Please find below a list of the nominees for 2021’s DSA-LA Local Officers and Branch Coordinators.

EDIT: The extended deadline for Branch Coordinator nominees has passed — all nominees are now listed below.  


You can find a recording of the Candidate Forum held on Zoom on Sat, Dec 12 at the link HERE.

Please direct any questions for candidates to elections@dsa-la.org, or to the #dsala-elections Slack Channel in the DSA-LA workspace. The Voting Period will open after the forum is held. The election will be ranked choice voting. Click here for more information on Ranked Choice Voting.

On December 20th, the ballots will be counted and the winners will be declared. 

(The order was decided by a random number generator)

STEERING COMMITTEE — AT LARGE
Jamie Penn
Annaly V. Medrano
Michelle Boley
Hannah Kessel
Ankur Patel
Jack Suria Linares

RECORDING SECRETARY
Staci O.
Iridian Magallon

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Jordan E.

TREASURER
Marlin M. (she/her)

CAMPAIGNS COORDINATOR
Leslie Chang

YDSA COORDINATOR
Michael S.

CENTRAL BRANCH COORDINATOR
Arielle S.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BRANCH COORDINATOR
Nick Bottomley
Nick Crow

WESTSIDE BRANCH COORDINATOR
Olga Lexell
Willetta ‘Willie’ Waisath

EASTSIDE & SAN GABRIEL VALLEY BRANCH COORDINATOR
Pete Curtis
Janet H.
Johnny Echavarria

SOUTH CENTRAL & INGLEWOOD BRANCH COORDINATOR
(no nominees)



CANDIDATE STATEMENTS:

STEERING COMMITTEE — AT LARGE

Jamie Penn
  1. Are you a member in good standing? 
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    1 Year
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    DSA Neighborhood Organizing, DSA ElPol WG Co-chair, SW and Mutual Aid
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    Ktown For All – Organizer
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    To help build socialism in Los Angeles.
  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    Project Management experience as well as digital media marketing and community Organizing with a focus on the working class and marginalized.
  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    Electing Nithya Raman and Konstantine Anthony and the organizing Street Watch assisted with around City Code 41.18.

    They are clear examples of the momentum and organizing built by the chapter and our dedication to building an ongoing presence here for Democratic Socialism.
  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Coordination with other organizations here in Los Angeles.
  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Coordination over management.
  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?Maintaining the momentum we have established and preparing for the inevitable pressures from the right we will face as we become a larger and more visible target.
  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    They are the most important directives, as they have been democratically elected by the body at large.
Annaly V. Medrano
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA? 
    Since April 2020
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I currently serve as the Co-Chair of the Immigrant Justice Committee (IJC), focusing on mutual aid efforts and helping to lead the main administrative operations of the Stimulus Solidarity Campaign, distributing the funds of $65,000.00 raised for immigrants. I also organized a field team focused on recruitment and outreach to undocumented communities in Los Angeles County. Due to COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on Black and Brown communities,  I also focused on the current conditions of detainees under ICE custody. Since August 2020 I have helped organize 3 separate mass street actions to call Governor Newsom to release detainees from detention centers, End Forced Sterilization, and most recently hold Biden and Harris Administration accountable to our demands. Each action has collectively turned out hundreds of people in our city hungry for an end to the capitalist exploitation of immigrants.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    The opportunity I had to work on both Bernie’s field team in Los Angeles and New York City allowed me to analyze multiple  outreach efforts to Latino, Muslim/Middle Eastern, and Black communities. This involved partners with many existing programs such as Unidos Con Bernie or external organizations like the California Nurses Association to join our field operations.  In the face of many organizations and supporters losing hope for Bernie to bounce back from the Democratic Establishment consolidating their power for Biden, I had to engage with stakeholders to continue to support Bernie mutual aid fundraisers and demands to pass COVID-19 relied including the $1,200 stimulus check before formally suspending his campaign.

    Additionally, I serve as a DSA-LA liaison in two major coalitions in the Immigrants right movement. The first coalition I joined representing DSA-LA  is based out of Los Angeles called the Alliance to Defend Im/migrants (ADI) that includes Never Again Action, Marx 21 and the Freedom Socialist Party. This coalition was created by our predecessors in IJC’s leadership. As a member of ADI we are expanding our capacity to recruit new organizers and build capacity to host local actions in Los Angeles. The second coalition that I joined is called Yes to Immigrants Forward is a California statewide coalition led by Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), CA unions, and Immigrant Right organizations. The main focus I have is to build power locally, regional and statewide to demand radical policies to seriously move forward to abolish ICE. D.C. is going to be full of gridlock and will be the capitol of broken campaign promises from a Party that chooses to ignore their base for corporate donors. Many of Biden’s policies would only take us back 30 years of existing laws that can only overturn Trump’s policies but do not erase the generations of trauma, abuse, and unlawful deaths under ICE custody.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am running to help build trust and reconcile internally how we can prioritize Black Liberation and advance a multi-racial working class movement. After joining DSA during Shelter in Place orders being implemented I have seen many barriers for DSA Leadership in Branches, Committees, and Steering that could be resolved by expanding communications between all groups to adopt the Chapter Resolutions. 

    As a fairly new member to DSA-LA I would value the input of all Branches that have direct understanding of what the communities they serve need from DSA-LA to properly represent the core mission to build working class solidarity in the richest and most diverse city in the United States. As California is seen as the most progressive state in the nation, I have grown sickened by Democratic Party leaders that refuse to embrace calls for Medicare for All, Housing for All, Defunding the Police, Green New Deal, Abolishing ICE and other key priorities to uplift working class families. I believe grassroots organizing would be a key to implement the In Response to Crisis resolution that can be the model to help elect more Democratic Socialists into office. 

    More importantly I’m interested in taking on challenges and listening to members who are losing hope that DSA-LA can champion the efforts to build a multi-racial working class movement that would be a key voting block in upcoming elections and vote out corrupt politicians. Understanding class struggle is critical, and evaluating how DSA-LA can be accomplices in the fight for Black Liberation is revolutionary.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I am bilingual and plan to use these experiences in making sure that our outreach is also in Spanish and ultimately in other languages spoken in Los Angeles (Korean, Armenian, etc.) Additionally, I am already experienced in training other organizers and orienting people into campaign and large-scale projects. I believe this would allow me to overcome any challenges faced with my fellow comrades on Steering. My experience in  organizing on statewide and regional campaigns would allow me to use the skills I developed to help in recruiting and retaining new members who decided to invest their time and labor into DSA and be politically engaged for the first time. 

    Furthermore, serving on the Steering Committee would allow me to better understand the difficulties of how the governing body operates and how to resolve the barriers  on how to increase member engagement. Serving as an At-Large officer can give me the flexibility to support members of Steering to work smarter and not harder by implemented committee resolutions. More importantly, I believe Steering should be more transparent and make it easier for more members to understand how they operate. This will not only build trust but expand the interest of new members to have a better understanding of what all the committees and subgroups are prioritizing.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?

    The first success I would praise is DSA-LA endorsing the Bernie Campaign and shortly after the Nithya/Constantine/Fatima/Yes on Prop15 Campaigns have created enthusiasm in doing labor intensive projects to activate new voters and low propensity voters. In these campaigns, the chapter showed its ability to help bring home wins in Los Angeles for Democratic Socialists candidates. While the chapter quickly adopted methods to organize under COVID-19, a new safe place opened up from curious socialist individuals.

    As a result  DSA-LA was able to expand membership to 4,500 that resulted in the creation of the East L.A./San Gabriel Valley Branch and the South Central/Inglewood Branch. The chapter learning to function under COVID emphasized the capabilities of grassroots organizing and messaging to reach the goal of over 100K new members in 2021.

    Developing the Stimulus Solidarity Campaign, a powerful mutual aid program leading to outreach, recruitment and expanded relationships with immigrant workers including Black immigrants. The Immigrants Justice Committee built coalitions externally and internally to meet the needs of the recipients of the campaign. This allowed existing organizations such as Black Alliance for Just Immigrants to partner with DSA-LA and respect our efforts to protect and carefully organize immigrants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?

    One level of improvement in the Local should be to retain and support Black and Brown members in DSA-LA and should not be brushed aside as a secondary priority amongst Branches and Committee leadership. Showing up for the Black liberation movement such as the uprising last summer speaks volume, but showing up to a local action is not enough. DSA-LA should evaluate the demographics of the members and the lack of diversity in DSA leadership. I can help improve the Local to reconcile the internal barriers of retaining BIPOC and prioritize how we can organize a multi-racial mass movement while combating the rise of White Supremacy. For instance having a united front within DSA-LA between committees, branches, and members of the chapter and how they tackle anti-oppression tactics

    Secondly, setting a national standard for DSA in expanding accessibility in  Language Justice, Disability Justice, and accommodating working class people’s real life conditions, schedules, and challenges to availability to organize. Language Justice to me includes everyone’s right to both listen and be heard. Currently, organizations like LATU have built an energized base of monolingual Spanish speakers thanks to their deep commitment to language justice. Through offering interpretation and multilingual tools they have promoted the agency and power Limited English Proficiency (LEP) speakers, those in our communities that are the most exploited by capitalism.  

    DSA cannot organize a working-class movement without all members of the working-class. I am organizing on a platform that includes several workshops in order to make Language Justice in DSA a reality: supporting a Language Justice 101 for Leadership and members to know how to support multilingual membership, and prioritizing multilingual communications for our chapter. As a member of Steering, I would also want to focus on building DSA’s internal capacity for interpretation/translation by creating ongoing member support such as weekly practice spaces and fostering a sustainable workflow for the chapter. 

    Language Justice also includes ensuring that our Annual Convention and other large- scale events are being advertised with including options for accessibility such as closed captioning, ASL, Spanish, and making sure needs of the membership are met. Strengthening disability justice chapter-wide is important considering the In Response to a Crisis resolution is focused on meeting working-class people where they are and taking socialism into our communities.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Black Liberation. PERIOD.
  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    One of the biggest challenges would be to absorb the largest intake of new members to become fully engaged in the chapter and developed as organizers. DSA-LA has grown exponentially throughout the pandemic so building an infrastructure of empowered members is very important. Intentional growth supported by a welcoming Steering and leadership is important to having card-carrying members that are ready to fight for their communities in the various organizing methods that DSA supports. Consequently,  the Biden Administration lacks the will to defend our communities from austerity, and the Democrats are complicit in the rise of police brutality, family separations, and scapegoating the poor under the Obama and Trump Administrations. A challenge we must take head-on is that legitimizing socialist demands in a “progressive city” where many have become comfortable with deep inequality and despair. Advancing socialist policies in the context of a Democratic administration involves agitating our neighbors to fight for our city!
  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)

    As an at-large member of the Steering Committee,  I can focus my attention on the resolutions and accept delegated tasks needed to oversee and implement the resolutions. Currently I serve as a member of the Black Liberation Task Force and Co-Chair of IJC working on the intersectionalities of Prison Abolition and Abolishing ICE and detention centers. I can further support the Steering Committee to be transparent and open to members who can quickly be plugged in to any potential projects they can support. 

    Implementation of the In Response to Crisis in each resolution that can provide the foundation to implement the Build the Bench resolution if executed correctly. Analyzing how the resolutions can overlap was a strategy used in the Stimulus Solidarity Campaign to go beyond offering mutual aid and  providing a safe place for Black and Brown immigrants to get connected with DSA-LA intake callers from their own Branch. Working  with Branch coordinators to engage with members to conduct further outreach in vulnerable communities should be a priority to build working class solidarity.


Michelle Boley
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    4 Years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I have participated in AgitProp specifically related to video content, Tenants Actions, Bernie Campaign related organizing (although I was far more involved with the campaign directly) and as a DSA Delegate Representative for Bernie in 2020. I also directed and edited the DSA recruitment video that featured delegates from across the country. I also volunteered for the Nithya campaign during the general election.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I was a member of the climate-focused Powershift Organization in school and volunteered for Ralph Nader’s campaign in 2000. I was an Obama Campaign Fellow and went through their leadership training program, then acted as Captain for my district in North Carolina in 2008 and 2012. I was a super host and volunteer for the Bernie campaign in both 2016 and 2020. I’ve organized with Healthy CA and helped facilitate running ADEM slates in my district for the past 3 election cycles.

