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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.

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“Doing this Job According to the Schedule is Impossible”: An Interview with Bus Operator/Assistant Shop Steward Jack Watkins

At the start of the COVID pandemic, AC Transit cut bus service dramatically. The District has been slow in spending budgeted funds toward restoring cuts because it lacks the workforce to operate additional service. The same hiring and retention crisis faces many other transit agencies, and impacts other sectors like education and healthcare, as well. 

At AC Transit, one of the major drivers of the retention crisis is bus schedules that don’t build in enough time to ensure workers get a break to stretch, use the bathroom, or eat a meal. Nathaniel Arnold, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 192, spoke at the April 24 board meeting about the dire situation, expressing the union’s frustration that the agency has “not been putting the time on the runs that they said that they were going to,” and adding, “We’ll be able to retain our workforce by also making better working conditions for them so that they don’t leave.”

AC Transit’s board has called a special meeting on Wednesday, June 5, as part of its service realignment initiative. The issue of schedules that don’t work for bus operators and are unreliable for riders will be a major topic of discussion. A petition for workers and riders is circulating this month, and the union is calling on its members, and riders who support them, to turn out on June 5.

Majority spoke with ATU 192 member, AC Transit bus operator and assistant shop steward Jack Watkins about the stakes in the struggle for better schedules. – The Editors

Majority: What’s the problem with the schedules? What impacts are they having on you and your co-workers as bus operators?

Jack Watkins: The schedules are designed to be unsustainable. They’re designed to place subliminal stress onto the driver to where we internalize the necessity to make it to the end of the line [on time], with the implicit understanding that we know that it’s not possible to do safely. And that gets coupled with the [AC Transit] District constantly putting out “drive safely, drive safely,” to cover themselves. They put up paperwork and memos around driving safely, but then they create schedules and cut time off of the schedules, and create a situation where they know that it’s impossible to do that, and they expect us to silently adhere to that, to walk that impossible tightrope. And that eats into our mental health, our physical health and the way that we’re able to show up for the community.

Majority: Talk more about the impacts on the drivers.

JW: Most simply, we are pressured to strategize when and how to step away from the bus and take a moment to breathe. When we get to the end of the line, we’re often feeling that pressure of calculating to the minute how much time we have to find a bathroom, use the bathroom, come back from the bathroom and get back to that bus. So that we can make that next trip on time. The same regarding our ability to take breaks to recover mentally, to have water, and to have food. I know drivers that say that they don’t get the opportunity to eat their lunch so often that they’ve stop packing lunches. And then when they get off work late they end up stopping to get some fast food on the way home which negatively affects their bodies. With us having a sedentary job, we do try to plan for our mental and physical health needs, and that gets undermined by trying to maintain the schedule because even if we pack a salad or something that is nutritionally beneficial to us, we are often unable to eat it and we find ourselves eating when we get off work late at night, which throws off any healthy routine.

And also our mental health is messed up because we do a good amount of mental math at all times in addition to driving: our brain power is used up doing math to figure out how long it’s gonna take to get from one time point to the next time point. “I have to make it from Seminary and MacArthur down to MacArthur and Fruitvale in five minutes. How can I do that?” Driving safely and doing that is impossible. On a busy day or even at nighttime, it’s impossible to make it that many miles in five minutes with the lights and all that stuff while trying to drive safely. Calculating the risk-reward with me running through this yellow light? Keeping our heads on the swivel looking out for other cars driving around us and making sure that we maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. How fast are we trying to pull off from red lights or stop signs? We’re compromising all of these safety aspects, trying to maintain the schedules which is unreasonable. And it’s this pressure that goes unaddressed.  Management functions in a space where they’re able to pretend it doesn’t exist. 

Majority: How do the unsustainable schedules affect your riders? 

JW: Bus drivers make decisions to pass up passengers, particularly disabled passengers, passengers in wheelchairs. Not a week goes by that I don’t have somebody in a wheelchair that says the last bus passed them up. I believe that is a calculation that the bus drivers are making based on trying to maintain time.  Every day, a passenger says “hey, this bus passed me up,” if not the bus directly in front of me a bus earlier today or a bus on a different line. 

