Harnessing Collective Power: Building Socialist Alliances for Policy Wins

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

8:00 PM EDT / 7:00 PM CDT / 6:00 PM MDT / 5:00 PM PDT

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Join us for the fourth event in the DSA Fund’s series on
How We Win, where we’ll see how public officials and DSA organizers are working to win policy change in Wisconsin and New York. One hundred years ago, Milwaukee and the Big Apple were centers of power for the Socialist Party of America. A century after socialist and labor organizers used mass politics to secure wins for working class people, both cities have sent socialist caucuses to their respective state capitols. 

The stories of democratic socialist organizing in Milwaukee and New York City offer complementary perspectives of how organizers and public officials can leverage our collective power. Like other organizing campaigns the How We Win series has highlighted, these regions’ chapters and organizers are working with democratic socialist officeholders and their staff to advance policy and shift the dynamics in State Houses in favor of working people.  

This April 12 webinar will cover a range of topics, including how grassroots organizers navigate working with public officials in friendly and not-so-friendly environments. With political power behind push for reforms, organizers can have a stronger platform to achieve policy wins. How can organizers and public officials harness our collective power and leverage the public policy process to advance socialist goals? 

The How We Win series shares lessons and how-to experience from policy campaigns and organizing around the country. These public servants’ and organizers’ experiences, in beginning and advanced stages of building Socialists in Office formations and other ways of harnessing collective power, reveal lessons that can inform how democratic-socialist organizers and coalitions can advance and achieve tangible wins that support our economic and social goals. 

Join us to learn what strategies have worked as well as obstacles organizers face along the way, and the path forward to build strong governing coalitions between local organizers and public officials.

This event is co-sponsored by DSA National Electoral Committee, Jacobin, Dissent, and In These Times

Panelists include:

    • Karen Narefsky is a New York City resident and 10-year member of DSA. She has worked as a housing and community organizer in Massachusetts and New York. She is currently the chief of staff for Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest, a DSA member and former nurse who represents the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, and Crown Heights.
    • Assembly Member Zohran Kwame Mamdani represents the 36th Assembly District and its neighborhoods of Astoria and Long Island City. Previously a foreclosure prevention housing counselor, Zohran is the first South Asian man and first Ugandan to serve in the NYS Assembly.
    • Assembly Member Darrin Madison Jr., a Milwaukee native and dedicated activist, joined Urban Underground at a young age, protesting against 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 and advocating for social justice. Focused on issues like youth jobs, public safety, sexual health, and environmental justice, he gained experience in various political campaigns. He now represents Wisconsin's 10th Assembly District and has contributed as an AmeriCorps Public Allies volunteer at the Urban Ecology Center and Environmental Collaboration Office.
  • Anna Dvorak has been organizing workers in Wisconsin for over a decade for climate justice, immigrant and worker rights. She is currently organizing to build a mass movement for socialism as a Co-Chair of the Milwaukee DSA, Wisconsin’s largest socialist organization. She is also staff for the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, organizing education workers for strong public schools. Anna is a dog mom to a feisty chihuahua named Bucky and enjoys hiking, running, crafting and fun times with friends and comrades.
  • Assembly Member Ryan Clancy represents Wisconsin’s 19th state assembly district and is also a member of the Milwaukee County board of supervisors. A dedicated socialist, he was the first in Milwaukee since 1956. Ryan has a history of activism, from the Peace Corps to protesting for immigrant rights. He's volunteered with disaster relief organizations, taught for Milwaukee Public Schools, and co-owns a community-centered business. Ryan also founded the Progressive Restaurant and Activists of Wisconsin Network, advocating for better working conditions in the service industry.

Panelists will respond to your questions and discuss more immediate practical steps and the longer view of what coalitions and governments can do locally and at the state level through building and working together.

DSA Fund is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to political education and engagement. DSA Fund does not participate or intervene in any political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.