DSA Members Run for Office to Continue the Political Revolution

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(San Diego Convention Center/Flickr)

By Alec Shea

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

During the past year, Bernie Sanders has called for a "political revolution" and urged his supporters to run for office at the state and local level. Helping to build a democratic socialist political force, DSA members have stepped up to run for political office around the United States. Their campaigns represent the next stage of the organizing that began with the Sanders campaigns, and their successes will reflect the strength of socialist organizing beyond national politics. In the months and weeks leading up to elections everywhere from Maine to Texas, DSA members will be volunteering and donating to help elect candidates who will fight for economic and social justice. DSA members running for office include:

Tom Wakely (Texas)

Texas’ 21st Congressional District, which covers northern San Antonio, last elected a Democrat in 1974. DSA member Tom Wakely is hoping to change that. Tom, who manages a hospice for veterans, won the Democratic nomination with 59% of the vote and will face Republican Lamar Smith in the general election. Wakely is a long time activist who started out as an organizer helping Cesar Chavez organize boycotts. He hopes to combine the energy generated by the Sanders campaign in Texas with the support he has received from unions and progressive organizations to win election in what is often considered to be a safe district for Republicans. His opponent is a climate change denier who chairs the House Science Committee. In November, Tom is hoping to prove that even the parts of the country considered to be Republican strongholds can foster a political revolution.  

Mike Sylvester (Maine)

Maine’s reactionary governor, Paul LePage, has warned voters that his state’s legislature is being influenced by a “foreign socialist ideology.” Mike Sylvester is hoping to show that democratic socialism is right at home in Maine’s communities. Building on years of experience as an organizer for SEIU, Mike won the Democratic primary race in Maine’s 39th district, which includes Portland’s east end, with 74% of the vote. Running as a democratic socialist and a Berniecrat, he has chosen to publicly finance his campaign and accept no private donations. If he wins in November, Mike hopes to fight to maintain public control of Portland’s water, tax hotel stays to fund improvements to housing and create strong incentives to promote the installation of solar panels.

Rob Frisina (Oregon)

Rob Frisina was inspired to run for office by Bernie Sanders’ call for his supporters to mobilize at the state and local level. A new DSA member, Rob is a former marine who helped organize the Sanders campaign at a grassroots level in Oregon. As a volunteer, he helped coordinate one of Sanders’ largest rallies, which drew more than 20,000 people, as well as many smaller events. Running in a competitive primary, Frisina has emphasized his support for single-payer healthcare and opposition and support for campaign finance reform.

Debbie Medina (New York) 

Debbie Medina is no stranger to standing up to established powers on explicitly anti-capitalist grounds. She hopes to continue this work as a democratic socialist member of the New York State Senate. As an advocate for tenants in her native Brooklyn, she has spent her whole career organizing around the issue of affordable housing. Her campaign for New York’s senate has been based on building upon the work she did as an activist; organizing rent strikes and advocating for rent stabilization and rent control. Her opponent in the Democratic primary has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from organizations opposed to tenants’ rights. Medina does not shy away from declaring that capitalism is at the root of the exploitation she fought as an organizer. There is no doubt that she will continue to advance the radical agenda that has driven her throughout her life as a state senator. 

Alec Shea is a DSA member from Boston MA and a student at Wesleyan University.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

July 06, 2017
· 48 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

July 09, 2017
· 19 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

Running for the National Political Committee

July 11, 2017

Join this call to hear a presentation and ask questions about the role, duties and time commitment of a member of DSA's National Political Committee. In the meantime, check out the information already on our website about the NPC.

Feminist Working Group

July 12, 2017

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 11 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.