In addition to the way that we treat the passengers when they get on the bus with a pocketful of change, the immediate reaction to every bus driver that I know when they think about a passenger with a bunch of pennies is,  “oh man, they’re so slow,” and that in itself is evidence that they’re thinking about the speed at which they can operate the bus. And the passengers feel that; we treat the passengers like they’re a nuisance or we treat them like we’re rushing them. When I talk to passengers about my personal actions they talk to me about how they wish bus drivers were nicer to them, or they wish that bus drivers would take more time with them. The passengers regularly will apologize preemptively about doing regular things because they have been mentally trained to feel like by default they are going to be an inconvenience to the bus driver. 

Majority: How do the schedules impact attendance by operators? 

JW: We get burned out. I said to myself the other day, “Man, I wish I could call off today. I’m tired. Oh man, this day was really really stressful for me.” And a sizable amount of that stress comes from the constant act of doing all this math, finding these shortcuts, risk-reward, safety measures, all in effort to maintain these schedules. In addition to driving the bus, traffic, passengers, mental health, all of these things. That pressure from the schedules is making a job that’s already difficult, far more difficult.  And so people decide, “hey, I might not even have any hours available to take off but I’m calling off because I CAN NOT do this tomorrow.” And that’s when people have to make a difficult decision between their mental health and their ability to feed their families. And that’s a position none of us should have to be forced in to. And sometimes they end up making the decision to just come in to work because we need the money, but ultimately in a largely unfit position to drive the bus that day. And then, they may get into an accident or burn out one way or another, cuss somebody out and end up getting some type of disciplinary response. Because of the way that they’ve responded to the stresses, they get a one day suspension or whatever, and those things can certainly be mitigated through designing these schedules with operators in mind. 

Majority: What are the impacts on riders when an operator calls off due to stress? And what about longer-term absences like when they are injured or have kidney disease?

When people are out on injury or health reasons, that’s difficult. Because there is a culture that I believe has been created that automatically assumes that the people who are out on injury are not being honest about their injuries. When I hear people talk about injury, they say “no, no, it’s legitimate. I wish I didn’t have to do this but I have to go out because my shoulder is in so much pain.”  If somebody’s out and they don’t have enough people to cover that shift, then that bus just won’t show up and then somebody’s waiting for an extra 20 minutes. And things like repetitive motion injury is a regular part of the job. But I think a lot of injuries are exacerbated by our schedules being so awful. And then that ends up affecting everybody.

East Bay DSA stands in solidarity with ATU 192’s contract fight in 2019. (Photo: Keith Brower Brown)

Majority: What needs to be done to fix this?

JW: We need better schedules. The District creates the schedules. And they’re creating them knowing that they’re not sustainable, but also knowing that drivers have been internalizing the stress and the pressure to adhere to the schedules.  The District uses these metrics around “is the bus physically making it to the location on time?” Without any care or consideration for the internalized pressure. They value the bus making it to the end of the line, but not the driver making it happen.  And the way that operators can push back is by rejecting that internalized pressure. “Hey, I know you want me to do this job in this way, according to the schedule, but it is impossible.” We must show management how impossible it is. I think operators need to be vocal about it, and they need to move to action by following not the schedule itself, but following the safety protocols primarily. And I think that would make it harder for the district to justify their schedule cuts. A lot of passengers do have consideration for bus drivers driving safely.  The way that bus drivers will be able to show the District, management, and the board of directors the severity of the unsustainable schedules is by taking that power back, rejecting the internalized stress that the management and district puts on our shoulders. That’s how we use our power as bus drivers to show them that “hey, I understand that you’re telling me to do these contradictory things. But you’re paying me to drive this bus safely – and not even paying well enough to do that – the labor that you’re asking me for contractually is in regards to driving this bus safely, not in regards to doing these mental gymnastics and mathematical calculations on how I can thread an impossible needle.”

Majority: How can your riders support ATU workers in this struggle?

