By Cameron C., Jacksonville DSA member
Capitalism has destroyed the very fabric of everyday life.
Community isolation, mass consumerism and division among classes are rampant in ways not seen since revolutionary times. We are divided by finance sectors in which the corporate hand rules with an iron fist and when it can't, it merely pretends to be a force of good in an age in which all that is left is crooked, rugged individualism and the facade of fake smiles that is corporate culture. Martin Luther King Jr. accurately described this culture years ago, and sadly, despite some advancements, things have hardly changed.
The oppressive ruling class has engulfed more than enough and now is the time for real, on-the-ground change. The corporations may own our social media and control discourse, but they can never control our raging spirit that senses the corruption coming from Ivy League elitism and managerial isolation of the working class.
We can change this, and we must change this. At the end of the day, we are the ones who hold our collective power to use against this oppressive, elitist ruling class that wants to decide our future instead of our local communities. Every source of oppression in our society comes from the greedy few who desire wealth and power.
We will change this, through community-led action and education toward class consciousness, and we can make milestone leaps over this corrupt system. After all, Marx correctly predicted that we have nothing to lose but our chains.
So let's start here and let's start now! Join the Jacksonville DSA chapter and let's build a more beautiful future for everyone, and not sink into the despair of corporate hegemony.
Members and friends of Jax DSA met earlier in May to canvass on behalf of Floridians Protecting Freedom to add abortion rights to the ballot in Florida in 2024.
We were graciously allowed to collect petition signatures outside a performance and panel discussion hosted by Unspoken Treasure Society at Rain Dogs. “Lift Every Voice: Stonewall Edition” included high-energy drag performances and highlighted the dangers for trans women of color in Duval County and our surrounding communities.
This first canvassing opportunity came less than 24 hours after Floridians Protecting Freedom hosted their first petition training, attended by more than 700 volunteers interested in collecting petitions. We collected dozens of signatures and were met with a community of locals who were enthused about adding reproductive rights to the ballot.
Floridians Protecting Freedom is a statewide coalition of organizations and citizens working together to protect Floridians’ access to reproductive health care and to defend the right to bodily autonomy.
Their citizen-led ballot initiative, the "Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion,” seeks to further codify that right into Florida law by creating a constitutional amendment that explicitly blocks the implementation of laws that prohibit, delay, or restrict abortion access.
Article and Section Being Created or Amended: Creates – Article 1, New Section
Full Text of the Proposed Amendment: New Section, Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion
Limiting government interference with abortion.— Except as provided in Article X, Section 22, no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.
Unspoken Treasure Society, the host of the event, is an organization that “[exists] to inspire, empower, uplift, and create platforms to give a voice to voiceless Transgender and Gender Non-conforming persons of marginalized communities.”
Learn how to collect petitions, sign up for a training webinar or support Floridians Protecting Freedom at floridiansprotectingfreedom.com. To get more information about the next canvassing event with Jax DSA, join us on Discord or email us at email@example.com.
Take a break and clear your mind with Jax DSA. Join us for a gentle hike and self-care discussion in the great outdoors. Group will match your pace. Pets and family welcome!
WHERE: Jacksonville Arboretum, 1445 Millcoe Rd. [map]
WHEN: Saturday, May 20, 9:30 a.m. meet at parking lot, 10 a.m. start walk
Bring water, closed shoes and a hat.
Our path starts with Lake Loop (0.3 mi), a paved trail that curves around Lake Ray. There are lots of flowers, benches, informative signs, and sights to explore.
We’ll take a quick diversion along the Live Oak Trail (0.5 mi) to see the Arboretum’s National Champion Loblolly Bay tree. There, we’ll chat in the shade for a few minutes about overcoming the barriers in place to accessing nature. Benches available at this stop.
We finish with two options:
1 - Join us for a more challenging loop, Sand Ridge Trail, exploring a surprising number of Florida’s ecosystems in just one mile. This path is narrower, shaded, and has benches, but is not wheelchair-accessible.
2- Explore the Arboretum’s main center at your own pace (wheelchair accessible). Enjoy the gardens, flowering raised beds, and more sights along Lake Ray.
The Revolution Must Be Trauma Informed by Josh Lown, Socialist Forum, Fall 2018
In our talk of revolution, political or otherwise, much of the discussion tends to center around the economic effects on individuals and communities. Spending the past six years working in the nonprofit social services sector, however, has shown me another prominent and important, though less discussed factor: the loss of sense of self and safety as a result of a capitalist economy. This is trauma, but it’s not well understood.
If our ultimate goal as activists is to build a democratic and socialist society, the avenue we must take to get there cannot be solely relegated to the political arena. Putting a narrow focus on gaining power through politics runs the risk of ignoring our communities and those we claim to fight for. The revolution will only truly be won through community engagement, community building, and community consciousness; in short, a political revolution is meaningless without direct and active community building in the process. In order to do this, however, we must understand the realities of our communities, and the impact of capitalism’s ruthless grip on them. Read the full article at Socialist Forum.
