Josh Smyser

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Josh Smyser


Josh Smyser is co-chair of Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee.

Progressive Student Alliance

Josh Smyser found common cause with the Progressive Student Alliance early in his career at University of Tennessee. Smyser joined PSA as a freshman and remains active in the organization. He served as secretary and treasurer during 2007 and 2008. Now, in 2009 as a senior in UT's Latin American studies program, Smyser is PSA's chairman. Smyser believes PSA must continue its efforts to secure a living wage for UT's campus workers. [1]

Union Summer Project

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In 2008 Josh Smyser, Karen Principe and Leslie Principe participated in the the Progressive Student Alliance’s Union Summer Project. [2]

FRSO/Chokwe Lumumba

FRSO delegation members Cazembe Jackson, Mark Gilliland, Josh Smyser, Jared Story, Ash-Lee Henderson

Ash-Lee Henderson, Cazembe Jackson, Mark Gilliland, Josh Smyser, Jared Story participated in a Freedom Road Socialist Organization delegation to Jackson, Mississippi to support the Chokwe Lumumba campaign during the Democratic Primary in May 2013. Both members and friends of Freedom Road participated in canvassing, poll-watching, sign holding and other activities to support Chokwe Lumumba and Joyce Hardwick, the two candidates recruited to run on the People’s Assemblies platform.[3]

Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Josh Smyser is a Freedom Road Socialist Organization supporter.

Left Forum 2013

The Student-Labor Fightback Against Neo-Liberal ism, on campus and off.

Ferguson solidarity

Thomas Wayne Walker August 15, 2014:

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Organizations on the ground in st. louis, mo are calling for people across the u.s. to demonstrate at 2pm est *this saturday* against police murder, police militarization, and racism--in solidarity with the uprising in ferguson and demanding justice for mike brown. let's meet up at the corner of summit hill & hall of fame dr., where knox police killed an unarmed african-american man on may 18, 200... See More — with Holly Rainey, Elizabeth Wright, Michelle Christian, Alex Fields, Josh Smyser, Suzanne Pharr, Anne Barnett, Anna Masson, Saint Thomas LeDoux, Joshua Outsey, Meagan Thomas, Michelle Gibson, Cassie Watters, Elandria Williams, Sam Stratton, Jess Welch, Angel Ibarra, Joseph Woods, Kaitlin Malick, Andre Canty, Melanie Barron, Ben Allen, Erin Bicknese, Tom Torres, Ricki Draper, William Wilson, Bonnie Swinford, Joe Tolbert, Jr., Mickee Murray, David Alex Hayes, Margo Miller, JT Taylor and Karly Safar at Summit Hill and Hall of Fame Drive.

Labor Day march

One local group set out to put the focus on labor, Labor Day 2014.

"Put the People First" spent the afternoon Monday marching up and down Cumberland Avenue, calling out businesses they say treat workers unfairly.

"Can't survive on $7.25," they chanted.

Put the People First hosted a cookout and march Monday leaving Tyson Park and heading to the strip to protest businesses they say aren't paying workers well enough.

"It's the difference between scraping by and actually living," said United Campus Workers member Josh Smyser.

Several groups were included in the afternoon protest, many of which are pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage, double the state's current $7.25 an hour.

"Working one sometimes two sometimes three jobs because you're paid minimum wage which is not enough to live on for one person let alone if you've got a family to take care of," explained protest organizer Karly Safar.

Multiple groups made up the protest; one of which is asking for signatures to improve the state of mental health care in Knoxville.

"Everyone has a testimony. Their child, their husband, their spouse - mental illness is the elephant in the room, it's the skeleton in the closet that people don't want to talk about, but it's all around us. I haven't had anyone turn me down and by tomorrow night we'll have over 1,000 signatures," said Vivian Shipe.

Protesters say the march was a success, giving them a chance to put a face on a problem many Americans are dealing with.

"You rely on public assistance to scrape out a living, which is not really living," explained Smyser.

"A fair wage is what it takes to live modestly, have a car, pay your rent and raise your children. We're a long way from that," said marcher Todd Shelton.[4]

May 1 Put the People First rally

Put the People First, Knoxville Thursday 1 May 2014. Organized by : Karly Safar.

