Candidate Statements

(The order was decided by a random number generator.)

AGITPROP COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

CLIMATE JUSTICE COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

ELECTORAL POLITICS COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Membership Coordinator Candidates

HEALTHCARE JUSTICE COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

LABOR COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

MUTUAL AID COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

POLITICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates

PRISON ABOLITION COMMITTEE

Co-Chair Candidates

NOLYMPICS! WORKING GROUP

Chair Candidates

Coordinator Candidates


AgitProp Committee


Chair Candidates


Daniel Lichtenstein-Boris

Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?

My name is Daniel Lichtenstein-Boris.  I have over 15 years-experience as a labor and community organizer and researcher, including working as a professional staffer for ACORN, two public sector labor unions, one nurse labor union, tenant rights organizations, interfaith labor and community initiatives, health policy think tanks, and community labor research projects, and election campaigns.

I haven’t been intricately involved in structures of DSA Los Angeles, or DSA as a whole.  Most of my time in LA has been as a burnt-out organizer. Most organizers get burnt out when they get disillusioned and frustrated by organizing cultures and entities, that, being of this world, play a role in perpetuating systems of oppression and slowing the pace of social change, even as they play an important role in consolidating and institutionalizing the reforms extracted from corporations and government during periods of mass upsurge .  

Even as a white male in the labor movement this happened to me.  I’m no saint; toxic machismo white supremacy and patriarchal ideology seeps into our psyche through the culture industry, through the production and reproduction of social norms, ingraining, justifying, and perpetuating systems of oppression in hierarchical authoritarian command and control economies known as corporations.

That being said and given my experience of DSA’s meeting spaces as dominated by privileged white men, I’ve tended to back away from being another loud domineering voice mansplaining Socialism and left theories and tactics and crowding out women people of color and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities.

But I’d like to find a way to re-engage with movement organizers and the movement, and think for some reason that I could play a role in helping catalyze the creation of organizing spaces for creative cultural production, information and communication that spans the narrow definition of agitational propaganda, which is a term I don’t necessarily like, but I’ll go with it.

After Bernie’s speech on Democratic Socialism I was barbecuing with some friends of mine mostly independent leftists in Chicago involved fights against austerity in housing education and healthcare and I said let’s google democratic socialism-  DSA showed up. I had been marginally involved in the group; I had family members who attended a few reading groups and forums of the sleepy org in the Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton eras.  

We should all join DSA I exclaimed, because everyone will be googling Democratic Socialism after Bernie’s Speech and we all need to unite in one organization anyway-  socialist refoundation has been a goal of many sects since the FBI’s counterintelligence program had successfully splintered and stalled the energy of the anti-war, civil rights, and socialist workers movement in the 70’s.

So anyway I haven’t been too involved attending meetings, though I’ve been engaged in my own way in the production of ideas and narratives, some of which you can find at https://thewordaliveandactive.com and an article in the latest issue of socialist forum:  https://socialistforum.dsausa.org/issues/fall-2019/stories-honduran-exodus/

When I think of agitational-propaganda, or agitprop, a crude word that reminds me of a left alternative to the United States military’s psychological operations or psych-ops programs and theories, pioneered during World War I to rally the United States, whipping the population into a patriotic frenzy in a full scale economic, political, cultural, and military mobilization for total war- world war I, a war of inter-imperialist rivalry between French, British and Tsarist colonial empires and German and Austrio-Hungarian colonial ambitions; a psych-op program to create a culture of patriotism  (the famous Buy Liberty Bond campaign) that jailed socialist Presidential candidate Eugene v. Debs, and criminalized pacifist dissenters such as organizers of the Industrial Workers of the World who dared to engage in labor organizing that may have interfered with the war effort. (A rhyme or riff off of the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts supported that criminalized both news press and cultural production that supported the French Revolution, as well as making it harder for immigrants in the newly formed United States to become citizens in a desperate attempt by a Federalist majority to maintain power.)

In the aftermath of World War I, the military’s psychological Operation program was born, this psych-op program is more and more sophisticated today.  Its semi-civilian application became the advertising industry, which became the principal profit center of the culture industry of radio, television, motion-pictures, newspapers, magazines, etc…

After the wave of anti-imperialist sentiment following World War I, there was a Russian Revolution, a suppressed general strike in Germany where liberal Social-Democrats leaned on proto-fascists Freikorps to suppress a mass uprising, and a strike wave in the United States in food manufacturing, steel, even police, suppressed through the deportation of radical organizers in the Palmer Raids, and the use of Southern blacks as strikebreakers to stop ethnic white union organizing in Chicago, St Louis, and other major cities.

The third international, born from this period used the term agitprop, as a counter to psych-op, though often interchangeably, to denote the use of various mixed media methods to deliver ideas and stir people to action.  

I don’t like the term agitprop, because it connotes emotional and intellectual manipulation rather than human liberation, but when I think of it, I tend to think of cultural production, and the framing of ideas through mixed media, strategies and tactics.

Gramsci discussed concepts of Hegemony and Counter Hegemony, with counter hegemony essential for the working class and racial ethnic and religious minorities to maintain their own identity separate from that of the dominant class and its gods, values, culture and traditions that reinforced the established political economic theological patriarchal white supremacist social order.

I probably wouldn’t be a good co-chair, but I think I could add a bit of perspective to the committee’s work.  I tend to think of the work being that of what was called the cultural front; a theory coined by the United States Communist Party in the 1930’s through the famous Hollywood blacklist of leftists in the 1950’s McCarthy era, an initiative with major successes, failures, and limitations, to organize cultural production to emancipate the working class.

Most people in Hollywood, the news media, and the culture industry as a whole, though not exclusively, are working to do some good work employed either on a full time, or more frequently, intermittent contingent basis for one of several vertically and in many instances horizontally integrated media monopolies that achieve economies of scale through control of both cultural production (and production of ideas) and the marketing and distribution thereof-  ie facebook/Instagram, Netflix, Disney, Apple, CBSVIACOM, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Journalists and cultural workers continue to fight to have a space to create culture and report facts and truth within an environment where technological and industry changes have led to mass layoffs; a freelance economy and the rising cost of living and low pay of these coveted and status filled idea and cultural production job make the cost of entry high to those from under-privileged backgrounds (working class, people of color, and women burdened with the uncompensated responsibility of reproduction and carework, etc..).  A lack of diversity leads to challenges for original ideas that seek to preserve and disseminate world views of the oppressed—the counter-hegemony.

This cultural front included poetry, song, theatre, art, newspapers, newsletters, radio, murals, posters, t-shirts, puppets, and performance of all types.

I am not a professional artist, graphic designer, cinematographer, but I think my background as a labor and community organizer could help use mixed online and offline cultural production to both continue to build a space for counter-hegemonic cultural production, create and disseminate ideas for DSA’s labor, community, environmental, feminist, and electoral campaigns, and influence the wider world of cultural, information, and idea production workers in their struggle for a decent living and creative space in a world where a small cabal of multinational corporations dominate idea and cultural production and dissemination increasingly integrated with US government foreign and domestic “psych-op” objectives.

Obviously I didn't edit this.  But if you read this far you get the point.

What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?

  1. In twelve months I see the committee with a number free standing integrated cultural and idea production cooperatives and collectives in news, radio, audio-visual medium, literature, performance, poetry, and street art in addition to its ongoing work supporting organizing through social media and graphic design.  Some of these groups may or may not be associated with the DSA.

  2. I propose this be done by organizing culture, news, and idea production workers on a parallel track from a Hollywood cultural workers worker center and academic ideation production (research) and reproduction (teaching) worker organizing around wages benefits and working conditions.

  3. I would advocate for any and all cadre and DSA members to form both white and male allies caucuses modeled after popular education anti-oppression trainings (as well as caucuses for women LGBTQ identifying folk, and different historically oppressed and marginalized racial and ethnic minorities to caucus and meet if they so choose) that have been used in student groups such as USAS so that we can make our organizing safe libratory spaces where insidious conscious and subconscious racism and sexism that all whites and men are affected by and reinforce due to living in this world -- the hegemonic social norms of America's capitalist system of white supremacy and patriarchy -- so we can check ourselves and each other.


Jason Tunget

Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?

I've been in the Agit-Prop Committee for several years now and I am now the current Co-Chair so I would like to continue the work that I've been a part of over the past year in that role. I've also been involved in a variety of other organizing work throughout DSA-LA so I know many of the leaders and most active members in the organization. 

