Adopted by DSA-LA’s 2022 Steering Committee in September 2022

Racial Capitalism exploits Black workers in unique ways. Over the course of 40 years, the white supremacist, heteropatriarchal Los Angeles capitalist class has steadily intensified its repressive tactics, forcing Black workers to migrate to the periphery of the County or other states. Since the 1980s, the Black population in Los Angeles has declined by over 100,000 residents from 13% to 8%—and yet, Black workers make up 29% of the LA County jail population, 34% of the unhoused population, and 28% of all LAPD stops. As the largest democratic socialist organization in Los Angeles, DSA-LA is committed to building a socialist movement that recruits and empowers Black workers.


As a multi-racial organization, valued Black leaders are core to all levels of our organization. In all of our work, we focus on an intersectional approach to have both a representative and redistributive U.S. political-economic system. DSA-LA also proudly organizes and aims to grow in recruiting, engaging, and empowering Black members and in fighting structures and systems that reproduce anti-Blackness. 


Drawing upon the resolution passed in Fall 2020 in near-unanimity by DSA-LA members titled “A Socialist Commitment To Black Liberation”, the statement published by the 2021 DSA-LA Steering Committee titled “4 Statements on Black Liberation”, and the August 2022 statement from the 2022 DSA-LA Steering Committee, the 2022 DSA-LA Steering Committee puts forth four interconnected proposals on how to further support Black Liberation work in our Chapter. We know the hard work of furthering Black Liberation is continuous, and we believe dedicating specific tactics and resources to this project can begin the transformative work necessary to recruit and empower Black workers.


We propose to:


  1. Enact targeted tactics and resources towards organizing around the material needs of Black workers through existing campaigns:
    1. Goal: to recruit, retain & develop engage more Black DSA-LA members and leaders by focusing on material needs of Black workers through existing campaigns
    2. Methodology:
      1. Collaborate with WG leads, Branch leads, Electoral Committee, & Housing and Homelessness Committee to
        1. Identify needs for additional funds and hands-on support to support Black Liberation work in all existing campaigns
        2. Canvass and recruit members and leaders in predominantly Black neighborhoods including those noted in the 2021 Electoral Committee Recruitment Priority Report (i.e. LA CD-9 and Palmdale) through initiatives such as
          1. Pasadena Rent Control
          2. United to House LA / Measure ULA
          3. Green New Deal for Public Schools
          4. Childcare for All
          5. Fatima Iqbal-Zubair’s campaign
        3. Utilize the Membership Engagement Development resolution as an opportunity to bring in and develop more Black members through tactics such as
          1. Appoint a co-chair to the project who will focus on Black liberation work
          2. Host community socials in predominantly Black neighborhoods
          3. Utilize Action Builder to identify and onboard new Black members
          4. Surveying members on perceptions and experiences within DSA in order to continually nurture a healthy internal culture
        4. Given the clear compatibility of StreetWatch’s work with the intent of this proposal, work with the Housing & Homelessness committee to support their work during the Street Watch pause by
          1. Assisting in reviewing the Street Watch bylaws 
          2. Working with H&H and SW to better integrate the branch structure of SW with that of the chapter proper so the geographic structures are more complementary and SW work is better surfaced by our own BCs
            1. Ensure all SW branches have liaisons to appropriate BOC meetings
          3. Support H&H in their work with LACAN in addressing structural issues and ensuring LACAN buy-in
          4. Ensuring there is a dedicated Steering liaison to SW
          5. Ensuring chapter comms support and collaboration with SW comms
        5. Clearly communicate how the goals of these campaigns and committees materially advance Black liberation and build socialist multiracial organizing, and publicly illustrate these links through communications channels
  2. Complete 2021 Socialist Commitment to Black Liberation Resolution’s requirement for an Anti-Racism Audit
    1. Goal: to identify necessary improvements to DSA-LA’s existing structures and campaigns to enable us to better recruit, retain & develop Black DSA members and leaders.
    2. Methodology:
      1. Recruit a temporary Steering Committee-led working group chair to:
        1. Assess the status of the proposed audit in 2021 to learn what worked and what didn’t in that audit attempt
        2. Identify a 3rd party auditor with a race & class based analysis, such as Freedom Verses or AORTA
        3. Work with the 3rd party to conduct a comprehensive audit of DSA-LA’s members, processes, and structures
        4. Build report on audit outcomes to be disseminated to leadership by Steering Committee
        5. Develop plan to implement the findings
        6. Oversee execution
        7. Develop retrospective to be disseminated to membership by Steering Committee
  3. Host dedicated time in Chapter meetings on Black Liberation work and discussion on a quarterly basis, potentially facilitated by or in conjunction with the multi-racial organizing institute.
    1. Goal: Create clear lines of communication about the work, solicit ideas and feedback, and engage membership broadly on the issue through quarterly meetings hosted by Steering.
    2. Methodology:
      1. Incorporate quarterly open forums in the Steering Committee work plan starting Q4 2022
      2. Work with the multi-racial organizing institute to disseminate materials for discussion at chapter meetings and train leadership to host discussions in subgroups 
      3. Broadly communicate forums to membership
      4. Begin each forum with reports on ongoing work and make room for discussion in equal measure
  4. Develop an end-of-year retrospective document to advise the 2023 Steering Committee on how to continue this work into the next term 
    1. Goal: Continue to generate institutional memory and enable a smooth transition between leadership to prevent interruption to Black Liberation campaigns, reflecting on the successes and shortcomings of both the 2022 and 2021 proposals
    2. Methodology:
      1. Conduct interviews with WG / Branch / Committee leads to understand status of projects
      2. Deliver a retrospective document with next steps by Jan. 2023