Gov. Haslam and his elite allies, have abandoned everyday people in Tennessee. Our coalition's response is simple: put the people first! We want living wage jobs, good public schools, and a good democracy that encourages participation!
Join us for a May Day parade and BBQ celebration by and for the people! Meet us in Market Square at 6pm and we'll march to Vine Middle School on MLK Blvd and end at Harriet Tubman Park for a BBQ and celebration!

Endorsers include:

United Campus Workers | Knoxville NAACP | Knox County Education Association | Seeed Knox | SOCM | Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee | Knox County Democrats.

Those giving notice of intention to attend on Wherevent included: Kristin Baksa, Christina Louise Belge, Lee Dunham Sessions, Kathryn Davis, Elizabeth Wright, Jenn Wallis, Jess Welch, Anne Barnett, Suz Seaton, Kaitlin Malick, Sol Msr, Linda Haney, Brittany Bender, Erica Davis, Christina Catherine Gore, Megan Clifton, Kim Webber, Vivian Swayne, Miriya Bollenbacher, Jennie Spanos, Shelagh Leutwiler, Taimi Olsen, Donna Maxwell, Janet Miles, Nicky Primo Allen, Natalie McGee, Leslie Principe, Tonya Hill, Tanya T. Coats, Cassie Watters, Kassie Ernst, Diana Moyer, Bonnie Swinford, Rose Attea, Maggie Gardner Tankersley, Jane Johnson Skinner, Amelia Taylor, Melanie Barron, Kristi Larkin Havens, Camillee Dyin'ices Perrett, Anna Masson, Jessica Pittman, Angie Max, Jonnie R. Hagan, Genny Petschulat, Laura Megan Stewart, Nickie Hackenbrack, Casey Self, Shamika Cook, Viviane Manigat Jackson, Xylina Marshall, Courtney Anderson, Leslie Anderson Pignataro, Sally Buice, Amelia Parker, Sistufara Muhammad, Amber Matthews, Janine Al-Aseer, Judith Petree, Deborah Bahr, Joy Coffey, Rebecca Stefanescu, Donna Laxson, Kate Elgammal, Karen Principe, Holly Smarr, Natasha Carina, Melissa Slayton, Elizabeth Owen, Megan Brockett, Robert Naylor, Mark Mohundro, Alex Falk, Conrad Charleston, Ben Wright, Cameron Brooks, Jim Wallace, Andrew Beamer, Andre Canty, Isaac Brandt, Adam Alsamadisi, Alex Fields, Ben Allen, Ryan Brown, Axel Ringe, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Prince Abed Oduro, James Gullett, James R. Golden, Bob Hutton, Gerry Moll, Alexander Thumler, Young Rome, Brad Wright, Elias Attea, Josh Smyser, Sam Petschulat, Jordan Welsh, Donald Fritz, Josh Stovall, David Alex Hayes, Ed Borum, Shaun Scenard, William Isom, Alejandro Guizar, Alex Pulsipher, Thomas Wayne Walker, John Mayer, Micheal Freeman, Angel Ibarra, Donte Samoa, Robert Boyd, Tom Torres, Rodolfo Urquieta, Andrew Sexton, Dustin Moore, Kacper Fryderyk Grass, Matt Ellison, Richard Murray, Maurice L. Clark, Sr., Justin Marcel Leduc, Lee Owen, Zach Blume, Mitch Thompson, Ramez Elgammal, Brandon Ray Darr, Tres Daugherty. [5]

United Campus Workers/show me $15

December 2014, United Campus Workers supports Knoxville's first #strikefastfood #showme15! Solidarity! — with Kris Bronstad, Anne Barnett, Ben Allen, Fran Ansley, Karly Safar, Melanie Barron, Thomas Wayne Walker, Joan Croce Grim, Tony Harris, Janet Miles, Anna Masson, Debbie Helsley, Josh Smyser, Elizabeth Owen, Lucy Jewel, Bob Hutton, Patrick Keaney, Matt Cook, Michelle Christian and Ben Lee.[6]

Smyser is a UT custodian who is on the university’s Employee Relations Council.

