Analysis for Endorsement of Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Presidential Primary and Formation of DSA-LA for Bernie 2020 Campaign Working Group


As the Bernie 2020 Interim Strategy proposal contemplates the creation of a “major project” and “endorsement”  which will require Local resources, will represent the Local publicly and will have political goals, we are submitting this following overview to the chapter membership for their review as per the chapter Steering Committee’s request. 


Although we have already provided  a separate analysis that our proposal aligns with the platform of the Electoral Politics Committee, we are sure that the proposal will require a significant level of resources (including funds, time, political capital and people power).  


Therefore, in accordance with Article VI. Local Decision-Making, Section 2. Roles and Responsibilities of the Committees, Working Groups, Resource Committees, and the Steering Committee, we are providing herein a detailed analysis that explains why and how the proposal aligns with the Local Mission and Organizational Priorities.  


We have worked with the Steering Committee to advance this analysis to allow for a full chapter debate of this proposal at our next  monthly Chapter Meetings on July 20th, 2019, to be followed by a subsequent Local-wide vote. 


At the time of this submission, the attached proposal has received the endorsement of more than 25 members in good standing. 


Proposal Analysis



    1. Work with the voters of Los Angeles—in solidarity with the city’s most disenfranchised communities—to put people in power at every level of government who will use their popular mandate to work for a socialist future. 
    2. Work with allied groups and organizations to put pressure on elected officials who are in positions to advance our chapter’s goals. 
    3. Build the knowledge and relationships necessary to make DSA-LA as a whole as effective as possible.
    4. Keep our members (and the voters of Los Angeles at large) informed about upcoming elections, enhance electoral political education throughout the chapter and the city at large, and defend voting rights and ballot access for all.
    5. Hold a series of voter registration and get out the vote drives throughout the city to both increase voter registration and raise DSA’s visibility in the public sphere.
  1. Proposal Component: 
    1. What is the proposed endorsement? 
      1. Is it an event, ballot measure, candidate, DSA-initiative, etc.? 
        1. The proposal is for DSA-LA’s endorsement of Senator Sanders for the 2020 Presidential Election and the formation of a chapter-wide working group to organize around this campaign. 
      2. How is the “ask” or call-to-action specifically framed, e.g., read a statement, attend an event, call your representative, vote a certain way?
        1. The proposal is very detailed in how it wishes to form a working group and organize various events.  
    2. What resources will be needed? 
      1. Does it require any chapter or committee funding? 
        1. The proposal does not specifically ask for funding from the chapter, however, as work begins, if there are any specific funding needs the committee may from time to time ask Ssteering to consider allocation of some funds.  Additionally, the working group may seek to perform -specific fundraisers to fund its work.
      2. Does it require getting people to show up to and/or participate in an event?
        1. Yes, the working group  will actively seek and recruit volunteer members to participate in various events such as canvassing, phone and text banking and other events for the campaign’s visibility
      3. Does it require mobilizing members and organizers? 
        1. Yes, the working group  will need to access membership lists (for phone/text banking), chapter social media and shout outs at meetings  in order to get the word out for campaign based work and events. 
      4. Why should supporting this be a priority, given that we cannot effectively devote our resources to every issue? In other words, does the level of resources required line up with political importance or relevance? 
              1. How would this advance or support DSA-LA’s current committee work, and the organization broadly? 
                1. How does it specifically support the work being done in any of our issue-based committees and working groups? 
                  1. The proposal seeks the participation of representatives from each of the committees in the form of appointments to this committee (not all are required, just recommended) and if the respective committee is unable to appoint a person, this working group  will still actively seek input and ideas from others as it creates canvassing materials, phone and text banking scripts and platform talking points. 
                2. Why should this effort be prioritized now, and not at a future date? 
                  1. Time is of the essence.  As we lost many months due to the leadership changes earlier this year and had to postpone our convention, the ideal schedule of beginning this work is already late. Those who have been coordinating on building this proposal have put in many hours and have worked as diligently as possible to get this proposal ready in as short a time as possible. 
                3. How might it build relationships with other DSA chapters, or DSA National?
                  1. This working group will primarily be a chapter-centric focus, however, we plan to work with National to utilize the resources made available to us including Spoke (text banking), website/event mapping, compliance support, FEC reporting, and VAN access (for canvassing). We believe that it is imperative that DSA-LA create its own Bernie 2020 campaign working group for many reasons. For one, Sander’s platform, although not perfectly aligned with all of DSA’s platform issues, is by far the most aligned of all the presidential candidates and this may be a once in a lifetime chance to elect a person such as Senator Sanders. His extreme popularity and inspiration to many working class people everywhere including LA ignites passion and motivation for average people to get to work organizing. We believe that DSA-LA’s membership and activity will increase dramatically through working on Bernie’s campaign. The largest growth in DSA’s membership occurred after Senator Sanders’ 2016 run, and there is no reason to think it would not happen again if he is able to win the primary, or at the very least, seriously challenge the eventual primary winner. Because it will be an Independent Expenditure campaign, we will also have the freedom to work on down ticket candidates and ballot incentives simultaneously.  Ultimately, we believe that this work will be integral to laying the groundwork for future electoral work and issue based organizing that DSA-LA will lead for years to come. Additionally, although individuals are free to organize within Bernie’s campaign directly, working through DSA is a better idea because 1. We can create our own materials / push our own issues / push more than Bernie’s campaign might, 2. We can incorporate down ticket candidate support / issue support in our work which couldn’t be done with Bernie’s campaign directly, 3. We collect our own data and increase our chapter’s membership base, 4. We will be able to seamlessly continue our work after the campaign has ended and will have laid the groundwork for future projects already.. 
        1. Analysis Component: 
          1. How does the position or action support or advance the goals of democratic socialism? Does it alleviate systemic pressure on poor people/working class? 
            1. Electing Senator Sanders as president as opposed to any alternative, will have the biggest positive effect on poor people/working class and will challenge the capitalistic power structures of our country. The act of supporting him (even if he doesn’t win) and organizing around his campaign and issues between now and March will help us create a bigger base in which to continue organizing in the future. 
              1. Does it shift the balance of political and/or economic power from political and economic elites and toward the working class? 
                1. Yes, as explained above, electing Sanders is our best chance of challenging capitalistic and elite power structures in our country in the fastest time period as compared to other alternatives.  
              2. Is it non-reformist? Does it envision a new future? 

