How We Win: The Democratic Socialist Policy Agenda in Office
June 16-17, 2023, Washington, D.C.
Convened by DSA Fund, The Nation, and Jacobin in Washington, D.C., the How We Win conference brought together democratic socialist elected officials in local and state government, along with federal representatives Congresswoman Cori Bush and Senator Bernie Sanders, to share strategies and build a vision for how socialists can work together to win democratic socialist policy in office.
One hundred years ago, Milwaukee and the Big Apple were centers of power for the Socialist Party of America. A century after socialist and labor organizers used mass politics to secure wins for working class people, both cities have sent socialist caucuses to their respective state capitols.
The stories of democratic socialist organizing in Milwaukee and New York City offer complementary perspectives of how organizers and public officials can leverage our collective power. Like other organizing campaigns the How We Win series has highlighted, these regions’ chapters and organizers are working with democratic socialist officeholders and their staff to advance policy and shift the dynamics in State Houses in favor of working people.
This webinar covers a range of topics, including how grassroots organizers navigate working with public officials in friendly and not-so-friendly environments. With political power behind push for reforms, organizers can have a stronger platform to achieve policy wins.
This event is co-sponsored by DSA National Electoral Committee, Jacobin, Dissent, and In These Times.
DSA Fund is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to political education and engagement. DSA Fund does not participate or intervene in any political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
Winning Policy Change Together: How We Win with Socialists in Office
Join us for the third event in the DSA Fund’s series on How We Win, where we’ll get an inside look at local DSA organizers and public officials working to win policy change in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Ithaca, New York. A growing number of local and state governments have socialist officials joining their ranks, so how can local organizers and DSA chapters work with them to achieve policy wins and advance socialist goals?
The How We Win series shares lessons and how-to experience from policy campaigns and organizing around the country, showing how democratic-socialist organizers and coalitions can advance and achieve tangible wins that support our economic and social goals. Join us to learn what strategies have worked as well as obstacles organizers face along the way, and the path forward to build strong governing coalitions between local organizers and public officials.
Councilmember Robin Wonsley will moderate the event. She is a democratic socialist representing Minneapolis’s Ward 2 on its city council and a member of Twin Cities DSA.
Councilmember Jason Chavez is the first LGBTQ+ Latinx to serve as a Minneapolis City Council Member and a member of Twin Cities DSA. Prior to his service as a City Council Member, Chavez played a critical role in passing the 2020 Police Accountability Act in Minnesota and the 2021 Omnibus Employment and Economic Development Bill in Minnesota as a Committee Legislative Aide at the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Mike D. is the co-chair of Philly DSA and sits on the chapter’s Socialists In Office Commission and Electoral and Political Education Committees. Previously he served as Campaign Manager for DSA member and 2021 Jersey City City Council candidate Joel Brooks.
Alderperson Jorge DeFendini is a DSA member, Boricua Socialist Organizer and Alderperson serving on the Ithaca Common Council. He has organized within Ithaca DSA and the Ithaca Tenants Union for campaigns such as Good Cause Eviction and free mass transit campaign.
Genevieve Rand is a member of Ithaca DSA and a co-chair of the Tompkins County Working Families Party. Following years of volunteer work at the Ithaca Tenants Union, first organizing Cancel Rent and Good Cause campaigns, she’s recently worked on supporting the Ithaca Solidarity Slate — a collaborative project between the Ithaca DSA and Ithaca Tenants Union.
Panelists will respond to your questions and discuss more immediate practical steps and the longer view of what coalitions and governments can do locally and at the state level through building and working together.
This event is co-sponsored by DSA National Electoral Committee, Dissent, and In These Times.
“This past weekend, DSA launched its inaugural Multiracial Organizing Institute, a project of the Multiracial Organizing Committee (MROC) in Minneapolis. Attended by 29 participants, 10 facilitators, and 2 staff members, the convening included participants getting to know one another through social biographies – a popular education art activity, and trainings covering building a mass organization, strong coalitions, and recruitment – all through a lens of what it means to intentionally grow a multiracial organization and movement. We also asked big questions around how to meet people where they are to bring them to socialist politics, how to avoid burning out our leaders and organizers of color, what tactical recruitment through specific campaigns looks like, and navigating racial conflict. Coming out of the weekend, we look forward to our participants spreading word about the Institute through 1:1s in their chapters, as well as write-ups in local and national publications. We will take the next few weeks to plan a public facing event, and ultimately develop the resources to replicate these conversations and strategic ideas nationwide. Thank you so much to the DSA Fund for your support!” —Maikiko James, MROC Institute Planning Committee Chair
“40 Years of DSA: Founding & Future” at Socialism 2022
DSA was founded in 1982—a low tide in the US left. Since 2016, it’s become home to tens of thousands of new organizers. In our panel at Socialism Conference 2022, hear from DSA Fund Chair David Duhalde and other longtime members on DSA’s early days and the many changes since.
Watch the second event in the DSA Fund’s series on How We Win, where you’ll get an inside look at worker rights campaigns in Portland, Maine; New York City; and Austin, Texas. In a time of growing labor solidarity and union recognition campaigns, what else can democratic socialists do to achieve worker justice victories?
Panelists will respond to audience questions and discuss the longer view of what coalitions and governments can do—nationally and locally—to strengthen worker rights and labor justice, and to organize toward an economy that meets the needs of all, not profits for the few.
The past two years of the pandemic have revealed in stark terms how ageism affects access to services including health care. This virtual event will explore the intersection of ageism and capitalism and activists’ efforts to address discrimination based on age.
Panelists will include Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People, Susan Chacin, long-term feminist activist, and Paul Garver, retired labor leader.
The Democratic Socialists of America Fund is a 501(c)3 fund devoted to public education and outreach about democratic socialism. The DSA Fund endeavors to demonstrate how an awareness of social democratic and democratic socialist values and policies would strengthen the quality of policy debates in the U.S. The Fund also works to introduce young activists to the history and traditions of democratic socialism.
Promotes greater public understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of democratic socialism in the United States and the world and greater public understanding of the achievements of individual democratic socialists and institutions with a democratic socialist tradition
Makes foreign democratic socialists aware of the history and traditions of democratic socialism in the United States
Provides a forum for democratic socialists to meet and exchange ideas on the nature of democratic socialism
Encourages democratic socialists to study and analyze American society and its institutions and to make the results of such studies known to the public
Makes grants to the national organization of Democratic Socialists of America for its educational work, especially among young people
Publishes educational material and develops video and audio material about democratic socialism
Solicits tax-deductible donations for the work of the Fund
Conducts training programs both to educate participants about democratic socialism and to enable participants to educate others
The Democratic Socialists of America Fund was originally established in 1978 as the Institute for Democratic Socialism (IDS). Michael Harrington, who became famous for his 1962 work The Other America, was a founder of IDS as well as its sister organization, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (now merged into Democratic Socialists of America/DSA). IDS’s mission, like that of the DSA Fund today, was to help spread democratic socialist ideals through educational materials and activist training.