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Get Ready to Defend Democracy: October Dispatch

I’ve been thinking a lot about this election. Last night we got a taste of what we’ll face even if we get Trump out: a poised Kamala Harris saying matter of factly that a Biden administration won’t do what it takes to avert climate disaster, and that “we’re not going to stop funding police departments.” On the other hand, Trump would be an unmitigated disaster for the multiracial working class and grave threat to our already flawed democracy.

On election night, we may not have results immediately, and we can assume Trump is likely to cling to power, launch dozens of lawsuits, go around governors to appoint electors, and look for excuses to enact emergency powers and criminalize dissent. He has been laying the groundwork for all of the above.

For a working class struggling to survive COVID, the economic crisis, and police and vigilante violence, it’s a dangerous moment.

But we’re getting ready.

DSA chapter leaders are working with the National Political Committee and DSA staff to review scenarios and assess local readiness for action. You may have seen press coverage of some of our other campaigns to save the USPS, win workplace safety measures, defund the police, demand COVID relief for the unemployed and cancelled rent, and much more – including electing endorsed candidates up and down the ballot.

And we’re continuing our drive to reach 100,000 members, because we know an organized working class is better able to defend ourselves.

Over the next 26 days, we’ll be using this work to prepare for the day after the election, and beyond. Other organizations are setting up critical legal infrastructure, and voter protection and poll watchers leading into election day, but in the aftermath, we bring something critical: organizing chops. Will we need to mobilize large numbers into the streets and provide protest marshalling support? Will we need to help coordinate among grassroots organizations on the ground? Will we need to lift up local stories into the national media? Will we need to canvass to collect affidavits for legal cases? Will we need to help train masses of new people moving into action? You’ll hear more about this next week from the National Political Committee.

We don’t know what November will bring, but we know we need to be nimble and prepared. 

Join me and now 75,000 fellow members in making plans! Get on one of our upcoming national calls, reach out to your local chapter, and find a place to plug into the struggle. 

Maria Svart

National Director

Other Announcements from Around DSA:

10/14 CALL — ELECTION 2020: WHAT SHOULD SOCIALISTS BE DOING?

What should socialists be doing now, as the election looms large in people’s minds? Join us Wednesday, 10/14 at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT for a strategic discussion of what outcomes should we prepare for, and how!

During a pandemic and deep economic crisis, we’re seeing high levels of organizing and uprising, both in the workplace and out. But state repression has met this increased political activity and threatens to worsen if Trump wins. Still, a Biden victory doesn’t spell out any guarantees for our class — if he wins, he is likely to be the most conservative Democrat in office in years, refusing to support Medicare for All even as a virus threatens the lives of millions of Americans. Join us next Wednesday to discuss how we should organize now to be ready no matter the results in November!

DSA 2021 CONVENTION — APPLY TO PLANNING SUBCOMMITTEES TODAY

Next year’s online convention will be the first time we come together to deliberate about the direction, tasks, and politics of our organization since the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election — and our first time doing this virtually!

We need experienced members to help plan this event. If you want to participate in this very important task, please fill out this form. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020. 

10/10 BLACK HEALTH + BLACK LIBERATION SPEAKOUT: BLACK EXPERIENCES WITH THE PRIVATE US HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

Uprisings across the country are bringing attention to the injustices of police brutality and systemic racism. But how do movements like Medicare for All meet this moment, especially in the time of COVID-19? In this series, we’ll speak to activists and organizers fighting at the intersection of healthcare and Black liberation.

The third call in this series will be “Stories from the Front: Black Experiences with the Private US Healthcare System.” Join us this Saturday, 10/10 at 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT to hear people from the most marginalized communities sharing their stories of how their health has been impacted by the US private healthcare system.

This series is co-sponsored the the DSA Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus, DSA, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) Action, the DSA M4A Committee, Healthy California Now, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, People’s Action, and Physicians for a National Health Program.

10/9 THE SOUTHERN KEY BOOK DISCUSSION — LEARN ABOUT LABOR HISTORY IN THE SOUTH

DSA’s Democratic Socialist Labor Commission is excited to host Michael Goldfield as he speaks on his book The Southern Key: Class, Race, and Radicalism in the 1930s and 1940s and discusses labor strategy in the American South. The call will be this Friday, 10/9 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT. RSVP here!

10/12 IMMIGRANT RIGHTS WORKING GROUP CALL — IMMIGRANTS’ STRUGGLES IN THE TIME OF COVID/LA LUCHA EN LOS TIEMPOS DE COVID!

Join the Immigrants’ Rights Working Group Monday, 10/12 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT for a webinar on Immigrants’ Struggles in the Time of Covid/La lucha en los tiempos de Covid! Hear from comrades on the front lines of the immigrants’ rights movement discussing resistance in the concentration camps and struggles on the job, and find out how to get involved.

10/12 YDSA CALL — STUDENT SOCIALIST ORGANIZING AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT

Join YDSA Monday, 10/12 at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT/6:30pm MT/5:30pm PT for a panel on Student Socialist Organizing and the Labor Movement! You’ll hear from DSA members and former Bernie staffers Hannah Ehrlinspiel and Jonah Furman about why socialists care so much about workers, how their own experiences on the Bernie campaign relate to labor, and what students can do to help rebuild the labor movement. Hope to see you there, and be sure to invite any socialism-curious students you know!

DSA RECRUITMENT DRIVE OFF TO A GREAT START — GET INVOLVED TODAY!

It’s been one week since we launched our first ever DSA Recruitment Drive, and already our members have shattered our expectations by bringing in more than 2,000 new members. Still, we know this won’t be enough as we continue to fight back against a pandemic, an economic crisis, and police violence. 

We’re asking every member to sign our 100K Pledge, a commitment to bring three new people into DSA as we build a mass socialist organization that reflects the diversity of the US working class. And check out our leaderboard to see the progress of our members and chapters as we take a giant step closer to #DSA100K!

WELCOME A NEW LOCAL CHAPTER

Join us in welcoming our newest chapter, Palm Beach, FL! Stay tuned for more Organizing Committee and chapter announcements as they come in.

MEET YOUR STAFF: NEW PROGRAM ASSOCIATE PRISCILLA OLAYA YEVERINO

Hi friends! My name is Priscilla Olaya Yeverino. As DSA’s new Program Associate, I support all aspects of national DSA’s work including swag, earned media, and coordinating work with remote and local volunteers. I’m from Irving, Texas, and am a member of Denton DSA. I have a background in public administration, public relations and political science.

I worked on the first Bernie campaign as a newbie volunteer, a congressional midterms campaign as a comms coordinator, the second Bernie campaign as an avid socialist, and the Sunrise Movement Dallas hub as a co-founder and electoral co-lead. I look forward to organizing together for climate justice, social justice, economic justice, and in every way possible, a better world.

DSA IS HIRING!

As our organization grows, so does our staffing. We are hiring a new YDSA organizer focused on HBCUs as well as community colleges and trade schools, a development director, and a finance coordinator. Both the organizer and development director are remote positions and start after the election. The finance coordinator is NYC based. Come work for democratic socialism in a union workplace with robust benefits!

NEW SOCIALIST FORUM COVID CRISIS SPECIAL ISSUE

The new edition of Socialist Forum, DSA’s journal of theory, strategy, and debate, is out now! This issue features ten in-depth articles dedicated to understanding the COVID-19 crisis and offering some proposals for a new departure. These articles are meant to initiate a collective discussion on the pandemic and its ramifications, which we will all be grappling with for years. We encourage DSA members to use these articles as a starting point for collective political discussions in your chapters. To submit a response to any of the articles, please email socialistforum@dsausa.org.