  5. Why are you running for this position?

    I think this is a pivotal moment for the left, and the role of DSA LA locally and nationally is critical to keeping the Democratic Socialist movement alive in America in the wake of the democratic party’s open hostility towards the Democratic Socialist agenda. We are in a time of national crisis, and people who are joining DSA are looking for a path towards a people-first agenda. As a leader I want to help ensure those paths are clear and open to everyone who wants to participate in the struggle. I am a strong advocate for inside-outside strategy, and I would like to see the role of DSA mirror the role of the Socialist Party leading up to the New Deal – creating space for leftists to challenge the power structure by organizing the working class, running and supporting candidates that adhere to socialist principals at every level of government, and forming a voting block that can leverage demands on leaders who might not support our agenda. 

    I want to help a team committed to rooting DSA in the multi-racial working class of LA – to help find our place inside the struggle, not just to theorizing about it from a distance. I want to be part of a leadership team committed to collaborative, transparent solutions to strengthen the chapter and streamline its efficacy and to ensure we are empowering new leaders to grow the socialist movement in Los Angeles. I think the times ahead will be some of the most challenging Americans have faced, and it is critical that organizations like DSA step up to educate, organize and support our citizens in tangible ways that keep the fight for the Democratic Socialist platform alive. This is why I’m running as part of the Labor & Solidarity slate. You can read our full platform here: bit.ly/LaborAndSolidarity

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I am applying for an At-Large position where my roots in the Bernie organizing structures can help facilitate coalition building with other leftist groups and my background in media can contribute to both our outreach and messaging strategy.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?

    I think our campaigns for Bernie, Nithya, Konstantine, Fatima, Prop 15 and the Bernie Delegate Elections were critical to growing membership and putting the power of DSA into action. Successful races with DSA-backed candidates winning in LA and across the country have raised the profile of DSA and lent credibility to DSA’s ability to influence election outcomes. 

    I am very interested in the potential of DSA’s tenant unionizing actions  and encouraged by the expansion of YDSA chapters in LA. I also think the educational video lectures and chats focused on organizing history and strategy, and featuring experts and movement leaders have been very helpful in engaging people during a profoundly isolating time, providing people a much-needed space to contemplate a path forward. Prior to the pandemic, the in-person organizing training I attended through DSA was well thought through and extremely useful, even as a seasoned organizer. I’d love to see offerings for that type of training expanded for new members. 

    To me all of these projects serve at least 1 of 3 critical functions – to tie DSA LA to the local community and the leftist community at large, to build organizing capacity and elevate new leaders, and to help grow and engage our membership.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    I think that the best path forward for DSA LA will be to help direct and effectualize the energy of people fighting for the material needs of our multiracial working class community. Promoting outward facing mass campaigns around critical issues like Medicare for All, pandemic financial relief and anti-austerity measures, housing issues, and student debt relief would serve both DSA and the community. Running and/or endorsing and supporting candidates who are willing to fight for working-class issues on the local and national level as things get worse will also be critical to directing the frustration of those struggling into effective results-oriented action. Mass campaigns with a clear goal give members something to unite around and provide a clear path of action. This is the Democratic Socialists of America – it is critical that the organization provides a clear, measurable, and actionable path towards the Democratic Socialist agenda.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?

    We have thousands of new members; we need to make them feel welcomed into our movement and provide them with clear paths towards action on socialist issues that are important to them. I think our priority resolutions lay a great groundwork for that action.

    We need to continue to work toward rooting DSA in the multiracial working class here in Los Angeles. I think that outreach to labor – both to those who are organized and to those who are fighting without the benefit of organization – is a critical area I’d like to see us advance in the next year. Inroads with organized labor already made are laudable,  but with massive layoffs, the Prop 22 loss, the expansion of gig employment during the pandemic, and serious health and wage risks faced by our most vulnerable workers, the need to organize non-union labor and work in tandem with working-class unions has never been greater. 

    We also need to build leadership capacity within our membership and develop our own candidates for upcoming local races. I would love to see us coordinate with other left powerhouses like BLM, Sunrise Movement and Justice LA to identify potential leaders that could have a broad backing across the LA left. 

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    I think the biggest challenge will be harnessing the energy of our new members into effective actions during this pandemic, Creating a clear strategy for safe and impactful actions when everyone is siloed in their homes and buried beneath their own struggles is such a worthy struggle. Local membership has grown by more than 2,000 people since the pandemic started and the Bernie campaign ended. We don’t want those who are looking to DSA as a path forward to lose hope.   I also think that DSA LA should commit time and resources to ensuring we have quality progressive candidates to support in the 2022 election. We will need a strong Electoral Politics Committee with an eye for identifying strong candidates, who are familiar with endorsement processes and have experience with coordinating multiple campaigns across the state.
  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)

    As an At-Large member of Steering, I hope to help facilitate communications between working groups committed to these resolutions and members so that new members can easily get involved and understand the resolutions we have adopted as a chapter. This will help to provide resources and support and hopefully also some accountability to achieving the goals laid out. 

Hannah Kessel
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    2 Years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    As a co-chair of the Yes on Prop 15 campaign working group, I helped organize 27 phone banks and trainings with DSA members up and down the state. In this role I was also a liaison with the official Proposition 15 campaign, negotiating strategies and a script rooted in class-struggle messaging. We called over 323,000 voters during this campaign. I was also involved in the formation of the California DSA Political Action Committee, an important vehicle for financing future campaigns. Currently, I’m working with DSA chapter leaders statewide to plan for a statewide organizing body driven by the needs of mass campaigns.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I’m the Organizing Director at LA Forward, where I recently orchestrated a successful field campaign that helped pass Measure J. I’m also a member of National DSA’s Digital Organizing committee, and a volunteer on NYC-DSA’s Tax The Rich campaign. I previously worked as a Regional Field Director for the Bernie 2020 campaign, running canvassing and phone banking operations with hundreds of volunteers, many of whom brought leadership skills honed through the Sanders campaign to DSA-LA.
  5. Why are you running for this position?

    I’m running to be a member of the Steering Committee because I feel my experience both as an organizer within campaigns, and as a liaison between organizations make me an effective listener, communicator and collaborator who can help execute the political priorities selected by DSA-LA’s members. 

    I hope to be one part of a Steering Committee that can cultivate a collaborative environment that allows us to win class-struggle demands rooted in the socialist values that drive all of us, not the differences that sometimes slow us down. That’s why I’m running as part of the Labor & Solidarity slate. You can read our platform here: https://bit.ly/LaborAndSolidarity

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    To this position I bring the leadership skills of an organizer and the facilitation skills of a former 9th grade teacher. A strength of mine as a facilitator and organizer is my ability to view situations from different perspectives. I see this as an essential quality for members of Steering, who manage conflicting opinions, facilitate and set the tone for meetings and our annual DSA-LA Convention, and must make difficult decisions with transparency and integrity.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    Our campaigns in support of Bernie Sanders, Nithya Raman, Konstantine Anthony, Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, and Proposition 15 engaged hundreds of volunteers by providing spaces for leaders to emerge organically, with the mentorship of their DSA-LA comrades. Volunteers built essential skills that translate to future campaigns. Also essential to our strength as a chapter is the expansion of YDSA – both the new branches and the intentional cultivation of student leaders through YDSA Summer School and electoral work.
  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Organizers and groups within our chapter are often busy with our respective projects and struggle to communicate with one another. I would love to be a part of facilitating increased collaboration and clarity between DSA-LA’s branches, issue-based committee work, and neighborhood organizing. 

    Of the hundreds of new members who have joined us during the COVID-19 pandemic, many expressed that the desire to connect with other socialist organizers is what motivated them to join DSA. Engaging new members in meaningful outward-facing mass campaigns as the most effective way not only to win campaigns but to build leaders – and connections between members – that outlast the life of any one campaign, and set the stage for future work.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    The Local should focus on uniting members in mass outward-facing electoral campaigns. These campaigns – which unify members through shared values and shared work – help members build both the interpersonal skills essential to leadership, and the experience necessary to elect class-struggle candidates and pass ballot measures that have material impacts on working class Californians’ lives. 

    Intentional collaboration with organized labor is an essential part of winning our demands by building a multiracial working-class coalition and rebuilding the bridge between labor and the left. Our Local can play a pivotal role in building labor power by strengthening our relationships with Los Angeles unions, connecting socialist workers to others in their line of work, and empowering frontline workers through the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    Our membership has grown significantly in the past year, but many new and lapsed members don’t yet attend our events or organize with us. The question becomes, how can we as a chapter meaningfully engage new members, be it through DSA 101 events or the kind of mass campaigns – such as the Bernie 2020 primary campaign – that energize and excite budding socialist organizers and empowers them to be leaders in our shared struggle to end capitalism.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    If elected to be an At-Large member of the Steering Committee, all of these resolutions will be central to my role. Discussions about how our chapter ought to focus our energy and resources, how committees and groups should relate to one another, and how to cultivate socialist organizers, should each center around enacting these three Priority Resolutions. It is every member of Steering’s responsibility to work to put these democratically-selected priorities into practice chapter-wide.

Ankur Patel
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    2 Years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I have attended a range of meetings and DSA-LA events since becoming a member in 2018. I participated in the Electoral Politics Committee over the past few election cycles. I was glad to be part of the discussions in narrowing down what makes DSA-LA’s endorsement valuable and the process that would support that goal. I recently began attending the DSA Education Workers meetings.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I have been organizing with different organizations since 2004 when I started with CALPIRG and Environment California at UCLA. I have always enjoyed organizing with environmental organizations like Food and Water Watch as a volunteer or a paid intern. I have also organized with Neighborhood Councils (as a Board Member and Treasurer), with the Green Party including Luis J. Rodriguez’ Campaign for Governor of California in 2014, Democratic Clubs, and Labor Unions. With United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) I am currently an active member of the Substitute Teachers Unit. With the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) I worked as a paid Labor Organizer at Kaiser Permanente across Southern California. I most recently organized as the Campaign Manager for [the winning] Scott Schmerelson campaign for LAUSD BD 3 in the November 2020 Election.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    To win electoral power for socialist ideas. The most effective way to activate members, level up their commitment, and have serious experience is through outward-facing mass campaigns. The same is true for political education. In a socialist organization, we need our members to be able to understand the broader context of our organizing, collectively strategize, and democratically determine our path forward. In a capitalist democracy, we need to win elections in order to realize a more socialist government. 

    Also, see our platform bit.ly/LaborAndSolidarity.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I am a personable person who communicates precisely and concisely with purpose and conviction. I have significant experience in organizing, both in the labor movement and in electoral work. I have helped rancorous teams of conflicting personalities work towards a specific goal. I deliver on a timely basis. As an At-Large member, my versatility in skills (communications, field, fundraising, administration) paired with my innate understanding of when to lead and when to follow,  make me a strong choice for At-Large Member of the Steering Committee.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    DSA-LA’s campaigns in support of Bernie Sanders, Nithya Raman, Konstantine Anthony, Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, and Proposition 15. Specifically, the election of Nithya Raman to the Los Angeles City Council could allow us to snowball into other meaningful socialist victories across Southern California.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Focus on winning power to implement socialist ideas and policy. There are multiple paths to power. Cultivating our relationships with local and regional labor unions grounds our class message in our collective action. One way we could literally build the rank and file and gain credibility with organized labor, is to support unionization efforts at places like charter schools. The clear demonstrated path I am running on, is to aim for more electoral victories. I will contribute to winning elections by helping the chapter and candidates navigate the best opportunities to advance our collective agenda based on our capacity. 

