Steering Committee Candidates

(The order was decided by a random number generator.)

At-Large Candidates

Recording Secretary

Communications Director

  • Casey R.
  • Jason Tunget
  • Molombo Thillia Thillot III - Note: Molombo has withdrawn his candidacy for Communications Director and is running for At-Large Steering.

Treasurer

YDSA Coordinator

Sergio D. and Mason Mineo are running unopposed for the position of Recording Secretary and YDSA Coordinator. Per chapter bylaws, they will be declared elected by acclamation.

 


At-Large Steering Candidates

 

Kenyon McFarlane

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA-LA in July of 2018. I’d been feeling increasingly isolated and powerless following the 2016 election, and had just returned from living in New Orleans where I’d been closely following New Orleans’ DSA’s work. After attending meetings of various LA progressive groups, I was excited to join a leftist organization with a dedicated membership working on projects that excited me.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

My work in DSA has primarily been with the Healthcare Justice Committee. I was a Coordinator with the committee for the first half of 2019, and was elected co-Chair in August. As part of Healthcare leadership I’ve helped organize canvasses, tablings, planned a speaking event, participated in reproductive justice actions, and helped set up bi-monthly debt relief and medical clinics.

I’m also the host for the monthly Northeast Los Angeles Hangout, where I meet prospective members, answer organizing questions, and connect them with committees and campaigns that interest them.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

My organizing work post high school has primarily been with DSA-LA.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

Some of my priorities for DSA-LA in 2020 are:

- Implementing the resolutions passed by our membership at the annual convention
- Forming coalitions with local groups
- Creating relationships with underserved communities and determining how DSA can meet local needs
- Maintaining a database of DSA members in labor unions that can be updated at least twice a year
- Decentralizing decision-making and empowering committees and committee leadership
- Prioritizing educational campaigns and community events

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I’m running for Steering Committee because I believe DSA functions best when members step up and contribute.
I’m incredibly passionate about the work DSA-LA does and I’m committed to helping facilitate that work going forward.

 

Julia Shannon

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA-LA to continue participating in DSA after moving to LA from New York, and to find opportunities to work on local projects in solidarity with other members with a focus on immigration and climate justice.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I have been a DSA member since fall of 2017. I am currently a member of the Immigration Justice Committee and the Climate Justice Committee, and am the Climate liaison to the Bernie 2020 Working Group.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I have worked as a political organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the nation's largest local union SEIU Local 1199, directing statewide campaigns mobilizing union members to engage in national electoral work to support pro-worker candidates and ballot initiatives and preserve state-level healthcare funding. I have also worked as an organizer and trainer on national and statewide electoral campaigns, focusing on voter registration, voter mobilization, and coalition building. As an activist I have participated in direct actions focusing on state legislatures and federal elected officials, and participated in the water protector movement. I am also currently a member of the LA-based Japanese-American community organization Nikkei Progressives, working on projects to stand in solidarity with migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

My political vision for DSA-LA is to work with other members to help further develop the organization into a vibrant, welcoming, and joyful political space that engages members across a wide variety of strategically linked political initiatives and campaigns. I believe that DSA-LA should actively work to recruit and retain participation by members who reflect the diversity within our city, including people of color, people of all gender identities, and parents with families -- and strive to become a national role model within DSA for an assertive approach to increasing inclusivity within the chapter. In 2020 I would like to help develop organization-wide opportunities for organizing training and direct action training, so that a wider variety of members can develop new skills, step into leadership positions, and play a public-facing role in representing the organization. I also believe that DSA-LA should strive to continue developing meaningful relationships with external political and community -based groups and allies, and to prioritize working in coalition whenever possible in order to strengthen political power and better inform our work with the knowledge and insights offered by other activists and leaders outside of DSA.

Please review our full slate platform here: https://bit.ly/34PX677

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I am running for the Steering Committee because I believe this is a crucial moment to strengthen, diversify, and develop our organization in preparation for upcoming political challenges, and to further form a solid and healthy foundation for expansion and growth in future years. I would like to share my organizing skills, have the opportunity to help nurture the organization on a wider scale, and work with members and leaders across all committees and working groups to ensure a productive, happy, and politically powerful year in 2020.

 

Molombo Thillia Thillot

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined the DSA to apart of a movement that I was tired of simply being a spectator of. The values of Bernie Sanders and AOC almost perfectly align with mine to the point that I realized the moral bankruptness of other political figures in comparison.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

In 2016 I canvassed first Bernie Sanders where I met with DSA-Boulder members. Due to undergraduate studies and other responsibilities in the community I was not involved as I would of preferred and I hope for that to change with my move to LA.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I have been the lead chair in major philanthropy events, managed and created social events that have boosted engagement and membership. Through my charge I created a community awareness previously wholesale ignored in my community by those with the social and monetary capital and now its part of their social day to day to uplift their community.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

we desperately need to codify the major steps it takes too boost our presence and cement the activities of DSA-LA in the community using today’s major avenues of outreach, digital media/social media, so that we are prepared to bear fruit from the inevitable raise of our profile in 2020.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I’m a leader that understands how to engage members, grow membership and retain momentum that will inevitably happen come 2020. The current candidates for Steering committee have a righteous vision that I hope to add my voice too and give my entire skill set to achieve the ends laid out.

