DSA Weekly

Attica and its Aftermath


Heather Ann Thompson talks with Matthew Countryman

Last year, on the 45th anniversary of the largest prison rebellion in U.S. history, historian Heather Ann Thompson’s book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and its Legacy was published to critical acclaim. The uprising of nearly 1,300 men for better conditions ended in mass bloodshed, with 39 people killed by the state on the day of the retaking and 128 shot and wounded seriously. Using extensive interviews with survivors, relatives of hostages and prisoners, law enforcement, and legal defenders, as well as never-before-published material, Thompson tells the story of what happened in the tense four days of the uprising, the state-sponsored violence that followed, and the decades-long struggle for prisoners’ rights. Historian Matthew Countryman talks with Thompson about the rebellion and the “new Jim Crow.” The transcript below has been edited for length.—Ed.

MC: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you talk first about the reaction to the book?

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Trump Care Must not Pass the Senate: Building a Movement for “Medicare for All”

Statement of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) National Political Committee
May 5, 2017

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that President Trump and the Republican House majority just rammed through Congress—without subjecting the bill to review of its likely consequences by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)—poses a grave threat to the well-being of all but the wealthy few.

The bill will deny insurance coverage to far more than the 24 million Americans the CBO estimated would have lost coverage under the initial “repeal and replace” bill that the House rejected in late March. The bill that just passed the House cuts health coverage for tens of millions in order to fund a tax cut of $346 billion over the next ten years to the top five percent of income tax payers.

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How Local Activism Points Toward a Low-Carbon Future

By Will Hughes 

If you are looking for it, there is no shortage of bad news on the climate front. President Trump and his appointees, aided and abetted by a Republican-controlled Congress, have begun the swift dismantling of great swaths of federal policy dedicated to fighting climate change. A recent executive order began the process to undo the Clean Power Plan, a centerpiece of the Obama administration's climate response, and regulations concerning fuel standards, methane leaks at oil wells, and climate adaptation are being unwound as well. All the while, temperature and ice cover records are being broken and then broken again. In this new reality, environmentalists are readying themselves to fight to preserve existing programs and policies against the new administration with the expectation of a turbulent four years.

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Uniting to Build a Socialist Feminist Movement

Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America
May 1, 2017

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is committed to socialist feminist organizing, knowing that capitalism is built upon male supremacy and white supremacy. One of the most critical feminist issues is reproductive justice, including not just birth control and abortion but also childbearing and childrearing. DSA also understands that abortion access is an economic issue, that poor and working-class people and people of color in particular experience limited access to reproductive healthcare, from the very limited access to care for rural patients to mandatory waiting periods that force people to lose work and stay in a costly hotel, to the high cost of the care itself.

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May Day 2017 : Born in the U.S.A.


By Michael Hirsch

For generations, May Day, the International Workers Day celebrated by working people in more than 200 countries, was ignored in the United States, the country of its origin. In fact, the annual holiday is as American as cherry pie, commemorating as it does the 1886 nationwide general strike in which U.S. trade unionists — largely foreign-born — walked off the job in support of an eight-hour workday.

This year’s observance marks the 128th anniversary of that campaign to humanize the workday — and of the tragedy at Chicago’s Haymarket Square that followed three days later.

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Support the May Day Strikes


Cosecha and DSA

By Duane Campbell and Maria Svart, for the Immigrants’ Rights Committee of DSA

You don’t want to wake up on May 2 and read about nation- wide protests  by immigrants and then feel like you missed a historic opportunity.  Instead, please join  with DSA and the growing movement to strike on May 1 for what promises to be the biggest workers strike in over a decade!  Organizers from Moviemento Cosecha and major national unions have said that more than 400,000 workers have committed to strike.  We encourage DSA chapters to join in the massive strikes, boycotts, and other actions beginning on May 1. The movement will continue after May 1.  Information on the post-May 1 events is at www.lahuelga.com

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Defeating Right to Work in New Hampshire

By Patrick Bruce

“Right-to-Work” legislation has been introduced in the New Hampshire General Court over 30 times in the last 50 years, usually falling victim to partisan checks-and-balances. These abusive laws are not a problem unique to New Hampshire: to date they have bled their way into 28 states. Time and time again, New Hampshire’s labor community has waged quiet war against this reactionary menace and won.

New Hampshire’s historic rejection of Right-to-Work is more than a victory for the people of that state. Capitalist money pits like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and David and Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity (AFP) view New Hampshire as a gateway to the Northeast. Right-wing profiteers used the conversation in New Hampshire to increase organizing efforts in Maine, Rhode Island, and even the liberal bastion that is Massachusetts. As Donald Trump continues to assemble the most anti-worker administration in a generation, no state is safe from the union-busting specter of Right-to-Work.

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Raise Consciousness with "The Handmaid’s Tale"

By The Editor

Image courtesy of enotes.com

Hulu’s 10-episode adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale starts April 26. The showing, to millions of people, of a frighteningly plausible scenario involving religious fanatics and the control of women’s bodies offers enormous educational opportunities that extend beyond April. 

The premise of Atwood’s novel is that world war and environmental catastrophe have created an economy of scarcity for an embattled United States and made the majority of people infertile. A militaristic elite has used religion and brute force to turn women into walking incubators.

Because the series begins at the end of a month of Abortion Access Bowl-A-Thons, it’s an excellent opportunity to organize a community of socialist feminists to have weekly watch parties and combine chilling “entertainment” with political discussion and collective action. Here are some thoughts for your gatherings.

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