National Political Committee Candidates Seeking DSA-LA Endorsement

DSA-LA has one member seeking a nomination from the DSA-LA chapter to declare their candidacy to the DSA National Political Committee (NPC).  Candidates to the NPC must be nominated by a majority vote of any chapter or OC, a national committee, a national working group, or the AFROSOC-POC Caucus.


Maikiko James:

How do you identify?

Woman; Chinese, Japanese, Black ancestry

Please describe your experience in DSA so far, including: (1) how long have you been in DSA, (2) what leadership positions have you held, (3) what campaigns and activities have you been involved in, and (4) any major highlights of your involvement.

I’ve been involved in DSA-LA since December 2016 and dues-paying since March of 2017. Since then, I’ve held positions as chair of the former Racial Justice Committee and coordinator of the former Anti-oppression Committee, both decommissioned in effort to prevent issue-siloing of underrepresented people in our chapter and remove undue burden on those who were organizing most in those committees. I was also an at-large member of the DSA-LA Steering Committee in 2018. Within those positions, I helped to coordinate quarterly culture forum addressing oppressive aspects of culture within our chapter, and build the infrastructure for the implementation of our misconduct policy and conflict resolution team. I am currently the capacity coordinator of the Membership Committee, supporting the work of our training program and the onboarding of new members into DSA-LA organizing.

What activist/political/organizing experience have you had outside DSA? 

My first experiences in community organizing were in high school for local anti-gentrification campaigns in San Francisco, resourcing small businesses and working class residents to fight off major development. Since then, I’ve had professional and volunteer experiences in youth leadership, immigration justice, juvenile justice system reform, media representation and equity, and feminist anti-militarism. Many of these experiences were and remain confined by the political and capitalist limitations of working within non-profit organizations. I joined DSA having come to an understanding that work at this level cannot be transformative without major systemic overhaul in our economy and society.

In the short term, if elected to NPC, you will serve two years in national leadership from August 2019 to summer 2021. What will be the most urgent challenges, and what will the greatest opportunities for socialists?

In the next two years, the event that will politically activate the largest number of people in our country is the presidential election, and the one that should is the looming climate cliff that threatens our very existence. As DSA, I believe we have an opportunity to more intentionally integrate the vast range of issues we currently address - Medicare for All, strengthening labor, abolishing ICE and the prison industrial complex, homelessness and housing, fascist white nationalism, and many others - to engage a broad cross-section of people in a mass, intersectional movement of the working class and shared visions of the major challenges ahead. As we work on campaigns addressing specific, often more localized, issues, we have the opportunity to build dialogue around the historical roots of entrenched capitalist oppressions and link them to national and global imperatives.

Socialism’s rising popularity among people in the United States presents a critical moment in our culture to amplify the needs of the most alienated and oppressed in this country and build our capacity to take power. Moreover, socialism as being adapted and evolved by this generation of organizers presents the moment to consciously develop praxis centering socialist feminism, decolonization, racial equity, queerness, ecosocialism, and indigeneity. This requires our dedication to collaboration, learning from our elders, and being attentive to how and through what outlets the majority of working class people engage in politics and community.

What is the role and purpose of a socialist organization in the United States today?

The role of a socialist organization in the US today is to present the only viable alternative to currently dominating, harmful power structures. The role of DSA, as big tent and multi-tendency, is to present that alternative as nuanced and responsive to the vast range of human experiences that we will have in this organization if we aim to be influential. We’re watching the deep reach of conservative, nationalist barbarism wage terror and instability across the world, and whereas we don’t have the money of those who uphold that value, we’re also seeing an undeniable groundswell of people who long for a more sustainable, compassionate way of living. We have centuries of preceding social movements which have led to our potential for radical change. Our purpose now is to honor those legacies, and, in coalition and solidarity with many others, weave a foundation on which the largest number of people can engage in our own liberation.

Why are you running for NPC?

Candidly, the last two years have been among the most challenging of my life. I found an organization whose politics animated me to a height I’d never experienced. I’ve worked with formidable organizers whose commitment to a world for all inspires me daily. I’ve also been deeply conflicted and sad about influences of patriarchy and white supremacy insinuating themselves in our treatment of one another and our behaviors, including my own, within the organization. Practically, I have eighteen years of administrative experience that keep me on task and organized enough to contribute to the structural development required of an organization growing at DSA’s pace. However, I think it’s the navigation of the emotional and social polarity that commits me to the organization and its potential for real revolutionary effect. As internal divides have historically contributed to the diminishing of progressive movements, I’m eager to explore DSA’s capacity to adapt to, be strengthened by, and heal through our differences. I look forward to growing into a group of hundreds of thousands of skillful organizers who not only build and maintain authentic, community-based relationships, but also embrace the complexity of what those relationships need to survive, and ultimately, for all to thrive.



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