DSA Feed

This is a feed aggregator that collects news and updates from DSA chapters, national working groups and committees, and our publications all in one convenient place. Updated at 9:30 AM ET / 6:30 AM PT every morning.

Mon, Sep 25th, 2023

GOP Steals Adams’ Migrant Rhetoric + A City Council General Election Preview

The NYC Thorn is a weekly roundup of local political news compiled by members of NYC-DSA.

Local News

  • Congressional Republicans used a recent Mayor Adams' speech about the migrant influx as key evidence to attack what they called Biden's "open border" policy in a recent Congressional hearing.

  • Timely processing rates for SNAP and cash assistance requests under the Adams administration have collapsed, falling from over 90% in 2021 to under 40% for cash assistance and under 30% for SNAP requests.

  • Comptroller Brad Lander has announced an audit of the Adams administration's $432 million no-bid migrant services contract with DocGo, a medical services company whose CEO abruptly resigned after fabricating his resume.

  • Multiple City Council Members accused the Adams Administration of telling City contractors to skip an Oversight hearing.

  • A group of district leaders in Manhattan is pushing a rule to prohibit party leaders from working as lobbyists in an effort to oust Manhattan Democratic Party Leader, Assembly Member Keith Wright.

  • Journalists at local nonprofit newsroom The City were forced to take pay cuts after much of the site's philanthropic support has dried up. 

  • Could support from organized labor be the key to solving New York's housing impasse? Governor Kathy Hochul has either not considered or failed to get labor unions onboard partly through her failure to support Good Cause Eviction as part of the deal.

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  • City and State outlined several city council races that may be competitive between Republicans and Democrats in the November general election.

  • Empire State Voices, a new Democrat-aligned nonprofit with unknown funding sources, is running early ads targeting Representative Anthony D’Esposito (R-Uniondale), a Republican in a swing district.

  • Eric Adams' 2021 mayoral campaign ignored multiple inquiries from the Campaign Finance Board about as many as 600 donor irregularities, including from some who are now under official indictment.

The NYC Local

Subscribe to the NYC Local, a publication of the Legislative Committee of the NYC-DSA Labor Branch.

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Revolutions Per Minute

Listen to NYC-DSA's weekly radio show Revolutions Per Minute. Check out the show here.

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Solidarity Across Borders and Time: The Jewish Labor Bund

The Bund: A Graphic History of Jewish Labour Resistance

Edited by Paul Buhle, written by Sharon Rudahl, illustrated by Michael Kluckner, with a foreword by David Rosenberg. Between the Lines Press, 2023. (The book can be ordered in Canada at Between the Lines Press and in the United States at AK Press.) A live online interview with the creators of The Bund can be heard on October 22 at the Jewish Community Library.

From its beginnings under Russian occupation in Vilna, Lithuania in 1897, the Jewish labor association known as the Bund faced many of the challenges that are still with us:  state and factory opposition to labor unions, war in Eastern Europe, tyrants suppressing democratic and socialist movements.  The word “bund,” which means “to bind” or “alliance” in Yiddish and German, became the title of an enduring labor and cultural association formed by Jews. (The group’s full title was “The General Jewish Labor Bund of Russia, Lithuania and Poland.”)  The history of this group, and its legacy in contemporary political and cultural activism, are celebrated in a new graphic history book that deserves to be celebrated as well.

The Bund: A Graphic History of Jewish Labour Resistance, edited by historian Paul Buhle, offers a text written by Sharon Rudahl and illustrated by Michael Kluckner.  In subtly colored drawings, Kluckner introduces a bevy of Tsarist soldiers, Bundist organizers, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, farmers, scholars, workers, fascists, and resistance fighters. The men and women in this story almost leap off their pages, as their watercolor and ink images stand out against the white background. While the images are eloquent on their own, Rudahl’s concise and lively narrative moves the reader through a half-century of uprisings, arrests, escapes, suppressed publications, strikes, and underground resistance, along with the cultural and political triumphs  that accompanied Bundist activity.

Much of this history has been told at greater length in scholarly volumes. But The Bund’s highly visual presentation offers a new, inviting perspective on the past and its connection to present-day activism.  A graphic history, much like a graphic novel (minus the fiction), by its very form calls for a new approach–an approach dependent on visual images, an approach well suited to an age in which film, television, and electronic screens often steal prospective readers away from text-heavy books.  The genre of graphic history book, like the graphic novels that preceded it, should not be confused with antecedents in comic books and political cartoons.  The Bund is not a comic book, which is to say the illustrations are not shown in six or eight small boxes per page, but rather through capacious, mostly full-page drawings that offer a lot of detail.  Humor surfaces at times in the words and images; but, in general, the presentation is more panoramic than comic.  

