We’re pleased to announce the final candidate list for the 2021 Local Subgroup Officer Elections. As a reminder, here is the remaining timeline:
  • Tuesday, January 19th: Voting period opens. (Reminder: this year, the entire chapter will be voting on Committee leadership, rather than just subgroup members. Here are the links to read the original election announcement, and a link to the bylaws.)
  • Tuesday, January 26th 11:59pm: Voting period closes.
  • Wednesday, January 27th: Election results released to membership.
CANDIDATE LIST

Agitational Propaganda Committee
Co-Chair (2 will be elected)
Alexander Billet
Devon Manney
Jeffrey Perez de Leon
Madeline Maye
Jason Tunget (*Nomination withdrawn 1/18/21*)

Climate Justice Committee
Chair (2 will be elected)
Rob Rowe
Aura Vasquez
Katherine Wei
Coordinator (2 will be elected)
Olga Lexell
Dylan Eli

Electoral Committee
At-Large (5 will be elected)
Adi Eshman
Tal Levy
Erin O’Neal-Robinson
Francisco C.
James S.
Jess M.

Healthcare Justice Committee
Co-Chair (2 will be elected)
Kenyon M
Sean Broadbent
Coordinator (2 will be elected)
Steven Gibson

Housing & Homelessness Committee
Co-Chair (2 will be elected)
Andrew Lewis

Immigration Justice Committee
Chair (2 will be elected)
Shiu-Ming Cheer
Anthony Guzman
Coordinator (2 will be elected)
Jorge Cruz
Lilian Delmi

Labor Committee
Co-Chair (2 will be elected)
Dan McCrory
Marc K.
Daniel D
Coordinator (2 will be elected)
Haley Potiker
Stephen Benavides
Michael Lumpkin

Mutual Aid 
Chair (At least 1 will be elected)
Craig Ostrin
Ariadne L.
Andrew Perrine
Coordinator (At least 1 will be elected)
Aaron Warner
Peter Phillips
Lex F
Noah Suarez Sikes
Administrator (At least 1 will be elected)
Violet Carne

NOlympics
Chair (2 will be elected)
Anne
Jonny C.
Coordinator (2 will be elected)
Steven Louis
Hugo Soto

Political Education Committee
Chair (2 will be elected)
Max B
Courtney Q.
Coordinator (2 will be elected)
Josh G.
Dylan Levine

Prison Abolition Committee
Communications Coordinator
Leann Bowen


CANDIDATE STATEMENTS


AGITATIONAL PROPAGANDA COMMITTEE

Alexander Billet
Candidate for Agitational Propaganda Committee C0-Chair
1. Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?
I’ve spent most of my adult life studying, writing, and where possible, organizing around the intersection of art and radical politics. Over the past year, I have worked alongside co-chair Madeline on the Art & Socialism subcommittee of Agit-Prop, which has put on several online and in-person (before Covid) events discussing radical left art and artistic theory. Highlights have included Q&A’s with the creators of Tonight We Riot, a showing of and Q&A with the makers of Feels Good Man, discussions on Rock Against Racism, and a showing of the film Finally Got the News featuring a discussion with former members of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers — a joint project between us and the local AfroSoc Caucus. I also regularly contribute to Jacobin on the topic of music (https://jacobinmag.com/author/alexander-billet) and am on the editorial board of Locust Review, a publication dedicated to the publication of radical weird art, poetry, and fiction (locustreview.com).

2. What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?
As its most involved members have been discussing lately, Agit-Prop has a gap in terms of follow-through with specific projects. It also is relatively isolated from other committees. I believe solving these problems are intertwined. As co-chair I intend to use my position to forge closer relationships with other committees and collaborate closely with them to find ways we can be of use to their own work. Though most other committees already have members capable of, say, graphic design or writing copy to help get their organizing work out there, Agit-Prop can play a role in helping deepen a radical artistic praxis in that same regard. This could take a variety of forms and shapes, but the important takeaway is that art and creativity can play a unique pedagogical and agitational role in building socialism in Los Angeles. Agit-Prop deserves to be a place where we can explore and experiment with this role, while also being of immediate practical use to committees and the chapter as a whole.

Devon Manney
Candidate for Agitational Propaganda Committee C0-Chair
1. Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?
I’ve spent my entire life creating and producing art — in practically every medium, and on teams big and small — and still, I often find myself awestruck by the power that art can wield. I believe that art has the power to create, it has the power to heal, it has the power to unite. It sounds extremely hyperbolic, so forgive me, but we find ourselves at the edge of some truly destructive forces, and though art alone cannot fend them off, the powers of effective messaging are absolutely vital in building and maintaining stronger bases for the left.

I currently work in the animation industry at a major unionized studio, am developing a live-action feature at an independent studio, and I volunteer as the Asst. Art Director for the DSA’s Democratic Left. I have been shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short, and nominated for an Annie Award. I believe I have a solid ability to facilitate ideation, collaboration, and problem-solving, which are crucial for a chair to have. And finally, I believe that by making meetings regular and more engaging, and by encouraging bold new ideas (and helping to guide them to the finish line), Agit-Prop can become a true powerhouse committee within DSA-LA, and the entire LA Left.”

2. What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?
DSA-LA has one of the largest rosters of creative leftists in the entire country, and yet we don’t seem able to consistently utilize this diversity of artistic voices to make our messaging stronger and more unique. I think a small part of that is due to the fact that Agit-Prop meets extremely infrequently, and a large percentage of projects don’t ever seem to make it out of the brainstorm phase. The former can be solved with relative ease, but the latter requires attention, care, and engagement.

I would love to get Agit-Prop to a place where meetings are exciting discussions of what’s going on in local and regional spheres, and how art can play a role in informing and agitating the public. A place where new voices and perspectives are welcomed and encouraged, and where new collaborations can be fostered between members. This starts at the top, with co-chairs who are excited and engaged themselves with membership and goals.

I have always viewed collaboration as vital to the creative process, and am excited about the ways in which we can encourage greater collaboration not only within Agit-Prop itself, but with the other committees in the chapter, to help create unique and engaging messaging that not only attracts more people into DSA-LA, but makes our own membership stronger, more prepared, and ultimately more excited for the fights that lie ahead.

Jeffrey Perez de Leon
Candidate for Agitational Propaganda Committee C0-Chair
1. Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?
I feel I would be a good fit for Co-Chair because of my experience working within the AgitProp committee, creating videos like Bernie Beats Trump and the Echo Park rally recap, and think I can help facilitate more projects being made. Being a volunteer group of creatives that have limited resources and time, I understand the pitfalls there are in creating projects, especially with initial planning such as scripts. As Co-Chair I would assist in connecting people and organizing, and stepping up to fill in any gaps there with my own talents. I also would reject the existing inequitable practices that exist in our industries. The goal is to combat capitalist messaging in art, and in doing so we do not want to replicate the unjust hierarchies in our current productions. The best part about this committee is it’s horizontal structure: anyone who has an idea can come in and get to work with other people, and as Co-Chair I intend to help grow that.

2. What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?
The Eviction Crisis, homelessness and COVID are issues we need to organize around, and we can help by creating material for DSA-LA. Whether it be pushing for canceling rent, seizing hotel rooms, or Healthcare for All, there are solutions to the problems we face, and I think AgitProp has a place in spreading that message. I also think we should educate people on LA’s history, both the injustices done to working people, and the successes of people organizing. It would help illustrate that this struggle is ongoing and that LA is a more radical place than people might think. 

Jason Tungent
Candidate for Agitational Propaganda Committee C0-Chair – *Withdrawn 1/18/21*
1. Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?
I have a lot of experience organizing in DSA-LA and in the Agit-Prop Committee, which I am currently serving as the Co-Chair of. I signed up for this committee when I joined DSA-LA in January 2017 and have been involved with many of its projects. I also just finished serving as the chapter’s Communications Director on the Steering Committee and have previously served as a branch coordinator for the Central branch. These experiences have helped me to develop relationships with many leaders and members in the chapter as well as to understand how the chapter actually operates in practice. It has also allowed me to see some of the issues, such as internal communication, that the chapter currently struggles with so I will be able to continue working on those issues.

I am dedicated to the work that I do and able to see a project through to its completion. I am passionate about supporting the chapter’s subgroups and would like to continue developing resources to help them achieve their organizing goals.

2. What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?
I would like to work toward greater integration with the various branches, committees, and working groups of the chapter to develop an effective workflow that allows them to satisfy their media needs. Agit-Prop must also be committed to helping fulfill the needs of the resolutions passed at last Annual Convention.

I also think that we should continue to develop resources for the chapter’s leadership and membership in the Educational Media SubCommittee of Agit-Prop. For example, several members have said that developing talking point brochures for various issues would be helpful for them to be able to talk confidently about issues (e.g. a brochure explaining what’s in the Green New Deal and how to counter common objections like “”How are you going to pay for it?””).

I would like to continue to build on the successes of the Art & Socialism subcommittee of Agit-Prop with more events and screenings for people to attend throughout 2021.

The chapter’s YouTube should be utilized more than it currently is so I would like to recruit a team of people to work with the Communications Committee to build the chapter’s YouTube account to have more subscribers and provide more regular streaming and video content.

I would like to continue working on The Thorn West to develop the publication to be something more like Ground Game’s Knock LA or East Bay’s Majority publication. We should be doing original reporting on important local issues.

Madeline Maye
Candidate for Agitational Propaganda Committee C0-Chair
1. Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?
I was the co-chair of AgitProp throughout 2020, and during that time I learned a lot about what it means to have a position like this. I came in knowing a lot about media and the technical stuff needed to get projects done, but I feel like I’ve gotten better at doing all the things that a co-chair needs to do. I hesitate to use the term “leader”, since I believe this needs to be a group effort, but I think offering guidance and direction helps to get things done. Specifically, the kind of stuff we all really want to make to get out DSA’s message, as well as other leftist agendas. In a positive way of course!

2. What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?
We are planning a number of projects right now, including updating our YouTube channel and working to expand our Art and Socialism subcommittee in lots of cool directions. Art and Socialism has been a big success and I’d like to see more stuff like it.

Most importantly, I’d like to continue the direction Jason and I put forward at our last AgitProp meeting: to establish projects with dedicated teams and help to see these projects through to completion. We don’t want to see stuff just slip through the cracks. We want AgitProp to be the place everyone goes to when they need media work: like it’s supposed to be. 


CLIMATE JUSTICE COMMITTEE


Rob Rowe
Candidate for Climate Justice Committee Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
1.) Los Angeles air pollution abatement. Success based on improvements in the readings of currently available real-time measurements of our air quality and to increase awareness such measurements are available to everyone.
2.) New clean public transportation to eliminate traffic pollution. Success to be construction of cable car skyways, which unlike subways, may be quickly constructed and serve entire neighborhoods.
3.) New affordable housing that residents to be eligible must be local workers, to eliminate traffic pollution. Success to be construction of two 1,500-unit residential towers in a park.  

2. What is the #1 lesson that the climate justice movement should draw from the past ~5 years? How should that inform our organizing?
The #1 lesson is that justice problems are climate problems. Lack of clean public transportation and affordable housing increases traffic and increases pollution.

3. What’s a climate-related action that you’ve been involved in? What did you learn from this effort?
I ran for local city council office. During our election forum debate the mayor admitted she didn’t know what to do about air pollution and said affordable housing would only be built over her “dead body”. Her rich campaign donors, who she actually represents, are luxury real estate developers. What I learned is real estate developers, and not our city council, are our actual opponents to making progressive change.

Aura Vasquez
Candidate for Climate Justice Committee Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
Capitalism uncheck is problematic and nowhere is that more apparent than the influence of fossil fuel money on our political process. I would end that influence by educating Los Angeles area residents about the money candidates take and exposing elected officials who take money from the fossil fuel industry. DSA-LA can be instrumental in pressuring elected officials and candidates to sign on to the #NoFossilFuel Pledge and commit to addressing the current climate emergency.
Secondly, I would build a grassroots movement in favor of climate positive candidates and issues. One of my top priorities is to expand our base of activists and increase political representation among disenfranchised voters in the LA area. By creating an organizing effort that educates DSA-LA members and citizens on the adverse effects of capitalism on the climate crisis and addresses systemic and institutionalized policies that cause irreparable damage to our planet and ourselves.
My third priority as a DSA Climate Justice Committee chair is to address the current climate crisis by:
Advocating for a robust and clean public transit system that is free, accessible, and reliable.

Continuing the push for a real Green New Deal. A real Green New Deal means getting Los Angeles to use 100% renewable energy while generating jobs and supporting communities of color and underserved neighborhoods. This is our opportunity to modernize city infrastructure to make it more connected, sustainable, and resilient — all we have to do is pay attention to the details that make the Green New Deal work, and make it more accessible to those most affected by climate change.

Examples include pushing the city to create equity in our current climate emergency by demanding local policies to decarbonize buildings, ending the reliance on natural gas, and adopting electrification ordinances. We can support the creation of microgrids,where residents can be energy independent and have solar panels and battery technology to attain their energy demands. Local economic prosperity can be increased through cash-back programs where frontline communities can sell excess solar energy back to the grid.

Dismantling environmental racism, extreme capitalism, and systems of oppression that are causing the climate crisis. Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the country, yet, most people of color live in areas with high pollution, often next to gas plants, with a lack of access to healthy food or economic opportunities. To address disparities created by zip codes and skin color we need systemic changes in our political process and utilities.We need to organize our members to push for more diverse local hiring at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to put people in re-entry, people of color struggling with the pandemic, and our unhoused neighbors back to work.

Also, DSA-LA can support policies and provide resources to increase our tree canopy. Trees are a great means of sequestering carbon, while helping clean our air, and beautifying our neighborhoods. Designated bike lanes are also a significant environmental justice issue. Adding designated bike lanes in communities within the high-injury network and in the CaEnviroScreen can help prevent traffic injuries and fatalities. It will also help reduce pollution and congestion in our streets.

2. What is the #1 lesson that the climate justice movement should draw from the past ~5 years? How should that inform our organizing?
The climate justice and environmental movement has made great strides in the past decade. In Los Angeles, we have successfully kicked coal to the curb, retired three coastal gas plants and put Los Angeles on a 100% renewable energy path.

We also have seen a new wave of intersectionality with other movements like housing and healthcare. Nationally, the climate justice movement organized the largest march in its history calling out Trump’s atrocious attacks against the Environmental Protection Agency and climate change denial. But we don’t yet have a movement that can elect candidates to public office at the rate necessary to address the current crisis. We need to build political muscle. The climate justice movement has incredible leaders that often don’t become elected officials — especially candidates of color.
We need to stand in solidarity with DSA-LA members, activists, and climate champions as they pursue higher office. Our organizing needs to be centered in building a pipeline of leaders, expanding the electorate, and winning campaigns that get our folks elected. 

3. What’s a climate-related action that you’ve been involved in? What did you learn from this effort?
In the movement for environmental justice, I helped pass the ban of single-use plastic bags in LA, established the country’s largest solar panel program and was instrumental in the fight against legislation that would force residents to pay utilities for revenues lost to solar energy. Aura also led the Sierra Club’s groundbreaking ‘Beyond Coal’ Campaign, securing a commitment by the City of Los Angeles to go coal-free by 2025.