JW: The riders can can show up with us to the AC Transit board meeting on June 5. They can sign the petition asking the board to meet drivers’ needs by fixing the schedules to address our harsh working conditions. But mainly by showing up to the board meetings and speaking out to let the board of directors know about the conditions of the bus drivers and how that affects their ability to get where they need to go reliably. Riders can tell the board the conditions that they see for the bus drivers and how that translates to them. 

Members of the community can speak out at the AC Transit Board Meeting on June 5, 2024, at 5pm. The meeting will be held at AC Transit’s Oakland headquarters, at 1600 Franklin Street, second floor.

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Arizona’s Fight for Abortion Rights

1864. That’s the year Arizona’s abortion ban was passed. The archaic law has remained dormant since 1976, when Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide, but a little over a month ago, on April 6, the Arizona Supreme Court resurrected the law, banning abortion in almost all cases.  

The Arizona State Legislature has since passed another law to repeal the 1864 ban, which would default the state to a still strict, 15-week ban on abortion because of a law that was passed and signed by former Republican Governor, Doug Ducey, in 2022.  

Meanwhile a coalition called, Arizona for Abortion Access has been gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would create a “fundamental right” to receive abortion care up until fetal viability.

Tonight, we’ll bring you a dispatch from the frontlines of the fight for abortion rights here in Arizona and talk to socialist organizers about how they’re trying to change the dynamic so reproductive rights can no longer be tossed around like a football during election years. 

For more info on Arizona abortion ballot measure visit: https://www.arizonaforabortionaccess.org/

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Weekly Roundup: May 14, 2024

🌹Wednesday, May 15 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): 📚What is DSA? (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Wednesday, May 15 (7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.): DSA Board Game Night! (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Thursday, May 16 (6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.): Palestine Solidarity Working Group (Zoom)

🌹Thursday, May 16 (7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.): Labor Board Meeting (Zoom)

🌹Friday, May 17 (12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.): Office Hours (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Jackie Fielder for D9 Supervisor Mobilization (In person at 3389 26th  St)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Office Hours (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Kickball(s) for Abortion Access (Location TBD)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Independent Outreach, Platform, and Education (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Sunday, May 19 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Extreme Dean  x Labor Door Knock Mobilization (Meet in person at Alamo Square Park, Hayes and Scott)

🌹Sunday, May 19 (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Anti Chevron Day From Richmond to Palestine: A Community Gathering for Global Solidarity  (In person at 1605 Ohio Ave, Richmond, CA)

🌹Tuesday, May 21 (7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.): Mutual Aid Priority Meeting (Zoom)

🌹Sunday, May 26 (2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.): 🥖 DSA SF Picnic (In person at Dolores Park)

Check out https://dsasf.org/events/ for more events.

🇵🇸 Solidarity with Pro-Palestine Student Protesters for BDS

DSA SF stands in solidarity with university student protesters across the country occupying their campuses to demand their administration divest from companies complicit in the apartheid state of Israel.

Israel and the United States continue to perpetrate genocide and enforce apartheid upon the people of Palestine. Universities that use their endowment to invest in and support military contractors and Israeli companies are also complicit.

In response to these protests, universities have called on law enforcement to begin the forcible removal and arrest of students. DSA SF strongly condemns the arrest, suspension, or expulsion of any participating students.

Universities must meet the demands of their students – fully divest from the companies profiting from genocide, apartheid, and occupation in Palestine; institute academic boycotts and sever ties with Israeli universities; and drop all charges against student activists.

Universities and police have allied to support the US’s imperialist ambitions and Zionist settler colonialism. We must all play our part in fighting for a free Palestine.

To support our local student protests, check dsasf.org/events for ongoing mobilizations, and follow your local universities for turnout and donation asks!

A digital flyer for the Jackie Fielder for Supervisor campaign. Imagery includes orange and purple retro gradient and Jackie Fielder jumping in excitement. Text reads "Come ready to door knock"

Jackie Fielder For D9 Supervisor Mobilization This Saturday

Jackie Fielder’s campaign landed an office!  To celebrate, the campaign is hosting an office opening party with a volunteer mobilization this Saturday, May 18th at 10 a.m. at 3389 26th Street! Come see the new home base of the campaign, get a sign, and grab some voter ids for Jackie Fielder! There will be coffee and donuts! 

