November Dispatch and Celebrating Eugene Debs

We are going into a critical election year. The working class of Chicago just flexed their muscles with a massive strike against their neoliberal Democratic mayor. And in Washington the impeachment hearings continue, prompting an aggressive backlash by the Republicans.

As civil war hashtags are trending on social media and Trump is backed into a corner, desperate to find a distraction, let’s remember the wise words of legendary American socialist Eugene Victor Debs at his Canton, Ohio speech against World War One. His birthday was November 5th. War, he said, is a racket, unless it’s the class war:

“That is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.

“They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.

“And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.

Yours not to reason why;
Yours but to do and die.

That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation.

“If war is right let it be declared by the people. You who have your lives to lose, you certainly above all others have the right to decide the momentous issue of war or peace.”

Never forget the importance of the class struggle.

Maria Svart

DSA National Director

NATIONAL UPDATES

MEET YOUR STAFF

Brandon Henander, Compliance Manager

Based in Milwaukee

I grew up in Illinois and have made the Sewer Socialist City my adoptive home. I have worked as a union organizer and on campaigns at the state, local and federal level as well as issue issue advocacy, independent expenditure, and ballot initiative campaigns. I also have a background in legal aid and years of experience helping people navigate legal issues. Compliance with election law helps protect DSA’s integrity as an organization and will facilitate the election of socialist candidates across the country. Campaign finance law can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Please reach out — I’m your resource for any compliance questions! You can email me at compliance@dsausa.org.

DSA-BACKED CANDIDATES WIN ELECTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

More DSAers and DSA-endorsed candidates are winning local races! We’ve already won in 10 states, and some results where we’re in the lead are still pending. We won in small towns, big cities, Northeast, West Coast, South, and Midwest. Here’s some highlights:

  • In Virginia, Charlottesville DSA founder and community organizer Michael Payne won a city council and is ready to build community wealth, fund affordable housing, set up systems for police accountability, and chart a path towards a carbon neutral city.
  • Philly DSA united with the Working Families Party and a coalition of progressive groups to replace a Republican city councilmember with Kendra Brooks, the first candidate from outside the Democratic or Republican parties to win a council seat in Philadelphia’s history. The coalition knocked over 200,000 doors for a mother who rents the home she grew up in because she lost it in a sheriff’s sale. Now, Kendra Brooks, that mother, worker, and activist, is in power, despite the work of many Democrats to keep the Republican in over her.
  • Boston DSA ran their member Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, a tenant organizer and renter, for City Council in Cambridge on a platform of housing for all and won. Not only does Cambridge now have a renter on the council, they will have an advocate for fare free public transit, municipal broadband, and free higher ed tuition for public school graduates, financed by contributions from MIT and Harvard.
  • In Tennessee, Amelia Parker joins DSA Seema Singh in Knoxville. And in Colorado, Junie Joseph was elected in Boulder, near DSAer Candi CdeBaca in Denver.

JOIN THE DSA IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS WORKING GROUP CALL 11/21

Join the DSA Immigrants’ Rights Working Group of DSA (IRWG) Thursday, 11/21 at 8:30PM ET/7:30PM CT/6:30 MT/5:30 PT for “No One Is Illegal! A Webinar on Capitalism, Imperialism and Borders.”

Borders throughout the world have become sites of state violence, racist discrimination, and policing of workers’ freedom of movement. From the US to Mexico, the EU and Israel, governments have militarized their boundaries, policed them with guards, forced migrants to take dangerous routes where they are losing their lives in record numbers, jailed those that survive in concentration camps, and exploited others as cheap labor without the rights of workers with citizenship.

In this webinar, experts on capitalism, climate change, imperialism and migration will explain the systemic roots of population displacement, the nature and function of the new border regime and present a case for working class unity against the oppression and scapegoating of migrants throughout the world.

Speakers include:

  • Justin Akers Chacon, author of No One is Illegal and Radicals in the Barrio
  • Todd Miller, author of Empire of Borders, Border Patrol Nation, and Storming the Wall
  • Harsha Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism
  • Jorge Mújica, author of Voces Migrantes: Movimiento 10 de Marzo, DSA member and Organizer with Arise Chicago, National Council member of the National Writers Union 

NEW ISSUE OF SOCIALIST FORUM IS OUT

The new issue of Socialist Forum is out! This quarter’s issue is on migration and class struggle. Migration and immigration clearly represent crucial political questions for the society as a whole, for the international socialist movement, and for DSA.

In this issue, DSAers address vital questions: How do our understanding of capitalism and imperialism help us to better understand migration and immigration? How does our socialist internationalism provide us guidance in addressing this issue? What should socialists be doing to resist nationalist and anti-immigrant policies in the short run? What policies can address migration and immigration in the long run?

Check out the Socialist Forum website for the latest issue, back issues, and reader responses.

DSA MEDICARE FOR ALL UPDATE

We want you to tell us why you’re fighting for Medicare for All through our #DontBargainWithOurLives campaign! We’re encouraging union members and DSA chapters to upload short videos of themselves talking about why Medicare for All is so important. Fill out this form to share your video with us and we’ll help promote it when the campaign kicks off on December 9. Let’s flood social media with #DontBargainWithOurLives videos and messages! We want to make it clear that the labor movement isn’t just fighting for their own benefits — they’re fighting with all of us for Medicare for All.

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST LABOR COMMISSION (DSLC) NEWS

Chapters from across the country provided strike support to both the UAW and CTU and SEIU strikers. Many chapters provided material donations and picket support throughout the strike at the many UAW picket line locations. Members of Chicago DSA adopted 11 schools and picketed alongside teachers and staff as they fought for their students during the Chicago Teachers’ strike. YDSA members also traveled to Chicago to help out. Alongside CTU retirees, they formed “flying picket squads” that reinforced schools that needed extra support. DSA members from all over the country provided funding to the Chicago DSA and Chicago Jobs With Justice Bread for Ed fundraiser. With the help of seed money donated by Las Vegas DSA, they raised almost fifty thousand dollars to support striking school staff and children who rely on school meals in order to eat each day. A surplus from this effort will be rolled into the next strike, which could happen soon in Little Rock, Arkansas as the strike wave continues.

When we fight, we win!

You can make donations in support of Little Rock teachers here.

YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA (YDSA) SAVE THE DATE

Save the Date: We’re 100 days out from the 2020 YDSA Winter Conference in Chicago the weekend of Feb. 14-16! The YDSA Winter Conference is an annual event for Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) members and interested young adults to gather for political education, organizing training, and strategy discussions to build and strengthen the democratic socialist movement. Our 2020 theme is “Unite, Fight, Win,” and we’re excited to open up registration in the coming weeks. Contact Michael at michael@dsausa.org for more information.