Why I’ll be in the Streets

By Steve C.

On Tuesday, we once more ended our grand American tradition of casting votes towards things of public concern and began the meticulous process of tallying up ballots to determine which candidates and causes came out ahead. We know some of the results while we wait hopefully for others. Regardless of any outcome, the incredible effort put forward by the members of this organization has moved our cause in the city of Los Angeles and state of California forward. We’ve had periods of intense work before, but never before have I seen so many different projects handled by so many different people with such skill. So to everyone who was involved with or lead a project, take a second and give yourself some appreciation for all the hard work you’ve put in, it truly is incredible. And we all thank you for it.

That said, just because the ballot machines have stopped humming does not mean our work is over. Such is our lot, to struggle constantly for a better world. On Saturday at 9am, DSA-LA, along with partner organizations will host a march from MacArthur Park to Pershing Square, then on to Grand Park. This march intends to show the powers that rule our lives that regardless of the occupant of the White House, be he Democrat or Republican, that we, the Democratic Socialists of America, will never stop fighting for democracy, fighting for the working class, or fighting for each other.

When I look at the presidential landscape my heart aches. Bernie and his ideas to help people realize a better life for themselves have been left behind in favor of 2 men who don’t seem to even want to look for answers to the problems we face. But despite that, we need to account for where we are in a larger context. We live in a democratic society (however imperfect of an adjective that word is) where the rule at the end of the day is: one person one vote. The name Bernie Sanders would be the name of a stranger to us if majoritarian rule were not respected and we could not choose freely our leaders. Unfortunately, the president threatens that very basic underpinning of democratic self-rule by seeking to throw his reelection to his bought and paid for court system, funded by the obscenely wealthy through dark-money back channels. Our path to transformation is a democratic one, but that path is closed if the United States’ elections are perverted in this way. So on Saturday, we will chant ‘one person, one vote’ and ‘count the ballots’ because we know that the law will not save us, but we can if we let our autocratic opponents know that if we don’t get democracy, we’ll raise hell.

I will be marching on Saturday for the working class and all those abused by our world. As Biden and Trump have squabbled over who said what, when, we have watched our planet die, our neighbors evicted, and our children go hungry. Neither man offers a real solution to these problems. One offers tired and tried solutions that have given rise to the conditions we find ourselves in, the other offers incitement and plays to our basest fears and prejudices of each other while treating us like playthings. But we know our ideas of empowerment and emancipation will at the very least, give us a fighting chance at righting these wrongs. That’s why we’ll chant ‘defund the police’ and ‘black lives matter’ and ‘medicare for all’ so that people know we don’t just stand against Trump and autocracy, but for a different world where dignity and justice reign supreme over profit and power.

Finally, we must celebrate. Celebrate our many wins and defeats. Celebrate because we tried as hard as we could and no matter how things turned out, we honed our crafts, we sharpened our wits, and we grew more confident and powerful than we were before. These last 8 months have been horrible. We’ve seen friends and loved ones fall ill, perhaps pass on. We’ve seen people lose jobs, lose houses, lose time. The human spirit needs replenishing, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than by coming together with those whose names or deeds we might not even know, and celebrating our shared struggle. Democratic Socialists of Los Angeles, we’ve arrived, and it’s time to let everyone know it. We’re not going to stop fighting for a more just city for a long time and I know that the volume will be deafening when all of us chant ‘D-S-A-L-A’ so that everyone on the street knows who we are.

I will be there. Please, will you join me?

Saturday (11/7), 9am, MacArthur Park