Donna DeWitt

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Donna DeWitt


Donna DeWitt is President of the South Carolina State AFL-CIO. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

She has been active in the South Carolina Progressive Network, Emergency Labor Network, Southern Anti-Racism Network and Southern Workers Assembly.

2001 People's Weekly World Banquet

Excitement filled the House of Fortune restaurant in Chinatown Chicago as Donna DeWitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, addressed the annual People’s Weekly World banquet Nov. 18. The banquet raised $8,000 for the People’s Weekly World fund drive.

DeWitt’s keynote speech came only days after the release of the International Longshoremen’s Association members known as the Charleston Five.

DeWitt, who played a key role in organizing support for the Charleston Five, warned of the right-wing’s anti-labor and racist agenda that menace not only her state, but the whole country.

Emblematic of this agenda, she said, is the new campaign launched by South Carolina’s aggressive and ambitious Attorney General Charles Condon against immigrants, in particular Mexican immigrants.

Focusing on the current crisis, John Bachtell, PWW banquet committee chairperson and head of the Illinois district of the Communist Party, denounced the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, but warned that “crimes against humanity must be met with global justice, not military tribunals.”[1]

How Class Works

At the How Class Works - 2002 Conference, panels included;

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

In 2008 Donna DeWitt of AFL-CIO, Columbia, SC signed a statement circulated by the Partisan Defense Committee calling for the release of convicted “cop-killer” Mumia Abu-Jamal.[3]

Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics

Founded in 2008, the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics is focused on three primary goals:

  • Increase the pool of capable women candidates.
  • Educate and train women to run and win.
  • Enhance the visibility of women in leadership roles and change public perception.

The Institute has held six campaign training schools and four major visibility events. It communicates twice each month with more than 20,000 statewide citizens via email.

“Our board is diverse politically, yet we are united on advancing women in political leadership roles,” says Donna Dewitt, Chair of the Institute’s Board and Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network.[4]

South Carolina Progressive Network

2008, South Carolina Progressive Network Co-chair Donna Dewitt, SC AFL-CIO.

Labor Campaign for Single Payer

In 2009 Donna DeWitt, President South Carolina State AFL-CIO served on the National Advisory Board and the Steering Committee of Labor Campaign for Single Payer.

Single Payer conference

In March 2009 the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Conference was held in Washington DC. Attendees included Anne Feeney, Kay Tillow and Walter Tillow, Jerry Tucker, Donna DeWitt, David Newby, Donna Smith, Tim Carpenter from Progressive Democrats of America, Dr. Margaret Flowers, John Conyers.[5]

Writing with Liz Shuler

In December 2009 Liz Shuler of the AFL-CIO and Donna DeWitt, Chair of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network and a member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, co-wrote an article for the The Sun News, "Young people need good jobs now".[6]

14th annual spring conference

The South Carolina Progressive Network, a statewide coalition of political and social groups concerned with social justice issues, hosted its 14th annual spring conference April 2010 in Columbia.

The noon to 5 p.m. meeting at the Booker T. Washington Cultural Arts Center, 2611 Grant St., is free and open to the public.

From noon till 2:30 p.m., network co-chairs Rep. Joseph Neal, D-Richland, and Donna DeWitt will lead discussions on strategies and tactics for advancing progressive policies. Those attending the 3-5 p.m. session will hear from progressive candidates and learn about shaping strategies for winning elections.[7]

National Peace Conference

The National Peace Conference, took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Albany New York, July 2010. Many workshops are scheduled and many leaders of the peace and progressive movements will be there: Cindy Sheehan, Kathy Kelly, Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Dahlia Wasfi, Leila Zand, Michael McPhearson, Kevin Martin, David Swanson, Glen Ford, and many others.

Keynote speakers were Noam Chomsky and Donna DeWitt (President of the South Carolina AFL-CIO).

Spratt award

Johnspratt.PNG

SC AFL-CIO President Donna DeWitt and South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans VP Brett Bursey present US Congressman John Spratt, Jr. with a plaque thanking him for his service to the Palmetto State, August 13, 2010.

