Justice for Cecily McMillan

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The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) condemns the prosecution of DSA member Cecily McMillan for a class D felony allegedly committed during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on March 17, 2012, in Zuccotti Park, New York, NY. DSA calls for all charges to be dropped against Ms. McMillan.

Seized by police during a mass arrest of peaceful protestors, McMillan was beaten severely by the police on her ribs and arms until she went into seizure. She was subsequently denied medical treatment by the police for a lengthy period of time. 

According to her attorney, before the beating, an individual grabbed her right breast from behind and McMillan instinctively threw an elbow in response. McMillan’s assailant turned out to be a male plainclothes police officer. In addition, the defense has recently learned that the arresting officer has previously been involved in incidents involving the possible excessive use of force, as well as other possible illegal behavior.

Despite the facts in the case that demonstrate that the police initiated the altercation, Cecily McMillan is facing charges that could yield up to a seven year prison term. Due to the unjustified nature of the police assault on McMillan and her subsequent brutal beating, DSA joins independent observers in demanding that the charges be dropped immediately.

At the same time, DSA would point out that McMillan is just one of more than 700 protesters arrested in the course of New York Occupy Wall Street’s mass mobilization. These mass arrests during a peaceful protest resulted from a policing policy of “arrest now, ask questions, and find charges later,” a pattern of unjust policing noted in a scrupulously detailed report issued by the NYU School of Law and Fordham Law School faculties. 

According to this report, the NYPD routinely used excessive force against Occupy protestors, with the police employing batons, pepper spray, scooters, and horses against the peaceful demonstrators. This behavior has led to the vast majority of these 700 charges being dismissed by the courts.

DSA notes that Cecily McMillan has been an active member for several years of both DSA and its youth section, the Young Democratic Socialists, having served as the volunteer northeast regional coordinator for YDS in 2011-12. But McMillan's case is just one blatant example of a broader pattern of state violation of the basic right of all to peacefully assemble and protest.

DSA urges its members and friends to participate in demonstrations of support for McMillan and to contribute to the costs of her defense. We urge everyone to sign the petition requesting that the District Attorney drop the charges against McMillan.

Concerned individuals can click here to find more information about the upcoming protest on her arraignment date of March 19. 

To follow any new developments please join the Facebook page “Cecily’s Judgement Day.”

In addition, we urge members to click here to contribute funds for her defense.

Please join with us and stand in solidarity with Cecily.

Lessons in Organizing from the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union

January 17, 2017
· 51 rsvps

Join DSA Vice-Chair Chris Riddiough to explore what we can learn from the work of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (1969-77), the largest of the socialist feminist women’s unions of the 1970s, which had a rock band, a graphics collective, the underground abortion collective JANE, and numerous other projects. Check out their website and join the discussion via internet connection.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 41 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 10 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

February 15, 2017
· 49 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 1 rsvp

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But check out their short the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 2 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.