A digital flyer for the Dean Preston for Supervisor campaign. An image showing Dean Preston surrounded by supporters holding Dean Preston for Supervisor signs sits at the top of the flyer.

Extreme Dean  x Labor Door Knock Mobilization This Sunday

Please join the Extreme Dean priority at our mega mobilization with local IFPTE 21, SEIU 1021, and more union friends Sunday, May 19th at 10 a.m. at Alamo Square at the corner of Hayes and Scott!

Signatures for ComMUNIty Transit Act

DSA SF is endorsing the ComMUNIty Transit Act, a ballot measure to tax Uber and Lyft to fund Muni! Transportation should be a human right – not a way for corporations to profit by harming workers and the planet. Help us gather signatures to get the ComMUNIty Transit Act on the ballot.

Board Game Night This Wednesday

DSA board game night is coming up this Wednesday, May 15th from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 1916 McAllister! Join us to play some fun games with snacks, drinks, and good vibes.

Kickball(s) for Abortion Acce$$. Where: SF Parks & Rec (field TBA). When: Saturday, May 18th at 1PM. Friendly fundraising competition, kickball tournament, snack bar, & prizes! dsasf.org/kickballs4abortion. Open to all neighbors who support bodily autonomy. 💚🏳‍⚧ DSA membership not required to participate. Sign up because you want to learn more about our org, because you want to support basic human rights for our Texas comrades, or just because you love kicking balls! All proceeds will be donated to Texas grassroots abortion funds Buckle Bunnies and Frontera Fund.

Kickball(s) for Abortion Access on May 18th ⚽

Connect with your neighbors on Saturday, May 18th at 1:00 p.m. while raising money for abortion access! 💚

San Franciscans don’t need to be reminded that the struggle for bodily autonomy is universal.🏳️‍⚧️ 🏳️‍🌈Or, that when someone is denied an abortion it’s more than a hardship for the individual and their family—it’s a test of our community and our commitment to basic human rights. So, let’s put our money where our mouths have been, are, and always will be: BALLS DEEP FOR ABORTION! ⚽

We’ll have a friendly fundraising competition, kickball tournament, snack bar, prizes & more! 100% of proceeds will be donated to Texas grassroots abortion access orgs Frontera Fund and Buckle Bunnies (recommended by our comrades at DSA Austin).

For more information about how to get involved, RSVP below!

Mark your calendars for DSA SF Spring Socials! Sunday, May 26th: Picnic, 12-4PM @ Dolores Park. Kids and dogs welcome! Wednesday, June 26th: Oakland Ballers Baseball. 6:05PM @ Raimondi Park, 1800 Wood Street, Oakland. The B's take on the Northern Colorado Owlz.

Spring Socials with DSA SF 🌸

Come hang out with your friendly neighborhood socialists this spring! For the next few months we will be having a variety of outings and you are invited – be sure to mark your calendars and watch this space for more details! Our next event is a picnic 🧺 at Dolores Park on Sunday, May 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and we can’t wait to see you there!

Chapter Movie Night: Battle of Algiers. Friday, June 7. Starts at 6:00 p.m., 1916 McAllister St. RSVP: DSASF.org/Algiers

Chapter Movie Night: The Battle of Algiers 🍿

Join us for a film screening of “The Battle of Algiers,” which isn’t just a re-enactment of historical events but a powerful portrayal of the struggle for independence and the resilience of the occupied fighting against the occupier. It focuses on Algerian revolutionary fighter Ali La Ponte and his fight against the French occupation forces in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria, from 1954 to 1957 during the Algerian War of Independence. This film showing is as timely as ever as the fight for liberation continues in Palestine. This film was directed by an Italian communist who led the anti-fascist resistance against Nazi Germany and also had an actual FLN leader play as one of the characters, making this one of the most classic anti-imperialist films to date.

Food and drinks will be provided. Masks are highly recommended.

DSA SF Convention 2024 Bake Sale, 10AM to 4PM, UNITE HERE Local 2 at 209 Golden Gate Ave, Saturday, June 15th, 2024

DSA SF Convention Bake Sale 🍰

We’re holding a bake sale fundraiser at our upcoming chapter convention on June 15th. If you’re interested in contributing to the bake sale, you can access the sign-up sheet here!

