DSA-LA City Councilmembers Support Ceasefire

On November 28th, 2023, all of DSA-LA’s endorsed Los Angeles City Council members, Eunisses Hernandez, Nithya Raman, and Hugo Soto-Martínez, publicly joined the growing number of calls for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, at the previously negotiated temporary pause in hostilities is set to expire.

Through our chapter’s Socialists in Office program voted on at local convention this year, we have been able to work with our electeds to move DSA priorities through offices and win material gains through city council and are actively coordinating to advance new legislation. Appointed liaisons meet regularly with our offices, and the consistency of these meetings create a foundation of trust and support between our chapter and our electeds. Sometimes there are differences in tactics and analyses, but our SIO framework allows these differences to be proactively addressed because this is how we must organize in order to win socialism. DSA members may always submit questions, concerns, or messages to DSA-LA’s Socialists in Office committee using the DSA-LA Red Desk.

While our City Councilmembers do not have the ability to directly impact aid or funding carried out by our National representatives, their voices are critical to add to the public pressure on President Joe Biden and our congressional representatives from California who have the authority to demand that our government halt its unconditional military aid to Israel, but have so far have fallen short in their responses.

Reportback Motions

Earlier last week, a tweet went viral claiming that CM Raman had seconded a motion “making littering a hate crime”. The motion is seconded by CM Raman, meaning the content of the motion is entirely CM Blumenfield’s. The relevant motion, which was submitted over a month ago, was actually requesting a report back on whether or not “littering in mass” – a tactic that has been used repeatedly over the last year by neo-nazi groups in Southern California – those actions could be prosecuted as a hate crime under current law, and asks for methods by which it may do so. This tactic is a hallmark of neo-nazi groups in the United States to target Jewish as well as Black and Armenian communities, and is not commonly used by leftist or pro-Palestinian organizing. 

The motion as written does not make any immediate changes to city code, nor would it affect other tactics that are more commonly used by leftists, nor does it introduce any changes in the definition of a hate crime, which is defined by California state penal code. Additionally, a large amount of report backs that are requested in motions never come back. Still, many DSA members and allies were alarmed about the possibility that such a motion would lean further into carceral “solutions” to hate speech or be abused by local police to target leftist organizing. 

Accordingly, at this week’s Public Safety meeting, CM Soto-Martinez introduced an amendment to the resolution to ask the city’s Office of Race and Equity to report back on non-carceral options to combat neo-nazi flyering, without further empowering LAPD. His amendment passed unanimously, and this motion will still go through many additional meetings and department report backs before it could affect city law, a process that could take months. We will follow this legislation through the process, and urge our elected officials to fight any legislation we consider contrary to our values. Though we recognize the imperfections of the original motion, we also cannot allow the rise of real anti-semitic and Islamophobic actions to go unacknowledged. As socialists, we have to condemn far right hate when we see it. In the weeks following the motion, our chapter has facilitated meetings with anti-occupation organizers to bring our electeds closer to our position.

If you’re interested in learning more about our chapter’s electoral and Socialists in Office program, come to the open electoral meeting on December 4.