September Dispatch — Organizing is Personal

I’m going to get a little personal with this Dispatch, please forgive me. I’m in mourning.

I grew up bushwhacking around the Pacific Northwest, off-trail hiking even as a child. I saw glorious alpine lakes and ancient trees, and to get there my family visited struggling small towns decimated by the endless corporate appetite for timber, which valued short term profits over long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

Some of those wild places are now burned away, and so are some of those rural communities. Hundreds of thousands are evacuated or on “be ready” orders, and countless wildland firefighters are risking their lives.

I’m mourning my beloved Oregon, but really this is just what tipped me over the edge about our future. Whether it’s fires like these, or the flooding of the gulf or midwestern rivers, or inland hurricanes and droughts, climate change touches all of us, and it will only get worse if we don’t organize. It’s much like the genocidal, deliberate neglect we face as COVID rages on — it will only get worse if we don’t organize. And the unapologetic and systematic violence of those supposedly here to protect and serve will only get worse if we don’t organize.

That’s why I am so heartened by being a DSA member.

The urgency of DSA’s Green New Deal work is more clear than ever — and it’s more inspiring than ever. Over 60 of our chapters are sending reps to a national deep dive all-weekend strategy call starting Saturday. They will come out with two distinct plans on how to proceed after the election, whether we’re fighting eco-fascism or the so called gentler neo-liberalism that set this all in motion well before Trump showed up in the White House.

In fact the urgency of all of our work is more clear than ever. DSA chapters are organizing the unemployed and to save the USPS, fighting for safe schools and COVID relief, building Labor for Black Lives and defunding police in communities large and small, demanding Medicare for All and rent cancelation during this pandemic and organizing mutual aid for those going hungry or displaced by weather disasters.

Many DSA chapters are fighting voter suppression of poor, working class, black, brown or young voters this fall, or for our endorsed candidates. We don’t know what will happen on November 3, but we know we likely won’t have full results election night, and it will become a people’s struggle against the bully in the White House to count every vote. We’re preparing to take to the streets if needed.

No matter what happens, we need a larger and more powerful movement, so while we’re doing all of this campaign work, we are also launching a Recruitment Drive October 1 to help move us closer to a 100,000 member DSA. We all swim in a culture that teaches us that we are personally responsible for our failures and we should feel shame that we can’t somehow succeed against the odds. But DSA teaches us that if we stand together, if we demand and fight for a better life, we can win.

There are only two classes in the world — the owning class, and the rest of us. We are all set to burn for the greed of the few, unless we organize.

Now is the time to join the struggle.

Maria Svart
DSA National Director

Other Announcements from Around DSA:

TONIGHT, 9/10 — JOIN OUR GREEN NEW DEAL FOR SAFE SCHOOLS CALL!

Against the backdrop of contentious school reopenings that have emerged as urgent sites of class struggle, DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group invites you to a panel discussion on A Green New Deal for Safe Public Schools TONIGHT, Thursday 9/10 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT! This event is co-sponsored by the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission and Jacobin magazine. The call will center a holistic vision of “safety” that includes teachers, parents, students, support staff, the broader communities in which schools are embedded, and how a Green New Deal for schools will benefit the labor movement and secure a more just future for our families.

Our panelists include Jollene Levid, UTLA organizer, parent, and feminist and anti-racist organizer; Hannah Allison (DSA National Political Committee member), who organizes paraeducators with CWA; Nikil Saval, a DSA-endorsed candidate for PA legislature who centered a Green New Deal for public schools in his platform; and Jabari Brisport (DSA-NYC), a DSA-endorsed candidate for NY legislature, public school teacher, and climate activist. Our moderator is Daniel Aldana Cohen, a DSA member and co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal. You can RSVP here.

TONIGHT, 9/10 — ROUNDTABLE ON RANK AND FILE REFORM MOVEMENTS

Tonight, Thursday, 9/10 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT, our Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC) is hosting an event on current union insurgent movements and how and why union activists go about transforming their unions. We’ll be joined by members of the Housestaff for a Democratic Union slate, which is running a slate of candidates for leadership of the Committee on Interns and residents (CIR), a 16,000-member division of the SEIU. We’ll also hear from a member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), and a member of Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD). Sign up here to get the Zoom info!

MONDAY 9/14 — BLACK HEALTH + BLACK LIBERATION SERIES: WHY DO WE HAVE RACIAL HEALTH DISPARITIES?

Our AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus and Medicare for All Committee is excited to invite you to our next Black Health + Black Liberation call! This is an ongoing series to discuss the intersections of Black Health and Black Liberation, especially as Black communities are contracting and dying of COVID-19 at higher rates than white Americans. We’ll speak to healthcare experts, activists and organizers fighting at the intersection of healthcare and Black liberation.

Our next panel, “Why do we have racial health inequities?,” will be on Monday, 9/14 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT. Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) will be joined by her colleagues for a discussion about the historical, economic, and social determinants of health.