          We aim not simply to ‘get out the vote’ for Sanders, but, more broadly, to build a base of support for his demands. The movement coalescing around his campaign for redistributing wealth, Medicare4All, GND, and an end to imperialist wars poses an existential threat to capital. If Sanders does win the nomination, the movement around his campaign will have significantly advanced the world towards a democratic socialist future. However, should he not win the nomination, it will be all the more important to have built a movement for his democratic socialist policies that can outlast his singular campaign. Our proposal for DSA-LA creates just that: a movement around the demands of Bernie’s campaign built to sustain his agenda should he win, and continue the fight should he fail.

              1. Does it open up new possibilities for what might be politically possible by popularizing socialist ideas and shifting the center of the political spectrum to the Left?
                1. Yes, the working group envisions creating materials which provide educational information about issues which will be used by canvassers and phone/text bankers to engage in conversations about how these ideas and Bernie’s platform will transform the political spectrum. 
              2. How does this advocate or advance a transformative reform, versus a progressive/incremental reform?  

          Bernie’s major proposals, Green New Deal, Medicare 4 All, and College 4 All, are essentially the nationalization of major industries, and a transformation of our entire economy on a scale we have not seen in our lifetimes. The movement forming around those demands poses an existential threat to capital. In particular, DSA-LA would, and already does, frame the movement for the Green New Deal as a path towards an ecosocialist future, and democratically run economy. We also plan to push alongside the Bernie campaign for an end to imperialist wars. Nationalizing industry at home and ending imperialism abroad is a recipe for the total destruction of capital and US corporate supremacy.

                1. What implications might this have at the local, state, national, or international level? 
                  1. The working group   hopes to tie local issues from our neighborhoods in LA to Bernie’s platform and explain to people how having a president who supports socialist ideas will ultimately drive awareness and support.   
                  2. The movement around the Bernie campaign is also a movement for an end to imperialist wars. Can you imagine if the United States stopped its’ endless destruction of the 3rd world? Stopped overthrowing democratically elected leaders, forcing open markets, and squashing workers’ organizations? It would be the end of global capital, and that is what we aim to organize towards.
        2. How does this position or action support or advance the goals and priorities of DSA-LA? 
              1. How can it engage existing members? 
                1. Yes, DSA-LA has many “paper” members who believe in our platform but have not participated in actions.  In the few Bernie Subcommittee meetings that have occurred, we have seen an uptick of attendees who have said they are DSA members but have never attended a meeting. We expect this to only increase.
              2. How can it draw in new members? 
                1. The subject of helping get Bernie elected motivates people. As mentioned in a prior section, the largest growth in DSA’s membership occurred after Bernie’s 2016 run. While Trump’s victory may have jolted many people into action, it was arguably because of Bernie’s normalization of socialist ideas at a national level that so many people turned to DSA as a means of organizing. We believe there are a lot of socialist leaning people in LA who will see this as an opportunity to join DSA and organize with us.  Additionally, we believe that by hitting the pavement and doing tabling we will be more visible and can recruit from people we meet along the way.
              3. Why is this something that DSA-LA is uniquely capable of addressing, or capable of addressing differently, compared to other non-socialist orgs and socialist orgs? 
                1. DSA-LA is by far the biggest socialist org in LA and we have amazing minds and talent that can come together to do great transformative ground work on this campaign. 
              4. How does this align with the chapter’s stated goals and priorities? 
                1. Campaigning for Bernie will give us an opportunity to explain how capitalism is the cause of so many issues for working class people, we will be able to make the word “socialism” more accepted, organizing on this scale will set the groundwork for DSA-LA’s future organizing efforts and will only make us stronger, we will be able to create stronger coalitions with other independent expinditures ’s such as Sunrise, Labor for Bernie, and more, creating a member-organized working group will allow for members of DSA to learn leadership and organizing skills and is a true “bottom up” structure, the working group will maintain workflow systems that support and empower all members to take on significant responsibility for ongoing cross-chapter communication and collaboration.
              5. How does the position or action situate DSA-LA relative to other organizations? 
                1. Who is already aligned with our position? Who is the opposition? 
                  1. Aligned: Electoral Politics, Labor for Bernie 
                  2. Opposition: Not entirely sure - we believe that some people may be against endorsing Bernie due to some of his positions on issues, some people do not support DSA-LA dedicating very much time to electoral work. 
                2. Are we offering a perspective that is sufficiently distinct from non-socialist progressive orgs? 
                  1. Yes, most definitely.  We would be representing our perspective which is to the left of most existing pro-Bernie  organizations. 
                3. Are there points where current or potential coalition partners could align or recognize aspects of their own goals and platform?
                  1. For sure, once this working group  begins working, we will be doing power mapping and reaching out to other coalition partners to see where we can collaborate.