What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?

I would like to focus on tutorial and template making. Having simple, short tutorials to explain a variety of the jobs and different organizing opportunities that are available in DSA-LA may help activate members. Having video/graphic templates available will allow for more content to be created by people who don't necessarily have the ability to use After Effects or other programs to create things from scratch, but can manipulate existing templates to create content.

Additionally, I would like to continue creating original content for the committee and assisting other committees create content as well.


Coordinator Candidates


Matt Fazio

Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?

I have a good understanding of media and what it takes to get it done. In film and television I've worked every job from editor to director to writer to sound design, lighting, camera operator, the list goes on and on. So when it comes to putting a project together, seeing it to the end, figuring out all it needs, that's what I'm good at. Because I've done all the stuff myself at some point in my life.

But more importantly, I believe I am good at helping others achieve their goals. I don't think of this as a leadership position. It's there in the title. Coordinator. Getting everyone to contribute, expanding on ideas, communication, all the things that DSA stands for. Agitprop is great because we all work together. I don't want to change that. I just want to help that to the best of my ability.

What is your vision for the committee in the next 12 months?

My main goal is to create a more streamlined approach to finishing projects. This is something I talked with Kelsey about, and we both agree that sometimes projects seem to flounder in Agitprop. It's nobodies fault: sometimes we all just get busy, life gets in the way, etc. But if we created a system where other people could pick up a project if someone has to drop out, and where we can communicate with project leads (or whoever) on the status of a project more frequently, I think it would go a long way in getting more amazing work done at Agitprop.

Obviously we all hate bureaucracy and deadlines, and nobody is going to be punished because they "missed their date" or something silly like that. But I think giving ourselves an extra push, and an extra safety net, to finish projects will go a long way in inspiring us. I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people that works better when I know I have to get "this done by this date," or something like that.

Really excited about where Agitprop is going to go in 2020!


Climate Justice Committee


Chair Candidates


Paloma N.

What is your assessment of the CJ committee's work over the past year?

We worked hard to make sure we passed the GND resolution at the national level and at the local level and we focused on creating work coalition like a collaboration with CISPES and the Immigration Justice committee titled "The Battle for Paradise: Fighting against Privatization of Water in El Salvador and for City Owned Utilities in California and we helped get Nithya Raman who is running for City Council endorsed in our chapter. 

What goals do you have for the CJ committee in 2020?

To enact an ambitious plan for GND resolution 

How are you personally equipped to support the committee in achieving those goals?

I started co chairing last year the climate justice committee in the summer and I'm looking to complete a year to really ensure the resolution work started at both national and local conventions gets done. I want to ensure more quality work is available for most DSA members right away, as well as political education. Currently preparing a Bernie GND townhall with Bernie's working group and YDSA and among many other exciting projects for the rest of the year as part of GND resolution. 


Coordinator Candidates


Evan G.

What is your assessment of the CJ committee's work over the past year?

ELAND and public banking were successes. We have productive coalitions with other orgs.

What goals do you have for the CJ committee in 2020?

GND for LA: whether it’s a real GND with teeth depends on us. We should focus on energy democracy (including a just transition in solidarity with workers) and transit (which should be fast, frequent and free). We could do better at pairing direct action to policy objectives. LA is home to many research institutions; we could recruit students and scientists off the sidelines to save nature and a livable planet. And we have a few climate realists running for office who deserve our canvassing and phone banking time. 

How are you personally equipped to support the committee in achieving those goals?

Because of the adjusted term timeframes, I’ve served a partial term already. I understand the digital side of DSA’s organizing pretty well. I’ve built relationships with the leadership of other allied orgs in the city and state.

Any additional points:

I have a lot to learn as an organizer. Your willingness to show up for meetings and actions, despite such depressing circumstances, is very personally edifying for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our shared goals.


Electoral Politics Committee


Chair Candidates


Erin O'Neal-Robinson

Please write a short statement explaining why you are interested in the position you have selected.

Hi! I'm interested in becoming co-chair of Electoral Politics because I am committed to streamlining our processes and building a solid structure and resource pool to benefit the chapter as a whole in its work. As DSA grows it is of critical importance that the Electoral Politics committee be an easily accessible and knowledgeable body and I am excited to help lead the committee in that goal.


Kyle G.

Please write a short statement explaining why you are interested in the position you have selected.

I have served as co-chair of the committee since April 2019. I've learned a lot in that time and hope to apply those lessons towards improving the committee in 2020 and helping to set up a foundation for future electoral victories.

Short-term goals:

- Support the Bernie and Nithya campaign working groups

- Put the committee on hiatus from February to the end of March (with possible extension into April). This is to allow our members to focus their energy on our Bernie and Nithya campaign working groups, and to avoid burnout by giving our members time to reset and recover after the election.

Medium-term goals:

- Perform a critical review of our Bernie and Nithya Working Groups following the primary election in order to identify and institutionalize best practices, as well as troubleshoot solutions for any challenges that occurred within the campaigns

- If needed, continue supporting the Nithya Working Group’s work leading up to the general election

- Institutionalize the campaign structures from both the Bernie and Nithya working groups such that we do not have to reinvent the wheel each time we want to start an electoral campaign

- Perform a critical review of the endorsement process as it was conducted for the 2020 primary, and implement key fixes to improve the process in time for the 2020 general election

- Standardize logistics for monthly meetings to ensure consistent delivery of agenda, collection of proposals, and meeting follow-ups

Long-term goals:

- Recruit a candidate to run in a local race in 2022, with emphasis on that candidate being an existing and committed DSA-LA member

- Create infrastructure to help our members in board seats on neighborhoods councils better coordinate and build our collective power

- Continue my efforts to foster collaboration and goodwill between the Electoral Politics committee and other committees in DSA-LA


Membership Coordinator Candidates


Nicky Martin

Please write a short statement explaining why you are interested in the position you have selected.

My name is Nicky Martin. I've been a DSA member since I joined the Chicago chapter in 2016; I continued my membership with DSA-LA after moving to Los Angeles in August, 2019. 

In these four months, I've worked with the Bernie Working Group as the Events Coordinator, I've attended El Pol meetings to learn LA's political landscape and I've signed up for my first Nithya canvas next Saturday. 

I'm applying to be El Pol's Membership Coordinator for two reasons. 

First, I think electoral politics is an area where DSA can achieve lasting, working class power. I want El Pol to lead the fight of electoral struggles by endorsing working class candidates, knocking doors in our community, and pushing elected representatives to support socialist policy.

As Membership Coordinator, I will help the committee achieve these goals by welcoming new members, engaging them in in meaningful one on one conversations about electoral politics' intersections with socialism, and help integrate enthusiastic newcomers into our work by inviting them to canvas and teaching them the same conversation strategies DSA taught me.

Thank you for consideration and solidarity forever!


Healthcare Justice Committee


Chair Candidates


Matt Reynolds

What has been your experience with the Healthcare Justice Committee and/or organizing?

I have been active with the healthcare justice committee since 2017, and I have acted as either membership liaison, coordinator, or co-chair since 2018. I was also a canvass lead during the Prop 10 campaign.

What is your assessment of the HCJC's work over the past year?

I am proud of the work we have accomplished within this committee despite a dip in membership participation. In the Summer of 2019 we held a retreat to outline our goals for the remainder of the year, and since then we have nearly accomplished all of those goals: We started participating in debt relief counseling and medical screenings with Mutual Aid, our members were able to apply pressure to the Los Angeles City Council to support a Medicare-For-All bill, and we organized a well attended speaking event (with Tim Faust as our guest).

What goals do you have for the HCJC for 2020?

I think we should continue our work on both electoral and mutual aid fronts while keeping our attention to the underlying goal of spreading broader support in our communities for a Single Payer system. Part of this mission should be through our existing efforts to canvass on behalf of the Bernie Sanders campaign, however with a focused pitch on Bernie's plan for ending private insurance.

How are you personally equipped to support the HCJC in achieving those goals?

I can easily balance co-chair responsibilities with my freelance and part-time work schedules. As the current chair I would not need to receive any orientation regarding the precise details for communicating with the chapter and sourcing materials.

Statement

Calling for an end to the private insurance industry is still, to me, our strongest argument and recruiting platform for building a galvanized socialist movement here in LA and here in the United States. I will do everything I can to steer this organization in a direction lead by this understanding.