As the youngest-ever commissioner and first immigrant to serve on the Board of Commissioners to the LA Department of Water and Power, I guided the utility to be more equitable, sustainable and affordable for ratepayers. I take great pride that my tenure was the most transparent in history, opening my door to the public for regular office hours. I brought the first solar for renters program in the country to LA and retired three coastal gas plants polluting communities of color, replacing them with renewable energy – Los Angeles’ first taste of the Green New Deal.
I also chair the Sierra Club’s Angeles chapter Climate Action Campaign with the goal of addressing the climate crisis in the city. I’m a board member of the league of conservation voters, endorsing candidates for office who run on a strong environmental platform. I founded The Janus Academy to train everyday people how to organize their community and supported STAND L.A efforts to put a 2500-foot buffer between oil drilling sites and homes.
Projecting collective power is important. I helped organize the “Forward on Climate” rally, the first event in Los Angeles aiming to stop the keystone pipeline from pumping bringing crude oil for the refineries in South Los Angeles. Nationally, I organized the “People’s Climate March” in Washington D.C., the largest climate march in the nation, demanding a just transition for workers, denouncing Trump’s environmental agenda, and justice for all people.
But, my work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Capitalism and money in politics affects all areas of our lives. Intersectionality is the key reason why I led the PICO Network immigrant rights campaign in California by mobilizing communities to end unfair impoundment laws targeting immigrants and it was why I was elected to the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council, to fight with the community against predatory developers trying to push out affordable housing and replace it with luxury condominiums.

Katherine Wei
Candidate for Climate Justice Committee Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
My first priority in this role is implementing climate-related actions on a regular and consistent timeline throughout the year. My next priority is to create a program specifically designed to make our ecosocialist membership-base to feel engaged, empowered, and informed about their role in the climate emergency. And lastly, for our committee to create a meaningful and clear plan for a GND resolution. I would see success in our work if we, as a committee, create and execute clear goals and actions for the calendar year as well as have an engaged and informed committee that is empowered to take on leadership roles for the actions we implement throughout the year.

2. What is the #1 lesson that the climate justice movement should draw from the past ~5 years? How should that inform our organizing?
A huge lesson that the climate justice movement should draw on is the importance of informing and activating those around us, and the need for a clear voice to lead consistent and persistent work. Those living in Los Angeles should be looking to DSA’s Ecosocialists as an example for how to activate and demand a termination in the many oil wells and chemical storage facilities around the city. They also should be looking to us as a template to learn how to call out their election officials on a regular basis.
3. What’s a climate-related action that you’ve been involved in? What did you learn from this effort?
I was involved in organizing the Climate Justice Fight for Our Lives rally livestream that targeted VP-elect Kamala Harris, Governor Gavin Newsom and featured a lineup of speakers including Konstantine Anthony, Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, Alex Nagy from Food and Water Watch, Jonathon Guy from UAW 2865, Josiah Edwards from Sunrise and BLM, Bii Gallardo from Int’l Indigenous Youth Council, and members of our DSA committee. I learned different ways to get people to actively engage in their own education and then strategize and brainstorm how to convert that educational engagement into political action.

Olga Lexell
Candidate for Climate Justice Committee Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
My top 3 priorities are to: 1. come up with a hyper-local vision for what constitutes an LA Green New Deal 2. write a Green New Deal proposal to embrace as one of our chapter’s key resolutions 3. create an environmental injustice database to track problematic areas of LA that need activist support.

2. What is the #1 lesson that the climate justice movement should draw from the past ~5 years? How should that inform our organizing?
That climate justice is bipartisan; we live in a democratic supermajority state and still have to fight to convince “progressives” that climate change and environmental injustice are immediate threats. Climate-related scarcity of capital will create a massive crisis in our lifetimes — it already has. We need to examine how climate justice can be achieved at the local level without depending on federal or even state support.

3. What’s a climate-related action that you’ve been involved in? What did you learn from this effort?
I helped create the transit working group under the climate justice committee, which has become a combination of monthly speaker series that focus on a wide variety of transit-related subjects, and concrete political (electoral but also uh, planned on Signal…) actions.

Dylan Eli
Candidate for Climate Justice Committee Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
As coordinator, my first priority is to increase membership engagement. To achieve this goal, I will hold bi-weekly 1:1s with membership, prioritize debriefs with our leadership to specifically evaluate engagement, and share frequent calls to action. Additionally, we will work with AgitProp to host multiple Youtube Climate Justice Livestreams to get viewers to act, call, and write their representatives to demand legislative change.

Some measures of success are defined by 20/30 person regular meeting attendance by the end of 2021 and a 1,000 person livestream attendance at our final Climate Action Youtube of 2021. Ultimately, success is measured not just that comrades show up to events, but that they feel comfortable contributing and acting on their ideas.

My next priority is passing a local Green New Deal. Our recent local climate justice victories in Culver City and in Los Angeles to phase out local oil drilling gives me hope that our elected politicians will be more receptive to our campaigns. My plan is to develop our GND policy as a committee. Success will be defined by our committee drafting clear and concise attainable goals towards our local GND.

My third priority is to build solidarity with other organizations. Drafting legislative campaigns in solidarity with orgs such as union workers and frontline activist orgs ensures that our work provides a just transition from fossil fuels. Success is when our legislative ideas are approved by our coalition partners. We don’t want to put more obstacles in our way, so that’s why we will be uniting with others who share our goals of good paying jobs, clean air & water, more green spaces, & better transportation systems.

2. What is the #1 lesson that the climate justice movement should draw from the past ~5 years? How should that inform our organizing?
We have learned that being responsive is less effective than defining the terms and terrain of the conflict between DSA & capitalist environmentalists who want “nothing to fundamentally change.” Ecosocialism is often portrayed as radical and counterproductive by some local politicians; when we talk about a local Green New Deal we will have to show the public the specifics of our plan for LA, so that our constituents know that we aren’t providing unrealistic policy, but a practical fight for a basic level of dignity that our society refuses to provide.

3. What’s a climate-related action that you’ve been involved in? What did you learn from this effort?
As part of the Climate Justice Fight for Our Lives Livestream Organizing Group, I led the Actions & Demands Team by writing the local platform that we fought for. We converted our knowledge about the lack of response to the ongoing concurrent crisis into actionable steps for our viewers to call and email VP Harris and Governor Newsom. I learned to focus more on narrative strategy for our speakers to engage our participants more intensely and keep them watching the event to stay and participate in the action portion.

ELECTORAL COMMITTEE


Adi Eshman
Candidate for Electoral Committee At-Large
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
To build a multiracial, multigenerational and working class coalition of voters and candidates for elections. Define success as having a slate similar to DSA-NY’s slate, and an expanded voting base that elected them into office. To ensure a stronger DSA presence in local government, to end austerity politics, and work towards justice on so many issues — climate, health, race, gender, policing, and employment. Success could mean DSA candidates at many different levels of city government, with the power to enact meaningful change in all these different areas. To increase participation in local elections among DSA members, and expand DSA membership and turnout. Define success as the movement to increase turnout for the DSA-NY slate, and how they got historically disenfranchised groups to see themselves reflected politically in those candidates.

2. What is your experience with electoral politics and/or organizing?
I’ve participated in every presidential election since I was 6 years old, when I raised money for Al Gore with a lemonade stand. More recently, I participated in encouraging DSA turnout for Nithya’s CD-4 race. Spent hours phone banking for Joe Biden in PA. And just spent the last 10 weeks, 7 hours a week, calling voters to turn out for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I grew up in Venice, CA, having lived here until I was 18, and just moved back since getting into grad school at USC. I studied American history and sociology, plus my family has been involved in radical politics since they first came to America. I have a lot more to learn, but I’d like to help build political power for all people in Los Angeles, and not just its wealthiest citizens. 

Tal Levy
Candidate for Electoral Committee At-Large
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
My full platform, on which I’m running with my longtime DSA-LA Comrade Francisco C, can be viewed at https://bit.ly/TWP_Electoral

1. Continuing to shift DSA-LA’s electoral strategy from reactive to proactive. After a very successful 2020 in the electoral campaigns we ran, DSA-LA has already begun planning proactively for the 2022 election cycle with our “”Build the Bench”” priority resolution, to which I contributed. As outlined in that resolution, the chapter should be planning proactively to pick strategic races and candidates to endorse – particularly if we can build those candidates from our preexisting membership, rather than waiting as we have historically, for candidates to approach us and join DSA in order to pursue endorsement. Doing this work effectively will require the Electoral Committee to maintain strong connections with the entire chapter, most especially our regional branches so that we have an accurate and strategic assessment of our capacity and new opportunities in the county. I particularly think that DSA-LA has an opportunity to make a huge impact in small cities in Los Angeles County, most especially in the San Gabriel Valley where we saw massive growth in membership among the Bernie-supporting Latine working class, and in Southeast Los Angeles, where we have an opportunity to replicate that growth.

2. Closely tying electoral work to our labor organizing work, and paving the way for socialist endorsements from organized labor unions. Los Angeles’ organized labor unions are among the most powerful political organizations in the county, and can be won over to support socialist candidates and demands – if we explicitly organize for it. That means ensuring that our candidates can speak convincingly about pro-labor policies and priorities, maintaining chapter relationships with key unions, and mobilizing DSA-LA’s unionized membership when appropriate.

3. Growing our capacity and ensuring that DSA-LA’s electoral initiatives intentionally include the entirety of the chapter’s membership. This shift has already begun with the establishment of the Electoral Committee as a five-person standing committee, a bylaws and policy change that I contributed to passing as a part of the 2020 Bylaws Editing Commission. Continuing this growth in 2021 will require the Electoral Committee to regularly map our membership and integrate our electoral campaign planning with the branch and neighborhood groupings that are being established as a part of the chapter’s “”In Response to Crisis”” resolution. 

2. What is your experience with electoral politics and/or organizing?
“I’ve been an active member of DSA Los Angeles since January 2017, having served on two Steering Committees and two terms as a Membership Committee officer. During that time, I’ve been a regular canvasser for every electoral canvassing operation DSA-LA ran: Proposition 10 in 2018, Jackie Goldberg in 2019, DSA for Bernie in 2019-20, and Nithya Raman in 2020. I’ve been involved in a myriad of efforts to comprehensively map and analyze the electoral landscape of Los Angeles, and have contributed heavily in research and analysis over the years to DSA-LA’s voter guides.

I was also the volunteer Southern California regional organizer for the DSA for Bernie campaign, which involved helping smaller chapters across the state initiate and run effective campaign and canvassing operations in their jurisdictions, use the campaign to recruit new members, and develop new leaders within their chapters. 

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I have a deep knowledge of DSA-LA’s technical tools and membership, as a data engineer who built nearly all of our chapter’s member list processing and mapping tools. I am one of the chapter’s VAN admins and was the first member responsible for cutting turf for our DSA for Bernie canvasses, as well as cutting turf for our comrades in DSA Kern County. My regular participation as an active member, in a wide variety of chapter bodies and campaigns over the past four years has given me a strong and grounded analysis of the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses, the broad Los Angeles left and progressive landscape, and the opportunities we have to continue to build mass socialist power in Los Angeles County.

My experiences organizing statewide have equipped me with strong relationships with comrades across California to share resources and lessons learned, and I’ve specifically spent the last several months as a mentor under DSA’s Growth and Development Committee building a relationship with DSA Long Beach, whose jurisdiction overlaps with our county and with whom we’ll need to coordinate carefully to maximize our electoral impact in 2022.

Los Angeles and California politicians in 2021 are preparing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and liberal relief over the ouster of Trump’s white nationalist regime with a brutal regime of austerity to reinforce the neoliberal order. DSA, in Los Angeles and all across the country, must organize ourselves in order to maximize mass socialist power and resist this retrenchment. We know that our choices are socialism or barbarism, and we cannot win socialism without maximally exercising DSA’s collective, working class power.

Erin O’Neal-Robinson
Candidate for Electoral Committee At-Large
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
My main priority is seeing through the Build the Bench priority resolution into the 2022 election cycle. DSA-LA is in a challenging and exciting stage of its growth. Thousands of people joined the chapter in 2020, many of them via our electoral campaigns, and DSA-LA has reached new heights in its electoral power. The successful implementation of Build the Bench would be having built up enough chapter enthusiasm to power and sustain several chapter-endorsed candidates that are committed to anti-racist socialism. One of the largest challenges DSA-LA faces in 2022 is chapter engagement with canvassing and phone banking. We can chart every single person that voted for Prop 15 or Bernie Sanders in Los Angeles County but without our membership coming together, we cannot turn that knowledge into power. Fewer than 20% of members that voted to endorse candidates in 2020 turned out to work with DSA-LA on those campaigns. Our collective power comes only from the work of our membership and in order to ascend to the force we have the potential to be, our leadership needs to put their work in with the chapter first and external campaigns second. Running comprehensive canvassing efforts across Los Angeles County that inspire voters to not only vote for our candidates but join DSA-LA in helping get them elected is one the best ways we have to build anti-racist socialist power. Growing and improving our canvassing operations via the branches and neighborhood organizing will be critical in helping that potential blossom.

Second, I’d like the Electoral Politics Committee to work with the branches and the other relevant issue committees to launch a series of educational campaigns to highlight voters’ inconsistencies on the policies they support. By mapping the election results of 2020, we’ve been able to see that large areas of Los Angeles believe in Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, taxing the rich, livable wages, and defunding the police. Despite this, we have seen two huge losses with regards to labor and education, namely the passing of Prop 22 and the loss of a LAUSD Board seat to a pro-charter candidate. Using the chapter’s raised profile to educate voters on the damaging effect of “app-based employment” or the compounding effect charter schools have on gentrification will help make electoral arguments easier for us when canvassing for a proposition or legislation that repeals Prop 22 or a candidate running for one of the 3 open seats on the LAUSD School Board in 2022. We’ve started on this work in the past few months and have been in talks with Jackie Goldberg’s staff to participate in a presentation on charter schools later in 2021.

Third, over the last two years the Electoral Politics Committee has developed a lot of great component parts that I am excited to see work together. There is a current proposal in progress for the creation of a Constituency Outreach Team, a permanent phone-banking operation that would utilize the skills and lists we have compiled over last year’s campaigns to support proposed legislation and actions from Nithya Raman or other LA Councilmembers introducing motions in line with our platform. Having the Neighborhood Council Project develop and elect DSA-LA pledged Neighborhood Council members to mobilize from an inside position on those same motions would be a concrete way that DSA-LA can act as a good partner to our elected comrades while continually developing campaign skills and building electoral muscle. Normally at the completion of an election season our campaign operations go into storage until the next cycle. The creation of the Constituency Outreach Team will save invaluable start up time on campaigns as they will have the ability to help train canvass captains in the “offseason” and make voter and public outreach a routine part of organizing in DSA-LA. Having these ongoing projects will help us support our elected candidates and also create conditions that will help us hold them accountable to the chapter in a way we have never had before.

2. What is your experience with electoral politics and/or organizing?
I first started organizing as a teenager by attending meetings and actions through Refuse and Resist. Prior to joining Chicago DSA in 2017, I wrote voter guides for various communities I was a member of as well as hosted and produced a queer politics podcast and blog and did some community fundraising for AIDS Walk and Run. I became an active member of the DSA-LA Electoral Politics Committee in 2019. When I first started attending Electoral Politics Meetings, they were held once a month with 20 people at most showing up. We now have more than 10 different monthly meetings that fall under the Electoral Politics Committee umbrella. Over 1800 people came to an Electoral Politics Committee meeting or event in 2020 and our mailing list goes out to over half the chapter’s membership. We have also helped develop new leaders over the last year, many of whom are not male-identified.