 

Tom Rhalter

Branch
Westside

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I was sick of watching the world burn around me and DSA seemed like the first leftist organization of my lifetime that was actually building the movement necessary to do something about it.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I've been heavily YDSA and I've had the incredible honor and privilege to serving as Co-Chair of YDSA SMC since June. In that time I've helped the chapter grow from six members and a dream to over 150 members. We've staged multiple direct actions at city hall. We've hosted a Presidential candidate. We pushed an LA city councilor into stating outright, without equivocation, that killer cops should be prosecuted while sitting on a panel surrounded by cops. We've participated in solidarity actions across the city to support other progressive organizations. We've become the loudest and most influential voice for social change on our own campus. Most importantly, we have been unafraid to use our chapter as laboratory to experiment with as many organizing techniques as possible. Some of these techniques and strategies have been failures but the successes have far outweighed them. I believe this depth of hands on experience with many different strategies in many different situations is the number one thing I can bring to the table as a member of Steering. I'm incredibly optimistic that DSA-LA can become the most important power player in the city of Los Angeles and I'm hopeful that in some small way I can help get us there.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I was involved in several activist organizations and projects prior to becoming a member of the DSA. The most impressive one (on paper) was Code Blue which I helped found and had, at its peak, a membership of 25,000 people nationally. To be honest though, I'm reluctant to rely too heavily on my experience with organizations like Code Blue that were fundamentally well intentioned but also had a very limited vision of the sort of radical change our country needs. My experience on the executive committee of Code Blue may demonstrate a certain degree of practical expertise in running a large organization but I'm also hoping that my work within YDSA mostly speaks for itself, both in terms of the results I can help bring to the table and my commitment to our cause.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

Los Angeles is 88 neighborhoods in search of a city. We are a fractured community that has never, in its entire history, exerted the gravity the second largest city in America logically should. I believe that LA has the potential to becoming Americas largest Socialist city if an organization can unite us around a common vision. The DSA is the only organization capable of doing that. My goal over the next year would be to build the infrastructure necessary for us to get there. That means building much, much stronger communication between the committees and steering and each other. It means building new recruitment mechanisms. It means building stronger relations between DSA-LA and the many other progressive organizations who are our natural allies. It means increasing engagement among our current membership which means creating opportunities for everyone to participate in new or ongoing projects that are genuinely meaningful. It's not enough for us to want to do the right thing. We need to actually do it, and do it well.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

 To be honest, I don't think I'm anything particularly special as an individual person. However, I do have a lot of experiences that are specific to the work of organizing on a large scale and I'm hoping to pass those experiences on to as many people as I possibly can if elected. I'm committed to our cause. If I win I'll continue to serve our cause. If I lose I'll continue to serve our cause. The stakes our too high for anything less.

 

Meg Wachter

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

Because I want to be useful in my community in direct, effective, and compassionate ways.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

After moving to LA in October 2018, I've been looking for ways to become more involved within the community in the fight against social injustice. Historically I have worked actively within the realms of Reproductive Justice. I've been a dues paying member since the Fall of 2018 and I have been most involved with the Immigrant Justice Committee since the end of June 2019. I joined this committee because of the elevated persecution and human rights violations against our immigrant communities and those seeking asylum in our country. The IJC has been hugely influential and inspirational through it's community building with other organizations within LA, as well as direct action.

As far as my involvement within IJC, I've helped with organizing the October 12th Close the Camps Day of Action and 2 direction actions against Salesforce, as well as actively attending bi-weekly committee meetings.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

From 2009-2013 I founded and organized Brooklyn Skillshare -- a community-based, community-led, and community-building learning events organized and taught by Brooklyn residents. It was for learning, making, sharing, and doing.

I also co-founded and edit an feminist magazine called Got a Girl Crush (gotagirlcrush.com), that aims to disrupt the broken narrative of most women's publications and tell stories of all ages, races, and backgrounds of women all over the world. In the last ten years sold 5,000+ copies internationally and have fundraised thousands of dollars for local, national, and international non-profit organizations doing work in LGBTQ+, reproductive justice, immigration rights, and women's equality.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

I would love to help make DSA-LA a space to continue to grow and educate members politically and work towards making it an organization that others in our larger community look to for direction.

Also, Bernie 2020.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I believe there should be more gender equity within our chapter as well representation with those that choose to help lead it.

 

Sean Broadbent

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined so that I could be more actively involved in learning about and practicing democratic socialism. A coworker invited me to come to a chapter meeting but it was after attending one of the educational talks that convinced me that DSA-LA was something I wanted to become a member of.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I have been a member of the DSA-LA Healthcare Committee. Working w/ fellow member Cheng-Sim Lim, we successfully petitioned the City of LA to pass a Medicare-for-All Resolution. We did this by first going to individual Neighborhood Councils, making presentations to neighborhoods about single payer healthcare and thus growing advocacy/ownership for a city Resolution.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

My organizing experience is confined to this year w/ DSA-LA Healthcare Committee and National Nurses United. I am a member of LACBC and have participated in their programs for establishing safe pedestrian/cycling infrastructure in the County.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

An active and unified chapter that both supports and enables its membership.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I did not enter to run in the original ask for submissions because I wasn't thinking of pursuing a leadership position in my first year of being a member. However, this is already an organization I care about and I want to see it do well. I want to see us grow our membership and do the important work of educating and practicing democratic socialism. I'm asking you to vote for me because I will commit myself to the work of the Steering Committee and, with me on the board, we will have a fully seated and capable SC.

