In Memory of Julian Bond (1940-2015)

Julian_Bond.jpg
Julian Bond/Wikimedia

In a companion feature to its obituary, The Washington Post on Monday August 17, shared a story from Pamela Horowtiz, Julian Bond's widow. As she was leaving the intensive care unit where her husband had died, a nurse stopped to offer condolences, the first person to extend sympathy:

“She told me, ‘I want you to know it was a privilege to take care of him,’ ” recalls Horowitz, voice wavering. “She said, ‘As a gay American, I thought he was a hero.’ And for her to say that, for her to be the last person who was with him, I thought it was a nice way to end."

For many of us in the struggles for social justice, Julian Bond was a hero and a role model.

Known first for his civil rights activism, Bond won national attention in 1966 when the Georgia state legislature voted to deny him the seat to which he was elected. The rationale was that he was a disloyal American for opposing the war in Vietnam. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the legislature had denied Bond his free speech rights and ordered that he be seated. 
Throughout his life, Julian Bond remained a champion for racial justice, and he personified the effort to broaden the social justice struggle to include everyone. Besides the lesbian nurse who saw him as a hero, there were workers who welcomed him to their picket lines and rallies and peace activists who could always count him among their ranks.

In the 1970s, Julian Bond chose to join the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee while I was National Secretary (the job is now called National Director). Julian probably joined in 1975, and he was more than a paper member. He'd volunteer to speak to DSOC locals occasionally when he was on tour. He supported big national projects like Democratic Agenda, and he remained in touch regularly with the national office. I came to know him personally a bit through these interactions.

When I saw in this morning's paper that he had died, it hit me hard. I am nine years younger than Julian was, so I know part of this is the inevitable feeling of seeing people close to my own age die and feeling pangs of my own mortality. With Julian Bond, it's also more than that. Julian Bond brought a particular talent to American politics of reaching across lines and building broad coalitions for justice. At age 75, he had so much left to offer.

He inspired us with his life. May his death inspire us to carry on his great work.

Jack Clark


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DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

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· 46 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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DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
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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.
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Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

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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.