February Dispatch: We Can Win – If We Organize

I’m writing this as thousands of DSA members are doing GOTV canvassing in New Hampshire or other early primary states or making turnout calls as volunteers from across the country. Still more are canvassing locally as part of DSA for Bernie independent expenditure work through their chapters. Others are pushing Medicare for All, labor union, migrant rights, public power, tenant’s rights, or other campaigns forward. And student chapters are gathering this weekend to discuss how to strengthen their campus work for Bernie and for College for All this spring and beyond.

DSA is building working class power despite the dark times we’re in. Racist interpersonal violence is on the rise, responding to the coronavirus with the revival of longtime tropes targeting Asian people as carriers of disease. Trump continues purging political enemies and slashing public programs people depend on, like food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid. Immigration and Customs Enforcement becomes ever more brazen — most recently, shooting someone in the face who intervened after seeing an ICE agent with no uniform, badge or warrant grabbing someone off the street. And the same Wall Street Democrats who want to cut our Social Security or privatize public schools are paving the way for a billionaire former Republican to buy the Democratic presidential nomination.

We’re building working class power because of the times we’re in, because we have no choice.

But also, because this moment of danger is also one of opportunity. We have our eyes on the prize – transformation to a truly democratic and free society – and we know the only way to get there is a mass movement like the one behind Bernie. What’s at stake is our very existence on this planet. What’s happening is an awakening. Not that the system is rigged – we knew that. But that we have the power to win.

DSA is doing the work to get at the root problem because we are unbought. As a working class organization, we maintain our independence because we fund ourselves. We can make democratic decisions about what needs to be done without worrying about losing major funding. (Please take a moment to share this link on your social media to help get the word out!)

And our work to support Sanders, to build the democratic socialist wing of the movement to put him in the White House, will also strengthen us for the future. We will help him fend off the war mongers and the oligarchs from both parties who will try to maintain their grip on power. We will build a society where everyone lives with dignity and comfort, one where we control the fruits of our labor not just receive a pittance, one with freedom of speech and freedom to leisure time, not just freedom to starve. Medicare for All is just the beginning.

I have hope, as do so many people who have joined DSA in the past week and those who continue to build our campaigns. Our fight is Bernie’s fight, and Bernie is mobilizing an unprecedented multiracial working class base that is hungry for change and ready to stand up. The real story from Iowa is that Bernie united immigrants and refugees from across the globe with black, brown and white workers, with the help of union organizers and informal community and workplace leaders. Those in power will try to divide us with fear and confusion, but we just need to stick together and fight back.

Together, we can do this.

Maria

PS: We’re just $300 shy of hitting our $15,000 YDSA Winter Conference Scholarship goal. Can you help us reach it by giving $10, $50 or $100 today? Donate right now to give the gift of socialist education.

In This Dispatch

MEET THE DSA STAFF

Garrick Ruiz, Western Regional Organizer

Hello! I’m Garrick, your new Western Regional Organizer. I’m based in Los Angeles and have been engaged in social justice organizing at the local, national and international levels for over 25 years. I’ve done both paid and volunteer work in multiple sectors including the labor, environmental and climate justice, immigrant justice, and housing justice movements. Some of my earliest work was anti-war and international solidarity in the 90’s. I’ve spent months in both East Timor and Palestine engaged in solidarity with folks resisting military occupation and apartheid. Most recently I spent several years as the North America Regional Coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) providing BDS campaigns throughout North America organizing support, strategic advice and a direct link back to the Palestinian leadership of the BDS movement. I’ve been getting more and more involved with DSA Los Angeles over the last year, and I’m excited to be joining the DSA national staff at this historic moment. As I write this a continent is on fire, expanded US war seems close to inevitable and we are in danger of a second term of the brutal white supremacist Trump regime. Let’s get to work, change these realities, and build socialism together.

BEST PRACTICES FOR GOOD MEETINGS WEBINAR

DSA chapters are seeing a rise in new members and we expect it will only increase as our primary elections continue. Even if you feel confident with the quality of your meetings, you should make sure someone from your chapter joins us for a national call on Best Practices for Good Meetings on Thursday, February 27 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT. We’ll discuss, using real chapter examples, ways to make sure our meetings are positive and productive for current members as well as a great entry point for new members.

DSA FOR BERNIE UPDATE

Our campaign for Bernie Sanders is winning because we have been out organizing everyone else in the field. We know, however, that the billionaires and Democratic elite are going to throw everything they can at our movement to deny Bernie the nomination. This is why our members are preparing right now to Get Out The Vote to turn out every Bernie supporter they can on their state’s election day. Check out our GOTV training call recording and our other GOTV Resources to make sure your chapter is ready for this intense final stretch of the campaign.

This is also a unique opportunity for us to bring in thousands of Bernie supporters and activists into our movement. Chapters should be thinking about how to recruit, engage, and retain those folks in our organization, and you should be on the lookout for new resources we’ll be putting out soon to help chapters plan public “Beyond Bernie” events immediately after your primary.

GREEN NEW DEAL NATIONWIDE STRATEGY CALL

Please join the Green New Deal Campaign Committee for a nationwide strategy call on how we’re going to win a Green New Deal. The call will be held Sunday, 2/23 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT. Together, we can build a mass movement to grind the oil wells to a halt, restore marine and land habitats vital for our atmosphere, and stand up for a decommodified, democratic economy of abundance and care. RSVP here for call access information.

MEDICARE FOR ALL UPDATES

More than 60 chapters participated in our Week of Action in January! Held in partnership with the DSA for Bernie campaign, chapters in North Texas, East Bay, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Kern County, Seattle and dozens more cities held canvasses and events in support of Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All. Not even snow kept some canvassers from hitting the streets! See the full recap here.

You can stay connected to the campaign by signing up for our monthly newsletter here (and read our most recent newsletter on our blog!).

DEMOCRATIC LEFT: WHAT’S THE MOST EXCITING WORK YOUR CHAPTER IS DOING?

Democratic Left, DSA’s quarterly print publication, wants to spread the word about the most interesting and impactful work DSA’s local chapters are doing. No matter how big or small your chapter is, if your chapter is unifying around an important campaign, or has had a success worth sharing with the rest of DSA, let us know at dlchapternews@dsausa.org.

SOCIALISM 2020 CONFERENCE – REGISTRATION IS OPEN

Registration for the Socialism 2020 Conference is now live! This year’s conference will bring together socialists from around the world and feature speakers like Krystal Ball, Dina Gilio Whitaker, Rossana Rodriguez, and Meagan Day, among many others. Socialism 2020 will be held July 2-5 in Chicago. Register now to secure your spot!