She is the curly-haired rebel with a cause, known for organizing protests and counter-protests around Main Campus, Temple University. Diane Isser, a junior political science and sociology major, takes political action unapologetically, and was the driving force behind the mountaintop removal coal mining protests, the Troy Davis protest on Main Campus and Temple’s involvement in Occupy Philly.
Isser said her interest in political activism began her freshman year when she took a general education political science course.
“The course inspired me to pay closer attention to what is going on in the political world,” Isser said.
Isser said she finds it interesting to watch a movement that she feels strongly about grow. Organizing several movements on Main Campus has helped her to take direct political action for causes she feels passionate about.
“When organizing the Occupy movement it just seemed like the right thing to do,” Isser said. “There were revolts going on all over the world and it just seemed like the right time to make sure our voices were heard.”
In October 2011, Isser organized student mobilization efforts in solidarity with Occupy Philly, for which she emphasized the importance of the classroom walkout that was planned on Main Campus.
“The act of walking out is to show [those] who don’t believe we care that we do and refuse to sit idle and watch the protest, without our voices being heard,” Isser said.
In December 2011, Isser and several other students were arrested for participating in a sit-in at the PNC Bank located on Liacouras Walk. On the same day, the University Investment Committee was scheduled to meet and discuss the university’s financial and ethical relationship with PNC, but students claimed they were not given a voice during the meeting.
“We spent 20 hours in jail, went to court and were given a $200 fine,” Isser said in regards to the consequences of their protest.
After the incident, she said she and her fellow protestors spent hours talking to others about their experiences with police brutality.
Though many local and global issues have caught Isser’s attention, the plight of the prison system in America is what she is most passionate about. She said Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” impacted the way she views the prison system.
“The prison system is racist, many people don’t question it however, I feel it is important to question,” Isser said.
Smolarek and Murphy were with Isser when she was organizing all of these movements, and were arrested on the same day as the PNC protest at the Occupy Philly eviction.
“I don’t know if I’ve learned anything from organizing these movements, actually,” Isser said. “It might have happened better if I had learned better techniques. Maybe I learned that there are ultimately spectacles everywhere.”
Isser said she hopes that this is only the starting point of allowing students’ voices to be heard in an effort to make the changes they want to see in the world.
Socialist Caucus at 2016 DNC
Over 300 Sanders activists attended Democratic Socialists of America’s “Socialist Caucus” on Wednesday afternoon, July 27th, 3016. In the audience were over 100 Sanders delegates, including most of DSA’s 55 member-delegates; they were joined by Larry Sanders, Senator Sanders’ brother, and the Senator’s son, Levi Sanders.
Numerous participants remarked on social media that the caucus was one of the most substantive meetings at the convention. A score of participants joined DSA on the spot and the DSA table rapidly sold out of its 50 bright red DSA “Continuing the Political Revolution” T-shirts.
- Shout-outs to all the DSA delegates and volunteers who helped build the caucus. In particular, Tom Gallagher, Penny Schantz, Paul Garver, Harlan Baker, Ashley Rodriguez, Danny and Barbara Fetonte, Larry Wittner, Rachel Ochs, Rebecca Ryan, Diane Isser and the list goes on...
In 2016 Diane Isser was a member of Philly Democratic Socialists of America. She signed the Give The People What They Want: DSA Members on 2016 and Beyond letter.
Democratic Socialists of America
DSA convention delegate
Philadelphia DSA steering committee
The 2015/2017 Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America At-Large Steering Committee members included Diane Isser.
Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America Public Facebook Group
- [The Temple News, Movers & Shakers: Diane Isserby Priscilla Ward 06 February 2012]
- DSA DSA Leads Socialist Caucus at DNCPosted by Joseph M. Schwartz on 08.12.16