Before graphic novels gained a respectable following a few decades ago, comic book artists and cartoonists tended to offer readers worlds of fantasy, science-fiction, horror, and romance. Superheroes and talking animals were the most popular characters.  A significant change in topics and style began in the 1960s as “underground comix” by such artists as R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Spain Rodriguez, and Trina Robbins drew on alternative culture and New Left politics.   Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus proved it was possible to explore extremely serious matters such as Holocaust survival and family tragedy through “comic” art.

Paul Buhle has taken the art of graphic book-writing in another, highly adventurous and commendable direction, by editing and commissioning visual histories of radical political figures such as Emma Goldman (in a book by Rudahl), Eugene Debs, Paul Robeson, Che Guevara, and stories about Leftist groups such as Students for a Democratic Society, and now, the Jewish labor Bund. 

As Buhle notes in his epilogue to the new book, the Bund’s continued existence (and resistance to its adversaries) over decades became a sort of collective memory, “a collective past” that “lies hidden within all of us.”  Unknown or underacknowledged by many people, this collective past includes the radical impulses of Jews resisting oppression through organized labor and cultural activities in the first half of the twentieth century, impulses that have resurfaced and taken new form among their descendants and later generations.  

“The Bund actually found a new if limited role in postwar North America,” notes Buhle, as those in its tradition “took part in a revival of the Yiddish schools, choral, and other activities while extending their resources to help other survivors trapped abroad or recently arrived.”  More specific passing along of Bundist tradition is acknowledged in Rudahl’s brief biography of Bundist Charney Vladeck, born in Minsk, an immigrant who became “a Social Democratic giant in New Deal Manhattan.”  Current programs in social justice activism and Yiddish cultural history promoted by Workers Circle branches in Canada and the United States can be considered Bund-like actions, with many Bundist immigrants having joined Workers Circle early in the past century.

The graphic history’s two most lengthy Illustrated biographies confirm the resistant and enduring qualities of Bundism, as the narrative explains how Bernard Goldstein went from prison in Tsarist Siberia to underground resistance in World War II Poland, and from surviving the Warsaw ghetto uprising to a less trying life in the United States; and how one of the Bund’s founders in Vilna, Pati Kremer, survived several arrests under Russian occupation, and later hosted secret Bund meetings in German-occupied Lithuania.  

Some of the Bund’s long and hemisphere-spanning  life might be attributed to Yiddish, once the vernacular language of Jews across Eastern Europe. Bund speakers could be understood by Yiddish-speaking Jews in many countries, and their shared language made the Bund de facto an internationalist organization (although it favored ethnic autonomy too). Yiddish crossed many borders, and moved with its speakers to North and South America when they immigrated.

Of course Bundist ideas can be implemented in other languages, and have been.  The Bund by no means limited itself to Jewish or Yiddish culture, either.  As David Rosenberg notes in his preface to the book, the Bundists “put great stress on culture – not just Yiddish culture … but also the world of culture that other peoples had created – their art, music, literature, education.  Just as the Bund worked for a world without borders, they wanted the borders between cultures to be fluid to enable mutual understanding and appreciation.”  The Bund also sought to improve its communities with schools, dances, choral and theatrical performances, sanitaria, and self-defense units.

The book makes no reference to the Democratic Socialists of America, but it would not be unreasonable to speculate that the Bund’s advocacy of democracy and socialism, and its resistance to fascism and exploitative capitalism, anticipated some current DSA programs. In fact, Bundists were among some of the early members of DSA’s predecessor organizations. The historic Yiddish labor organization’s influence continues; and after reading this colorful and compelling book, it is hard not to want to celebrate and renew its efforts, __________________________________________________________________

The post Solidarity Across Borders and Time: The Jewish Labor Bund appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Sun, Sep 24th, 2023

What is a selective strike?

A selective strike is a strategy designed to stress specific parts of a production process while creating an unpredictable environment for the bosses.

The post What is a selective strike? appeared first on EWOC.

The UAW Strike with Jane Slaughter

The historic strike of the United Auto Workers against the big three US automakers is inspiring new hope for the labor movement. I sat down with Jane Slaughter, a founder and long-time editor of Labor Notes, to discuss the ongoing strike, what it will take to win, and how the strike was made possible by a small opposition caucus defeating the entrenched UAW bureaucracy to take leadership of the union earlier this year. I then speak with Manya Janowitz, a Seattle DSA member and organizer with UNITE-HERE Local 8, about the strike and contract battle at Homegrown, the Seattle-based sandwich chain.The discussion with Jane Slaughter references her recent article, “No Reform Caucus, No UAW Strike,” published in The Call on September 20th.This podcast is only possible due to the generous monthly contributions of Seattle DSA members and supporters who fund my part-time salary as the chapter’s Communications Organizer alongside vital organizing work. To sustain this podcast, and our wider communications work, please become a monthly contributor at seattledsa.org/podcast.

