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Panel: Building for Power in Mass Transit

DSA chapters around the country are organizing for a Green New Deal – campaigning for social housing, public power, and mass transit. Hear from Building for Power campaigns about organizing for mass public transit with labor and socialists in office!

Panelists:

  • Anne Marie Drolet (TWU 320 Los Angeles)
  • Richard Marcantonio (People’s Transit Alliance campaign, East Bay DSA member)
  • Samantha Evans (Fix The CTA Campaign, Chicago DSA Member)
  • Lillian Brents (President of ATU Local 1447, Louisville)

Download files:

The post Panel: Building for Power in Mass Transit appeared first on Building for Power.

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Weekly Roundup: July 2, 2024

🌹Tuesday, July 2 (5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.): Weekday Mobilization for Jackie Fielder (Meet at Bar Part Time, 496 14th St)

🌹Wednesday, July 3 (6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.): Healing Circle Art Build (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Wednesday, July 3 (6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.): New Member Happy Hour (In person at Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia)

🌹Wednesday, July 3 (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Outreach Training (Meet in person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Thursday, July 4 (6:00 pm. – 7:00 p.m.): Palestine Solidarity and Anti Imperialist Working Group (Zoom and in person at 1916 McAllister)

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

🌹Saturday, July 6 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Extreme Dean Door Knock Mobilization (Location TBD)

🌹Saturday, July 6 (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Platform / Education (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Sunday, July 7 (1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.): No Appetite for Apartheid Work Session (Zoom and in person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Monday, July 8 (6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Meeting (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Wednesday, July 10 (6:45 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.): July Chapter Meeting (Zoom and in person at TBD)

🌹Friday, July 12 (7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.): Spaces of Exception Film Screening (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Saturday, July 13 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Jackie Fielder For D9 Supervisor Mobilization (Meet at TBD)

🌹Saturday, July 13 (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Outreach Training (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Sunday, July 14 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Extreme Dean Door Knock Mobilization (Meet at TBD)


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

Weekday Mobilization for Jackie Fielder!

Come join us at Bar Part Time on Tuesday, July 2 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for another weekday mobilization to get voter IDs for Jackie and then enjoy a little pre-4th of July drink at the bar! 

Chapter Movie Night: Spaces of Exception

The DSA SF Palestine Solidarity and Anti-Imperialist Working Group is hosting a film screening of Spaces of Exception on Friday, July 12th at 7:30 p.m. Spaces of Exception is an American Indian- and Palestinian-focused documentary that investigates and juxtaposes the struggles, communities, and spaces of the American Indian reservation and the Palestinian refugee camp. We’d love it if you could make it!

The screening will be hosted at the DSA SF office at 1916 McAllister St. This is a sober event and masks are required, except when eating or drinking. There is a $10 recommended donation at the door which will go directly to the filmmakers. Nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. RSVP below. See you there!

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.

To help with the day-to-day tasks that keep the chapter running, fill out the CCC help form.

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Our Statement on Grant’s Pass

On Friday, June 28th, the most reactionary and right wing Supreme Court in modern history rolled back civil rights protections for hundreds of thousands of unhoused people nationwide by overturning a key decision in Grants Pass v. Johnson. This ruling, supported and celebrated by London Breed and every other single major candidate running for the San Francisco mayorship, empowers cities to criminalize sleeping in public — whether or not appropriate accommodations are available.

A city-sanctioned war against unhoused San Franciscans is nothing new, but this ruling greenlights an escalation in cruelty. In the court’s decision, Justice Neal Gorsuch referenced an amicus brief, written by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu and backed by London Breed, no less than 8 times. When asked about post-Grants Pass sweeps targeting encampments, London Breed has publicly refused to rule out arrests as an official ‘solution’ to our City’s housing unaffordability crisis. DSA SF rejects this wholeheartedly. 

London Breed, as well as the broader coalition of “moderates,” represent a failure of leadership. Our City’s politicians have rallied around the notion that “compassion is killing people.” Yet, they have grossly mismanaged solutions and ignored the long term work needed to create systemic fixes for our linked crises of housing, homelessness, and public health.1 Including, but not at all limited to, Breed’s refusal to release the money from Prop I meant for public social housing. 

