DSA-LA's 2019 National Convention Delegate Candidates

Here are your 2019 DSA-LA National Convention Delegates Candidates. DSA-LA has 47 delegate spots available and have received 69 candidate submissions. Due to the large number of candidates and slots, this ballot is using Approval Voting rather than block voting: vote for as many candidates as you feel comfortable representing DSA-LA at the convention. Voting will close on June 15th at 11:59pm. Should delegates be unable to attend the convention for any reason, they will be replaced by delegate alternates in order of votes.

 

Aaron Warner

Adam Goldberg

Alex Park

Alex Wilenski

Alex Wolinetz

Alexander Billet

Amy Clark

Andrew R Perrine

Angel M. Castillo

Ariadne L

Arielle Sallai

Barry Eidlin

Brandon Rey Ramirez

Bryan Newton

Charles Du

Charlotte Jackson

Chris Roth

Conor McGarry

Daniel Dominguez

David Quattrocchi

Donovan Green

Eric Pierce

Erika Alvarez

Evan Geary

Ezra Pugh

Forrest D.

Francisco Cendejas

Gabe Gabrielsky

Gabriela N Freid

Greg Gabrellas

Jack Suria Linares

James Moy

Jesus

Joanna Swan

John O'Brien

Jonathan Koch

Jordan Ekeroth

Joshua Smith

Katrina Bergstrom

Kelsey Goldberg

Kyle G.

Lenny Potash

Liz Hirsch

Maikiko James

Mark Masaoka

Marlene Furth

Marlin Medrano

Mason Mineo

Max Belasco

Melissa Arredondo

Michael McCown

Michael Stenovec

Miguel Camnitzer

Nick Ballard

Olivia Eliasoph Gamboa

Paloma Nafarrate

Paul Krehbiel

Ricky G.

Ryan Andrews

Scott C

Sedona Heidinger

Sergio D

Shannon Garland

Shelby Li

Steve Couch

Sydney Ghazarian

Tal Levy

Tej Bhakta

Zev Frank

 

 

Aaron Warner

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I have previously served as a convention delegate in 2017, where I represented chapter minority opinion in convention voting based on a prior straw poll of chapter membership. If such a voting structure was chosen, I would gladly accept the task again. Otherwise, I am prepared to take counsel from my comrades, and in voting to prioritize the autonomy and support of locals to pursue national priorities on their own particular terms.

How do you identify?

I accept the designations of “bisexual” or “queer”, and consider my gender identity an ongoing process of self-interrogation. I acknowledge the privileges conferred on me by being commonly perceived as a cishet White male by the outside world. I am of Jewish heritage, and live with low-grade chronic mental illness.

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Adam Goldberg:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Greetings fellow travelers, and thank you for reading this post and likely many, many others.

I want to go to convention because it will help our fellow member Chris Roth win the AD53 election and become a state assembly member.

There are many other reasons I should join the convention delegation. That’s the main one, we need to work with successful campaigners from across the country and strengthen our networks if we want to seize power in California.

Of the other reasons, A few are practical: I can get the time off work and have the funds, in case national is slow giving refunds, like they were after the 2017 convention.

A few are personal: I found a leftist RPG called Comrades that I want to run for other DSA members. (Funny story: at the 2017 convention I asked for a space for the event and, much to my surprise, “gaming“ was given free time alongside southern solidarity, Afrosocialism, etc, as if it were an organizing tendency. Whoops!)

A few reasons are semi-personal, like my interest in reviving religious socialism as a caucus in our chapter, or working with other chapters with more pronounced disability tendencies.

The final reason: I left a set of gloves in that hotel and I can’t describe them well enough for them to send them back. I want those gloves.

Thank you for reading or skimming by!

How do you identify?

He/Him

 

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Alex Park:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Although I’m a relatively new member, I’m getting to the know the core group of DSA-LA and have new ideas and perspectives on how to grow the organization into a local movement. Talking to other delegates from all around the country and see how they organize will give more insight on how to create a strong and effective DSA-LA.

How do you identify?

He/Him/His

 

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Alex Wilenski:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As a member of DSA-LA's Steering Committee, I believe that the National Convention is an opportunity to build solidarity with other chapters, build skills to grow and strengthen our chapter, and present a strong and unified chapter to the rest of DSA. At convention, I would aim to build organizing relationships with other large chapters and west coast chapters. In particular, I would like to build relationships with organizers across the chapters who are interested in tenant and housing organizing; I think DSA-LA has a lot to share with other chapters and a lot to learn. I also would support any efforts at convention to build relationships with ecosocialist organizers across chapters. As well, I'd like to personally focus on connecting with other people of color and women of color organizers across chapters.

I also plan to represent and vote in line with what our chapter democratically decides.

How do you identify?

cis woman of color, asian, queer, middle class, tenant

 

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Alex Wolinetz:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Since I joined DSA-LA in the summer of 2017 after moving to Los Angeles from New York, I have done my best to contribute to the organization that has provided me with so much in return. I was honored to serve as the co-chair of the Electoral Politics Committee from 2018 to 2019. I also served on the nomination committee in 2018, helping facilitate the Steering Committee elations. I've also been involved with work in various committees, including Agitprop, Membership, and Hollywood Labor.

In my role of the Electoral Politics chair, I used the ISOF (Inter-Subgroup Officer Forum) meetings to better understand the projects other part of the chapter were working on. I also attended the DSA Regional Conference, where I interfaced with leadership from California and Hawaii DSA chapters.

If elected to serve as a delegate for the convention, I would take my responsibilities seriously. DSA-LA is the second largest delegation at the convention, and the needs of our chapter must be fought for. Too often, it can feel like national is pre-occupied with chapters on the east coast. I have no problems with the East Coast! It's great! I’m from the East Coast! But LA is important too. I will vote to make sure our interests are fought for and promoted.

I will work to keep up transparency with members outside of Atlanta, to let them know the dynamics and conversations happening at Atlanta. I would work to make myself available to members to provide clarity and insight on votes, and to offer connections if needed to leadership from other chapters.

How do you identify?

he/him

 

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Alexander Billet:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As everyone knows by now, DSA has grown and evolved dramatically since 2016. We have also faced massive challenges since our previous convention in 2017. The 2019 convention will be a significant one for that reason, a chance to see if we have learned the right lessons about the needs for a socialist movement in the US in the 21st century and to solidify our organization into the one capable of building one. Since joining the chapter a year ago, I've become well acquainted with the wide and varied work that we are engaged in. I've listened to comrades as they have explained their visions, concerns and disagreements about its direction. These conversations have, naturally, shaped my own ideas about what this chapter needs. I plan to keep them in mind. First and foremost, however, I hope to have a clear idea of what comrades in this chapter want for the organization as a whole, so that I can relay and represent their ideas fairly and truthfully in the discussion in Atlanta.

How do you identify?

Male

 

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Amy Clark:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I think I’d be a good fit because I’m kind, fair, and good at working with others. I’m eager to learn from other chapters while also collaborating with other DSA-LA delegates and members to advocate for our chapter. Through my work with Membership Committee, I have been able to see what works to grow our membership and discuss tactics to keep members engaged. I understand Robert’s/Rusty’s Rules, and I’m also super passionate about the work DSA-LA does, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to represent our interests on a national level.

How do you identify?

I am a queer, cis, white woman

 

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Andrew R Perrine:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I wish to be a delegate to the National Convention in order to ensure our internal democracy and autonomy, to fight for our status as a big-tent organization, and to argue for the diversity of tactics we all have come to appreciate, while trying to secure more local support for the chapter’s initiatives--and perhaps even get us some due credit for our emotional labor and contributions, all while meeting in the dark, closed off from the membership, unaccountable to anyone. These are the issues I have often heard whispered about our National leadership, as they do not seem to have have not served the chapter well: They barely give us any support, only recently returning a small fraction of our dues. They ignore our local needs and issues. They do not feel responsive to our issues.

However, we are not an anomaly: many chapters have experienced the same issues, and banded together in varied formations to propose solutions. I have been an active member of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, and helped in developing their platform to Democratize Everything, informed by my experiences and struggles within our chapter. While I understand the worries over the partisanization of ‘Caucus politics,’ I believe the LSC’s approach will contravene many of these issues in practice, by allowing chapters leeway to do what they need to do, by promoting local autonomy, strengthening the mandate of our National Working Groups and holding our national representatives democratically accountable, while reaffirming our commitment to anti-oppression.

