Lead Contacts: Lenny Potash & Greg Gabrellas
I. RESOLUTION DESCRIPTION & TIMELINE
Medicare for All means the establishment of a single, public, universal health insurance system, managed by a government or public agency, where every resident, regardless of their employment or immigration status, will have comprehensive healthcare coverage without cost and on demand, at the point of service.
An expanded and improved Medicare for All represents a core demand of democratic socialist politics.
Our healthcare is a major political issue of our times. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has already voted at its 2017 national convention to direct its efforts in the coming years to an independent Medicare for All campaign (see medicareforall.dsausa.org). Medicare for All will socialize a major industry and result in greater take-home pay (similar to a vast increase in wages); it will increase labor unions’ leverage at the bargaining table, intensifying class struggle. As a program that serves the entire population, Medicare for All creates and sustains solidarity that helps unify the otherwise-divided working class: “Everybody in, nobody out!” Capitalists and politicians in both mainstream parties will fight us tooth and nail on this demand. By showing how the Left can put pressure on the political system to de-commodify social goods, DSA will be an integral part of renewing confidence in socialists’ broader goals.
Campaigning for Medicare for All offers us the ability to build a mass constituency for democratic socialist politics and ties to a broad working-class base.
The movement for universal health care is already ascendant. Socialists have a unique opportunity to lead this political fight by shaping the terms of debate and inspiring the confidence of broad layers of the working class. The presence of a statewide universal health care bill pushed by the Healthy California Campaign and California Nurses Association, amidst the fair-weather support of Democratic Party politicians, provides a key opportunity around which to build our constituency and play a stronger role in statewide politics. Our canvassing approach will continue the hard but necessary work to create a mass socialist movement on the basis of person-to-person organizing, taking our broad political vision door-to-door to local neighborhoods across the county to deepen our base through recruitment of new members across diverse communities. We have a unique opportunity to campaign not only alongside, but also within the labor movement by encouraging rank-and-file Medicare for All caucuses. And this demand is a powerful link to movements for social housing and decarceration. As a chapter in a major metropolitan center, our commitment to this campaign is crucial to its statewide and national success.
The DSA LA Healthcare Committee will continue its chapter Medicare for All campaign to engage in regular canvassing, education, and organizing. This resolution calls for the following commitments from the chapter: - Establish the chapter Medicare for All campaign as a priority program for Branch member involvement and mobilization, particularly canvassing activities to encourage developing core skills in person-to-person organizing, alongside other political tactics; - Include a prominent focus on Medicare for All during any relevant electoral work pursued by the local, and participate in efforts to coordinate chapters to build for statewide political power; - Contribute financial support, as requested by the Healthcare Committee, for membership mobilization, infrastructure, coordination, and political education related to the campaign; - Put chapter mailing list, social media, and agitprop resources into effect in support of the chapter campaign.
II. ALIGNED ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITIES
As described in the resolution description, the Medicare for Campaign is explicitly aligned to the following organizational priorities of DSA LA:
Internal Organizing and Infrastructure - Build organizational structures that can support and manage anticipated growth of the chapter. - Build an organizational culture that embodies our socialist ideals, and a welcoming community that supports all members to engage in collective work to dismantle systems of oppression, in accordance with our shared values.
Strategic Partnerships - Build respectful relationships which allow DSA members to both contribute to the broader movement as leaders, and as allies, as appropriate. - Undertake to exchange resources, build solidarity, and engage in campaigns with other DSA California chapters and nationally. - Work to develop partnerships with other organizations to challenge and transcend the stratifications that divide Los Angeles.
III. MOBILIZATION AND MEMBER CAPACITY
The Medicare for All campaign will develop and use educational resources and trainings for a variety of skills that empower members to act as effective socialist organizers. The Healthcare committee has a long track record of recognizing that organizers’ development includes and requires being challenged, and has encouraged and supported learning and growth in all members by offering opportunities to develop new skills and take on additional responsibilities with the support of membership, agitprop, and political education committees.
A key challenge of the Medicare for All campaign is to develop internal capacity to recruit, engage, and retain our members across the racial and socioeconomic divisions of Los Angeles, and build a campaign that engenders unity across the working class. The
nation-wide momentum behind support for a universal healthcare system provides an opportunity to address this challenge head-on. In addition to member recruitment and retention, the campaign promises to connect members to each other regionally to combine forces to leverage greater political power.
IV. COMMITTEE AND WORKING GROUP COOPERATION
Housing & Homelessness: Will contribute towards unifying county & state-wide organizing, which will also support housing work, and establish powerful links between housing and healthcare and core democratic socialist demands.
Labor: Will establish solidarity with California Nurses Association and other allied labor organizations in our common struggle for statewide & national Medicare for All, and provide context for member involvement within unions.
Prison Abolition: Will link vision of de-commodified health care with critique of the prison system and criminalization of poverty and mental illness.
Immigration Justice: Will unify mass base around a universal social program that will help everyone regardless of immigration status.
Membership: Will provide opportunities for onboarding new members by involving them in canvassing as a central activity of the campaign, and will recruit new members, particularly among racially & ethnically diverse populations by virtue of our organizing door-to-door across the county.