DSA-LA Members are overwhelmingly members of the working class. Spread out across economic sectors, a few unionized and many not, our members work for a living. Socialists understand that we can’t build power for our class without building power in the workplace. A key charge of the Labor Committee then is to have DSA-LA members not only canvass on weekends and join meetings weeknights, but take their socialist politics with them to work and see the workplace as a key site of political struggle. Labor Circles are the organizational form in DSA-LA to carry this out.
A “Labor Circle” is a formation set by the DSA-LA Labor Committee of DSA-LA members that exists to internally organize our own membership around their sector, employer, and/or union-affiliation. These “Circles” are made up of DSA-LA members with enough in common about their work that it makes sense for them to organize together, collectively, to further their own interests as workers, crafting and furthering the program of the Labor Committee. It is our role as a Labor Committee to organize DSA-LA members into these Circles, irrespective of whether those members are “members of the Labor Committee”, or attend Labor Committee meetings, or are principally engaged in the chapter in another way. Just as all DSA members should support socialist electoral candidates, all DSA members should participate in a broad workplace-based strategy.
The Labor Committee has defined these Circles based on the actual, current employment or union membership of DSA-LA members, as found through the Committee’s ongoing surveying of Chapter membership. Current information on who our members are, where they work, and their role in their unions (or in organizing their unions) by and large determines our labor strategy and priorities. The members of the Circles themselves determine their strategy, ultimately guided by the Labor Committee. To ensure that members are being integrated into their Labor Circles, relevant membership workplace information is shared with members of that Circle.
Broadly, it is the objective of Circles to
- encourage DSA-LA members to lead their coworkers in unionizing their workplaces
- encourage DSA-LA members who are already union members to take leadership roles in their unions, as stewards, committee members, and elected officers
- guide DSA-LA members who seek to find specific employment with the primary purpose of organizing
- lead in developing the Labor Committee’s orientation toward issues regarding their sector/employer/union
- lead in developing a recruitment strategy for other workers in their sector/employer/union into DSA-LA
Currently, Labor Circles for DSA-LA members in the entertainment industry (Hollywood Labor), in the non-profit/advocacy sector, among K-12 education workers, and the food service industry exist. To continue to build DSA-LA’s workplace strategy, email [email protected] to get involved!