 

Shaun Cullen

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I've been involved in socialist politics and organizing since college (20+ years) in an informal way but only joined DSA after the 2016 elections. I was shocked by the election results and inspired by the Bernie movement to make my participation in socialist politics more formal and committed.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I have mainly been involved in the Housing and Homelessness and Political Education committees. I am also a member of our coalition organization NOlympics. Earlier this year, I organized an event and protest in solidarity with the NOlympics trip to Tokyo and just last month I led a presentation on housing policy for the Bernie working group. I was a facilitator in the Pol Ed series on imperialism and I'm currently working on a formal education project within NOlympics.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

During and after college I attended anti-World Bank and IMF protests in Washington, D.C. as well as anti-war protests in Chicago. During graduate school at the University of Virginia I was a representative of my department's student organization and in this capacity did some work around building diversity in the mostly white department. I was also involved in the university workers' living wage campaign. I am a member of the California Faculty Association and I've been a member of other unions as well.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

From Fall 2017-Spring 2019 I was working at a university in Tennessee, so I wasn't as closely privy to the internal problems within DSA-LA at that time. Since returning, I've been doubly committed to moving the organization forward while learning from the serious mistakes of the past. With the Bernie campaign in full swing, I believe that DSA will see unprecedented opportunities and challenges in the coming year. My central political goal is to keep DSA on message, promoting socialist ideas in conjunction with the Bernie campaign. I believe that we need to develop better procedures for vetting and endorsing political candidates and should reconsider whether such endorsements are in the interest of the organization in general. Diversity, outreach, and inclusion should also be goals of the organization as our membership remains too homogenous in terms of race, class, gender representation, sexuality, occupation, and sometimes opinion.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I'm a lifelong educator fed up with the educational system and the system of ideological indoctrination in the U.S. more generally. A core tenet of socialist organizing must be education about the material realities of everyday life in an advanced capitalist system and the ways in which ideological institutions like school, church, the market, political parties, the law, media, and many more discipline and manipulate poor and working people into accepting an inequitable and unjust distribution of material goods in their lives. I believe that my skills as an administrator and educator make me a strong candidate to lead DSA forward into an era in which socialist politics will be more visible in the U.S. than they have in generations.

 

Tal L

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA in January 2017 because I recognized that a viable left-wing political movement was necessary if the United States was ever to be a part of a just world that survives climate change. The election of Donald Trump convinced me that I needed to participate in building that movement, and the lack of available opportunities to actively build that movement through the Democratic Party in Los Angeles pushed me to check out a DSA new member meeting.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I ran and was elected to the first Interim Steering Committee of DSA-LA in May 2017, where I helped draft our initial bylaws, formalizing a structure that had previously not existed.

After that, I spent two years as a leader in the Membership Committee, running logistics related to our website, maintaining our various member lists and pulling them, as necessary for event outreach. Additionally, as a Membership Committee leader, I helped develop our branch policy, build out various new member orientations and trainings, and execute the logistics of our branch meetings and hangouts.

I’ve participated as a rank-and-file member in most of our big chapter-wide projects: I canvassed for Prop 10 and Jackie Goldberg, I walked the picket line every day during the UTLA strike, and have been regularly canvassing for DSA for Bernie.

I’m currently the (volunteer) SoCal DSA for Bernie Coordinator; building relationships with SoCal DSA chapters and helping them launch or build out their DSA for Bernie campaigns. Through this work, I’ve built relationships with many California DSA chapters and have gotten a stronger understanding of the challenges that smaller chapters in California face. I’ve helped mentor budding chapter leaders, and learned a lot from them as well.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

All of my organizing experience has come through my three years in DSA.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

I want to see DSA-LA move beyond its current shape as a hub for our super-dedicated members to self-select into the activist projects they’re interested in, and towards a mass organization that is capable of regularly flexing the power of our vast membership – after democratically deciding on our campaigns. In my view, one of our highest points was during the UTLA strike, when DSA-LA turned out nearly a hundred members at 6AM every weekday in the pouring rain to walk the picket line. However, our membership is comprised of over 1500 socialists; turning out 100 members to a picket line (or any other chapter campaign) should be the norm.

In the medium term, my goals on Steering are summarized in the Red Los Angeles platform (https://bit.ly/34PX677). In the new year, we need to build a regular, easily-accessible path for all members to concretely contribute to our campaigns, without requiring them to first contribute to committee meetings. We need to intentionally reach out to our members and turn them out to these campaigns, and develop the skills and structures to do high-volume turnout regularly for future campaigns. We need to redistribute our campaign work so that organization-building and organizer development happens in branches and campaigns so that education and skills development is more accessible to the broader working class of Los Angeles.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I’m running because the only weapon of the working class is organization. We have the power to change the world because the working class outnumbers the ruling class, but we must be able to act together.

I’m running because we have limited time to radically transform our city, our country, and our world to survive catastrophic climate change, and a mass socialist movement offers the only plausible path to do so humanely: it’s ecosocialism or barbarism.

I’m running because there’s a once-in-a-lifetime mass swell of popular sentiment towards socialism, and it’s irresponsible to not do everything we possible can to take advantage of it.

We have a world to win.

 

Ivan N

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

Coming from generation z, I’ve never experienced a time in my life in which this country was at peace; the constant state of war and economic decline has always been, in my mind, the norm.

Being the descendant of poor immigrants, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and having strong connections to working class politics throughout my life, it was only a matter of time for me to discover and adopt socialism as my philosophical and political outlook on life. The only ideas that made sense to me, rooted in human dignity, were left wing.

This came to a head with the Bernie Sanders campaign of 2016. His policy driven bid for the nomination made me genuinely question the country and the world I lived in. In the months following the election, with Donald Trump winning, I became heavily disillusioned with the American system.
Soon after I paid my first national dues to DSA.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I have been active most consistently with the Mutual Aid committee, almost never missing a meeting since I began attending. I participate in almost all Mutual Aid activities including Give Red, the Free Brake Light Clinics, and the marshalling program, working in a co-leading role in many situations.

For a long time I had been active with the Street Watch group in the valley, only stopping when my schoolwork became the best of me on my Saturdays. This action strengthened my understanding and support of direct community outreach.