In the last 14 months I helped start the Electoral Politics Data Subcommittee and was a co-chair of the Bernie Working Group, where we organized over 120 events in every area of Los Angeles, including the largest voter canvass in DSA-LA’s history. I learned how to use VAN and made canvassing territories for all of our Bernie Working Group areas, and helped raise over $15,000 for the Chapter with the sale of our very popular “Bernie Baseball” t-shirt which I designed. I helped coordinate and write both the 2020 Primary and General election voter guides which saw tens of thousands of downloads. I also helped coordinate all four of the electoral campaigns this fall and acted as a spokesperson for the chapter regarding David Ryu’s red-baiting attacks against DSA-LA during Nithya Raman’s campaign. I co-authored the Build the Bench resolution that outlines the chapter’s electoral strategy for the next two years and helped redesign the chapter’s endorsement process so that the ability to endorse candidates lies solely with the membership. I’ve also worked on better organizing the committee itself so that our work places fewer burdens on leadership and organizers as well as presents clearer processes for membership. I’ve made a dedicated effort in collecting and cataloging data, archiving documents and research, and am committed to retaining the Electoral Politics Committee’s institutional knowledge to improve all facets of our work. I recently completed work on a chapter census to find out not only which districts our members live in, but how many of them are registered to vote and with which, if any, parties. Collecting this information will not only help our electoral efforts but will help the whole chapter know itself and where our personal priorities and struggles lay. Through the hard work of the Electoral Politics Committee, the last year has been the most successful period of its history and I look forward to continuing that work into 2021.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
As a member of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, I have organizational relationships with members from different political tendencies, identity caucuses, and committees who aren’t necessarily inclined to do electoral organizing and am able to get feedback from members who otherwise might not engage. I’ve also organized with the Healthcare Justice Committee and created Medicare for All materials for use on future campaigns. Over the course of the last year, I have spent my free time learning how to do geographic information system mapping, as well as general data science, so that the committee is able to analyze demographics and voting patterns to determine where we have the best electoral opportunities for success and outreach. Our last endorsement cycle was the first that membership had ever been presented election dossiers as part of the endorsement process with district demographics, voting history, and campaign finance spending. As an author of Build the Bench, I feel best suited in having a hand, as well as a duty, in its implementation. I have been working on re-organizing the internal working of the Electoral Politics Committee to transition it to a five-member standing committee, outlining the positions and their relationship to one another and the chapter to make work less burdensome on the committee and easier to onboard new coordinators and train new members. During my tenure we have assembled a larger team of leaders running working groups and subcommittees that I am committed to keeping intact and growing over the next year so that the Electoral Politics Committee becomes a sustainable origin of mass action campaigns and anti-racist socialist power.

Francisco C.
Candidate for Electoral Committee At-Large
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
1 – Assessing and Growing Chapter-wide Electoral Capacity
Ensuring that we have a get to a better understanding of our organization’s capacity when it comes to electoral fights. At this moment we do not know exactly how many DSA-LA members we have in a given Assembly district, for example. We need to get from there to projecting what our total DSA and “”DSA-household”” voter turnout could be within a race.

2 – Organizing Opportunities in Small Cities
We had an impressive year in 2020, and some key 2022 LA-area races are coming into view. But we can’t afford to neglect critical opportunities in the smaller, working class, predominantly Latinx areas of Southeast LA and the San Gabriel Valley. Particularly in SELA, these districts went overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders in the 2020 primary – in keeping with our chapter’s Build the Bench strategy, this is fertile ground to not only grow our chapter, but electing candidates that can go on to higher office at the state or federal level. To do this, the chapter’s Electoral Committee must have first-hand knowledge of this electoral terrain, as I and others have.

3 – Paving the Way for DSA-LA Candidates to Win Union Endorsement
Despite our victories in 2020, one area where candidates endorsed by DSA-LA did less well was in securing endorsements by LA’s labor unions. The importance of eventually winning over the LA progressive labor movement and the County Federation of Labor to support pro-worker, anti-capitalist candidates cannot be ignored. Such a turn will be a momentous victory in itself.
To accomplish this, the Electoral Committee must work closely with the chapter’s Labor Committee to thoroughly map out a path to endorsement by unions where DSA-LA has organized membership, and by the LA County Federation of Labor. Additionally, the Electoral and Labor Committees together must work to better prepare our socialist candidates for office to speak fluently and convincingly about the work and priorities of the local labor movement.

Check out the full platform I and Tal L are running on — https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GXPQqii5c0g5wBqG3fubshvv1zLUOr1IiRy2nU7yUJU/edit

2. What is your experience with electoral politics and/or organizing?
I’m a 16-year union organizer and negotiator, and have been involved in electoral organizing in LA since 2006. Within DSA-LA I’ve focused on building the capacity of our organization and our membership, previously serving on the Steering Committee, recently leading the creation of the Eastside & SGV Branch, and currently serving as a co-chair to the chapter’s Labor Committee, where I led on the development of the Labor Circles program. During Bernie’s campaign I consistently canvassed on the Eastside and throughout Southeast LA. I co-chaired DSA-LA’s Jackie Goldberg Campaign Working Group in 2019, and authored the Electoral resolution to endorse Nithya Raman in 2020.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I’ve been steadily working to build our organization since 2017, and am proud of what we’ve accomplished. I have roots in LA’s left labor community, and over the years have sought to connect dots within our broader LA left community.

James S.
Candidate for Electoral Committee At-Large
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
I have organized as an Electoral Politics Committee Coordinator since early 2020 and would be eager to continue both the committee’s and the chapter’s success in electoral organizing if elected to serve as an Electoral Committee At-Large Member this year. Top among my priorities for the year ahead would be:

– Continue to inform comrades and fellow Angelenos beyond our organization about the stakes of future elections through voter guides and other published communications. Whether we like it or not, occupants of various electoral offices make decisions in our name every day. We have an obligation to know who these public officials are, hold them accountable to the needs of working people, remind them that we are paying attention when they make decisions against our interests, and work to unseat them when they are not responsive to our demands. Implementing this would entail publishing voter guides for special, primary, and general elections; beginning to publish voter guides in non-English languages, to reach the significant segment of the LA working class that is not primarily English-speaking; and publishing statements that keep our comrades informed of how our elected officials vote on pressing issues such as rent cancellation (locally, statewide, and federally), defunding the police, ending the terrorization of immigrant communities, Medicare for All (at the state and national level), and a Green New Deal.

– Get more socialists elected to public office. The success of DSA-LA member Nithya Raman in unseating an incumbent LA City Council member for the first time in 20 years was a major victory for socialist electoral organizing, thanks in no small part to the tireless labor of our comrades. We should work to expand on this win by laying the groundwork to get more socialists elected to public office at all levels of government in 2022, when numerous incumbents will be termed out from seeking reelection, as well as in the years ahead. I believe that an important way for us to build our bench is by encouraging more of our own comrades within our Local to run for office while investing the resources necessary to help them wage successful campaigns. I also believe that organizing to elect socialists to less glamorous (but no less important) public offices such as Neighborhood Councils, Community College Boards of Trustees, and Municipal Water Districts should not go overlooked. Winning these lower-level offices is, after all, an effective and frequently used path toward eventually winning election to higher levels of government. Putting these thoughts into practice means continuing to support and organize to get socialists elected to all 99 Neighborhood Councils across LA and recruiting and electing our members to other offices across municipal, state, and federal government.

– Grow our mass movement through electoral organizing. Electoral organizing carries the capacity to move more members of the working class to embrace socialist principles and the socialist imagination for the better world that we all deserve. I believe that effective communications and organizing in the form of voter guides, legislative issue analysis, elected official tracking, phone banking, and canvassing can continue to bring new people into our movement. In fact, it already has. Both nationally and locally, our organization has grown many times over as ordinary people have been inspired by the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, and many others. I would measure success here by continuing to wage electoral organizing programs that speak effectively to the working class of LA, as well as by learning more from new members about what draws them into our movement and how they would most like to see us grow together.

2. What is your experience with electoral politics and/or organizing?
Like many within this organization, I became politically active as a volunteer on electoral campaigns as a teenager, so being connected to electoral politics has always been part of my identity. Within the last year, I knocked on doors and called voters for Bernie Sanders—both through DSA-LA’s Bernie Working Group and through the Sanders campaign—in Mid-City, Koreatown, South Central, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and Van Nuys. I also co-wrote, co-edited, and facilitated the creation of our DSA-LA 2020 General Election Voter Guide, alongside a dozen committed comrades. Together we researched 94 electoral races and ballot initiatives, and released a 75-page guide that was published online before ballots began hitting mailboxes in LA County. We were the first among locally allied organizations to release a full voter guide for the general election, and our guide brought an astonishing, record-setting 30,000 visits to our chapter website. This guide is one of the reasons many members who are now with us felt the call to join DSA-LA. As I mentioned above, I have also served as a Coordinator on the Electoral Politics Committee since early 2020. In this capacity, my primary commitment has been in preparing and co-leading bi-monthly committee meetings, as well as creating our regular email newsletter blasts. Outside of my organizing in LA, I have volunteered my time in support of electoral and ballot initiative campaigns in Boston, Washington, DC, and Las Cruces, NM, where I have lived in the past.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I am committed to organizing within DSA-LA as an active member of both the Electoral Politics Committee and the LGBTQ+ Caucus, and I believe that electoral organizing must be a key component of how we will achieve our socialist vision for the future. I am a bridge builder by nature and will seek ways for the work of the Electoral Committee to be shaped by the organizing and movement building of our chapter that exists beyond the committee. I hope that my dedication to our chapter and to this committee in just the last year will serve as a testament to my ability to help the Electoral Committee exceed its goals in 2021 and beyond.

Jess M.
Candidate for Electoral Committee At-Large
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
****Formatted version here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1r5n04P3FNrwIjPpAg_TFnkTS0YFNY8AZ2HEVDL7EJZ8/edit?usp=sharing****

My top three priorities in this role are to: (1) Develop a Socialist Program for LA, (2) Advance Strategic Campaigns Across LA County, and (3) Build DSA Membership in South Central, Inglewood, the South Bay, and the Southeast Cities through Electoral Campaigns. The common measure of success across these priorities is increased membership and an electoral endorsement apparatus that is accountable to the membership and responsive to the material needs of the working class.

Develop a Socialist Program for LA. The Build a Bench resolution calls for a democratically developed policy platform where we can all shape demands to strengthen the position of our class — the working class. The Program is a major undertaking and must be taken up seriously across the neighborhoods, branches, and committees of our organization. It should inspire our neighbors, friends, and families to vote for our candidates by having clear and concrete demands of not just the City of LA, but also the governing bodies of our unincorporated communities, the 87 other municipalities that make up our county, and, where strategic, the school boards, regional planning boards, and others. The Electoral Politics Committee is not the only point of intervention to shape this program, but it is well situated to begin this heavy undertaking. Success includes a transparent and democratic development process with buy-in from a large percentage of new and longstanding DSA members; Consistent use of the program in the candidate vetting process for the 2022 bench; and Integration of the program into neighborhood meetings and organizing throughout the next couple of years.

Advance Strategic Campaigns. Engage branches in the research necessary to analyze the power structures in their region and to identify strategic campaigns to advance towards 2022. This research should be conducted with an understanding that we will need to launch or support electoral campaigns for different reasons. In some regions strategic campaigns will be those that have a higher certainty of victory, in others it will be those that can be used primarily to talk to people and increase awareness of the Socialist Program for LA, and in others it will be those that are most public and therefore perceived as a challenge to the status quo of the electoral arena. Success is a diversified slate of campaigns that are geographically and organizationally spread out to lay the groundwork for accomplishing our electoral and organizing goals in 2022.

Build DSA Membership in South Central, Inglewood, the South Bay, and SELA through Electoral Campaigns. In the City of LA, prioritize the Council District 9 race in 2022 and ensure our endorsement means something to CD9’s working class residents — our vetting process for a candidate here should be the model for how to implement the Build a Bench resolution. Outside the City of LA, prioritize races in Inglewood and the South Bay, where our most active branch members live are engaging in housing and development struggles, and Southeast LA (locally referred to as “SELA,” which includes Huntington Park, Cudahy, South Gate, Bell, Lynwood, parts of Compton, and other small jurisdictions), where our branch membership is low but there’s a lot of potential to talk to the many voters there who resonated with Bernie’s platform. Success is currently active members in the branch leveraging the chapter’s electoral strategy and resources to build a constituency around and support for a Socialist Program for LA. Success is also active support from members outside of the branch and, in the longer term, a larger branch and chapter membership.

2. What is your experience with electoral politics and/or organizing?
My most recent experience with a discrete organizing campaign is in working with my next-door neighbors in South LA — Black, Mexican, and Central American — to collectively bargain with developers when faced with an Ellis Act eviction. We sustained a campaign for several months, meeting regularly to develop strategies and tactics to bring to our negotiations and identifying and providing resources to build each unit’s individual and our collective power, winning more favorable terms that we all democratically agreed on.

I am also a former staff member of a progressive South LA nonprofit that routinely ran electoral campaigns in addition to base-building year-round. As part of the campaign team, I conducted research and policy analysis, collaborated on the development of bilingual political education materials for community organizing meetings, assisted with power analysis trainings for the campaigns of other organizations or coalitions, supported communications strategies, and presented legislative and electoral strategies in English and Spanish. Time-bound electoral and sustained organizing fights I was part of included county measures, statewide ballot initiatives like Prop10 and Schools and Communities First, legislative lobbying, and building coalitions and resident-member leadership for climate justice campaigns.

Prior to these recent experiences, I have also been involved in developing voter guides with other Latinas in the policy and planning arena of LA, paid organizing in North Long Beach, local governance training with grassroots peer leaders in Watts, and other activities connected to electoral politics.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
In addition to my many years of technical experience, I was born and raised in Watts to parents who worked in the warehousing and furniture manufacturing sectors that no longer thrive in South LA. Seeing the conditions of my neighborhood motivated me, from an early age, to find ways to improve things. When I was a teenager it meant making snacks and coordinating after school activities for younger kids on my block or taking my household’s broom and sweeping litter off the streets while talking to neighbors about why our streets were dirtier than in other places and who had the power to change it. These types of interactions led me to organizing and to working in or with progressive organizations. While my practical skills from these experiences have equipped me to be able to help this committee meet its goals, they are not what I would rely on if elected to represent the membership in this position. It’s my deep understanding of the region. It’s my commitment to family, friends, and neighbors in LA’s low-wage industries. It’s my direct experience with the inability of the “progressive” power structure to improve material conditions for the whole working class. All of which motivate my efforts to build a mass socialist organization of and for LA’s working class.

HEALTHCARE JUSTICE COMMITTEE


Kenyon M
Candidate for Healthcare Justice Committee Co-Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
1. CA Statewide Single-Payer Initiative
DSA-LA’s Healthcare Justice Committee voted at our January meeting to pass a resolution committing to pursuing statewide single-payer in 2021, and I’d like to make this effort a priority if elected co-Chair.