Kenyon M

What has been your experience with the Healthcare Justice Committee and/or organizing?

I've been a member of the Healthcare Justice Committee for a year and a half. I served as a committee Coordinator for 7 months and a co-Chair for the past 5 months.

What is your assessment of the HCJC's work over the past year?

I think the Healthcare Justice Committee accomplished an impressive amount of our 2019 goals, particularly given our small size. Members of the HJC were essential to getting a Medicare For All Resolution passed by LA City Council, and we were able to organize a speaking event and several debt relief clinics. This month I'm looking forward to helping with a Medicare For All Town Hall put on by the Bernie Working Group and Black Lives Matter LA.

What goals do you have for the HCJC for 2020?

Grow our committee - In 2020 I’d like to focus on finding projects that will engage members long-term and determining meeting times/locations that will make our organizing work more accessible. We’ve begun this process by relocating meetings to the valley and adjusting our start time, and I’m eager to figure out what other accommodations will help.

More canvassing/tabling - Our Medicare For All canvassing stalled while we were waiting for a state-wide single payer bill to be introduced, and I’d like to work with Electoral Politics and the Bernie Working Group to revive healthcare-based canvassing ahead of the primary/general.

More events - We had a lot of positive feedback after our speaking event with Tim Faust in September, and I’d like to organize at least two more informational community events this year.

Educational materials - I’d like to dedicate more resources to member education this year and finish our project of creating a Healthcare Justice online library to house resources for our chapter and other chapters.

How are you personally equipped to support the HCJC in achieving those goals?

I have experience in the committee in multiple leadership roles and the time and energy to dedicate to helping us fulfill our priorities in 2020.

Statement

I believe pursuing a mix of electoral and direct action work is important so that we can help LA residents who are struggling now while fighting for larger systemic change. I’m passionate about the work the Healthcare Justice Committee has been doing and I’d like to continue empowering the committee to work on projects and campaigns that interest our members.


Coordinator Candidates


Sean Broadbent

What has been your experience with the Healthcare Justice Committee and/or organizing?

This past year I led out on the neighborhood council Medicare-for-All presentations that helped lead to the passage of LA City's Medicare-for-All Resolution. Participating in teach-ins was a new experience for me and I was grateful to get to learn from fellow member Cheng-Sim. 

What is your assessment of the HCJC's work over the past year?

A highlight from last year's HCJC events was Tim Faust's book tour visit. I've been able to share Tim's book w/ others and his communication of single-payer healthcare has changed minds.

I have not participated in the once a month fieldwork that the committee has done but I believe that this is essential work for fulfilling healthcare justice.

What goals do you have for the HCJC for 2020?

I would like to recruit healthcare professionals to participate in our committee. They can help inform and guide our work.

I'd like to build out HCJC's library of materials for Medicare-for-All. The fight for M4A will only grow over the next year, especially w/ the *distinct* possibility of a Sanders presidency. We'll need to deploy clear messaging and answer precise questions in order to win passage.

How are you personally equipped to support the HCJC in achieving those goals?

I believe that my experience organizing for Medicare-for-All in the last year has equipped me to help facilitate an active HCJC. We presented to over 20 neighborhood councils, attending general and committee meetings, leading discussions and answering a multitude of questions on the House bill. It is a singular experience but I think the work done can be applied to future activities.

Statement

Consider me for the coordinator position of the HCJC. I will work hard to expand our capabilities and make sure HCJC is able to support our fellow committees in their work!


Housing & Homelessness Committee


Chair Candidates


Rhiana C.

What has been your experience with the Housing & Homelessness Committee and/or organizing in general?

I have been organizing with Street Watch LA, NOlympics LA, and the Housing & Homelessness Committee since I first joined DSA in summer 2019.

What is your assessment of the work of HnH over the past year?

I believe that HnH is doing extremely important work advocating for rent control, building solidarity with tenant organizing groups such as LA Tenants Union, and pushing for appropriate legislation. I also believe that Street Watch is doing extremely important work advocating for the rights of poor and unhoused tenants across LA who suffer endless abuse and neglect at the hands of LA's elected officials. 

What goals do you have for the committee for 2020?

Since I started organizing with HnH/DSA, I have been more involved with Street Watch than with the main HnH Committee. As HnH co-chair, I would work to build stronger coordination and communication between Street Watch, HnH, and DSA as a whole. Along with that, I would like to ensure that Street Watch is better-connected to HnH and DSA-LA as a whole and that everyone is able to get properly plugged into each other's work.

How are you personally equipped to support HnH in achieving those goals?

As an active Street Watch member currently acting as Westside Lead, I believe that I have a deep understanding of Street Watch's goals and priorities, and would love to have a chance to represent those to the HnH committee as a whole while also tying those goals into HnH and DSA-LA's as a whole.


Arielle S.

What has been your experience with the Housing & Homelessness Committee and/or organizing in general?

I was one of the first members of the Housing & Homelessness Committee when it formed back in Jan. 2017. It was the first DSA-LA committee meeting I attended, and I immediately jumped into organizing. Since then, I helped get NOlympics LA off the ground, supported the launch and ongoing work of our Street Watch LA initiative and the affiliated Services Not Sweeps coalition, organized chapter-wide engagement with the Prop 10 campaign, and more. I've been the chair of Housing & Homelessness since June 2019, and since my term still has a good chunk of time to go I'm happy to run again and help shepherd HnH through 2020!

What is your assessment of the work of HnH over the past year?

2019 was an important year for us, and for the growth of tenant power in and beyond Los Angeles. We grew Street Watch into a more active and organized network of organizers fighting to empower and protect the rights of unhoused people across LA County, resulting in real changes to the city's street cleaning policies. We fought in coalition for greater renter protections like AB 1482, co-founded Services Not Sweeps and changed the conversation on homelessness in LA, mobilized against anti-homeless apartheid laws like 41.18(d) and 85.02, and raised awareness about speculative vacancy and displacement. We were honored with a Freedom Now Award from our close partners in the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), and programmed educational events, including a forum on Bernie Sanders' Housing for All platform. This was all in spite of being a smaller, scrappier team of organizers this year. 

What goals do you have for the committee for 2020?

I want to narrow our focus to a few things:
1. Street Watch. I see Street Watch as the marquee tenant organizing project of the Housing & Homelessness Committee, and we need to work to strengthen our infrastructure to be a more effective network of organizers and grow.
2. Pushing for a Green New Deal for housing in Los Angeles. Housing & Homelessness should play a major role in the Green New Deal priority resolution the chapter passed at our local convention in October. Environmental justice and housing justice are intrinsically linked — Bernie and AOC have emphasized this on the national level — so we need to push for a bold, green housing plan here in LA. Let's develop some demands and come up with a plan to popularize them in 2020.
3. Make real estate money toxic. We're already working in coalition with other organizations who want to push a no real estate money pledge for candidates in 2020, and DSA statewide is uniquely positioned to move this forward, as we're one of the only groups doing both electoral work and tenant organizing. We need to research our representatives and start shaming them for their big real estate donors and bad voting records on housing — and support other DSA chapters across CA to do the same.
4. Escalating action. The current number of vacant, habitable units in the face of our housing affordability crisis is a political failure, but I've been so inspired by the efforts of Moms 4 Housing — a group of homeless moms from Oakland who occupied a vacant property, rallying their community to protect their right to housing and demand justice against some of the most destructive forces of gentrification in their city. We need this kind of bold escalation in Los Angeles to call for urgent change to the structures that fuel homelessness, and we need to prepare to defend the brave tenants that will put their lives on the line to fight back.

How are you personally equipped to support HnH in achieving those goals?

As a leader, I see myself more as a facilitator of work than the key person driving it, with a focus on strategic planning that will be essential for moving some of these newer projects forward and strengthening existing ones. I also have the background on past committee organizing efforts and the network of allies to move this work forward. 

Statement

To be a more effective organization overall, DSA should be focused on the deliberate act of base-building — 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. The work of the Housing & Homelessness Committee is absolutely essential to this goal, as the issue of tenancy unites workers against the power of capital. Let's kick some landlord ass in 2020!


Benjamin Fried

What has been your experience with the Housing & Homelessness Committee and/or organizing in general?