Anti-privatization meeting

Event in Knoxville 1800 Melrose Ave, Tuesday 6 October 2015

State lawmakers will join the United Campus Workers, UT College Democrats, Progressive Student Alliance and Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment during a fact-finding trip to learn more about the potential impact of the Governor's plan to possibly bring privatization to the campus of UT Knoxville.

Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris and state Rep. John Ray Clemmons will hear from campus employees, students and faculty about the potential impacts that layoffs and outsourcing will have on their families and campus life. Organized by JT Taylor.

Those indicating their intention to attend, on Wherevent, included Matt Roach, Elizabeth Stanfield, Savannah Lucas, Ann League, Jamie Greig, Melanie Barron, Madeleine Lewis, Adam Hughes, Matt Anderson, Jack Petschulat, Coy Kindred, Carter Hall, Jordan Welsh, Gloria Johnson, Eric Dixon, Anna Gardner, Caroline Cranford, Alex Fields, Will Gabelman, Josh Smyser, Courtney Anderson, Colleen Ryan, Katie Myers, Karly Safar, Hayley Brundige, William Dirmeyer, Feroza Freeland, Ciara Malaugh, Bonnie Swinford, Cassie Watters, Phyliss Dubinsky Shey, Meghan Martin, Prestyr John .[7]

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those indicating they would attend, on Facebook included Josh Smyser.[8]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward

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Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those saying they would attend, on Facebook included Josh Smyser.[9]

Beyond Shell Shock

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Beyond Shell Shock: Labor after the Trump disaster was hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday, February 26 at 8 PM - 9:30 PM.

Hosts Bill Fletcher, Jr.; Erica Smiley; Bob Master; Neidi Dominguez; Bryan Proffitt; and Jeff Crosby;

Join us in this webcast to take a hard look at the place we're in as a labor movement - and consider how we can make the labor movement be a leading force in the resistance to Trump and the fight for a better world.
What's our strategy? What kinds of alliances do we need? Do we just play defense?
In the face of National Right to Work, vicious attacks on workers of color in and out of the workplace, escalating divisions in the AFLCIO and the Democratic Party, and more we've got our work cut out for us. Let's figure out how to win.

Those interested in attending included Josh Smyser.

Fighting outsourcing

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Jon Shefner April 16, 2017 ·

Tried to share a post now that is a year old - showing how long and hard we've worked against outsourcing. I couldn't make it work, because apparently I am a FB moron. But this is important to say: We've done it all - in the legislature and in the streets, with our allies and on our own. And not only are we not finished, we are stronger than ever, in Knoxville and across the state. I am so proud of working with Cassie Watters, Melanie Barron, Jayanni Elizabeth, Tom Anderson, Tom Smith, Thomas Wayne Walker, Ed McDaniel, Josh Smyser, Diana Moyer, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Sarah Eldridge, Fran Ansley, Jim Sessions, Jason Dawsey, Bob Hutton, Troy Smith, JB and everyone I may have left off. I looked at the post from a year ago - and I'm pissed. We've worked really hard at this against a governor who has no reason to outsource other than to attack working people. No data confirms his plan, no need drives it, and no truth is behind it . C'mon April 24, and every other day of struggle until we win! Goddamnit, we are not done yet!

Eat Out (with) PSA

Hosted by UTK Progressive Student Alliance, Monday, March 6, 2017, at 11 AM - 9 PM. Moe's Original Bar B Que- Knoxville, 4405 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919.

Percentage night at local restaurant Moe's! Support UTK's oldest progressive student organization, the Progressive Student Alliance, and learn all about what we do!

Those invited, on Facebook, included Josh Smyser.

Knoxville comrades

Darcy Ayers October 31, 2017:

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With Josh Smyser, Ben Allen, Cassie Watters, Melanie Barron, Elizabeth Stanfield and Tami Shultz Carney at Knox Public House.

UCW conference

Dana Smith September 18, 2018 ·

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Dana Smith Elizabeth Stanfield, Cassie Watters, Josh Smyser, Edward McDaniel, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Jayanni Elizabeth, Scott Martindale, Jayme Brunson, Eric Hughes frame is up!!!

Supporting Ed Nelson

Ed McDaniel October 23 2018:

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Edward Nelson endorsed and supported by UCW-CWA 3865. — with Elizabeth Stanfield, Josh Smyser and Edward Nelson.

References