While success to me next year would mean Newsom applying for a federal waiver for single payer from the Biden administration, deepening our coalitions, strengthening ties to other chapters, and raising statewide single payer as a demand are also important outcomes.

2. Strengthening the CA DSA Healthcare Committee Network
In the fall of 2020, our committee took the lead on contacting DSA healthcare committees and working groups across California to set up the first statewide DSA healthcare network. We’ve organized and facilitated two well-attended strategy calls since then, and are now in regular contact and coordination with DSA healthcare comrades throughout the state. If elected I’d like to prioritize growing the network by connecting with more chapters, holding regular meetings to discuss statewide healthcare strategy, and democratically deciding on campaigns to pursue.

By the end of next year, I’d like the California DSA Healthcare network to be meeting regularly with reps from every active healthcare committee in the state, have a dedicated online library for resource sharing, and have presented a well-planned campaign to our future statewide org for consideration.

3. Broadening Coalitions & Expanding our Tactics
The healthcare justice fight in California has some of the most phenomenal organizers I’ve met, but our coalitions tend to be comprised of the same groups forming and re-forming, and our tactics have been similarly limited. I’d like to see DSA-LA’s Healthcare Justice Committee take a bigger lead in bringing in coalition partners from the black, indigenous, and undocumented communities most affected by injustice in health care, and being intentional about reaching beyond our usual audience for events and AgitProp efforts. In 2021, I’d like to see more:
– Direct action to supplement our electoral work
– Spanish-language content geared toward an older demographic
– Showing up to support groups we want to work with

I believe healthcare justice is just one wing of a broader movement for social justice, and I’d like our committee aims for 2021 to reflect that.

2. What is your experience with the healthcare justice movement and/or organizing?
I joined DSA in 2018 and have been primarily active in the Healthcare Justice committee since then – first as a Coordinator, and then as a co-Chair for two terms. I also served as an at-large member of the Steering Committee in 2020.

Like many, my interest in healthcare justice comes from personal experience. I grew up without health insurance and unable to afford medical treatment, so I understand how urgent the fight for single-payer is for the majority of us.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I think the best way to meet our goals as a committee is to empower members to lead initiatives they’re passionate about, and my experience in various chapter leadership positions has given me insight on how to effectively implement big projects. If I’m elected, I’m looking forward to building lasting committee structures and cultivating leaders who will feel confident about taking over next year!

Sean Broadbent
Candidate for Healthcare Justice Committee Co-Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
Priority one is to make our committee meetings a more deliberative space. This means formalizing our agenda and giving clearer rules on meeting procedures. I believe that this will help empower the committee members to take action. If the result is that more members are able to engage because they see a clear process for proposing and debating actions, then I’ll consider it a success. Priority two is to engage our committee more with the Branches. Our Chapter’s efficacy in creating responsive socialist actions relies on engaging the broadest segment of our membership. That doesn’t happen in siloed committees but in Branches that feel like their capacity is increased by committees. To that end, I’ll instruct our coordinator to work closely w/ the Branch coordinators. I will commit to attending my Branch’s meetings so that I myself am engaged w/ the members in my part of the Chapter. Priority three is to communicate Healthcare Justice Comm’s work better to the chapter. I think our participation in events goes under the radar because much of the work on single-payer is a long-term endeavor. I’ll feel successful if our events are better communicated on our Chapter’s media. This will mean assigning a committee member to act as reporter/photographer for our events and to liaison more closely w/ agit-prop.

2. What is your experience with the healthcare justice movement and/or organizing?
My organizing experience has been primarily for single-payer healthcare. I worked w/ National Nurses United to build a local resolution campaign, w/ fellow DSA members, that focused its efforts on first agitating for passage of the resolution at Neighborhood Councils, allowing socialists to engage w/ hundreds of our neighbors across L.A., answering their questions on single-payer and causing their elected local reps to consider their position on this issue, perhaps for the first time. Within the committee, we’ve stood in solidarity with our comrades during the uprisings of last summer and throughout the pandemic. This has meant being responsive to the needs of fellow committees, requesting resources and marshaling volunteers. Looking ahead to this year, I’ve already plugged into the statewide campaign for state based single-payer, taking an active role in both getting the campaign off the ground and facilitating its work.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I have been a member of the committee for several years, spending the last year as coordinator. I believe that I’m ready to accomplish the goals listed above and, whether or not I run for leadership again, I will remain an active member of the committee!

Steven Gibson
Candidate for Healthcare Justice Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
1. See DSA members activated in pushing for HC reform. Would measure success by actual events and campaigns with numbers turning out. 2. See California state HC for All moving forward. Measured by the Governor or representatives making reported steps to advance HC for All in California. Increase the number of DSA members attending HCJC meetings.

2. What is your experience with the healthcare justice movement and/or organizing?
I have been involved in pushing for SB562 in 2018 and 2019. I tabled attended events, spread the word. Organized on the streets and online. I educated on M4ALL with Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 and 2020. As Staff for Bernie 2020 I had to represent the arguments for M4ALL with voters.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I am a community organizer in SGV. I have a network of volunteers and contacts with other activists in the area. I am able to attend meetings and speak publicly on the issue.

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS COMMITTEE


Andrew Lewis
Candidate for Housing & Homelessness Committee Co-Chair
1. What has been your experience with DSA-LA, the Housing & Homelessness Committee and/or housing justice organizing in general?
I have attended several meetings in the past year, and an active member of my LA Tenants Union local. I also help deliver resources to the unhoused community members in my Neighborhood via our Street Watch table.

2. Why are you running for this position?
As a renter in one of the most expensive Housing regions of LA, I see first-hand how a capitalist Housing crisis, and lack of tenant protections help fuel a continued criminalization of poverty and homelessness. LA simultaneously has one of the most expensive housing markets in the Country, while at the same time has more unhoused folks dying on our streets than any other major City in America.

The criminalization of poverty via protection of private property and public spaces by police also helps fuel this in LA. I hope to build tenant power and push back against these inequities via local organizing through the Housing and Homelessness Committee.

3. What is your assessment of the work of HnH over the past year and its current position within the housing justice movement?
HnH was lead well over the past year by Arielle S, she did a great job in leading discussion and developing localized goals for the group.

4. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
Building on the work that has already been done and expanding membership to build tenant power while building a collective presence beyond what we currently have.

5. Street Watch has expanded significantly over the past year, but externally and even internally it is often seen as separate from DSA-LA. How should the chapter maintain cohesion with Street Watch without stifling its growth?
The two groups can work closely together, and the Housing and Homelessness Committee is a perfect location for this cohesion to happen as there is already much overlapping work.

6. How should the Housing & Homelessness Committee support the development of neighborhood organizing in DSA-LA?
Neighborhood Organizing is at the basis of tenant power in Los Angeles. This Committee should build strong bonds with as many neighborhood groups as possible in LA to begin to organize on the ground (when safe to do so).

7. In 2020, HnH started holding tenant organizing circles to encourage dual members of tenant organizations and DSA to share resources and strategy for building tenant power. How would you grow participation in this space, and do you have any ideas for what members could work on together?
I believe we should outreach to our comrades in LATU and surrounding LA tenant groups, including our own membership, much of which are themselves tenants.

I believe many of these organizations work towards similar goals, but in silo’s. It would be great to bring them all to the table to build tenant power would create the most impact in pushing back against capitalist interests in LA, and local politicians bought by developers.

8. Street Watch consumes the bulk of the committee’s organizing energy, but what are other initiatives that HnH should prioritize in 2021?
As LA County and CDC eviction protections are set to expire this year, I believe this Committee can help help advocate for stronger local renter protections, as well as push for alternative Housing solutions like localized Social Housing and housing for our unhoused community members.

9. What role does HnH have in the implementation of the chapter priority resolution A Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation?
A crucial one. There can be no Black Liberation without access to safe and affordable Housing for Black people. Black folks also (especially in LA) disproportionately represent the highest number of unhoused Angelenos, and housing-insecure population.

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE COMMITTEE


Shiu-Ming Cheer
Candidate for Immigration Justice Committee Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities? // ¿Cuáles serían sus tres prioridades principales? ¿Cómo definiría el éxito para cada una de esas prioridades?
1. Advance the Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation resolution by engaging in discussions and actions towards dismantling white supremacy and supporting divest/invest efforts.
2. Continue addressing the material needs of low-wage immigrants in LA. This can also be under the divest (abolish ICE and end all detentions and deportations)/invest (ensure COVID relief efforts reach undocumented immigrants) framework.
3. Work with the Immigration Justice Committee to identify goals and projects that are impactful in the short-term and advance socialist liberation in the long-term.
I define success for all of these priorities as: deepening our relationship with Black immigrants and Black immigrant organizations, having committee members participate in and lead efforts, and focusing on our goals while having the flexibility to address internal and external challenges. 

2. What is your experience with the immigration justice movement and/or organizing? // ¿Cuál es su experiencia con el movimiento de la justicia de inmigración y con su experencia para organizar?
The first campaign I was involved with as a student organizer was against Prop 187, the anti-immigrant initiative. Since then, I’ve played a variety of roles in the immigration justice movement. In my paid non-profit work, I represented immigrants detained by ICE in Southern California and Arizona. Several times a week for over six years, I visited youth and adult detention centers (aka immigration prisons) where I witnessed the exploitation and oppression of immigrants directly. I also worked at a grassroots South Asian organization that, among other projects, challenged state repression. Currently, I work on policy issues at a national immigrant rights’ organization by supporting the work of coalitions and membership-based organizations in advancing justice for immigrants. Outside of day jobs, I have been on the steering committees of local all-volunteer groups that organized Chinese American and other immigrant tenants and workers in the San Gabriel Valley and Chinatown. And I have helped organize direct actions against SB 1070 (Arizona’s anti-immigrant law) and ICE, as well as international mobilizations against the World Trade Organization.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals? // ¿Cómo está equipado personalmente para ayudar a este comité a cumplir sus objetivos?
I am able to commit my time to this role, as well as my organizational skills. The connections that I have built with local organizations through my work with coalitions such as ICE out of LA, LA Justice Fund, Raids Rapid Response Network, and Check the Sheriff can be helpful in advancing the committee’s goals. For years, I’ve been part of multi-tendency left organizations that have grounded me in left theory, history and practice. All that I’ve been exposed to has shown me that I still have a lot to learn, so I will strive to approach this role with political rigor and humility.

Anthony Guzman
Candidate for Immigration Justice Committee Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities? // ¿Cuáles serían sus tres prioridades principales? ¿Cómo definiría el éxito para cada una de esas prioridades?
1. Improve Communication between DSA leadership and general members. (Success would be determined by positive feedback from members on being up to date on current and upcoming activities)
2. Increase membership (Success would be determined by how much our chapter grows by the end of the term)
3. Increase member retention and involvement (Success would be determined by having many volunteers for future projects and attaining high attendance at meetings and events)

2. What is your experience with the immigration justice movement and/or organizing? // ¿Cuál es su experiencia con el movimiento de la justicia de inmigración y con su experencia para organizar?
I have been involved in DSA since I joined last year and helped with the stimulus campaign. Previously, I volunteered for the Bernie campaign and worked with local SGV organizers to register voters and canvas for Bernie and his immigration justice platform.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals? // ¿Cómo está equipado personalmente para ayudar a este comité a cumplir sus objetivos?
I have experience leading committees as a public relations chair for my college community service club, Circle K International. I have a passion for the issues we fight for and understand that in order to achieve our goals we must continue to build a strong coalition by increasing membership and involvement in activist activities.

Jorge Cruz
Candidate for Immigration Justice Committee Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities? // ¿Cuáles serían sus tres prioridades principales? ¿Cómo definiría el éxito para cada una de esas prioridades?
1.) Recruit immigrants into the DSA-LA chapter: Los Angeles is a city of immigrants and in order to expand membership we must actively recruit from immigrant communities. I will make it a goal to increase immigrant membership in the DSA-LA chapter by at least 20% this year.
2.) Serve immigrant communities: I will ensure that we remain connected to the needs of the immigrant communities and continue to advocate for them through events and workshops that give them a voice in the DSA.
3.) Educate immigrant communities: In light of the devastating affects of Covid-19, an unprecedented housing crisis, and politics that continue to demonize and scapegoat immigrant communities, I will work with the committee to ensure that we continue to educate immigrants about the role capitalism plays in their exploitation and the importance of building socialism through the DSA to create a better society, one that does not exclude communities based on their citizenship status, national origin, or ethnic background. 

2. What is your experience with the immigration justice movement and/or organizing? // ¿Cuál es su experiencia con el movimiento de la justicia de inmigración y con su experencia para organizar?
I was raised by an undocumented single mother from Mexico. Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the exploitation she faced by her employers who did not pay her fair wages and fired her at will knowing that she did not have rights under a country that denied her citizenship. At home, my mother would constantly be harassed by our slumlord who would illegally increase the rent knowing that my mother could not afford it and with no regard to the wellbeing of her children who would be rendered houseless on the streets. Due to these hardships, I was determined to be an advocate for my mother and others like her who are rendered invisible by the state and exploited by the inherently exploitive nature of capitalism.

I became the first one in my family to go to college, and now I am in my final semester of graduate studies where I will soon graduate with a master’s degree in Latin American Studies, with an emphasis on revolutionary movements in Mexico, state formation, and the notion of citizenship. As a student, I worked as a journalist where I wrote articles related to immigration, including the work of immigration advocates and feature stories on the struggles many undocumented immigrants face in the United States. I am currently the Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Cal State LA, where I organized workshops for first-generation immigrant students to connect them with resources on campus, learn how to navigate higher education, and build a strong community with fellow undocumented students. Last year, I created an organization on campus with the specific goal of defunding the police to reappropriate resources to underserved communities. I organized workshops and teach-ins to connect the origins and role of policing to protect ruling class and capitalist interests at the expense of communities of color and immigrant communities. I am currently a founding member of my neighborhood tenants union in the predominately immigrant community of Lincoln Heights, where we organize local tenants to familiarize themselves with their rights and collectively organize with their neighbors against their slumlords. In this role, I also engage in education workshops to educate immigrants about the role capitalism plays in creating a speculative housing market that exploits tenants and denies them their fundamental right to housing. Since I am bilingual in English and Spanish, I also help translate documents for tenants. My dedication as an organizer, both on campus and in my community, stems from my firsthand experience with with the exploitive nature of capitalism on my immigrant family, my education studying the role of capitalism and the state in perpetuating systems and institutions of exploitation for the benefit of the ruling class and the violence it causes on marginalized communities, and my determination that a better society for all can be built through socialism. 

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals? // ¿Cómo está equipado personalmente para ayudar a este comité a cumplir sus objetivos?
I have previous experience organizing meetings, workshops, teach-ins, and engaging people with the work of an organization by being mindful and respectful of people’s immediate needs and cultural background. As an organizer, I understand the importance of meeting people where they are at, whether they are new to organizing or veterans. Due to the nature of capitalism and the role it plays in denying working-class people a quality education, I understand the importance of educating the masses about capitalism being the root cause of many societal problems, including housing, education, employment and how immigrants must face multiple layers of exploitation. I will ensure the committee stays on track with our goal deadlines, objectives are clear, there is active communication between the immigrant justice committee and all other committees in the DSA-LA chapter, and that we remain true to our purpose of advocating for immigrants and building socialism. As the son of immigrants, I have personal experience which allows me to connect to immigrants because I know the hardships we face under capitalism.

