John Conyers and Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee/Democratic Socialists of America

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John Conyers and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee/Democratic Socialists of America. For more more than forty years John Conyers, Jr. has been linked to the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee/Democratic Socialists of America.

Cablegram to Portugese Socialists and the M.F.A.

In 1974, after a pro-communist military coup in Portugal;

More than eighty Americans, all identified with opposition to the Vietnamese war and with various radical and liberal causes, sent on August 9 a cablegram to to the Portugese Armed Forces Movement, to Portugese president francisco da Costa Gomes and to portugese socialist leader Mario soares expressing the hope that "democratic freedoms"...will continue to grow in Portugal".

Michael Harrington, the national chairman of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, organized the effort with help from 5 "Initiators" - Lawrence Birns (writer), Sissy Farenthold (past president National Women's Political Caucus), Congressman Michael J. Harrington, Martin Peretz (chairman, editorial board New Republic), Cleveland Robinson (vice president, Distributive Workers of America), Leonard Woodcock (president United Auto Workers, Jerry Wurf (president AFSME).

Elected officials who signed the cablegram included: Julian Bond, Willie Brown, Jr., John Conyers, Jr., Don Edwards, William Gluba, Edward J. Koch, Parren J. Mitchell, Henry S. Reuss, Benjamin S. Rosenthal and Louis Stokes.[1]

"Democracy '76"

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Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee organized a Democracy '76 seminar in Chicago in June 1976.

It featured John Conyers, Bob Mann, Ann Ladky, Day Creamer, Ed Sadlowski, and Robert Eisner.

DSOC "Initiator"

According to the December 29, 1979, issue of Information Digest, the "initiators" of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (forerunner of Democratic Socialists of America) , formed in 1973 as a result of a split within the Socialist Party USA, largely over the issue of cooperation with communists, included Julian Bond, Heather Booth, John Conyers, Ronald Dellums, Douglas Fraser, Joyce Miller, William Winpisinger, and Jerry Wurf.

John Conyers addressed the the Fifth Annual Convention of the Democratic Socìalist Organizing Committee. (DSOC) held in Philadelphia May 22-25, 1981.[2]

"Knows about" DSOC"

Nancy Lieber, International Committee chair of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, wrote a June 30, 1981 letter to Danielle Page, a staffer for Canadian Member of Parliament Ian Waddell.

Dear Danielle Page,
I'm sending along a list of Congresspeople and senators who know about us, democratic socialism, and -- perhaps Canada.
Only the first one is an open socialist, but the others are sympathetic in varying degrees.

The list was;

Hope this is of help and you recruit them to the cause!
In Solidarity,
Nancy Lieber
Chair, Intl. Committee

Democratic Agenda/Socialist Caucus

For groups and organizations seeking radical social change within the Democratic Party, the National Convention of 1980 had at least one historic first - formation of a Socialist Caucus of delegates. Organized by the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee and by the Democratic Agenda which was DSOC's cadre and supporters within the Democratic Party and was based in DSOC' s New York office and at 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC. Some 31 delegates and alternates from twelve states and Democrats Abroad attended the Socialist Caucus.

As a preliminary to the convention's Socialist Caucus meeting, , indeed as a "building event" and as a continued show of support for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the Democratic Agenda sponsored a convention rally at New York's Town Hall. The speakers included Herman Badillo, Julian Bond, Fran Bennick, Harry Britt, Cesar Chavez, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI}, Douglas Fraser, Murray Finley, Michael Harrington, Terry Herndon, Ruth Jordan, Ruth Messinger, Eleanor Smeal, Gloria Steinem and William Winpisinger.

DSOC works within the Democratic Party, said Harrington, because of the party's relationships with organized workers, blacks, feminists, environmentalists and other "progressive groups."

The Socialist Caucus circulated a list of convention delegates who were caucus members, including;[3]

DSA founding convention

John Conyers was a special guest on day one of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee/New American Movement Unity Convention in Detroit March 21/22 1982, that resulted in the formation of Democratic Socialists of America[4].

"Solidarity"

Circa 1984, July 17, at the Great Electronic Underground, San Francisco, Democratic Socialists of America's American Solidarity Movement organized a reception "Solidarity" at the Democratic Party Convention, in support of US labor.

Sponsors included John Conyers.[5]

DSA member

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John Conyers was named as a member of Democratic Socialists of America, in article in Rhode Island paper, the Black Swamp Gazette, January 17, 1983, in an article on DSA 'The Democratic Socialist Alternative DSA, by Rhode Island Democratic Socialists of America member Dan Szumilo.