My voice should not be the only one to speak: I wish to create dialogue with the other groups as well. I seek to amplify the concerns of the chapter, what our membership supports, and how we feel about otherwise contentious issues. I have had much practice navigating sensitive political topics in my position as a moderator for the national discussion board, and hope that, as a delegate, I can use those skills to promote comradely and productive discussions. We must all work together to build the DSA into what it needs to become, and build coalitions with those around us.

How do you identify?

Neurodivergent Non-binary cis man

 

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Angel M. Castillo:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

For two years I've been involved with DSA-LA's work in multiple capacities, from helping organize break light clinics, to language justice work, to agitprop, canvassing and phonebanking for Prop 10, and most recently NOLympics. I have a good grasp of what DSA-LA's strengths and weaknesses are and how we can learn from other chapters at convention to grow and develop. Additionally, I am a co-author of a convention resolution to make DSA national officially in favor of decriminalization of sex work and would like an opportunity to speak for the resolution in person.

How do you identify?

Latino, white, heterosexual, cis-gender male

 

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Ariadne L:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I wish to connect us with our comrades in other chapters and represent the interests of our members at to the national body.

How do you identify?

?

 

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Arielle Sallai:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

The upcoming Convention will be a make or break moment for DSA — where many of the debates we’ve hashed out both within our local and with comrades across the country will be tackled head-on. I think I would make an ideal delegate because I’ve been a part of these debates since I joined DSA in early 2017, and I have a clear vision of where I would like to see the organization by 2021.

Most urgently, I believe DSA should be focused on the deliberate act of base-building — that we should aspire to be an organization that is more than just people who are already drawn to activism, but a mass, working-class organization. To get there, we need to double our membership, become more deeply rooted in our neighborhoods, and empower working people on a larger scale. It’s incredibly ambitious, but no other left organization has the golden opportunity DSA has. We have impressive numbers, but we aren’t big enough.

As a member of the Collective Power Network — a national network of DSA members organizing for the Convention — I have endorsed a program that includes developing democratic regional organizations to foster collaboration between locals, establishing a national commission to develop a clear plan to get DSA to 100,000 members by 2021, hiring more field staff, developing a clear multifaceted strategy for labor, and building ties with left and labor organizations across the world.

On my own, I submitted a resolution to the Convention to prioritize tenant organizing. The resolution would create a Housing Justice Commission to help coordinate national and regional campaigns for tenants’ rights and support locals in the creation and expansion of Tenant Associations and housing justice working groups/campaigns, with the dual mission of raising class consciousness as it intersects with the housing struggle, embedding the organization in our communities, and growing DSA’s membership. As a delegate, I hope to build support for this important resolution — and the others put forward by CPN — while ultimately representing the will of DSA-LA.

How do you identify?

White woman

 

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Barry Eidlin:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I am a sociology professor at McGill University, where I research and teach about working class power and politics. I joined DSA about a year ago, when I moved back to LA for family reasons, but have a longer history on the left, going back to my years organizing with Teamsters for a Democratic Union and Labor Notes. In DSA, I have mainly been involved with the Labor Committee, building solidarity for the teachers’ strike, canvassing for Jackie Goldberg, and leading political education workshops. My political writings have appeared in Jacobin and the Washington Post, among other venues.

I am running for DSA convention delegate because our movement is at a turning point, and this convention will help determine the path that DSA takes. Simply put, will DSA continue growing into a mass socialist movement, or will it recede back to the margins?

To build power on a larger scale, we need a strategy that sets priorities for the organization. That means prioritizing actions that set workers in motion, where they can learn to fight. These kinds of actions can help reconnect the socialist movement with the working class in all its diversity. The division since the 1950s has been devastating for both, weakening working class movements and marginalizing the Left. Figuring out how to bridge that gap is the central task that socialists face today in the U.S.

Concretely, this means developing and implementing a rank and file strategy to build working-class power. That includes labor solidarity, worker organizing, and labor education, which necessarily incorporates promoting racial justice, feminism, and support for LGBTQ+ and immigrant worker communities. It means engaging in class-struggle elections like the Sanders campaign that do not simply focus on electing candidates, but mobilize masses to shift the political terrain. It means supporting ecosocialist proposals for a Green New Deal to address the climate crisis.

I’m excited about the prospects for DSA in the next few years, and would be honored to be able to help chart the organization’s direction as a convention delegate.

How do you identify?

Cis, straight, white, pronouns are he/him/his

 

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Brandon Rey Ramirez:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

The Democratic Socialists of America has been my political home for nearly a decade now. Originally involved in YDS at Temple University in Philadelphia, I really became committed here in Los Angeles in 2015. For the past year, I've served as Co-Chair of the DSA-LA Immigration Justice Committee, was the Co-Chair of the National Immigrants' Rights Working Group for two years, have led the National Social Media Working Group and was the first Communications Director of DSA-LA. Currently I serve on the Steering Committee of the Socialist Majority Caucus and was one of the original authors of our program. Having campaigned on my experience in DSA-LA, I serve as an ADEM to the California Democratic Party representing AD43.

Every year, my politics become more defined as the organization collectively further engages in class struggle. I’m proud to witness how the organization has matured from a loosely affiliated gang of passionate activists to a robust and coordinated network of mobilizers. While we have experienced a painful period for the chapter, I’m not disillusioned and in fact and motivated to ensure that our work is more democratic and transparent to ensure longevity for our work.

If elected serve as a delegate to the 2019 DSA Convention, I will work to ensure we enact long overdue reforms to our internal structure. To guarantee Los Angeles has a seat at the table, I’ll fight to expand the NPC and establish regional representation. My time in National Working Groups has shown me how clearly identifiable bylaws, liaisons, resources and channels of communication, can help nationally coordinated campaigns can flourish under the national working group structure.

I believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Campaigns such as the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and Public Housing fights should center communities of color. If elected, I’ll vote for resolutions to help make DSA a more diverse and inclusive space. Reforming our national communications strategy to guarantee Spanish Language Communications for all major press and resources is crucial to expanding our organization’s outreach and development of representative organizers.

How do you identify?

He/Him | Afro-Latinx | Cis-het male | Phimby Tenant | democratic socialist | Pennsylvania Transplant | Proud dog dad.

 

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Bryan Newton:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Hi, I've been participating in DSA-LA for a couple of years now. I initially came on board after the 2016 election, but I was interested in the organization prior to that. But like many of us, the failures of that election put a fire under me to get serious about my Leftist politics. Since joining DSA I've been involved with helming some groups, like the former Racial Justice group with Maikiko James, who is outstanding at organizing and working with groups, which I am relatively new at doing and was fortunate to contribute with her guidance. I attempt to foster a friendly and causal atmosphere with my comrades and if anything I would like to add a voice to the process from my experience working in entertainment and unionizing in animation.

How do you identify?

African-American, Black-American. He/Him male

 

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Charles Du:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I'm a current member of our chapter's Steering Committee and a former ombudsperson on the Conflict Resolution Team. I was also a delegate to the 2017 convention as part of the Steering Committee for the Central Connecticut chapter. There are two main goals I have for our chapter at the convention. First, I want to help build the leadership of our members by empowering our delegates to debate, discuss, and make independent political judgments at the convention. This is a great opportunity for our members to get organizing and political experience. Second, I would help our delegates build relationships with leaders and allies in other chapters, some of whom I know very well from previous work in DSA or other work. Other members in DSA are some of our best resources for ideas for new campaigns and projects to try in LA.

I would love to represent DSA-LA at the convention and I hope that you will support me!

How do you identify?

Asian American

 

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Charlotte Jackson:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

i’ve been a dsa member since 2016, i’m involved in agitprop, and i’m a shop steward in my union (local 839). i’m good at listening & communicating and i’d like to learn more about the democratic processes behind the scenes at dsa. thanks!

How do you identify?

queer bi woman(ish)

 

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Chris Roth:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I joined DSA Los Angeles mid-2017, and have been an active member in both the Electoral Politics and Housing and Homelessness committees ever since. I organize with Ground Game Los Angeles, Ktown For All, and the Sunrise Movement’s Los Angeles Hub. I also work with LACAN and am frequently at City Hall urging our elected officials to take substantial action on issues related to homelessness and the housing crisis facing everyday Angelenos.

I believe that DSA’s national priorities need to focus on a vision for the future that centers human dignity above all else. To that end, I have already endorsed the DSA Ecosocialist Green New Deal Priority Resolution. In addition to addressing our global climate crisis, a focus on social housing, Medicare for All, restorative justice, reparations for American Descendants of Slavery, immigiration justice, as well as dismantling both the military industrial complex and American empire, are other areas that I would prioritize in weighing resolutions at the convention.

