Class Time with Kenzo Shibata [FREE FEED]

ATL Democratic Socialists of America Chair Councilman khalid kamau ditches chapter, leaders respond

July 6, 2020
TWITTER: @KenzoShibata Facebook: Patreon: Twitch: Reddit: Via Brandyn Buchanan (MADSA DSA): Today, Councilman #khalidkamau resigned as chair of Metro Atlanta #DSA’s Executive Committee. In his resignation press release, khalid left out an incredible amount of information that people deserve to know. So we decided to take a few hours and lay out the details so people can make their own decisions about our collective character, and his. I’m writing this in my own voice, but this statement has the support of the entire Executive committee. The Background When we all came together in September, the press releases were really happy to note that we were the youngest and most diverse EC in the history of the chapter. Let’s just briefly talk about what that entails: It’s an EC of six people that featured two Black men (plus khalid, so three) and an indigenous woman. People of color are a voting majority here. We’re all working people on really low income, doing a tremendous amount of work to equip our members and comrades in Atlanta to fight racism, capitalism, and imperialism. So are we gonna do that with a bottom up democracy that listens to people, learns about their struggles and then engages in the fight with them? Or will it come from a “president” or “CEO” type that goes to nice dinners, makes political promises and then demands that the membership haul ass to make good on them? Councilman khalid is resigning from the chapter because he’s not getting his way on this central question of what we are: period. We are a member organization, not a PAC. Our over one thousand members are responsible for setting the political line of our organization. We’re happy to work with anybody with good will from across the political spectrum (obvious receipts to come), but people have to know what’s going on, know who we’re signing on with and give approval. When he discovered he couldn’t do all this in his style, by hisself, he jumped out. The Endorsement Process In his resignation statement, khalid makes a number of false statements about our endorsement process, and also levels an accusation that the EC blocked endorsements. Let’s dig into those. A member of the Local Electoral working group (and person of color!) submitted a resolution for our June general meeting agenda to reorient our electoral strategy towards #ClassStruggleElections. This resolution is cosponsored by over 40 members, including nearly every influential person of color in the organization. To give you some background, we currently have a two-meeting endorsement process, where candidates are expected to give a Q&A in one meeting and then members debate and vote whether to endorse in a second meeting. Read the rest here: Councilman Kamau's initial post: The catalyst for this sad tale was me. I signed on to a mission that any undergraduate Sociology major with an understanding of the pathology of white supremacist thinking would have known was impossible. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have long been criticized as a toxic environment for women and people of color. After an exodus of organizers of color from 2016–2018, local DSA chapters in cities like New York and Chicago underwent transformations worthy of the organization’s radical reputation, diversifying the complexion of their leadership, electoral organizing and other outreach. However, some local DSA chapters continued doing the same thing, expecting different results. The Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America (MADSA) has been one such chapter. In 2019, I was asked to give the Opening Speech at DSA’s National Convention in Atlanta. At the time, I was one of only three elected officials in the State of Georgia that openly-identified as a Democratic Socialist. MADSA was on its third chair of color in less than one year. Two Black leaders had publicly split with the chapter, criticizing MADSA as both racist and sexist. I would like to pause here to apologize to those two women. My male privilege blinded me to the seriousness of their allegations, and I was lulled into thinking that my celebrity as an elected official would propel me over the institutional barriers that previous leaders of color had faced. I allowed myself to be convinced that I was a magical negro who could transform a troubled institution.



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