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Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) joins the Cecily McMillan Support Team in condemning the unjust conviction on a felony assault charge on May 5, 2014 of Cecily McMillan, a long-standing and valued member of DSA. (See the Cecily McMillan Support Team statement below).

Despite clear evidence that the police initiated the altercation that led to Cecily’s arrest and used excessive and unrestrained force against both Cecily and other Occupy protestors, Cecily now faces a possible two-to-seven year prison term.  DSA condemns the biased behavior of Judge Ronald Zweibel, who refused to admit evidence that the officer in question had been charged with excessive use of force in other police matters. This irresponsible action, combined with the extraordinarily harsh charges brought against Cecily by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., reveals the extent to which government authorities desired to secure their first conviction against a peaceful Occupy protestor and justify the millions of dollars of public funds spent on this case and on policing Occupy.  This was clearly a political trial.

DSA urges all its members to stand with Cecily McMillan and her legal support team in appealing this unjust and unconscionable verdict. We urge our members to join protests against the verdict and to contribute funds to her defense team. We also urge them to write the Manhattan DA’s office protesting this vicious verdict and demanding that charges be dropped on appeal.

New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., esq.
New York County District Attorney’s Office
One Hogan Place, New York, NY 10013

Donate to Cecily’s Support Fund

Statement from Justice for Cecily

We are devastated by the Jury’s verdict today. It has been clear from day one that Cecily has not received a fair and open trial. The job of a judge during a jury trial isn’t to guide the verdict to fit his opinion. Judge Zweibel, who consistently suppressed evidence, has demonstrated his clear bias by consistently siding with the prosecution. In addition to suppressing evidence, he imposed a gag order on Cecily’s lawyers, which is a clear violation of their 1st Amendment Rights, and placed the burden of proof on the defense, not the prosecution. He is rightly known as ‘a prosecutor in robes’.

Beyond Judge Zweibel, it is disgusting to see vast resources from taxpayers wasted for over two years to prosecute Cecily. Manhattan DA Cy Vance has refused to drop this case, pursuing maximum charges against Cecily while ignoring police violence and misconduct. This is unfortunately not isolated to Cecily’s case but is indicative of a system concerned not with justice but with the unrelenting harassment of dissenters and the powerless.

In the two years awaiting trial, Cecily was never offered anything less than a felony charge, a charge that would stay with her for the rest of her life. While awaiting a trial, Cecily has lived in limbo for two years, not knowing what her future would be, forced to re-live her trauma every one of those days. Beyond the sexual assault and physical injuries she sustained, Cecily suffered PTSD and has had difficulty finishing her master’s degree and continuing her work as a union organizer and activist.

Despite the chilling precedent this verdict puts forth for activists, we will not be deterred from seeking social and economic justice, as evidenced in the courtroom today. Though we’ve held our tongues throughout this trial as Cecily was personally attacked and degraded, we could not stand silent today in the face of such a gross miscarriage of justice. The people had to speak truth to power today by standing up and will continue to do so as long as this justice system continues to punish the 99% and protect the 1%.

As journalist Chris Hedges said in a recent article, “The corporate state, which has proved utterly incapable of addressing the grievances and injustices endured by the underclass, is extremely nervous about the mass movements that have swept the country in recent years. And if protests erupt again—as I think they will—the state hopes it will have neutralized much of the potential leadership. Being an activist in peaceful mass protest is the only real “crime” McMillan has committed.”

We recognize that, as poorly as Cecily has been treated these past two years, she was lucky enough to have an amazing support system comprised of representation from the National Lawyer’s Guild and Mutant Legal, as well as significant financial help from supporters of Occupy Wall Street and a team of ten who tirelessly worked to bring her case to light and support her through this trying time. It’s harrowing to imagine how many unfortunate people encounter this system without the resources Cecily had, though we know countless innocent people are forced to plea to felonies and ruin their lives every day in this building.

We will be fighting this unjust verdict in the court of appeals. Cecily’s lawyers are optimistic, given the circumstances of the case and the gross bias demonstrated throughout, that we can win on appeal.

Thank you all for your ongoing support throughout this trial. We know that many share our outrage at this verdict. Please continue your support: we will keep this website updated with how you can best help.

Meet DSA NYCers at Union Square for the noon rally. If we last for the afternoon we will head to City Hall park for the rally at 5pm.

Saturday June 14, 2014    

9AM- 1PM

The Commons, 388 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY

(A,C, G train to Hoyt/Schermerhorn, 2,3,4,5 to Atlantic Ave or Nevins St., D,N,R Atlantic Ave.)

Develop your own skills to argue against inequality through small group discussions and group development of an inequality rap. Training will provide a multimedia overview of the American economy and growth of the rampant inequality that plagues our society today. We will close with a short overview of low-wage justice movements in NYC.

Led by Steve Max, Training Director of the renowned Midwest Academy and a vice-chair of Democratic Socialists of America.

Light breakfast and snack provided, but advanced sign up with your contact information is required.

REGISTER HERE: http://www.dsausa.org/origins_of_inequality_2014

You should attend this training if:

  • You want a better understanding of how the American economy functions
  • You want to improve your ability to make political & economic arguments about inequality.
  • You want to learn more about the low-wage justice movement in New York City.