Research and anecdotal evidence alike confirm that sweeps literally kill people.2 In supporting the Grants Pass decision, our City’s leadership demonstrates their allegiance to protecting the needs of capital and the private real estate market at the expense of human lives. DSA SF rejects, in totality, the criminalization and ongoing dehumanization of poor, disabled, and working class people who have been forced into homelessness by the capitalist economic system. 

As Socialists, we assert that everyone has a right to live in our city, not just the wealthy and their acolytes. Breed and Co. want to ignore the path to real change: practical solutions that will get our people off the street and into the care and adequate housing they need to thrive. Violent crackdowns only worsen the crisis, and empower our government to ignore the root causes of poverty, as well as hide their own complicity. 

A better world, and a better San Francisco, are possible. We must continue to fight for safe and accessible housing for all working class, poor, and disabled people. DSA SF calls on all San Franciscans to defend and to practice solidarity with our neighbors who have been forced into homelessness by our rotten economic system.


  1.  Ronen, Hillary. “Grandstanding Politician Fuels Drug Overdose Crisis”. (August 7th, 2023). Press Release.
  2. Barocas, Nall, and Axelrath. “Population-Level Health Effects of Involuntary Displacement of People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness Who Inject Drugs in US Cities” (April 23rd, 2023). JAMA.

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Winning the Battle for Democracy

With recent Supreme Court rulings further criminalizing homelessness and stripping government authority to enforce major 20th century reform legislation, we are belatedly publishing this resolution from our 2024 Chapter Convention on the undemocratic nature of the first US Constitution and the place of the battle for democracy in our organization’s socialist vision.

Whereas

The United States is run by and for the capitalist class, and this class rule takes the specific form of the liberal-constitutional regime outlined in the Constitution.

This Constitution was imposed undemocratically by an alliance of slaveowners and capitalists in order to secure their property against popular democracy, and yet the working-class majority who would not even have been eligible to vote on it at the time of its ratification have been forced to live under its provisions ever since.

The political institutions established by the Constitution are intended to be an obstacle to democracy at every step, including, but not limited to: the outrageously unrepresentative Senate, the Electoral College, and the glut of the imperial Presidency and the surrounding bureaucracy.

The Constitution has allowed for further usurpations of popular sovereignty, including, but not limited to: judicial review by a panel of unelected judges who serve for life, the establishment of a repressive standing army, and the sale of elections, public officials, legal services, and the press to the highest bidder.

The process the Constitution provides for its own amendment is intentionally very difficult, stultifying, and anti-majoritarian.

The historical tendencies towards the concentration of capital in few hands and the concentration of people in few states has rendered any constitutional paths that may once have been open to the socialist movement forever closed, obstructing progressive reform and leaving those reforms already won through historical mass struggle defenseless as the political servants of the capitalist class conspire to strip them away.

The DSA has pledged to fight for a “a world organized and governed by and for the vast majority, the working class,” which is clearly impossible under the current Constitutional regime and cannot be won through the antidemocratic channels of reform laid down by the Constitution.

DSA’s platform affirms that DSA is an antiracist organization dedication to the abolition of white supremacy yet the Constitution was written by slaveowners and to this day serves to deny self-determination to Black, Indigenous, and other oppressed populations,

We understand that the fight for socialism is the fight for democracy but, with no democratic means of reforming the undemocratic Constitution, we must follow the revolutionary path to democracy in order to take the democratic road to socialism.

Therefore, be it Resolved, 

Cleveland DSA affirms, from the DSA Political Platform, that “the American political system was not made to serve the working class” and that “the nation that holds itself out as the world’s premier democracy is no democracy at all” by officially raising the demand for a new and radically democratic constitution, drafted by an assembly of the people elected by direct, universal and equal suffrage for all adult residents with proportional representation of political parties, and rooted not in the legitimacy of dead generations of slaveowners and capitalists, but that of a majority consensus of the working masses. 

Additionally Cleveland DSA urges DSA as a whole to take up a stance of opposition to the Constitution, openly indicting it as antidemocratic and oppressive, encouraging all DSA members in elected office to do the same, taking concrete actions to advance the struggle for a democratic republic such as agitating against undemocratic judicial review, fighting for proportional representation, delegitimizing the anti-democratic U.S. Senate, and advancing the long-term demand for a new democratic Constitution. We declare that to be a socialist is to fight for an expansive working-class democracy in which the state and society are democratically managed by the majority. In the U.S. this means demanding a new Constitution.