Labor Party

In 2011 the South Carolina Labor Party and the state AFL-CIO threw their weight behind Brett Bursey, a long-time labor and anti-war activist, for South Carolina House District 69, who will be the Labor Party’s first candidate, after over a decade in existence.[8]

Chair of the South Carolina Labor Party was Donna DeWitt.[9]

2013 CCDS National Coordinating Committee

Donna DeWitt, South Carolina was elected in 2013 to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee;[10]

Harvey Gantt award

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, and South Carolina AFL-CIO President Emeritus Donna DeWitt, a civil rights and union organizer, were honored during the Tri-County Ecumenical Service, Jan. 27 at Morris Street Baptist Church, 25 Morris St, Charleston.

The service and award ceremony was part of the 41st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, sponsored by the YWCA.

The Harvey Gantt award was presented to Lewis and Dewitt by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and newly elected state AFL-CIO President Kenneth Riley. Lewis gave the keynote address.

In 2012, Ted Kennedy was posthumously awarded the prize, and his son Patrick Kennedy came to Charleston to receive it.

Dewitt, 64, said civil rights and labor rights always have been inexorably intertwined, and the right to organize is essential for economic justice.

She said she was pleased to learn from Gantt Triumph Award chairman Clay Middleton that she was a recipient of the annual recognition.[11]

T-Mobile panel

On February 16, 2013, a distinguished group of national, international, and local leaders gathered in Charleston to hear testimony from T- Mobile employees. Their testimony provided compelling evidence of horrible working conditions and a complete absence of job security.

Members of the Charleston Speak Out Panel were;

Alliance for Retired Americans

2015 President South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans, Donna DeWitt.[13]

She has been active in the organization since at least 2008.

2016 CCDS National Coordinating Committee

Donna DeWitt, South Carolina, was elected in 2016 to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee;[14]

The AFL-CIO convention here passed yesterday a political resolution that calls for a break with “lesser of two evil politics” but came up short when it comes to projecting a clear path to how that will be accomplished.

New Labor Party?

“The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils,” reads the main political resolution passed December 2017 by AFL-CIO convention delegates. Lee Saunders, chair of the AFL-CIO’s political committee and president of AFSCME, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, introduced the resolution. They lead the labor federation’s two largest unions. Convention managers yoked the resolution to another measure it also approved discussing a labor party, though not by name.

“For decades the political system has failed working people,” Weingarten said. “Acting on behalf of corporations and the rich and powerful, the political system has been taking away, one after another, the pillars that support working people’s right to good jobs and secure benefits.”

The two measures, adopted October 24, followed a late Monday-evening meeting of supporters of reviving the Labor Party idea. It attracted about 50 delegates to an upstairs meeting room at the convention’s lead hotel. Their contention: Both the Democrats and the Republicans are under corporate domination.

The prime mover of a Labor Party motion at the convention, Postal Workers President Mark Dimondstein, has been calling for such a new formation since the passage of NAFTA in 1993, which he said showed both Democrats and Republicans were in the pockets of the corporate class.

Dimondstein made many of the same arguments for a Labor Party on the convention floor that he voiced in the meeting the night before, when Baldemar Velasquez of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Mark Dudzic of Labor Committee for Single Payer, and Donna DeWitt, former president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, joined him.

Meeting participants differed over whether the nascent party should first build an organization and concentrate on issues, or get into political races, running the risk of becoming “spoilers” in the current political system, rigged in favor of the two existing parties.[15]

The Left and the 2018 Elections

The Left and the 2018 Elections: high stakes for the country, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Education Project Webinar: May 21, 9pm edt.

Many on the Left will actively engage the 2018 elections. The stakes are high: it is imperative to defeat right-wing Republications to stop the extremist attacks on working people. And, as public opinion sours on Trump, there are many opportunities to elect progressives both nationally and locally, and pass state ballot initiatives. The new progressive formations that emerged to resist the far-right Republican government show growing potential. How do democratic socialists become involved?
Carl Davidson, former CCDS co-chair, will open by framing the national political forces in the US. Donna DeWitt, retired president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, will follow with a labor perspective. CCDS activist Dan Margolis will report on the local situation in Worcester Mass. including Our Revolution. [16]

References