Further, I am very active in YDSA-LA. I currently run my own chapter at my college and am one of the founding members of the newly formed YDSA Committee of DSA-LA.

I attend almost every chapter meeting, have participated in union activity (including the UTLA teacher strikes), and have tried to build personal connections with many individuals and groups within the DSA-LA.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I am a member of the IWW and have been interested in actively unionizing my workplace at my college campus. I am also a Bernie Sanders supporter and have been active with his campaign; currently I am working with the Bernie Sanders campaign on campus, in an attempt to register students to vote and have them vote for Sanders in the California primary.

Running my own YDSA and being active in YDSA politics in DSA-LA has given me a great deal of firsthand experience in organizing and running a political structure.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

My main priorities are and will be
1) expanding membership by building support and trust within minority and underprivileged communities (such as people of color and women) in Los Angeles, using Organizing for All as the basis for this,
2) supporting YDSA and DSA integration and connection in Los Angeles by working hands on with YDSA members,
3) prioritizing green and housing based issues in the city through both electorism and direct action,
4) and supporting inter-committee dialogue as an attempt to end the constant sense of feuding between organized groups within the chapter by taking an active role as a medium for their communication.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

If it isn’t evident enough, I love being active in this chapter and organization; I deeply care about our goals and our membership. I want to see this chapter grow and succeed in the city.

Over the past two years of my membership in DSA, I have seen steering stagnate with corruption and unfortunate inaction. I have seen committees compete for support, rather than work together as a cohesive unit.

But I genuinely believe we can do this. We can accomplish our goals, accomplish socialism.

I am running out of a drive to be a part of that movement, to help it grow and succeed. I want to change the way steering is viewed by the chapter membership. I want to make it a committee that can organize DSA-LA into the socialist united mass it is destined to become.

 

Ethan McQuerrey

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

On November 9th 2016 DJT stole our country. My 12 yo daughter asked me "What are we going to now?". With tears still rolling down my cheeks I had only one word for her... "FIGHT."

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

Agit-prop

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

Red-diaper baby, parents were SDS and Weathermen. So I'm a right-winger in my family. Part of the DIY American Hardcore movement of the early eighties. Involved with something political my whole life, from Jesse Jackson's '88 run for office to Katie Hill's Congressional run last year.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

To become the place where people go to become the tip of the spear in the fight for Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

To help us build a more cohesive and interconnected organization. Not only interconnected within the membership ourselves, but with the communities of our city, state and country.

 

Daniel Dominguez

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined the chapter shortly after the victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to the U.S. Congress and her visit to Los Angeles. At that point, DSA-LA has been on my radar for several months, but I hadn’t yet made an earnest attempt to attend a meeting or event. I became a socialist after witnessing the events of the Great Recession and the resistance that sprung from the sense of inequality felt among the working class in this country, but I felt at the moment there did not exist an organization that was presenting a coherent vision for change until I became aware of DSA.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

My early contributions to the chapter included phone-banking for Proposition 10, a ballot initiative to allow cities to implement real rent control. After that campaign, I shifted most of my efforts to the Immigration Justice Committee. This coincided with the rise in public consciousness of the US family separation policy targeting mostly Central American immigrants at the border. Along with several DSA-LA comrades, I visited Tijuana to support the work of Al Otro Lado in December 2018, and then began organizing regular delegations from our chapter to engage in border solidarity work. I have centered my organizing efforts on local direct actions, political education, and coalition building.

I have also served on the most recent Steering Committee as an at-large member. One of my focuses was to identify leaders and build the capacity of our members so that they have the skills to see themselves as agents of change and able to organize in their workplaces, communities, and neighborhoods. I have facilitated several DSA training modules that are designed to integrate members at different levels of engagement into the organization.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

Outside of DSA I have organized alongside the hardworking and talented organizers of the Los Angeles Tenants Union and Chinatown Community for Equitable Development. My first experience working with those organizations and tenants was at the Hillside Villa apartment building in Chinatown where the tenants were facing massive rent increases after the affordability covenant on their building had expired. I later worked with the tenants of the Gilmore tenants in North Hollywood who had been on a rent strike for several months.

Because of my experiences organizing in Los Angeles I have become a union organizer. My day job is now organizing new union drives at workplaces across Southern California. I believe that as socialists we cannot lose sight of the importance of workplace organizing and that is why the Red Los Angeles platform on which I’m running (https://bit.ly/34PX677) emphasizes the centrality of labor in our platform. Recognizing the role of labor in our work means that we must view ourselves as workers who are uniquely situated to effect social change and transform our own conditions.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

I believe that our chapter has not taken advantage of the full potential of its membership. Our chapter is filled with very talented and dedicated organizers. However that is not enough to sustain an organization with a vision to significantly alter our conditions as workers and members of marginalized communities. At our most recent Annual Convention in October we democratically decided as a chapter to collectively work toward advancing the goals set out in the resolutions. We also made important amendments to our bylaws that changed the structure of our chapter to elevate the mass and democratic character of our organization.

I would like to see our chapter become a space where the membership comes together to decide and shape the direction. Our chapter needs to become more deliberative and engaging - members should feel that they’re a part of a collective struggle, that they are empowered and educated to make meaningful decisions and engage in campaigns that will materially benefit their lives. As a result, our Branches need to be developed so that members don’t need to navigate a complex and time-consuming committee structure in order to join in meaningful work.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

Our chapter needs to engage in mass work that aligns with our local resolutions. It’s socialism or barbarism, and DSA offers the best opportunity for a mass working class movement.

 

Ariadne L.