Be it finally Resolved, this resolution shall be published on the Cleveland DSA website.

The post Winning the Battle for Democracy appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America.

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Join us for our annual chapter convention!

Mark your calendars!

Our next chapter meeting is Saturday, July 20th at 10am. It will be an hybrid meeting, you can attend in-person at the Ventura Diversity Collective or online via Zoom.

This meeting will serve as our annual chapter convention. If you would like to vote in, or, volunteer for a chapter leadership position please RSVP!

This year we face an unprecedented challenge. Our chapter’s steering committee is currently at a critical juncture. We are in urgent need of new leadership. As of now, only two members are committed to continuing on the committee. Without additional volunteers to step up and take on leadership roles, we face the very real possibility of having to dismantle our chapter. The work we do is vital. Our efforts to promote social justice, economic equality, and democratic socialism in Ventura County depend on a strong, active steering committee. Your passion, ideas, and dedication are what drive our movement forward. Without a full committee, we cannot maintain the momentum necessary to achieve our goals. We are calling on you, our members, to consider taking a leadership role in the steering committee. Your involvement is crucial. By stepping up, you will help ensure that our chapter remains a vibrant and effective force for change in our community.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

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Opinion: Election 2024 – A Chess Move, Not A Valentine

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the official position of Working Mass. This article was originally published on Stansbury Forum.

By Rand Wilson

When I heard that Bernie Sanders was going to run for president in 2015, I became a “born again Democrat.” Through my experience of the Bernie campaign, I have completely embraced Tom Gallagher’s “Primary Route” political strategy of working inside the Party to move it to be more oriented to labor and the left.

But being a Democrat doesn’t mean I always support the party — far from it. I’ve been a vocal critic of the conduct of both the national and state parties.

Despite the Democrat’s progressive platform and rhetoric, the party rarely mobilizes its huge base to win on key working class issues. Party leaders spend most of their time raising money from the well-to-do, and as the old adage says: “follow the money.” That’s who they are accountable to.

So despite the party’s generally progressive platform, for far too long it’s been all talk — and no action. Working people are understandably fed-up, and it is that deep frustration that has brought us to the brink of fascism. 

No daylight between the candidates?

It’s understandable that many fellow labor activists want to use the November presidential election to show their frustration with Biden’s foreign policy. The administration is supporting one of the most horrific wars of our time. 

I came face-to-face with this sentiment at the June 2 Massachusetts Democratic state convention where I was an elected delegate from Somerville. When I learned that DSA was going to hold a rally in support of a cease fire outside the convention, I was excited to take a break from the endless speeches and attend the rally. 

Outside the convention was a small but dedicated group of DSA members marching in a circle with signs and banners calling for a cease fire in Gaza. I enthusiastically joined in on chants like, “cease fire now”, “stop the genocide”, and (with much less enthusiasm) “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  

But soon the chanting shifted to “Don’t vote blue,” clearly aimed at support for Biden. I thought seriously, what are these people thinking? Who could possibly imagine that U.S. imperial foreign policy could get better under Trump? 

Waiting for a pause, I shouted, “I’m voting for Biden!” Suddenly things got quiet. Although there were a few heads nodding, most of the protesters were shocked by a voice in support for Biden.

I went over to a long time union leader and labor activist I recognized and asked him about the chant. He said, “Voting for Biden doesn’t matter in Massachusetts because, it’s a safe state.”  

“Yes, that’s true,” I replied. “But in this election, the popular vote will be especially important. If Biden wins, he’ll need a popular vote majority to help counter the ‘Biden and the deep state stole it’ narrative. And if — God forbid — Trump wins, we’ll need a popular vote majority to further discredit our outdated, undemocratic, and racist electoral college system while making the case that a majority of voters don’t support his election.”

My old friend disagreed, “That doesn’t matter because, in good conscience, how could anyone cast a vote for Biden who is responsible for genocide in Gaza?”

Later I spoke with a much younger DSA rally organizer. He told me, “There isn’t any daylight between the candidates. We gave the Democrats a chance, they blew it.”

