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.

Panelists include:

  • 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


DSA Hosts the Inaugural MROC Institute

“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.


Watch the first event in the How We Win series where we’ll get an inside look at successful housing justice campaigns in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Charlottesville, VA; and New York—what democratic socialist organizers and coalitions did to achieve these victories, and what it takes to implement those wins as effective policy.

Panelists discuss their respective housing campaigns, strategies that worked (and didn’t), what they won (so far), and what happens next. They’ll respond to your questions and discuss the longer view of where they see we need to go now to win on good housing as a right and ways we can work to get there.


Not Dead Yet: Ending Ageism

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.


Our Purpose

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.


Fund Activities

  • 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

History

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.

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