Sustained solidarity is the beating heart of socialism

Statement by Jessica Shearer, Former DSA Youth Organizer and Co-Chair of Young Democratic Socialists
Position: Support

F4S will help DSA-LA expand beyond its privileged base and bring integrity and efficacy to priority campaigns like abolishing ICE and the convention mandate to expand throughout Los Angeles.

We have a generational opportunity to make democratic socialism both a viable political force and a liberational ideology that will reshape the core institutions of life in the United States. That is thanks to the organizing work, vision, and effective democratic systems-building done by the current members and leaders of DSA-LA.

F4S gives DSA-LA the opportunity to build on that work and to make ourselves useful to working-class Latinx communities. Any successful democratic socialist movement in Los Angeles will be disproportionately low income and immigrant led. Moving our meetings is a real feat worth celebrating. But it will take more to change the composition of the organization.

I grew up in DSA, worked for DSA, spent years of my life organizing for DSA, but time after time I’ve seen chapters and the entire national organization fall to the brink of irrelevance because we failed to root ourselves in community. There have been exceptions -- DSA’s role in organizing access to food, medicine, water, subsidies, and electricity in Occupy Sandy resulted in robust ongoing chapter level work in public housing in Brooklyn. I think F4S could be another one. And far from being a drain on resources, my experience in fundraising makes me believe it will be a magnet for resources, for the program itself and the chapter at large.

Practically speaking, calling to abolish ICE without doing principled sustainable work in the communities on the front lines of that fight just won’t work.

To be clear. We will not be bringing the idea of socialism into Latinx communities. Oscar Romero, Salvador Allende, Lazaro Cardenas and the unsung socialist feminists of the 1970’s Sandinistas all beat us to that. But it will bring DSA, the organization, into the lives of people on the frontlines. Which is where we must take root.