Yes, the outrage on the left about Gaza is justified. But the “Never Biden, don’t vote Blue” responses I heard are concerning. Thinking of your vote as an act of personal consciousness misses the point. As I wrote with Peter Olney last March, in “Labor’s Political Dilemma,” “Voting is not a valentine. It’s a chess move.

Pretending there isn’t “any daylight between the candidates” is a serious miscalculation of the moment we are in. Conditions for Palestinians will be made much worse with Trump and the left’s environment to influence foreign policy would be seriously diminished. People of color, immigrants, and other vulnerable folks are likely to suffer serious consequences if Trump is elected. I was tempted to say, “Your white, male privilege is showing!”  

Our “margin of effort” will be key

Despite the horrifying situation in Gaza, the Biden Administration’s domestic achievements  – particularly for labor — are considerable. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act investments in infrastructure and manufacturing has already provided for thousands of jobs.  Beyond the new jobs and massive investments in infrastructure, other positive accomplishments like the Butch Lewis pension protection legislation and NLRB appointments have strengthened the labor movement’s power.

Indeed, as Peter Olney and I have written before, so much of the upswing in labor organizing and successful contract campaigns have been supported by the Biden administration’s pro-labor policies. Biden walked the UAW’s picket lines during the successful standup strikes against the Big Three auto manufacturers. His appointment of Jennifer Abruzzoas NLRB General Counsel who has aggressively fought for decisions upholding the original intent and purpose of the National Labor Relations Act to foster unions and collective bargaining. The Board’s recent CEMEX decisionpromotes a streamlined path for workers to gain union recognition. The Labor Department’s recent directive on what constitutes an independent contractor shines a spotlight on the phony and exploitative employment schemes of the giant gig platforms like Uber and Lyft.

That’s why labor and the broader progressive community need to support Biden despite his support for the Israeli war against Palestinians.

Are the Biden Administration’s policies and investments enough to carry the majority of union members to vote for Biden? We sure hope so! However, despite the efforts of labor leadership, union members make their voting decisions based on competing sources of information and with concerns that transcend their economic life. 

That’s why we can’t count on print, video, or social media to win working people to support Biden. It will take an unprecedented member-to-member, worker-to-worker, and face-to-face campaign. Winning this election will involve a massive effort to get people to recognize what political strategist Michael Podhorzer has often pointed out: While Biden’s poll numbers are dismal, in the end it will be a matter of “margin of effort, not the margin of error.”

In addition to the GOTV work in key battleground states, I believe that the popular vote for Biden will also be critical because we need to show — as we did in 2016 — that Trump is not supported by the majority of voters despite the result in the electoral college. And of course, in addition to the presidency, it’s imperative that Democrats recapture the House by winning just a handful of seats. For instance, seven seats in California are possibly winnable for Democrats. If they are flipped, it would be the margin to retake the House. 

Union members, like all Americans, are impacted by social legislation and attacks on democracy. They can be rallied to work for imperfect Democratic candidates to block authoritarians like Donald Trump. While it’s tempting to cast our votes based on emotion, leaving the door open for a Trump victory is too risky. Instead, let’s get out on the doors in the battleground states and congressional districts to defeat Trump and his ilk in 2024.

Rand Wilson is a member of Boston DSA, and has worked as a union organizer and labor communicator for more than forty years, included recently as Chief of Staff for SEIU Local 888 in Boston. Wilson was the founding director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice. In 2016 he helped to co-found Labor for Bernie and was elected as a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He is an elected member of Somerville’s Ward 6 Democratic Committee.

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes/Cause and Effect

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DSA Statement on 2024 Election: Drop Out Biden

Last night’s debate made clear what DSA and the hundreds of thousands of voters who supported Uncommitted in the primaries have been saying for months: Biden must drop out.

Biden was elected in 2020 because young people, people of color, and the working class rejected Donald Trump’s far-right politics. It was these voters who prevented a second Trump term with the highest turnout in an election in decades. 

Yesterday, these same voters witnessed a man who is unfit to lead. During the debate, both candidates repeatedly fought to appear the most pro-cop, pro-war, and anti-immigration, and ignored questions on issues such as childcare, racial justice, and democracy. Even before this debate, Biden’s support for genocide in Gaza, his enactment of racist immigration policy, and his failure to improve the livelihoods of the working class as millions of Americans continue to struggle economically have made him a pariah to the base that carried him to office.