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Regardless of the scale, from Neighborhood Council to Mayor of Los Angeles, U.S. Senate, or unionization efforts — mass outward-facing electoral campaigns should be a priority of DSA-LA. Campaigns can unify siblings in labor across bargaining units, job categories, and even between rival unions. Campaigns unify members through shared values and shared work, while developing the experience necessary to elect class-struggle candidates and pass ballot measures that have material impacts on working class Californians’ lives.
  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    Winning elections will be difficult because of the capitalist neo-liberal political structures. I hope it won’t be a challenge to ensure that affinity groups, meet-ups, and service based projects can continue to provide benefits to the broader community and to the DSA-LA members who appreciate those aspects of the chapter.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    If elected to be an At-Large member of the Steering Committee, I think all three Local Priority Resolutions can intersect in certain electoral campaigns. Those are the kinds of campaigns that will inspire and activate the most members. I take democratically-selected priorities as a responsibility to put into practice.
Jack Suria Linares
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    My name is Jack Suria-Linares, a Latino member of DSA for 7 years come January. I am a son of immigrant workers from El Salvador and have lived in Los Angeles, in the same rent-controlled apartment in Westlake, for over 25 years. The work I have done over the last several years has taught me many lessons and pushed me to engage in multiple organizing opportunities around racial and economic justice.
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    Through my work in DSA’s International Committee, I have shaped DSA’s international policy to establish a formal body that builds our international relationships across the globe, with a strategic focus in Latin America. As a result, DSA is now in conversation with Mass Parties like the Workers Party in Brazil, Frente Amplio in Costa Rica, and the Labour Party in the UK. Many of their members living in the U.S. have joined DSA.

    Through my work in our chapter’s Immigration Justice Committee, I have shaped our organized support to Central American and Black refugees in Tijuana, built relationships with organizations like Human Rights Alliance, provided political education on the migration “crisis” in Venezuela and Honduras. As a result, DSA-LA has expanded our immigration work and our newest members have taken ownership of immigration justice work and succeeded in raising $65k to support undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles who were denied any type of support from the federal governments. More immigrants supported by our stimulus solidarity campaign have joined DSA.

    By living out my socialist values in the workplace, I have helped to unionize my workplace because of the organizing skills learned through DSA-LA’s labor organizing trainings. It has been over 3 years of bargaining for our first contract and we finally got one this summer! Many of my coworkers are now participating in the Nonprofit Labor Circle and have joined DSA.

    As a renter, I have helped to organize tenants in my building. After the pandemic hit, half of my building was left unemployed and had no other option but to go on rent strike. I provided some organizing skills and helped ppl excited but nervous to talk to neighbors how to have a 1-1 conversation. We also began house visits in koreatown to help our neighbors understand their tenants rights and organize their own tenants associations. Within 3 weeks, we formed a Tenants Association and within 4 months many of them-Black, Latino, and white-joined DSA.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    Yes, I have developed relationships with organizations like LeftRoots, Liberation Road, Human Rights Alliance, the FMLN in El Salvador and LA, Frente Amplio in Costa Rica, CISPES-LA, the Workers Party in Boston, the CPUSA, Liberation Road, and also labor organizations like the International Association of Machinists.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am running for steering because I believe everything I have learned up until now can be amplified as we launch our cancel rent campaign throughout the branches. Too many Angelenos are at the point of hunger, being threatened or getting evicted. The liberal-left establishment has responded with crumbs and a lottery system to pitAngelenos against one another. The nonprofit industrial complex has been pinned by the establishment into a dangerous slippery slope toward a patronage system designed to tame the inevitable rebellions that will emerge in the coming years. DSA-LA has a responsibility to respond to the current moment by talking to our neighbors and coworkers about how we can collectively cancel rent and ask them to join DSA.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    One of the skills I believe that I can contribute to, though I am still learning, is how to get someone to join DSA and recognize that they are protagonists in the struggle against their boss and landlord. Workers, like yourself, like my parents, and myself, are told everyday by the boss to do the work, to stay quiet, to treat us to pizza but no living standards, even sometimes completely humiliating us in the process. It is wonderful to see the moment people recognize their own power and decides to fight back and win! That is type of collective power that DSA can create.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    We recruited so many POC workers in Los Angeles!! We are proving that DSA can be a mass organization for the multiracial working class. Its important because it is proving that DSA can be a permanent and successful mass organization of Los Angeles workers.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    The organization needs to improve at talking to our neighbors and coworkers. We need to see that we live socialist practices every day of our lives regardless if we go to a committee or branch. These improvements can be made by calling our members over the phone and asking how and why they joined DSA, asking if they would like to get involved in their neighborhood group, and asking them if they know a neighbor or a coworker to join DSA. 

    The organizations also needs to improve at talking about race relations and recruiting Angeleno workers. These improvements can be made both through political education but also by talking to our neighbors and getting to know one another, the differences and similarities of our lived experiences.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    The Local should prioritize intentional recruitment in nonwhite communities and our external facing campaigns laid out in the Priority Resolutions.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    The pandemic. Transitioning between distance organizing to safe house visits/launching our cancel rent campaign.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    The Priority Resolutions are the most important decisions of the DSA-LA membership. I wholeheartedly support the will of the entire membership and will work on our resolutions.

RECORDING SECRETARY
Staci O.
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    3 Years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I am currently a coordinator with the Social Work Labor Circle. For the past few months, I’ve taken point on managing our membership list, sending out emails and onboarding new members. I was heavily involved in our chapter’s campaign for Bernie Sanders, managing canvass tables, canvassing and assisting with events. I also co-authored an op-ed piece in WEHOVille in support of Bernie Sanders as a project of the LGBTQ+ Caucus. Most recently, I was involved in phonebanking for the Prop 15 campaign.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I got my start organizing as a queer teen in Appalachia, serving as the youngest secretary in the history of the Charleston AIDS Network. Most recently, I was a member of AFSCME 2712 and part of District Council 36’s Political and Legislative Action Committee (PLAC). On that committee, I was able to secure an endorsement for DSA member Konstantine Anthony for Burbank City Council. I am excited to continue organizing in my new union, SEIU 721.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    As someone who has been a member of this chapter for three years and participated in various committees and campaigns, I’ve been able to witness what has worked and what hasn’t. I’ve seen our membership rally around some priority resolutions with strong campaigns but I’ve also seen other resolutions fizzle out due to lack of involvement and coordination across the chapter. I’ve witnessed the explosion in our chapter’s growth but also seen new members become frustrated and disengaged due to confusion about chapter structure and lack of clear, actionable campaigns to plug into. I’ve learned from some truly inspiring comrades in DSA-LA but also seen really promising organizers become overburdened with work in the chapter and burn out. 

    I want to help build a leadership team that is committed to collaborative, transparent solutions that strengthen the chapter, one that empowers membership to train new leaders who support each other in our work and grow the socialist movement in Los Angeles. I’m excited to support our chapter in running class struggle campaigns to further root ourselves in the multiracial working class of LA County and expand our membership via the Black Liberation Task Force and neighborhood organizing efforts.

    DSA-LA is at a really crucial moment in our history. We need a strong Steering Committee unafraid to make difficult or challenging  decisions. We need leaders who can delegate tasks so that the Steering Committee isn’t so bogged down in administrative work and can function as political leaders. I want to help lead our chapter forward in this next phase of our growth. That is why I’m running as part of the Labor & Solidarity slate. You can read our full platform here: bit.ly/LaborAndSolidarity

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I am a social worker so a very large part of my job is documentation and organizational skills. My experience in managing caseloads, documenting client sessions and taking notes during multidisciplinary meetings lends itself to the role of Recording Secretary. I would also bring to my role as a Steering Committee member my experience with managing conflict and navigating difficult conversations. 

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    I think our electoral campaigns over the past year have been some of the most successful projects I’ve seen in my time in DSA-LA. The campaigns for Bernie, Nithya, Konstantine, Fatima and Prop 15 brought in hundreds of brand new members and galvanized current membership, teaching them valuable organizing skills along the way. These campaigns elevated our public profile and now DSA-LA is seen as a force in LA County politics. 

    Our labor circles are helping workers in specific industries start to have conversations around organizing their workplaces. I’m hopeful that they will help build and strengthen bridges to labor unions, increase union membership amongst DSA-LA members and encourage members to become more active in their unions, all crucial steps in building a strong socialist movement in LA.

    DSA-LA should also be very proud of the huge expansion in YDSA chapters in LA over the past year. It’s exciting to see so many young people on campuses across LA County taking up the mantle of socialism and building up their leadership skills in the process.

    I think all of these projects have been very important because of their ability to both bring in new members and allow members to learn new organizing skills. They have laid some solid ground work for continued electoral and labor work in our chapter and furthered the goal of rooting ourselves in the multiracial working class of LA.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    I think some things that our chapter continues to struggle with are siloing of members, engaging new members and activating lapsed members. Many members are unaware of current chapter projects outside of those being run by the committee(s) they are in. I am committed to making information sharing easier so that committees know what projects each is working on and members can get regular updates on committee work and campaigns. This ensures that committees are accountable to the membership at large and the membership also holds itself accountable to the projects we voted to support, such as the Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation.

    Something I’ve heard from a number of newer members is that they don’t know where to start or how to plug in after they join DSA-LA. Making sure members have access to regular committee reports so they can get a sense of what the committees are working on can help demystify our structure for new members and help them decide where to get started. Additionally, while our DSA 101s are helpful in orienting new members, I think our chapter would benefit from an even more supportive onboarding process similar to that of Chicago DSA’s Rose Buddy program. 

    Finally, I think promoting outward facing mass campaigns like Medicare for All or an anti-austerity campaign can provide an immediate entry point for new members to plug into and encourage involvement of less active members. We have over 4,000 members yet only a few hundred or so who are actively engaged in work within the chapter. Mass campaigns with a clear goal give members something to unite around. My hope is that our new branches and neighborhood groups can help keep members engaged with current and ongoing work in the chapter.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    We need to continue to work toward rooting DSA-LA in the multiracial working class here in Los Angeles. We need to strengthen our ties with unions and build our chapter’s capacity for labor organizing. We also need to build leadership capacity within our membership and develop our own candidates for upcoming local races. We have a lot of momentum right now following the 2020 elections and we can’t risk losing that. We have thousands of brand new members; we need to work to keep them engaged and make them feel welcomed into our movement. I think all three of our priority resolutions are perfectly suited for these tasks.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    We have grown our membership by over 2,000 members during this pandemic. While it will be a relief to finally be able to organize in person again, the logistics of in-person meetings will be much different for a 4,500 person chapter than they were for a 2,000 person chapter. It is my hope that the new branches will make this process easier. And until we are able to meet in person once again, we will need to continue  to develop creative ways to engage our membership and carry out mass campaigns.  I also think that we are going to see a big influx of candidates seeking our endorsement as we build toward the 2022 election now that we are seen as a serious contender in these races. We will need a strong Electoral Politics Committee familiar with endorsement processes and experience with coordinating multiple campaigns across the city and county who can work with Steering.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    All members of Steering, regardless of specific position, should play an active role in supporting each of these resolutions. As Recording Secretary, I want to ensure that reports and minutes are made clear and available to all of the membership, adding transparency so members can easily see progress, get involved and hold Steering and their comrades accountable to the projects we voted on as a Chapter.

