Proposed Amendments and Statements in Favor and Against the Bernie 2020 Working Group Proposal

Below are member submitted amendments and statements in favor and against the recently submitted, Bernie 2020 Working Group Proposal.

The final proposal, incorporating any accepted amendments, will be emailed to membership with a ballot on Friday, July 26th. This page will be updated daily between now and midnight, the night of Friday, August 2nd, when voting closes. Results will be announced Saturday, August 3rd.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

Democratic Elections for Working Group Leadership and Open Membership - Andrew P

This amendment seeks to ensure that our internal democracy is preserved throughout the construction of the Bernie working group without hampering our ability to respond to our needs in an agile manner. It gives committees the option to hold elections if they desire, or if members are unhappy with the appointments of their leadership, while still allowing the agility to fill the various roles within the committee (should leadership choose to do so). Furthermore, it makes the Press Secretary a required position, as this proposal is clearly intended to be completely public-facing with a large focus on relating information to the public (as the various AgitProp positions would indicate), and as the proposal also does have an emphasis on listening to the various committees, it would be more internally consistent that the committee's comms liasons--who make up the communications committee--would be able to make sure that they have a representative to ensure that their campaigns are represented fairly and accurately in relation to our Bernie work.

This amendment will modify Section 2, inserting a clause as a new clause 9 and 10:

"2.9: All appointed positions shall be superseded by elected representatives from the relevant committees, relevant to approval of Steering as per subsection 2.8.

2.10 A petition of at least 10 members of a committee or branch may petition to hold an up-or-down vote to approve of their respective representatives. If a majority of committee or branch members in a subsequent poll, with a quorum of 25 members, vote not to approve this representative, elections to replace the appointee will be held."

This amendment also modifies section 2.2:

"2-3 Canvass Leaders per Branch - Appointed by Electoral Politics Committee, and affirmed by the Branches through election (an up-or-down vote, simple majority)  (REQUIRED)"

This amendment modifies section 2.3:

"A campaign-wide Financial Compliance Officer - Appointed by the Finance Committee (REQUIRED)"

This amendment modifies section 2.5:

"A campaign-wide Press Secretary appointed by the Communications committee (REQUIRED)"

This amendment will append the following to section 2.11 (formerly section 2.9):

"Committee membership as a rank-and-file member, and all working group meetings, will be open to all members of the chapter.

To cosign this suggested amendment, CLICK THIS LINK.

Amendment Cosigners:

1. Joshua S, Communications Director

2. Sung Woo L

3. John S: "Mostly, but this isn't AN amendment, it's 4 amendments of kindred spirit and while I agree with needing review of appointments, I don't like the first part because it sets a bad (IMO) precedent of empowering branches to make decisions" - 7/25/19 

Update: These amendments were received as friendly and were incorporated into the authors' final proposal with minor, technical revisions. - 7/26/19

Amendments are now closed.

STATEMENTS IN FAVOR

Support Bernie!! - Leila S

Support Bernie Sanders.

We must support Bernie Sanders. He is the only one to lead our country forward. There is no other candidate who is fighting for the policies to help our citizens. From healthcare to a living wage to GND to anti-war, on and on, Bernie is working to help bring our country to a better place. - 7/18/19

The time is now - Chris O

Our country is in the midst of a major crisis that we must address from the bottom up and top down simultaneously.

We have 12 years to address climate change or the continuation of human life on Earth is in question. Children and migrant men and women are in cages. People are without healthcare. Homeless people fill the streets. These are symptoms of a dying ideology that is in urgent need of replacement by Democratic Socialism. While working locally is incredibly important, the crisis we face is so great that we simply don’t have time to wait for national representation. We need all the help we can get, at every level of government. We need a national leader than understands the urgency of our problems and can mobilize more people to our cause. The Bernie Sanders campaign is a unique opportunity to educate our community about what we stand for, what our vision for the country through the lens of a national race that has great public awareness. Involvement with the campaign gives us the opportunity to onboard new comrades that can fight for a true revolution that forever destroys the forces propelling the capitalist structure, forces like the military-industrial complex, large corporations and the super wealthy, the forces that have used their money and power to turn our country into an oligarchy. Not working from inside the Bernie Sanders campaign takes more resources, but allows us autonomy to focus on the issues important to the DSA and makes sure we never put a national campaign ahead of the issues of our community. It also allows us to use the campaign gateway to our organization. Barack Obama once said to a room full of bankers, “I’m the only person standing between you and the pitchforks.” It’s time to put all the support we can behind a leader that stands with the pitchforks and seeks justice for those that have been abused by a system that has sacrificed human dignity to “the market.” If we don’t do everything we can to fight for a Bernie Sanders presidency, we may one day be left wondering what could have been. How large could our movement have grown? How fast could we have reached a tipping point and gained enough control to really push through a transformational agenda that forever changed our government, communities and society? We need to support this campaign. It will benefit DSA-LA, benefit our community and country and benefit each individual that becomes involved as they will feel some agency in the fight for our country. - 7/18/19

In Support - Iris E

I’m a member of your group but due to logistics don't attend meetings.

