Tenants’ Rights Victory, With DSA SF – Democratic Socialists of America

JUNE 5, 2018: The Democratic Socialists of America, San Francisco Chapter is proud to announce that San Francisco has passed the first ballot measure in the nation to establish a universal right to counsel to any tenant facing eviction.

Proposition F, backed by DSA SF, passed in the June 5, 2018 election 56% to 44%. Facing down corporate landlord associations, realtors, and the S.F. GOP, the new, young branch of DSA powered the bold measure with mass mobilizations and volunteerism. The proponent, staff, volunteer core, and primary funders of the Yes on F campaign are all DSA members, and the chapter made winning right to counsel its major priority.

 Democratic Socialists of America’s SF Branch Wins First Electoral Victory with Yes on F

With over 700 dues-paying members locally, and 35,000 nationally, the DSA has proven to be a formidable force in politics.While the establishment focused on an unexpected mayoral race, the grassroots focused on fighting for tenants’ rights at the point where tenants have historically had the fewest rights: when facing eviction.

For Yes on Prop F, over 100 DSA members volunteered over 1,000 hours to Yes on F. Dozens walked San Francisco’s neighborhoods to distribute literature and knock on doors. And even more members participated in phone and text banking across almost 400 logged hours. DSA brought in just under $90,000 in donations for Yes on F with no assistance from special interest, corporate developer, or real estate money. Though endorsed by a broad spectrum of organizations and electeds, the campaign was fueled by individuals and organizations outside the political establishment of San Francisco.

DSA SF worked with allies including the SF Tenants Union, Neighbors United, Housing Rights Committee, and the Anti-Displacement Coalition. The Yes on F campaign was entirely grassroots, with volunteers and members of these groups providing essentially all of the labor for the campaign. 

DSA’s victory with Proposition F rides on a wave of electoral victories for DSA nationally.Though not by any means a purely electoral organization, DSA San Francisco plans to run candidates from its membership without the support of the establishment in local elections in the future. Jason Prado, DSA member and major donor to Yes on F, continues, "The people of San Francisco deserve politicians and policies that represent their best interests, not the wealthy individuals and corporations who flood elections with cash. The grassroots power represented by DSA puts us at the forefront of the movement to bring San Francisco a new form of politics, one that serves the people."

Photo: In November 2016, about 3000 protesters gather around San Francisco’s International Hotel, to protest forced eviction of the mostly elderly Filipino tenants on 848 Kearny Street, Manilatown. Photo by Nancy Wong.