Iridian Magallon
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    8 Months
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I’ve attended direct actions such as Demand Democracy/Defend Each Other March/Rally. I volunteered as a Marshall for Alliance to Defend Immigrants at Mariachi Plaza. I also helped recruit new DSA members during the 100K Drive. I recently volunteered to be the notetaker for Mutual Aid Committee Meeting. Although not an author to the proposal, “Racial Capitalism & Exploitation Meets Immigrant Working Class Solidarity: The Resistance in the Streets, Workplaces, and Housing of LA”, I agreed to present such proposal in my branch meeting, given that authors belonged to other branches and would not be able to present in East/SGV branch meeting. Lastly, I participated in the IJC, Stimulus Solidarity Campaign. My active work in this campaign consisted of conducting intake interviews via phone calls, taking notes on conversations, and linking participants to committees of their interests. In order to fulfill my role, I keep contact with families that I interviewed to invite them to upcoming DSA-LA events and to pass along beneficial information.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    In College, I was part of an organization that facilitated student tutoring services to families within the community. I helped with the passing out of flyers and recruiting college students to the tutoring program.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    My recent participation in DSA-LA programs have reaffirmed the purpose of my work, which is to advocate for those who are silenced by the injustices of capitalism and become an active participant in improving the living conditions for members of my community. DSA has provided the opportunities to fulfill this desire in me. I want to get more involved in DSA and running for recording secretary seems like a great start, especially considering that I already take it upon myself to take notes of every zoom meeting, training, and/or event. I do this for my personal knowledge and learning experience.
  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    Highly Organized, Multitasker, Approachable, Good at Communicating, Detail oriented.
  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    Passing “In Response to a Crisis: Neighborhood Solidarity Program”
  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Organizing between committees and branches and communicating major events, direct actions, or resources.
  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Setting weekly meetings or check-ins with branches and committees in order to be on the same page about events taking place or actions that need more support. Also recording all notable detail and information presented at each meeting. That way any member can refer back to notes to find details that one might have missed if not present at a meeting. Also setting a set schedule that would have notes available to members the following day of when meeting took place.
  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    Staying true to original commitment and allowing for others to hold Local accountable.
  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    I’ll be responsible for committing the same amount of energy and dedication to each task, not just prioritizing the committees I am part of.

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Jordan E.
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    Since 2017
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I was elected as Co-chair of the chapter’s membership committee in 2019 and then as Coordinator 2020. I served in that role until we re-structured core chapter work by forming Admin Committee this past summer. I now serve as an appointed member of Admin Committee.

    I’ve supported and worked on many chapter projects, mostly related to member engagement and onboarding (though I’ve also supported several external projects, like DSA for Bernie and our Nithya campaign). In the past year, I’m most proud of my work as the lead in building the Neighborhood Organizing structure, as well as building the Admin Committee from scratch.

    If elected as Comms Director, I would no longer be as directly involved in those projects, but I fully trust that the members who I have been supporting and organizing with throughout the past year are ready to step up and continue to grow both projects.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    While I do have a lot of volunteer/community service experience, such as working in meal centers, I was never involved with any political organizations before joining DSA.

    In what feels like another lifetime, I spent a lot of time volunteering at a church, working with students. I left that movement behind awhile ago, but I think there’s a lot to be learned from faith communities when it comes to building community, promoting a message, and meeting people where they are.

    The truth is: DSA is my political home. I’ve learned so much here, and I’m committed to doing whatever I can to see it succeed in building the world we deserve to live in.

  5. Why are you running for this position?

    DSA-LA Communications can be so much more than they are now.

    With great respect for the service of comrades who have volunteered their labor in this position for the past couple of years, I believe there are several areas where there is potential for huge improvement in the coming year.

    1 – Strategy. Our external communications should be more than an aggregator of events and ad hoc topical posts. We can and must develop an overarching comms strategy to intentionally move people toward class consciousness and an awareness of DSA-LA’s mission and priorities.

    2 – Internal communications. DSA-LA has space for a wide variety of viewpoints and debate, but once priorities are democratically decided, we must use chapter communications to convey this sense of priority, especially to new members who are looking to get involved. There is room for improvement in policy here. How do members communicate with each other? What types of events or announcements get promoted to members through official channels? Is Slack really the best platform for us, or can we find a better solution?

    3 – Culture / Cultural Competency. I believe we can do a better job of recruiting a more diverse communications team to develop messaging that will reach beyond the chapter’s historically mostly-white base. (Creating a more representative chapter will come down to direct outreach and recruitment, but there is a role for comms to play.)

    4 – Dedicated design team. Communications should be home to a dedicated design team that can create content to support all chapter campaigns and promote our chapter’s theory of change.

    5 – PR. We must develop a team to maintain a press list and promote awareness of our activities and statements. Mainstream coverage of our work will be a crucial part of establishing our legitimacy as a vehicle for workers in Los Angeles to seek material change.

    6 – Structure. I have a vision to establish a much-needed structure for our Communications Committee; organizing people into defined areas of work, like some of the fields listed above. In an organization with as many members as ours, I have no doubt that there are a huge number of extremely skilled people who would love the chance to use their comms skills to build a mass socialist organization. They just need to be given a clear path to do so.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I’ve had a few different jobs, (including my current one as a project manager), that involve social media, community building, and marketing. I’ve also learned, through my work in DSA, that I have a lot of skill at building teams that create structure and elevate the work of others.

    I also bring a lot experience working within DSA-LA, knowledge of structures and personalities, and working relationships with a few comrades who are eager to begin building the type of teams I described above.

    I love working with others, even if we don’t always agree. I’m not dogmatic about my ideologies. If you’ll indulge me just talking about myself for a moment: I like watching bad action movies, listening to Phoebe Bridgers, and running. Sometimes I even finish reading a book! At the end of the day, though, I’m a worker. I believe that the working class, together, has the power to end racial capitalism, and I believe that DSA is our best shot to build the organization that we need. I just want us all to win – because none of us are free until all of us are free, and climate change isn’t waiting for us.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    1. Bernie Campaign support – Engaged a large base of our membership, won our county, and laid the groundwork for a subsequent swell of recruitment.

    1. Recruitment –  Our chapter membership doubled over the summer; especially growing in non-white, working class communities. The work done in Eastside/SGV as well as in South Central/Inglewood proved that the quickest route to bring more members of the multiracial working class into our organization is to invite them!

    1. Our Pivot to Geographic and Workplace Organizing (Via Branches/Neighborhoods and Labor Circles) – DSA organizers have been working to develop the chapter beyond existing as a loose federation of siloed activist groups. This year we finally develop programs capable of scaling, of organizing people where they are, and of allowing people to engage with multiple issues at once.

    1. Campaigns – Beyond our support for the Sanders campaign, we supported the Reclaimers, raised tens of thousands for Stimulus Solidarity, got two members elected into office and more! These member-endorsed projects got members excited, trained them on essential skills, led to material wins, and expanded our presence in the community as a vibrant and active people-powered organization.
  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?

    In addition to the above areas of improvement related to Communications, I believe that we should make it easier for new members to get involved in general. According to our survey data, it’s too confusing/overwhelming right now. We also need to decide what kind of organization we want to be: A place for the most dedicated activists to pursue whatever projects they want, or a mass, democratic organization that meets people where they are and grows its people power to the scale necessary to take power in LA. 

    The solution to all of our problems is organizing. We can’t get around the need to have conversations; to work and learn together. I’m committed to doing the work to build a DSA LA  that looks like Los Angeles and represents Los Angeles.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Following through on democratic commitments made by the membership, so that even people who can’t make it to lots of meetings can feel as though they have a meaningful stake in the direction of the organization. Developing the capacity, skills, and analysis needed to continue building a mass organization that is capable of winning material demands. Recruiting and empowering workers from majority non-white and especially Black neighborhoods and communities. These are a few local issues that should be prioritized. On a slightly larger scale, there is an important role for our chapter to play in supporting the development of a formal California DSA that will allow us to organize on an even greater scale with socialists in chapters all around the state. I’m really excited to already be involved in that process, and would be honored to continue to do so while serving on steering committee
  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    There are many external factors that will continue to make our work difficult. COVID-19 continues to exacerbate the worst excesses of capital, leaving us and many of our neighbors facing underemployment, eviction, and precarity. We must practice mutual aid at a neighborhood level to take care of each other, while recognizing that the solution to this oppression must come from organizing to take power for the working class.  As we organize DSA to build this collective power, there are a couple issues that we will confront in the coming year. First, there is still a tension between the desire to focus on organizing people where they are, and the status quo of just trying to move people into policy committees. Second, without Trump as an obvious focal point, and without candidates to rally behind, I see a real possibility of many of our members disengaging. We must quickly develop empowering and winnable campaigns for our members to participate in, most immediately a Cancel Rent campaign, as described by our current “In Response to Crisis” resolution.
  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    I organized to drive support toward all 3 of these resolutions and am thrilled at the opportunity to work on their implementation. All 3 will have implications for chapter communications strategy, and if elected, I look forward to diving into the work of making sure the chapter treats these like the democratically-chosen priorities they are.

TREASURER
Marlin M. (she/her)
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    5 Years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I was elected and currently serve as Treasurer for the Chapter as well as an active member of the Electoral Politics Committee. I was one of the SFV Captains for the Bernie Working Group and responsible for executing weekly canvassing events, operational responsibilities, and volunteer recruitment/engagement.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    Prior to focusing my work on DSA-LA, I was the elected Treasurer for the Progressive Caucus of California. I was an elected Delegate for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and organized with other local progressive groups in statewide efforts.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am running for re-election as Treasurer because after serving a term I have a better understanding of the limitations and opportunities in this role. As a member of Steering I witness many challenges and opportunities to delegate responsibilities to help maximize our abilities to be effective. With our recent wins DSA-LA has the opportunity to step up our local work and build our political muscle. When we call out an Elected Official we need the organization’s power to show up and demand our voices be heard. That will only be possible if we effectively are able to mobilize our membership. 

    I believe this is possible through coordinated efforts of leaders that share a vision which is why this time I am running as part of the Labor & Solidarity slate. You can read our platform bit.ly/LaborAndsolidarity

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    As the current Treasurer I have been managing our revolving expenses and vendors. With the help of other chapter leaders we have started to take steps to help support the ongoing needs of our Chapter in a way that can be upscaled as we grow. Due to the pandemic it was necessary to find creative ways to not only increase the visibility of the Chapter but continue the flow of local contributions to fund our direct actions. One of the ways this was achieved was through the sale of our Chapter t-shirts.  

    On a personal level I currently am an Analyst for a servicing company and bring more than 15 years experience in the financial sector.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    The most important successes the Chapter has achieved in the last year are our Electoral efforts and wins: Bernie 2020 Primary, Konstantine Anthony, Nithya Raman, Prop 15. It was through these mass action campaigns that we were able to engage our communities at a local level and directly increase our membership.
  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    The biggest area for improvement is how to engage the large volume of new members that have joined the Chapter. This continues to be a challenge as we struggle to on-board new members with a clear roadmap of how to get plugged in at their level of engagement. All members will not be active organizers so we will need to identify different levels of engagement for all volunteer levels. The way we have successfully engaged members has been through mass campaigns that directly speak to issues in our community, for example Medicare for All, Prop 15, and supporting building the bench electoral efforts.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Over the next year we should prioritize mass action campaigns at the branch level. It is important to recognize that Los Angeles is a large city with unique neighborhoods and communities, and organizing should be tailored to each branch’s priorities. It’s important that committee work be done at the local level and with the direct engagement and buy-in from the Branch Coordinators. 
     
  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    The biggest challenge will continue to be finding creative ways to successfully engage our members, both new and current. There continues to be a missed opportunity when it comes to both members that cannot volunteer time and those whose membership has expired. It will be crucial to continue to reach our membership through mass campaigns that focus on engagement, and building organizing skills.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    As a current member of Steering I believe it is important to focus on the Priority Resolutions democratically voted on by the membership at convention. It is our responsibility to uphold the will of our members and keep them as a central focus in the direction of the chapter. Each Resolution gives us unique opportunities to engage our membership and use these opportunities to train new leaders to continue our efforts in our communities at a branch level. 

CAMPAIGNS COORDINATOR
Leslie Chang
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    8 Months
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    Since joining DSA-LA in March 2020, I have been primarily involved with establishing and building out the Eastside + San Gabriel Valley branch. This includes leading efforts to formalize our branch, serving on the provisional coordinating committee, and coordinating data needs to bring new local organizers into Neighborhood Organizing. More recently, I became a member of the Admin Committee and have been project managing the implementation of several DSA-LA priorities, such as the recent 100k Recruitment Drive and Resolution 3: In Response to Crisis (Neighborhood Solidarity Program). I am also a member of the Mutual Aid Community Defense (ComDef) team and have experience supporting direct actions as a marshal and police liaison.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    Extinction Rebellion (Strategy Working Group Internal Coordinator; Actions Working Group External Coordinator)
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    As the largest mass socialist organization, DSA-LA is well positioned to catalyze change at the local level. We must, however, BE organized if we want to be successful AT organizing. Our organization should be structured to allow us to achieve our long-term goals of activating a broad, working-class constituency, diverse not only in terms of class and race but also ideas. This necessitates setting out a clear Theory of Change that articulates DSA-LA’s overall goals, the pathway that we need to take to actualize impact, and the stakeholders that we must involve in our work as we build the power to win.