The Chapter Coordination Committee (CCC) regularly rotates duties among chapter members. This allows us to train new members in key duties that help keep the chapter running like organizing chapter meetings, keeping records updated, office cleanup, updating the DSA SF website and newsletter, etc. Members can view current CCC rotations.

Questions? Feedback? Something to add?

We welcome your feedback. If you have comments or suggestions, send a message to the #newsletter channel on Slack.

For information on how to add content, check out the Newsletter Q&A thread.

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GND Campaign Commission March & April 2024 Recap

There has been a lot of exciting DSA Green New Deal Campaign action so far this Spring! Here is our March and April recap.

Chapter Organizing and Training

We held our monthly Building for Power (B4P) campaign huddles, a space for DSA members working on local B4P campaigns to strategize and collaborate.

In March, we discussed fundraising. We had a mix of comrades of all experiences— from chapter leaders to brand-new members—get creative and share best practices for fundraising for campaigns. Here are the slides

We followed up the March huddle with a Green New Dues solidarity dues phonebank on April 9th asking members to increase their dues to 1% of their yearly income. We dialed almost 2,000 comrades, and of the people we connected with and had conversations, 53% agreed to make the switch!  

Our April huddle was a group discussion about working with unions. Organizers from San Diego, Milwaukee, and New Orleans were able to compare notes on engaging with IBEW. Check out our full Strategist’s Guide here for further reading on navigating these relationships.

bUILDING FOR pOWER Campaign Highlights

Here are some highlights from B4P campaigns from the last two months:

Milwaukee DSA’s Power to the People campaign recently passed 7,000 signed petitions in support of public power and they held a rally at Milwaukee City Hall on March 1st.

Chicago DSA’s Fix the CTA public transit campaign built pressure to oust Dorval Carter, the Chicago Transit Authority board president currently overseeing a substantial decline in the transit system’s service, reliability, and working conditions.

Louisville DSA’s Get On The Bus campaign held a screening of Taken for a Ride, a 1996 documentary about how auto and fossil fuel companies sabotaged public transit in the US to devastating effect. They also circulated a petition to demand that their local government fund the Transit Authority of River City (TARC).

Metro DC DSA’s We Power DC sent in almost 150 comments to DC’s Public Service Commission, opposing a multi-year utility rate hike that would raise rates by 20% over three years, resulting in unaffordable energy rates for one fifth of district households—worsening DC’s crisis of energy injustice. While Pepco claims these costs are necessary for decarbonization goals, DC’s Office of the People’s Council found that 95% of the proposed investments cannot be tied to any reductions in greenhouse gasses. We Power DC also hosted a night school on the Environmental Justice Amendment Act, developed by We Power DC in partnership with local EJ organizations and a DSA-endorsed DC Councilmember. The legislation would transform the District’s zoning and permitting laws to protect overburdened communities.

Charlottesville DSA’s green social housing campaign hosted a panel in March about land trusts, land banks, and how to create deeply affordable housing that welcomed over 80 attendees. This was Cville DSA’s largest event to date, and it truly was a multiracial, socioeconomically diverse gathering of voices. They also authored a sign-on letter for their demands that has garnered signatures from several housing and environmental justice organizations in town to submit to Charlottesville City Council.


If your chapter is ready to Build for Power, fill out our interest form and come to our May huddle!

The post GND Campaign Commission March & April 2024 Recap appeared first on Building for Power.

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Portland DSA Welcomes Wrath of Landlords, Realtors in Fight To Lower Rents

photo of Portland DSA renters' rights canvassers

“But as socialists,

we welcome this fight.”

If you are a working person in Portland, housing is your major expense, and a constant struggle. Portland declared a ‘housing emergency’ in 2017, and the number of folks living on the street has only increased ever since.

The politicians’ response has been to call for the construction of ‘affordable housing’ — certainly needed and completely insufficient to the scale of the problem. Clamping down on rent speculation would seem a no-brainer, however any move in this direction unleashes the full wrath of the National Realtors Association, via our own Portland Metro Chamber of Commerce. 

