June Dispatch

National Updates Table of Contents

What a month, between the horrific abortion ban and birth control laws gaining steam, Trump’s expansion of religious exemption rules which allow health care providers to refuse care to LGBTQ people up to and including emergency room care, and Democrat Joe Biden’s waffling on the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funds for abortion in most cases. This month also saw six trans people — all black women — killed by vigilantes.

Then there’s the news that Stephen Miller is purging the Department of Homeland Security of people who opposed his plan to escalate immigrant arrests. And our government continues to create conditions where migrant children die in custody and prosecute humanitarians who leave water in the desert.

Or the undeniable signs that the climate crisis is escalating. I’m in New Orleans for the national AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus Convening, and we have a flood warning for tomorrow because the Mississippi River is so swollen from flooding upriver in the midwest.

And the GOP plan to use the census to gerrymander. John Bolton’s drive for war. The list goes on.

So why keep fighting?

Because millions of us know what’s at stake, we’re coming together across our differences and we’re rising up. Because that’s how we can win.

Whether it’s the Bernie Sanders campaign’s staff ratifying their first union contract, and Elizabeth Warren following Sanders to recognize her staff’s union, or graduate students at my alma mater, the University of Chicago and several other campuses across the city holding strikes, walk-outs or other actions, we’re recognizing that the world runs on our labor. And at least one presidential candidate recognizes that —  Bernie uses his massive list to send supporters to picket lines!

That said, it’s not just action in the streets that we need. We need bold ideas. Bernie just introduced a plan to tax stock, bond and derivatives trades. But more importantly, he is campaigning on what has been termed a “new Meidner Plan,” a policy to put control of capital into the hands of workers by having large firms issue a portion of their stocks to an employee-owned fund. The financial transactions tax would raise money for public programs, but the proposal to socialize investment would take concrete power from the capitalist class and put it in our hands.

It’s up to us to seize the moment. We don’t just want to reverse course and return to the neoliberal status quo. We want a whole new world.

NATIONAL UPDATES

MEET THE STAFF

Glenn Rehn, Organizing Director

Greetings, I’m Glenn — the new Organizing Director for DSA. Although I’m new to the staff, I’m not new to DSA (what up, Chicago) or organizing. Until last year, I worked for the Service Employees International Union in Florida for many years doing community organizing and data. Over the years I’ve also done work on issue and electoral campaigns so I’m extremely excited to step into this role and work with our organizing team to support chapters’ growth and campaigns. I hope to meet some of you this summer (through travel or the national convention) and many more of you after that — whether on Zoom or in person. If you have good, healthy caffeinated drink suggestions, please send them my way.

Claudia Cahill, DSA Internal Communications and Digital Organizer

Hello, I’m Claudia. I was formerly our Grassroots Fundraiser and Member Engagement staffer, and now handle our internal communications. I grew up in a working class family in upstate New York (yay rural and small town chapters!) and now live in Brooklyn. I’ve previously worked in digital pre-press, food service, and as a house cleaner and child care worker. Every bit of that was… eye-opening. My background in theater tech, cultural anthropology, and teaching has been enormously helpful at DSA, as has my work in LGBTQ activism, religious socialism, anti-war street theater, and special needs cat rescue. (Yes, cat rescue. In hard times, we all need some comfort — and organizing really is herding cats!)

HIRING UPDATE: MORE MEMBERSHIP SERVICES STAFF

We are happy to announce the hiring of two new staff members starting next week, Elizabeth Y. and Zachariah B. Elizabeth is our new Membership Associate. She will be handling member services from distributing new membership cards to answering inquiries about dues payments. Zachariah will be with us through the convention, managing our Registration Help Desk and providing operational support directly to our organizing team.  

WATCH NO SHORTCUTS TO BUILDING POWER VIDEO

On June 1 hundreds of DSA members participated in a mass call with legendary organizer Jane McAlevey about her book No Shortcuts: Building Power in the New Gilded Age.

Click here to watch the one hour and a half call. Next up, two more calls in a training format, which we encourage you to do as a group with other members or friends. We’re rescheduling our June 26th call because that’s the first Democratic Party presidential debate, so watch for the new date. But you can register for the July 10th call now. Check out our page with book discounts. And remember, all DSA and YDSA chapters are eligible for a free copy of the book thanks to the DSA Fund, our sister educational 501(c)(3) organization.