We know that organizing is the work of listening to and empowering communities to take action -- not in providing top-down direction from a place of unfamiliarity, however well-intentioned. It is the folks with the lived experience who are best equipped to provide solutions to our most entrenched systemic inequities. As a delegate from DSA-LA, I will take these values to the national convention and work to build power through comradery and solidarity.

How do you identify?

He/Him/His

 

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Conor McGarry:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I feel like I would be a good candidate for the chapter for several reasons. Given that I am new to the Democratic Socialist movement, it would be a good introduction into the organizing world and the theory behind our movement. I also have experience in being a delegate for conventions, which I feel would be useful. I also know that I able to get the time off required to attend the convention as well.

How do you identify?

Male? I don't understand the question.

 

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Daniel Dominguez:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

One of the skills that I bring to my organizing work is relationship building, which becomes crucial when it comes developing trust both within the chapter and across the organization. The local should be able to trust that the delegate will carry out the will of the chapter when it comes to decisions upon resolutions and other changes to the organization. I truly believe that the next 2 years will Ben pivotal in the direction of the DSA and the delegates should have that in mind when attending the convention.

How do you identify?

Latinx and working class

 

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David Quattrocchi:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I believe I’d be a good delegate for our chapter because I’ve volunteered now for over two years, elevating my time & energy to our movement. I would like to enhance my participation in the chapter by representing us nationally!

How do you identify?

Assigned male at birth

 

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Donovan Green:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I joined DSA due to the energy from the first Bernie bump, have worked professionally on more than a dozen electoral campaigns around LA since 2016(including Goldberg and Lundquist), and would like to be there to help organize a successful national campaign to build on that energy again. I would like to meet with the organizers from around the country getting ready for a huge push in 2020. And I want to make sure resources are set aside to do the actions and local campaigns that grow the movements these national campaigns depend on. I primarily organize with DSA through ElPol, Labor, hosting the westlake neighborhood hangout, and transit, though I try to make it to a pretty wide range when my schedule allows.

How do you identify?

he/him

 

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Eric Pierce:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

My journey to socialism started long ago. As a child growing up in the streets of a working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles, I came to realize what class struggle meant at an early age. I didn’t have the words to describe it back then, nor knowledge of the theory. I only knew what I saw: my parents and our neighbors struggling to make rent payments, car payments, and utility payments on top of feeding five kids and themselves. I saw my parents, friends, and neighbors in our home discussing injustice, greed, and corruption of the political establishment and the corporations that put them in power.

When I reached adulthood, my life was altered significantly in a short span of time. I came out as gay, was diagnosed HIV+, and was thrown in to the sink or swim labor pool of capitalism. I was sad, scared, and mad as hell. I turned this anger into action and joined a group known as ACT UP. We accomplished a lot, yet many of my lovers and friends still died.

I am deeply committed to union activism. I went on strike with the United Teachers Los Angeles in 1989 (yes, I am an old dude). I brought in SEIU United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW) to USC University Hospital (now Keck Hospital). I am currently a Steward for my union, National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). We are Kaiser Permanente, striking the largest HMO provider in California. I see how Kaiser and our current profit-driven healthcare system literally kills people—it almost killed me.

I deeply believe that as a union, we fight for better conditions for our members and we fight for the workers in the communities we serve. I believe labor unions are the vehicle to broaden the class struggle to all workers. I see DSA as a growing political force and the catalyst for establishing a Workers’ Party. I have never felt more optimistic and hopeful about the future. My hope and optimism are based on democratic socialism and what we can accomplish together. We have a world to win!

How do you identify?

Male, Gay

 

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Erika Alvarez:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I would be a good delegate for our chapter because of my experience in activism, education and organizing well with other DSA activists. I am an educator, mother, Indigenous, Latinx, activist and former candidate for LAUSD School Board District 5. It is from this identity that I observed an exquisite need to organize my communities toward reforming an education governance that was no longer working for the communities it sought to serve. I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life and have experienced schooling as a private school student, as a public-school student and as public school teacher. I have observed how our public-school system has been underfunded and underserved for generations. I have seen the long-term effects that this lack of funding has and continues to shape our communities. Because I am a proponent of public community schools and am passionate about serving our communities in Los Angeles, I created the first and only app to organize communities of LA to fight for public education. The app is called ¡Huelga! LA Activist.

The creation of this app was the result of the very real pain I worked in daily— the pain that Los Angeles students felt in underfunded and under resourced public and charter schools in South Gate and in Los Angeles— the pain that I felt as a mother fighting for special education services for my daughter—the pain I felt as an educator, knowing that the representatives in my community had been bought and sold only to sell our students and entire education systems to failing billionaires in ‘get rich quick’ real estate ventures. Through all this pain, organizing has always been my saving grace. Whether that be in the classroom, at home practicing phonetic sounds with my daughter, out with my fellow indigenous pedagogical artists picketing for six days in the rain and without pay, shouting in front of LAUSD headquarters— with Tom Morello’s empathetic rage against a system that no longer worked— “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me,” or preparing to deliver a stump speech to community members looking for answers with me. My life’s work was and is in the legacy of healers that came before me—it’s simple; I support our communities. I see you. I love you. I will fight alongside you.    

How do you identify?

Indigenous Latinx Cis Woman

 

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Evan Geary:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As a delegate, I would put in the time to listen and read and make sure I’m prepared to represent your priorities at the convention.

As the recently elected co-chair of the chapter’s climate justice committee, my priority is to build solidarity in the fight for an eco-socialist future.

The climate crisis is exacerbating all the crises that we’re already fighting. But this crisis is also an opportunity remake our economy. This fight is wider and deeper than merely winning the presidency; as a delegate to the convention, I would advocate for dual-power base building rather than over-investment in one campaign. While I am grateful to Bernie Sanders for inspiring and educating so many people, in many areas (such as immigration, foreign policy and housing), Bernie is not nearly radical enough. The DSA has a responsibility to expand the overton window. DSA members should help with the Sanders campaign, but the DSA as an organization should focus on fielding down-ballot socialist candidates while simultaneously empowering workers to exert leverage outside of formal elections. Organized workers are the only force that can truly stop the exploitation machine before it’s too late for the planet.

How do you identify?

Cis-het white male, he/him

 

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Ezra Pugh:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I think I would be a good delegate because as a member of Steering Committee I have a bird's eye view of our chapter. I would endeavor to represent all of our chapter and not just a slice. As treasurer I am also in a position to talk to people at national about what they can do to help us financially.

How do you identify?

he/him/ his cis het white

 

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Forrest D.:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I’ve been involved with DSA for a few years now -- first in NYC where I co-founded the Queens branch, and since moving here in January, in DSA-LA. In that time I’ve seen some frustrating things and whole lot of encouraging things.

On the frustrating side, I’d like to see some better infrastructure from the national organization -- reliable, secure member data systems for one thing. And being cognizant of the fact that my experience resides in two very big chapters, I think that we could do more to support smaller and newer chapters materially.

But I’m mostly encouraged. Politically, I’m typically in favor of (coordinated!) decentralization and bottom-up initiatives. Our best results seem to come when passionate people start up and work on projects that matter to them, and then share the knowledge and skills they learned so others can kick-start their own ideas. And the best leadership, at least in a volunteer membership organization like DSA, plays a supporting role by empowering those initiatives, sometimes with resources and sometimes by connecting dots to related work.

Looking ahead to the future, I think we’re starting to hit a bit of a bottleneck in terms of growth. The national organization is still structured in a way that’s only democratic when the membership is a few thousand people. Now that we’ve grown so much, we need to reexamine that structure. I don’t think there’s a perfect answer, but I think building regional structures is probably a next good step.

Finally, I’m not a member of any particular caucus. If you’re wondering how I’d vote on various resolutions or for specific offices, the above lays out some of my guiding principles. But really being a delegate to the national convention is about representing the chapter to the rest of the organization -- so if anyone has any concerns or priorities they want to reach out to me about, feel free to message me on Slack.

How do you identify?

Straight white cisdude (but I'm trying)

 

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Francisco Cendejas:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I have been a member of DSA since 2012, and active in the LA chapter since early 2017.  As a member of the Steering Committee from mid 2017 through early 2019, and having been part of our labor, electoral politics, and immigrant solidarity work, I consider myself to have been one of the more active members of our chapter over the last 2 years.  I am also a member of the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission, DSA's national labor advisory body, established by one of the 3 Priority Resolutions of 2017.

I attended the 2017 DSA Convention, and was part of organizing and leading our LA delegation. Having a well-organized and coordinated delegation is essential for ensuring that our chapter has the voice within the national organization that it ought to, and as a delegate I expect to continue to do my part and share what I've learned.