I wish to withdraw my nomination and candidacy for the at-large steering committee seat. Upon deep reflection and seeking advice from dear comrades and loved ones I have decided it is not the right time for me to seek re-election to the committee. My personal and professional commitments for the coming year are extensive enough that I wouldn't be able to dedicate the time and attention necessary to do the job to the standard I feel is required.

I have full faith in the other comrades who have chosen take on this responsibility and in the rest of our chapter to vote in a dedicated and talented group to our local officer positions. 

 

 


Recording Secretary Candidate

 

Sergio D.

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA-LA because I was upset about the general direction of the world, and I wanted to do my part to help build a more just one. The idea of just being a regular person and joining a movement made up of my neighbors and fellow Angelenos to fight oppression was amazing to me and still is.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

In the past, I was an active member of the Mutual Aid Committee, Membership Committee and Electoral Politics Committee.

Mutual Aid Committee
I have helped out at Free Brake Lights Clinics. In the past I helped plan them, but recently, I’ve mostly helped coordinate taking supplies to the venues.

Membership Committee
I have been involved in data-related projects mostly around tracking attendance at various chapter events and producing summaries / statistics for them.

Electoral Politics Committee
I helped with turf cutting in the Valley during our Prop 10 campaign. This means that I helped outline areas that had high tenant density & voted for Bernie during the previous Democratic California primary as part of our strategy to turn out Prop 10-friendly voters.

San Fernando Valley Branch Coordinator
I was one of the San Fernando Valley Branch Coordinators from 2018 to 2019. In my time in this role I organized branch meeting logistics, branch business, local work in the Valley such as strike support for unions / coalition partners. I also collaborated with the Steering Committee to develop and implement various recruitment and retention projects, such as our 2019 dues renewal drive.

Steering Committee / Recording Secretary
I am currently a member of the Steering Committee and our chapter’s Recording Secretary. As a member of the Steering Committee I’ve helped organize our delegation to the 2019 DSA National Convention, branch meetings, and our 2019 DSA-LA Annual Convention, among other things.

As Recording Secretary, I have worked with National and our Membership Committee to keep our member roles up to date. I’ve also worked to keep Steering Committee meeting minutes up-to-date, available to members to view, and I have made myself available to talk to members should they have questions on the minutes. I have also continued our previous Recording Secretary’s work by maintaining a spreadsheet to detail votes made by members of the Steering Committee.

Overall my experience in these different DSA-LA spaces has been educational. I am constantly learning how to be a better organizer, how to do the logistics of political organizing, and perhaps most importantly, how much work it takes to meet our goals and objectives. These are all things I have learned from my fellow DSA-LAers, and I am very thankful for these lessons.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I have no other organizing/activist experience outside of my work in DSA.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

For the following year, I hope to see DSA-LA commit to large scale campaigns and projects that support our Chapter Resolutions in a comprehensive way. For example, our supporting DSA-LA for Bernie 2020 Campaign Working Group resolution outlines the creation of a “Bernie+” campaign which would fold our electoral work for Bernie into also supporting DSA-LA-friendly candidates and legislative work at the local level, such as the upcoming Proposition 13 reform. I think it is important to focus our resources on building that up, in part, because it would remove redundancies in our electoral work. I would also like to see our ecosocialist work develop locally in a way that supports front line groups and builds up a strong coalition in LA. Ultimately, it would be great to elevate the discussion around climate change so that it becomes a serious issue that anyone running for office in LA has to answer for, for all of their constituents.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I’m running for Recording Secretary again, because I feel like there remain many opportunities for supporting our chapter’s work through this officer position. I want to focus my attention in the next year to help our local subgroups take advantage of the technology we have acquired from National. I also really believe in all three of the resolutions we voted for at the 2019 Annual Convention, and I want to put in time and effort to help see them through — I want to do this by empowering our local subgroups and membership and ensuring that they have the resources necessary to execute projects they organize in service of our resolutions.

 


Communications Director Candidates

 

Casey R.

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA-LA because I saw that our members were consistently on the right side of the issues I most cared about: public education, taxing the rich, student debt, and housing. In my first DSA-LA event, a Class on Class last winter, I was not only impressed with the organizing that took place to run such an event, but also at the kindness and openness of the organizers, who I have since come to call comrades. After attending a DSA 101, some six months later, I saw that DSA-LA was a place where my personal experiences could concretely contribute to the success of the organization. I saw that this could be the the mass socialist movement to take on capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy, and I wanted to be a part of building it. I quickly paid my dues and began getting involved.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

While only having been in DSA-LA for a short time, I have attended several events and classes including a Housing march, a Close the Camps march, a class on Imperialism, and facilitated a DSA-LA 101 class. For the Close the Camps march I was in charge of providing sound equipment along with organizing of the event.

Furthermore, I have been heavily involved in DSA-LA Comms work, attending bi-weekly meetings, providing input on content, and spearheading a Spanish language translation project within Comms, translating several infographics and flyers. This work would continue in an even greater capacity if I am elected.

Finally, at the local convention I was a proud participant within our democratic space, speaking on several resolutions that I felt passionate about.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I have worked in the communications department of a highly successful union for over a year, through a strike and multiple political campaigns. While there I have picked up skills in website maintenance, graphic design, video production, photography, and a deep understanding of social media best practices and strategy for growth and audience retention. I have also gained skills in internal messaging including flyers and mass emails, along with external messaging such as press releases and news posts. Most importantly, I’ve learned how an effective communications team runs, with a concrete, thoughtful, and consistent communications strategy.