I became aware of HnH about two years ago while I was in college, out of state. Home during breaks, I attended a few meetings, and after the first, I found myself inspired and relieved in that I was not alone in my concern. Since moving back to Los Angeles, I have canvased for Bernie Sanders, and help organize the Bernie Sanders housing town hall. I attended the California Renter Power Assembly to engage with and learn about housing organizing on the state level. I marched with DSA & allies during the past Week of Action and protested 41.18 at City Hall. 

What is your assessment of the work of HnH over the past year?

I have been active with HnH since late September 2019, so I can only offer a limited assessment due to my relatively new presence. From the work that I have seen and been a part of, I can confidently say that it is the sort of work that ought to be done. HnH's work to protect the homeless from police and state brutality has been a critical factor in reducing violence towards our cities' most vulnerable citizens. The formation of Street Watch has focused much-needed efforts on building solidarity with the unhoused community, providing in-person support, and putting theory into direct action. To mention just a small portion of the work done, HnH has campaigned to repeal Costa-Hawkins, canvassed for rent control, and organized in support of community tenant action, all of which I feel is important and necessary in fighting for universal housing rights. Together HnH and Street Watch, along with their partners, comprise of the front line in LA working against the capitalist powers which have created the housing and homeless crisis.

What goals do you have for the committee for 2020?

My primary goal for the committee would be to draw new members to both HnH and DSA. Housing and homelessness are perhaps the two most salient issues right now in Los Angeles, and HnH offers those who are frustrated and confused with the current state of disarray a chance to channel their energy into tangible change. Through HnH, one can become part of a broader community, DSA, fighting for justice, and equity in nearly every facet of society. We provide a socialist perspective focused on resistance and solidarity that has been suppressed and demonized in this country for roughly the last ninety years. In recent times (as we see with Bernie), these ideas have begun to resonate with the public. Neoliberal policies over the previous fifty years have devastated the middle and lower classes, and neoliberal explanations have proven to be hollow and deceitful, so I think the time is ripe for a swell in membership. Of course, the goal is not only to get new members but to keep them engaged to build a popular movement. To do so, we need to maintain and expand current projects, initiatives, and tactics so that we can continue to be an organization that offers real political action and not empty promises. 

How are you personally equipped to support HnH in achieving those goals?

First, I am in a position where I have ample time to dedicate myself to the goals I've stated. From my background in the sciences, I have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, which will aid in my contributions to the committee's initiatives. My specific expertise is in modeling complex systems (cities, societies, ecologies, etc), and I think this toolset could be handy when it comes to developing long term or complicated strategy. I am a student of the left and have done my best to cover a wide range of Marxist theory and dissenting historical perspectives that I feel will allow me to be effective in discussing complex ideas with potential new members and in general. 

Statement

It is because of the dedicated and inspiring work of the committee that I am running for (co)chair of the HnH committee. The current leadership's encouragement to participate in this election, even as a new face, speaks to the commitment of inclusivity and democracy at the heart of DSA. If elected, I vow to carry forward that commitment and ensure the committee remains an organization devoted to democratic decision making and solidarity. I believe that the most productive environments are those that emphasize empathy, compassion, and respect. As chair, it would be my highest priority to cultivate a milieu where each person feels welcome and safe among comrades, for if we do not practice how we wish to see the world, our efforts will surely falter. Together we win!🌹


Immigration Justice Committee


Chair Candidates


Brandon Rey Ramirez

What experience do you have working with the Immigration Justice Committee of DSA-LA?

I have served as the Immigration Justice Committee Co-Chair for the past two terms (1.5 years). In that time I've overseen our committee's growth in capacity via border solidarity efforts, anti-corporate campaigns, and political education about migration. I've organized teach-ins, vigils, protests, and civil disobedience direct actions. Most recently the October 12th march and rally to #CloseTheCamps has lead to ongoing coalition building among Leftist organizations in Los Angeles focused on immigrant rights. 

What role do you see the immigrant rights movement playing in the greater fight for building socialism?

The push factors of migration are often economic, environmental, or militaristic displacement of peoples caused by capitalism. The pull factors of low wage work, exploits migrants by depriving them of economic and civil rights such as the fight for unionization. The rhetorical demonization of the immigrant community by the Trump administration has accelerated the existing authoritarian deportation and detention system.

Because of this, the immigrant rights movement plays a few important roles for building socialism:

- The emphasis on human rights as a core pillar of democratic socialism

- Raising consciousness of International Solidarity, Decolonization, and Anti-Imperialism

- Recognition of Migrant Rights as Labor Rights

- Analysis of ending deportation and detention as an extension of prison abolition

- Combatting the corporate profiteering by those complicit in the separation of families 

What is your assessment of previous work done by the Immigration Justice Committee?

Over the past two years, the Immigration Justice Committee has developed significantly. Initially reactive to the constantly changing situations, the committee began focusing on developing an analysis that drew connections between the current migration crises and the ongoing history of US-led imperialism in the developing world. By experiencing border solidarity, working directly with organizations that have been in the struggle for decades, and honing in on powermapping skills - the committee has, in the past 6 months, established itself ready to engage in facilitating significant coalitions and waging winnable campaigns such as the Salesforce target. 

What is your vision for the future work of the committee and what will you do to ensure that it is carried out?

In 2020, my main focus is to ensure that our campaigns have clearly articulated strategy and goals that align with our chapter resolutions. Our committee can be a vehicle for helping the Bernie 2020 campaign win the CA primary and provide vital analysis for the Green New Deal. Our committee's work has special significance to immigrant communities, so Organizing for All's priority of Spanish language training can combine with any of our campaigns, a vital step towards building capacity.

We have the opportunity to deliver real material wins as well. Our campaign to stop Salesforce from collaborating with ICE & CBP has a real possibility of victory. Supporting the UTLA-endorsed Non-Citizen Voting campaign has a chance of victory.

None of this will be capable without developing real partnerships and coalitions with trusted organizers and organizations in the immigration space which I've spent significant time developing. All campaigns will also require measured, consistent, and thoughtful leadership which I hope I've been able to provide. We will also need to develop capacity to achieve these goals, so I will constantly be identifying organic leaders and helping them develop as DSA organizers.


Coordinator Candidates


Heather Booth

What experience do you have working with the Immigration Justice Committee of DSA-LA?

I’ve been involved in the committee’s work since August. I’ve helped research some of the corporations responsible for the concentration camps and organize the IJC’s October 12th march and rally. I’m currently involved with the IJC’s ad hoc committee to stop war with Iran and the coalition that is coalescing out of groups that participated in the October 12th march. 

What role do you see the immigrant rights movement playing in the greater fight for building socialism?

Trade unions and organized socialism in the US have a shameful history of racist and nativist tendencies that we as democratic socialists are responsible for resisting. Migration is often one of the only responses available to people under the abusive and exploitative pressures of capitalism. Ecological disaster brought on by capitalism will make more and more of us refugees every day; imperialist wars such as the one building in Iran will create even more. Freedom of movement is critical to the survival of the poor and working class, but borders are becoming less and less permeable to human beings while capital flows freely across them.

The movement to build socialism in the US owes so much to radical immigrant leaders and organizers and we need each other in the fight. Immigrant rights are workers’ rights. 

What is your assessment of previous work done by the Immigration Justice Committee?

I have only been involved in the IJC for a short time so I can’t speak to older work that was done by the committee, but the thing that made me immediately dedicated to the IJC was a clear commitment to building power. The IJC is doing great work developing the leadership and organizing skills of DSA members within the committee, and forming relationships across the left in Los Angeles.  

What is your vision for the future work of the committee and what will you do to ensure that it is carried out?

As someone new to Los Angeles and as a person with citizenship, I’m in the position of needing to listen to, learn from, and support local immigrant communities. I am not running for coordinator because I consider myself a leader or have a specific agenda for the committee, but because I want to be accountable for doing the work of advancing immigration justice.

As a coordinator I would support the decisions made democratically by committee members, work to make the committee and the chapter more accessible to and representative of the people of Los Angeles (as outlined in our chapter resolution, Organizing for All), and help find the intersections between the IJC’s work and that of other committees within DSA in order to collaborate and amplify each other’s efforts.


Leone Hankey

What experience do you have working with the Immigration Justice Committee of DSA-LA?

