DSA-LA Priority Resolution:
DSA-LA for Universal Childcare Priority Resolution
Authors: Max B., Felix H., Janet H., Kati S., Carley T., Farzana W.
Lead Contact: Carley T.
Childcare is a working class issue for both the Angelenos who depend on it and the Angelenos who provide it. While more than 650,000 children under the age of five reside in Los Angeles County — about one in three for that age group in California — only 14% of infants are covered under current subsidies for childcare, and 41% of all preschoolers. Working families can expect to pay a third of their annual household paycheck on child care alone. This is to say nothing of the working conditions of child care providers, 60% of whom in California are Latino, Asian, or Black, who work in substandard working conditions and are paid a median wage of $23,760 annually.
In November of 2020, voters in Multnomah County passed Measure 26-214 establishing a tuition-free preschool program for 3-4 year olds in their county by imposing a 1.5% income tax on households with income over $200,000 and an additional 3% income tax on households with income over $400,000. This bill and the tax mechanism described were crafted by DSA organizers in the UP Now campaign, who advanced it in coalition with labor unions and other advocacy groups.
What happened in their county needs to be replicated at the state level, not just in Oregon, but everywhere in the U.S, state by state. The scope of the legislation needs to also expand to include financing public nurseries and public daycares (such as public before-and-after school programs for elementary aged kids), because evidence suggests that funding unpaid universal infant care redistributes wealth and levels income inequality. Pushing a major universal child care package that includes infant care to pre-k can best be approached by passing successive steps of legislation, first to fund public play-based preschool for three and four year olds (since the largest provider is currently federally funded, Head Start), and then pushing legislation for public nurseries and daycare for babies to two year olds, since public infrastructure for children of these ages does not already exist and needs to be built.
We submit that the Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles should join the struggle to provide child care to every worker in Los Angeles County. We believe that this issue lays at the heart of racial and gender inequality in our society, and it is the duty of every socialist to take up this fight. A coherent, coordinated campaign with the full force of our chapter could not only produce results to the betterment of working families in Los Angeles, but also grow our movement to truly reflect the working class of LA County.
Whereas profit in privatized childcare comes from the exploitation of workers whose wages remain low partly because reproductive labor, which is primarily shouldered by women and people of color, remains unpaid or underpaid.
Whereas Childcare for All initiatives are a popular and deeply felt public good organizing effort that address both the safety and socialization of children as well as the pay and conditions of workers in these programs.
Whereas the Biden Administration’s Child Tax Credit is not automatically distributed to working families who did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2020.
Whereas a resolution directing the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) to prioritize the passing of universal child care programs at the 2021 National Convention.
Whereas the aforementioned passed resolution guarantees access to national staff support for chapters working on Childcare for All campaigns.
Whereas the Los Angeles city council has recently passed a resolution directing the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) to analyze the feasibility of a universal childcare program in Los Angeles.
Whereas the Democratic Socialist of America, Los Angeles (DSA-LA) chapter’s Westside Branch has held successful canvassing operations talking to Los Angeles County residents about the Child Tax Credit.
Be it resolved that DSA-LA establishes a Childcare for All (C4A) campaign working group that, under the leadership of the chapter Steering Committee, coordinates the chapter’s work promoting the passage of universal child care programs at the local, state, and national level
Be it resolved that the DSA-LA Neighborhood Solidarity Program (NSP) be directed to plan regional canvasses aimed at informing working families of the benefits of the Child Tax Credit, as well as political education events oriented around a socialist understanding of reproductive labor.
Be it resolved that the C4A Working Group develops canvassing and educational material in coordination with Branch Organizing Committees and the Political Education Committee.
Be it resolved that the C4A Working Group coordinates with the Electoral Committee to analyze the feasibility and utility of passing universal child care programs at the municipal, county, and state levels
Be it resolved that the C4A Working Group will develop coalition partners among labor unions, community organizations, parent advocacy groups, and other DSA chapters across the region and state.
Be it finally resolved that the C4A Working Group will incorporate into its strategy the Green New Deal for Public Schools program, recognizing the significance of fully funding public education for expanding child care resources in Los Angeles County, among other connections between universal childcare and the Green New Deal for Public Schools.
- C4A Working Group initially convenes, consisting of liaisons elevated by the Labor, Political Education, Electoral, AgitProp, and Branch Organizing Committees. Other appointments can be approved by the Steering Committee as necessary.
- Co-chairs of the working group will be selected by a chapter-wide election that takes place no later than November 2021.
- C4A Working Group develops initial power analysis of LA County, identifying potential coalition partners and targets. The working group also identifies parent members in the chapter to activate and mobilize.
- C4A Working Group will devise a system of measuring volunteers and members recruited and activated through the campaign.
December 2021 to January 2022
- Develop a core of organizers across branches who can be disseminated to childcare centers across the county in volunteer capacities so as to (1) investigate working conditions and (2) recruit parents and childcare workers into the campaign.
- Work with the Labor Committee to identify childcare workers and educators across the county, with the aim of developing a childcare/early educator worker circle.
- Develop canvassing and educational materials for Branch and Neighborhood Meetings and canvassing operations across the county.
- Work with the Electoral Committee to determine realistic and feasible avenues for a statewide, countywide, or city-wide ballot measure with the goal of developing and strengthening the DSA statewide structure.