Lilian Delmi
Candidate for Immigration Justice Committee Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities? // ¿Cuáles serían sus tres prioridades principales? ¿Cómo definiría el éxito para cada una de esas prioridades?
***Responses Translated from Spanish to English***

El idioma (lenguaje), inmigracion para que no haya más familias separadas y la educación pública de los niños, la otra cosa es la salud y la vivienda .

Ayudar a las personas y trabajar con el comité de vivienda y conectar con otros comités que conecten a lo mencionado.

Hacer más alcance.

*(Eng.) I would start with language expansion, immigration so that we do not have any more families separated, and children’s public education. I would also like to focus on the health and well-being of the community.

I would want to continue helping people and working with the Housing and Homelessness Committee and connect with other committees to help with the things previously mentioned.

I would like the committee to do more outreach.

2. What is your experience with the immigration justice movement and/or organizing? // ¿Cuál es su experiencia con el movimiento de la justicia de inmigración y con su experencia para organizar?
Mi experiencia como inmigrante aquí en este país es ver muchas familias siendo separadas y que las voces de los inmigrantes no son escuchadas .

Quizás no se si algún día pueda llegar ser cambios en las comunidades.

Es inhumano para nosotros porque tenemos niños en las escuelas que quieren hacerlo bien. Estamos en busca de un futuro mejor y no tenemos el 100% de los derechos en el país. Estamos totalmente excluidos.

Soy inmigrante en este país y vine de Guatemala buscando un futuro mejor en este país. Desde que llegué aquí *22 años, he estado en diferentes grupos como voluntaria. Por ejemplo, he sido voluntaria en el distrito unificado de los Ángeles acerca de la educación de los niños y participé en otras organizaciones como voluntaria.

También me he organizado en mi edificio por los derechos de los inquilinos y participó en asamblea popular de Koreatown y ultimadamente me estoy postulando para el consejo vecinal de Wilshire Koreatown y mucho más y es como me describo.

También he tocado puertas para campañas políticas de diferentes candidatos como Nithya Raman. En el año pasado 2020.

También participé en un retiro y me gradué de un programa de Derechos Humanos de NDLON. Me conecté con los derechos humanos porque no puedo ver o escuchar las injusticias.

Disfruto buscando formas de involucrarme en mi comunidad. He sido líder en capacitaciones para la Asamblea Popular de Ktown durante 4 años.

*(Eng.) My experience as an immigrant here in this country has been to see many families being separated and that the voices of immigrants are not heard.
Hopefully I can get to make changes in these communities.
It’s inhumane for us because we have kids in schools who want to succeed. We are looking for a better future and do not have 100% of the rights in the country. We are totally excluded.

I am an immigrant in this country and came from Guatemala looking for a better future here. Since I arrived here *22 years ago, I have been in different groups as a volunteer. For example, I have volunteered in the Los Angeles Unified School District about child education and participated in other organizations as a volunteer.

I have also organized in my own building for tenant rights and participated in Koreatown’s Popular Assembly and am preparing to eventually run for Wilshire Koreatown Neighborhood Council and much more and that’s how I would describe myself.

I have also knocked on doors for political campaigns by different candidates like Nithya Raman in the past year of 2020.
I also participated in a leadership retreat and graduated from an NDLON Human Rights program. I became interested in human rights because I can’t stand to see or hear injustices.

I enjoy looking for ways to get involved in my community. I have been involved and leading trainings for the Koreatown Popular Assembly for 4 years now.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals? // ¿Cómo está equipado personalmente para ayudar a este comité a cumplir sus objetivos?
Como miembro, padre e inquilino de Ktown, no puedo prometer hacerlo todo, pero puedo comprometerme a hacer que se escuchen nuestras voces.Puedo facilitar reuniones. Puedo publicar en las redes sociales y estoy interesado en aprender cómo ser un coordinador de IJC.

Muchas gracias y me siento orgullosa de ser parte de este comité como una inmigrante que ha luchado mucho en este país.

* (Eng.) As a member, parent, and tenant of Koreatown, I can’t promise to do everything, but I can commit myself to making our voices heard.I can facilitate meetings. I can post on social media and I am interested in learning how to be an IJC coordinator.

Thank you very much and I am proud to be a member of this committee as an immigrant who has fought so hard in this country.

LABOR COMMITTEE


Dan McCrory
Candidate for Labor Committee Co-Chair
1. What has been your experience with the labor movement?
37 years with CWA including local president and legislative/political director of all So Cal locals and 15 years as Recording Secretary for the National Writers Union. I have also served as a delegate to the LA County Federation of Labor from 1988-2005. Also interviewed for political director position for UTLA and SEIU-UHW, two of the nation’s largest, most political unions. I have hosted two national webinars Building Union and am in the process of writing a book with the same name to address the future to save the middle class.

2. What is your assessment of the Labor Committee’s work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?
I respect the goals of the Labor Committee. I think the first order of business is to review and assess how we have progressed in achieving those goals. The labor movement needs to understand their roots and how important those are to counterbalance unfettered, unsustainable big business capitalists.

3. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
More outreach, training

4. How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?
My involvement in the L.A. labor movement for over 40 years. Due to the pandemic, using Zoom or its equivalent for classes and communications is imperative. I’m currently being interviewed a lot on labor podcasts and radio programs for my book Capitalism Killed the Middle Class: 25 Ways the System is Rigged Against You. I can promote DSA in those interviews. Democratic Socialism and the history of socialism in the labor movement play a big part in my book’s sequel: (Re)Building LA. I want to interview labor leaders and ask three questions: What do unions get right? What do they get wrong? How can they change to capture the interests of working class folks and leverage their emerging power on behalf of the American worker?

5. What do you see as DSA’s role in relation to the labor movement, locally and nationally?
An integral part as a collective conscience and constant reminder of our progressive past rather than keepers of the status quo.

Marc K.
Candidate for Labor Committee Co-Chair
1. What has been your experience with the labor movement?
I organize where I am as a public sector worker. I have served as an elected bargaining unit chair in my union from 2018 to 2019. In that role, I have had dozens of organizing conversations with coworkers, prepared demands and a strategy for collective bargaining, and was deeply involved in multiple bargaining sessions where I passed proposals to secure material concessions for the workers at my worksite. I am currently the shopfloor lead in my work area that onboards new union members, assesses potential grievances, and organizes the workers to take on workplace issues head-on.

In addition to organizing around immediate workplace issues, I have worked to make my union more active in the labor movement in Los Angeles. In 2019, I successfully recruited coworkers to participate in SEIU-UHW’s contract campaign rally and action on Labor Day. In 2020, I persuaded my worksite’s union leadership to release political endorsements consistent with the LA County Federation of Labor endorsements. Most recently, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I spoke with the union’s membership about the Healthy LA Coalition and got coworkers to take action in support of the campaign’s worker and housing demands. 

2. What is your assessment of the Labor Committee’s work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?
It is my opinion that the Labor Committee has made tremendous efforts to assess where DSA members are in the economy in Los Angeles and cohere industry/workplace formations (Labor Circles) that can organize for power on the job. This is an important step for DSA to understand our collective power as workers, how to exercise that power strategically, and where we need to grow as an organization. The Labor Circles have been crucial to deepening DSA’s roots with working class Angelenos and have been sites for recruiting fellow workers to DSA. In Los Angeles, I believe DSA and the Labor Committee have developed a solid reputation as being dedicated to strengthening the labor movement and putting the fight into local labor struggles. On a national scale, I believe our chapter’s labor program is gaining recognition as a model for building mass participation in the labor movement and laying the foundations for DSA to become a mass organization of workers.

3. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
My main goal for 2021 is to move the Labor Circles program into its next phase of development. This starts with a vigorous effort to get the Socialist Workplace Survey completed by the entire chapter to grow the existing circles, cohere the circles still in development, and form new circles. To complement the Labor Circles’ growth, I want to equip our members with labor education and resources that build their capacity as organizers and leaders in DSA and the workplace. Next, I want to identify where we have the capacity to launch and support strategic labor actions, campaigns, and organizing drives and develop work plans to carry out those efforts. Finally, I want to cohere a strategy for DSA members in unions to strengthen the link between DSA’s labor and electoral work by joining their union’s political committee and becoming delegates to the LA County Federation of Labor with the idea of influencing politics and endorsements in Los Angeles.

4. How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?
Organizing in the workplace, working on the DSA’s local and statewide Yes on Prop 15 campaign, being active in the chapter and the Labor Committee, and supporting other DSA chapters with their Labor Circles program have given me the organizational knowledge and interpersonal skills to achieve my desired goals for the Labor Committee in 2021. I will draw upon these experiences and the relationships I have built in DSA and the local labor movement to support our Labor Circles and build worker power in Los Angeles.

5. What do you see as DSA’s role in relation to the labor movement, locally and nationally?
I believe DSA’s role in the labor movement both locally and nationally is to stand in solidarity with workers, infuse new energy and militancy into worker struggles, build networks that can coordinate across industries and workplaces, launch and support new workplace organizing, work in coalition with progressive unions on strategic campaigns, and reinvigorate unions to be powerful working class organizations. In Los Angeles, DSA must continue to support immigrant workers and grow our membership among working class Angelenos. Nationally, DSA has an important and immediate role in growing the labor movement by building mass support for legislation like the PRO Act, which will expand workers’ rights, strengthen unions, and lay the foundation for vigorous new organizing.

Daniel D
Candidate for Labor Committee Co-Chair
1. What has been your experience with the labor movement?
One of my most recent jobs was at a local government agency where I was a member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). I was an active member of our union and I served on our local’s Executive Board.

I am currently an organizer with the National Union of Healthcare workers. I have experience in external organizing campaigns, helping workers in the healthcare industry build power in their workplaces. I also have experience supporting our existing membership in skilled-nursing facilities, community clinics, and large hospitals across California.

Within DSA, I also serve on the national Democratic Socialist Labor Commission. We are a formation tasked with developing and guiding DSA’s labor organizing program. This has been an exciting year on the DSLC. We have hosted political education events, mass membership meetings, developed national industry networks, and launched campaigns like Save the USPS.

2. What is your assessment of the Labor Committee’s work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?
Since joining DSA in 2018 I have seen the Labor Committee mature from a group of disparate activists into a cohesive formation that is serious about building the power of workers in Los Angeles County. Soon after attending my first chapter and committee meetings in the chapter, I was showing up with parents, students, and community members to the house of Monica Garcia, a pro-charter member LAUSD to demand the end of charter school expansion across the district. That rainy week our members attended over a hundred picket shifts in support of the 30,000 striking educators.We also fundraised several thousand dollars in order to help feed the workers on their picket line. Not only was it inspiring to see the unbounded solidarity, but as socialists we were demonstrating our commitment to the labor movement.

Nonetheless, it was necessary for our analysis to extend beyond merely supporting workers when they’re out on strike. Every worker needs to understand themselves as political subjects and as belonging to a transhistorical movement for liberation. As members of DSA we need to organize where we have structural power, namely our workplaces. In 2019, the Labor Committee launched the workplace survey to map where our members work. The Labor Circles program is informed by the results of that survey. We now have multiple circles in industries like food service, education, social work, and more. Members in similar workplaces come together to discuss how to build power in their industry. This program has led to the unionization at several non-profits, issue campaigns, and organizing in existing unions — a marked and impressive development from when I first joined.

Labor in our chapter is no longer treated as discrete work that exists only in the committee. Our chapter strategy and campaigns are informed by our analysis of the centrality of the labor movement in building a better world. The work being done in this committee has contributed to workers organizing to have their unions rescind their endorsement of Jackie Lacey for District Attorney; our committee meetings are now regularly attended by workers from different industries and unions; and we are building institutional ties to the local labor movement.

3. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
First and foremost, I want to contribute to the growth of the committee’s work which includes seeing more unionization campaigns led by DSA-LA members, building deeper ties with institutions like the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and rooting ourselves in local industries. One of the ways to achieving these goals includes supporting the expansion of the Labor Circles program. We need to increase participation of our members in the labor survey in order to understand and plan where we can organize to build worker power. To complement this, I will push to develop a training curriculum to give our members the skills and resources they need to organize a new union, organize within their existing union, or run for elected office in their union. Our collective goal needs to greater DSA-LA member participation in the labor movement as a whole.

As a member of the DSLC I aim to create a link between our national and local work. With the Biden Administration, our organization is going to have to push for socialist demands like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. In addition, DSA should engage in work to raise the demand that the incoming Administration pass the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in the first 100 days. Major players like the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) are prioritizing the passage of this vital piece of legislation, which would make organizing just a bit easier. These demands cannot be made without buy-in from the labor movement. Members of our chapter need to be equipped with the skills to organize their unions and workplaces to support these demands.

4. How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?
As a former member of our chapter’s Steering Committee and my current role on DSLC, as well as my job as a union organizer have given me the necessary organizational perspective that I think one needs in order to recognize what are successful tactics and strategies. I have experience building lists, identifying leaders, developing members into leaders, creating buy-in, and other requisites for building an organization. Importantly, I am also embedded in the labor movement, which is simply to say that I have a view into what unions are up to, where workers are on the move, and what socialists in other chapters are doing to strengthen their own labor work.

5. What do you see as DSA’s role in relation to the labor movement, locally and nationally?
DSA is a growing political force not only in electoral politics, but also in the labor movement. Our organization still has work to do to cohere a national labor organizing strategy, but we have made advances through modeling the successful methods of organizing used by unions and getting our members to begin to see themselves as workers with the leverage to extract concessions from bosses. Locally, DSA-LA should continue to build institutional ties with unions like UNITE HERE, SEIU, NUHW, CNA, and others, including the LA Federation of Labor. One of the ways we can accomplish this is by recruiting more rank-and-file unionists to DSA, thereby strengthening the link between the labor and socialist movements. This does not mean that we should always follow the lead of labor unions. Without overestimating our power, DSA as an organization of nearly 100,000 members should begin to think about how we relate the worker organizing in its various forms.

Haley Potiker
Candidate for Labor Committee Coordinator
1. What has been your experience with the labor movement?
I joined DSA-LA in 2017 specifically to get involved with the labor committee, and have been an active member of the committee since. I was elected to labor committee coordinator in 2019 and re-elected in 2020. At my day job, I am the Communications Director for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), a non-profit that builds labor-community partnerships to fight for working families. Through my work with the DSA and at LAANE, I have worked closely with the Los Angeles labor movement, specifically the LA County Federation of Labor, UTLA, UFCW Local 770, Unite Here Local 11, and the Teamsters Port Division and Local 396. It is my experience that the workers who lead the left flank of the Los Angeles labor movement are women: nurses, teachers, hotel housekeepers.

2. What is your assessment of the Labor Committee’s work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?
Since I was elected to leadership of the labor committee, we have built and maintained the Labor Circles program, which organizes DSA-LA members who work in the same sector to meet regularly and build power in their workplaces. We also strengthened our ties to the local labor movement, especially progressive unions that share our values. The past year has been difficult as our meetings were pushed out of union halls and onto zoom. However, we’ve stayed at the virtual table with UTLA, Unite Here Local 11, UFCW 770, and other partners in the struggle to get COVID relief for working families, keep schools closed, enforce health and safety protocols at work, and defend democracy from the threat of a Trump coup. Through that work we have proven ourselves to be valuable partners to our labor allies.

3. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
I am running with the Toward Worker Power in Los Angeles slate.
Our goals are to:
– Grow the Labor Circles and reach full workplace survey participation.
– Develop skills-training and resources to help DSA-LA members organize their workplace and form and run a strong union.
– Strengthen the working relationship between Labor Committee and Electoral Politics Committee.

To see our platform and goals, visit: http://bit.ly/WorkerPower-LosAngeles

4. How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?
I helped develop the workplace survey and labor circles program — even leading our first surveying effort at the 2019 DSA-LA convention — and am well equipped to continue that work. Alongside delegates from each of our labor circles (Hollywood Labor, Education Workers, Non-profit Workers, Restaurant Organizing Project, Social Workers) I am in the process of developing the first in a series of trainings to give DSA-LA members the skills to organize their workplace, bargain for a strong contract, and run for leadership in their union. (It’s on January 30th, come by!) As a communications professional, I have worked in the labor movement as well as for electoral campaigns, and as such I am uniquely qualified to help develop and lead messaging trainings for potential electoral candidates.

5. What do you see as DSA’s role in relation to the labor movement, locally and nationally?
I see the DSA as a valuable partner to the left flank of the labor movement. DSA can work in tandem with progressive union allies while also acknowledging the need to push other organizations leftward. DSA-LA has proven ourselves to be a body that can throw down with the labor movement on strike support, mass actions, and social media campaigns. Meanwhile, the labor circles project seeks to encourage the labor movement to invest in new organizing by doing the groundwork of developing worker committees. Our work to train labor leaders will prepare socialists to take on leadership roles to push their unions leftward, especially in Hollywood unions where DSA-LA has a lot of density.

Stephen Benavides
Candidate for Labor Committee Coordinator
1. What has been your experience with the labor movement?
My experience in the labor movement spans ten years and includes both rank and file membership and paid staff positions. I’ve worked as a wind turbine/general construction Laborer (LIUNA) and Filed Rep. in Texas. In NYC I was the Organizing Director for LIUNA Local 78, working on behalf of environmental remediation and asbestos abatement workers. After moving to LA, I was hired by the Writers Guild of America-West as a Policy and Research Analyst. After being there for a year, I left to seek an opportunity focused on organizing. I recently accepted and started a new position as Senior Organizer with the Warehouse Workers Resource Center. Each position offered experience in campaign organizing, increasing unions membership, contract negotiation and contract enforcement.

2. What is your assessment of the Labor Committee’s work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?
Due to my recently having moved to LA and the pandemic, I have not been involved in DSA’s Labor Comm. efforts and so my assessment if their work would be ill-informed. Due to my work with WGA, I tracked and supported the Hollywood Labor and the push for higher wages for assistants. As for DSA’s position in the labor movement, it acts as a more militant and left perspective put forth by some more traditional labor unions. It seems that there is room for growth and development of the relationship between labor and DSA.

3. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
Organize and push for passage of the PRO Act. Continue fighting for COVID-19 relief and health protections in the workplace. Expand the number of labor circles in the area. Identify possibilities for pushing back against #Prop22. Continue to develop DSA labor leaders.

4. How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?
The prior ten years of organizing within the racial justice and labor movements has instilled in me the importance of patience, communication and empathy. If elected, I would bring those elements our work generally. Additionally, working with different unions and workers centers across the nation has educated me on internal labor politics and how decisions are made in regards to political endorsements, campaign coordination and coalition building. That experience will benefit the DSA-LA Labor Committee.

5. What do you see as DSA’s role in relation to the labor movement, locally and nationally?
Continue to support a rank and file labor movement through the expansion of worker networks and education.

Michael Lumpkin
Candidate for Labor Committee Coordinator
1. What has been your experience with the labor movement?
I have organized with coworkers across union and non-union workplaces, as well as advocated for trade unionism in officer positions with socialist organizations and pro-labor NGOs. As a union organizer with Tech Workers’ Coalition in my most recent job with a well known rideshare company, I worked to support Rideshare Drivers United and organize for worker power in a non-union workplace.

This year I worked as a coordinator on DSA-LA’s labor committee, in this role I worked with DSA union members to support the successful election of a rank-and-file, reform slate within CIR-SEIU, planned and implemented DSA’s Yes on 15 labor work – strengthening the organization’s ties with the progressive edge of LA’s labor movement and organizing DSA-LA’s labor day demonstration at Walt Disney’s Burbank headquarters – and organized with LA Labor for Bernie – canvassing union facilities and working with fellow union members to secure support for Bernie’s primary nomination.

This year I also organized with officers in the Librarian’s Guild to support the campaign to defund the LAPL police. In addition to this I have joined and organized actions in solidarity with workers across Southern California from our own May Day digital rally to UTLA’s demonstrations for racial and economic justice across LA County. 

2. What is your assessment of the Labor Committee’s work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?
DSA-LA’s labor committee has developed in significant ways this year that bear out an increasingly prevalent understanding across the chapter of the centrality of labor to the socialist project. It is a significant step that this year our committee undertook work both to intentionally build-up the strength of our rank-and-file formations within strategic unions and elsewhere, as well as undertake campaign work that forged and strengthened alliances with labor around our shared goals. However, much more needs to be done to organize effectively for a labor movement capable of fighting in the interests of working people.

This year labor committee members have organized with their union siblings to successfully strengthen left tendencies in their locals. These successes show the maturity of our work and the committee should focus on replicating these successes in other strategic areas of the labor movement. Our Education Workers Circle, through our Prop 15 campaign, was able to bolster the militancy of our teachers’ union by recruiting members into the campaigning, rank-and-file tendency. Members collaborated to help deliver a huge victory for socialists in the CIR-SEIU elections, achieving a huge victory for the progressive slate. Members organized through their unions to pass defund the police resolutions, with our members securing a huge victory for the labor movement in the form of revoking the LA Fed’s Jackie Lacey endorsement.

All these successes show what can be achieved when Labor Committee members organize strategically to win winnable victories and build power with class forces already in motion. I wish to see us learn from these DSA successes and others across the country (e.g. AHS strike in Oakland, etc) to develop programs that put our talented organizers to work building the labor movement.

3. What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?
In order to foster a labor movement, in Los Angeles and beyond, capable of winning popular demands and becoming a leading force in the fight to win economic, racial and social justice, DSA-LA must continue to engage with the labor movement in a meaningful way. As a relatively small organization, DSA-LA must continue to strengthen forces for change within the labor movement by prioritizing certain tasks, bringing to bear our chapter’s growing membership, and recruiting labor leaders and organizers to our organization.

Our labor circles program has proven that among our membership there are talented labor organizers willing to organize on the job and in their unions for worker power. And the partial results of our socialist workplace survey show that there are many more keen to build a fighting labor movement by taking union jobs, or by organizing in their union and non-union workplaces. Our Prop 15 campaign showed that our chapter can build coalitions that not only give voice to our class politics, but which also put our members into common struggle with wider, strategically significant sections of the multiracial working class. In the coming year the committee must build on this work by developing programs that continue our inside/outside strategy, but with renewed focus on the specific political and economic context that the Los Angeles labor movement now finds itself in, and on what must be done to mobilize socialists in a way that tips the balance of class forces decisively in favor of working people.

Amid the ongoing crisis, and the relative disorganization of our class enemies, the task of socialists in the labor movement is now more urgent than ever and it is my hope that DSA-LA can rise to this moment. This means building on this year’s work and uniting around several tasks, including: working with steering to achieve full participation in the labor survey, ensuring that organizers participating in labor circles are involved in meaningful labor work, and that organizers that expressed interest in ‘changing jobs to build worker power’ in the labor survey are able to do this. Part of this task should also involve organizing members into the EWOC project that will give our members the organizing skills to support workers already struggling with their boss and build power in their own workplace. I also want to see the labor committee become a more accessible space for union members wishing to organize in their Locals. To do so, the committee should continue to build local and statewide coalitions around campaigns (electoral, and otherwise) that draw union members into DSA.

4. How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?
As a working class trade unionist with organizing experience in union and non-union workplaces, and as a member of the UK Labour Party, a DSA-LA officer (labor committee coordinator 2020-1), and a member of the Bread and Roses caucus, I believe I am equipped to carry out the duties of this role and effectively support the work of the committee. I believe I have demonstrated this as coordinator in 2020, and am confident I can continue to serve the committee effectively in 2021.

From my work organizing canvasses and events to help secure union endorsements from LA Locals with Labor for Bernie in the early part of this year, to my roles as labor coordinator for the Yes on 15 campaign and with the Labor Committee, I have demonstrated my commitment to strengthening left currents in the labor movement, and my ability to work with DSA members and trade unionists on meaningful political projects.

As a member of committee leadership, I have also demonstrated my ability to advocate for the committee within the chapter, working with members across our committee structure to develop projects, and successfully organizing to amend the ‘In response to crisis…’ resolution at convention.

5. What do you see as DSA’s role in relation to the labor movement, locally and nationally?
California workers and our labor movement have suffered enormous set-backs in the last year. Not only have the health and economic crises hit our working class communities hardest, exacerbating the underlying inequalities that capitalism creates, many of our unions – including Locals close to DSA-LA – have been hit hard as bosses pass on the costs of the pandemic to workers in the form of layoffs. Although there have been some victories for the LA labor movement in the midst of the pandemic, the political blows dealt by the passage of Prop 22 and defeat of Prop 15, and the governor’s kowtowing to elites during this crisis make the task of socialists in the labor movement even more urgent.

As socialists we know strong, democratic unions – that organize the unorganized and wield the power of majority strikes that create crises for capitalists and win material gains for the working class – are essential to a mass, socialist movement. But history shows us that it takes committed socialists, organizing within the labor movement, to build organizations that really fight for our class. Today we see socialists building power across our movement, organizing around the demands widely and deeply felt by workers beleaguered by years of neoliberal advance. However, DSA is still grappling with the question of how best to raise the expectations of workers and leverage our membership to strengthen the labor movement.

I’d like to see DSA-LA address these pressing questions by acknowledging our members’ important role in organizing for change in and through the labor movement, and joining-up our labor work campaigns across the chapter. Not only should our members be supported in work that bolsters the militancy and confidence of workers already waging class struggle, we should build coalitions with unions and campaign on shared goals to build towards independent political power. Many workers in LA County and across the country are already engaged in intense struggle with the capitalist class, it is up to socialists to intervene decisively in these struggles if we are to create the conditions necessary for the emergence of a mass, socialist movement.

MUTUAL AID COMMITTEE


Craig Ostrin

Candidate for Mutual Aid Chair

1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
Mutual aid is our natural mode as humans. It’s basically just people helping each other to collectively meet our needs. We have to contrast it with charity due to the extant liberal order, where charity is a structure of patronizing “generosity” whereby the oppressor keeps the oppressed dependent. In this context, mutual aid seeks to free us of our dependence on the oppressor while reinforcing healthy interdependence in our communities. It is quite literally the process of undoing our alienation and rebuilding our communities, our ties to each other, which is a necessary foundation for any post-capitalist society we hope to create.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
It’s been a vital community for me during the pandemic. Most of my MA work has been via ComDef, but I also occasionally participate in the prisoner letter-writing group and the book club.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
Ricky asked me to! Also, like I said, MA has been a wonderful community for me, and I want to give back.

4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
Building solidarity and relationships with the poor and vulnerable in our city, and promoting a liberatory vision of political struggle.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
Not sure! I like that we act as a sort-of clearinghouse for mutual aid activity in the city, and I wouldn’t change that. Any grander ideas I might have are severely limited by covid and, to an extent, by the macro structure and power dynamics of DSA LA.

For instance, I would love to see us expanding on that clearinghouse role by hosting a regular social event where the broader LA Left could come together, partner orgs could table, and we could all get to know each other. But that’s a project for a post-pandemic world.

Something we could do within our current parameters, though, is hold a strategy forum where our members could brainstorm and power-map for the future of the socialist project in LA. Right now, our committee’s projects are created at the whims of our members. I have no problem with that, but it might be helpful for us all to put our heads together and think critically and intentionally about where our efforts might be most strategically useful. What are Angelenos’ most crucial needs? What are the approaching crises and how can we prepare? When is the right moment to begin building popular power in our neighborhoods (e.g., with popular assemblies)? As far as I know, we don’t really have a long-term plan. We probably should.


Ariadne L.
Candidate for Mutual Aid Chair

1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
To me mutual aid requires two things: that it it effects an immediate kind of benefit/help to or between people, and that the actions are taken in an explicit political context in order to build power among the working class. This can take a very wide variety of forms, such as food & medical care distribution that builds community connection/trust and alleviates the harms of capitalist society while highlighting their causes. It can also take the form, as it already does in this committee, of providing logistical and in-person support to actions and demonstrations, while also maintaining an ongoing program of training comrades to participate and take leadership.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
I have been a member of MA essentially the whole four years I’ve been in DSA-LA. I regularly attend committee meetings, book club meetings, social gatherings. I have participated in our breaklight clinics, organized and supported street protests, and have helped lead the committee’s engagement with internal chapter democracy like conventions and officer elections.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
I believe in the mission, generally, of this committee; I am excited and impressed by the work we are all doing and wish to help facilitate our collective success as much as I am able. The work of administering the committee is important, and sharing the load between as many of us as possible is one good way to do that.


4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
The Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA should be to continue building skills among fellow members and the wider community, create mutual aid projects all members are welcome to engage in, and build/maintain the coalition relationships with other organizations most aligned with our goals & values.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
The Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA should be to continue building skills among fellow members and the wider community, create mutual aid projects all members are welcome to engage in, and build/maintain the coalition relationships with other organizations most aligned with our goals & values.

What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?

I don’t believe there is an Ideal version of the committee, or of DSA-LA–we shouldn’t fully-prefigure the forms & functions of the worker’s movement. That said, I think we as a local subgroup can do more to bring in new members/keep people around, as well as being more openly oriented towards other DSA-LA members who don’t participate in MA activities (yet).


Andrew Perrine.
Candidate for Mutual Aid Chair

1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
Mutual Aid is in a simple sense, an act done freely to meet someone’s needs, with a sense that doing this act should be reciprocated if anyone finds themselves in that situation. In a more complex sense, it is a manner of behavior where we center each other’s needs as a social good, and seek to fill them, rather than waiting for compensatory motive. In the complex sense it reifies communism by providing the needed social relations between others.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
I have been a cochair this past year, helping with our bylaws and other committee coordination work, and bottom lined our community defense subcommittee, prioritizing training to get us to the point where we can aid actions fully, and begin to structure ourselves on the local level.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
I wish to continue my work in com def. As well as help with the continued coordination and administration of the committee.

4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
We exist to help other committees realize their goals and projects, whether through direct support or sharing skills, as well as embarking upon other base-building efforts of our own, and being the locus for organizing chapter support programs such as Childwatch and marshalling, and incubating new projects.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
We would be a committee that collaborates widely and also rigorously builds power through targeted organizing efforts. Our biggest bottlenecks are training and capacity (which have simpleish straightforwards solutions), and also our connections within the organization, which must be active and managed through shared projects and work.