This training is the first of two to be held in New York City this year. It is initiated by New York City DSA and co-sponsored by the Greater NY Labor & Religion Coalition. Co-sponsoring organizations are welcome.

Abolish Student Debt!

Do you have student debt? Have friends in debt? Then join us for an event exploring the student debt crisis, who benefits from it, and how we can fight back!

We’re young DSAers organizing our peers (in school or already paying back debt) to demand free higher education, and in the meantime significant reforms like an expansion of the Income Based Repayment Program.

Wednesday, April 23rd

7-9pm

Hunter College, West Building, Room 413

(At 68th St. and Lexington Ave. – 6 train to 68th St/Hunter)

Speakers:

Chris Maisano – Jacobin magazine contributor, DSA member, and author of “The Soul of Student Debt”

Speaker from NYPIRG

Plus breakout groups to discuss the effect of student debt on our own lives and what we can do about it here in NYC.

Open to students and young adults from the general public.

PLEASE RSVP HERE: http://www.meetup.com/dsanyc/events/175133992/

To get involved with the young DSAers working on student debt, even if you can’t make it to the event on the 23rd, email nycdsa@gmail.com.

NYC’s young DSAers discussion group is organizing our participation in the bowl-a-thon fundraiser April 27th hosted by the New York Abortion Action Fund (NYAF). This bowl-a-thon raises money for poor women to access safe abortions (the NYAAF runs a hotline and provides direct assistance to women in need).

Last year we fielded one team (the Bowlsheviks) but this year our goal is to organize two teams – the Bowlsheviks and the General Strikers! We already have 18 bowlers but need 24 if we are to add a third team.

Date: April 27th, 1:30-4:30pm

Location: Bowlmore at Chelsea Piers

This is how it works:

1) If you want to join one of our DSA teams, you RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/dsanyc/events/175167732/ or you can email nycdsa@gmail.com.

2) We follow up with you to confirm you for our team.

3) We register all of our teams. You are registered with a team and given a fundraising goal of $50 and provided with a personalized fundraising page that you can then edit however you see fit.

4) You solicit donations from friends and family, online and off, between now and April 27th.

5) On April 27th, you bring yourself (and any cash you have collected) to the bowl-a-thon. Snacks provided, beer available, and other young DSAers to bowl with!

Why an abortion bowl-a-thon?

Socialist feminists know that women deserve free abortion on demand, a full range of culturally appropriate reproductive health care and family services and an economic system allowing for full employment and compensation for caregiving of the elderly and young. “Reproductive justice” is a concept that moves beyond the notions of “choice” and “rights.” It links the calls for reproductive choice (a woman’s right to control her own body) to the broader issues of economic justice and human rights (creating conditions that enable people to have children, not only to not have them). Access to abortion is one small, but critical, part of reproductive justice.

Student loan debt buries 37 million people in the United States and now exceeds $1 trillion. On average, students borrow $26,000 to pay for an education which is either free or of minimal cost in most advanced countries. 

Higher education is increasingly treated as an individual commodity, rather than a public good or an investment in our collective future. As a result, millions are putting off major purchases and life decisions – especially graduates of color, who have disproportionately higher debt. This is NOT only a “young person’s problem.” Most of the student loan debt is owed by people older than 30.

This crisis has a crushing ripple effect on our economy: students and recent graduates are forced into low-wage jobs in order to immediately start making payments back to banks and lenders; instead of stimulating the economy by spending millions of dollars, many are pinching pennies to just try to keep up with the interest on their loans.

Meanwhile, total public and private tuition costs are $170 billion per year – one fifth of what we spend on the military per year. We can afford to do better.

Campaign Goals

1)      Build a movement capable of winning free higher education for all in the long term, by organizing debt holders.

2)      Demand a short term reform which would throw a lifeline to 37 million student debt holders. Specifically, we want President Obama to use an executive order to dramatically expand the Income Based Repayment Program (a program he himself created via executive order).

The current Income Based Repayment Plan allows some students to pay 10% of their discretionary income for 20 years and have the rest of their loans forgiven. Our goal is to:

  • allow all student loans to be repaid at an annual rate of 10% of discretionary income and be forgiven after 10 years;
  • expand the program to cover all student loans, public and private.

Get Involved

Upload your student debt story to our Drop Student Debt Tumblr.

Join us as we do public outreach about student debt and collect petition signatures – email nycdsa (at) gmail.com.

Find out about upcoming student debt discussions and film showings we are organizing – email nycdsa (at) gmail.com.

Organizing New York: a grassroots training conference for trouble-makers

When: Friday, March 22, 2013 8:00 AM to Sunday, March 24, 2013, 4:00 PM

Where: United Federation of Teachers, 52 Broadway # A, New York, NY

Organizing New York is a participatory, grassroots training conference to promote social justice and progressive victories in New York and beyond. Communicators, organizers and fundraisers, members, staff and volunteers at unions, nonprofits, member organizations and campaigns are welcome!Three conference tracks:

1) Online and offline organizing

2) Campaigning and advocacy

3) Grassroots fundraising and capacity building

The conference is cosponsored by a wide range of organizations including Organizing 2.0, Rootscamp, Working Families Party, the New York Civic Engagement Table, and others.

DSA members will be attending this three day training and getting a group registration rate. If you wish to participate with DSA at the group rate, RSVP ASAP to nycdsa@gmail.com and we will follow up with you privately with details.

 

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