Statement by Josh Stadtner
I’m relatively new to the DSA. I joined because I wanted to contribute to a collective that advances the socialist project through direct engagement with working class communities. The Brake Lights Clinic was genius in my estimation—it’s still the first thing I mention when I talk about the DSA to nonmembers. Therefore it perplexes me that a project like F4S can be viewed as a potential catastrophe, one that mars the good name of the DSA.
I recently canvassed for the Costa-Hawkins repeal. Toward the end, my comrade and I came upon this one tenant who immediately flew into a rage at the mention of the “socialist” part. He threatened to pull out his gun and shoot us if we didn’t “zig-zag” out of his neighborhood. My point is that the word “socialist” is already besmirched (despite people like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez), so it’s difficult to imagine that providing food will further damage us. Also, providing food to people is a virtue within itself. There are never too many people providing free food.
I think David and Steve made great points so I won't reiterate them for risk of repetition. After speaking with F4S members and reading their proposal, I'm convinced that they want to respectfully engage the latinx working class through established local institutions including the church. I'm also relieved to hear that several members of F4S speak Spanish fluently--it's my personal opinion that all DSA members should speak some degree of Spanish if we want to broadly engage LA's working class communities.