Statement by Committee Leadership and Membership of Agitprop, Climate Justice, Healthcare, Housing & Homelessness, Immigration Justice, Labor, Membership, Mutual Aid, NOlympics LA, and Prison Abolition Committees
It has been a difficult and painful two weeks for our chapter. Our Steering Committee’s decision to handle a grievance by reducing suspensions recommended by a third party has caused serious damage to our chapter’s well-being and influenced a subsequent wave of contention and hurt throughout. Harm has been caused to individual members, comrades have disaffiliated from the organization, DSA-LA’s reputation has been endangered, and a direct impact has been made on our important committee work.
We're all frustrated, sad, exhausted, angry, disappointed, and grappling with feelings of personal responsibility. We may not have answers at this moment but maybe we can be more accountable to ourselves and to one another by considering what roles we’ve played in getting here. Let’s work together to move forward instead of identifying specific problems or naming solutions at this time. Steering’s decisions to remove an individual from our chapter, resign as chapter leaders, and hold new Steering Committee elections are material steps forward but they will not solve everything. We need to make ongoing commitments to work together and share the responsibility of creating an organization where we want to belong.
It’s imperative that we remember that we, the membership, are who make DSA-LA. The work we’ve been doing is just as important today as it was a week ago. We have the power to build a healthy organization. In this time of grief, the signatories of this statement pledge to organize and fight for the issues that galvanize us. We invite every member to join us.
The DSA-LA membership will soon elect a new Steering Committee and then host our recently postponed Convention. We are committed to ensuring a safer, more democratic chapter and will work to find the appropriate integration of the Steering Committee into the Misconduct Policy. We’re committed to amending the Misconduct Policy through the appropriate channels delineated in the bylaws. We don't yet know what that looks like but we are committed to doing the work to make things better. This is only the first step on a long road toward healing our chapter and toward becoming a truly inclusive, liberatory space.
There is also the necessity and integrity of our chapter work and political programs. We have a school board election to win. We have brake lights to fix. We have the Services Not Sweeps campaign that kicked off last week. We have labor solidarity campaigns we have promised to do alongside struggling workers. This work is just as vital as the work we must do to become the comrades we claim to be. There is a city and a society that needs us to be those comrades now. We must continue our organizing in Los Angeles alongside the work related to our internal chapter culture in the wake of this crisis. As committee leadership and committed membership, we intend to start picking up those pieces now.
The work is the lens that will help us solve this. We can't separate it from everything else that's happening or use it as an excuse to avoid dealing with conflict and oppressive behaviors. We can’t address those behaviors in isolation from the larger project we've all committed to or claim that we need to figure this out before we can get back to work. We have a responsibility to continue with this work and we have an equal responsibility to address the issues within our own internal culture that are a threat to that work.
This will be a hard journey but together we have built an organization that in two years has become a fixture of the LA Left. We cannot allow it to break apart now. Although we are weaker after the revelations of last week, we refuse to allow the work that so many comrades have poured into making a legitimate voice for socialism in Los Angeles to collapse. It is our continued duty to ensure that not only do these politics survive but that they are better than before.
We have come too far to stop now. We hope you’ll join us in building a better reality.
Dana Bell, Co Chair, Climate Justice
Ari BH, YDSA Coordinator
Scott, Co Chair, Membership
Jonny Coleman, Co Chair, NOlympics LA
Steve Ducey, Chair, Prison Abolition
Jordan E., Co Chair, Membership
Drew F., Coordinator, Agit-Prop
Ricky G., Coordinator, Mutual Aid
Kelsey Goldberg, Chair, Agit-Prop
Kyle Gregory, Chair, Labor
Andrew Hall, Co-Coordinator, Prison Abolition
Liz Hirsch, Chair, Housing & Homelessness
Maikiko, Membership Committee Capacity Coordinator
Kenyon McFarlane, Co Coordinator, Healthcare
Anne Orchier, Co Chair, NOlympics LA
David Quattrocchi, New Member Liaison, Housing & Homelessness
Brandon Rey Ramirez, Co Chair, Immigration Justice
Matt Reynolds, Co Coordinator, Healthcare
Jordan Romanoff, Coordinator, Immigration Justice
R. R., Chair, Mutual Aid
Joshua Smith, Communications Liaison, Mutual Aid
Jack Suria Linares, Co Chair, Immigration Justice
Tal, Membership Committee Data Coordinator
Zach Taras, Co Chair, Climate Justice