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST LABOR COMMISSION AT THE SOCIALISM 2019 CONFERENCE

DSA has endorsed the Socialism 2019 Conference in Chicago July 4th-7th. This year DSA and the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission are organizing panels and workshops throughout the weekend. The Socialism Conference is one of the largest annual socialist gatherings in the United States, and we’re proud to have a presence there this year.

Early Bird Registration ENDS TODAY, June 7th, so make sure to register ASAP! Early Bird rates start at $90 dollars and $55 for students, and the conference organizers have negotiated a very good hotel rate. You can check out the conference website for details.

If you want to connect with other DSA members attending the conference, you can fill out this form. We’ll see you there!

MEDICARE FOR ALL WEEKEND OF ACTION JUNE 15 – 16

Check out our video with Michael Lighty that went viral on Twitter this week! It came as Medicare for All campaigns in chapters across the country have been celebrating big wins. Austin DSA, in tandem with coalition partners like National Nurses United, successfully pressured Rep. Lloyd Doggett to co-sponsor H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. North Carolina-Piedmont DSA and Louisville DSA also celebrated wins when Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) co-sponsored the legislation after feeling the heat from DSA chapters and other coalition partners.

To keep the momentum going, we need your help: join us for a Weekend of Action on June 15-16 to convince even more legislators to support single-payer healthcare! Any chapter can participate in the Weekend of Action. Every canvass, tabling event and face-to-face conversation helps, no matter how small! Be sure to fill out this form for your chapter so one of our regional organizers can be in touch. You can also check out our House Pressure Campaign guide to learn how to successfully lobby elected officials in your area. We hope this will be our largest Weekend of Action yet, and we’re excited to keep the momentum going to bring Medicare for All to a historic floor vote.

Finally, be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest news from the campaign!

BUILDING THE PIPELINE OF SOCIALISTS IN OFFICE

Congratulations to Los Angeles DSA, who helped elect Jackie Goldberg to LA School Board, and Denver DSA, who helped elect Candi CdeBaca to Denver City Council! Reach out to eric@dsausa.org to phone bank, text bank, or travel in to canvass for Irma Corado (election Tue, June 11th) and Tiffany Cabán (election Tue, June 25th). Corado will work to get out ICE in a county where one in every one hundred residents are in deportation proceedings, and Cabán will fight to decriminalize “broken windows” offenses like sex work and drug use, turning the attention of the DA to wage theft, landlord harassment, and white collar crime. Both Corado and Caban can make a big difference in people’s lives, but they need your help to win!

The National Electoral Committee is looking forward to hosting the DSA In Office Gathering concurrent with the DSA National Convention. It will be a chance for DSA elected officials to build closer relationships with each other, hone their skills to get results, and strengthen their ability to use the bully pulpit of public office to fight the capitalist class and raise expectations for a better world.

We’re building the pipeline of working class candidates like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who this week introduced a bill to spend trillions of dollars on direct cash subsidies to poor and working class people, including the unemployed and those with no income.

YDSA LAUNCHES SOCIALIST SUMMER CAMP

The Young Democratic Socialists of America are holding weekly online organizing trainings all summer for high school and college students or anyone else interested in campus organizing. Join us around the virtual campfire for Socialist Summer Camp, every Tuesday at 8PM ET/7PM CT/6PM MT/5PM PT. If there are students in your chapter who are interested in starting a YDSA chapter this Fall, please reach out to them and encourage them to attend! Register and get more information here.

DEMOCRATIC LEFT NEEDS SKILLED VOLUNTEERS

Democratic Left is DSA’s volunteer-led nationwide print-and-online publication. At a time of exploding interest in socialism  we’re eager to improve the quality of the publication and increase its online frequency and reach. To accomplish that, we have great need of skilled volunteers in the following categories:

  • Graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, layout/design
  • Copy editors, proofreaders, and fact checkers
  • Editors (developing relationships with writers, fielding pitches and soliciting articles, and working with them to improve articles)
  • Writers and reporters

To apply, fill out the Google form here.  If you do not have a Google account, you can follow the application instructions here.

ROLLING OUT NEW TECH TOOLS FOR YOUR DSA ORGANIZING

As a national organization, we can pool member dues to use economies of scale and get local organizers these tools at NO direct cost to chapters. We’re listening to chapter feedback to provide new training and tech tools for your organizing. Check out the first three tools we’re providing!

Get tech tools for your DSA organizing -- Claim yours: orgtools@dsausa.org. Illustration shows three people rolling out red carpets with roses. The carpets are labelled "Action Network," "Spoke," and "VAN."

