Strikes and solidarity are our weapons: mid-September Dispatch

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen our future. Bahamian refugees who lost everything in the hurricane were turned back by Republican politicians. Families who lost people to the manufactured opioid epidemic saw paltry results in the Sackler OxyContin lawsuit. Trump’s trade war with China continues to devastate US farmers already suffering from record floods. There are signals from Washington D.C. that most Democrats won’t dispute the Trump narrative about Iran and the Saudi oil facility.

War and ecofascism, corporate interests over the public interest. It’s far, far too easy to see the politics of fear winning over the politics of solidarity.

But we’re fighting back.

One way is through our DSA for Bernie work. One new poll shows Bernie leading in New Hampshire and another has him tied with Biden in California. Despite how the establishment media ignores or attacks him, democratic socialism is a vision that resonates with working class people. We see this in the polls, and in donor info: Bernie is the top recipient among farmers, servers, social workers, retail workers, photographers, construction workers, truckers, nurses and drivers, among several other groups. Each of those professions — which don’t typically provide much campaign cash — earn near or below the median income, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And because we, like Bernie, rely on small dollar donations and membership dues, we are independent of the wealthy class and can go all out to put him in the White House.

Another is through our work outside elections. 50,000 General Motors workers went on strike Sunday night to protect their health care and stop a two tiered contract. To add insult to injury, GM then cut their health care coverage — highlighting the importance of winning Medicare for All so coverage can no longer be used as a whip to keep us in line at work. DSAers were on the picket lines in solidarity that night and all this week, including not just members of the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission, but also Ecosocialists gearing up for the September 20-27th Climate Strike. They are in turn inviting the striking workers to speak at climate rallies about how the Green New Deal would create millions of new jobs and a climate movement absent workers cannot win. When we come together across our differences, we realize our power.

And we’re just getting started. DSA is unique in both our funding model, which is truly democratic, and in our theory of power, which recognizes that we must organize across multiple arenas — formal politics, workplaces, and communities — to confront and defeat the capitalist class.

Read on for some quick updates and ways you can join the struggle!

Maria

UPDATES FROM THE NATIONAL OFFICE

Don’t Miss Our No Shortcuts Followup Call and Organizing Class

Did you watch our No Shortcuts book discussion calls with Jane McAlevey, or read Jane’s book? As a reminder, we have a No Shortcuts Follow-up Q&A next Thursday September 26th at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT/6:30pm MT/5:30pm PT. We want to hear how you’ve been using these lessons in your chapter and answer your organizing questions. RSVP today. And if you’d like to check out the call videos, you can find them on our website here.

And join me and hundreds of other DSAers in a new, global series starting in October with Jane and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung called “Organizing for Power: A Four-Step Course on How We Win!” This class is co-sponsored by the DSA International Committee and the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC). This isn’t just a video, but a full class that includes homework and will cover topics such as one on one organizing conversations, identifying orgnic leaders, and structure tests. If you’ve read Jane’s book and have watched our No Shortcuts organizing videos, apply here today. Due to high member interest, we’ve extended the application deadline to October 13th. Don’t miss out!

DSA National Ecosocialist Working Group Endorses the Global Climate Strike

DSA has exciting new and ongoing working group campaigns, doing solid organizing across the country. There’s lots of ways to get involved! We’ll be highlighting a working group in each Dispatch. For September, here’s more about the national DSA Ecosocialist Working Group!

Are you ready for a Green New Deal? Want to support ecosocialist work? Sign up for the DSA National Ecosocialist Working Group to get involved with the Green New Deal Priority Campaign (passed at convention by a unanimous vote!) and cross-chapter collaborative ecosocialist work. You can find out more about the ecosocialist resolutions passed at the convention here.

And the DSA Ecosocialist Working Group has endorsed the Global Climate Strike September 20th-27th. You can join the climate strike by signing up here. The Working Group looks forward to organizing with you all!

The Ecosocialist Working Group also co-wrote a statement on protecting the Amazon with the Immigrants’ Rights Working Group. and the International Committee. You can read their statement in English and Portuguese here.

Supporting Reparations

Following up on our delegates’ convention vote to support reparations for Black American descendants of Slavery and Jim Crow, the DSA Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus (AFROSOC) have released a Statement on Reparations. And this month, the Afrosocialist Caucus held a call with racial justice, labor and international activist Bill Fletcher Jr on reparations and ways to create a movement that makes them a reality. You can watch a video of the call here.

Update on the Tech Tools Rollout

Earlier this year we began rolling out organizing tools for chapters. So far 73 DSA and 4 YDSA chapters are on Action Network, and 30 chapters are in VAN — 49 state admins in the initial pilot states — and we sent 31 peer-to-peer texting campaigns in Spoke this month.

One great reason to get your chapter on the national Action Network account is so that your Bernie events show up on our Democratic Socialists for Bernie events map. But you can use it for so much more. Chapters are using Spoke for everything from event and meeting turnout to hurricane preparedness.

And then there’s VAN. VAN is powerful — it allows us to track every time we talk to someone. It contains massive amounts of data from each state’s voter file and other sources. It’s not just for electoral work either — you can use it for your other campaigns, too!

Talk to your chapter leaders to make sure you’re able to use these great tools to maximize your power locally. We can only work with designated local technology contacts.

Stand with UAW strikers — you can help

Right now, nearly 50,000 UAW workers in 19 states are striking against General Motors. Here are some support suggestions from our DSA Democratic Socialist Labor Commission: