Jack Rothman, Carol Newton, Brandon Ramirez
Sunday, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
This panel will outline concrete steps to strengthen cohesion on the left. The presentation is based on a survey that gathered the ideas of experienced activists and organizational leaders about how progressives in Los Angeles could work together more effectively—toward social justice goals Activists and leaders in 43 wide-ranging progressive organizations voiced their views.
The research indicated a critical need for a stronger ties to increase coalescence and success. Survey participants proposed a set of concrete programs to accomplish these aims: a newsletter for inter-organizational communication; more training opportunities for grassroots groups; a rapid response system for mobilizing for demonstrations and fast breaking events; a directory of progressive organizations; a common facility for meetings, events, and planning; and a mutual aid help line. These programs together would create a new infrastructure for a resilient left. Respondents felt that this initiative should not distract them from their current projects. They also thought that these programs should operate in a supportive rather than a directing way. The programs should enable participating organizations by boosting their capacity to carry out social action.
Jack Rothman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the UCLA School of Public Affairs. Rothman’s specialty has been community organizing and has taught at UCLA, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a teacher, researcher, and writer for more than half a century and has published some 25 books on social and political issues. His writings have appeared in The Nation, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Social Policy, and The Humanist. As an activist, he organized the current Los Angeles Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and he was one of a core group of organizers of the first Teach-in Against the War in Vietnam at the University of Michigan. He has won a Life Time Achievement Award from the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration. Rothman was a neighborhood leader in the Bernie Sanders Campaign. He is a member of Democratic Socialist of America, Workman’s Circle, Sholem Community, Association for Community Organization and Social Administration, the American Sociology Association, and National Association of Social Workers.
Carol Ann Newton: In 2010, this Native Californian, Graphic Artist, Mother and inconsequential Anarchist never expected to serve as the leader of a political group when she joined the local Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) organizing committee convened by Jack Rothman. Carol Newton missed the wave of action created by the New Left in 1968 while moving from frustrating agency art direction to gratifying freelance graphic design. But for a brief attempt in 1969 to create an artist guild in Los Angeles to address the unfair treatment of freelance artists, Carol held no labor activism reputation except her work ethic. Many years of social justice self-education led Carol to join DSA in 2005. Ad hoc political action with Neighbors for Change to fight for Single Payer during the 2009 battle for the Affordable Care Act ignited a passionate mother’s resolve to help to restore the tattered safety net we all enjoyed until the late 1970s. Carol’s participation in the organizing committee yielded an opportunity to develop a local chapter and to serve as Chair. Leadership experience inspired her to choose a new – and very obvious – direction for DSA’s organizing: emphasizing recruitment of young people in any and all places young activists congregated. People would say: “I see you everywhere.” When the Sanders wave propelled DSA chapters to action, and the Trump phenomenon activated thousands, Carol and the Los Angeles chapter of DSA were ready to welcome them.
Brandon Rey Ramirez is a co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)’s national Immigrant Rights Committee and a co-chair of the DSA Los Angeles Chapter’s Immigration Justice Committee (IJC). First joining DSA at Temple University YDS in 2010, Ramirez has been involved in various leadership roles including Communications Director of the Los Angeles Chapter following the 2016 election. While attending Temple, Ramirez became involved in the fight for immigration justice, volunteering at an immigrant and refugee non-profit, and advocating for the DREAM Act. As co-chair of DSA’s Immigrant Rights Committee, Ramirez coordinated DSA’s direct action turnout and media amplification in the Our Dream coalition in 2017. After the federal government’s “separation of families,” policy caught national attention in 2018, Ramirez proposed and coordinated the national Week of Action to Abolish ICE. Ramirez has also led direct action trainings for chapters across the country.