Class Struggle Making A Great Leap Forward

The UAW strike entered its second week. Strikes, like wars, once they start nobody knows how they will end. So far president Biden is against the ropes, after being called to walk the picket line with UAW, which he is now doing. The strike has a national impact. The companies blame the transition to electric […]

The Power of Solidarity

Momentum behind labor organizing and militancy is rapidly accelerating in 2023, as workers all across the USA organize new union shops, fight bolder fights on the job, demand more from their employers in contract negotiations, and engage in strikes and other forms of collective action. From auto-workers to baristas, from logistics-workers to entertainment workers, the […]

Fri, Sep 22nd, 2023

7 Ways to Support the UAW Strike

United Auto Workers have begun their historic strikes, which could mean better working conditions for us all. Here are ways that you can support them.

The post 7 Ways to Support the UAW Strike appeared first on EWOC.

DSA National Convention Reflection #1 – Julie C

This past August, Cleveland DSA sent our 7 delegates to the National Convention. Our Education Committee asked these delegates to write up reflections on their experience, which will appear here over the next month. What follows is the first of these, from our comrade Julie C:

I have been a member of my local mid-sized DSA chapter since early 2021. I was a fan of Bernie as he grew in popularity but still thought socialism was a dirty word until 2020. Like many during the Covid lockdowns, I started to see the world as it truly was and became more and more disgruntled with the status quo. After the murder of George Floyd I was shoved into action. Well, “action” being more than just angrily debating people on Facebook. I checked out quite a few local and national organizations and stuck with DSA. They were far and away the group that was doing the most good locally and was not just a political campaign or a Zoom webinar.

The other reason I stuck with DSA is that in a society where barely any aspect of one’s life reflects a true democracy, our chapter exemplifies it. There is no high level board of directors who “work for” DSA and make decisions in a small group while members are off at their day jobs. Members who have been around for years don’t get a bigger say in what we do than someone who just signed up yesterday. Individuals are empowered to bring their ideas to the general membership and get a majority vote in order to make it one of our priorities for at least a set amount of time. We have built something unlike any other organization I’ve been a part of and it proves that democracy can work, it can be done!

One aspect of DSA that I shied away from entirely was our national structure and bodies. I had dealt with big, “non-profit-like” structures in the past and I had no interest in getting roped in again. I wanted to keep doing good work in my chapter and continue to ignore National as just “those people who keep track of our members and money and send emails that I occasionally open.” So when talk of Convention 2023 came around, I really did not have an interest in running as a delegate. But then I found out a little more about our dues structure and how much went to National versus local chapters. To be blunt, I wanted to see where all my money was going and if I thought it was being put to good use! I could see our work locally and believed in it. But hardly ever was any aspect of National brought up among our membership and we have rarely felt their impact.

A principle of democratic organizing that I strongly believe in is to stay and try to help fix a problem rather than skirting around it. With that principle in mind, I took a new approach to the Convention. I wanted to better understand National, where our dues were going, and how everything functioned at a national level. I ran as a delegate because I knew it would force me to learn and to experience it. Once I was elected I spent a lot of time preparing: reading proposed resolutions, learning past DSA history, and watching NPC candidate interviews to get a better idea of what choices lay before us to guide the next two years. Although I knew very little about caucuses and the inner workings of politics within DSA, I felt fairly prepared traveling to Chicago in August 2023.

The Convention itself surpassed all of my expectations. It was very professional, had many engaging speakers, panels, and discussions and being in a room with close to 1,000 delegates representing the largest socialist organization in the US was an experience I will never forget. I happily embrace the cliché when I say that it felt like we were making history. That I could imagine a time in the future when this moment will be viewed as an important catalyst to what will come next. I imagine it is similar to what new Congresspeople feel when they walk into the chamber for the first time–although with much more hope in real, lasting change. I digress, and apologize for my flare for dramatics.

Another reason I stuck with DSA after I joined is that I see it as practice for how to actually run a democracy. People talk about democracy like it is some high and mighty philosophy (which it is), but it is also a verb. How you tactically carry out a democracy is important, and we will not learn it from Washington, our statehouses, and certainly not our workplaces. Our chapter has good, solid structures for running our democracy and I was happy to see that the Convention was set up similarly. There were a few hiccups in getting the agenda set (which was democratically decided with a floor amendment) but overall the actual deliberation time was well-run and exciting.

