enraging. Every night there are strong, young, and radical voices engaging in nonviolent, but militant, civil disobedience. They’ve organized in groups such as Lost Voices, who have slept out on the streets and protested nightly since Mike Brown was murdered. They’re critiquing not just the police state, but also patriarchy and white supremacy in an attempt to take back their community for themselves.

Friday night, we arrived in Saint Louis around 9 p.m. and immediately started marching to the Ferguson police station, following a candlelight vigil. The march was loud, focused, angry, but not violent. We were stopped momentarily by a few police checkpoints, but kept marching through. Once we reached the police station, we were greeted by a group of about 400 other protesters, and together we marched to the police barricade shouting chants such as, “No justice! No peace!” and “Mike Brown means we’ve got to fight back!” I stood together with others, arms locked, as we provided a barrier between the police and the peaceful protest. When we were finished there, we marched back to West Florissant Street, chanting all along the way, as police in helicopters beamed down on us. 

Read more
1 reaction

Cecily McMillan Acquitted on ‘Obstruction’ Charges

 Cecily_and_lawyer_Marty_Stolar.jpg
Maxine Phillips

By Maxine Phillips

After deliberating for about an hour and a half and asking that the charge to them be re-read, a six-person jury today acquitted DSA member Cecily McMillan of "attempting to obstruct the administration of government, second degree." The acquittal came after a week in which McMillan's lawyer, Martin Stolar, focused on discrediting the testimony of two Transit Authority plainclothes officers who arrested McMillan on December 7, 2013, after she allegedly interfered with their detention of a young couple who had entered the Union Square subway station in New York City without paying the fare.

Read more
Add your reaction
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    35  36  Next →

Upcoming Events

Is Fixing the U.S. Economy Just Political Will?

November 10, 2014 · 28 rsvps
Online - web-based seminar

No, some things can be fixed but others can't. 

Sign up for a three-session online webinar/seminar series with Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and founder of the Midwest Academy community organizing school. (If you signed up for the first or second session -- don't sign up again. But we are accepting new RSVPs.)

This seminar is part theory, part recent history and part contemporary observation from a Marxist viewpoint.  The presentation style is easy to follow and no particular background is needed. We'll note the surprising views of a few enlightened capitalists and discuss how the U.S. became a debtor nation, how profits from financial speculation outpaced manufacturing, and the big question: how might the jobs come back?

Seminar dates: September 11, October 9, and November 10.

NOTE: seminars are scheduled for 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific.

 

Share