The same year Jon Margolis wrote in the New Republic;

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Two Congressmen, Ron Dellums of California and John Conyers of Michigan, are members of the Democratic Socialists of America, as are many state legislators and some county board members.

"Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"

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In 1995, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, David Bonior, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Cynthia McKinney, Maurice Hinchey, Major Owens, Nydia Velasquez, John Conyers, Bob Filner, Alcee Hastings, Lane Evans, Edolphus Towns, Jim McDermott, supported Democratic Socialists of America member rep. Ron Dellums' "Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed John Conyers, Michigan 14, in that year's Congressional elections.[6]

2003 DSA convention

Democratic Left, Fall 2003
Conyers with DSA members Cornel West, Harold Meyerson and Holly Sklar, Detroit 2003

In 2003 John Conyers was a keynote speaker[7]at the Democratic Socialists of America conference in Detroit- with Cornel West, Holly Sklar and Harold Meyerson.

Conyers opened by saying that “with a crypto-fascist administration, there’s no singular purpose more important than unelecting the unelected president”

DSA "ally"

In 2005 DSA's Democratic Left-Spring edition, called Congressman John Conyers (a key DSA ally in Congress)...[8]

Detroit fundraiser

In June 2006 David Bonior addressed[9]a Detroit DSA fund-raiser for Bernie Sanders.

On June 25th, DSA PAC held a fundraising reception at UAW Local 909 in Warren on behalf of Representative Bernie Sanders who is running for an open Senate seat in Vermont. Over 140 people attended. The event raised over $12,000 for the Sanders for Senate campaign. Hosts for the event included former U.S. Representative and former House Minority Whip David Bonior, U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr., UAW Vice-President Richard Shoemaker, and Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Saundra Williams.

Possible DSA member?

A December 29 1998 email from DSA membership officer Solveig Wilder claimed that Conyers was actually a DSA member.[10]

"Ron Dellums (who recently retired from Congress) is a Vice Chair of DSA, and Danny Davis, John Conyers, and Major Owens are all DSA Members."

DSA sponsored rally

Over 300 people attended the Call to Action Rally at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 876 Hall in Madison Heights on February 18th 2010. The rally was organized to press members of the Michigan Congressional delegation , particularly in the Senate, to pass key components of the progressive agenda including health care reform, cap and trade energy legislation, immigration reform, and the Employee Free Choice Act. Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America co-sponsored the rally along with 31 other organizations including Health Care for America Now, the UAW, the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union ), UFCW, UNITE-HERE Local 24, AFSCME Council 25, Reform Immigration for America, Repower America (the organization founded by former Vice-President Al Gore to promote investment in renewable energy), Gray Panthers of Metro Detroit, Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network, the Arabic Community Coalition for Economic and Social Security, Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice, MoveOn, and MOSES.

Congressmen Sander Levin and John Conyers, Jr. addressed the audience. In addition, aides to Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and Representatives Dale Kildee, Gary Peters, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and John Dingell attended the rally.

DSA member Al Fishman spoke to the audience about how the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had undermined Obama’s domestic agenda in a manner analogous to the way in which the Vietnam War undermined President Johnson’s Great Society programs. DSA Executive Board member Dave Ivers spoke about the imperative for a national jobs program, shared a personal anecdote about how the health care crisis had affected his family, and stressed the importance of Congress passing the Employee Free Choice Act to make it easier for workers to organize unions. Other speakers included Chris Michalakis, Legislative Director of UFCW Local 876, who spoke about the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. Luke Canfora of Repower America described the huge potential benefits of investment in renewable energy (decreased reliance on foreign oil, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, and job creation). Marcia Boehm and Altheia Henry discussed the urgent need for health care reform. John Freeman, Michigan Director of Health Care for America Now, moderated the event.[11]

Speaking at DSA Meeting

John Conyers speaking at DSA meeting

On October 02, 2010, Congressman John Conyers spoke at a Democratic Socialists of America meeting following the One Nation Rally which had taken place earlier that day. Among those present at the meeting were Frank Llewellyn (chaired), David Green, and two people referred to as "Dave" and "Herman", from Michigan.