I have been an active member of the IJC for about two years, joining DSA officially a year and a half a ago. My experience includes doing border solidarity work in Tijuana at Al Otro Lado three times and helping to organize the Close the Camps protest this past October 12. For the latter, I emphasized reaching out to indigenous and African/African American organizations supporting migrants and refugees, as well as student groups, including them in turn-out and program. My relationship with the National Lawyers Guild also was helpful to organizing that protest. I also have represented our committee at actions against Geo--group and at protests of international solidarity against US intervention in Bolivia and other Latin American countries. I am currently part of our subcommittee working to build the movement against US war with Iran and well as our working group to organize a day of education on immigration issues this Spring. 

What role do you see the immigrant rights movement playing in the greater fight for building socialism?

I began participating in the immigrant rights movement in the 1970s, supporting garment workers and farmworkers' struggles. In the 90s and 2000s, I worked with anti-sweatshop campaigns and helped bring workers to protest against capitalist globalization at the WTO and the Democratic Convention, opposing free trade and restrictions on workers mobility internationally while corporations are free to prey on people across borders. As a marxist and anti-capitalist, I have always seen that borders and attacks on immigrants are intrinsically connected to capitalism and the drive to control territories and divide and control the working class. Immigrants cannot be liberated without the fight to build socialism, and socialism will not be won unless immigrant communities are defended and part of that fight. 

What is your assessment of previous work done by the Immigration Justice Committee?

The strengths of our committee include dedicated members who work very well together and also have built good ties with many other organizations working on immigrant rights. We also have had joint activities with the Climate Justice committee and Bernie 2020. The Oct 12 march to close the camps was a big step up in the ambitiousness and scope of the committee's work that we brought off very successfully. We are now building a coalition to carry forward anti-corporate struggles against detention profiteers and do education around immigration-related issues, which is a great step in giving more leadership and consistency to the movement. Our membership is also fairly multi-ethnic, something we need to continue to build on. A weakness is that most of our members are not immigrants themselves; I would like to see growth in that direction.

What is your vision for the future work of the committee and what will you do to ensure that it is carried out?

I would like to serve as one of the IJC coordinators because our committee will benefit from having more leaders with defined responsibilities for our work. I want our coalition building with immigrant communities and organizations to grow, as well as more joint work and campaigns with other DSA-LA committees and caucuses. The links are clear between the issues facing immigrants and work on climate change, prison abolition, labor, housing and homelessness, and more. This is a critical time for our committee to engage with the chapter's three priorities, electing Bernie, green (and red) new deal, and organizing for all. I especially believe that by doing our work in an explicitly intersectional way, we can contribute greatly to the goals of organizing for all, including progress making DSA a multi-lingual organization with deeper roots in specific working class communities, as well leading in international solidarity work. In the long run, I hope we can recruit more immigrant workers to DSA who will then be a large part of this committee and its work. I confess that I am a boomer, and I believe that the youth should lead, but there is also room in DSA for intergenerational dialogue and unity. I can help ensure the work is carried out because my decades of experience as a labor, immigrant rights, and anti-capitalist activist in Los Angeles have given me some skills and especially a lot of relationships in progressive and radical L.A. that I want to use to build DSA and the movement to transform our society from capitalism to socialism.


Labor Committee


Chair Candidates


Max B

Union Affiliation, if any

I am a member of UPTE-CWA 9119

What has been your experience within the labor movement?

I have served as a union steward for my local at UCLA, as well as a mobilizer for actions during our contract bargaining campaign. I have been a volunteer organizer for our external organizing endeavors with several units on the UCLA campus, and also campaigned for the rank and file reform slate that won a majority systemwide leadership positions in 2017 - A New Vision for UPTE.

I am also a writer and member of the editorial collective for Strikewave, a bimonthly newsletter that covers the US labor movement. 

What is your assessment of the Labor Committee's work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?

The Labor Committee has done some solid work in conducting labor solidarity efforts across the city that has created for us close friends in a number of local unions - UNITE HERE Local 11, NUHW, and UTLA in particular. I think strike solidarity is a critical component in building what Marx referred to as "a class for itself," or a working class actively organized to challenge capital. For many DSA members these actions were their first experience with labor struggle, and through public endeavors that captured national attention (such as the Tacos for Teachers fundraiser during the UTLA strike) we have played an important role in rebuilding a public perception of strikes as something the whole working community should support.

That said, if we are to build a "class for itself," we need more than strike solidarity - we have to be socialists organizing in our own workplaces against the boss. This is why I'm happy to see the committee take active steps in building the capacity to supporting members organizing their workplaces - first through the labor survey, and then through the development of labor circles. Some of our biggest success has been through the Hollywood Labor project, one that had our members in entertainment engaging workers in the industry.

I think for DSA-LA to take full advantage of 2020 we should continue our path towards cultivating members who are prepared to challenge the boss for power in the workplace. 

What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?

I would like to see the following accomplished over the next year:

- Maturation of the Labor Circles to being supported by multiple different members, with each one having accomplished one material project by the end of January.

- The Labor Committee should strengthen its labor education subcommittee and have hosted educational events at the committee, chapter, and public levels. This should include providing the entire chapter membership, through events and multimedia, broad yet meaningful working knowledge of California Labor Law. Members of DSA-LA should understand when wage theft is occurring, when they are misclassified, and so on. 

- The Labor Committee should mobilize committee members and union members to support not only Bernie Sanders, but also statewide ballot initiatives that would benefit working people as a whole. An example of this would be Schools and Communities First. 

- The Labor Committee should continue its strike solidarity efforts, with additional attention brought to educating and training members to be picket captains and teaching new members how strike solidarity fits into our broader strategy to develop class consciousness.

- The Labor Committee should support the current chapter priority resolutions. We should continue to pursue organizing through Labor for Bernie, supporting a labor component for the Green New Deal, and support Organizing for All's endeavors to organize in South LA through labor solidarity work at USC (as well as other locations). 

How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?

I have served as Labor Committee co-chair from 2017 to 2019, and am very well acquainted with its strengths as well as what can be improved. I also have served two terms on the chapter Steering Committee, and am well-acquainted with how to move projects along and how to work within the broader organization. 

What skills do you think are necessary for a leader to have to ensure a healthy committee, and how have you shown yourself to possess them?

I think a leader of a committee should be someone committed to supporting democratically decided on decisions and help members develop their capacities and socialist organizers. Additionally a leader should have a firm understanding of the organization's vision and theory of change, so that the work of the committee can best integrate into that vision.

While I have done this in several capacities - especially in supporting the development of Hollywood Labor - I would point to my work leading up to and during the UTLA strike and indicative of my capacity for this. Leading up to the strike I lead the committee in developing facilitation guides that can help the chapter discuss broadly the implications of the strike, as well as crafted our internal messaging and recruitment for strike captains - making the case multiple times as to why we should have a public presence during this strike. Through recruiting a regular team of strike captains and taco truck liaisons we were able to have an organized, massive presence at each of the locations we supported, playing a pivotal role in the strike's narrative. 

I am committed to making a term as chair on the Labor Committee one where we center our membership and giving our fellow workers the tools they need to engage in labor struggle.


Francisco C

Union Affiliation, if any

NUHW, staff

What has been your experience within the labor movement?

(will submit later)

What is your assessment of the Labor Committee's work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?

(will submit later)

What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?

(will submit later)

How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?

(will submit later)

What skills do you think are necessary for a leader to have to ensure a healthy committee, and how have you shown yourself to possess them?

(will submit later)


Coordinator Candidates


Michael Lumpkin

Union Affiliation, if any

IWW/TWC

What has been your experience within the labor movement?

I have organized with comrades in the labor movement as a union member and as a socialist activist in the US and UK. As a worker in the technology sector in Los Angeles, I have worked closely with the Tech Workers Coalition (TWC) and Rideshare Drivers’ United (RDU) to agitate and organize within the sector.

I have also worked with brothers and sisters from unions across the city to support their struggles in my capacity as a socilaist organizer with DSA. I have worked closely with UNITE-HERE Local 11 to support hotel workers fighting for fair contracts by participating in delegations to management, helped organize a successful solidarity action that effectively leveraged DSA’s resources to assist striking workers and picketted with UTLA in their historic battle for public education.

Prior to this work, as a rank-and-file member of Unite (UK), I organized with colleagues at a high-density workplace in the social research sector. I have also worked with Centre for Labour and Social Studies [sic] to advocate for workers’ rights legislation, worked with Corbyn’s Labour party on local election campaigns and worked with union branches on anti-austerity campaigns as a student organizer.

What is your assessment of the Labor Committee's work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?