I am all for Bernie, though, and hope DSA endorses him. - 7/18/19

I support Bernie Sanders - Hector M

I support Bernie Sanders

I heard Mr. Sanders speak at the LA Sports Arena in 2016 and was amazed how simple, down to earth, and logical his ideas were. I immediately began to donate to his campaign, which marked the first time in my 28 years of being an eligible voter to have attended a politcal rally, and donated to a candidate at any level. I watched with dismay as the DNC committed vast and egregious voter fraud on the national level to shoehorn their pre-determined candidate into the nomination. About a week after the California primary, I left the Democratic Party. Some time after that, I joined the DSA. And, Bernie is the reason why. - 7/18/19

Endorsement of Bernie Sanders proposal - Norman J
I support the proposal to form a DSA-LA Bernie Working Group
Bernie Sanders is without a doubt the best candidate for president. He is a seasoned administrator, innovative tactician, experiences problem solver, and proven legislator. His solutions to predatory capitalism are needed immediately. He speaks of the needs of all of us, not just the 2% at the top of the wealth index, who now control most of the wealth in this country. I also believe that he will dedicate himself to eradicating the racism upon which this country was founded and continues to functionm I also believe that he will dedicate himself to eradicating the racism upon which this country was founded and continues to function - 7/18/19

Bernie Support - Arun R

Bernie is the closest candidate with a chance to win that comes even close to DSA goals and ideals for america’s future.

I strongly support endorsing Bernie because he is the only candidate even close to possibly enacting our collective goals and ideals for a better democratically socialist american future. - 7/20/19

Build our base via the Sanders campaign - Staci O

Supporting the Sanders campaign provides us not only with the best chance at electing a President that supports so many of our goals but also an opportunity to build DSA's base by utilizing key campaign issues.

I, like many DSA members both in L.A. and nationwide, learned about the organization via Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign. Since then, we’ve grown in number and have even won local and statewide elections across the country. Now is our best chance to gain broader support for our agenda and to help elect a President who is a self-avowed Democratic Socialist. Using the independent expenditure campaign, we can use our own materials to not only campaign for Sanders but educate communities in L.A. about DSA and the work we do. This proposal lays out a plan to do that and I support it. While it will take significant effort and energy, I think it is a vital undertaking. Momentum is on our side right now. We have to harness it. I fully believe it is possible for our chapter to support this type of electoral work while also continuing to focus on direct action and other important ongoing work. I recognize that Sanders isn’t a perfect candidate. That candidate doesn’t exist. But he is our best shot at achieving things like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, student debt cancelation and free tuition. Campaigning for Sanders will also surely grow DSA’s numbers both locally and nationally. I encourage DSA LA members to support this proposal to endorse Bernie Sanders for the democratic presidential primary and form a DSA-LA Bernie 2020 Working Group. -7/21/19

 

Please Vote for Sanders2020 Endorsement and Working Group - Alice B

I believe the LA Chapter working in support of a Sanders candidacy will benefit the chapter and the movement's growth, as as well as providing vital assistance to the Sanders campaign.

My experience canvassing for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary campaign showed me how his particular combination of authenticity, consistency and focus can energize people from underserved communities who have otherwise completely given up on the American electoral system. I met people who had been citizens for decades who had never before registered to vote signing up their entire extended families just to vote for him. He has the potential to move people from passive despair to positive action. The growth of DSA after the 2016 campaign shows his value to the organization. The working group proposal is designed to ensure that DSA-LA’s work on behalf the Sanders candidacy does not merely replicate his own campaign and drive people to the polls for him, but to use this opportunity to expand people’s understanding of democratic socialism, the work that DSA-LA is already doing, and increase interest in participating in DSA, not merely party politics. This is demonstrably a win-win proposal: help get the ONLY viable left candidate elected president, while expanding awareness of the values of democratic socialism and its potential for concrete benefits right here in Los Angeles by joining the DSA.

Our corrupted electoral system is profoundly problematic, but there are mountains of evidence that if significant numbers of alienated non-voters participate in this primary, they can overwhelm the processes in place to suppress, shred and wash their ballots. If Bernie wins the primary despite the efforts of the party establishment, he can win the election. But for that to deliver real change, there will need to already be established extensive grassroots networks to fight corporate and ruling class propaganda, and energize the populace to agitate on behalf of vital policies like Medicare For All, true free public education for all, housing justice, freedom from carceral slavery, etc. Getting him elected is just the first step to real change and a socialist future. DSA-LA working in support of him now doesn’t just help get him elected; it lays the groundwork for ensuring that the goals and policies DSA shares with him can be enacted, and that his presidency would successfully move the country’s actual governance in a more just, equitable, socialist direction.

There is no point in waiting for the general election. The primary is where the party intends to and has the power to stop him, and all leftward change. Whichever Democratic candidate wins the primary is guaranteed to get California’s electoral votes. If Bernie wins California in the primary, it becomes much, much harder to stop him from getting the nomination. That is why the California Democratic Party, which is corporate-aligned and deeply corrupt, moved the primary forward as part of its strategy to block him from the nomination, to keep him from building up the momentum he needs to win. If DSA-LA is going to support him, the time to do it is NOW.

