NATIONAL DSA AUGUST DISPATCH
From National Director Maria Svart, August 28
WOW! I cannot believe we are three weeks out from the convention! It went by so fast as we continue to work on post convention tasks and also pick up the projects we set aside the last few months when we were in the home stretch.
But I never forget that the internal work we do to support the functioning of the organization exists for a larger goal: to help each and every one of you join the class struggle so we can build power against the capitalist class and make concrete change in the real world. And the world is getting darker. Literally, like in Brazil where the burning Amazon darkens the skies. And politically, from Kashmir to our own shores.
It’s hard to predict what the future holds.
Trump is beginning indefinite detention of immigrants, creating not just a humanitarian nightmare where children die from preventable disease but widespread fear in all of our communities. This is the ultimate goal. When people live in fear, they don’t stand together across differences and collectively demand basic fairness. And when he and his cronies take public services away from the citizen children of immigrants, we all know that the rest of us will soon follow on his target list. In fact, we already are, with Planned Parenthood and other clinics forced to choose between continuing to provide abortions vs providing other critical reproductive health care. Divide and conquer is the strategy.
On the other hand, Wall Street Democrats just decided to prevent a presidential primary debate about the climate crisis. It is much easier to point the finger at Bolsonaro and Trump than the dirty fossil fuel corporations that pour money into the pockets of Democrats and Republicans alike. These are not folks that will inspire the 43% of eligible voters who didn’t vote in 2016 to come out this time. Yes, Republican voter suppression is absolutely real. But so is the fact that millions of young people see no future on the planet and not enough politicians honestly addressing their fears.
And we know we cannot rely on the courts. This week an Oklahoma judge ordered Pharma company Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis including 600,000 deaths by painkiller overdoses. But it fell far short of the $17 billion judgment sought by the state.
As always these days, it is only our movements that give me hope — and in a big way. From communication workers in the South, to teachers in Nevada, to grocery workers in the Pacific Northwest, the working class continues to rise and strike. And as our convention resolutions show, we’ll be there! Enjoy the DSA updates below and stay tuned for lots of emails this month with ways to get involved.
UPDATES FROM THE NATIONAL OFFICE
You can use these links to navigate to each section of this email in your browser.
- Meet Your Staff
- Support Striking Teachers In Las Vegas
- Work for DSA
- YDSA Fall Drive
- No Shortcuts Followup Call and Organizing Course
- Post-Convention Update: Resolutions and Amendments
- National Tech Committee (NTC) Updates
- Support nationally endorsed electoral campaigns!
- We’re building chapter capacity!
- NPC passes several political statements as their first acts
MEET YOUR STAFF
I’m thrilled to introduce two more new staff. They provide critical behind the scenes support to members and chapters.
Elizabeth Yoo, Membership Services Associate
Based in NYC
As your relatively new Membership Services Associate (started a couple months before convention), I have been hard at work answering your questions about membership dues, current status, and the like. I am also now the main point of contact between the national office and Working Groups and Committees. Most of my previous experience has been in nonprofit organizations, most recently doing a couple of stints at religious institutions (even though I’m not religious!). I had the pleasure to meet some of you at the National Convention, and I have been in touch with many more of you by email and over the phone. Ideally, I hope I can serve you all better so that YOU can concentrate on what matters: organizing, taking action, and pushing real change in our society!
Tyler Hefferon, Finance Coordinator
Based in NYC
I have been a member of DSA for the past year, but have only very recently joined the staff here in New York. My new position as Finance Coordinator was created just this spring, and I am here to help support to make sure our national financial operations are in working order because we have a huge increase in volume of financial transactions like scholarships, bills to pay, even payroll with an expanded staff. DSA’s massive increase in membership in the last couple of years has allowed the organization to really put its vision out there, and I hope to make sure all member dues and other revenues get to where they need to be and to maximize our ability to make change. When I’m not at the office, I play orchestral percussion with several symphony orchestras around the city, and support the music and arts community as much as possible. I hope to serve the DSA and its members to improve people’s overall quality of life, and give more access to these communities and programs.
SUPPORT STRIKING TEACHERS IN LAS VEGAS
Right now, Las Vegas DSAers are on the picket line standing up for their striking teachers. You can help provide strike support to our educators at rallies and on the picket line. Show some solidarity and support Las Vegas DSA’s #EatsForEducators fundraiser!
WORK FOR DSA
We’re happy to report that Anna Bonomo has transitioned into full time organizing with our student wing, the Young Democratic Socialists of America. This means we need to fill a Field Organizer vacancy. We have adjusted organizer staffing and are hiring a Western Field Organizer. We are already doing interviews but if you hurry you can still apply. Check out the position here.
