The Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles Respond to Councilperson David Ryu’s Repeated Attacks

Date: October 26, 2020

Press Contact: communications@dsa-la.org

For Immediate Release:

As election day approaches, Los Angeles Councilperson David Ryu has chosen to turn his campaign for re-election in LA City Council District 4 against Nithya Raman into a McCarthyist smear campaign against the Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles (DSA-LA) in an attempt to distract from his lackluster record and broken campaign promises. 

Ryu’s current disparagement of DSA-LA is in stark contrast to the recent past where he partnered with DSA-LA, on such popular projects as opening the Rowena Reservoir as a park, and on Dr. Loraine Lundquist’s campaign against John Lee for LA City Council District 12. While benefiting from the partnership of DSA-LA, never once did David Ryu raise any objections to working with the organization. 

Councilmember Ryu’s statements have moved beyond political disagreements and now puts our members and various coalition partners in serious danger. That David Ryu, an elected official of the City of Los Angeles, tried to cast DSA-LA and it’s thousands of diverse members as “violent extremists” when Los Angeles County is seeing its highest number of hate crimes in a decade is the type of Trumpian political theatre the country has grown exhausted from over the last four years.

Former Writers Guild of America West President Howard A. Rodman found Ryu’s recent campaigning concerning. “As past president of the Writers Guild of America West, I’m well aware of the damage that red-baiting inflicted on our community in the McCarthy era. Writers who were called radicals, or reds, or Communists, or ‘fellow travelers’ were hounded from their jobs, deprived of their livelihoods. Some spent a decade unable to write under their own names. Others were forced to flee the country. Far too many suffered dire personal consequences – family strife, depression, even suicide.

I’d honestly thought that this era had been heaved into the dustbin of history. To hear a candidate for Los Angeles City Council in 2020, refer to his opponent as a “divisive radical” evokes the worst and more terrifying resonances. Councilperson Ryu may be ignorant of this sad chapter in our history, or he may be simply ignoring it. It’s hard to say which is worse.” 

“We are currently living through a tipping point for racial justice in this country,” said DSA member and candidate Jabari Brisport, Democratic Primary winner for New York State Senate District 25.” The BLM movement this summer was the largest protest movement in US history. As someone who believes in defunding the police, and as the first gay black official ever elected to the NY state legislature, I stand in solidarity with Nithya Raman. It is unfortunate that Mr. Ryu doesn’t support a radical departure from the current oppressive, racist form of policing that exists. I hope the voters of District 4 reject his outdated ideology on November 3rd.”

“As DSA-endorsed candidates win state and local elections across the country, over 100 to date, it’s clear why establishment candidates like Ryu resort to negative campaigning,” said Maikiko James, DSA National Political Committee and DSA-LA member. “Nithya Raman represents the potential of a new kind of city council that cares for the wellbeing of all Los Angeles residents, not just the wealthy, corporate class. Her dedication to the unhoused, the environment, immigration justice, rent forgiveness and more sets her apart from status quo LA politicians who only promise more of the same while hundreds of thousands suffer in this pandemic. We need a transformation, transformation that DSA is supporting nationwide, and Nithya is the only candidate running on that kind of vision.”

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Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles (DSA-LA) has over 3,000 local members across Los Angeles County. It organizes locally on the issues of housing, homelessness, healthcare, environmental justice, mutual aid, prison abolition, immigration justice, black liberation, LGBTQ+ liberation, racial and ethnic justice, and electoral politics. 

DSA-LA is part of the Democratic Socialists of America. DSA has over 75,000 members and hundreds of chapters across the country. It is working towards class power while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in United States’ communities and politics.