How do you identify?

Chicano

 

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Gabe Gabrielsky:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As a registered Green and a life long advocate for independent political action and for building a mass independent labor party I am cognizant of the fact that my point of view is a minority position both within the national organization and the chapter. Also, it is a point of view that needs to be recognized and acknowledged both nationally and within the chapter and probably the oldest and most long standing debate within the Ameican left. Also, I see DSA as a distinct and identifiable traction within the American left, a tradition that extends from Eugene Debs to Norman Thomas to Michael Harrington and part of the obligation of the national organization is to train New members into that tradition.

How do you identify?

revolutionaty democratic socialist

 

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Gabriela N Freid:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Although I am a recent, official party member of the DSA, I have had a lifelong core belief in fighting for the intensely underfunded and overlooked education system that must foster a self sustaining awareness and skills of future generations. With that said, labor unions (as well as increased teacher salaries) are not only a powerful tool but fundamental to civil society in countering systematic bigotry, as history is told by the victor. If not for my access to passionate educators, my awareness to the corrupt actions taken by exploitiers (such as the one percent) to capitalize off of legal rule, would have been vulnerable. I am intensely committed to the DSA mission to create a more egalitarian society.

I am a 20 year old resident of Los Angeles attending UCLA studying art and global studies. I was raised in the public school system, living in Chinatown next to the Court Houses and Civic Center in lower Manhattan. This awareness and exposure allowed me to exercise my political activism both as a photo documentarian and as a demonstrator at rallies such as Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Labor and Climate Change demonstrations. I currently volunteer for numerous women's rights organizations including UCLA’s on campus magazine FEM as a graphic designer as well as took part of Girls Learn International, a chapter based organization dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds to fight for young women at the hands of globalization.

I witness daily the inequities between social classes. Hard working middle and lower class Americans are disadvantaged when trying to make ends meet for their families, obtain an education and have access to medical care without sacrificing their economic stability. The working class pays a disproportionate share of taxes that only seems to subsidize corporate tax breaks. I firmly do not believe in trickle down economics. It is a fallacy.

I will vigorously fight for DSA causes.

How do you identify?

Female

 

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Greg Gabrellas:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Like many in the DSA, I became a member after the 2016 Presidential election. I joined because I was inspired by DSA members' campaign to help Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination, which demonstrated that socialist politics was on the table again after decades of defeat by winning over millions of people to a program that included Medicare for All, free higher education, and progressive foreign policy. I'm motivated by my work in healthcare, which keeps my day to day focus on the damage inflicted on our bodies and minds by our struggling in a society that runs for profit as opposed to human needs. For the past two years, I've organized with our chapter to sustain our health care campaign, create political education opportunities for our members, and create relationships with the labor movement. Towards those ends, I helped organize a union at my workplace, and now serve on its committee representing over one thousand healthcare workers in negotiating our first contract. I plan to build on my two-years experience organizing with the chapter and the labor movement to represent us at the national convention. I believe that the future of the DSA is in organizing independent political campaigns, locally and nationally, centered on our common interests as workers. We must choose electoral endorsements carefully, but not avoid elections in the guise of purism. We should encourage our members to engage in a range of mass activity beyond the chapter, including rank-and-file union activism. Our road to power lies in identifying our opponents in the ruling, capitalist class, and creating unbreakable solidarity on the basis of person-to-person organizing across diverse working communities. Our City of Los Angeles is a major metropolitan area, and our movement’s nationwide success is contingent on our effectiveness locally. We must be mindful of the dangers we face if we fail: xenophobia and right-wing populism will rise if we are defeated by corporate Democrats. This convention may make or break our organization. Let's lend support to a national strategy to win a democratic socialist future for us all.

How do you identify?

he/him/his

 

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Jack Suria Linares:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Over the last 5 years, I have supported and facilitated efforts for the organization to change many of its positions on immigration and internationalism to more accurately respond to the current crisis. At the national level I have supported the development of our National International Committee to respond to situations occurring abroad as well as build institutional relationships between DSA as an organization to the labor and left organizations abroad. At the local level I am co-chair of the immigration justice committee and have supported efforts for border solidarity and local immigration organizing. In addition, I am an active member of the National Collective Power Network which has worked on national resolutions to be debated at the convention. I helped write the CPN International Resolution and supported in developing ideas on our other resolutions on membership growth, labor, regional formations, and supporting our national office. If elected delegate, I will be supporting these CPN resolutions and hoping that Los Angeles delegates and chapter members support these resolutions as well. I do support having the delegates of Los Angeles be expected to vote how the chapter responds to constitution and bylaw amendments and resolutions.

How do you identify?

Latino

 

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James Moy:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Marxist since the 90’s. Longtime trade union activist including rank and file member-leader. Experience with base-building and working with (and walking away from) coalitions. Some first hand familiarity with DSA Brooklyn and broader ideological spectrum within organization. Not prone to vulgar class reductionist pronouncements. Understand and accept comradely disagreement/debate and the need to enact democratic internal decisions once made.

How do you identify?

Male

 

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Jesus:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I'm a lifelong leftist in LA, union researcher, and community organizer. Currently campaign coordinator with California Nurses Assn/National Nurses United.

How do you identify?

Latino

 

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Joanna Swan:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As one of the 721,000 severely rent-burdened households in LA County, I would hope to connect my work in the Housing and Homelessness Committee, Street Watch, and the Services Not Sweeps coalition with other DSA members’ labors and life experiences around the country. I’ve seen what local, working-class power can accomplish via organizing with the LA Tenants Union; and I know the implications of a housing and homelessness crisis are intersectional, tied to the climate, labor, and healthcare crises we face. Hearing astroturf reactions to the Homeless Count this past week reminded me that we in DSA have a responsibility, more than ever, to raise our voices on the structural racism, ableism, gender violence, and carceral capitalism behind this number’s serious increase. While Mitch O’Farrell and other politicians want us to believe that LA is doing something different in its “caring” approach to homelessness and housing policy, we know otherwise--whether it’s taking campaign contributions from billionaires like Rick Caruso; legislating new laws (THIS WEEK) against vehicle dwelling; or keeping open channels to the .1%, it’s clear that LA’s power structures are just as married to capitalism as they are in Arlington, VA or Detroit, MI. Though I haven’t been a delegate before, I got to work my discourse muscle in a grassroots campaign to canvass for Loraine Lundquist, and I’ve been at city council meetings pretty regularly, demanding an end to criminalization of our unhoused neighbors. Through Street Watch monitoring and outreach work, I’ve gotten the opportunity to organize with and learn directly from comrades living on the street. Seeing cities like Eugene and Portland working towards medic-based models without a police presence (and even just hearing voices on Twitter like SF’s Coalition on Homelessness) helps me know that ours is a shared project, and does effect change. We need an opportunity like the Convention to bring our strategies and tactics together on a wider scale (IRL!), to share the labor we’ve done--what worked and what’s frustrating, and to mobilize more folx to partake in the crucial ground work. Thanks for your consideration!

How do you identify?

Pronouns she/her. cis/white/working class edging into the poverty class

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John O'Brien:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I wish to be a delegate for several reasons. The first is that as a long time LGBT Movement leader, I could be effective in organizing at the Atlanta national convention, to have an actual national LGBT DSA working group, that at present we do not have. This to both organize and support the current LGBT Movement and to challenge corporate interests trying to control and end that as an independent grass roots democratic decision making movement. I also would promote that DSA involves itself more actively in the two threats to the extinction of all life on this planet: Climate Change and nuclear weapons. And I would support all efforts for DSA to gather support for the Bernie Sanders for President Campaign, since Bernie is the only candidate who will seriously address and affect these two immediate threats to all life on this planet. And to encourage DSA to have staff/volunteers organize DSA chapters in cities and regions that now, do not have them. I have been a progressive activist for 57 years and 54 years as an experienced socialist, who would have good judgment to evaluate proposals and to support both those creative and realistic. I do not belong to any tendency in DSA and as an independent, would judge all proposals fairly with the only intent to make the DSA larger and more effective, by being inclusive and wanting a "big tent" where we can all work together effectively, on opposing capitalist greed and injustice. We need to build an effective united mass left, to counter the growing rightwing threat and expected Trump misadventures and efforts, to divide and oppress working people, especially through the poisons of racism and sexism.

How do you identify?

Gay male

 

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Jonathan Koch:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

My first serious involvement with politics was as a rank-and-file activist in UAW 2865, the union for Teaching Assistants, Tutors, and Readers at University of California. Today, I work as an organizer for 2865. What motivates my involvement with DSA, more than anything else, is my union. I have had the privilege of organizing alongside academic workers from all over the world, who come together in UAW to fight for public higher education in California.