A message from Cameron C., Jacksonville DSA member
Hello DSA Jax members & supporters. Solidarity with you! We've had a lot happen in May and have much to look forward to:
This month, we collectively and unanimously voted to support and publicly commit to Strike Ready in solidarity with Teamsters and local unions that drive the supply chain worldwide. Supporting the fair treatment of workers is always crucial, especially in a time when corporations blinded by greed try to control the narrative and squash opposition.
We also made the vital decision to send delegates to the DSA's National Political Committee to have our local voice be heard.
To help spread the word about Jacksonville DSA and our efforts, we're committed to publishing this newsletter on a monthly basis to keep you informed and make it easier to for you to share information with anyone who might be interested. We're also seeking a volunteer public relations coordinator to communicate our message to groups we share solidarity with.
Our chapter is currently working to determine what issues should be our priority and primary focus. At our last meeting, we discussed our ambitions to improve Jacksonville's public transit and transportation. Over the years, our city has become far too car dependent, and public transit is unreliable and slow, disenfranchising and isolating citizens who don't have access to a private vehicle. It's important to improve this system for the benefit of everyone, regardless of class. We also showed solidarity with Jacksonville Tenants' Union and support for a Tenants' Bill of Rights.
Jacksonville DSA is active on the ground and online. You can join us every Friday at Take Em Down Jax, a weekly protest dedicated to removing all monuments dedicated to white supremacy, and we're dedicated to making our voices heard at the monthly Jacksonville City Council meetings.
We'll also meet on the third Thursday of every month at Rain Dogs in Riverside for a Socialist Social! Our next meetup is Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m., and you can find all of our events on the calendar on our website.
You're encouraged to introduce your friends and family to Jacksonville DSA! We are accepting of anyone willing to fight to live more freely and fairly in a system that has ignored and ostracized the average citizen. Get connected on Discord or at our monthly meetings.
Remember, we are only just getting started! We have the power and voice to change things for the better if we all act together!
The Jacksonville Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America condemns the brutal lynching of Memphis resident Tyre Nichols by the Memphis Police Department. Tyre will be remembered as a loving father, a talented nature photographer, a skateboarder, and because of what it means to be a Black man in America, a martyr.
Newly released body camera footage confirms what was already known - Tyre Nichols was pulled over during a routine traffic stop, approached by police with guns drawn, forcibly removed from his vehicle in the middle of an intersection, held down by five police officers, kicked, punched, pepper sprayed, tased, and beaten with batons so badly that his family later described him as “unrecognizable.”
Tyre Nichols’ lynching by the police department that exists ostensibly to serve and protect community members like himself is both tragic and unsurprising. Despite calls to defund the police that came from a wide range of community leaders, social justice advocates, and even a few politicians in the wake of the George Floyd uprisings in 2020, police budgets have never been higher, mass incarceration continues, and killer cops run rampant. In fact, 2022 was the deadliest year for police violence in American history, with cops taking the lives of 1176 people across the country. Black Americans are incarcerated at higher rates than Black folks were incarcerated in apartheid-era South Africa. On average, municipalities allocate about a third of their budget to the police department. In Jacksonville, that number has been as much as half of the city budget in recent years.
What is to be done? Guidance from most municipalities, state governments, and Washington would suggest that blank checks to police departments will lead to more favorable outcomes. Yet with police budgets at an all-time high, wanton murder by police has followed. Some will praise the requirement of departments to equip officers with body cameras, and yet, Tyre Nichols and thousands of others since the start of this reform are still dead. Some will call for an end to qualified immunity, ending the policy of moving killer cops from one department to another. And yet, even the most “liberal” of states have failed to end the practice. Some will encourage more “representation” in police departments - more BIPOC cops to legitimize the violence against these marginalized communities. And yet, the five boys in blue who lynched Tyre Nichols were all Black.
In Atlanta, Georgia, another effort by municipal and state governments to give a blank check and functionally limitless resources to a murderous police force is underway. For the past two years, the Atlanta Police Foundation has been attempting to raze acres of Atlanta Forest to create a $90,000,000 dystopian police training facility for the Atlanta Police Department known as Cop City. Courageous forest defenders have been occupying the forest, a crucial component of Atlanta’s fight against climate change and stormwater flooding, ever since.
Earlier this month, Atlanta police opened fire on a group of forest defenders and murdered an activist named Tortuguita, or Tort. Tort spent their time building housing for those affected by recent hurricanes, using their skills as a medic to provide assistance to those in need, and coordinated mutual aid projects to help support their fellow forest defenders. For the crime of protecting Atlanta Forest, Tort was extrajudicially murdered by police.
This comes as Atlanta police have ramped up the war against the Atlanta Forest Defenders, conducting multiple raids, using chemical weapons against activists, and arresting and charging some forest defenders with domestic terrorism. We condemn these extreme acts of terror against those who simply want to defend the Atlanta Forest from development and defend their community from killer cops.
