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January Dispatch — Don’t Live in Fear, Organize

Enjoy your January Dispatch! This month, start the New Year in action — with our Medicare for All 2022 launch, housing justice work, labor organizing opportunities, and more. Read on to get involved!

FROM MARIA: DON’T LIVE IN FEAR, ORGANIZE

This pandemic proves the socialist tenet that only collective solutions can solve collective problems. It’s why we fight for democracy. A year ago Trump-aligned Republicans incited a deadly attack on the Capitol, and have been passing laws since to undermine future elections.

But violence and intimidation are as American as apple pie, and so is deliberate misinformation. Whether through racist lynching or through strikebreaking, the violent arm of the ruling class has been pervasive throughout our history, their justifications spread through corporate media and institutions like schools. We face a return to naked violence, though less sensationalistic, structural violence never left. The institutions of our government were designed from the beginning to resist the democratic will of the people — after all, the widely popular policies in the Build Back Better plan were blocked by the entire GOP and two unaccountable Democrats.

At the same time, political institutions are the main avenue to enacting change at the scale we need. I read this week about the passing of Karen Ferguson, who among other things helped jump-start a national grassroots movement for better pensions. That movement transformed millions of people’s security in old age, through pushing presidents as different as Reagan and Biden to sign acts. Imagine what we can do if we organize in our workplaces AND the political arena, electing socialists and stopping the wheels of the economy through strikes.

My New Year’s challenge to you is not to rely on politicians, nor to accept the return of political violence. It’s to organize. We need solutions for millions of people. And to win them we need to organize in the millions. For us democracy means political democracy, and it means economic democracy, and we know that if the millions of us in the working class work together we have the numbers it will take to win. Organizing is slow and hard work, but no one will do it for us. And we have our comrades at our side — find your chapter here.

Maria Svart
DSA National Director

MONDAY 1/10 — JOIN OUR DSA FOR MEDICARE FOR ALL NATIONAL CAMPAIGN 2022 KICKOFF!

Winning universal healthcare is a class struggle demand of our time! Receiving health coverage through our jobs rather than as a public good gives the employing class incredible leverage over workers and deprives the unemployed of healthcare. It also pits workers against each other, not only for a wage, but benefits. Even before COVID-19, 87 million Americans were uninsured or underinsured (unable to afford their healthcare), and 60,000 Americans died every year from lack of health insurance. 5.4 million more Americans lost their health insurance during COVID — and now we know 1/3 of COVID deaths are linked to underinsurance. This is class warfare — we have to organize!

We need an “or else” for our campaigns. How do we move beyond pressure campaigns and into building a base that will truly refuse to collaborate with elected officials who fail our class by leaving healthcare on the bargaining table?

On Monday 1/10 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5 pm PT, join Mark Dudzic of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, NYS Senator Jabari Brisport and Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani as we launch the next round of our campaign to win Medicare for All. Learn what resources are available to get your campaigns off the ground!

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST LABOR COMMISSION INFORMATION CALL TUESDAY 1/11 — RSVP TODAY

Are you a union or worker center member? Organizing your workplace? Work for a union, worker center, or worker advocacy firm? Do you write about the labor movement? Then join our Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC) for an information session Tuesday 1/11 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT! On this call, you’ll hear about our vision for the DSLC, why you should join, running for the DSLC Steering Committee, and the DSLC elections timeline. You can find more information on the DSLC Steering Committee elections below.

ORGANIZE FOR TENANTS’ RIGHTS! SIGN UP FOR OUR HOUSING JUSTICE COMMISSION POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING TUESDAY 1/11

Tuesday, January 11th at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT, join our Housing Justice Commission’s Policy Committee meeting! On this call, we’ll expand our work on our first campaign toolkit for Tenants’ Rights as we start to define and create resources for the development of socialist housing policy throughout DSA. Join us as we create toolkits towards social housing, ending homelessness, a Green New Deal for Housing, democratizing utilities, and ending institutionalization for the working class across America and the campaigns to win them.

You can also support the Housing Justice Commission as we expand our work in tenant organizing, political education, and campaign work by filling out our Chapter Outreach Questionnaire. Fill it out with your fellow housing justice comrades to ensure we know what you and your chapter are facing as you go toe to toe with landlords and the capitalist class.

Housing is the human right most grotesquely exploited by capitalists and white supremacy starting from the very first steps of white men on American soil, and it is time for us to fight back with everything we have. Hope to see you on the 11th, comrades!