Our workers can’t win on their own; nor can any workers. DSA has the potential to bring together different types of workers all across the country, to fight for all the things the employers only want for themselves: healthcare, housing, education; and for all the things the employers are too inhumane to want even for themselves: immigration rights, racial and gender equality.

I believe that to accomplish those goals requires two components: a labor strategy to build worker power in the workplace, and an electoral strategy to build worker power outside the workplace. Today, the strongest way to develop both components is to wholeheartedly join the struggle for a Bernie Sanders presidency. The Sanders campaign will involve millions of people in an organized fight for economic rights and political equality - right now, it is our greatest opportunity to join the working class in motion, win people to socialism, and create concrete change. The consequence of not joining this struggle is that we will be totally unprepared for the capitalists’ inevitable fightback, which follows any popular struggle, win or lose. The national convention is the best opportunity we’ll have to unite around an approach to the campaign.

It would be an honor to help build the DSA at the National Convention.

How do you identify?

he/him/his

 

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Jordan Ekeroth:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I would be honored to be chosen to represent our chapter at the national convention. I believe I would be a good delegate because I've been deeply involved in local work for a while, especially this year as an elected co-chair of Membership Committee. Those who know me and have worked with me know and can attest that I'm a reliable organizer who cares about the structural and political issues our organization faces, and also that I would faithfully represent the democratic disposition of our chapter membership at the national level. I also already have a basic understanding of Robert's Rules, which will allow me to participate on the floor at convention as needed.

How do you identify?

straight, cis, white, male (he/him)

 

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Joshua Smith:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Since joining DSA-LA a little over a year and a half ago, the organization’s grown to mean the world to me.

I was recently elected Communications Director of our chapter, part of our midterm Steering Committee, a role I’ve only properly held for a week or so.

In this time, I’ve most quickly pursued a collaboration with our AgitProp and Climate committees to produce chapter media for Loraine Lundquist’s City Council District 12 primary election last Tuesday. I’m adamant our chapter’s support helped pull off a shocking first place victory for Loraine in what is traditionally a Republican district.

I also worked closely last week with our Housing & Homelessness committee, Street Watch, and our NOlympics working group, to promote their crucial analysis of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s 2019 Homeless Count, a devastating 16% county wide increase in unhoused Angelenos over the last year.

An estimated 58,936 people were unhoused in LA County last year. 918 unhoused people died. I know those numbers, because I was asked to help shine a light on them by folks from the above groups.

I also helped spread the word on projects for our Mutual Aid Committee, LGBTQIA+ Caucus, Socialist Feminist Reading Group, and our comrades at National.

In the last week, our members have campaigned, designed, strategized, canvassed, phonebanked, donated blood, photographed, made animations, edited films, written press releases, hosted press conferences, given speeches, and engaged in innumerable internal conversations and votes to advance the cause of socialist liberation.

It’s with great pride that I help represent our struggle to the public. I’d be honored to represent the organization faithfully at its National Convention in Atlanta.

How do you identify?

White, cisgender, heterosexual man.

 

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Katrina Bergstrom:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As a member of DSA-LA for the last two years and an elected National Electoral Committee member, I’ve been inspired by the great work our chapter has been doing. I have primarily been involved in Electoral Politics and have helped to build the committee’s goals and processes and hope to continue to find ways to achieve wins for socialist candidates and ballot measures in LA County and grow our chapter’s membership. I believe in building resources to educate our membership on the positions and voting records of elected officials and I was part of the team that wrote last year’s voter guide. DSA’s national structure needs to adapt in tandem with its dramatic membership surge and as a member of the Socialist Majority Caucus, I support the very comprehensive and well-thought out approach our colleagues are proposing. I am also supportive of many of the other caucus’s positions and look forward to working in a comradely fashion with other members to fight for common goals for our organization. I hope to gain your trust in electing me to represent the chapter as a delegate and thank you for your support!

How do you identify?

Cis-gender, white, straight female

 

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Kelsey Goldberg:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Convention is a time for our Chapter to shape the national org in the way we'd like to see it. If selected to be a delegate I would make sure to represent the interests of our chapter. If we have a process similar to last convention where we poll the members on which of the resolutions they'd like to see pass I am happy to vote in accordance with the will of the chapter. When amendments are made on the floor that changes the resolution enough so that the straw poll cannot serve as guidance I will always consider the work our chapter is doing and whether the proposed resolution will strengthen and support the work I know our members are working on.

How do you identify?

Female

 

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Kyle G.:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I think I would be a good delegate for the chapter for two reasons:

1) I think I am a friendly, easygoing, and diplomatic person. Convention can get contentious, and so having a delegate who as an eye on maintaining and nurturing long-term relationships with each other and other chapters is important.

2) I like learning about and sharing best practices to improve organizing and organizations. I will prioritize engaging with members from other chapters in order to learn about new ways of improving our organizing and our chapter’s processes.

How do you identify?

Asian man

 

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Lenny Potash:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I've been active in DSA-LA for about 3 years working hard in healthcare, labor, pol ed and supporting actions from Prop 10 to Jackie's election. I'm interested and involved in international solidarity issues and actions. I want to be involved in helping to influence where and how DSA moves forward from here.

How do you identify?

Cys, he, him, his

 

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Liz Hirsch:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I joined DSA-LA in late 2017, and became active in a range of efforts and projects, from planning meetings for the socialist feminist education group, to phone banking for dues drives, to bottom-lining food prep for the local convention. I’ve been most active in Housing & Homelessness, serving as committee co-chair this past year, during the time of our chapter-wide commitment to prioritize housing justice. This work brought me into close contact with comrades across the city, state, and country, and broadened my understanding of the discourse around the rapidly growing tenants’ movement—and our capacity to influence it. I’m grateful for the contact I’ve had with committees and campaigns across the chapter, and our many coalition partners and allies. I have strong working relationships with many of our most active members, I’m well versed in the recent history and current configuration of this chapter, I’d like to think I’m increasingly well-versed in the local sociopolitical landscape of our region, and I think that I could represent the chapter responsibly as a delegate.

How do you identify?

White cis het woman

 

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Maikiko James:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I respectfully submit my candidacy for delegate to the 2019 DSA National Convention. I currently serve as Capacity Coordinator of the DSA-LA Membership Committee; served as a former at-large member of our Steering Committee, former coordinator and chair of our Anti-Oppression and Racial Justice Committees respectively; and am a member of Afro-Socialist and Socialist Majority Caucuses. I am also hoping to run for a seat on DSA’s National Political Committee, pending the endorsement of DSA-LA.

Convention provides a critical opportunity for our membership to determine the direction of our organization for the following two years. As we approach an unprecedented presidential election with the potential to move a huge number of people toward more progressive and radical positions, we must have plans in place to capture that interest and engage them in building socialism for all. I’m committed to growing our organization and cultivating an intersectional mass movement of the working class, doing so through methodologies centering racially equitable, socialist feminist, queer, and ecologically centered praxis. As an organization, we must constantly and intentionally be building relationships with communities and people disproportionately impacted by capitalism, understanding that current tactics have not yet created spaces with the representation that will be required to win.

As both a delegate and NPC candidate, I commit to keeping these issues prioritized as we continue to explore and develop multiple strategies to take power and create a liberatory and compassionate world.

How do you identify?

Woman; Chinese, Japanese, Black ancestry

 

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Mark Masaoka:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I want to contribute to the strategic conversations of DSA at the Convention and beyond. I bring a long and broad historical memory in the U.S. Left.

I was a member of a national, mostly people of color, socialist organization from the late 1970s through the early 90s. I was an attentive but inactive member of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. I joined DSA in 2017 and serve on DSA’s National Electoral Committee and our chapter’s Electoral Politics committee. I am a member of the chapter's Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, and the national Socialist Majority Caucus in DSA.

I worked in construction and automobile plants from 1973 to 1993, and was part of insurgent union caucuses in the Laborers and Auto Workers unions, and was an elected official at the General Motors Van Nuys plant. After the plant closed, I worked for SEIU and then in nonprofits on welfare rights, children’s issues, and for an association of Asian American nonprofits until I retired two years ago.

I helped organize a Little Tokyo Residents Association in the 1970s fighting redevelopment; was one of the original members of the Labor Community Strategy Center; was active in the Jesse Jackson campaigns in 1984 and 1988; was a board member of the African American Parent/Community Coalition for Educational Equity; participated in the WTO protests in Hong Kong in 2005 and U.S. Social Forum in 2007; helped found Asian Pacific Islanders for Immigrants Rights and Empowerment and later the API Environmental Justice Committees.