Aaron Warner
Candidate for Mutual Aid Coordinator
1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
Mutual Aid is the reciprocal exchange of resources and support between parties, without the aim of gaining any kind of competitive or comparative advantage. It is distinct from the condescending pose of bourgeois models of charity. Mutual Aid must both be the fundamental animating principle of any future socialist economy, and a foundational means for any successful socialist movement to reach and organize the broad masses of workers and oppressed people. Mutual Aid is both necessary for effective base-building, and for building the logistical networks and supply structures that make any kind of militant worker activity possible.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
I have been involved in the Mutual Aid Committee for three years, operating and aiding in various ongoing projects from Brake Light/Community Building Clinics, organizing Child Watch at Valley Branch meetings, developing trainings and serving as marshal for the Community Defense Subcommittee, facilitating in DRAMA reading discussions, and bottom-lining our first round of Skill Share.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
After three years of participation in the committee, I see it as high time for me to step up and offer my service to the committee’s work in a formal capacity, and give a chance for our long-serving previous officers to take a much deserved break from the increased workload.

4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
Ideally, I see the role of this committee to be one that offers a vibrant, active, transformational space for outward-facing work beyond purely electoral or labor-focused efforts. I see it as a space where the vital but broadly underappreciated work necessary for building an effective, mass socialist organization can be fostered. I furthermore believe it to be a place wherein inward-focused member support and development work can take place; finding and fostering new means by which the functioning and efforts of this chapter can be more accessible, inclusive, and successful. As the saying goes, “An army marches on its stomach”, thereby I see the role of our committee to be the ones considering how the “army” of radicalized and mobilized members of the burgeoning socialist movement stay provisioned, supplied, and supportive for the many struggles to come. That doesn’t mean that our committee is purely a labor force for making lunch at meetings; it means that we offer our analysis, agitation, and organization to make sure that the task of feeding each other doesn’t go neglected.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
My ideal version of the Committee is one that develops leadership capability and organizational capacity among its members, to expand the base of capable members to continue and democratically direct committee work; to decrease our “bus factor” so to speak. Great strides have been made already in this vein over the past year, and I want to see those strides continued and expanded. Much has been made of the “siloing” of Mutual Aid from the rest of the chapter, and while I don’t believe it is the result of intentional action by the committee or its members, I believe that it will require intentional action to correct this tendency. While this may bring us closer into contact with members of the chapter with whom our committee regulars differ politically or in organizational methodology, it affords us the chance to expand our work and to bring in new blood by reaching more members of the chapter. This is an opportunity to allow us to form stronger inroads across the broader membership, bringing interest in mutual aid work to more members, and allowing the particular political analyses that develop from engagement in mutual aid work to spread. Since the adoption of “Reso 3”, the chapter is making broader, informal shifts of organizational weight into the chapter formations. While this may overburden the organizational infrastructure of the chapter’s branches, it affords us the chance to localize and expand our work. Proposed ideas such as Miguel S’ Canoga Park-based food distribution is an example of a project that received interest from both the Committee, and the corresponding geographic branch. While the committee is currently tapped for member capacity to undertake such a project, I believe that the organization of newer Valley-based members into one could expand mutual aid work into a branch formation, and create a structure by which the chapter’s geographical formations all include collectives undertaking work relevant to the committee. The expansion and development of branch-based marshaling teams is also a strong opportunity to localize our work and form bases of support and member involvement across the chapter. The coming year offers us opportunities to expand member participation, federate the committee, and allow the committee itself to operate as a chapter-wide “nerve center”, coordinating and interfacing with well-peopled ongoing mutual aid projects across the chapter. The only thing holding us back currently are the time and organizational work required to make it happen.


Peter Phillips
Candidate for Mutual Aid Coordinator 
1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
Mutual Aid quite simply is “to each according to their needs, from each according to their ability” which I think is the Kropotkin turn of phrase compared to Marx; as I understand it in this orientation is that ‘needs’ have to be addressed first for ‘ability’ to exist. An example of this is the “teach a man to fish” proverb, and in a practical Mutual Aid retelling the man who knows how to fish should first feed the man who does not know how to fish, because as we all know hunger badly affects our cognition and ability to learn, after the second man has eaten, the first man should teach him how to fish, and once he’s learned, there now exist two men who know how to fish and can teach others at twice the rate one man alone could, and they should because it’s the right thing to do.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
After convention, where the resolution I co-authored ‘In Response to Crisis’ passed, I made Mutual Aid my new organizing home because I wanted to breathe life into the Skill Share project started by Ricky, Aaron, and Rich; I am also motivated by my experience living near the federal poverty line, and want to pass on my knowledge of how to navigate means tested programs, how to budget, etc. Because of the pandemic and the urgent timeframe of Open Enrollment, I helped organize a Skill Share on how to get health insurance from Covered California. To get more people working on it I attended Healthcare Justice and Social Workers Labor Circle meetings, posted on Slack asking for volunteers, and motioned to formalize Skill Share as a Subcommittee of Mutual Aid, so we could publicly post our events on the calendar and have access to chapter resources like zoom accounts and social media presence. I facilitated most Skill Share meetings and contributed to research and proofreading. At the time of writing this, the Covered California Skill Share has had its soft launch in time for Open Enrollment, just as well a second presentation and website launch are on the way.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
I am running for a Coordinator position because I want to be at ISOF, and potentially be one of Leslie Chang’s points of contact for MA in her role as Campaign Coordinator. My major intention in co-authoring In Response To Crisis was to promote inter-committee communication and collaboration towards the common goal of recovering from the pandemic, from the unemployment crisis, from the looming eviction crisis, and any crises yet to come in 2021. As a co-author I had the privilege to sit in on an ISOF about the implementation of In Response to Crisis and the other two resolutions. I enjoyed the experience and I see potential in ISOF as one of the major mechanisms for fostering inter-committee collaboration in DSA-LA. It is a flawed mechanism, and it needs reforms, but nevertheless I want to be Mutual Aid’s Coordinator present at ISOF and all efforts for fostering inter-committee collaboration.


4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
Prefiguration. A lot of what’s been built up in the chapter has come out of the Mutual Aid Committee; bylaws and procedures used by other committees, opsec practices, the Community Agreements if I’m not mistaken, etc. Mutual Aid is the most democratically run committee in the chapter and most reflective of the society we’d all like to live in where “to each according to their needs, from each according to their ability” is present in everyday life. As the Mutual Aid Committee goes, the chapter very well may follow, consciously or unconsciously. We’ve got to be today, what they want to be tomorrow.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
Firstly I disclose that I am a member of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, and what I DO NOT want is for the Mutual Aid Committee to just be the ‘Anarchist Committee’. I value DSA’s multi-tendency character and am a big proponent of left unity. That being said, secondly, I wish more of the Mutual Aid work being done in Los Angeles were done by DSA-LA rather than other orgs; I understand the sentiment that we shouldn’t replicate good work that’s already being done elsewhere, but it makes me sad when I consider the fact that DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States since 1942; most of the great Mutual Aid Organizers in the city want nothing to do with DSA, and of those who do I’ve heard repeated statements of “The Mutual Aid Committee is the only reason I’m still in DSA.” Ignorance and hostility in the culture of DSA are what’s preventing this committee from being what I want to see. These are the consequences of post Bernie Sanders membership influxes, which front-loaded DSA with a majority membership of formerly middle class, downwardly mobile, white millennials brand new to leftism (which aptly describes myself). So of course we’re going to see impressionable people flocking behind strong personalities, we’re going to see articles like “Mutual Aid: A Factor Of Liberalism”, we’re going to see micro-agressions against BIPOC members, and we’re going to see good organizers leave DSA to do their work elsewhere; the status quo sucks, but the blessing in disguise is that if the Mutual Aid Committee faces any hostility in the future, the great Mutual Aid Work being done in Los Angeles largely won’t be affected. I believe the Mutual Aid Committee can become the ideal version I described, and that will require a lot of time and collective effort towards fixing the internal culture of DSA through introspection, education, democratization, and following through on commitments to righting past wrongs in a way which makes Mutual Aid Organizers feel invited into the org.


Lex F
Candidate for Mutual Aid Coordinator 
1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
Mutual aid is a way to materially help the community while fostering and deepening the relationships between that community and one another, this org, and the project of socialism – relationships intrinsic to solidarity in the face of oppression.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
bottomliner of POST, new MA member outreach, comdef/marshaling, general hanging around, keeping an eye on slack (sometimes,) setting up zooms, have hosted party stream, took aa crack at those bylaws, lots of convention prep/amendment input. I’ve been around.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
I’m so encouraged by the progress and projects this committee has motivated since the first MA event I attended (a Marshaling 101 on June 1st) and I want to keep that momentum going. I have a vested interest in the success of the projects of all my MA comrades, and in continuing the culture of welcoming, embracing, challenging, encouragement, and collaboration that is the hallmark of the committee. This could be a celebrated an asset to DSA in terms of retention and engagement and actual helping – I believe it has been for MA already, and I would love the opportunity to interact with other leadership in the organization to encourage coalitions and joint projects in an atmosphere of both camaraderie and buckling down. (not to mention maintaining an organized and friendly space for new or lapsed members who’ve come to DSA for something tangible to do). I want to help facilitate any Mutual Aid experience that best serves to empower the people in this and all of our communities to struggle for their own liberty in the way they best see fit

4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
You may see above, and also: I think that we are a powerful committee because we like to help get good work going. It can come from anywhere. Based on what I learned (from everyone reading this,) the whole *thing* about mutual aid is that Doing the Work of helping people – where they are and in the way they wish to fight their own oppression – is how to grow a movement/party/organization/project/consciousness. If folks all around the chapter have ideas that they’d like to work on, and if MA members want to help in that work, that’s a coalition and that’s fucking beautiful. Everyone in DSA has their own experience and circumstances. They live/work/play/ in their own (multiple) neighborhoods. Each of us knows our own people on the ground. If DSA can help one person realize their vision for aiding their community, then DSA will have begun a relationship with that community. Members of that community might become invested in DSA’s wellbeing. They might come up with their own ideas to help their People On the Ground. DSA helps. More people join because their good ideas are encouraged and supported. The people doing that work, even if they’re not in the Mutual Aid Committee, are doing Mutual Aid. I’d like for the committee to feel like a home for anyone working on mutual aid projects. I’d love for anyone who wants to do this kind of work to know that they can come hang out at MA events and meetings at any time and hop into the work someone else is doing.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
Whoops. See above. And above that. And also: I’d love to have a whole bunch of coordinators/chairs in MA so that we can fan out and check out the work of the other committees and caucuses in the chapter. I’d love for us to have positive working relationships with everyone who wants one. I’d be thrilled if there was a 1x month meeting with all committee and caucus leadership, branch coordinators, neighborhood chairs, and project heads – open to the entire chapter – where we brief each other on what we’re all doing, se if there’s overlap, and cooperate anywhere cooperation would help something flourish. I also have seen/heard lots of new people joining DSA to do mutual aid work but not being directed to MA. In my ideal world, we would be a conduit for helping those people figure out where they’d most like to go (within any committee/caucus/project, not just MA, though in my ideal it would all sort of be One because, after all, the Mutual Aid Committee isn’t outside of or separate from DSA-LA. This is our community, we are all comrades.) I’d love if our projects that are entry-level, low-ask, high-engagement (DRAMA, POST, Protesting 101) got advertised on emails and social media, because often I see people in those for whom it is their first DSA event. The seeds of solidarity get planted, and most often they come back. They hear what else we’re doing and join in. Some get interested in other projects around the org and put roots down there. What a simple, effective, and lovely way to recruit new members. And once the Branch situation is set up, people will also be able to find out what’s going on where they live will already have some investment in DSA-LA as a home for them. I think there are a few things preventing that. One, comms (or whoever posts on instagram, twitter, etc where DSA-LA has thousands of eyes on it) very rarely blasts our events, trainings, or meetings on social media. Consistency is key. I believe regularly reminding people of recurring events would benefit every committee and caucus in this org, including MA. When a special event comes up, make a special post. I also notice that the Email doesn’t always point out MA’s upcoming events. I’ve looked at the calendar. MA has more events every week than the rest of the chapter committees/caucuses, and they are for EVERYONE! It would be helpful if everyone knew about them. We don’t have access to the social media mechanisms, so it’s up to Comms to do it for us. Another problem we have as a committee is that none of us are good at Slack and no one wants to learn. If we posted in General and the Branch channels, we might get more folks. This one we can do ourselves, but I guess we just have to keep being friendly and doing good work and hopefully someone Good At Slack will want to help us with that. We need more folks – If we had enough marshals, we could be a presence at every union strike, BLM action, eviction defense event – but capacity comes down to outreach. We don’t have access to member data or the social media or the chapter-wide email. We could use help in those areas. (I don’t know that we’ve ever asked for Member Data, because we’re big on security in this committee, but it’s come to my attention that SO MANY other committees/brach coordinators/individuals do have access. We were recently met with suspicion when we asked for an email to be sent to new members – as though we had asked for the list. We didn’t, so that part’s moot, but based on the fact that it seems other projects got it easily with no pushback, I am lead to: There seems to be some animosity from corners of the chapter towards the Mutual Aid Committee. In the ~7 months I’ve been here, I can’t figure out why. There seems to be an assumption that MA is closed off, exclusive, private. I don’t know where this rumor started or why it continues to be perpetuated, but I never for a second felt unwelcome and as a bottomliner for POST, I have asked and no one seems to have gotten that impression either. The feeling I get is that MA is after some sort of… power? … in the org. I suspect this comes from some folks who do want/enjoy power of some sort, and therefore concepts like ‘power struggle’ and ‘power grab’ color many interactions that may have. (I don’t know if it’s because this committee, though Very Multitendency, is a little heavy in the anarchy/libertarian socialist area. Since I am not anything and have worked with nearly everyone in the committee in some capacity, I have noticed that the only thing that’s ever come up from people of various backgrounds working together is a lot of Theory Discussion, often very fruitful.) Regardless, until we get to the bottom of why there is ill will (and especially if anyone who harbors that point of view is responsible for communications in every sense of the word) I’m afraid we’re on our own. Which is curious, since this committee is all about teamwork and outreach and building connections. Mutual Aid wishes to empower DSA-LA membership – the first Skill Share teaches ANYONE who wants to watch it how to understand Covered California. (btw, there were two live zooms of the presentation. Why wasn’t that advertised?) Marshal/Medic/and Protest Trainings are resources for ANYONE who wants to learn how to keep the community safe. The Marshal Team and ComDef (who could use many more people!) is here to help minimize risk. Com Def stands for Community Defense. For this subcommittee, the Community here is DSA. Is all of us. I want to help make sure we keep doing this, and keep doing it better, for as long as we’re around.


Noah Suarez Sikes
Candidate for Mutual Aid Coordinator 
1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
In a general sense, mutual aid to me is about workers building dual power against capitalism–workers helping workers out against a state that at best ignores them, and at worst actively punishes them for being alive. Capitalist charity is mainly an exercise to assuage the guilt of the well-off, while real mutual aid helps build solidarity between workers in a way that empowers them to work together as a class. Part of this is that mutual aid, at least to me, has to include a side of political education, so as to involve workers in their own liberation–and this is something that I think the Mutual Aid Committee does really well at the moment, by-the-by.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
I’ve worked to organize and overhaul the structure of the Community Self-Defense Subcommittee, and coordinate this subcommittee’s operations with the various branch coordinators and steering members. I also host the Mutual Aid Party Stream often!

