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July Dispatch: Ways to fight for our future through DSA

We all need health care, PPE if we are exposed at work, and a roof over our heads.

We all need to feel that if we come together, we can overcome what’s happening right now. That we have a future.

Instead we face a wave of 28 million evictions at the end of this month when federal COVID-19 emergency benefits expire. 131,000 people have died of the virus and many hospitals are operating at full ICU capacity. Police are still killing black people with bullets or their knees on windpipes and right-wingers are still hanging and running over people with their cars, though dozens of cities have painted “Black Lives Matter” on their streets…

We face a clear choice: barbarism, socialism, or empty symbolism.

Is the United States a failed state? It would seem so, with the Supreme Court decision undermining birth control access. The near daily xenophobic and eugenicist outrages coming out of the White House. The pigs at the trough gorging themselves on OUR tax dollars and turning around and funding the campaigns of neoliberal politicians who are now forcing us back to work rather than providing relief to ride out COVID-19. All of these outrages demand an organized working class response. Not a technocratic or symbolic one. For rather than a failed state, we are the ultimate neoliberal state, one where the government certainly exists (it has not withered away) but it exists to use the full power and force of the state to facilitate the upward redistribution of wealth.

Our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, are looking for a way to fight back. It is becoming ever more clear that our society is made up of two classes: the owners, and the rest of us.

DSA members in office are doing their part. DSAer Representative Rashida Tlaib just introduced the BREATHE Act (with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley) and DSAer Maryland Delegate Gabriel Acevero went public alleging he was fired by his employer the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994 for his work as a state legislator pushing for police accountability. But they can’t do it alone, and we know that politicians on our side only have power when there are mass grassroots movements behind them agitating in the streets and in workplaces to disrupt the economic system.

No one will save us but ourselves and the only way to do so is to organize. So talk to the people around you, and invite them into DSA. The neighbors you’ve gotten to know. The people you’ve delivered food to. The parents of your children’s classmates. The people you work with.

The other side has the money, but we have the people, and whether it’s fighting to #CancelRent, win #Medicare4All, elect members to #DSAinOffice or #Organize a union, we are stronger together.

Reach out to your local DSA chapter to find out how you can join the struggle, and bring others along.

In solidarity,

Maria Svart
DSA National Director

Other Announcements from Around DSA:

NEW LOCAL DSA GROUPS

Join us in welcoming two new Organizing Committees!

  • Greater Mankato DSA, MN
  • Northern NH DSA

NATIONAL POLITICAL COMMITTEE (NPC) STATEMENTS

DSA’s primary political leadership is the National Political Committee (NPC), which is elected every two years and functions as DSA’s board of directors. In the past month, the NPC has passed the following statements:

APPLY FOR OUR DIGITAL ORGANIZING OR PRESS/TV NATIONAL COMMS COMMITTEES

To better coordinate our communications, we are developing a new DSA National Communications Committee. The National DSA Communications Committee helps articulate our socialist politics, leverage our base into action to win our campaigns, and seize on political opportunities to spread our message of a socialist future. This volunteer committee is subdivided into five volunteer subcommittees to handle specific areas of our work: Social Media, Digital Organizing, Press/TV, Narrative Strategy, and DSA Publications.

Volunteer job descriptions for each subcommittee are here. Currently listed are Press/TV and Digital Organizing, and will add volunteer job postings for each committee over the coming weeks. The Social Media committee application closes July 9.

Do you have digital organizing experience or experience doing press or TV work? Join us! To apply, please fill out the application here. Digital Organizing and Press/TV subcommittee co-chair applications are due July 23rd.

TELL DEMOCRATIC LEFT WHAT YOUR CHAPTER IS DOING TO SUPPORT THE UPRISING

Chapters across the country have been in high gear for the last month. Let your comrades know what your chapter has been doing to support the uprising, defund the police, and Fight for Black Lives. You can use this form to submit high resolution photos for the print edition of Democratic Left magazine or low-resolution photos for DLOnline. Please include a brief description of the image. The deadline to submit images for print is July 15. Submissions for images for DLOnline are ongoing.

