DSAers Show Solidarity

We have a special issue of Democratic Left devoted to labor once a year, but DSA locals support unions and the labor movement all year long. Here are some highlights from the past year:

Central Ohio DSA members joined forces with Interfaith Worker Justice to create the Central Ohio Workers’ Center. Members of DSA were key in doing the paperwork to obtain 501(c)(3) status and bringing in a pro bono lawyer. The center’s focus is on know-your-rights outreach to immigrant workers, especially the large Somali community as well as the growing Latino community.

Chicago DSA has fought for a national tax on the trading of financial assets (popularly known as a Robin Hood Tax) and worked with the Chicago Teachers Union, National Nurses United, and community groups to call for a similar Chicago-based tax to fund workers’ pensions as well as human services. Other coalitions are fighting newly elected governor Bruce Rauner’s anti-worker “Turnaround Agenda” modeled after Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s game plan. As a core member of the Illinois Fair Trade Coalition, Chicago DSA worked with many union partners to oppose Fast Track and the larger Trans Pacific Partnership.

Greater Detroit DSA works with Michigan labor to prevent the Republicans, who dominate state government, from overturning prevailing-wage legislation. To support prevailing wages, the local honored Patrick Devlin, president of the Michigan Building Trades, at the Douglass-Debs dinner on May 30.

Ithaca DSA has a weekly community access cable television program and a bi-monthly radio program. The local used both platforms to bring talks from the Labor Day Picnic, a Workers’ Center celebration, and Cornell University’s Union Days to a wider audience. Thus, community members who couldn’t attend the events still heard about innovative organizing for restaurant and retail workers, the new union at the local Health Alliance and Free Clinic, organizing among adjuncts at Ithaca College, and the story of the AFL-CIO’s vital cooperation with community and clergy.

Atlanta_minimum_wage_demo.jpg

Metro Atlanta DSA is actively involved with all the work of the Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee, including the Black Friday action at Wal-Mart, a national event on the Friday after Thanksgiving. A core DSA group of around 25 people joined with organized labor and community in the Fight for $15 campaign. On several days, including April 15, fast-food workers went out on strike in the early morning, and the demonstrators showed up to escort them back to work and ensure that they would not lose their jobs.

Metro DC DSA supported the DC Labor Fest. The DC Labor Fest—sponsored by the Metro Washington Labor Council and supported by many other labor and social justice organizations—provides a forum for numerous forms of cultural productions with a focus on working people. The films, music, art and walking tours open a window on the experiences, ideas and aspirations of individual workers and their collective struggles. Metro DC also supported efforts to organize associates at United Way Worldwide, headquarters of the largest health and human services non-profit in the world not run by a government. Despite a formal agreement to support the labor rights of workers and a long partnership with labor, management conducted a vicious anti-union campaign against the effort.

New York City DSA and YDS rallied for the “Fight for $15” and sponsored a staged reading of “Waiting for Lefty” in the theater district on April 15. YDS members from throughout the city worked with activists from several schools to prepare banners for the demonstration and to mobilize their classmates.

Sacramento DSA teamed up with the Sacramento Progressive Alliance, the California Faculty Association, Students for Quality Education, and the Campus Progressive Alliance to present a forum on “The Working Class Under Siege,” bringing the Fight for $15 and the struggle against Fast Track to California State University-Sacramento.

San Diego DSA worked with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Labor Council, the Machinists and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to get a citywide increase in the minimum wage passed by the City Council. Unfortunately, opponents derailed the coalition’s victory by successfully challenging the City Council to put the wage increase on a ballot initiative for November 2016, thus delaying and perhaps endangering the increase for workers. San Diego DSAers also joined with the Citizens Trade Campaign and the San Diego Imperial County Labor Council to urge congressional representatives to vote no on Fast Track.

Theresa Alt is secretary of Ithaca DSA and a member of the DSA National Political Committee. Peg Strobel is a member of Chicago DSA and the DSA National Political Committee, former director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and professor emerita of gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

 

This article originally appeared in the fall 2015 issue of the Democratic Left magazine.

 

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

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

June 27, 2017
· 77 rsvps

Join DSA activist Judith Gardiner to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT.

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

July 06, 2017
· 22 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
· 5 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
· 4 rsvps

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.