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
I’m interested in helping the committee work with the new steering we’ve elected–I think the work that MA is doing is extremely valuable, and a large part of why DSA is different from, say, an organization like Our Revolution. The large presence of an electoralism-focused caucus on steering is, therefore, a concern to me, and I’d like to help the committee navigate this, especially in light of all the recent work we’ve done to organize and structure COMDEF so that we’re capable of expanding to meet the demand for marshals at future actions. While I’m not necessarily of the opinion that Steering is going to completely gut the committee, I do think it’ll be necessary to bring them to the table to advocate for ourselves. We’ll also need to reach out to other committees to work with them directly on issues such as eviction defense, transit equity, etc. and I’d like to help coordinate that as I’m already working on doing so for COMDEF.


4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
I’m broadly pessimistic about the ability of electoral politics to bring about the socialist revolution by the ballot box–though I think Marx was right in establishing that in the United States this is theoretically possible, the calcified security state and the sheer inertia of our political apparatus prevents us from making the meaningful change we’d need quickly enough. However, if we look at historical precedent, one of the most meaningful things that we can do as a socialist org is to start directly aiding people in times of crisis–this is how socialist political power was built during the Great Depression, the Gilded Age, etc. Direct action is a powerful way to change the way that people view socialism–not as an abstract theory but as something that helps them, and that they can be a part of. Mutual Aid’s role within DSA-LA, at least as I see it, has been–through various programs and initiatives–to carry out much of that base-building direct action.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
My ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee is larger and more widespread, capable of carrying out more expansive initiatives, like the various socialist orgs of the early 20th century. One of the big obstacles to this, to me, is that there has historically been a reluctance by Steering to properly promote MA, which caused Mutual Aid’s work to be underpromoted and less accessible to newer members–which is something that has happened to COMDEF. I think that there’s a way to take advantage of the new branch structure, as well as the factional split within Steering, in order to expand Mutual Aid–as well as building the structure internally to onboard and direct new members into projects. I also am sympathetic to and agree with the idea that we can’t simply be the workforce for other committees to execute their projects. I’d want to try to move towards more of a partnership relationship with the other committees, as opposed to being foot-soldiers.


Violet Carne

Candidate for Mutual Aid Administrator
1. What does “mutual aid” mean to you?
Mutual aid is a basic human behavior, the urge to care for one another in community, and a crucial survival strategy for marginalized communities, especially indigenous and Black communities, who have practiced mutual aid for centuries. We live under so many interlocking systems of oppression and alienation from ourselves and each other, but mutual aid, done well, can cut through to something core to each of us, and I believe it’s one of the foundations we can use to build a world where everyone is cared for and supported, without systems of domination and hoarding. Mutual aid shows us the strengths of our communities and what we can build together. It might not be the revolution, but it can give us critical revelations.

2. What has your prior participation in the Mutual Aid Committee been?
I have been working in the Mutual Aid committee in an administrative capacity, setting up events and Zoom meetings and keeping the membership list in particular. I’ve also done a small portion of the research for the CoveredCA skill share, wrote a few letters with POST, taken many of our awesome trainings in medic and marshaling skills, and done a little bit of off-site work with ComDef. However, as I’ve done more administrative work, this work has left less time for participation in other subcommittees and projects.

3. Why are you running for an Officer position in this Committee?
I’m running for the Administrator position because I’m inspired and excited by the work the committee does. I feel my skills are most suited to administration, so it seems like the best way I can support that work and make it less difficult to expand our work. Whether or not I am elected, I will work to ensure that incoming leadership has full knowledge and ability to take over my duties, and that anyone can perform them in a pinch. Due to my personal health, I haven’t been available as consistently as I’d like to be, and since my conditions are chronic and I have a minor surgery coming up, it’s likely that at some times, I will not be available for my committee duties, although I’ll do my best to give advance notice, and hopefully wider capacity for administrative work among our incoming leadership will help fill in any gaps. However, I understand if the committee needs someone who is more reliable, and would ask that another of my comrades be elected in that case.


4. What do you see as the Mutual Aid Committee’s role in DSA-LA?
I believe the mutual aid committee can be a model of internal leadership and generative work for the organization as a whole, and a way for new or newly engaged members to gain skills to do mutual aid work in their own communities, since there’s work to be done pretty much everywhere.

5. What does your ideal version of the Mutual Aid Committee look like? What is preventing the Committee from being that today?
This is a difficult question for me, because I see my role primarily as a support for the leadership of the committee, and my thoughts about it tend to be inward-facing. For me, the committee would be a model of how to build organizational capacity by building and sharing each other’s skills widely and deeply, and true solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our communities. In some ways, I’ve been part of the obstacles preventing this, since I haven’t been proactive about sharing the skills I’ve used in my administrative work, and I pledge to change that going forward, whether I am elected or not. In a wider view, I think that the committee will need more resources, and to do more outreach and coalition-building in many directions to become what I would like to see, although we have been steadily growing over the course of 2020 already.

NOLYMPICS


Anne
Candidate for NOlympics Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
I want to continue to support member and leadership development, continue to build out dedicated campaigns and projects in line with the coalition’s priorities, and build relationships and power with our transnational partners.

2. What is your experience with NOlympics and/or organizing?
I’ve been a member since the campaign and coalition formed in 2017.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I have been organizing with NOlympics LA since we formed, and been acting as co-chair since these positions have been required by DSA-LA. In that time, we’ve grown significantly, both in terms of membership and the size of the coalition, and launched a number of active campaigns including Homes Not Hotels (focusing on tenant organizing in LA) and NOlympics Anywhere (which houses our transnational organizing efforts).

Jonny C.
Candidate for NOlympics Chair
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
Agitation, Education & Organization. Success is when we’ve arrived at a place where LA is openly hostile to projects like the Olympics.

2. What is your experience with NOlympics and/or organizing?
I’m one of the members who helped start this campaign and get the coalition going. DSA-LA member since 2017.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I know this work intimately and look forward to continuing to help to grow our base and connect people, projects, orgs and issues across the region and transnationally.

Steven Louis
Candidate for NOlympics Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
1) Action and messaging behind the 2020 “”rescheduled”” Olympics, in conjunction w our allies in Tokyo
2) Tenant organizing in crucial areas of sports development, like South LA
3) Media circulation and continued narrative pushing against the LA bid

2. What is your experience with NOlympics and/or organizing?
I’ve been helping the coalition achieve some pretty incredible things when it comes to tenant organizing (Homes Not Hotels, Locks on My Block, Sofi Stadium actions) and in my three years with the organization, I’ve been endlessly impressed by its media savvy and press reach.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I’ve been in this role since 2019, and I’ve been actively organizing with NOLY since 2018! I am a DSA member in good standing as well.

Hugo Soto
Candidate for NOlympics Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
1. Making DSA a stronger more coordinated organization.
2. Working with other committee to synthesize the work.
3. Build stronger relationships across different committees.

2. What is your experience with NOlympics and/or organizing?
Currently co-coordinator and have been part of the committee for a few years.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I have been organizing with DSA and UNITE HERE Local 11 for some years and have a lot of experience organizing, building power and working with coalitions.

POLITICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE


Max B
Candidate for Political Education Committee Chair
1. What has been your experience with the Pol-Ed Committee and/or organizing in general?
I have served a facilitator for the Political Education committee since 2019. In 2020 I drafted two proposals that were passed, one being a Night School Series around the history of Los Angeles and the other being a structure for trainings the committee was directed to develop as part of the Organizing for All Resolution passed at the 2019 local convention. I helped design “”Lost Angles”” as well as helped in training the facilitators for the course. I also was involved in the development of the new DSA 101 series and developed the one-on-one organizing training.

In addition this I have served on the Steering Committee of DSA-LA for two terms, one in 2017 (as part of the original Executive Committee) and in 2018. I also served as a co-chair of the Labor Committee from 2016 until 2021. In that role I oversaw the development of our Hollywood Labor program, DSA-LA’s strike solidarity program, the chapter’s mobilization for the UTLA strike, and the statewide DSA labor network. I was also directly involved in the creation of the chapter’s Education Workers Circle and [the regional local of] the Restaurant Organizing Project.

Outside of DSA, I am a steward for my union.

(NOTE: Bracketed text above added for clarity, 1.18.21)

2. What is your vision for the Pol-Ed Committee in 2020 and/or what are your leadership goals?
The Political Education Committee has developed considerably over the past year, expanding its offerings to include new member orientations and trainings. We are also in the process of an ambitious education module rollout on a branch-by-branch basis. Our Class on Class series is a great space to discuss class analysis, and our Night School series has attracted thousands of members to chapter events.

This upcoming year, I would like to build on these offerings and see how they can work to reinforce each other as well as strategic chapter initiatives. I believe our training and classes could be synchronized to provide Neighborhood Captains and other members the right skills to organize members and neighborhoods. Collaboration with the Labor Committee’s Labor Circles program would also allow us to provide more workplace organizing and labor education programming that would build the worker consciousness of our chapter. Finally, I would like for us to develop externally facing materials — in various different languages — that help to explain our politics and vision for Los Angeles.

These priorities, I believe, will allow us to build a deeper bench of socialist organizers, and expand the reach of our politics to strata of the working class that we have not been able to engage. 

3. How are you personally equipped to support the Pol-Ed Committee in achieving these goals?
I feel my long track record with the chapter affords me an ability to better understand how the different parts of the organization function. My background in workplace organizing has given me a skill set that I believe is not just applicable to the workplace but also in community organizing. I have developed community organizing trainings in the past that I have given to feminist and LGBTQ+ organizations in rural and suburban California, and would lean on this experience when developing more training programs for our organization.

Courtney Q.
Candidate for Political Education Committee Chair
1. What has been your experience with the Pol-Ed Committee and/or organizing in general?
I have been a member of the PolEd committee for 2 years now, most of which I’ve spent as the committee chair. I’ve overseen the development and implementation of numerous Night Schools, the DSA 101, various trainings, and other special events hosted by the committee. Our events have been attended by thousands of socialists not just in Los Angeles, but across and even outside of the country.

2. What is your vision for the Pol-Ed Committee in 2020 and/or what are your leadership goals?
As PolEd chair, my goal is for the committee to continue our work of engaging the chapter, both new and veteran members, in rigorous socialist analysis. But more than that, I envision a Political Education Committee that helps DSA-LA make strategic decisions based on this analysis, with the support and engagement of Los Angeles’ multi-racial working class as members of the chapter.

3. How are you personally equipped to support the Pol-Ed Committee in achieving these goals?
In my tenure in PolEd, I’ve participated in a variety of projects in many different roles: proposal writer, class facilitator, zoom host, meeting chair. As such, I bring needed institutional knowledge to the next iteration of committee leadership, and look forward to working with newer members who bring fresh perspectives I can continue to learn from.

Josh G.
Candidate for Political Education Committee Coordinator
1. What has been your experience with the Pol-Ed Committee and/or organizing in general?
I’ve been an active member of PolEd since Spring 2020 and have been a facilitator for the past two Night School series as well as DSA 101, a presenter at the most recent Class on Class, and part of the Facilitator Pedagogy Study Group. 

2. What is your vision for the Pol-Ed Committee in 2020 and/or what are your leadership goals?
Political Education is at the basis of everything we do in DSA. A firm grasp on the “”why”” of our mission allows us to put forth and passionately advocate for positive agendas to effectuate change. Alongside the Neighborhood Solidarity Program and Labor Circles, PolEd has an opportunity to help our members both internally and with external communications. Internally, I hope to focus on educational programs in our local Neighborhood groups that further our understanding of our shared struggle in ways that help us articulate these ideas more clearly, and then use that shared knowledge to effectively organize externally in our workplaces and communities at large.

As coordinator, I hope to work with the committee to develop training programs for Neighborhood Organizers and labor education/organizing in the workplace as outlined in our “”Horizon”” platform. On top of that, I hope to prioritize outreach through the use of multilingual & accessible tools/multimedia resources. These types of readily available materials can help reinforce our more intentional organizing efforts.

Socialist ideals are broadly popular, and that’s why I feel it is imperative that we work together to more deeply understand why we fight for these things and how to talk about them in ways that invite others into our political project. 

3. How are you personally equipped to support the Pol-Ed Committee in achieving these goals?
I came to PolEd with a background in education. As an art/media lecturer at the community college and state university levels since 2016, I have learned to adapt to the needs of a diverse array of learners with differing goals, challenges, and backgrounds. My teaching practice and the purpose of my courses often centers around effective communication. That is what I hope PolEd can do internally and externally-facing for DSA-LA. My background in art/media will also allow me to guide a push for more multimedia resources and varied forms of educational materials that can be of use to those whose learning style may require other tools than we currently provide.

Though my experience within our org is limited to this past year, I feel as though I’ve gained an immense amount of knowledge and perspective from my comrades on the PolEd Committee. As a rank and file member, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, and will make a concerted effort to find ways to alleviate any roadblocks I ran into or issues I’ve heard from other Committee members in our internal processes as we look to further democratize and delegate some of our work to the Neighborhood Groups so that these facilitators can focus on the more important tasks at hand.

Dylan Levine
Candidate for Political Education Committee Coordinator
1. What has been your experience with the Pol-Ed Committee and/or organizing in general?
I have been a member of PolEd for almost a year, beginning when I first joined DSA. Since then, I have been an active participant at almost every committee meeting, a facilitator for many Night Schools and DSA101s, and a co-leader for a Class on Class module.

2. What is your vision for the Pol-Ed Committee in 2020 and/or what are your leadership goals?
For the upcoming term, I want to see the PolEd Committee continue planning events that contextualize DSA-LA’s chapter-wide organizing efforts in a materialist analysis. Additionally, my goal is to expand PolEd’s direct engagement with working-class Angelenos by rooting educational events more deeply in local campaigns.

3. How are you personally equipped to support the Pol-Ed Committee in achieving these goals?
While in PolEd, I’ve been a participant, facilitator, slides designer, and social media content creator for many events. My commitment to the committee and involvement in various projects gives me a base of experience to build off of as coordinator.

PRISON ABOLITION COMMITTEE


Leann Bowen
Candidate for Prison Abolition Committee Communications Coordinator
1. What would be your top 3 priorities in this role? How would you define success for each of those priorities?
My top three priorities as communications coordinator is to keep the committee updated on meeting dates, keeping the committee well informed on committee actions and projects as well as keep the slack and dsa-la blog up to date on committee happenings.

2. What is your experience with the prison abolition movement and/or organizing?
I’m an abolitionist with a brother currently serving a life sentence in CA state prison system due to the inhumane 3-strikes law. I’ve studied abolition under professor Angela Davis and started DSA-LA’s prison abolition committee. I was on DSA-LA’s interim steering committee in 2017 and launched the neighborhood organizing program, now known as chapter branches.

3. How are you personally equipped to help this committee meet its goals?
I’m personally equipped with years of organizing experience and a personal commitment to abolition. I’m very tech savvy and have the resources to carry out the day to day tasks as communication coordinator.