I have worked as a community canvasser on several electoral campaigns, first for a candidate for CD14 running against Jose Huizar, and again doing voter registration for Bernie’s primary in 2016.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

I’ve experienced DSA-LA through its committees and while they’re all doing excellent work, I feel that the focus on committees has made DSA-LA’s projects only as strong as the committees. Moving forward, we need DSA-LA’s projects to reflect the strength of the entire organization, and I want to shift the chapter away from being a network of socialist activists towards a mass democratic organization committed to focused long-term campaigns and movement-building work, which is why I’m running on the Red Los Angeles slate to do so, with this platform.

This next year will be the most impactful year that DSA LA has ever had. We will experience the greatest increase in membership we have ever had. The stakes of the 2020 election are simply too high for it to be any other way. Capitalism is rampant, and people are feeling its effects. Bernie Sanders is campaigning to be the next president of the United States. The Green New Deal has the potential to make real so many of the changes necessary to revolutionize this country for the better. Working class people are looking beyond the corporate political binary that has plagued this country for too long. Socialism is on the rise. We need our organization to be ready to be a major part of that rise.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

DSA-LA needs leaders who understand the magnitude of the growth we will have next year this next year and have the willingness and ability to harness that new growth towards our collective goals. In addition, I know that the work of Communications cannot fall on one person alone, and the director must build a team to work with them. If elected, one of my first tasks will be to draft a comprehensive communications strategy that will be accessible by all members.

I am running for DSA-LA Steering Committee because I have key experiences and abilities to serve as a Communications Director, as well as the perspective of a relatively new member, looking to make sure that next year’s new members are even more easily brought into the work of building a better world.

Finally, I feel that I’m uniquely qualified to be a Comms Director as a descendant of working-class immigrants, who is fluent in Spanish. The only way to represent the working class in an authentic, empowering manner is to speak their language and to know their struggles and culture on an intimate level.

In Solidarity,
Casey R

Sí Se Puede!

 

Jason Tunget

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA-LA because I think it is the best organization capable of achieving the change we need. While I’ve been politically aware from a young age, I had never felt like anything other than a spectator to the political process. I thought that few people agreed with my views and so I accepted moderation as the only way to achieve progress. The 2016 election helped me to realize that there are so many other people suffering from the same frustration with the system of capitalism imposed on all of us and who are willing to commit to the long-term fight needed to overcome that system.

I truly believe that DSA-LA has the opportunity to create a genuine working class movement and change the balance of political power in the city of Los Angeles. My time in the organization has already changed my way of thinking and I know that I will continue to learn while I am a member of this organization in the years to come.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I joined in January 2017 and attended the Friendship Auditorium meeting that month where Carol N spoke to us about her years of leading the organization. At that meeting, I learned of the various committees that exist and was told that the Agitation-Propaganda Committee was the place to go if you had any interest in creating video or other media. At the time Kelsey G and Angel C were the co-chairs and they helped me to understand how the organization works in practice. Their openness and encouragement were big reasons why I continued to come back to Agit-Prop and I am now the co-chair of the committee with Kelsey G and Drew F as the coordinator.

In 2018, I participated in our Prop 10 campaign by both collaborating on some of its Agit-Prop work and doing some canvassing. In March of this year, I became the Central Branch co-coordinator with Leann B, who made it very easy to step into the role by personally walking me through what branch coordinators do. Through that role I met Carley T, who taught me how to use Spoke to do texting outreach and helped with my first membership outreach phone bank. I then met Francisco C at a RICE (Recruitment, Internal Capacity, and Engagement) meeting, who encouraged the branch coordinators to experiment with new ways of organizing for the role. The willingness of the organization and its leadership to allow members to control what they’re working on was a major factor in my desire to get more involved.

I started attending Membership Committee meetings earlier this year, which are led by co-chairs Jordan E and Scott C, who introduced me to Rusty’s Rules, which I found to be very empowering because I was immediately able to vote on all of the proposals put forward. I am also part of the trainings subcommittee of Membership. In that role, I have helped facilitate DSA 101 trainings as well as contributed to discussions on the development of DSA 102s and 103s, which are all bottom-lined by Maikiko J, who has consistently kept the group on task, meeting regularly, and been open to anyone making contributions. The DSA 101 trainings I took part in were led by Benina S, who has always made a point to connect directly with her training team to make sure that we were prepared and confident for the day of.

Finally, I have been involved with the Bernie Working Group since its first meeting. Through this organizing I have had a chance to learn about the tactical and strategic work of electoral campaigns with the co-chairs Katrina B and Steve C. I have also created media for the working group and I am one of the Central field leaders. This work has taught me how to setup an effective canvassing home base, train new canvassers, participate in the creation of an onboarding pipeline to direct new members from event to event in an effort to activate them in the broader work of the organization, participate in joint projects across committees, and use VAN, which is our canvassing app to cut turf throughout the city based on a variety of characteristics that we can select (e.g. people who are renters).

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

The only other organizing experience I have is doing voter turnout for Democrats. For activism, I have worked with Habitat for Humanity to do house painting and Fox Pride to host events to showcase its work, both through my job.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

Given that media creation is one of the core responsibilities of the Communications Director, I think the most effective way for me to express my vision for the role is by creating media for you to evaluate. The following video was made with my labor and is a demonstration of the type of simple animated text video that I think could be useful for both internal tutorials and videos posted on our social media to explain different issues: https://youtu.be/L75PVt-dJOY

I think that internal knowledge building is also a key responsibility of the Communications Director. The Agit-Prop Committee has recently created an educational media subcommittee and as Communications Director I will work with this subcommittee to create handbooks with accompanying video tutorials for all of the key roles in the organization. In addition to helping to create these tutorials, I will commit to holding trainings, which can be done either remotely through screen sharing or in-person. Here is a sample of the style of tutorial that I’m proposing: Creating a short for your committee - https://youtu.be/Ob29ZdBjRYQ

I am also proposing to bottom-line the development of DSA-LA’s own version of The Thorn, an online publication created by the NYC DSA. This is a project that has been discussed several times previously and I have participated in one of the discussions, but, unfortunately, nothing has yet materialized. We have the ability to create something similar to the setup of Daily Kos (https://dailykos.com), which would allow any DSA-LA member in good standing to post their work on the site while also having an edited section where we curate content. I have turned my personal profile site into a prototype site to give a general idea of what I’m proposing: www.jasontunget.com.