If Biden is the nominee in November, Trump will be president in January, and corporate Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.

Make no mistake, a return of Trump would be disastrous for the working class here and abroad.  Democratic Party elites have cynically coronated an eighty-two-year-old who is aiding and abetting Israel’s genocide. This is not the candidate for the moment to defeat Trump, prevent the rise of fascism, and fight for democracy in America. The thousands of people who were essential to Biden’s victory in 2020 and turning out the vote have been alienated by the horrors in Gaza and Biden’s complicity in them. Biden must be replaced by a candidate who will stop the genocide in Gaza and will stand with the people of Palestine, who will fight for working class people, and who can stand up with the masses against both fascism and the capitalist class.

In this election, your vote is between Democrats and Republicans. But you have another choice: to fight back. Join a working class movement that can take on both the far right and the centrist status quo Democrats. Join us to fight against fascism and For Our Rights: In 2024, Workers Deserve More!

Our political system was not built for us; it was built to hoard wealth and power for the ruling class, which has led to the situation we’re in today. We are fighting for a real democracy that belongs to the people, for an economy that meets the needs of the working class rather than the rich, and for an end to the United States empire. Both parties of our ruling class support genocide. Only a party of the working class can stop them. DSA’s For Our Rights program declares our mission to “unite workers into a powerful political movement to win the battle for democracy,” overthrowing our ruling class and building a new, democratic system of government meant to serve the people rather than the rich. Workers deserve better, and if we fight, we can win.

Tell the Democratic Party leadership that Biden must step aside! 

And join DSA today to fight for a better world, an end to war and genocide, and the future that we all want.

The post DSA Statement on 2024 Election: Drop Out Biden appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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Fighting for Our Democratic Socialist Soul in Coalition Work

By all accounts, Maryland DSA chapters helped to build Listen to Maryland into one of the strongest uncommitted campaigns in the United States to date — denying Joe Biden more than 60,000 primary votes to demand an end to the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza. For DSA, it was both an operational and strategic victory — all four Maryland chapters coordinated at the closest level they ever have and tens of thousands of people received literature that brought many new members into our organization. However, despite these successes, Maryland’s campaign and ultimately the broader uncommitted movement, is a textbook example of DSA working as a junior coalition partner within a liberal framework: DSA contested an important battle in Maryland, and did commendably, but we also bore witness to the ways in which coalitional organizing can constrain socialists from leading with our political vision.

 

From Michigan to Maryland

Shortly after the inspiring results of the Listen to Michigan uncommitted campaign in their state primary in February, members of Greater Baltimore DSA began having conversations about what an uncommitted campaign might look like in our state. Maryland’s primary was late, and we had time to lay the groundwork for a more extensive field campaign than existed in Michigan, where organizers only had a few weeks to contact voters. Greater Baltimore DSA reached out to chapter leadership from the other DSA chapters in Maryland (Metro DC, Frederick, and Southern Maryland) about what it would look like for our locals to work collaboratively on a state-wide campaign. 

Our chapters eventually joined a wider coalition called Listen to Maryland that Unity Lab PAC, a prominent Muslim civil rights-focused electoral group, organized and led. The coalition also featured the respective electoral arms of Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow, Our Revolution, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and other local progressive organizations.

With DSA’s help, Listen to Maryland’s primary goal was to push voters to choose “uncommitted” for President. When Maryland went to the polls on May 14 for the Democratic primary, more than 64,000 voters, or 9.8% of the primary electorate responded to our call. In Baltimore City, uncommitted received 14% of the vote, and more than 18% from voters who cast ballots on Election Day, one of the strongest showings for an uncommitted option in any black-majority municipality in the nation, including Detroit (9%), where the uncommitted movement first originated.

Reflections and Lessons 

By most metrics, Maryland’s uncommitted campaign was a relative electoral success. Over the course of the campaign, we raised $25,000 in grassroots donations from individual donors, and directly contacted more than 500,000 voters. DSA led the campaign’s field program, knocking on over 35,000 doors and reaching thousands more through public canvassing operations at the many public festivals and farmers markets that dot the state in the month of May. More impressively, we managed to do that on a shoestring budget of just a couple thousand dollars allocated to us for printing costs. Our later financial analysis revealed that we had one of the most extensive field programs of any uncommitted campaign in the country despite spending far less money than several peer campaigns. 