JOIN 7/13 CALL: WHEN WE TAKE POWER WITH LEO PANITCH AND SAM GINDIN

Socialism is growing as a force in the US, but as the history of European social democracy shows, electoral wins are not enough. Socialists must not only win power but fundamentally transform how power works in the state and society if we want our efforts to go beyond reform and transcend capitalism.

Join us Monday 7/13 at 9pm ET/8pm CT/7pm MT/6pm PT for a talk with Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch, authors of The Socialist Challenge Today. In their book, they analyze the recent history of SYRIZA, Corbyn, and Sanders to examine how the socialist left can resolve the dilemma of the immediate need for action and the importance of building long-term transformative potential that can carry us to a world beyond capitalism. The National Political Education Committee invites chapters to host local discussions following this talk. To learn more, please fill out this form.

NO SHORTCUTS FOR YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA

YDSA is excited to announce that we are holding a reading group for the book No Shortcuts by Jane McAlevey. Over 4 weeks from late July-mid August, YDSA members and student organizers across the country will read No Shortcuts together and gather for weekly discussion calls led by experienced DSA and YDSA organizers. If you’re a student and are interested in participating in this reading group, sign up here.

YDSA FALL RECRUITMENT DRIVE

The Fall semester is fast approaching, and so is the 2020 YDSA Fall Recruitment Drive! Every year hundreds of students from across the country sign up to launch new YDSA chapters at their colleges and high schools. COVID-19 may have made it impossible for many new groups to meet in person this year, but we won’t let that stop us from organizing virtually and building socialist power on dozens of new campuses this Fall.

If you are a student interested in starting or reviving a new YDSA chapter, please fill out this form.

To find an existing chapter, look through our official chapter list.

JOIN 7/19 CALL: MEDICARE FOR ALL POLICY AND ORGANIZING WORKSHOP

Join us Sunday, 7/19 at 7:30pm ET/6:30pm CT/5:30pm MT/4:30pm PT to learn how to phonebank and organize for the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, and to advance the only real solution: Medicare for All.

The current moment demonstrates why it is vital to fight for universal healthcare. COVID-19 has left millions unemployed, uninsured, and struggling to afford basic necessities like rent. This crisis has been particularly hard-hitting due to our for-profit healthcare system, which withholds healthcare from those who cannot afford it. Only a publicly financed and administered system can prioritize public health, early intervention and prevention, and provide free vaccines. We must fight for-profit insurers and ensure that healthcare providers and facilities reach historically marginalized, neglected, and poor communities. Only if we break the link between employment and health insurance, eliminate all costs at the point of service, and provide comprehensive benefits to all residents regardless of income or immigration status, can we equitably provide healthcare to all. Now more than ever, we need a healthcare system that prioritizes the health of working-class Americans over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives. We need a single, universal system with comprehensive coverage that is free at the point of service.

Two Medicare for All bills, H.R. 1384 and S. 1129, were introduced last year with an impressive number of cosponsors. While we continue to build on this success, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal have introduced the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act (HCEGA), to cover all healthcare costs for the uninsured and all out-of-pocket expenses for those with insurance for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. The HCEGA is the kind of bold response that is needed — and can lead to the more permanent solution: Medicare for All.

Now is the time to act. Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All is organizing a nationwide campaign to call on our representatives to support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, and to advance the only real solution: Medicare for All. As part of this campaign, we are hosting a policy and organizing workshop to walk through what’s at stake in the current crises, and why socialists should organize around healthcare reform. We will provide training on how to phonebank and organize in this unique moment. This training is designed to provide useful skills that you can take with you into your organizing projects.

ACT NOW TO DEMAND A GREEN STIMULUS — CALL OR SEND A LETTER TO CONGRESS

How can the US — and the world — recover from the Covid-19 crisis while addressing mass, racialized inequality and climate breakdown? And how can DSA win power to take on this global challenge? Join DSA members across the country to pressure representatives to endorse a Green Stimulus and learn new skills for winning power against fossil fuel and other ruling class interests.