DSA is moving towards becoming the first mass socialist organization since the early 1940s and there are challenges of course. Achieving more racial and to some extent gender diversity, deepening ties and roots to the working class and building relationships and alliances with others who identify with socialist politics are our critical tasks ahead.

How do you identify?

Male (he, him), Asian Pacific Islander.

 

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Marlene Furth:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As a queer elder, i have lived through historic changes and am committed to a revolutionary future. My heart and soul is DSA. I am enlightened by young comrades, and bring formidable experience of struggle and survival. as we create a socialist future, the needs of elders must be addressed, and this voice also heard, we must begin to address not just healthcare, housing, but a humanistic vision of aging.

How do you identify?

Comrde, queer

 

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Marlin Medrano:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I am a Chicana, single mother, and a local activist in the San Fernando Valley. I also hold the Vice President seat on the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council. I hope to represent my community as a DSA delegate at the coming convention. Thank you for your consideration.

How do you identify?

She/Her

 

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Mason Mineo:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2015 and first got involved in politics shortly thereafter by way of the Sanders campaign. I have been active in DSA-LA since June 2017. In that time, I have taken active roles in many committees, most consistently Labor and Membership. Through the latter I co-host the Westlake/Koreatown Hangout. But most of you that know me, know me as the founder of YDSA Santa Monica College chapter, and since stepping back from Co-Chair in February, an advocate for its interests as the newly-created Regional Representative position. I hope to serve in Atlanta as a delegate for you all and the LA chapter first and foremost, but also to deepen my work advocating for the interests of YDSA within greater DSA.

I take the growth of the organization to be the single highest organizing priority.

Solidarity Forever.

How do you identify?

agender (they/them/[any pronouns])

 

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Max Belasco:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I have served two terms in chapter-wide leadership, and was the founder of the chapter's Labor Committee, which was responsible for programming such as HollywoodLabor, labor education organizing, and our UTLA Strike Solidarity campaign. I was responsible for organizing the chapter's presence for the 2017 and 2018 May Days, as well as organized programming for this year's International Working Women's Day.

I was a delegate for the 2017 national convention, and one of the key authors for the unanimously supported national priority resolution that created the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC). That experience helped me build relationships and a broad network of comrades across the country that traverses interest, tendency, and caucus affiliation. In addition to that I served as our delegations chief steward, ensuring that delegates were present and accounted for whenever the convention was in session. Along with this I also bring my 10 years of attending various political and labor conventions.

My main intention with running is to help the delegation represent the chapter and its work at national convention well, and to connect the LA chapter's delegation with networks that I fostered and developed over the last several years. The chapter will have to navigate some delicate dynamics given how publicly facing our internal issues have been this year, but we also must celebrate the work we have done in housing, labor, and other fronts. To do this well takes a lot of work, and I feel my experience and skills can be of service.

How do you identify?

A Mexican and a unionist.

 

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Melissa Arredondo:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I am a social worker and I am passionate about social justice, politics, and addressing issues that effect people of color, working poor, working class, and other marginal communities. I enjoy discussing topics that really matter and working with others to develop strategies to address the issues at hand.

How do you identify?

I am an Angeleno mixed race Latina

 

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Michael McCown:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I have been a union organizer since 2014; I have worked on campaigns in telecommunications, automotive, and higher education, and for a long time I saw my role in the labor movement as fulfilling my socialist politics. I joined DSA after Trump won the presidency. I felt the need to become involved in an organization with explicitly socialist politics, because clearly part of the great failure of the Democratic Party in 2016 was capturing the imagination of voters. It turns out ideas do matter to building worker power; when the major electoral parties don’t offer working people a real reason to participate, they don’t. Rather than shying away from our socialist politics out of canny “electability” arguments, our movement must stick to its principles to survive and win.

At the DSA convention this year, the ideas I want to support are Medicare for All, social housing and tenant organizing, and increasing our ties to the labor movement. I believe one of the ways we can be politically significant in our broader society is by strategically supporting the Bernie Sanders bid for the presidency, as Democratic Socialists. By canvassing independently, we can build the base of DSA from among the hundreds of thousands of the newly politicized that the campaign will generate, as it did in 2016. I also want to go to the convention because I believe it will be an invaluable opportunity to connect with other leftists in the labor movement across the country, and I hope to help our chapter build its ties to the labor movement and other DSA chapters nationwide.

How do you identify?

He / him, they / them

 

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Michael Stenovec:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

In 2016 I began work as a tenant advocate at a nonprofit eviction defense firm in Chicago. I quickly found the work extremely frustrating because, while I was able to help families stay in their homes just a little longer, it served only as a surface solution to a systemic problem. I joined DSA because I believe the solution to the housing crisis—and, more generally, the crises of capitalism—lies in building a mass socialist movement.

I currently serve as the recording secretary for the UCLA unit of UAW 2865, a union that represents 18,000 student-workers across the state of California. I’ve organized dozens of new members; I’ve led organizer trainings and facilitated meetings; I’ve worked to build our department stewardship network; and, in the fall of 2018, I led our unit’s campaign for Proposition 10. In this campaign I trained canvassers, planned walkthroughs in graduate student housing, and coordinated canvasses with Los Angeles DSA.

I’m running to represent DSA-LA at the National Convention because I believe that the labor movement is central to the socialist cause. If the past year has taught me one thing, it’s that there’s political power in a union: take, for example, the UTLA’s successful strike, and the Association of Flight Attendants’ threatened strike during the government shutdown.

But we can go so much further. I am convinced that a robust socialist labor movement is central to building the future that we need, a future with socialized housing, with renewable energy, with justice for workers.

Beyond strikes—which are just one of the tools we have—organized labor provides a site for bringing people across differences of race and gender in a common progressive movement.

My commitment to the labor movement, combined with my experience as a rank-and-file leader and organizer in my union, will guide my vote at Convention, where I also hope to meet other DSA labor activists so DSA-LA can become a part of a nationally-coordinated program to take collective action and build working-class power.

How do you identify?

he/him/his

 

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Miguel Camnitzer:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I have been a member of DSA-LA for just over a year now, primarily involved with the Housing and Homelessness Committee and the Prison Abolition Committee (for which I am currently interim Co-Chair). For Housing and Homelessness I have focused my energies on Street Watch, doing outreach and monitoring police and sanitation enforcement in encampments downtown and in Hollywood. For Prison Abolition, my Co-Chair and I plan to prioritize the study and practice of restorative justice, which is a fundamental strategy for dismantling our criminal punishment system and as well as a powerful tool for healing our chapter after the recent crisis surrounding sexual harassment and leadership’s handling of it. In addition to my committee work, I played a central role in relaunching the dormant LGBTQ+ Caucus this year, driven by a belief that a visible and active LGBTQ+ presence is necessary for recruiting new members who might otherwise feel intimidated or alienated. I would be an effective delegate because I am passionate about seeing our chapter rebound and thrive, and I have ideas for how to make that happen. At the convention I would work to foster connections with LGBTQ+ members from across the country. I am also eager to collaborate with other chapters on creative, community-based, non-punitive justice models for dealing with interpersonal harm among comrades. I am excited to represent our chapter, promote the incredible work that all of our committees are doing, and fight for our priorities across a wide spectrum of issues, from tenant organizing to ecosocialism, Medicare for All, labor, and immigration justice.

How do you identify?

I am a 39-year-old, queer/gay, polyamorous, white, cisgender man (pronouns: he/him).

 

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Nick Ballard:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I've been an member of DSA-LA for over two years. I've been a rank and file member, a committee officer, and a member of the steering committee. My familiarity with our chapter, the organization and its dynamics have prepared me to represent the LA chapter well. Attending the 2017 national convention not only informed me what it takes to broadly practice democracy, it also allowed me to interact and build relationships with socialists around the country. I'm committed to achieving victories for socialism worldwide and well prepared to hold a voting card on behalf of the Los Angeles chapter of DSA.

How do you identify?

He/him/his

 

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Olivia Eliasoph Gamboa:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Let me first say that I'm running in the case that there are not 47 delegates. I would definitely drop out if it turns out we have to pay for the trip out of pocket, or if my husband can't take off work. So please only vote for me if there are empty slots :)

I believe I could serve as delegate from LA partly because I grew up here, went to school here, and now teach here and have a daughter in school here. In other words, I am a part of the community of working, long-term Angelenos, and can speak to our interests and barriers to organizing. There are real community networks that we should tap into, and could if we had accessible and engaging person-to-person organizing. Many working people who already have communities around them engage only when presented with an accessible ‘ask’ that will be paid back with real progress towards our demands, and a chance to hope that we will eventually win.