- Begin outreach to and engagement with stakeholder unions, ensuring interest has been gauged before a ballot measure is formally proposed.
February 2022 to April 2022
- Neighborhood Groups across the region begin canvassing operations talking to LA County residents about the Child Tax Credit, framing the conversations to include political education about universal child care programs.
- Political education including but not limited to town halls on universal childcare held with coalition groups.
- Electoral Committee holds public meetings with DSA-LA candidates and endorsed politicians to discuss their endorsement of universal child care programs.
May 2022 Onwards
- C4A Working Group drafts a “mid-term analysis” including, but not limited to the following metrics:
- Number of new DSA members recruited through NSP/C4A events and canvassing, number of volunteers brought into C4A campaign activities.
- Number of childcare workers and volunteers recruited.
- Analysis of coalition built and level of labor union support.
- Ballot Measure analysis from Electoral Committee.
- Based on this analysis, C4A Working Group drafts recommendations for the rest of the 2022 year, including but not limited to:
- How to improve or continue DSA LA membership recruitment amongst existing volunteers, canvass contacts, parents, etc.
- How to continue the campaign through the assessment of work conducted through Labor, Electoral, PolEd, AgitProp, and the NSP.
- Final analysis of work done over the year will be drafted by the C4A Working Group.
Local Resources Required
Committee time, Access to Chapter Communication Channels, Chapter membership data and Spoke, Funds for reserving in-person meetings and town halls, purchasing sound equipment, providing childcare services at meetings, and printing material.
Organizational Priority Alignment
“Undertake to exchange resources, build solidarity, and engage in campaigns with other DSA chapters regionally, and nationally.”
Given the success of Measure 26-214 in Multnomah County, establishing a tuition-free preschool program for 3-4 year olds by imposing an income tax on high-income households, and the passing of a Childcare For All resolution at DSA’s national convention this year, DSA chapters around the country are in the process of forming Childcare For All working groups with aims to pass legislation that finances public pre-k, nurseries and daycares. This resolution would commit our chapter to pursuing socialized childcare at the legislative level locally, but also allow us the opportunity to collaborate with other Childcare working groups throughout California on a potential statewide campaign.
“We will organize with ambitious and emancipatory ends in mind, such as raising the collective consciousness of all people’s struggles and normalizing guaranteed rights that have been denatured under capitalism, while seeking concrete material wins and outcomes at every opportunity.”
This resolution prioritizes both the concrete material demand of passing legislation that finances public pre-k, nurseries, and daycares, as well as DSA-LA’s goal to build power and create more socialists. By embedding this work within the NSP branch formations, we can rally for these winnable legislative demands within our neighborhoods, using conversations around childcare to agitate our non-DSA working class neighbors, with the goal of bringing them into neighborhood groups to participate in political education and direct action. This work will additionally be overseen by a Childcare For All working group in conjunction with Steering Committee to provide direction and cohere our work on this campaign across all of our branches.
Relevant Goals for Working Groups
Branch Organizing Committees
- Support the goal of branch organizing committees to activate and mobilize members on a neighborhood basis through the implementation of countywide canvassing for the Biden Child Tax Credit.
- Support the goal of deliberate public outreach and recruitment through canvassing and local popular education events.
- Collaborate with the labor committee to create a base of childcare workers, volunteers, parents, educators, and organizers to conduct county-wide social investigation into workplaces of relevance to this campaign e.g. childcare centers, schools.
- Advance the labor committee’s goal of developing stronger ties between DSA-LA and local unions across LA County through a strong universal childcare campaign.
- Make the argument for well-compensated, union childcare worker jobs being created as not only an issue of necessity, but also as part of a need for more ecologically friendly jobs. We see this resolution as an intuitive play to also connect with the Green New Deal for public schools campaign.
Political Education Committee
- Collaborate with the political education committee to hold political education events regarding childcare, care-based play, local and statewide processes for proposing ballot measures, and other topics of importance to this campaign. These campaign efforts will serve the dual function of: (1) denaturalizing “common sense” hegemonic conceptualizations of childcare in the United States and (2) fleshing out a vision of a viable alternative.
- Develop canvassing, tabling, and other outreach materials in partnership with the political education committee, which will serve the dual function of (1) supporting recruitment and organizing efforts for both the campaign and the chapter itself and (2) develop the ability of our membership to articulate a socialist vision for childcare in LA County.
- As there is already movement in the Los Angeles City Council for a universal child care program, our chapter can serve as “left flank”, ensuring that the campaign is held accountable to our radically universal vision for childcare in Los Angeles.
- This will provide an opportunity to engage elected and endorsed candidates that are DSA members to champion the need for universal child care.
- Childcare is a deeply felt working class need, one which the median Angeleno family pays a third of their paycheck towards fulfilling. Fighting for a universal program would bring more working people into our movement, per the goal of the Electoral Politics committee.
Agit Prop Committee
- Provide the agitation and propaganda committee with a central campaign to promote across the chapter using a cohesive communications strategy developed in conjunction between the C4A working group and the Agit Prop Committee.
- Create compelling physical and digital media that inspires the public to envision what a socialist horizon for childcare would be, as well as excite working Angelenos about joining our movement.