    I see these activities as central to the Campaign Coordinator’s responsibility of facilitating internal and external coordination needed to build campaigns. I am running for the Campaigns Coordinator position to ensure that our campaigns are adequately resourced, encourage mass member participation, and contribute to our overall goals as a chapter. I want to ensure that all rank and file members are empowered with the tools and skills necessary to build winnable campaigns in their neighborhoods and workplaces. This includes ensuring that all members who join DSA-LA understand what it means to be a part of a socialist organization, have a clear sense of how the chapter operates and how we plan to achieve material wins, and can meaningfully contribute their skills and experience to further our movement. In taking on this responsibility, I hope to work closely with neighborhood organizers, committees, caucuses, and branches to ensure that we are building collective power.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I was inspired to join DSA because of Bernie’s campaign and his vision for a just, regenerative, and socialist society. As such, my grassroots organizing experience is primarily grounded in his 2020 presidential campaign, along with the skills I’ve learned this year as a member of DSA-LA and Extinction Rebellion. I have a strong, bottoms-up organizing perspective and understand how to effectively communicate socialist ideals to a diverse and wide range of communities. As one of the Campaigns Coordinator’s primary responsibilities is to track DSA-LA’s coalitions and external relationships, my field experience and knowledge of the local organizing landscape will be extremely useful identifying not only where we can execute winnable campaigns but also where we need to grow strategically to build out our overall capacity.

    Outside of the organizing sphere, I am a global health and development strategy consultant. I work with NGOs and not-for-profit organizations to brainstorm long-term goals, identify a clear Theory of Change, and articulate a pathway to achieving their overall vision. My work involves building out organizational capacity to better communicate both internally and externally, identifying clear metrics to evidence progress against goals, and ensuring that all stakeholders are collaborating effectively. As the other half of the Campaigns Coordinator position is to ‘coordinate the activity of committees, branches and working groups, including assisting in the organizational structure, ensuring meetings of the committees operate according to principles of transparency, accessibility, and full participation, and reporting back to the Steering Committee on the progress and operations of committee and the Local’s campaigns,’ I am uniquely qualified to support building out our organizational structure and ensuring that there are clear avenues for communication and member engagement across the chapter.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    What separates DSA-LA from other organizations is that we’re proud socialists. We have a unique vision for the world, one that guarantees equality of opportunity for all. As the progressive shift to the left continues to play out on the local and national spheres, we need to continue to build power over the ruling elite so that we have the power to make demands. As such, I believe the shift toward organizing at the local level is one of the most important successes we achieved over the last year. With so many members organizing at the site of struggle, we will be able to materially demonstrate that socialist ideals and politics can work for people. Our overall membership growth is a testament to our ability to speak to the working class, while the establishment of the Eastside + San Gabriel Valley and South Central + Inglewood branches demonstrate our ability to be responsive to local demands.

    As the demographics and politics of Los Angeles continue to evolve, I hope that DSA-LA has the vision and capacity to constantly bring in new comrades, consider our priorities as a chapter, and channel and direct our power productively. With so many new members organizing from different corners of our region, we now have the capacity to start engaging with local communities in meaningful and material ways.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    I see three main, interrelated areas of improvement for our chapter. The first is building out a better process for onboarding new members to ensure that all comrades achieve political fluency in socialist ideas and praxis. As a new member myself, I’m thankful for the comrades that helped me find my place within DSA-LA and want to ensure that all comrades have the opportunity to find their respective niches. This will ensure that our chapter is not only growing our active membership base, but also retaining comrades as well. Based on my experience working with the Admin Committee these past couple of months, I look forward to continuing my engagement as a member of Steering and helping guide the work that is being done on New Member Onboarding and New Member Engagement.

    The second main area of improvement is ensuring that all areas of the chapter (from neighborhoods to committees and caucuses) are clearly communicating so that there is more transparency in all of our work. This hedges against duplicating work while ensuring that learnings and best practices are shared widely, provides another opportunity to bring new members into our work, and serves as an ongoing temperature check to ensure that we’re being accountable to our constituency and goals. This aspect of organizational structure and communication is one of the primary reasons the Campaigns Coordinator position was developed and I look forward to working closely with branch and committee coordinators to achieve this goal.

    Finally, I hope that we can continue our shift toward organizing at the local level. Bringing campaigns and recruitment down to the neighborhood level gives us the opportunity empower all members, not just a few, to build socialist campaigns. With Resolution 3: In Response to Crisis, which was voted upon by the chapter membership, or the highest governing body, we all have the responsibility to ensure that we are able to build our local organizing capacity and organize at the local level at scale.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    In addition to the aforementioned, DSA-LA should prioritize implementing all resolutions that passed at the September 2020 convention, growing our membership in traditionally underserved communities, clearly articulating a local strategy that is inclusive and responsive, and ensuring that we allocate resources accordingly to successfully achieve all of the above.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    COVID-19 will continue to be the biggest challenge for us as organizers, both in terms of surfacing new local injustices to address and also in being a barrier to meeting up and working in-person. While we have adjusted to organizing online and have been able to identify meaningful ways to support the communities we live in (e.g. Stimulus Solidarity Campaign), we should continue to identify ways to be inclusive in the way we organize while being cognizant of safety. On a macro-level, we are continuing to see the ruling elite prioritize corporate interest over the people and echo calls for a return to normalcy. As socialists, we know that we are at the juncture of socialism or barbarism, and that we must fight the system so that our society moves away from barbarism. The fight will not be easy, nor will it be won on a short time-frame. We should be prepared to stand up to those in power where we work and where we live, while bringing more people into our movement.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    All three priority resolutions will impact the Campaigns Coordinator position, in that I want to ensure that all three are successfully implemented across the chapter. These are ambitious resolutions that involve a multi-stakeholder approach in developing the strategy, workplan, and implementation. I anticipate that my primary responsibility will be building out our organizational infrastructure to ensure that comrades have the means to work together, while providing project management oversight to ensure that comrades are actually working together. As I will also be overseeing campaigns, coalitions, and external relationships, I will be able to synthesize information across the chapter and plan to work with comrades to ensure that we’re clearly identifying areas of strategic growth and taking steps to build our capacity where we don’t currently have it.

YDSA COORDINATOR
Michael S.
  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA
    3 Years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I have served as our chapter’s YDSA Coordinator after being appointed by Steering in May, 2020. I have two main tasks at the broadest level: I help grow and strengthen YDSA chapters and develop leaders within chapters. I also coordinate monthly organizing meetings, connect YDSAers with resources from DSA-LA and YDSA National, and provide trainings and one-on-one mentorship. 

    One of my most exciting achievements as YDSA coordinator was this summer’s YDSA-LA Summer School, which provided a series of political education sessions and organizer trainings for YDSAers and YDSA-curious across the city. The most exciting part about Summer School was that it was lead by the YDSAers themselves. This sort of cross-chapter collaboration provides an excellent opportunity for identifying, recruiting, and training campus socialists. 

    I’m proud to have facilitated YDSA-LA’s rapid growth in the past seven months. In May, there were two officially-recognized YDSA chapters and a handful of others around the county. In addition to our official chapters, we now have pre-chapter Organizing Committees on eleven different campuses: Loyola Marymount University, Grover Cleveland High School, Glen A. Wilson High School, CalState Northridge, CalState LA, CalTech, Cal Poly Pomona, Agoura High School, Occidental College, USC, and the Claremont Consortium. 

    In addition to my work as YDSA Coordinator, I also worked on our Bernie and Prop 15 campaigns, and served as a delegate to the National Convention in 2019.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I’ve been a member-organizer of my union, UAW 2865, since the fall of 2017. Since then, I’ve organized hundreds of new members into our union through one-on-one and group orientations, planned and facilitated organizer trainings, and helped grow our stewardship network through leadership identification and development. I’ve also served on my Local’s leadership since the spring of 2018 as a Head Steward and Recording Secretary of the UCLA unit, and on our executive board as Southern Vice President.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I’m running for this position because I believe that YDSA is central to the development of a strong DSA-LA rooted in the multiracial working class of Los Angeles. Young people are both the present and the future of the socialist movement; therefore, the investment of time, energy, and resources into YDSA organizing will create a pipeline for our movement’s future leaders. 

    I’m excited to continue my work as YDSA coordinator to facilitate the growth our current chapters and to help form new ones. 

    I am also running for this position because I want our chapter to further root itself in the multiracial working class of Los Angeles through mass campaigns, labor organizing, and leadership development. I’m running on the Labor & Solidarity slate with a group of like-minded organizers—you can read our full platform here: https://bit.ly/LaborAndSolidarity

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I will bring to this position the skills I’ve developed in my years as an organizer in my union, in DSA, and in YDSA. As a union member I’ve developed my one-on-one organizing skills, and in particular have become proficient at the tough, uncomfortable conversations that are necessary to move someone to take an action that they’ve never taken before—like becoming a union member. As a member of DSA, I’ve developed the political education skills necessary to have clear conversations about socialism, and to help furnish others with those same skills. And as a founding member of UCLA YDSA, I developed outreach, recruitment, and leadership development—and I ultimately helped grow our chapter from four dues-paying members to forty.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    I see three main areas where our chapter has succeeded in the past year: in our electoral campaigns, our recruitment drive, and in the growth of YDSA. Our electoral campaigns are important because they help us attract, recruit, and train many member-leaders and because they have boosted our profile as a force in city- and statewide politics. Our performance in the recruitment drive demonstrates our chapter’s commitment to building a mass organization of and for the working class of Los Angeles. And the rapid growth of our YDSAs presents incredible potential for training the next generation of socialist organizers.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Our chapter should work on engaging our members, increasing the capacity of our organizers, and further rooting itself in the multiracial working class of Los Angeles. We have around 4,500 members in DSA-LA, but only a fraction of us are active organizers. Those of us who are active often juggle multiple roles within the chapter and are approaching burnout. Despite the fact that we are an organization that focuses on the working class as the primary agent of social change, we are not yet rooted in the multiracial working class of Los Angeles.

    We can improve on these areas through mass campaigns focused on class-wide demands that activate and galvanize our membership, particularly if we approach these campaigns with the intention of developing new member-leaders and identifying organic leaders in workplaces and communities.

    I will contribute to this improvement in two ways: first, I will connect YDSA chapters with resources from DSA-LA, particularly campaign-related materials, so we can coordinate our work across campuses and engage as many members as possible. Second, I will prioritize the development of YDSA chapters at high schools, community colleges, and MSIs, as these institutions are best rooted in the multiracial working class of Los Angeles.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Our Local should prioritize mass campaigns that build power and political independence, rebuilding a fighting labor movement, and leadership development and political education that trains socialist organizers and grows our movement. Mass campaigns activate, galvanize, and train our membership in organizing skills, while simultaneously helping us build working-class power independent of the capitalist class and the Democrats. Organized labor is the most powerful tool the working class has to force concessions from capitalists, so we should continue the labor solidarity work we currently do while also encouraging and supporting socialists to get rank-and-file jobs in order to organize with other workers on the shop floor. Leadership development and political education will help us build our capacity as an organization, and will also root us further in the working class of Los Angeles if we integrate these elements into our mass campaigns and labor work.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    The next year will see continued assaults against the working class that are intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. We must be attentive to how these twinned crises will affect our members on a personal level, and we also must propose political solutions that unify our chapter around class-wide demands for economic relief.   This crisis also makes it more difficult to engage our members. In the absence of in-person organizing, we must be both creative and strategic as we attempt to engage all of our members.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation: YDSA organizing is a particularly effective way to address the lack of diversity within our organization. In short, if we want DSA-LA to reflect the multiracial working class of Los Angeles, then we need to intentionally organize at institutions that are reflective of the multiracial working class of Los Angeles. I have committed, and will continue to commit, to prioritizing the development of YDSA chapters at high schools, community colleges, and MSIs. In particular, I look forward to working with members of the South Central LA + Inglewood branch in order to help build YDSA chapters in Black neighborhoods. 

