DSA COVID-19 Bulletin #9

DSA COVID19 Bulletin

The DSA COVID-19 Bulletin from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is designed to keep working-class people informed about the evolving COVID-19 crisis and its political implications. If you’d like to get the DSA COVID-19 Bulletin by email, sign up here, and share this link with your friends and comrades! Anyone can sign up. New bulletins come out several times a week.

In This Issue

Thank You, Bernie

As the coronavirus belatedly vindicates its urgency and validity, Bernie Sanders has decided to suspend his campaign. In his announcement statement, Bernie explained that his work in Congress has eclipsed the importance of maintaining an unlikely presidential bid: “I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.”

This was the most successful socialist electoral campaign in U.S. history, and we want to thank Bernie for everything he and his team built during this campaign. Our DSA for Bernie campaign gave it everything we had.

Bernie is still on the ballot, and will continue to accrue delegates toward the Democratic National Convention. But the nominee is all but certainly Joe Biden now, a candidate whose answer to the crises we face is more of the status quo and will surely hand Donald Trump four more years in the White House.

This loss is a major setback for our movement, but the struggle continues. Bernie ran on a popular program that put workers first, and now he is pivoting to a coronavirus program that does the same. In the midst of a pandemic and the worst social and economic crisis in decades, the entire multiracial working class must be organized to fight back.

Vote and Die

Just one day before Bernie dropped out, Winsconsin voters were left with a version of the same two options that millions of workers across the country have: stay home, or vote — and die.

On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned an executive order by Governor Tony Evers to postpone the primary election, just hours after it was issued. That same day, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a six-day extension for absentee ballots.

This comes after much back-and-forth in Wisconsin — arguably the key battleground state in this year’s general election — about what to do. Last Thursday, the deadline to submit absentee ballots was extended to April 13th, and state officials were directed not to report any results until that same date.

One day later, election officials announced there would be only five polling sites in all of Milwaukee; Governor Evers asked the legislature to convene and consider postponing the primary to May 19th. The legislature met — then gaveled in and out, conducting no business. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the Governor’s concerns were illegitimate, quipping cynically that “hundreds of thousands of workers are going to their jobs every day, serving in essential roles in our society. There’s no question that an election is just as important as getting take-out food.” Governor Evers was forced to issue an executive order to delay the primary until June 9th.

After the state Supreme Court overturned that order, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied the absentee-ballot extension, the state is now pretty much back where it started. One major exception? Results will not be released until April 13th, continuing the pattern of slow-rolling we’ve seen throughout this primary.

As of April 7th, 1.2 million people had requested absentee ballots, and lines to vote in person stretched for blocks in some parts of the state. In case it wasn’t clear by now that the ruling class will use this pandemic to suppress voters, the Wisconsin and U.S. Supreme Courts just screamed it from the rooftops.

Socialist Demands for the Fourth Stimulus

Three stimulus packages aimed at “boosting the economy” have resulted in enormous handouts to corporations, doing nothing to keep unemployment numbers from jumping to almost 17 million in just the last three weeks.

By most measures, conditions for workers will continue to deteriorate: potentially 47 million people out of work, millions uninsured or underinsured and in need of healthcare, workers on the front lines without proper equipment or gear, and a completely hollow infrastructure to support the working class of this country.

Before he left the race, Bernie Sanders presented a set of demands for the fourth-round stimulus package that directly address the emergency at hand, and the fact that American society has been stripped of any significant safety nets.

In a nutshell:

  1. Keep workers on payroll. Guaranteed paid medical and sick leave, monthly $2000 payments to every person in the country, and hazard pay for front-line workers.
  2. Expand Medicare to cover the healthcare expenses of the un- and under-insured.
  3. $600B in direct fiscal aid to states and cities
  4. Use of the Defense Production Act to produce PPE, ventilators, and other medical supplies
  5. A SNAP benefits increase and an expansion of WIC
  6. A four-month freeze on monthly expenses, the cancellation of student loan payments for the duration of the crisis, and an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs

In the last several weeks, Bernie Sanders pivoted virtually all of his campaign infrastructure toward the COVID-19 crisis, even asking donors to give to relief charities. He may be out of the race, but his ideas — especially Medicare for All — resonate now more than ever. Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

DSA Announcements

How’s it going out there? We want to hear about your mutual aid efforts, organizing wins, and how you’re taking care of one another and avoiding despair. We’ll be featuring stories from chapters across the country — submit your stories!

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Global health crisis, economic collapse, and a democracy in peril. It’s hard to imagine a better time to join the largest socialist organization in America.

During the pandemic, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is practicing social distancing for our members’ safety and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As the largest socialist organization in the US, we believe it’s essential to share information about what is going on in the world during these unprecedented times — the nature of the pandemic, the looming depression, the responses (or lack thereof) of our government, the deadly negligence and abuses of for-profit corporations, as well as the heroic organizing, resistance, and mutual aid by workers fighting for a working-class solution to the coronavirus pandemic. We also want to share ways that you can get involved in this fight.

There has never been a more important time to be in DSA. Join, renew your dues, or switch to monthly here.