Another potential opportunity for DSA-LA came recently when a board member of the KPFK (90.7 FM) radio station reached out to Agit-Prop about the possibility for our members to contribute original reporting to an hour-long weekday and possibly weekend broadcast for the station. While there are still a lot of details to work out, this is exactly the type of opportunity that I would pursue to elevate the voices of DSA-LA members.

Finally, I just want to end this section with a request to all members who are reading this: if you think that the proposals I have set forth are the right idea and you plan to vote for me, please also consider joining the Communications Committee in January 2020. It is impossible for any one person to handle the communications of an organization of this size so there are abundant opportunities for leadership for any member who is interested. I pledge to always seek to reach decisions by consensus, not dictate, so your voice will be heard. I hope to work with you soon.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I am running for Steering Committee because I think that over the years of organizing in DSA-LA I have developed good working relationships with many people in the organization, including its elected leadership; I understand many of the challenges the organization faces, particularly with regard to its communications platforms; and I am deeply committed to socialist principles, which I try to live my life by. I want to participate in efforts to continue to build a culture that welcomes and encourages the members of this organization to work collaboratively not competitively. I also want to put restorative justice at the heart of what we do so that our members know that our Community Guidelines are not just words to recite, but powerful values to organize by, which have the potential to change all of us if we embrace and apply them universally.

Finally, I think the greatest lesson that I have taken away from my experience in DSA-LA is that organizing work is often the most powerful when it is a dedicated person to person interaction. Making time for someone is a powerful gesture and I am incredibly grateful for the many members of DSA-LA, some mentioned previously, who have made time to help me become the organizer that I am today. I want to join Steering to pay that forward to others.

 


Treasurer Candidates

Marlin Medrano

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA because of Bernie Sanders. I have been involved in the Democratic Party for years but quickly realized the limitation of the work and change that could be achieved within the Party. As Bernie continued to challenge the liberal rhetoric, it resonated with my frustrations realizing that maybe I too was further left. I found my local DSA Chapter and became a member in 2017. I became more active when the Valley Branch was formed.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

"Valley Branch Co-Coordinator – I was appointed by Steering and helped facilitate Branch Meetings in the valley. Although my appointment was only a few months, I was able to help highlight local work happening in the Valley through “Branch Business” and helped identify the opportunity for a YDSA club at CSUN.

Electoral Politics Committee – I began working with DSA through the ElPol committee. I have worked on campaigns and organized actions around state and local legislation. I found it important to bring the knowledge and experience gained from working within the Democratic Party.

Bernie Working Group – I am the Valley Canvass Leader. I lead bi-weekly canvasses and outreach events. "

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

"2016 Congressional Elected Delegate, District 29 – Was elected as the Woman delegate for Bernie Sanders to represent my district at the National Convention. I ran weekly canvassing, personally knocked on hundreds of doors, organized voter registration drives, and volunteer training in my local community.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council Member, Public Health and Safety Committee Chair – I currently am serving my second year on the VNNC board. I continue to be a strong advocating the needs of the working class in our community.

CA Progressive Caucus Officer, Treasurer – Served as Treasurer for 2 years, maintaining the membership rolls and membership renewal efforts for 1500 members. "

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

My political vision for the upcoming year is to focus on creating a space where members feel their work is making a difference. I look to focus on the priority resolutions voted on by the Chapter at the local Convention. I will work to increase membership throughout Los Angeles and specifically the Valley. I will work to actively help our Chapter recruit and engage members that reflect our diverse communities of color.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I am running for Treasurer because I believe my experience, both through activism and professionally, I can assist the Chapter in many capacities. A few would be to actively drive local dues to help fuel our local organizing, provide additional transparency, and identify ways members can help fund chapter goals.

 

Bobby Orozco Jr.

Branch
Central

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I consider my values aligning as a Democratic Socialist; and I care about the progressive movement in general and it’s needed influence in the world, particularly in Los Angeles.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I recently joined; However, I have been on extended leave in bargaining in Washington, D.C. the last four months. Upon returning, I plan on getting more involved.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I am the Local President for AFGE Local 1260 in Los Angeles, representing over 2,200 Transportation Security Officers at TSA across Southern CA. Additionally, I am the Regional Vice President for AFGE Council 100, representing AZ, CA, HI, & NV. Furthermore, I am the Press Secretary for Los Angeles Young Workers, AFL-CIO.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

My political vision for DSA-LA is to add more members to run for political office and begin a progressive movement unseen in any state in this nation.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

As a labor activist and lifelong progressive, my goal is to make DSA-LA as successful an organization as possible, by identifying community, labor, and public and media allies. Further, to change the way people see and understand DSA in Los Angeles and beyond.