The committee should be proud of all that we have achieved over the past year. From our successful retreat in March, at which we moved closer to a strategic conception of the committee’s work, to our successes with Hollywood labor and our strike solidarity work with UTLA, UNITE-HERE, UHW, UFCW, and the LA dock workers, among others; the committee has worked hard to rebuild the important relationship between the left and labor in Los Angeles.

The committee’s work has continued to cement DSA’s reputation as a reliable partner of labor in Los Angeles and has often risen to meet the historic opportunities afforded by the rising tide of working class militancy we see across the city and beyond. It has been especially effective in forging valuable relationships with workers engaged in struggle and empowering these members to develop leadership qualities.

However, for all our obvious successes this year, there have been times when the committee’s work has felt lacking in direction and removed from the broader conversations around strategy going on in DSA. Some of this can be attributed to the chapter’s recent leadership crisis, however, I think that there is also fault to be found in our lack of a clear roadmap for our ongoing work. It is my hope that as we move forward as an organization we can recommit ourselves to a plan that effectively leverages our resources to bring into ever starker relief the struggle that is essential to building class consciousness.

What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?

As the breakdown of the neoliberal world order and the environmental crisis continues apace, the stakes have never been higher for the working class. As socialist organizers, it is our common purpose to build a mass movement capable of challenging and confronting capital and as such, it is our responsibility to pursue a strategy that can bring us closer to this end. 

As the DSA-LA Labor Committee, our work must be to help build a powerful working class movement that is capable of reorganizing society in the interests of the vast majority. To do this, the committee must pursue a rank-and-file strategy that has as its goal the building of a militant minority within the institutions best placed to project working class power - the unions. The building of this layer within the labor movement is essential to agitating on the kind of scale necessary to first, transform unions into vehicles of working class emancipation and secondly, struggle for socialist transformation across all of society. 

The committee can work towards this by continuing to support unions that empower their members to confront the logic of capital in their workplaces, but must also adopt a strategic plan that identifies the ways DSA-LA can best leverage its resources to foment struggle, raise consciousness and build the militant minority in Los Angeles. The chapter must first work to survey its membership. This data must then be used to inform a broader analysis that should indicate how DSA-LA should engage with the labor movement in LA. A plan of this sort will enable the Committee to make better decisions about how to best leverage our resources.

How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?

Having regularly attended Committee and Branch meetings, worked with partner organizations in the labor movement and organized actions for over a year, I feel that I could continue to effectively support the work of DSA in this role. Through this work, I have developed relationships with comrades across DSA and in the Los Angeles labor movement and would seek to bring these to bear to achieve the objectives sanctioned by the democratic structures of the organization.

What skills do you think are necessary for a leader to have to ensure a healthy committee, and how have you shown yourself to possess them?

To ensure a healthy committee a leader must ensure that comradely relationships are built through the committee. This means that members are not only heard and respected but that comrades are also encouraged to grow and develop in their thinking and practical capabilities. Leaders within committees must seek to support the committee and its members through necessary and important administrative work, while also being attentive to the needs of individual members. I feel that I have demonstrated these qualities in the organizing committees that I have participated in and would be privileged to serve the Labor Committee in the same way.

Being an effective leader in a socialist organization means working to empower all members to join in fighting for our collective emancipation from capitalism. This always means meeting people where they are, listening and figuring out how best, as comrades, to strengthen our collective capacity to fight for each other.


Haley Potiker

Union Affiliation, if any

IWW

What has been your experience within the labor movement?

I currently work as the Communications Director for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, where I work closely with unions including UTLA, UFCW Local 770, Unite Here Local 11, Teamsters (International, Local 396, Local 848), and the LA County Federation of Labor.  Before coming to LAANE I was a communications consultant helping on strategy for ballot propositions with the LA County Federation of Labor.

What is your assessment of the Labor Committee's work over the past year and its current position within the LA and national labor movement?

I think we've done a hell of a job in the past few months circulating our workplace survey and starting to organize internally. I am also proud of our work on the UAW strike line in Rancho Cucamonga, our Tacos for Teachers effort during the UTLA strike, (1 year ago today!) and the many other places we've plugged in and shown workers that we're the real deal. I think more than ever, the LA Labor movement recognizes DSA-LA and the Labor Committee as a real ally in the fight, someone who can bring fresh energy and enthusiasm to the fight for workers.

What goals do you have for the committee for the next year?

In the next year, I want to continue our work surveying DSA-LA membership about their workplaces. From there, I would like to grow our internal organizing circles into robust spaces wherein we start to see ourselves as workers in a broader movement (and maybe even begin to organize some workplaces!) Beyond that, I want to continue working to establish ourselves in the Los Angeles labor movement by showing up for workers throughout Los Angeles where they are engaged in struggle and engaging with the LA labor movement in creative new ways.

How are you, personally, equipped to achieve those goals?

My position at LAANE and proximity to some of the most progressive unions in our city makes me uniquely qualified to coordinate the DSA-LA Labor committee's efforts with organized labor. I also have a strong relationship with the LA County Federation of Labor, with whom I will coordinate to get our committee a seat at the table for strategic conversations. 

What skills do you think are necessary for a leader to have to ensure a healthy committee, and how have you shown yourself to possess them?

You elected me coordinator just a few months back, and I can't help but feel that my work is not yet done. I hope I have shown myself to be a leader who is happy to do grunt work, who allows space for people to share their ideas, and who effectively communicates with the labor movement on behalf of the committee. I love facilitating the labor movement updates section of our agenda and I hope to continue bringing to committee new ways to plug in and show our strength, on and off the picket line.


Membership Committee


Chair Candidates


Kyle Scott

I am running for chair because I believe I have ideas and experience to offer. I think my familiarity with the organizational structure of the chapter, the various issue-based committees, bylaws, and so forth, make me a good source of knowledge for new and experienced members alike. I think my experience as a member of the previous Steering Committee makes me a good candidate as well. Finally, I believe my experience as one of the two Westside Branch Coordinators over these past few months has prepared me to continue to do this work in an effective, collaborative way, giving me a firm understanding of the various "behind the scenes" tasks that go into building chapter membership.


Coordinator Candidates


Jordan E.

While serving as co-chair of this committee for the past year, I learned a huge amount about our chapter’s approach to membership development. Since we have just made some significant structural changes based on the lessons learned over the past year, I feel a duty to see this transition through and to support the committee in this invigorating new season.

I’m not just running out of duty though. I feel an incredible amount of excitement about the moment we find ourselves in and the opportunities that lay before us to build a liberatory, working class mass movement that is dedicated to fighting oppression in all its forms. I would be thrilled to be able to serve this committee and this chapter as Coordinator of Membership Committee in 2020.


Mutual Aid Committee


Chair Candidates


Richard Porczak

What has been your prior involvement with the Mutual Aid Committee?

Bottom-lining Child Watch at Westside chapter meetings, bottom-lining the Child Watch program, writing emails, writing agendas, generally helping with committee organization.

What is your assessment of the Mutual Aid Committee's work over the past year?

It's been strong! We've created a good foundation for continuing work with the FBLCs + Community Building Clinics and our relationship with Chuco's. Our relationship with Food Not Bombs seems strong. We continue to staff Child Watch at chapter meetings. Give Red may not be as regular as it could be, but it has a good baseline. There's always room for improvement, but this year feels like it's laid a solid groundwork for expansion and refinement in the coming year(s).

What goals do you have for the Mutual Aid Committee in 2020?

In short, more direct involvement from more people. Fostering a culture of leadership and organization. We talk a lot about trying to be a horizontal committee, but when the rubber meets the road it still often feels like responsibility and initiative is deferred to a small number of individuals. I would love for this committee to empower its members to do more, be it starting Mutual Aid projects, directing existing projects, taking responsibility for aspects of existing projects, etc. We have a good number of committee projects, all of which are feasible, but its too much for a small number of individuals to bottom-line. If we want to expand projects like our Free Brake Light Clinics, Give Red, Child Watch, Marshalling, MARS, DRAMA, etc., it will require our committee to empower more of our members to take responsibility for these projects.

How are you personally equipped to support the Mutual Aid Committee in achieving those goals?