    In Response to a Crisis: As YDSA chapters continue to develop, I plan to connect them with their relevant Branch Organizing Committees in order to share skills and resources, collaborate on neighborhood-specific campaigns, and build mentorship relationships. One possibility would be to have one person on each branch OC who can commit to organizing with the YDSAs in their jurisdiction. A well-developed neighborhood stewardship structure will also help identify DSA-LA members who attend school or work on campuses and may not yet be involved in YDSA organizing. 

    Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022: This resolution presents an exciting opportunity to engage YDSAers in Chapter electoral work—ideally, YDSA chapters should be able to work on DSA-LA’s campaigns, and in the process build their organizing skills with more experienced organizers. In the long term, we may be able to identify DSA candidates through YDSA organizing, specifically from class-rooted institutions like high schools and community colleges.

CENTRAL BRANCH COORDINATOR

Arielle S.

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes.
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    4 Years.
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I am currently the co-chair of the Housing & Homelessness Committee, where I have presided over the rapid growth of our Street Watch initiative over the past year, launched the Tenant Organizing Circle to facilitate communication between our duel members of tenants associations and DSA-LA, and represented DSA-LA in the organizing committee of Reclaiming our Homes, which successfully reclaimed 13 vacant homes owned by the state for unhoused and precariously housed tenants. I’ve been an active member of the committee since its formation in January 2017 and helped create Street Watch alongside many other comrades at the time.

    This year I also co-authored the priority resolution we passed at our annual convention, In Response to Crisis: A Neighborhood Solidarity program by DSA-LA, which will establish neighborhood groups under the branches as a primary site of organizing for our members, paired with an ongoing campaign to cancel rent and expand government relief. This resolution was born from a collaborative event I helped plan across the Housing & Homelessness, Political Education, Labor, and Immigration Justice committees around unemployment organizing in the Great Depression and how it could inform our work responding to crisis today.

    In the past, I was Communications Director on the Steering Committee, during which I led the chapter’s first priority resolution campaign for Prop 10 — identifying and supporting canvass leads, cutting turf, developing our messaging and communications strategy, and more. I also helped plan our first chapter convention, organized our monthly chapter meetings and other large-scale events (such as a fundraiser for Alexandria Ocasio Cortez), and supported the development of our first three branches. Nationally, I’ve been elected a delegate for the chapter to the National Convention twice, and in 2019 wrote a resolution to create a national Housing Justice Commission that was successfully adopted. Since then, I was elected to serve on the inaugural Steering Committee of this new body to support tenant organizing within chapters across the country.


  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I have worked in communications for movement politics for several years now. I worked for the Prop 10 campaign and then for a non-profit which I led a unionization campaign at, and now at a large healthcare workers union. I’m also a rank and file member of the LA Tenants Union.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    As a housing justice organizer, I’ve always understood the importance of neighborhood organizing and building deep ties with members of the multiracial working class in our communities. It’s only when tenants come together around their shared struggles that they truly have power against the landlord class. As the COVID-19 crisis deepens and more tenants are at risk of eviction, it’s essential that we build the infrastructure to grow building-specific struggles and turn every member into a leader in their neighborhood. The Housing & Homelessness Committee alone cannot do this — it’s structurally impossible for issue-based committees to reach the entirety of our membership. We need strong branches and neighborhood groups to organize on a hyper-local level.

    I believe DSA-LA has grown to such an extent that we need durable new structures to have a meaningful impact across LA County. Even a few years ago we knew branches were an essential component to our chapter’s growth, as more and more members found it difficult to attend meetings across town or navigate a byzantine committee structure. Today, branches are even more necessary: We simply cannot engage 5,000 members just through our policy committees. We need structures that can scale to our growing membership.

    I co-authored the In Response to Crisis resolution to begin the process of reorienting our work into our neighborhoods and branches, and I would be excited to help implement it as Branch Coordinator. Central Branch, in particular, hasn’t been seen as a real area of growth for the chapter, because it has always seemed like the de facto core — but we can’t let that stop us from deepening our work in the area, especially among low-income communities of color. I am committed to ensuring we practice serious language justice in all of our branch-level work — something I’ve coordinated as part of my tenant organizing work and my day-job in the past. It’s not enough to have Spanish interpretation in our meetings. We need to promote our meetings in Spanish, send our digital communications in Spanish, and most importantly, do meaningful organizing work with Spanish-speaking communities. And that can all happen at the Branch level.


  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I have a lot of experience facilitating bottom up decision making and infrastructure building, particularly in Street Watch. Since we exploded in growth at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Street Watch was not structurally prepared to engage our growing membership, manage a serious budget, and resolve political differences. Over the course of the past few months, I helped facilitate a bottom-up process to write and approve bylaws for the initiative, including a decision-making process that prioritizes consent-building over traditional voting. These new bylaws help us manage decision making across disparate locals, not unlike the structures we will see with neighborhood groups and the larger branch.

    On a basic level, I have strong administrative and organizing skills, with experience in building communications strategy, event planning, one on ones, digital organizing, meeting facilitation, strategic planning, and more. I also have a deep familiarity with how the organization is run both locally and nationally.


  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    I am personally most proud of the growth and impact of Street Watch since the COVID-19 pandemic and our work in Housing & Homelessness to support the courageous tenants of Reclaiming Our Homes. That coalition was born from our deep organizing work for Prop 10, which helped us secure a lot of trust with coalition partners in order to take on a project of this magnitude together. Ultimately, we earned the trust of the Reclaimers to help lead a large volunteer effort to support them, helped sharpen their demands, and ultimately challenge the logic of private ownership of land and housing.

    This year the chapter also started the important work of supporting members as they organize at their own sites of struggle — in their neighborhood and at the workplace — by developing the structures to start neighborhood organizing and launching the workplace organizing circles. (I’m a member of the non-profit workers circle myself!)

    We should also be very proud of our robust political education programming, from the highly popular night schools to the DSA 101 trainings, which have helped grow our membership and activate paper members. And of course, we cannot talk about this year without applauding our electoral wins! We were able to mobilize members during a pandemic and elected Nithya Raman to LA City Council and Konstantine Anthony to Burbank City Council — none of which could have happened without the infrastructure that was built through our Bernie campaign work.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Most importantly, organizing and decision making need to be truly bottom-up, moved to accessible and mass organizing spaces and not siloed exclusively into committees. We’ve heard time and time again that the current chapter structure is inaccessible to new members, and we should create spaces that are truly open for everyone to get involved with, while not doing away with the committees that have created a lot of growth for DSA-LA up until now. The recent dues drive is a really good sign we need to continue to replicate, as we try to onboard more people and not allow our recruitment to continue to be self-selecting activists. Lastly, I strongly thing we need to build in more study and discussion into all meetings, especially on Zoom, to help our members’ political development and root people in their neighborhoods and workplaces as the foremost site of struggle.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    We should prioritize the priorities we already democratically decided on, and most importantly, the organization’s growth and internal development.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    I am concerned now that DSA-LA has a larger profile around candidate elections that we are going to hear more from candidates who don’t align with us — becoming a target for opportunists who aren’t actually interested in growing the socialist movement. The best way to counter this is through robust internal democracy, and I think the branches have a clear role to play in that. We also have to contend with our own growth — with thousands of new members, how do we make sure they have a clear way to participate? It’s our job to make sure DSA-LA is a permanent fixture in the multiracial working class of Los Angeles, and not just part of a leftist ecosystem that activists join. It’s also going to continue to be challenging to respond to the moment as we are organizing remotely under COVID. We have to prioritize making the chapter accessible for all members, especially new ones.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)

    In Response to Crisis has particular relevance for Branch business, so if elected I am determined to help implement a vision of the resolution that makes Central branch stronger. We have to recruit and train more organizers, support neighborhood groups with their study areas, and develop strong trainings for housing justice and mutual aid so we can start doing real work on the neighborhood level. For the Socialist Commitment to Black Lives resolution, we can make a clear rapid response system that uses the neighborhood groups and mobilizer system through it to mobilize our membership for direct actions in support of Black lives. We will also prioritize housing justice campaigns aligned with the resolution in the Branch, and powermap the region to identify neighborhoods with Black communities as areas of growth and development. For the Build a Bench resolution, developing our capacity at the neighborhood and branch level will only help us identify more leaders and powermap the area to assess what we want from elected leaders.


SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BRANCH COORDINATOR

Nick Bottomley

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    3.5 years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I am currently one of the SFV Branch Coordinators, having taken the position in July of this year. Prior to this, I was the SFV Neighborhood Organizing Lead and a neighborhood organizer in Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I am currently organizing with Ground Game LA to start a #insulin4all chapter in LA and working to connect it to a broader coalition of mutual aid groups in the U.S. targeting diabetics for whom insulin is not accessible.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am running because I currently serve as one of the SFV Branch Coordinators, and I am prepared to continue to build DSA-LA and make it a more welcoming, supportive, and effective organization in the fight for socialism and a more just society.
  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    Since I came into the SFV Branch Coordinator position six months ago, I’ve been able to sharpen many of the skills required to fulfill the duties of this role effectively. Branch meetings require a significant amount of planning and coordination with other members and leaders, and I am comfortable communicating with and delegating tasks to make sure they happen. I understand the big-picture aspects of the organization, and aim to effectively communicate and connect membership and committees to the work that is going on across the chapter.
  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    To me, Nithya Raman’s election and DSA-LA’s support of actions like BLMLA’s weekly Jackie Lacey Must Go protests (that undoubtedly played a role in her election loss) highlighted the power and necessity of building connections with other groups for the work ahead of us.

    The Stimulus Solidarity Campaign has also been an extraordinary example of DSA-LA’s ability to quickly respond to extraordinary circumstances, and has helped us build power and support our undocumented community members.

    Finally, I think the Neighborhood Organizing network as it exists now is itself an enormous feat of collaboration and dedication, and will pave the way for DSA-LA to be able to meet our members where they are. I think this has been a crucial step to making DSA-LA not just an organization for people who identify as socialists already, but for all working class members of our communities.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?

    I think the most important areas to improve upon have to do with making our organization accessible to all, and developing and improving the structures in place to allow new members to become leaders both within DSA-LA and within their communities–particularly members who are most marginalized in our society and most burdened by the failings of neoliberalism and capitalism. To do this, I think we need to be proactive in our approaches both to outreach in our communities and to our internal organizing to make sure we are making DSA-LA a welcoming place for folks who are new to the left to be able to learn and grow. Again, I think the chapter’s push toward neighborhood-level organizing is a big step in making this possible, and I will contribute by working to develop our Neighborhood Organizing structures and pushing to prioritize actions and campaigns that can involve our broad membership.
  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    I am excited by the Chapter Resolutions that were passed for 2021, and I think they set out ambitious but achievable goals for DSA-LA. However, I think environmental justice is a key element we must also make sure we are prioritizing in our work in ways that may not be explicitly laid out in the Resolution texts. The environmental crises we are facing are crises of capitalism that tie into every other aspect of our lives, and in the SFV, we have at least two major ongoing environmental disasters with the continued use and expansion of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility and the Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley. I believe we should be working within our communities to organize wherever possible to avert environmental catastrophe in our backyards.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    I think we are going to see more and more people continue to join our organization over the next year, especially as the incoming Biden administration–along with state, county, and city leadership–continues to fail to meet Angelenos’ needs and throw working people under the bus, and we must be ready for that. We need to make sure that we are leveraging the fact that we are one of the largest chapters of the largest socialist organization in the U.S. To make sure that we are utilizing our numbers most strategically and effectively will require a significant amount of time, thought, dedication, struggle, and trust. And in the aftermath of COVID-19, which will likely continue to be a crisis into the early part of 2021, we must be prepared to organize to protect our communities hit hardest by the economic fallout of the pandemic, which will need to involve a strong tenant organization and mutual aid system.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    In Response to a Crisis lays out clear goals and responsibilities for Branch Coordinators and their role in implementing the resolution, the most relevant being the continued development and maintenance of Neighborhood Organizing. The SFV Branch is an expansive amount of area to cover, which makes this challenging, but as I have mentioned above, I believe it is a worthwhile effort to take on.