The notion being heavily promoted by liberal media outlets and mouthpieces that Elizabeth Warren is “exactly like Bernie” or that candidates like Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg are “progressive” is utter nonsense. All of them are servants to capital and corporate power. Elizabeth Warren says herself that she is capitalist “down to her bones.” She has acknowledged on numerous occasions that she believes in the neoliberal, technocratic idea that highly educated insiders have the right to rule over the many, deciding things in secret as they see fit. Her vision of a Green New Deal is a “green” imperial military, not a reduced military. She occasionally pretends (like Harris) to support Medicare For All, but (like Harris) contradicts this support routinely. Her staff is replete with former health insurance lobbyists and staffers. Likewise, her top education policy adviser comes from and supports Teach For America, which was created to weaken and bust unions. She misunderstands what a fiat currency is and can do (a serious problem if we actually want universal policies funded and enacted). Major figures on Wall Street are already saying they’re fine with her being elected. If they’re fine with her, how can socialists be, as well? Her policy prescriptions tend to be weak and incremental. Often, as with her latest housing proposal, they could arguably make the crisis worse, in this case by handing money to developers and trusting in “the market” to make things right. She’s a capitalist down to her bones, remember. Moreover, she has terrible political instincts. The CFPB was kneecapped by the Democratic establishment almost immediately; it’s a perfect example of why and how even well-intentioned liberal approaches are so ineffective.

As to Harris and Buttigieg, Harris prosecuted poor parents for being poor and protected wealthy criminal bankers in order to get campaign cash. She may talk progressive when it is to her advantage, but she walks the corrupt, neoliberal walk, ALWAYS. Buttigieg’s time as Mayor of South Bend is mostly known for his firing of black police officers to protect racist white police officers, punishing low income, often black homeowners for being low income with fines that in many cases robbed them of their homes, and then implementing policies to harass and roust the homeless to please his upper income base. I understand why the MSNBC audience likes him. I cannot understand why a democratic socialist would.

There is ONE presidential candidate who aligns with DSA’s values and goals, who also has the proven ability to govern and legislate in accordance with those values and goals. He needs DSA’s help right now, and it can benefit DSA as an organization in both the short and long term to help him. I say we help put Bernie Sanders in the presidency and then push his administration further left. Who’s with me? - 07/25/19

STATEMENTS IN OPPOSITION

In Opposition - Terry B

I submit that we should conserve our resources until the main election. otherwise we will probably be pissing in the Wind. - 7/18/19

Opposing Bernie Sanders Endorsement - Bonnie V

I oppose endorsing Bernie Sanders because there are better candidates running.

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg are the three progressive candidates who have a more complete array of solutions and have proven their ability to be inspiring while also doing the detailed work to put solutions into action. I think it is too early to divert resources and time and energy to just one candidate, and specifically to Bernie Sanders.  I would be in favor of using resources, time and energy to support Warren, Harris and Buttigieg to make sure they stay in the race. These are three candidates who are able to go toe-to-toe with Trump while also connecting with voters.  Their individual life stories also have given them a perspective on what it takes to face obstacles, persevere, and surmount those obstacles.  Those life stories also have given them an empathy towards people who are struggling and face discrimination, and this percolates into their policies and actions. In the debates they have stood out for several reasons: their ability to think on their feet and go beyond general answers, dissembling answers, repeated stump speech answers, and give thoughtful answers, communicate policy without being so wonky that they lose their audience, and allowing their honest but not out-of-control emotions to connect with voters.  In the case of Warren and Harris, they have also shown their strength and intelligence in Congressional hearings, and Buttigieg answering the debate question about racial problems in his city with a forthright "I didn't get it done" shows a strength of character to admit a mistake while trying to fix it, a quality sorely lacking in 99% of politicians.  Bernie Sanders is very passionate, but in all his years in congress he has passed very little legislation and is short on details. I admire and respect him, but I think it's a mistake to divert resources to Bernie Sanders when we have three candidates with as much passion and progressive policies, but who also have real and detailed answers to  the dire problems that confront us while also having the strength to stand up to Trump. - 7/19/19

DSA or SDA - Mason A
Bernie Sanders is not a democratic socialist.
Contrary to his self-identification, Bernie Sanders is simply not a socialist by any definition of the word. His views align completely with social democracy, a set of well-intentioned policies which do very little to actually dismantle capitalism -- one could argue that a welfare state is a crutch which allows the free market to continue unencumbered. Electing a social democrat brings us no closer to true socialism than electing a liberal; socialism and capitalism are binary options, not a spectrum. I understand the desire to engage in electoral politics as democratic socialists, but this proposal really raises the issue of what the DSA really wants to achieve in the long-term. An endorsement of Bernie Sanders, in my opinion, sends the message that aspiring socialist activists should look elsewhere for a like-minded organization. 7/26/19