To that end, I would go to the convention that DSA focus on campaigns with real world effects, that build political power, namely: the Green New Deal, Medicare4All, and the Bernie campaign (with a purposeful organizing route towards building a third party around his base should he lose).

How do you identify?

marxist

 

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Paloma Nafarrate:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I would be a good delegate because I bring a new perspective as Mexican and American female filmmaker part of various groups in addition to DSA, as ACLU and 350 and look for constant new ways of seeing, understanding and creating democratic, inclusive spaces. I want to continue improving my understanding and long term learning on democratic socialism as life style to keep bringing back, building movement, community and make a reality the DSA that reflects the world we want to see.

How do you identify?

She/her

 

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Paul Krehbiel:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I’m committed to building DSA-LA around a “Big Tent” philosophy, uniting members and partners around popular progressive issues, while encouraging bold and creative grass-roots initiatives. I work to advance political consciousness within a culture of mutual respect, trust, friendship, and compassion.

I’ve been involved in DSA-LA since early 2017, in the Labor Committee, Racial Justice Caucus, and Political Education Committee, where I was recently elected co-chair. I gave a presentation at our first Socialist Day School about the rank-and-file worker upsurge in the 1970’s, in which I participated. I also presented at a DSA public forum on US imperialism in Venezuela.

I have been active in the Los Angeles labor movement since the 1980’s, and a number of local and national peace and justice organizations, including a multi-racial, left-unity project called Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, founded by Angela Davis among others. I know the history of the labor movement and the left in LA for over 30 years.

I began in the late 1960’s as a union auto worker, later a Teamster, and helped found a progressive auto union caucus at work, and later was active with Teamsters for a Democratic Union. I support a rank-and-file strategy to empower workers on the job, while advancing political consciousness of all workers and leaders to make the union stronger and more progressive.

In the 2000’s, I built Stewards Councils in two LA public hospitals with SEIU workers, and was one of the leaders of campaigns to stop racial and sexual discrimination on the job, and help win statewide lower nurse-to-patient ratios.

I was an elected shop steward, local union president, and a chief union negotiator. I was the founding coordinator of LA Labor for Bernie in 2015-16, and I’m helping organize LA Labor for Bernie 2020.

I was a war resister during the Vietnam War, president of the Buffalo Draft Resistance Union, a delegate to PCPJ - the largest anti-war and social justice coalition during the Vietnam War, and was a leader of US Labor Against the War in LA during the Iraq War.

I have the ability to unite diverse people and bring out the best in them.

How do you identify?

He/him

 

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Ricky G.:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Because I’m skeptical of a lot of decisions made by the org on a national and local level. As well, it might be nice to have a minority tendency in the org represented that values our work beyond the electoral. Honestly, mainly because I stopped caring about reading twitter and basing my identity off of it a long time ago.

How do you identify?

Don’t care as long as it’s respectful.

 

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Ryan Andrews

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I joined DSA during the influx following the 2016 presidential race. Having volunteered for Bernie’s 2016 campaign only to watch him lose the primary, I realized nothing short of a multiracial mass movement is required to build the working-class politics he’d articulated.

I served on steering committees of the Chicago DSA (CDSA) North Side Branch and Labor Working Group as well as the CDSA Executive Committee, and represented CDSA on planning committees for May Day and Labor Day actions in 2017 and 2018. I was a worker leader in the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) campaign to unionize service workers at Second City. After we lost the union recognition election, I worked as a Fight For $15 organizer before relocating to L.A. and joining SAG-AFTRA. I'm active in Labor Committee, and I’m focused on organizing L.A. Labor for Bernie alongside comrades who prioritize rank-and-file unionism and class-struggle elections.

My experiences organizing with my coworkers at Second City and McDonald’s workers in motion were life-changing—however, I’ve come to see both campaigns as drops in the bucket toward rebuilding the organized labor movement. A militant minority of unionists and socialists has historically been the driving force of union power, yet union density in DSA is lower than that of the general U.S. population. I see this gap as an opportunity for DSA to take collective action and build working-class power in strategic sectors of the workforce.

To this end, I’ve decided to become a K-12 teacher and join workers who are already laying the groundwork for a revitalized international labor movement. If we continue political education efforts like the inspiring DSLC/YDSA publication "Why Socialists Should Become Teachers" around other strategic sectors like healthcare and logistics, we can collectively build an analysis and base of support for DSAers interested in getting rank-and-file jobs.

DSA’s campaigns will be better served when we become an organization that motivates socialists to become unionists and unionists to become socialists. If elected as a DSA-LA delegate to National Convention, I’ll support resolutions and NPC candidates committed to that same vision.

How do you identify?

he/him

 

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Scott C:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I am the co-chair of the DSA-LA Membership Committee and I have been consistently involved in our chapter's work since January 2017. In February this year I served as a representative at our LA Regional Conference where I got to work with and learn from DSA members from across California and Hawaii. For me, the most personally fulfilling DSA-LA projects I've contributed to include the Neighborhood Hangouts, the New Member Meet and Greets, and our organizer trainings. It would be an honor to serve as one of our chapter's delegates to the 2019 DSA National Convention. We have a world to win!

How do you identify?

cis/het white man

 

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Sedona Heidinger:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

It would be a true honor and a privilege to attend the National Convention as a representative of DSA-LA. Before my first Hollywood Hangout a year ago, I had such a limited conception of what a democratic socialist could be--what they should look like, what media they should consume, what actions they should take--and I felt pallid and tongue-tied in comparison. I had been a national member for some time, but I thought that my small financial contribution was the only value I possessed for DSA. I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

I was so inspired by the people I met at that Hangout that I knew I wanted to help create that feeling for others; despite being a new member myself, I immediately joined the Membership Committee to help with New Member Orientations. I am currently serving on the Trainings Subcommittee, supporting MemCom in revising and expanding our slate of trainings. This builds on my dedication to creating meaningful connections and varied entry points for new members, as well as for existing members looking to go deeper into anti-oppression work.

I am also eagerly assisting in the revitalization of the Socialist Feminist Reading Group, and I am keen to broaden its reach. As someone who regularly claims to put the “organize” in “organizer” (despite the inevitable groans I get in reply), I enjoy using my eye for detail and administrative skills to serve the chapter, and they are an important part of what I would bring to my role as a delegate. I would take copious notes, study extensively beforehand, and soak everything up for you like a good socialist sponge.

As I’ve grown in DSA-LA, the encouragement and empowerment I’ve received has helped me engage at a higher level than I ever thought I could. I am tremendously grateful to you, my comrades in MemCom and beyond, for that. You are why I am running to be a convention delegate: I see how much, how seriously, and how selflessly you give, and I am committed to rising to meet you.

How do you identify?

she, her, hers

 

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Sergio Davila:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I have been an active member in the chapter for about a year and a half. In that time, I believe that I have learned a lot about the tactics our chapter uses to attack capitalism on multiple fronts. I have learned that our chapter does not simply engage in electoral work to score points. Campaigns we create have an eye toward base and coalition building in order to lay the groundwork for us to further protect public goods or achieve housing justice. Our chapter engages directly with community members, such as our unhoused neighbors, to work with them to create pressure campaigns against our callous city government. Within our chapter, we also value mutual aid. It’s a tactic we employ to make our meetings more accessible, support striking teachers, and help our neighbors avoid interactions with police. These are just a few tactics our chapter engages in to advance socialism.

Through my involvement in our chapter I have also come to further understand that many of the forms of justice that our committees work towards, are intrinsically tied together. For example, by attending Housing & Homelessness and Climate Justice meetings, I have learned that liberal environmentalism will fail to achieve housing justice for tenants, while ecosocialism will help our planet survive and address systemic problems that lead to housing being out of reach for many in the working class.

I believe I will be a good delegate for the 2019 DSA National convention, because I will carry what I have learned from our chapter to the convention. I see it as an opportunity to amplify the work of our chapter, which is something I tried to do in my time as San Fernando Valley Branch Coordinator and that I will try to do as a member of the current Steering Committee. If elected, I will work hard to coordinate with other members of the delegation to represent our chapter as best as possible.

How do you identify?