The campaign has also provided a foundation for expanding our Greater Baltimore DSA’s Palestine solidarity work. In the aftermath of the campaign, Greater Baltimore DSA is launching its local No Appetite for Apartheid initiative to press local businesses to take pledges to boycott Israeli products. We have activated many people we brought into DSA’s orbit through our Listen to Maryland canvassing. For example, we directed 40 unique volunteers in our chapter, many of whom are new to DSA and signed up over the course of the campaign.

Though the campaign was an important step forward for Palestine solidarity organizing in Maryland, several issues emerged in the coalition that conflicted with the political work DSA wanted to model with the campaign. In particular, the need to defer to the coalition limited our responsiveness and the militancy of our political message.

First, we had delayed announcing our uncommitted campaign, because we wanted the campaign to be led and shaped by Muslim and Arab voices. Rather than issuing a public statement and beginning to set up field operations once we had finalized our cross-chapter coordination, we waited several weeks for other organizations to commit to a statewide uncommitted campaign.

Once the Listen to Maryland coalition finally organized, Unity Lab PAC staff often had primary discretion over the coalition’s branding, social media strategy, and messaging, because a lack of structure within the coalition often prevented conflicts from being resolved, leading to inaction. The coalition’s 22-person steering committee included one member of Metro DC DSA as well as three members of Greater Baltimore DSA (including myself) and met to plan once a week. However, the coalition lacked an agreed upon process for taking votes internally and resolving areas of disagreement. Even when differences were spoken, they often defaulted to inaction in an effort to avoid conflict. For example, some coalition leaders felt that we should avoid using the word “genocide” in our promotional materials, as this might turn off certain segments of the liberal electorate, leading to conflicting messaging. “Genocide” was not used on our campaign literature or in our phonebanking script, though it was used in a victory lap post put out by the coalition the day after the primary. 

Disagreements over messaging, even when minor, were often symptoms of greater differences in our organizations’ orientations towards the Democratic Party within the coalition. The PAC staff’s messaging placed a strong emphasis on touting that uncommitted activists were “longtime Democrats”, and that there was a “chasm between Democratic leadership and its voters.” In contrast, my own analysis as a socialist considers that the chasm overwhelmingly exists between the Democratic Party itself and the working class. As one of the communications leads for the coalition, I rejected requests to publish a campaign video on my personal social media accounts because of a line in the script that read “America cannot afford another four years of Donald Trump”.

That said, I do not want to overstate these political differences or place any blame on these organizations for having different analyses from my own. Certainly, the coalition was united in its demand for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to US funding for Israel’s apartheid regime — but, led by Democratic Party activists and members of Democratic interest groups, the coalition often shied away from rhetoric that more aggressively charged Biden and his party with the blame for the Gaza genocide, and inevitably ran on a weaker ideological message. 

What is relevant and actionable is how we as DSA representatives within the coalition did not make enough effort to maintain our political independence in our messaging and orientation towards our base and the broader electorate. On the whole, DSA was timid and hyperconscious of what it means to be a primarily white organization on a campaign we all agreed needed to be led by organizers that were directly impacted by the genocide in Gaza. While this was an important consideration, we weren’t conscious enough of meeting the needs of the moment and adapting our orientation towards our coalition partners when the conditions required it. 

 

Roots of Our Reluctance

Our fear of leading with our politics was a direct consequence of our colossal failure to produce Muslim and Arab leaders from within DSA that could be protagonistic political leaders for the campaign. Identifying this failing is not to say we did not have Muslim and Arab leaders already. The Metro DC comrade in coalition leadership is a member of Maryland2Palestine. One of the members of Greater Baltimore DSA’s Steering Committee is a Muslim public school teacher and was one of our field leads and played a significant role in the operations of the campaign. I am part Iranian. However, the rest of our representatives in coalition leadership were not Muslim or Arab. Unlike Connecticut DSA, which recruited young Muslim grassroots leaders and used the phrase “No to Genocide Joe” in their materials, our inability to recruit Muslim leaders pushed us into a reactive, supporting role in the coalition rather than a leading one.