But as socialists, we welcome this fight.

We created a Renters’ Survey and a Renters’ Rights Pledge. In the coming months, the Housing Working group will lead door to door canvasses to sign up hundreds of renters in support the Renters’ Rights Pledge. We will also demand that all local candidates for city council, and others, support of the Pledge. We will make Renters’ Rights the #1 political issue in our region’s politics. Join us and sign the Pledge!

On March 10, 2024, the Portland DSA General Assembly passed the Renter’s’ Rights resolution. The resolution was put forward by Portland DSA’s Housing Working Group after three months of door-to-door renters canvassing. The Housing Working Group based the resolution on the successful 2023 Tacoma 4 All ballot measure. To the six planks of the Tacoma 4 All platform, we added our own Eviction Representation for All demand, as well as a call for the State of Oregon to lift its ban on local rent control — and to raise the minimum wage so that one worker can pay for an apartment with not more than 30% of their income.

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Maine Mural Podcast: Democrats or Breakaway?

In early 2019, the Maine Democratic Socialists of America held a public debate. The motion was stated as, “The Democratic Party is a viable vehicle for the Left.” Each side had two representatives, and the event was recorded. Today, the Maine Mural offers that recording for you to enjoy. On the side arguing in favor of the motion was Aaron B (Maine DSA) and Owen H (the now defunct ISO). Arguing against the motion was Al C (Maine DSA) and Todd C (ISO). Please share and enjoy the program!

The post Maine Mural Podcast: Democrats or Breakaway? appeared first on Pine & Roses.

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Protesting Genocide Is Not Anti-Semitism!

After a top Israeli leader promises “total annihilation” of Rafah, Washington State’s congressional delegation backed a bill branding criticism of Israel and Zionism as “anti-semitic,” providing further legal pretext for police repression.

The following is a joint statement from the following Washington DSA chapters: Seattle DSA, Tacoma and Pierce County DSA, Snohomish County DSA, Olympia DSA, and Palouse DSA.

Last week, in a 320-91 vote, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that brands criticism of Israel and Zionism as “anti-semitism.” The bill is designed to create further legal cover for the massive police crackdown on non-violent Palestine solidarity protests. As the death toll in Gaza surpasses 35,000; as Netanyahu’s government unleashes further horrors on civilians in Rafah; as international outcry grows against Israel’s policy of mass starvation; and as arrests of student protesters surpass 2,000 nationally, Washington’s entire congressional delegation – with the exception of Pramila Jayapal – voted in favor of the bill.

Our DSA chapters condemn this “new McCarthyism,’ and we join with Jewish Voice for Peace in rejecting this cynical attempt by elected leaders to distract us from their complicity in genocide. JVP spelled this out in an April 25th statement:

“As the largest anti-Zionist Jewish organization in the world, we unequivocally reject the conflation of antisemitism with anti-Zionism and reaffirm in the strongest terms that there is no place for antisemitism in our movements. We condemn the false accusations of antisemitism leveled against principled, anti-war protesters to discredit our movements. We understand these accusations for what they are: a cynical distraction from the ongoing atrocities in Gaza.”

A follow-up JVP statement continued:

“The peaceful student protesters have been portrayed in the mainstream media as violent, antisemitic mobs, even though it’s clear that the only violence happening on campuses is being perpetrated by Zionist agitators and cops. These smears are a distraction from the urgent work at hand. Now more than ever, we must stay focused… During Passover, we held Seders in the Streets to protest U.S. complicity in genocide, refusing to let our traditions, our histories, and our identities be used to justify the mass slaughter of Palestinians. On college campuses, student chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace have been involved in organizing dozens of encampments.”

Politicians from both parties, alongside corporate media outlets, have ignored widespread hate-speech, doxing, and violence directed against Arab and pro-Palestinian organizers, while amplifying anti-semitic statements from a small number of individuals – usually unaffiliated with protest organizers. They downplay the leading role of Jewish students in the movement; they ignore the multi-racial solidarity on display in the protest encampments; they twist the meaning of protest chants and slogans; and they refuse to acknowledge the clear statements from movement leaders condemning all forms of discrimination and prejudice.

