Meet the Candidates
At the 2023 DSA National Convention, the convention decided to elect a number of leadership roles to help steer DSA. B&R is excited to announce our candidates for these positions.
A Mass Audience for Socialism
In the past few months, DSA has been in the media more than in any other time in our history. However much of our time was spent fending off bad faith attacks or explaining what our position wasn’t rather than putting forward a positive vision for society. This is partly because we do not have strong, visible public figures in DSA who can bring a socialist message – and a working-class analysis of major political events – to a mass audience.
As co-chair, I will use my position to publicly agitate working-class people toward our politics. This means using every opportunity to criticize the Democrats and talk about a workers’ party, supporting militant rank-and-file labor struggles, and plugging national DSA campaigns such No Money for Massacres, Strike Ready, and Trans Rights and Bodily Autonomy. Furthermore, our co-chairs need to build stronger relationships with our elected officials, workplace leaders and other social movement groups.
Electoral Politics: Building a Workers’ Party
Agitate for Independent Politics
The failures of the Democratic Party are more stark than ever. 80% of Americans support a cease-fire in Gaza but just 19% of Democratic congress members do. Joe Biden’s genocidal positions have led to thousands of people pledging not to support him in 2024, which may cost him the election.
Now more than ever, people are looking for an alternative and DSA must be ready to provide them with one. We need a co-chair who isn’t afraid to publicly speak about the corruption and violence of the Democratic Party and the need for an independent party.
Building a Federal SIO Committee
The recent controversy over Gaza has shown the power of having an organized Federal Socialists in Office Committee (FSIO). Through our coordination with our federal elected officials, we were able to run No Money for Massacres phone banks which have had a material impact on calls for ceasefire and no Israeli aid, and provided support to Rashida Talib after she was unjustly censured.
By the 2025 convention, I would like to see a robust FSIO that meets regularly with our federal electeds and works closely with them on our campaigns. It is crucial that our federal socialists in office don’t just see DSA as a coalition partner, but as an organization they belong to, whose support is crucial for them to challenge the power of the capitalist class.
Helping Chapters Run Campaigns and Build SIOs
I want to connect the National Electoral Committee (NEC) to the day-to-day operations of DSA-endorsed campaigns and help chapters form SIOs after they win elections. Members of the NEC should be meeting regularly with DSA leaders, campaign staff, and the candidates themselves to provide support and guidance on campaigns. The NEC should also work closely with chapters to facilitate the process of starting local SIO committees.
DSA Budget: Fundraising for the Future
A Culture of Giving
DSA urgently needs to raise more money to carry out the resolutions passed at the convention. While this is a challenging task, there is a massive well of untapped fundraising potential in our membership and our campaigns.
Up to now, we have mostly relied on member dues to sustain us. While dues are massively important and should remain our main source of income, we rarely ask members or fellow travelers to make general donations to DSA. Systematic fundraising is not always built into our national campaigns, and it is rarely part of the day-to-day operations of local chapters and working groups.
In our current financial crisis, we must build a culture of fundraising. We must employ the local chapter’s “best and brightest” fundraisers to help us get through this difficult financial period.
A Concrete Fundraising Plan
These are many proposed tactics to increase our revenue:
- Adopt electoral campaign-style tactics such as asking members to donate directly to DSA, hosting house parties, and asking their personal networks to donate
- Make targeted fundraising asks to pay for specific items (i.e., can you donate to help us run No Money For Massacres phonebanks?)
- Increase outreach to non-member supporters and ask them to donate. We should utilize texting services, campaign lists, and internet ads to reach this broader network of sympathizers
- Organize a “fundraising day of action” and ask our celebrity members to boost our donation link on their social media
Paying for the Position
As co-chair, I would also personally do a significant amount of fundraising through spearheading DSA fundraising efforts, 1:1 calls, and organizing fundraisers. We should strive to raise at least the equivalent of our salary.
DSA Labor: The Rank and File Strategy
I fully support the successful Strike Wave slate and their platform for the NLC Steering Committee. I will work closely with the NLC to expand DSA’s systematic, national labor organizing, including:
- Consolidate the infrastructure of the Strike Ready campaign into a middle layer of DSA leaders
- Develop worker networks and job pipelines for both DSA and YDSA organizers
- Invest in outward facing electoral projects such as EWOC and RFP
YDSA: Build the Youth Socialist Movement
DSA is one of the most successful and exciting parts of the socialist movement and will sustain DSA for generations to come. YDSA organizers are not just the future of the socialist movement, they are building it right now. YDSA chapters across the country have unionized their campuses, run campaigns for abortion rights or free college and organized massive pro-Palestine rallies, and with each of these projects recruiting more people to DSA. It is immensely strategic for us to invest in YDSA. However, unfortunatly YDSA organizers are often treated like “the kids” of DSA, I strive to change that as co-chair.