A letter is circulating in Congress right now calling on House leadership to commit to a transformational investment in the Green Stimulus. DSA has endorsed the circulating letter and the Green Stimulus: a plan for a just, green economic recovery that puts people and the planet before profit. With aggressive measures such as the expansion of public ownership in transit agencies, local housing authorities, public school districts, and electric co-ops and the creation of millions of new unionized green jobs, the Green Stimulus paints a clear picture of the world that we are fighting to build.

We need to act now. Establishment House Democrats just announced a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that includes green and climate elements, but falls short of the transformative vision of the Green Stimulus.

At the same time, the historic uprisings against police violence have elevated the bold demand of defunding the police, while investing in racialized and working class communities. This demand aligns with the public investment, community, and worker-centric orientation of the Green Stimulus. Now is the time for social movements to highlight the intersections between environmental racism, COVID-19 infections, the climate crisis, and economic devastation.

60 Representatives have already signed the letter, which was endorsed by DSA, the Sunrise Movement, and many climate and environmental justice organizations. But we need as broad a commitment as possible to send a clear message to House leadership. Help put the pressure on Congress to adopt the Green Stimulus as a baseline for future economic recovery legislation — call or email your representative using the script in this toolkit.

DSA FOR BERNIE ONE YEAR LATER

One year ago, we launched the first organizing event of our national DSA for Bernie campaign, with almost 50 DSA chapters hosting watch parties for the initial Democratic debates. Since then, we built arguably the largest independent expenditure campaign for Bernie in the country. We have decided to use this anniversary to dive into our growth through DSA for Bernie, and what advice we want to give future organization-wide projects.

We collected dozens of post-election reports from our DSA for Bernie chapters and held a series of debrief calls with local and national leaders, and out of those we created two pieces to share across our membership. Our campaign team wrote up a full DSA for Bernie Debrief Pamphlet for chapters to use as a starting point for their own debriefs, along with a companion Medium article on the campaign that is shorter and easier to share publicly. Please take a look at these pieces, discuss them with members of your chapter, and share your own reflections on social media.

JOIN 7/16 CALL: FAITH, ABOLITION AND SOCIALISM WITH LINDA SARSOUR AND ANDREW WILKES

Join us Thursday, July 16th at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT to hear Linda Sarsour and Andrew Wilkes talk about Faith, Abolition and Socialism. Other speakers will be announced. There will be time for small-group discussions to share what your faith communities are doing and could do, and the roles of people of faith in the current campaign for abolition of policing as we have known it.

The DSA Religion and Socialism Working Group invites you to join us and sign up for the national listserv for announcements of future national webinars and Zoom conversations. There’s a lot happening, and faith communities are crucial to the fight for racial and economic equality. If you want to be on the national listserv, you may also contact religioussocialism@dsausa.org.

WELCOME OUR NEW INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP

We are happy to announce that the new leadership slate of the DSA International Committee (IC) has been formally appointed by the National Political Committee. This is a huge step forward in our ongoing process of restructuring the International Committee. Our new IC leadership slate will soon begin the process of taking office as well as opening up International Committee subcommittees to all of DSA membership for your participation in the next couple months. The most important part of this reform is you! If international solidarity is your passion please keep your eyes out for next month’s Dispatch, as we hope to have more information regarding the applications to join the IC as a member.

OPEN LETTER CALLING ON JOE BIDEN TO DROP OUT

Feminists and survivors in DSA are circulating an open letter calling for Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential election in light of accusations of sexual assault from former staff assistant Tara Reade. Facing a choice between the neo-fascist candidate currently in the White House and a neo-liberal candidate not of our choosing, both of whom have been accused of sexual assault, DSA has not made any endorsements in the general presidential election. You can read the open letter here and sign on if you support the call for Biden to drop out and candidates running on the Democratic Party ballot line to revoke endorsements of Biden.