    A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation lays out the need for branches to develop relationships with Black-led organizations whose goals align with ours. We have seen groups like Valley of Change establish an ongoing and vocal presence in the fight for Black liberation in the San Fernando Valley in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, and we must be proactive in supporting and building bridges with them and others. I will also continue to focus on creating spaces and opportunities for our membership to build and strengthen relationships with one another internally, so that when we look critically at intraorganizational oppressive behaviors, we can do so from a place of compassion and support in helping each other dismantle them.

    Lastly, Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022 will involve ensuring we have the capacity to develop leaders within our ranks. As discussed above, I think this is a key area in which our organization needs to improve generally, and ties into the role of all leadership in creating an organizing environment where members are empowered and supported to learn how to organize and lead.


Nick Crow

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    6 months
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    Started working with StreetWatch and became a Neighborhood Organizer shortly after joining DSA-LA. Also, did phone-banking for Prop 15 and the Nithya campaign.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    Volunteered with an organization called Food Forward and helped lead some of their food gleanings and backyard harvests.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I believe in the importance of organizing locally and want to build up my local branch.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I work as a production manager and have a lot experience in planning, organizing, logistics, and coordinating.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    I can only speak to the past 6 months, but I think neighborhood organizing has been a success. It’s helped keep members connected and engaged, especially during the pandemic.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    We could definitely still improve our neighborhood organizing. There are neighborhoods that could use more support by growing membership and empowering members to take on neighborhood captain roles.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    I think we should prioritize implementing the resolutions passed at this years convention, focus on growing branch membership, and focus on supporting the unhoused members of our community.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    Expanding our recruitment efforts, boosting our neighborhood networks, and combatting NIMBY-ism,

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    As a BC, I’d be directly coordinating with the working groups for each resolution, supporting actions, and helping to get local members involved with each.


WESTSIDE BRANCH COORDINATOR

Olga Lexell

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    since March 2020 (not long!!!)
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    Co-Chair Transit subcommittee, Co-Chair Hollywood Labor subcommittee, organizer in Neighborhood Councils subcommittee (and Land Use chair of SORO NC), Street Watch Comms and Outreach, Mutual Aid Community Defense (marshal, offsite support), Neighborhood Organizing (calling friends on the westside!!!)

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    IATSE Local 871 (ByLaws Committee, part of effort to unionize new craft), Services Not Sweeps Coalition, just joined Ground Game, Bernie Journey Coordinator for Bernie 2020

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am involved in a wide swath of groups that encompass a lot of DSA’s varied political opinions, from elpol to ancom mutual aid efforts. I’m already very involved in our Westside branch and love calling people for neighborhood organizing and our neighborhood councils project. I feel like most people know me as a result. I always know exactly who to call when something’s going down and socialists need to rally. I also convinced more people to join DSA during the recruitment drive than anyone else in this branch, because I love talking to people about socialism. I want to use my background to help reach out to folks who are new to DSA and haven’t found their niche yet, especially to train others to run for office.
  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    good with phones from being an executive assistant, 120+ wpm typist, graphic designer, spreadsheet/google docs queen, friendly with everyone, used to be a huge liberal and can relate to progressives who are dabbling in socialism

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    The formation of the South Central + Inglewood branch because it has led to an expansion of the organization to an area of the city that already has quite a bit of organizing work going on, but just needs the infrastructure of an org like DSA that can turn out volunteers for causes like saving Downtown Crenshaw. Nithya/Konstantine’s elections were key as well because they proved you can run as a proud socialist and win, which is going to inspire an entire generation of leadership.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Recruitment and outreach. I’ve noticed that it’s difficult for people to get oriented when they first join and I feel like I’ve been able to get a lot of folks involved by folding them into projects I’m working on and having the one-on-one conversations that power a solidarity movement.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Recruitment in SGV and South Central + Inglewood branches, more of a presence in the West Valley where there’s a strong socialist front forming

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    Figuring out how to optimize members’ energy to maintain momentum as an organization and so folks don’t a) fall asleep or b) get burned out

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    I’m already deeply involved in Build a Bench with the neighborhood council effort and much of my involvement with westside would go towards recruiting young socialists to fight the NIMBY policies that afflict us. I am more committed than ever to expanding DSA’s membership and standing up for our Black comrades; I’m thinking about starting some kind of working group or project pertaining to LASD/LAPD defunding. I’ve been involved in a lot of the “In Response to a Crisis” conversations in neighborhood organizing but I’m currently exploring a few ways to use the Transit subcommittee as a tool there, to give folks economic freedom during crisis and push back against austerity policies.


Willetta ‘Willie’ Waisath

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    Like many comrades, I officially joined in January 2017, after beginning to attend meetings following the 2016 election.
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    Recently, I co-authored one of the three priority resolutions passed at our chapter’s Annual Convention in September — In Response to Crisis: A Neighborhood Solidarity Program by DSA-LA. This resolution’s development was informed by a political education and strategy-building event (which I co-organized across multiple committees), my own experiences organizing in my building & with the Neighborhood Organizing initiative during the pandemic, and a vision for a strong chapter more deeply embedded in multi-racial working class communities and struggles in Los Angeles.

    Since co-founding the Political Education Committee in 2017, I’ve remained an active member who contributes to building ongoing spaces for working class self-education. This includes bi-weekly Night Schools (consistently attended by 50+ comrades), regular introductory orientations to our member-driven organization, skill-based trainings, and special educational events. Along with other work this year, I proposed and supported our Night School on Socialism and Electorialism (designed to engage comrades and curious non-members energized by the Bernie campaign), and contributed to both the Lost Angles Night School (on a radical history of LA) and our recurring Class on Class.

    In past years, I served as an At-Large Member of the DSA-LA Steering Committee where I co-led early organization-building efforts, including: supporting our chapter’s first major delegation to the 2017 National Convention, drafting bylaws, organizing our chapter’s first Annual Convention, supporting our chapter’s first priority resolution campaign for Proposition 10, developing infrastructure to implement local and national conflict resolution policies, and supporting development of three initial DSA-LA Branches in Central, Westside, and the San Fernando Valley.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    For the past 4 years, my organizing has primarily been with DSA-LA, though I’m also a dues-paying member of the Westside Local in the Los Angeles Tenant’s Union. Outside of DSA-LA, I have experience with community-based programs focused on family health & early childhood education, and supported parents working to reunite with children removed from their custody to form a mutual support network.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    In 2020, DSA-LA was the fastest growing chapter in our organization — our membership tripled, and together we are more than 4,500 organized socialists. But, the exciting potential of our membership numbers won’t be realized in 2021 without: 1) prioritizing our membership’s collective development as organizers and serious political actors, and 2) building coherent organizational structures that can produce strategic and deliberate political interventions.

    I’m running for Westside Branch Coordinator to work alongside new and experienced members to take on this important work together. As Branch Coordinator, I would be committed to developing the member knowledge, skills, and confidence to expand our organization’s base by recruiting people (in our neighborhoods and workplaces) with an immediate material interest in our organizational demands to cancel rent, expand government benefits, defund and abolish the police, a Green New Deal, and more. I would also work to build durable organizational structures and practices that ultimately connect all Westside members to generative political study, campaign work aligned with all priority resolutions, and collective decision-making.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    In my past organizing work, I’ve gained experience designing and facilitating participatory, skill-based trainings (such as workshops on 1-on-1 organizing conversations) which prepare me to support membership development efforts with Neighborhood Captains, Neighborhood Organizers, and members of the Westside Branch.

    Additionally, I’m eager to contribute the skills I’ve developed in past chapter infrastructure-building efforts — one example of this experience includes leadership in designing and implementing the deliberative decision-making process for Priority Resolutions that takes place at our chapter’s Annual Convention. As an organizer in DSA-LA, I’m committed to and experienced in crafting and facilitating generative, collective decision-making processes (in and outside of meetings, across a range of organizational decisions), and I would be excited to leverage this experience as a Westside Branch Coordinator.

    Finally, I’m committed to ongoing, proactive communication with members (including prompt responses to member emails, calls, and concerns), I reliably honor my responsibilities, and I’m skilled at collaboratively planning and promoting small & large events for members and non-members alike.


  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    Members of DSA-LA have a lot to be proud of. Building an organization capable of offering a political home to thousands of new members who reject the logic of capitalist party politics is one among a number of important successes in 2020.

    DSA-LA Housing and Homelessness organizers were a major force within the Reclaiming our Homes work — waging a fight that challenged the hegemonic logic of property ownership and winning major concessions from the state outside of the electoral arena. DSA-LA was also an anchor for the state-wide Prop 15 campaign which (along with doing relatively well in comparison to other anti-working class propositions that faced well-funded opposition campaigns) built relationships and connections between chapters across the state — creating an important foundation for future state-wide struggles.

    We’ve also made important progress in ensuring DSA-LA members have the resources, skills, and support they need to engage as protagonists in struggles at their own workplaces; the Labor Committee created seven sector-specific Labor Circles (with initial prospects for three more) and supported essential workers and members of DSA-LA to organize their own actions against bosses during COVID-19.

    Finally, our organization held a successful and well-attended 3rd Annual Convention amidst the COVID-19 pandemic— ensuring new and long-time members alike had a chance to learn the procedures and practices that go into building a truly member-driven political organization. Maintaining regular opportunities for debate and democratic decision-making is critical to guiding our political activity and enabling us to become a political force capable of threatening the current political hegemony of Southern California.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Currently, chapter-wide struggles and decision-making have yet to be strongly articulated at the branch and neighborhood-level in a way that builds all members’ knowledge and ownership of our movement. New members understandably struggle to navigate the organization’s current committee-based structure, and all members would have to attend meetings nearly every night to engage in discussion and decision-making across campaigns. As proposed and ratified, full implementation of the structural reforms outlined in the ‘In Response to Crisis’ resolution begins to address these issues. This work of embedding key committee work into hyper-local Neighborhood Meetings is an important responsibility for Branch Coordinators—and it’s one that I would enthusiastically lead on the Westside if elected.

    Additionally, the composition of our organization does not yet match the full diversity of LA County. All three priority resolutions (‘A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation’, ‘In Response to Crisis’, and ‘Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2020’) outline priority issues and campaigns that speak to the immediate material interests of Black, Brown, and poor working class Angelinos. Intentional efforts to recruit a more diverse base through shared struggle should be consistently incorporated into each of these campaigns, and I would be glad to contribute to this work.


  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    As a democratic, member-driven organization I think our Local has the responsibility to prioritize and implement all of the work outlined in the three priority resolutions that earned a super-majority of votes at our Annual Convention in September: 1) A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation; 2) In Response to a Crisis: A Proposal for a Neighborhood Solidarity Program; and 3) Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    If we are intentional and strategic, I believe that we can collectively meet the biggest organizing challenges that face us in the year ahead — ultimately strengthening our organization and meaningfully building towards a new political horizon in LA and beyond. 1) At the local and national level, DSA has struggled to articulate with the necessary and popular uprisings for Black Lives. This year, we should meet the challenge and stand in strong solidarity against racism and state violence, while purposefully popularizing our anti-capitalist and abolitionist analyses and demands. 2) Two DSA-LA endorsed member candidates won insurgent electoral campaigns this electoral cycle (Nithya Raman on Los Angeles City Council and Konstantine Anthony on Burbank City Council); their victories represent victories for the working class self-organization in LA. Developing a durable framework for meaningful, ongoing relationships with these (and future) member-electeds that extends beyond the election cycle and adheres to DSA-LA’s democratically determined political priorities & positions will be challenging but important work in the immediate term. 3) All members have made personal sacrifices during COVID-19; as organizers, our work has been negatively impacted as canvassing operations have halted and in-person meetings have transitioned to Zoom. Ambitious organizing in 2021 will require ongoing commitment to 1-on-1, creative, and safe ways to develop existing members and bring new socialists into our collective political project.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    Given the responsibilities explicitly assigned to Branch Coordinators in the ‘In Response to Crisis’ resolution, I’ve incorporated considerations and implications of this resolution throughout this self-nomination. At the same time, Branch Coordinators have an important responsibility to incorporate every one of the priority resolutions into Branch organizing work. As a Westside Branch Coordinator, a key task would be identifying areas of intersection across all three resolutions and ensuring organizing work is well integrated and coordinated to the benefit of all campaigns.