Thank you to all who were able to attend our previous Black Health + Black Liberation Series call, #CareNotCops, on the movement to defund the police, the need to reinvest in Black health, and the health consequences of the prison industrial complex. If you weren’t able to join us for that call, you can view the recording here.

MONDAY 9/21 — HEALTH WORKER COLLECTIVE CALL

DSA’s Health Worker Collective (HWC) is partnering with the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee (EWOC) on industry-focused trainings to empower and educate health workers. If you are a health worker, sign up here to join the collective.

On Monday, 9/21 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT, the HWC will host Health Workers Organize for Power! On the call, you can hear from a panel of worker leaders organizing in the workplace around demands related to the COVID pandemic. If you are a health worker, register for the call today!

JOIN THE DSA4USPS COMMITTEE — AND NEW DSA FOR POSTAL WORKERS POSTCARDS!

Join the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission’s DSA4USPS subcommittee! At our meetings every other Wednesday at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT, we discuss updates with the postal service, potential education events, leafleting, rallies, and building relationships with the postal workers’ unions. Sign up here to get the biweekly meeting information!

Don’t want to join the subcommittee but want to support our campaign? Check out our DSA for Postal Workers Postcards to send to your members of Congress and the USPS Board of Governors!

WEDNESDAY 9/23 — “WHAT IS MUTUAL AID” CALL

Learn about mutual aid! Throughout the pandemic, mutual aid projects have sprouted across the country. The Mutual Aid Working Group is happy to announce our first introduction to mutual aid webinar. Join us Wednesday, 9/23 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT to learn what mutual aid is and discuss DSA members’ current mutual aid projects.

To join the Mutual Aid Working Group, please fill out the form here. And follow us on Twitter!

SUPPORT HURRICANE RELIEF FOR SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA DSA

The Mutual Aid Working Group is spreading the word — give to Southwest Louisiana DSA’s hurricane relief fund today! When Hurricane Laura struck Lake Charles and the surrounding Louisiana communities, Southwest Louisiana DSA got right to work. In coalition with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, members assembled and deployed teams of volunteers who gathered and relayed supplies, tarped roofs, and brought much-needed water and fuel to people across the region. But Southwest Louisiana DSA is a small chapter of about 20 members — and some were displaced by the storm ourselves. And the work isn’t close to finished. DSAers will be mucking and gutting and tarping and hauling for months to come, putting homes and communities back together. All money raised will go directly to Southwest Louisiana DSA’s hurricane relief efforts: buying tarps, drinking water, non-perishables, medical supplies, generators, chainsaws, meals for volunteers, PPE, tools, hygiene supplies, and more. Support this vital work today!

NEW POLITICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES FROM THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST LABOR COMMISSION

Our Democratic Socialist Labor Commission has updated the Educational Resources page of our website to include zines produced by the DSA San Francisco Labor Organizing Committee. The zines cover four key topics: Why do you need a union, what are your rights, how to talk to your coworkers, and underground organizing. DSA SF produced these to help give people the tools they need to start organizing for safety and dignity on the job. We have them in multiple formats, so please take a look and print some out!

SOCIALIST FEMINIST WORKING GROUP ELECTIONS — DEADLINE THURSDAY 9/17

An exciting update for all of the socialist feminists: The national DSA Socialist Feminist Working Group is being revived after being dormant, and we need Steering Committee members to lead organizing projects, bring in new members and handle the administration of the group!

Fill out the application to serve on the national DSA Socialist Feminist Working Group Steering Committee by Thursday 9/17. This is an elected position within the SFWG, and we are currently short applicants to get it going, so don’t be shy about applying!

You can learn more about the Socialist Feminist Working Group here. Want to join the SFWG in general? Fill out the form here.

Questions? Email Allie Lahey at alexandraclahey@gmail.com and Georgia Burr at georgiabc92@gmail.com.

SIGN UP FOR OUR DSA RECRUITMENT DRIVE KICK OFF EVENT!

At the last DSA convention, our members voted on a goal of growing our multriacial, working class socialist organization to 100,000 members by 2021 To achieve this, the NPC voted to establish an ambitious 5 week Recruitment Drive starting October 1, 2020 — to bring in 5,000 new members, grow every chapter by 10%, and plug these new members into existing campaigns.

All DSA members can help make this drive a success by signing our 100k Pledge — a commitment to talk with three people you know about joining DSA from 10/1-11/7. That’s why we’re asking you to sign up for our Recruitment Drive Kick Off Call Sunday, 9/27 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT. Find out more about the drive and learn how to have an effective organizing conversation with a friend, family member, or coworker that can move them to become a dues-paying DSA member!

JOIN THE DSA POOR PEOPLE’S CAUCUS

Are you a poor person in DSA? Would you like to connect and organize with other poor people? Fill out our form and join the DSA Poor People’s Caucus!