The proposals that we voted on were a mixed bag. The committee resolutions tended to be the most detailed with plans on what the standing committee would continue to do, what would change, and how much of a budget it needed. Some of the proposals seemed to state ideas/beliefs of how we should operate without a lot of fleshed out details of what that looks like in action. I am more skeptical of these proposals as I feel the platform can be amended to give our political positions and would rather see proposals with detailed action plans. However, I usually voted in favor if I felt they were appropriate. 

There were a couple proposals – “Democratize DSA” and “Towards a Party-Like Electoral Strategy”- that showed clear lines between caucuses and forced very lively political debate.  “Democratize DSA,” according to its proponents, sought to expand the NPC as a way to help alleviate some of the political issues of past NPCs. Those who spoke against it said it would make the work of the NPC more difficult and the problem wasn’t the number of members. It did not pass the ⅔ majority needed, which prompted some procedural “fuckery” to re-vote, which also failed (all legal per our bylaws and rules). “Party-Like” was a proposal to hold elected officials endorsed by DSA to stricter standards around how to vote on certain issues and to begin bloc voting with other DSA electeds. It failed (41% to 59%) and seems that members are not yet willing to require hard lines for our elected officials. This could potentially lead to another embarrassing Bowman debacle if and when another DSA elected speaks or votes against one of our core principles. I was happy “Democratize” did not pass and disappointed that “Party-Like” failed; however, both of these battles were another lesson in the democracy “verb” and a good experience to have individually and as an organization

Of course one of the more heated debates and a topic many wanted to hash out further was the BDS working group resolution. The agenda was amended to add the full resolution but we only had time for deliberation on the NPC recommendation to move the BDSWG into the IC, which passed 52% to 48%. As someone who was tuned out during the Bowman debacle, I only saw it as an embarrassment to the DSA name and hoped that we could put the measure to rest at this Convention. I think we partially did that and have faith that our new NPC will finish the job. There will most certainly be members still polarized by this issue but I feel they will be in the minority. The debate and fight over drawing specific lines and details for electeds proves the need to have specific and detailed resolutions that our leadership can easily follow as laid out by membership.

Of course the main event at the Convention is the NPC race and election. As a non-caucused delegate, I prepared by watching almost every candidate interview. However, once I arrived and was immersed in Convention electioneering, I realized that most delegates formulated their votes based on caucus and which candidates their preferred caucuses recommended. I did find it very helpful to understand which caucuses seemed to best represent mine and our chapters’ opinions on how to organize and what tactics we should be using in order to continue to grow DSA into a powerful organization and admit that I ranked those caucus members higher on my ballot. Perhaps it is the midwestern in me but the flyering and politicking got a bit old after a day or so. I had done my research and would ask my comrades for opinions when I needed them! But, once I understood how many delegates formulated their ballot I understood the need for it. The best part of the NPC race (and the Convention as a whole) was that regardless of the outcome, I felt extremely comfortable and confident in all the comrades around me. Everyone running has organizing experience of one kind or another and wants to see our organization grow and be powerful. Obviously we have differing opinions on the best way to do that but I feel very confident in the members who were ultimately elected.

Overall, the DSA National Convention 2023 was a success in many ways. I am glad and honored that I was elected delegate and the experience has made me a better rounded DSA member. I believe that when we have significant growth in the next two years we will need to expand the Convention and spend more time deliberating on the core work and structure of our organization. While this experience has engaged me personally into what National does, we need stronger ties than just the ones our delegates make at Convention every two years. I wish National would function in a more integrated way with locals but as it stands now, we will need to force that integration from our level if we want to take advantage of the resources that may be available to us. I feel empowered to potentially write proposals for the next Convention based on what I saw this time around (“stay and try to fix it!”) and would like our national organization to have more of a structure like ours locally.

Finally, I’m expecting individuals or other organizations both to the right and left of DSA to downplay, insult, or dismiss what we did at Convention this year. And I hope that none of our members join with them. Because what we did was impressive. It was a true example of democracy in action. Possibly one of the largest democratic actions that has been held in a very long time. To those critics, I invite you to come join us. If you have improvements in strategy, tactics, organization skills then please, come and help fix it. Because if we really want what we say–a democratic society run by and for the working class, then we better keep getting the practice!


1. While I feel I have supported and helped continue a culture of democracy, much of the hard work and structure was put in place before I joined and I give all the credit and kudos to my comrades who did it!

The post DSA National Convention Reflection #1 – Julie C appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America.

Howard Schultz Just Learned that Union Busting Doesn’t Pay

Starbucks workers built a movement capable of taking on a billion dollar corporation. Here’s how. 

The post Howard Schultz Just Learned that Union Busting Doesn’t Pay appeared first on EWOC.