She is a radical, well connected with most of Detroit’s main Marxist organizations.
During the 1980’s, Watson co-founded Peace Links in Detroit (with Communist Party USA supporters the Hon. Erma Henderson and the Hon. Maryann Mahaffey) and she visited Moscow, Leningrad and Tblisi, Georgia in the U.S.S.R. in 1989 as a delegate with Women for a Meaningful Summit traveling with the Hon. Millie Jeffrey and the Hon. Debbie Stabenow.
In the mid-2000s the pro-Cuban/North Korean Workers World Party developed a strong relationship with Detroit City Council members JoAnn Watson and Maryann Mahaffey. Watson has since worked with the WWP, the Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski and Freedom of the Press, Moratorium NOW!, National Conference to Reclaim Our Cities and several other campaigns.
On June 14, 2006, Ambassador Bernado Alvarez Herrera, Marxist Venezuela’s envoy to the United States, met with the Legislative Black Caucus in Lansing with several Detroit city officials, including council members JoAnn Watson, Brenda Jones, Kwame Kenyatta, Martha Reeves and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to discuss how to expand his country’s programs that help the poor. He said that his country, under President Hugo Chavez, wants to provide heating assistance and free eye surgery to needy Detroiters.
In 2011, the Detroit City Council designated its main chamber – the Committee of the Whole Room – as a Peace Zone in memory of Al Fishman, lifelong peace activist who was a member of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and participated in the Peace and Solidarity Task Force. The resolution, introduced by Council Member JoAnn Watson, states that Al Fishman was “one of our City’s finest Peace, Civil, Labor and Human Rights activists, advocates and champions, one of our true Citizens of the World.”