Worse still, the vote in Congress came just days after the widely reported statement by Israeli Finance Minister and security cabinet member Bezalel Smotrich: “There are no half measures. [The Gazan cities of] Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nuseirat — total annihilation… You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” This specific bible verse referenced by Smotrich, in which God commands the death of the entire Amalek nation, has been repeatedly invoked by Israeli officials, especially since October 7th. It forms part of South Africa’s case in the International Criminal Court that Israel is carrying out a genocide in Gaza.

The utter hypocrisy of our political leaders in the face of this openly declared genocidal policy by Netanyahu’s government cannot be accepted. Despite the calls by DSA’s elected leaders and others to end US military aid to Israel, despite the global condemnation of Israel’s racist Apartheid system, our political leaders in Washington – from both parties – are focusing their fire on the mass movement against genocide.

We are proud of the Young Democratic Socialists of America chapters across the country who are at the forefront of many campus protests and Gaza solidarity encampments. We are committed to building a mass socialist, working-class movement powerful enough to end the bloody and racist legacy of US imperialism, which we see on full display in Gaza today.

We must use this moment of mass student protests to further expand the anti-war movement into working-class communities and within organized labor, aiming to build enough power to challenge the foundations of US capitalism. There is no shortcut to winning socialist change, but with our eye on this prize we must focus our efforts today on broadening and strengthening the Palestine solidarity movement. A critical part of this is organizing to popularize the following demands:

  • Immediate and unconditional ceasefire, withdrawal of all Israeli military forces from Gaza and the West Bank, and the return of all hostages and political prisoners on both sides.
  • End Israel’s siege of Gaza, end the occupation, settlements, and apartheid system on Palestinian lands, and ensure the right for all refugees to return.
  • End all US military aid and arms sales to Israel and to reactionary regimes throughout the region – for a massive infusion of humanitarian aid to rebuild Gaza.
  • Money for healthcare, climate action, housing, and education, not war and occupation!
  • End all police repression of the Palestine solidarity movement and drop the charges against all those arrested – reverse all laws designed to silence criticism of Israeli and US policy.
  • Build a mass Palestine solidarity movement rooted in the US working-class and linked to the project of constructing an independent, workers’ party in opposition to far-right Republicans and pro-imperialist Democrats.

The post Protesting Genocide Is Not Anti-Semitism! appeared first on Seattle Democratic Socialists of America.

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Columbus DSA Stands in Solidarity with the DSA Union

Contact: [email protected]

COLUMBUS – The Columbus chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America released the following statement regarding DSA’s ongoing layoffs:

As part of DSA’s ongoing budget process, the National Political Committee (“NPC”), our political leadership, has sought to lay off seven unionized staff members. Through successful fundraising, non-staff cuts, and seven voluntary resignations, DSA was able to exceed its financial goals for this year before laying off a single staff member. Yet, the NPC insists it will not negotiate with the DSA Union or adjust the number of layoffs to our new circumstances. This is a damaging maximalist posture from our leadership and, simply, an economically unnecessary number of staff to eliminate.

Last year’s successful abortion rights campaign in Ohio depended on DSA’s Electoral Campaigns Organizer and Org Tools Coordinator and could not have happened without the support of these staff members. The NPC’s plan to fire them along with five other union members is immensely short-sighted and would seriously harm our basic organizing capacities. As DSA chapters around the country seize a historic political moment with ambitious organizing projects for reproductive rights, Palestinian liberation, and more, it is a mistake to eliminate the staff who play a key role in getting these efforts off the ground and scaling up our organizing.

During this process the NPC has engaged in bad-faith negotiation, and their insulting offer to the union would see workers sign away their rights and relegate all unionized staff to at-will employment. This and multiple other violations of the DSA staff’s union contract have led the union to file grievances against several NPC members.

We stand in solidarity with all members of the DSA Union and reject any politics that seeks to sacrifice or compromise workers’ rights.

Columbus DSA affirms the statements of the DSA Union and calls on the NPC to move away from its destructive approach by negotiating in good faith to minimize the number of layoffs.

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