What we’re rolling out:

  • Action Network for event management, emails and fundraising (+ our cool Bernie event map)
  • Spoke for mass text banking, such as meeting turnout or rapid response
  • VAN for tracking as you build your base through voter contact about candidates or issues

Claim yours: OrgTools@dsausa.org

DSA CALLS FOR AN END TO U.S. PARTICIPATION IN WAR ON YEMEN

DSA is calling on the Trump administration to end its complicity in the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war on Yemen, a brutal intervention that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands, displaced millions and threatens millions more with famine and cholera. DSA joined 40 other advocacy groups in signing on to a letter by Just Foreign Policy to “defund the U.S. role in Yemen war.” The letter went out to every House and Senate office Tuesday morning, June 4, and will be considered as part of the upcoming 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Defense Appropriations. Reach out to your Representative and Senators directly to help bring this humanitarian crisis to an end and push Congress “to reassert its Constitutional authority on matters of war and peace.”

SOCIALIST FEMINISM IN ACTION

We issued a statement against the Georgia abortion ban on May 10, only to see several more states follow suit. The work of DSA socialist feminist working groups and chapters to raise more than $137,000 for the National Network of Abortion Funds and funds across the country is a start, but we need a resurgent grassroots feminist movement to fight back.

RESOURCES FOR CHAPTER HARASSMENT AND GRIEVANCE OFFICERS

After organizing trainings at all nine pre-convention regional conferences this spring, our national Harassment and Grievance Officer has set up some online resources for chapter HGOs. Next up: webinars and more in depth trainings for the national convention, as well as continuing to process grievance appeals brought to the national level and supporting chapter HGOs with individualized coaching as cases come up. HGOs, please reach out to Paula at nationalgrievanceofficer@dsausa.org for help any time.

GET STARTED ON LOCAL DSA FOR BERNIE WORK

We need Bernie to win — and we need to be a stronger organization and movement when he does, because we know the backlash will be fierce. That’s one reason that our campaign plan is to do effective Bernie work that also centers our issues and builds chapter capacity at the grassroots.

Watch our campaign launch video that recaps our strategy, compliance rules, upcoming resources we’ll be developing, and what you can do to get started locally. Watch our video on getting started with voter registration and outreach about Bernie. And check out our DSA for Bernie Independent Expenditure Memo and FAQ.

NATIONAL POLITICAL COMMITTEE MINUTES

Minutes from the April 13 – 14 NPC meeting are available on the national website now.

CONVENTION UPDATES

As a reminder, the deadline for National Political Committee nominations is June 16th. If you would like to run for the 2019-2021 NPC, you must fill out the national NPC Candidate Questionnaire by Sunday, June 16th to formalize your candidacy. In order to run for the NPC, DSA members must be in good standing. The 2019 Preconvention Rules state that candidates to the NPC must be nominated by a majority vote of any chapter’s or OC’s general meeting, a national committee, a national working group, or the AFROSOC-POC Caucus. You can find more information about the 2019-2021 NPC elections here.

We will be having a series of three NPC Candidate Forums beginning at the end of June. Click here for the form for members to submit questions for NPC Candidate Forums.

Chapter leaders received delegate registration and scholarship application information on June 1st. As an update, the Early Bird registration rate has been extended to June 20th. All scholarship recipients will be grandfathered in to the Early Bird registration rate.

Do you want to help the 2019 DSA National Convention be truly a convention for all of our delegates? Give to the Solidarity Fund today to support delegate scholarships, accessibility needs, and child watch! In past years, scholarships were available for travel costs only. This year we have expanded scholarships to include support with travel, registration fees, and housing. Delegates who need financial assistance to attend are encouraged to apply for a scholarship.

We are lucky that we are able to host this event in one of only two union hotels in Atlanta, and we’ve been able to reserve a block of rooms at a highly discounted rate. The hotel is also much more accessible to disabled members than the 2017 Convention venue. The 2017 Convention took place in a more affordable venue, but with insufficient breakout space. Furthermore, because sessions were spread out over several city blocks, some sessions were difficult for members with mobility issues to access. This year we have hundreds more delegates, yet the venue will be accessible beyond ADA compliance. You can find updated information about registration and housing here.

Please note that due to space concerns at the convention, no alternates will be able to physically attend, unless they are attending in place of a delegate. If an alternate needs to attend in place of a delegate, please notify the national office of the change by emailing RegHelpDesk@dsausa.org. This is unlikely to change; if this does change based on the collective delegation sizes that are reported to the national office, we will notify all delegation chairs. Therefore, alternates should not book travel at this time.

Have a good weekend!

Maria Svart
DSA National Director