WEDNESDAY 1/12 — JOIN THE RELIGION AND SOCIALISM WORKING GROUP FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH IN A PLURAL WORLD: A CONVERSATION WITH MARK GUEVARRA

Join the DSA Religion and Socialism Working Group’s Catholic subgroup and Today’s American Catholic magazine Wednesday, 1/12/22 at 6pm ET/5pm CT/4pm MT/3pm PT for a conversation with Mark Guevarra of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, on the origins, processes, and possibilities of the 2023 synod on synodality!

The synod will seek to gather the voices of over 1 billion Catholics to discern the way forward for the church. In this webinar, we’ll look at the historical and theological roots of synodality, how the synodal process has the potential to depolarize the church by centering marginalized voices, and the ways we can develop our capacity for encounter and dialogue to bring about the “listening church” of which Pope Francis has spoken. We’ll also look at how the synodal process might become a prophetic sign of inclusion, communion, and collective decision-making for local, national, and international civic spaces.

Mark Guevarra has served as an educator, college instructor, and pastoral associate focusing on LGBTQ+ ministry. He is currently completing doctoral studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and is a member of Call to Action’s 2020 Re/Generation Cohort.

TUESDAY, 1/18 — HEAR BUFFALO STARBUCKS WORKERS AND THE RESTAURANT ORGANIZING PROJECT ON UNIONIZING THE COFFEE INDUSTRY

One Grande Sindicato, please! Workers in Buffalo have won a union at Starbucks. On Tuesday, 1/18 at 7pm ET/6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT, join them and coffee shop union organizers from around the country in a discussion with the DSA Restaurant Organizing Project about how they did it, why it matters, and what’s next. Whether you work in a coffee shop or are an ally of baristas from the outside, what better way is there to usher in the New Year than coming together to keep the momentum going? Let’s unionize the coffee industry! Register here.

WINTER DEMOCRATIC LEFT OUT NOW

Labor support, reproductive rights, the legacy of Occupy Wall Street, Marx for the many, the Green New Deal vs. the new cold war, the not-so-hidden agenda of white supremacists, a future without capitalism — all this and more in the Winter issue of Democratic Left. Read it online today!

RUN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST LABOR COMMISSION (DSLC) STEERING COMMITTEE! DEADLINE FRIDAY 1/14

The NPC is now accepting applications to the Steering Committee (SC) of DSA’s national labor body, the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission. We are also accepting applications to become a voting member of the DSLC. Read on to learn how to become a member of the DSLC and how to apply to the Steering Committee of the DSLC.

The DSLC SC is now a 15-member SC, per the decision made at our NPC retreat in November:

  • 2 NPC co-chairs
  • 2 YDSA reps
  • 5 elected SC members
  • 6 SC members appointed by the NPC

DSA members have until Friday, January 14th, 2022 to become a DSLC member in order to vote in the upcoming Steering Committee election. In order to become a member of the DSLC, you must be a current member of DSA, fill out the DSLC membership application here, and be either a member of a DSA Labor Formation or meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be a union or worker center member or retiree.
  • Work for a union, worker center, or legal advocacy firm that represents workers.
  • Be a part of a workplace organizing drive.
  • Be a journalist, academic, or writer with a focus in labor studies and/or political economy.

If you previously filled out an application and are still in good standing, you are already a member.

Applications for the Steering Committee are now open. Please submit your application here. Applications for the Steering Committee will close at 11:59 pm Pacific on Friday, January 14th, 2022. Please note: on the last page of the application, you’ll be required to provide 3 references who are DSA members, and will provide a 250-word statement of reference.

If you are a DSLC member, be on the lookout for an email on January 19th with details on the voting process and a link to candidate application statements. Voting will open on January 24th and close January 31st at 11:59 pm Pacific.

The NPC will decide the 6 appointees to the committee from among the candidates who weren’t in the top 5 and elected in the first round. In order to be considered for appointment, you must fill out this application by the deadline and run in the election.

The new Steering Committee will be announced on February 10th.

APPLY FOR DSA’S HOUSING JUSTICE COMMISSION — DEADLINE MONDAY 1/31

We are looking for some new faces to help steer DSA’s Housing Justice Commission (HJC)! The HJC coordinates national and regional campaigns for tenants’ rights and supports local DSA chapters in the creation and expansion of housing justice working groups/campaigns. We’re fighting to organize tenants, cancel rent, and stop evictions!

This is to fulfill five (5) vacant positions on the current Steering Committee. This is a 7.5 month commitment, from February 15, 2022 to October 1, 2022. The application deadline is Monday, 1/31 at 11:59pm ET. Send in your application here!