Justice for Trayvon Denied: Renewing the Fight Against Racism

Statement of the Democratic Socialists of American National Political Committee

Democratic Socialists of America joins the broad civil rights and progressive community in expressing its outrage at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Only an insane, ALEC-inspired “stand your ground law” combined with the racist assumption that African Americans automatically pose a threat to anyone’s person and property enabled George Zimmerman to be acquitted.  

In the law of most other societies, the armed party would have been responsible for “standing down” and avoiding an altercation with an unarmed party. But in the United States, an unarmed black teenager, walking in his father’s neighborhood, is viewed by all too many as a threat to an armed vigilante who not only initiated the deadly encounter, but stalked the victim.

If the “stand your ground” law and a lax prosecution enabled George Zimmerman to get off, this is clearly one in a long series of cases in the United States where racist laws and true justice fail to coincide. George Zimmerman’s words to the police dispatcher –who urged him to stand down—ironically summarized what many of us see to be the outcome of the trial: “Fucking punks; these assholes always get away.” Indeed, George Zimmerman got away.

DSA urges its members to join protests against the verdict and “stand your ground laws” and to redouble our efforts to fight against racism, including the outrageous “New Jim Crow” prison-pipeline laws that subject hundreds of thousands of prisoners of color to absurdly long sentences for minor, non-violent drug law violations. We also join the NAACP in urging the United States Justice Department to indict George Zimmerman for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin. “Walking while Black” should not be a cause for armed citizens to harass and confront – and then murder – unarmed persons of color.

Sign the NAACP petition to the Department of Justice.

 

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 44 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
· 12 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
· 9 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.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 3 rsvps

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.