    As an example: ‘A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation’ prioritizes anti-gentrification campaigns, ‘In Response to Crisis’ prioritizes building & tenant organizing, and ‘Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2020’ prioritizes Neighborhood Council races (a site where development efforts are often discussed in early stages). Branch Coordinators should gather information from organizers in Neighborhood Council convenings on potential sites of future development and displacement on the Westside. These sites could be targeted for intentional neighborhood and tenant organizing and a space to forge partnerships with other geography-based groups (e.g. LATU)— to ultimately wage a strong united struggle against displacement, popularize socialist demands for decommodified housing, and recruit tenants we engage in the fight to DSA-LA.

    In another example: both ‘A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation’ and ‘In Response to Crisis’ prioritize solidarity and organizing with DSA-LA’s Street Watch project. If elected as Branch Coordinator, I would make collaborative strategizing, mapping, and planning with Street Watch organizers and members of the Services Not Sweeps Coalition on the Westside an immediate priority.


EASTSIDE & SAN GABRIEL VALLEY BRANCH COORDINATOR

Pete Curtis

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    4 years
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I have been a police liaison and marshal at several DSA protests and have done various work with mutual aid’s fix a tail light program, food not bombs and various design work for the dsa including the 100k drive.
  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    Yes I do, being from the punk community in New England I have organized dozens of shows for food not bombs, books for prisoners and free mumia over the years. I would organize, promote and donate proceedings from said shows to these organizations along with putting together multiple compilation records which donated 100% of the proceeds to food not bombs and free mumia. In Los Angeles I have organized donation drops for our houseless neighbors and helped secure donations for LA’s bail fund and coordinated with other organizers on giving bailed out folks a ride home. I have also coordinated with organizers from the Future Left and defund South Gate to help with various aspects of their events.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am running for the Eastside/SGV branch coordinator position because our community needs as much support as possible as these truly devastating times continue to grow worse by the day. I am a very resourceful, outgoing person who refuses to quit on people who need help the most. I grind. I will stick up for you. I understand circumstances can potentially influence devotion. I only require unabashed acceptance of all and denunciation of disrespect, mistreatment and any form of oppression. This city is a vast system of neighborhoods each with their own unique qualities and experiences that truly determine our power, not our median household or individual incomes or property values or how we get around town or what grocery stores we go to or where we get coffee. Our struggles, triumphs, dedication, acceptance, hard work and love define us on this side of town and if all can come together and tap into that then it’s lights out for those that wish to oppress us, judge us, gentrify us or dismiss us. Formal outdated power structures are dead to me after seeing how so many folks in this city and nationwide have acted during a collective moment of extreme pain. Our strength lies within organizing and wielding our desire to cease the ethical erosion wrought by capitalism through truly taking care of one another. No one has our backs, no one is coming for us, we will never be bailed out. All we have is each other to lean on so let’s lean.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    Status and title mean nothing to me. No gods no masters. I am a dependable rock. None of this is about me. It’s about community. Flash bangs don’t scare me. Riot gear makes me laugh but rubber bullets hurt. I can design a mean ass poster and I will be a bulldog for equality and everyone’s right to be heard.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    The adaptability, resourcefulness and bravery of each chapter in this city is truly something to behold. After this year and the challenges we’ve faced, the deterrents(both chemical and legislative) hurled at us really unfazed our resolve. The organization in the streets, on the books and in zooms has shown if we listen to one another, confront those who belittle, those who talk over you, those who make you feel lesser than for not understanding a Robert Owen reference and if all of us actually give a fuck about one another there’s no metric to measure what we can do.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    Communication, understanding circumstances and the value of all our comrades time and efforts is a glaring sore within DSA LA. It permeates like pollution from the 101 and the Exide battery plant. If one is asked to trek across town by car, bus or bike and is met by abject disorganization that is disrespect. As branch coordinator I will reduce this outcome to zero. We are already being exploited and taken advantage of in so many aspects of our lives outside the DSA that it is beyond offensive to misuse someone else’s time within the DSA. There is a cohesive feeling of fear and trepidation with newer members around volunteering and navigating the seemingly intimidating world of organizing and democratic socialism, if I am elected branch coordinator I will work tirelessly to make every new member(that Janet probably recruited) feel welcomed and provide them the ability to recognize their strengths that can make our organization better. I will be available whenever a comrade needs someone to hash out a plan, squash a beef, or just talk about the potential reorganizations of sociopolitical, class and cultural centers we are facing post pandemic over a few dozen beers or just water. I am abundantly aware of the social restrictions we are all enduring currently but over the years the social aspect/outreach of the DSA that I have existed in has been in steady decline. I say once we beat back this virus we bring back the days of Sewer Socialism and Victor Berger and throw well promoted shows and parties where we will be able to erode the preconceived notions of socialism within our communities, speak freely about forward thinking ideas on organizing labor, redistributing wealth or why the science of edibles is flawed and hopefully dispel the myth of the radical left bogeyman or whatever the fuck that is. Unless there’s fascists lurking then it’s you’re right we’re terrifying you should probably leave.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Making sure those who are less fortunate and struggling have somewhere to turn for assistance. Dismantling and abolishing LASD and LAPD. Holding environmental rapists accountable for poisoning our land, air and water consistently without consequence, I’m looking at you Exide, you scumbags. Deescalating the idea that the DSA and socialism are a threat to people’s ways of life. Locking down the El Sereno land trust, reclaiming homes and moving more families in and off the streets. Holding elected officials accountable especially those who ran on platforms of progress and promises of systemic change. Freeing or absolving charges on protesters arrested this year, DSA member or not. Standing up for black and brown communities by showing out in force when police and economic violence is leveled against them. Upping the ante with an aggressive awareness campaign within our communities on the benefits of becoming a part of or working with the DSA and working more with other fantastic organizations/action committees in this fine city.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    Staying alive and keeping our mental health intact.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    That’s quite difficult to gauge at this moment but I do support and love all of it and will work hard to further DSA LA’s priority resolutions to the best of my ability time willing. Know this though, the functionality, morale, health, safety, effectiveness and involvement levels of the Eastside/SGV branch is my priority if I am elected.


Janet H.

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    11 months
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I spearheaded the establishment of the Eastside/SGV branch My individual contribution to this effort included gathering signatures and outreaching to many more for membership recruitment. I led recruitment in the most successful recruitment drive of people of color into DSA-LA to date. Not to mention I was on the number 1 spot on the leaderboard for the 100k drive. Don’t want to toot my own horn but toot toot. 😉🤗🤪

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I organized Bernie Sanders as a volunteer. Then the campaign hired me to be a field organizer. I walked alongside the volunteers and listened to what residents are concerned about.

  5. Why are you running for this position?
    Because i Care about my peeps and my community.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I’ve learned how to recruit and activate people as an organizer for Bernie.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    The formation of the two newest branches in our chapter because more people like me joined.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    There needs to be better communication between committee leaders and branch coordinators as to build relationships with members.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    Focus on working on the resolutions that the members voted for at the convention.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    TBD

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    There’s going to be a stronger commitment to dismantling systemic racism. We will be organizing and showing the benefit of socialism to our neighbors. Make DSA more accessible to our occuminities. Get more working class to run for local elected offices.

Johnny Echavarria

  1. Are you a member in good standing?
    Yes
  2. How long have you been a member of DSA-LA?
    I have been a member since June 2020.
  3. What experience do you have organizing within DSA-LA? (e.g. What projects and in what capacity have you participated in DSA-LA?)
    I have worked on the Prop 15 Campaign, creating graphics for events. I have attended educational events and joined the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee to further Democratic Socialism at the local level.

  4. Do you have any experience organizing with other organizations? If so which and in what capacity?
    I have experience organizing for both the Bernie 2016 and Bernie 2020 campaigns. During 2016, I went on the Bernie Bus to Arizona and Nevada where we canvassed. I also became a canvass captain and held volunteer events from my house in Redondo Beach. I also held phone banks and gave Tulsi Gabbard a ride from her hotel to a UCLA forum. In 2020, I canvassed and phone banked for Bernie in the East Los Angeles area. I also went to the volunteer office in Highland Park to phonebank.
  5. Why are you running for this position?
    I am running for the Branch Coordinator position because I believe that I am uniquely prepared to tackle the multitude of issues that are currently on the table. From being a teacher to experiencing juvenile hall in high school, I have a strong passion to ensure that youth and their families are experiencing the humanitarian results of socialism in order to assist with the extreme financial inequities in our communities. I will have a lot of time this academic year and next due to distance teaching, and even if we return to school I will easily commit to branch organizing as if it were a full time job.

  6. What skills do you feel you have that contribute to the position for which you are applying?
    I can contribute my ability to be a leader and speak with large groups of people, organize with communities, and outreach in a way that generates enthusiasm and action. I am a scavenger of knowledge and am constantly taking in new information and evolving. I want to begin implementing sociological research into our praxis, as well as create a data system where members can insert quantitative and qualitative data about their communities.

  7. What are the most important successes the Local has achieved over the last year? Why do you consider these to be the most important?
    The Local has achieved many successes – some of the most important being the stimulus solidarity campaign which has raised over 65k and helped over 100 families, the push to get members of DSA into neighborhood council seats, the Prisoner Outreach Solidarity Team, and the City Council Election of Nithya Raman.

  8. What are some of the most important areas of improvement for the Local? How can these improvements be made? How will you contribute to this improvement?
    I believe that an important area of improvement for the local is contacting people in the community through offline mechanisms. We can show that we are here for the community by putting up posters around the community, writing personalized letters to neighbors, and increasing visibility through stickers and posters. I would contribute by creating and producing the necessary items for outreach, and also utilizing the Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee that I am also a part of.

  9. What should the Local prioritize over the next year?
    The Local should prioritize building up its membership and finding opportunities to maintain those members. I believe that the online presence of DSA is strong, but we must ensure that offline, we are still visible. I believe that creating communal spaces and events, as well as partnering with the communal organizations and individuals in our community will membership to explode. I will also prioritize mutual aid – the federal government has absolutely failed in this regard, and even the deal that is cut in congress will not be enough for many struggling families. I can contact members from wealthier communities to contribute to mutual aid and boost the financial support to areas with less capital.

  10. What will be the biggest challenges for the Local over the next year?
    The biggest challenges for the Local will be keeping up with the crushing economic losses as a result of the pandemic. I believe that we are experiencing a leftward shift, but many families will not be able to participate in the movement due to the inability to volunteer time and resources.

  11. What implications will each of the Local’s Priority Resolutions have on the position you may hold? (A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, In Response to a Crisis, & Build a DSA-LA Bench for 2022)
    In regard to A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation, we must continue to see race and class as inextricable – both are factors that must be taken into account in every action taken by the Local. In addition to outside third parties reviewing our organization for racial equity and fairness, we must coordinate with Black Lives Matter, continue to spread awareness and advocacy of the People’s Budget, and do everything we can to elect leaders who will represent Black Liberation. In regard to In Response to a Crisis, we must improve our efforts to communicate with the community and see what is in need. There must be a strong effort to reach out to people with personable, offline strategies and not only virtual methods. When it comes to Building a DSA-LA Bench for 2022, we must bring more and more people into the political process and activate a leadership track for people who are committing to the cause of socialism and all that entails. I will actively push for the three priorities during my time as branch coordinator.

SOUTH CENTRAL & INGLEWOOD BRANCH COORDINATOR
(no nominees)