YDSA FALL CAMPUS DRIVE
Are you a student who’s interested in getting more involved with YDSA? Do you know any high school or campus organizers who are ready to launch a new chapter? Please fill out the Fall Drive signup form, or send it to your student contacts and encourage them to fill it out today!
All organizers who sign up for the Fall Drive will receive one-on-one support from DSA staff and will gain access to official YDSA organizing materials. Please email email@example.com with any questions, and sign up today!
NO SHORTCUTS FOLLOWUP CALL AND ORGANIZING COURSE
As a reminder, we’re having our No Shortcuts followup call No Shortcuts Follow-up and Call Q&A Thursday, September 12th at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT/6:30pm MT/5:30pm PT. Hear how DSAers are using lessons from our No Shortcuts book and webinar series in the field!
This isn’t just a video, but a full class that includes homework and will cover topics such as 1:1s, identifying organizing leaders, and structure tests. Our capacity to participate as DSA is limited. But if you’ve read Jane’s book and have watched our No Shortcuts organizing videos, please apply here by October 1st.
POST-CONVENTION UPDATE — RESOLUTIONS AND AMENDMENTS
Stay tuned for information on ways to get involved with all the new campaigns and projects as we move forward this fall.
NATIONAL TECH COMMITTEE (NTC) UPDATES
The NTC has set up a new mailing list, meant to be a channel of communication between the leaders from chapter tech working groups and the NTC. We’re hoping that it can serve as both a means of support for chapters, as well as a way for us to share what we’re working on and avoid duplicating work where possible.
If you’re involved in tech with your local chapter, please request an invite by filling out this form.
And you can find new National Tech Committee (NTC) updates here, including an introduction to the NTC, a thank-you to long-time volunteer Willie Thompson, and more! We’ll be updating this page with new bios and tech team alerts.
WORK WITH THE NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT DSA CAMPAIGNS!
First off, we’d like to encourage chapters to update their electoral contacts with us. We can’t support you if we can’t reach the right people in your chapter.
This November, we’ve Nationally endorsed three campaigns, with more likely to come, and all could use phone banking and donations support. Go to their websites to donate and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with the local chapters working on these campaigns and set up your own solidarity phone bank. With Tiffany Cabán and Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez’s elections each ending with a margin of just a handful of votes, we know all too well that one chapter’s phone bank can be the difference. Let yours be the margin in one of these races:
Shaun Scott for Seattle City Council, District 4 advanced to the general election and gained ground in each additional ballot drop, showing that his field game helped sway late-deciding voters. If we keep up those gains, we can win the general!
Liliana Rivera Baiman for Columbus, OH City Council At-Large won AFSCME’s endorsement and talked to Columbus Underground, telling them “I know people say you can’t throw money at an issue and fix it, but from a person who grew up with nothing, and has the privilege to have a roof over her head and have some stability, sometimes throwing money does fix a lot of things.”
Dean Preston for San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 5 campaigned with Tiffany Cabán and won the endorsements of Our Revolution and the United Educators of San Francisco. His opponent meanwhile, gained more real estate money.
And as we look towards November and the next cycle, please update your chapters’ electoral contacts so that the NEC can better support you!
WE’RE BUILDING CHAPTER CAPACITY
Over the last 4 months our Development Director, Alison, has held tailored coaching sessions with over 35 chapters to provide feedback, guidance and support of their grassroots fundraising skills and capacity. Most national organizations have local groups raise money for their national budgets, but DSA emphasizes building capacity in our local chapters because we know we can only win with powerful groups rooted in communities across the country, not just inside the beltway or near Wall Street.
This week Alison heard from Milwaukee DSA that their chapter was putting things into practice from their training, and it had a measurable impact:
“Based on your training and suggestions, I finally put together a fundraiser email to send out to our entire email list for Milwaukee DSA. We’ve already collected around $350 within a couple of hours. So I think it’s working!” — Milwaukee DSA
Ask your chapter leadership if they have scheduled a grassroots fundraising consultation session with Alison! Your chapter’s training will be most beneficial if a couple members can join the call, especially anyone who works on your chapter communications, finances, or events. Check in with chapter leadership, then fill out this form to get your chapter’s grassroots fundraising call scheduled today!
NEW NATIONAL POLITICAL COMMITTEE VOTES TO PASS SEVERAL POLITICAL STATEMENTS
Upon request by various national working groups and committees, the NPC has voted to affirm the following statements.
- Condemning Trump’s Title X Gag Rule
- National DSA Ecosocialists support Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal
- Statement on Cuba
- Statement on Decolonization