For the last half-year or so, I've been pretty involved in intra-committee organization, e.g. committee email and meeting preparation, bottom-lining aspects of committee projects, etc. In this time I have picked up communications and organization skills that I can use to help facilitate our committee's projects, and make doing the work easier for our members. I am also eager to help share the skills and knowledge that I've picked up along the way, in order to enable committee members to put this into practice on their own, without necessarily relying on me (or on leadership) to help facilitate. To cite some specific examples, my past experience in writing our committee emails, organizing agendas, organizing trello boards, and taking responsibility for aspects of our committee projects will help me not only continue those in the coming year (making organization for the rest of the committee run more smoothly), but it also provides me the opportunity to teach other committee members these skills in order to help them step up and do more themselves.

Statement

In 2019, Mutual Aid saw strong active membership growth, built relationships, started exciting projects, and, importantly, did some good work. As a Mutual Aid chairperson, I look forward to keeping up the momentum in 2020 by using my organizational skills to empower committee and community members to work on our Mutual Aid projects, and not waste their time and energy on the work-outside-of-the-work. I'm looking to help facilitate existing processes, share institutional knowledge with the rest of the committee, and help committee members realize their full organizing potential. I look forward to deepening my involvement with this committee to further our commitment to mutual aid, not only in our organization but in our communities, providing the skills, resources, and services to help one another.


Ricky G.

What has been your prior involvement with the Mutual Aid Committee?

I've been serving as coordinator of the committee for the past year. 

What is your assessment of the Mutual Aid Committee's work over the past year?

I'm extremely proud of the work that we have done. The committee has grown significantly and we have built out projects in a sustainable manner that can continue to grow. We have built and continue to build relationships with other organizations and have successfully maintained them. Further, extremely pleased with how we have made this committee as horizontal as possible within the wider organizational rules.

What goals do you have for the Mutual Aid Committee in 2020?

I am personally dedicating myself to maintaining the relationships built putting together the Community Coalition Building Clinic and working to further grow it. So far each clinic has added resources and while constant addition isn't going to be possible for every single one, we can still maintain it's growth. As well, I intend to ensure that the initial vision of ensuring these clinics are also a training ground for those in the community these clinics take place in who are wanting to learn and pass on these skills to others. After meeting with our gracious hosts, that is a want they have and classes have already been put into the initial planning stages with them. Further, and most importantly, to ensure we are active listeners. Beyond that, I am anxiously awaiting starting work on a potential new teaching series, "Living Under Capitalism". While I shall maintain offering my neverending support to ComDef, Child Watch, and other MA work, the above shall be my focus based on my capacity as well as skillset. 

How are you personally equipped to support the Mutual Aid Committee in achieving those goals?

I'm fairly certain that all members in good standing in the committee know my strengths and weaknesses. If not, I am open to interrogation on Signal. I just can't bring myself to write another resume, the work is there for assessment. 

Statement

As I've shown, I will give this committee everything I have the capacity for. Which, life being life, means will fluctuate from time to time, but that's partly why we reworked our bylaws, so that we can continue support each other, not just when times are easy, but also when they get tough. And that's what this is all about, support, each other and all that we have the ability to. That's it, I'm tired. 'Night.


Andy P.

What has been your prior involvement with the Mutual Aid Committee?

While serving as co-chair of this committee for the past year, I learned a huge amount about our chapter’s approach to membership development. Since we have just made some significant structural changes based on the lessons learned over the past year, I feel a duty to see this transition through and to support the committee in this invigorating new season. I’m not just running out of duty though. I feel an incredible amount of excitement about the moment we find ourselves in and the opportunities that lay before us to build a liberatory, working class mass movement that is dedicated to fighting oppression in all its forms. I would be thrilled to be able to serve this committee and this chapter as Coordinator of Membership Committee in 2020.

What is your assessment of the Mutual Aid Committee's work over the past year?

We did stuff: we set forwards a good example of what can be done with some organization. We need to scale, have more regular brake light clinics, and get a robust schedule for our trainings.

What goals do you have for the Mutual Aid Committee in 2020?

More marshalls, regular brake light clinics, expanding the networking of local mutual aid associations.

How are you personally equipped to support the Mutual Aid Committee in achieving those goals?

I am well trained in training people in how to do marshalling, and will work to schedule events regularly. I will be trying to build a robust culture of participation in leading our activities.

Statement

Murray Bookchin sets an example for all of us: we must ensure and enshrine a participatory nature to all our social relations. I am a horizontalist and understand the tyrrany of structurelessness: we must do our utmost to ensure that our culture does not undercut our intentions or praxis. BIJI ROJAVA


Coordinator Candidates


Ivan

What has been your prior involvement with the Mutual Aid Committee?

I have been an active member in Mutual Aid for over a year now. I have consistently attended meetings, brought in other comrades to meetings, and supported Mutual Aid led actions throughout my entire time in the committee. I have worked tirelessly at the community clinics, in trainings, and in the marshaling program. I am well known by my MA comrades and can be seen repping for the committee in public DSA forums.

What is your assessment of the Mutual Aid Committee's work over the past year?

Mutual Aid’s work has been and will continue to be some of the most important work within our chapter. Our clinics, community building events, and internal structural support groups (such as child watch and marshaling) are important inroads between not only the outside world and the org, but also the disperse and diverse members we have already.

What goals do you have for the Mutual Aid Committee in 2020?

Mutual Aid must be a lead driving force in the push for inclusion in DSA-LA; through Organizing for All, the committee will find itself in a position to reach out to minority and unheard communities in Los Angeles, expand membership activity by providing support, a strengthening the trust within Los Angeles that we so desperately need. We must expand our clinics and events, building out the structures and networks to make them self sufficient. We must reach out to and help fellow organizations that follow our socialist principles. We must empower our membership and practice Mutual Aid.

How are you personally equipped to support the Mutual Aid Committee in achieving those goals?

Having been a member for so long, and having been close to and supportive of current leadership, I have a strong working knowledge of the committee. I have the trust of my comrades. I have the time and energy to invest. And most importantly, I know I’m not alone.

Statement

I have a deep love for this committee; I view it as my current “home” in this organization. I promise I will use all my energy to keep it alive and strong.


Conor McGarry

What has been your prior involvement with the Mutual Aid Committee?

I have worked with the Mutual Aid Committee in attending different stuff like the Blood Drive and also two out of the three Free Brake Light Clinics. I have also been close to attending every MA meeting. I have also participated in other smaller organizing activities in the committee.

What is your assessment of the Mutual Aid Committee's work over the past year?

Mutual Aid has gathered a core group of organizers and cadres who are the ones who have kickstarted much of the work. Also MA has continued to build closer relations with other organizations similarly engaged in the work that aligns in the committees aims. Child Watch has been particularly effective and continues to grow, while much of the security aims of DSA are slowly being built by the committee as well. 

What goals do you have for the Mutual Aid Committee in 2020?

I want Mutual Aid to continue to build up its relations with other community organizations and increases its own capabilities with internal support within DSA. I want DSA to have at least three core Mutual Aid actions that the committee puts much of its focus on, while also branching off into smaller activities when the need arises. Increase the training and skill set of the active Mutual Aid Committee cadres. 

How are you personally equipped to support the Mutual Aid Committee in achieving those goals?

I have been an active member of the committee and have decided to dedicate the entirety of my activity with DSA towards the committee only. 

Statement

I believe that my experience with the Mutual Aid Committee and the familiarity of the goals of Mutual Aid, that I would be a great Coordinator for Mutual Aid.


Political Education Committee


Chair Candidates


Courtney Quinn

What has been your experience with the Pol-Ed Committee and/or organizing in general?

I have been the co-chair of the committee since May. In that time, I led the committee as we designed and implemented our Imperialism Study Series, hosted a conversation with author and activist Max Elbaum, and conversed with our membership at other educational public events, like our happy hours and night school.

What is your vision for the Pol-Ed Committee in 2020 and/or what are your leadership goals?

I would like the committee to continue refining our Night School program. It has proven to be incredibly successful, with new and old members turning out in equal part every time we host an event. Our classes are always full, so I know the chapter is hungry for more education on a regular basis. Furthermore, I would like to work with the other sub-groups within DSA to connect the theory we discuss in our Night School classes with the campaigns the local chapter currently is working on. Right now, we are planning a Night School series on electoralism to capture the momentum of the Bernie Sanders campaign, both to drive our current membership to the weekly canvassing activities, and to welcome the DSA-curious who we speak to at those canvasses into our chapter. I look forward to designing a similar project with the help of the committee for the Green New Deal resolution passed at convention.

