Meet the Candidates
Labor for the Rank and File:
Announcing the Bread & Roses DSLC Slate!
Bread and Roses is proud to announce our slate of six socialist labor organizers for the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission steering committee: Anthony Downing (Lehigh Valley), Ashley Payne (East Bay), J.P. Kaderbek (Chicago), K.T. Liberato (Philly), Laura Gabby (NYC), and Rebecca Garelli (Phoenix).
We are committed to rebuilding and supporting the labor movement because unions are society’s primary engine of explicit and continuous class struggle and because only a united multiracial working class can defeat capital.
As we carry out the labor resolutions passed at the 2019 DSA Convention, we want to focus on these areas of work:
1. Position Socialists in the Rank and File
We cannot rebuild the labor movement without being embedded in the labor movement, taking up our coworkers’ fights as our own. The fight with the boss starts on the shop floor. If we are successful in re-embedding ourselves in the labor movement, we will be able to advance socialist ideas as part of the multiracial working class. We can help rebuild the activist layer in unions by:
- Helping chapters survey and map their local labor conditions to identify organizing opportunities and encourage socialists to enter strategic sectors, such as logistics or teaching.
- Encouraging and facilitating socialists to take union jobs.
- Educating DSA members about the rank and file strategy.
- Providing ongoing support for DSA members in the labor movement with training such as Labor Notes Troublemakers Schools and by supporting activists in seeking union office to transform their unions.
- Collaborating with YDSA chapters to encourage high school and college students to consider rank and file union jobs.
- Facilitating communication of socialists within industries to coordinate organizing within and across regions.
- Encouraging democratic unions to initiate unionization drives to grow the labor movement and supporting DSA members who are organizing their workplaces.
2. Build Strong Labor Formations
Local DSA labor formations (local branches or committees) are where the day-to-day organizing occurs. This is where DSA members get support, get political and labor education, and plug into labor organizing whether or not they are union members themselves.
- Facilitate creation of labor committees, branches, or working groups to serve as a home base for carrying out the DSLC’s priorities.
- Create a national communication network so labor formations can coordinate across chapters, regions, industries, and sectors.
- Help labor formations to assist with mapping and surveying DSA’s membership in the labor movement, and help chapters to define organizing targets and pick priorities.
3. Establish a Socialist Labor Education Program
By and large the socialist and labor movements operate separately from one another without much overlap in membership. It’s our job to rebuild the historically strong connection between the two. Our members need to understand how today’s labor movement functions so we can organize strategically on the shop floor, at the bargaining table, and in the streets.
- Continue to create pamphlets like the “Why Socialists Should Become Teachers” for other strategic industries.
- Create a speakers bureau. The DSLC will find speakers who are knowledgeable about different aspects of the labor movement and make it easy for chapters to connect with them.
- Create pamphlets on the Rank and File Strategy and on Organizing the Unorganized.
- Help local labor formations to provide ongoing trainings such as the Labor Notes “Secrets of a Successful Organizer” series or trainings on how to inoculate coworkers against anti-union messaging during unionization drives.
4. Labor Solidarity Organizing
Establish guidance for local labor formations to mobilize DSA members to support union organizing efforts, contract campaigns and escalation strategies, and strikes. These moments of heightened class struggle open opportunities for class consciousness to expand. They also educate socialists, as we develop new skills and understanding from these experiences. The DSLC can support labor solidarity campaigns by:
- Creating and consolidating graphic design resources online, such as signs and banners, for chapters to use.
- Developing a strike solidarity manual, including a picket line etiquette guide.
- Holding national calls for members to share skills from outstanding solidarity efforts.
- Creating a pamphlet on how to organize a union in your workplace.
5. Class-Struggle Unionism
The DSLC should promote class struggle unionism by sharing resources for broad class struggle campaigns (“social justice unionism” or “bargaining for the common good).” Organized, militant, democratic, rank and file-led unions are best positioned to take up struggles that benefit the entire multiracial working class, such as fights for Medicare for All or a Green New Deal. In places where DSA chapters have limited relationships with organized labor or where workers face conditions that constrain their organizing on the shop floor, such campaigns can bring together labor activists to wage class struggle. The DSLC should develop a program for class struggle campaigns, including demands like:
- Organize for Bernie Sanders’s Workplace Democracy Act and to elect Bernie Sanders
- Fight privatization and commodification of the public sphere
- Organize for demands like Medicare for All, Green New Deal, immigrant rights, reproductive rights, and more.
- Develop socialist labor leaders to run for public office and support candidates running class-struggle elections
We look forward to working with other members of the steering committee and the whole DSLC to carry out the ambitious plans we passed at the convention. We have a world to win!