The problem of racism in American police departments will never be fully remedied. An institution which finds its roots in capturing runaway slaves will always be a racist institution, no matter the reform. The widespread defunding of police departments, with robust reallocation of these funds toward the social services which prevent the need for crime in the first place is where we can start. But abolition is the only true solution, and this can only be achieved along with the other sweeping reforms Americans demand - true workplace democracy, universal healthcare, and a society of care rather than a society of fear. Rest in peace Tyre, Tort, and the untold amount of Americans lost to police violence. We will continue this fight with the rage and hope you gifted us.
If you have the means, please give your time and resources to some of the following groups:
The Jacksonville Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America stands in solidarity with Take Em Down Jax, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, and other activist groups demanding the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces. We share Take Em Down’s commitment to “the removal of ALL symbols of white supremacy from the public landscape as a part of the greater push for racial and economic justice and structural equity.”
As socialists, the struggle against white supremacy is central to our fight for radical social change. Racial oppression is key to the capitalist power structure, and in fighting symbols of white supremacy, we also struggle against capitalism. In 1928, Black socialist intellectual W.E.B. DuBois wrote about the connection between mythologizing the Confederacy and accepting the systemic oppression faced by contemporary Black people:
Today we can best perpetuate [Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s] memory and his nobler traits not by falsifying his moral debacle, but by explaining it to the young white south. What Lee did in 1861, other Lees are doing in 1928. They lack the moral courage to stand up for justice to the Negro because of the overwhelming public opinion of their social environment. Their fathers in the past have condoned lynching and mob violence, just as today they acquiesce in the disfranchisement of educated and worthy black citizens, provide wretchedly inadequate public schools for Negro children and endorse a public treatment of sickness, poverty and crime which disgraces civilization.
The Jacksonville City Council is acting as “other Lees” in 2022. They lack the moral courage to take a small step toward justice, but we can force their hand by showing broad public support for the Take Em Down movement.
These statues support a white supremacist power structure. Tolerating them in our public space or dismissing their presence as “just” symbolic perpetuates the status quo of racial oppression, which is honored and celebrated by the racists who fight to keep them up. Their Confederate flag flyover stunts come at a time of increasing antisemitism and anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry. We must reject and counter Christofacist hate and violence wherever it appears.
Going forward, this coalition must work to replace leaders who act as “other Lees”. For too long, local leaders have acquiesced to the problems caused by neglect and a failure to face systemic failings, leaving Jacksonville plagued with a lack of affordable housing, good jobs, and social services. Transforming the city into the one the people deserve will take an organized working class, demanding tenant protections, workers’ rights, and a budget that serves the people.
Statement Unanimously Adopted April 14, 2022
To Our Comrades:
We stand in solidarity with the DSA BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group and reaffirm our commitment to the BDS Movement and Palestinians’ struggle for justice and liberation. We commend the decision by the DSA National Political Committee’s (NPC) to reverse their recent attempt to decharter the Working Group, but we stand with the Working Group in calling for the reinstatement of their Steering Committee.
As leftists within the imperial core, itself a settler colonial state, our position as an anti-imperialist, working-class organization striving for freedom, peace, and safety of oppressed peoples is only strengthened by principled and active solidarity with Palestinians.
The Israeli settler colonial project has carried out a regime of occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, and the U.S. government continues to fund and arm the Israeli occupation, sending billions of dollars in military aid with congressional approval.
The struggle to end U.S. complicity with Israeli colonialism is paramount for us in Florida. An array of Palestinian civil society organizations has called for a tactic of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to comply with international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
2. Granting Palestinian/Arab citizens of 48’ (‘Israel’) their right to full equality.
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
The Democratic Socialists of America national convention voted to support the BDS movement in 2017, reaffirmed its commitment in 2019 by establishing a BDS & Palestine Solidarity national working group, and in 2021 included BDS in our National Platform. Jacksonville DSA similarly supports BDS and stands in solidarity with Palestinians’ resistance to occupation and apartheid.
The NPC’s vote to decharter the BDS Palestine WG and suspend its leadership was both illegitimate and the continuation of a pattern of deprioritization of solidarity with Palestine and tolerance for crossing the BDS picket line, in defiance of DSA’s stated mandate to support BDS. The NPC’s actions override the decisions made by the majority of convention delegates at the 2019 Convention that established this Working Group in the first place. While we commend the NPC in reversing the decision to decharter the Working Group, its work and its organizational relationships in the BDS movement have been deeply harmed locally, nationally, and internationally by the original decision, and this harm will not be fully repaired if the suspension of the Working Group’s leadership is allowed to stand.
Jacksonville DSA stands in firm solidarity with the DSA BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group. We demand the immediate reversal of the suspension of the leadership of the Working Group. We will publicly announce this statement on our website and social media accounts and send a brief notification of the statement to the NPC.
We concur with the authors of For An Internationalist DSA in their support of dissenting NPC members when they write: “we invite you to commit to struggling through conflict, to remain true to our anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist values, and support us in standing with our Palestinian and Palestinian-allied comrades against censorship.”