How are you personally equipped to support the Pol-Ed Committee in achieving these goals?

When I was elected 9 months ago, I had only been in DSA for a few months and had no idea what I was signing up for, but I knew that I wanted to help continue the work this committee, who originally inspired me to join, was doing. Since then, I have learned a lot about the history of socialist theory of course, but also about how our chapter operates overall and what part the individual sub-groups play within our greater structure. I am much more prepared now than I was before to lead this committee and support our membership as a whole. I look forward to continue developing the knowledge and skills of the DSA-LA membership.


Coordinator Candidates


Greg Salwen

What has been your experience with the Pol-Ed Committee and/or organizing in general?

I am the current coordinator. In my time as coordinator I have facilitated class discussions, booked spaces for events, and helped to run much of the communications (email + social media). I am also currently acting as one of the representatives of Pol-Ed for both Organizing for All (O4A) and Inter-Subgroup Officers Forum (ISOF) in order to better coordinate our actions with chapter resolutions and other committee campaigns in general.

What is your vision for the Pol-Ed Committee in 2020 and/or what are your leadership goals?

In December Pol-Ed membership voted on and approved four priority proposals that complement DSA-LA's three priority resolutions. Getting these projects into action is my top priority.

How are you personally equipped to support the Pol-Ed Committee in achieving these goals?

I have months of experience behind me in addition to a unique work situation that allows me to dedicate an especially large amount of time to our committee's projects.

Anything else you would like to add?

*I have to move back to NYC come June.* If elected, we would need to have another mid-year vote in May to find someone to replace me. I would be happy to help a new coordinator transition into the position. And I'll be taking all my experience with me to DSA-NYC!


Prison Abolition Committee


Co-Chair Candidates


Caitlin L.

First and foremost, I want to say that I love this committee and have been inspired by each of you to keep showing up and get deeper into the work. You all challenge and strengthen my perspective on abolition and for that I am grateful. Coming from teaching in a Title I public school in Dallas, TX, I have seen firsthand how the school to prison pipeline disproportionately affects students of color. In my short time as an educator, I have already seen how this starts a trajectory for our youth to end up in cages well beyond their teenage years because of their skin color and socioeconomic status. If the PIC says, “what about violent offenders?” I say “what about kids?” If kids don’t belong in cages, why do we deem it acceptable for adults? I would love to serve as your co-chair to help foster a safe and collaborative environment where all voices, ideas and actions are supported. I am by no means any more or less qualified than any of you for this position, but I am happy to support our (developing) mission and vision in this capacity.


Evan B. 

The membership of the Prison Abolition committee has grown consistently over the course of my attendance. One issue that stands out, however, is how inconsistent attendance seems to be. I would like to make strides to foster relationships with and between other members so that we can better guarantee long-term health of the committee. Being able to attract consistent membership would make our work easier to coordinate, more efficient, and require fewer explanatory commas during the meetings. Additionally, this provides us with opportunities to provide break out sessions for members old (trainings, letting writing, etc.) and new (education, discussion, etc.).


NOlympics! Working Group


Chair Candidates


Anne Orchier

What has been your experience with the NOlympics working group and/or organizing in general? 

I've been involved with NOlympics since day 1, and been acting as co-chair since we officially formed as a working group. In that time, I've helped establish the structure of the group, the format of our meetings, and a number of our campaigns and projects, including Homes Not Hotels, NOlympics Anywhere, and Disasterpiece Theatre. 

What is your assessment of the work of NOlympics over the past year?

This was a huge year for us. We organized the first transnational summit of anti-Olympics organizers in Japan and launched our Homes Not Hotels campaign here in LA, all while continuing to push our message out through press, panels, and our own agit-prop.

What goals do you have for the working group for 2020?

I would like to see us expand Homes Not Hotels to at least one other part of LA County, formalize the transnational coalition, and have more of our members step into formal leadership roles and take ownership over projects.  

How are you personally equipped to support NOlympics in achieving those goals?

In my experience, all of these goals are connected - building and expanding new campaigns supports the development of new leadership. 

Statement

Fuck the Olympics.


Jonny

What has been your experience with the NOlympics working group and/or organizing in general? 

I've been one of the co-chairs since the beginning (early 2017) and have seen this project grow from a conversation in a Housing and Homelessness meeting to a full fledged campaign with many moving pieces. I've been involved hands on in most aspects of the work in these three years. 

What is your assessment of the work of NOlympics over the past year?

I think NOlympics really turned a corner this year and achieved one of our original goals, which was " changing the conversation." We grew and started to formalize the transnational coalition. We brought 18 organizers to Japan to build solidarity with anti-capitalists around the world. On the ground in LA, we also launched our Homes Not Hotels project where we've knocked thousands of doors in Hollywood and started expanding our educational outreach around the county. We were involved in many direct actions this year, sometimes as supporters, sometimes as leaders, and helped cultivate solidarity among our coalition partners. 

What goals do you have for the working group for 2020?

Our goals and priorities are in the process of been ratified and decided by the collective group, so I defer to them. My goal is to advance the collective agenda, recruit, onboard and develop new leaders, and move closer to canceling this bid and putting global pressure on the IOC and collaborators like Airbnb.

How are you personally equipped to support NOlympics in achieving those goals?

My current co-chair and I have been working on this project since before it was a formal working group and campaign. I'm dedicated to this work, regardless of where it takes us. I'm excited to continue to develop leaders and growing power locally. 

Statement

I hope the work of NOlympics speaks for itself, in a sense. When we launched in 2017, I'm sure many people around LA (or even within progressive circles) scoffed. A few years down the line, and it's pretty clear we were right all along... about everything. And we're building power in a way that centers of power can't control or buy off easily. That's because we've really embraced the concept of autonomous organizing and adversarialism, both with local elected, corrupt non-profits, and the compliant local press. 

I think we've really succeeded and grown as organizers, educators, and agitators, and I hope/think I've had a hand in all three of those areas. 

I look forward to strengthening our connections with DSA-LA in 2020 and working towards deeper collaborations with various committees and membership, particularly after the primaries, as we move towards activating more communities around the county. 


Coordinator Candidates


Hugo Soto

What has been your experience with the NOlympics working group and/or organizing in general? 

I have been a consistent member for the past 10 months.  

What is your assessment of the work of NOlympics over the past year?

We are awesome!

What goals do you have for the working group for 2020?

Continue to identify, recruit, and develop leaders through a campaign. 

How are you personally equipped to support NOlympics in achieving those goals?

I have been an organizer with UNITE HERE Local 11 for the past 13 years and have a lot of experience building power. 

Statement

I want to play the role of coordinator so I can continue to help in moving forward DSA and the Nolympics campaign.


Steven Louis

What has been your experience with the NOlympics working group and/or organizing in general? 

I've been organizing with NOlympics since 2018, initially working on burn book/opposition research and copywriting/email editing. I now serve as canvas lead for our Homes Not Hotels campaign, and along with Hugo Soto I am the coordinator for DSA-LA. I was at the last coordinators meeting in December, and I'm excited to keep fulfilling this responsibility!

What is your assessment of the work of NOlympics over the past year?

Our HNH work was really inspiring. We grew membership, landed press hits in LA Times, LA Mag, The Daily Beast, various books (s/o Jules Boykoff) and Deadspin (RIP). We're in the process of developing a much-needed new member program. I'm proud of both community meetings we hosted on anti-displacement action.

What goals do you have for the working group for 2020?

Develop opposition / actions against AirBNB, the Ellis Act, CD4 election and the 2020 Games in Tokyo. I also want to continue building our canvassing infrastructure and diversifying our membership!

How are you personally equipped to support NOlympics in achieving those goals?

I've been going to actions consistently, stepping up at canvasses in Hollywood/KTown, and I generally have confidence in my ability to publicly articulate & represent our platform. Along with Hugo, I think we can increase DSA-LA and NOlympics-LA crossover just by showing up and talking to people within our coalitions. I hope to make more weeknights available for NOlympics this year!

Statement

Excited to continue in this position, and find a way to increase NOlympics membership while also sharing our resources with the DSA chapter! Ready to step up. 

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Upcoming Events

Beers for Bernie - WEST SIDE!

Friday, January 17 at 8:00 pm

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Bernie 2020 Canvas: Santa Monica

Saturday, January 18 at 10:00 am

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Political Education Committee Meeting, 1/18

Saturday, January 18 at 11:00 am

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