We were right to be careful not to speak over others, but, in my view, missed the mark on hashing out what asserting our politics looks like and conceded ground to coalition leaders on many of these areas of ideological disagreement rather than arguing for our positions. 

Our failure to develop Muslim political organizers of our own also made it more difficult to navigate the differences between civil rights NGOs like CAIR or Justice For All and grassroots organizations like Maryland2Palestine, the latter of which largely aligned with our more forceful positions and were supportive of the uncommitted campaign but were not significantly involved in steering the campaign’s direction. We could have been a stronger voice and connecting force for these positions that are a part of the wider conversation but were not well-represented within the coalition. We also did not address the contradictions presented by following the lead of Muslim-led NGOs in our Palestine messaging, but not elsewhere. CAIR has supported book bans in Maryland schools, a repeated point of controversy within the coalition. We would have benefited from having an understanding of how and when we should have disagreed with our coalition partners from the beginning, which would have also helped us maintain our political integrity and our ability to advocate for our positions.

We also need to consider how to maintain our commitment to democratic and member-led decision-making in coalitions with nonprofits and NGOs that are not governed by the same internal, member-led democracy that we know in DSA. These coalitions make it difficult to employ tactics and political messaging that advance the socialist struggle, because these forces operate within the same liberal ecosystem that supports the Democratic Party and are often beholden to the same capitalist interests. As socialists, we seek to upset that ecosystem entirely.

Uncommitted campaigns have taken many different forms across the country. In some states, like in New Jersey and Connecticut, it has been led, shaped, and directed by DSA and socialist forces. In Maryland and many other states, a broader coalition between DSA and liberal forces has taken on the uncommitted banner. In states which fall into the latter camp, uncommitted seems to have taken on a broader tactic of aiming to pressure the Biden Administration into supporting the demands of the anti-war movement in order to shore up support with the Democratic base going into the general election. This is best exemplified by former congressman Andy Levin, who has said “I feel like [uncommitted] is existential for Joe Biden’s political survival.” That vision deviates from put forward by DSA — No Money for Massacres; No Support for Genocide.

Disaffected Democrats may certainly be a segment of the electorate most naturally attracted to the uncommitted campaign and its immediate policy demands. However, if DSA intends to carry forward the uncommitted banner through the remainder of the primary calendar and beyond in order to build a political movement in firm opposition to the establishment’s war machine, we must be ready to confront the reality that these voters may not be the only demographic we need to win over — and they may even present certain challenges to our vision of Palestinian liberation in our lifetimes.

The post Fighting for Our Democratic Socialist Soul in Coalition Work appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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Milwaukee DSA Stands with Public School Board Amid Privatizers’ Recall Stunt

For immediate release 
Jun. 20, 2024

The Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) opposes the efforts to recall members of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors as privatizers seek to further undermine the public school system.

The recall effort comes as several board members, including DSA-endorsed member Missy Zombor, supported necessary funding measures to continue vital school services despite pressures from the Republican-led state legislature to further cut education funding. 

“This is a political game, and it is the city’s families and public educators who will lose: Milwaukee DSA recognizes this recall as an attempt by school privatizers to further undermine the public education system in Milwaukee and beyond, turning that system into a profit-making venture instead of a necessary hub for quality learning,” Milwaukee DSA Co-Chair Pamela Westphal said. “Now more than ever, the children of Milwaukee need the social and educational benefits of public education to enrich their lives, we must stand up and fight back against privatizers who are trying to break those social bonds.”

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has already threatened to withhold millions in state funding from Milwaukee’s students over delayed financial reports from 2023, leading to the resignation of the district’s superintendent and comptroller.

“Some of the biggest failures of the United States’ domestic policies of the past 50 years have involved selling off our public services to those seeking to exploit the working class for profit. Milwaukee DSA recognizes this as an avenue for harm, not growth,” Milwaukee DSA Communications Officer Greg Brown said. “People in Milwaukee who want to see better education outcomes in our community should focus on building a robust public system with proper funding and public control instead of further stripping that system of its resources for privatization and profit, a common goal of the leaders of this recall effort.”

Milwaukee DSA publicly endorsed Zombor in her 2023 election and is Milwaukee’s largest socialist organization fighting for a democratic economy, just society and sustainable environment.

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