 

Jacob Batinga

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA because I believe in socialism and I believe that grassroots popular movements have the potential to shape society in a just and fair way.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I have attended meetings and working groups in LA, OC, and San Francisco. I took part in preparation for the Imperialism class series, though I wasn’t able to participate as fully as I would’ve liked to, as I have been traveling and working frequently in Palestine and elsewhere. Now, however, I am fully settled in to LA and ready to get more involved.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I have lived and worked in Palestine many times over the last several years with the International Solidarity Movement, the Excellence Center of Hebron, and Human Rights Defenders. With these groups I have documented human rights abuses in the West Bank and taken part in direct, nonviolent civil disobedience throughout Palestine. I have also previously been a member of UCLA’s amnesty international, Students for Justice in Palestine, and UCLA’s homelessness outreach. With these organizations I have experience canvassing and organizing demonstrations in Los Angeles and DC. Also, I campaigned for Bernie Sanders in 2016 in Washington DC.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

I believe that in the upcoming year DSA-LA needs to focus on campaigning for Bernie Sanders in Los Angeles and elsewhere, and recruit new members to build a strong, grassroots socialist movement. Also, I believe in expanding DSA’s mutual aid efforts to help people in Los Angeles who are struggling under the boot of capitalism.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

I am running for treasurer because I have experience in progressive budget management and fundraising. I was on the fiscal affairs committee of Orange Coast College where we managed a budget of several million dollars. As the only progressive member of the committee, I fought hard against budget cuts in the arts and student services and I also fought for divestment from fossil fuel companies. More recently with the International Solidarity Movement I have given fundraising presentations to Socialists of Caltech, USC’s Students for Justice in Palestine, and many other activist organization.

 

K. Suri

Branch
Valley

Why did you join DSA-LA?

I joined DSA-LA in order to build socialism in our backyard. By this I mean I would like very much to use DSA-LA as the organ of the working class it is meant to embody so as to spread class consciousness, uplift and support working people of all backgrounds, and push forth a localized movement of democratic power. As this is the largest socialist organization within LA County and DSA at large is the the largest in the country, I am putting my cards on the table for our future successes through this body.

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

I have participated in Santa Cruz DSA canvassing for the Measure M campaign, I've been involved in strikes at UC Santa Cruz with the YDSA there. I served as one of YDSA at UCSC's representatives at the national convention this year. I had a minor role in creating the YDSA Committee in DSA-LA. Most recently I have been to one of DSA-LA's Mutual Aid Committee's Brake Light Clinic, along with a few meetings. Overall, I met some nice folks, all as frustrated and mildly depressed as I am, but just as hopeful.

What, if any, other organizing or activist experience do you have?

I have volunteer experience from my time in Scouting BSA, but I have shown dedication through my efforts during the AFSCME and UPTE strikes at UCSC.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

Obviously much of my vision for America cannot be imagined within the span of a year especially this early in our efforts to expand and bring forth a brighter society. I want to see more local organizing and community strengthening efforts, so that we can see whole socialist neighborhoods. Blocks upon blocks of people ready for change and with the vocabulary and vision to bring it. That is my vision for what I would like to see in the next year.

Why are you running for DSA-LA Steering Committee?

As treasurer, I would like to be a bastard. Our outgoing Steering have not been spendthrifty with our membership dues. We spend too much on large meeting spaces for all too silly of reasons. A logic of diminishing inefficiencies in our spending while maximizing our monetary capabilities will be immensely helpful in acquiring resources to mobilize the working class. With enough money we could theoretically arm and teach the working class. I would do my diligence to the organization by reducing inefficient spending so it isn't an endless stream of inaction and reaction that has characterized the left for decades. We are operating within a capitalist framework and the only way we can beat it is not through donations, but through effective profitability. We are heading to a critical point and we must have the resources to be prepared. Let's ensure we are prepared.

 


YSA Coordinator Candidate

 

Mason Mineo

Branch
Central

What have you been involved in within DSA? Tell us a little about your experience.

My involvement with DSA began on Mayday 2017. In the past 2.5 years, DSA-LA has become unequivocally my political home. In that time I have joined and contributed as a "rank-and-file" member to the work of precisely one dozen different Committees and Working Groups. In addition, I enrolled at Santa Monica College starting Spring 2018 with the explicit intention of founding a YDSA chapter there. I did so Fall 2018, and over this past spring built it to be one of the largest and strongest first-year Chapters in all of YDSA. My dedication to this organization kept me coming back time and time again when confronted with the urge to "burnout" until I learned how to accurately assess when I'm at personal capacity, which I'm committing 100% of in 2020 to YDSA development, regardless of the results of this election.

What is your political vision for DSA-LA in the upcoming year?

To double in membership in thus compound exponentially in collective capacity. Beyond that, in the capacity of this office I would work to enact the democratic will of the chapter. As an individual member, I have nuanced views. Ask me about them.

Why are you running for DSA-LA YDSA Coordinator?

Revolutionary change in society, since long before capitalism, is almost always lead by the youth. In observing our current material conditions, we should be listening to and taking seriously the opinions of those younger than myself about what issues to organize around. In YDSA SMC, I've established a campus-salting organizing model that's proven to work. With the recent creation of the DSA-LA YDSA Committee, we finally have baseline structure to connect Students across all schools and campuses in the Chapter's jurisdiction to coordinate campaigns on collective priorities, such as Metro4All. The role of this position has, until this moment, been stuck in a primordial state. When I joined DSA-LA, the YDSA Coordinator was a member of the steering committee. That was changed at the 2018 Annual Convention in April. At that time the YDSA Coordinator office was vacant, and I was, in lieu of an appointment by Steering, acting as the de facto Acting coordinator in relations with the March4OurLives, at which I spoke to a crowd of 150,000+ mostly liberals and called for disarming the police and military to uproarious cheers. To conclude with a more direct answer to the question, I'm running so I can take to scale a strategy for exponential growth of DSA-LA taking place from the campus outward.

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