Latinx, person of color, cis male

 

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Shannon Garland:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I research social organization, labor and capitalism as my career. My works requires me to listen to a multiplicity of perspectives and draw commonalities across them while noting nuance, disagreement and conflict. I’m also highly trained in checking assumptions against historical or cross-cultural (to use an inadequate phrase) difference, always with an eye towards what kind of hegemonic powers might be being reproduced through certain actions and discourses. I think we have to have a firm grounding in the history that has produced our current conjuncture, and to try to undo the world we’ve made by listening to those whose perspectives have been ignored in its making. I try to incorporate this into my thinking, of course, but also the actions I take around that thinking, and vice versa. I try (as I best as I can within the confines of the neoliberal workplace) to organize my colleagues, while learning from the process about the challenges to such organization so that organizing can be improved. I am a steward and recording secretary of my union, for example, and am pushing the conversation about precarious labor in a field that doesn’t want to hear it. I also, through my research, have an eye towards transnational political processes and social movements, which gives me some perspective on both strategies and pitfalls that DSA faces and/or might face. I have followed the rise and transformation of an activist organization to a major articulator of political power to a relatively ineffectual “hipster activist” type of space that appropriates poor POC social movements as its own. I saw close hand the internal power struggles at play in that process, and how the lack of modes of effectively dealing with them in the group’s rise to power ultimately became its undoing (in addition to raising very serious ethical problems, especially with regards to gender and sexuality). In sum, I would go to the convention as someone constantly learning about DSA and different modes of organizing, but who will also bring a historically/ transnationally informed critical eye to the convention process and to DSA’s growth. In solidarity.

How do you identify?

straight white tomboy lady who often reads as queer to others and thinks that's just fine

 

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Shelby Li:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

As an elected member of DSA-LA leadership, I have a good overall understanding of the political positions and status of our particular chapter. I am eager to have conversations with people within our chapter to understand the range of thought within DSA-LA, and if elected, I am determined to vote in a manner that is representative of the political will of our membership. Being a delegate for our chapter would be a good opportunity to engage with and learn from members of other chapters, and to gain perspective about how we can organize more effectively at local, regional, and national levels; if elected I would do my darndest to share those insights with our greater chapter.

How do you identify?

cis woman of color

 

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Steve Couch:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I've given countless hours of my life to this organization both as a member of various committees, but formerly as a member of the steering committee. I am intimately familiar with the shortcomings of our organization and will through the convention and beyond, work even harder to attend to these deficiencies, both in our chapter and in the national organization.

How do you identify?

Cis het white male

 

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Sydney Ghazarian:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

In 2017, I was a DSA-LA Climate Justice co-chair who was elected as a convention delegate on the promise of expanding the nearly nonexistent focus on ecosocialism to a mainstay of DSA organizing.

At convention, I initiated the creation of the National DSA Ecosocialist Working Group, and I have been in leadership ever since -  spearheading its growth to 1000 members and 40+ new Ecosocialist committees nationwide; building its infrastructure through social media, outreach, and campaigns. As a leader, I have consistently worked to extend the perception of climate justice to encompass all social justice issues through committee outreach and efforts like the Ecosocialist WG endorsement of a prison strike and rallying climate organizations to participate in DSA’s Week of Action to #AbolishICE. Recently, I played a lead role in driving the creation of the DSA Ecosocialist GND Principles, which received endorsement from 50+ DSA chapters, caucuses, and groups - and National DSA through the NPC. I’ve been preparing the working group for 2019 convention and co-authored a Green New Deal resolution with over 600 individual endorsements so far.

My point is that I keep my promises.

For 2019 convention, I have new promises. First, if I am selected as a delegate, I will continue building ecosocialism within DSA and fight for a socialist seat at the table to determine the outcome of the Green New Deal and ensure it embodies working class, socialist demands like universal healthcare and public housing. Second, I will proudly represent DSA-LA and advocate on our behalf.

I have represented DSA-LA in coalitions, events, and speeches with positive feedback; successfully navigated national DSA politics, and made wonderful connections with DSA members across the country. These experiences give me confidence in my ability to positively represent DSA-LA and ensure that our chapter returns from convention with the respect and good-standing it deserves.

I believe in our chapter and this organization; I have given my time, energy, and focus to its work. It would be an honor to represent DSA-LA at convention and I hope you will choose me as a delegate.

I promise to make you all proud.

How do you identify?

white cis woman

 

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Tal Levy:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

Hi, I’m Tal and I’ve been organizing with DSA Los Angeles for over two years, since January 2017. I’m running to be a delegate because I believe DSA has the potential to grow into a true mass socialist organization. I’ve been primarily involved in the past two years in building internal infrastructure in DSA-LA, managing most of our member data, email tech, and contributing to various structural projects including our bylaws, internal onboarding and organizer trainings, branching policy and support, and dues drives. I’ve also participated, generally not as a key organizer, in UTLA strike support, in Prop 10 and Jackie Goldberg canvassing, and a wide variety of other chapter events and actions.

At the DSA National Convention, I’m interesting in building deeper ties with members around the country, especially in chapters across California and the southwest, and collaborating to build stronger regional and national infrastructure, as a part of an intentional shift in how DSA grows as a national organization.

That shift includes an intent to grow DSA into a mass organization, by prioritizing growth and democratic participation of members with less free time to spend organizing with DSA, attending meetings, and doing administrative work. In the past two years, DSA-LA and DSA as a whole have largely prioritized members who can donate a significant amount of time to being activists in our local committees, and an evolution beyond that would not be possible without the core that we’ve developed, but it’s now time for DSA to expand its infrastructure and take intentional steps to evolve beyond our current model as a network of activists into a mass organization. I am a signatory to the Collective Power Network’s “Towards Power” Program and to its convention resolutions.

How do you identify?

I use he/him pronouns, and identify as mixed-race, Asian-American, and ethnically Jewish.

 

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Tej Bhakta:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I served as a branch coordinator for the San Fernando Valley. When I wasn’t helping organize branch meetings, I was active with the weekly SFV Street Watch initiative. During one sanitation crew visit, I got up early for multiple, consecutive days to help unhoused individuals pack up their belongings so their property wasn’t taken from them. I was also active in the Mutual Aid Committee, and helped secure the location for the recent Brake Light Clinic. I’m proud of this work, and I believe we positively impacted the lives of a number of individuals in my community.

I also helped with the strike support DSA-LA provided to UTLA in the Valley. On the picket line, I witnessed the inspiring culmination of a different approach to building power--the collective action of the rank and file organized by the Union Power caucus which had won internal elections in UTLA five years earlier.

The reason I joined DSA was not because I’d been a longtime leftist, but because I had been inspired by the simple, class-struggle message of the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016. That’s why, having had experience in mutual aid, strike support, and class-struggle elections, I’ve come to believe democratic socialist politics is about achieving the concrete working-class power necessary to wrest control of our society from the capitalist class.

That means building political institutions that can capture and wield state power through a class-struggle oriented electoral strategy, and it means building economic power through a genuine rank-and-file strategy in strategic sectors of the economy. It means running a national Green New Deal campaign, and having consistent political education infrastructure in place for individuals like me who will be participating in socialist politics for the first time.

DSAers should feel empowered to do the work that’s most meaningful and impactful in their eyes. For me, that has come to mean building socialism in the workplace and supporting socialist electoral work, both arenas for fomenting class struggle and spreading class consciousness. I look forward to the opportunity to represent DSA-LA and our program for building power at Convention.

How do you identify?

He/him

 

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Zev Frank:

Please explain why you would be a good delegate for our chapter.

I’m running for convention delegate because I want to help build DSA into a mass socialist organization capable of transforming our society. I see our chapter and city playing a critical role in that struggle. In order to strengthen and expand upon the historic gains of the past few years we need to prioritize work that will grow the organization and develop our membership simultaneously – locally, regionally and nationally. We can accomplish this by prioritizing initiatives like a radical Green New Deal, rebuilding the American labor movement through rank-and-file unionism, investing in political education and contesting elections as a means by which to build working class power.

I recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, where I experienced firsthand the power of mass, chapter-wide campaign work to make more socialists – and then transform them into committed organizers for our movement. As a coordinator of Chicago DSA’s Mobilizer Committee, I helped plan and lead new member orientations, plugging folks into ongoing campaigns like the fight to Lift the Ban on Rent Control and the recent aldermanic campaigns which resulted in 6 socialists now sitting on the Chicago City Council. I also served on the chapter’s Executive Committee, worked on Carlos Rosa’s reelection campaign in the 35th Ward and, as a union member, was in the Labor Working Group, coordinating strike support as a picket captain for CTU’s historic strike of the Acero / Uno Charter network.

Outside DSA, I was involved with the Chicago chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Palestine solidarity organizing, in particular the campaign to end ‘The Deadly Exchange’ whereby police departments in the US train with the Israeli military and law enforcement in order to share worst practices.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our chapter and larger movement at the convention in August and humbly request your vote. Solidarity.

How do you identify?

he/him/his

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