During his talk, Conyers states that he is supporting Congressman Dennis Kucinich's measure to make a United States Department of Peace in the Federal Government. He refers to Barack Obama as his beloved 44th President, however states that:

"I see that us making him more cooperative with our plans is going to strengthen him and not weaken him... The whole point is that, trashing progressives and the left, and at the same time watching your ratings go down - gee... what's so difficult about figuring that out? Whose job do you think it is to get him straightened out and get him on the right track? Ours! Ours!" (applause)

Conyers' presence at the DSA gathering was confirmed by the Young Democratic Socialists;[12]

This was the stark reality facing participants of the One Nation Working Together Rally on October 2, 2010. Labor and civil rights groups including the AFL-CIO and NAACP rallied to support for the Democrats, call for more job spending, and to combat the racist rhetoric of the Tea Party. Progressive groups from across the country endorsed and sent over 100,000 people to the National Mall.
The Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) worked to get our activists on buses to show solidarity and demand the change that we voted for. Over sixty YDS activists came to Washington to first march with the Youth Contingent and then with the over 100 strong DSA contingent.

After the march YDS activists joined DSA for a reception that was headlined by Representative John Conyers (D-MI). Conyers spoke about his universal health care bill and his new full employment bill as well.

DSA support for Jobs Bill

In May 2010, Rep John Conyers introduced a bill entitled "The 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act." The bill was "little noticed at the time but, today, after another 7 months of dismal jobs reports -- we have actually lost ground during 2010, creating fewer jobs than the growth of the labor force -- there was renewed interest in this legislation by a range of progressive groups". The Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee made mobilization around the Act a national priority; Progressive Democrats of America "is developing a similar effort, as are both the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and the (DSA controlled) National Jobs for All Coalition".[13]

DSA "friend"

According to Chicago Democratic Socialists of America's New Ground No. 135, March/April 2011;[14]

The need for Federal action should be obvious. To that end, DSA supports H.R. 870, The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, introduced into the House of Representatives by John Conyers, U.S. Representative from Detroit, and friend of DSA. This bill introduces several strategies to generate jobs, including the establishment of a National Full Employment Trust Fund to create employment opportunities for the unemployed, financed (budget-neutral) by a tax on securities transactions. Introduced by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14) on March 2nd, the bill recently gained its 6th cosponsor, Bob Filner (CA-51). In Illinois, Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-2) is a co-sponsor.

Equality and Jobs for the 99%:Economic Justice for All

A public event sponsored by Democratic Socialists of America, "Equality and Jobs for the 99%:Economic Justice for All", was held November 11, 2011; 7:00 p.m. at St. Stephen and Incarnation Church, 1525 Newton NW, Washington, D.C.

Speakers were;

DSA, the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, is the largest socialist political organization in the country, with more than 6,000 members and active locals in more 40 U.S. cities and college campuses. DSA Locals in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Wichita, among others, have taken an active role in the Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Freedom Plaza, and other Occupy protests in support of jobs and economic justice.

This meeting was organized in conjunction with the 15th National Convention of Democratic Socialists of America, which is being held at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner November 11-13, 2011.[15]

2012 DSA Fundraiser

Detroit DSA newsletter, May 2012

Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee, held a fundraising reception for Representative John Conyers, Jr., at Colors Restaurant on Sunday, May 27th 2012, from 2-5 PM. Guest of honor was Jim Hightower—noted progressive radio commentator and editor of the Hightower Lowdown.

Co-hosts were David Bullock, President of the Detroit branch of Operation PUSH, Tim Carpenter, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network.[16]

As you may know, Congressman Conyers faces a serious primary challenge in a new district. In the past, he has never needed to raise much money for his campaigns. This time is different. We anticipate significant negative advertising will be directed against him. He will require sufficient resources with which to respond.
John Conyers is an icon to the progressive community. He is the only elected official ever to be endorsed by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. As the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, he opposed the Patriot Act and has been a staunch defender of civil liberties. He is the sponsor of the Medicare for All Act (HR 676), a single-payer health insurance bill which would provide comprehensive health care benefits ton all Americans while simultaneously containing health care costs. He is the sponsor of the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act (HR 870), a bill which would use a tax on financial transactions to create a national jobs program aimed at producing three to four million new jobs per year in infrastructure improvement, social services, and green energy. In short, Congressman Conyers shares our politics.

Detroit bankruptcy fightback

In the wake of the municipal bankruptcy filed by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, on Sept. 7 2014, about 500 people attended a rally sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. and chaired by Democratic Socialists of America member Professor Michael Eric Dyson, with panelists including the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit NAACP; City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson; Al Garrett, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25; and columnist Julianne Malveaux. The speakers stressed the need for mass mobilization in the streets to challenge the racist Wall Street attack on Detroit, a majority African-American city.[17]

References