Recruit More People to YDSA
College students disproportionately identify as socialists, meaning there are thousands of young people ready to be organized. As a former YDSA leader, I will be in a unique positon to grow YDSA as well as DSA. Our goal should be to make YDSA the political home for any young person who wants to get involved in left-wing politics.
The financial needs of YDSA should be determined by its leadership and enacted by the NPC. At the very least, it is crucial that YDSA has enough funding to have 2 full-time staffers and member interns and fruitful yearly conferences and conventions.
Combine the Organizing Power of YDSA and DSA Chapters
As a former YDSA representative on NYC-DSA leadership, I understand the power of YDSA and DSA chapters working together. As co-chair, I would work to create structures for YDSA and DSA chapters to work together on campaigns and support each others organizing efforts. I would also help support the existing YDSA mentorship pipeline so YDSA organizers and transition into DSA organizing once they graduate.
Palestine Organizing: From the River to the Sea
The genocide happening in Palestine will be one of the defining moments of our generation. As socialists, fighting war is both a moral obligation and a strategic necessity. The No Money For Massacres phone banks have had a concrete impact in Washington and pushed Congressmembers to support a ceasefire and oppose aid to Israel. However, we should be oriented towards building a mass anti-war movement that will last for years to come.
Building a Working-Class Anti-War Coalition
Multiple DSA chapters have taken the lead in building broad coalitions for Palestinian solidarity work, made up of all kinds of Palestinian, anti-Zionist Jewish, community and labor organizations. These local coalitions can lay the foundation for a strong, durable anti-war movement that can unite thousands or even millions of working class people in fighting for peace and security.
Primary War Hawks
Part of our anti-war movement must be primarying elected officials who actively support the genocide of Palestine, oppose a ceasefire, or support aid to Israel. We must show working class people that we will not tolerate unabashed support of war, and demonstrate to electeds that their actions (or inaction) have consequences.
National Labor Commission
The NLC has been a great corner of DSA to build in for the past year and my main goal for the two years to come is to retain that positive energy and momentum. I have seen labor work’s ability to bring together chapters that appeared irreparably damaged. It has been a bright spot in DSA during a time that could have been very bleak. Going into our next term we have a strong Solidarity Fund, burgeoning subcommittees and a membership looking for ways to connect their local work to what we are doing nationally. Below are some of my hopes for the years to come.
Expanding Solidarity- DSA should lean into being the place where union members coordinate actions and share resources. I think this will involve more zoom calls with smaller audiences to bring workers together, using laborsolidarity.com as a hub for resources and contract language, and continuing our nationally coordinated strike support.
Pipelines and Reform Caucuses- One of the challenges we will face in the coming years is how to keep workers in strategic industries connected and building together over time. To keep our current momentum we will need to continue turning our comrades into coworkers and our coworkers into comrades. I support us embarking on a period of experimentation with different ways of maintaining coordination between workers as they seek to transform their unions from the inside and bring up new organizers.
Coalition Building- I want our theory of change to inform all the work that DSA does. I think this works best through collaborating with other areas of the org. I think this looks like cross over calls with the International Committee and Green New Deal campaign so that we are able to expand our audience and bring our analysis to the broader DSA membership.
Active Onboarding and Communication- In the years to come I want members of DSA Labor to feel a greater sense of connection and ownership to our project. We have seen Strike Ready campaign members and members of our industry groups develop this and I think it can be expanded. This looks like creating an onboarding process in which new members receive a phone call that walks them through how they can plug into work and directs them to where they fit.
We see a broad desire across DSA for improving our internal democratic processes, building towards the goal of a pre-party DSA. While there is plenty of disagreement about specific policies, we believe that, through study of ourselves and other socialist parties and comradely debate and deliberation, we can find sufficient common ground to present the 2025 Convention with structural proposals able to garner supermajority support. We are confident this cross-tendency project will succeed because, despite our differences, we all know DSA must succeed if we are to avoid ever greater barbarism in our country and around the world.
- The Democracy Commission is a space for shared inquiry; no group should enter the work hoping to win predetermined plans and outcomes. The intention of the Democracy Commission is to find solutions through an investigation of DSA's internal structures and how other parties and organizations across history have constituted themselves. This means we do not want to come to the group with a list of policies we want to see implemented. Instead, we offer a preliminary list of areas we think would be fruitful for investigation by the full cross-tendency group. This list is only a starting point. Through our research, deliberation, and debate, together we can find the keys to strengthening our internal democracy and to building the organization our class, and our historic mission, deserves.
- What do we mean when we talk about democracy? Are we all talking about the same thing?
- What does it mean for DSA to be ‘big tent’ or ‘multi-tendency’? How does this work in practice and what are the consequences?
- What is the role of caucuses in internal democracy?
- What are the rights and responsibilities of members and how do they get put into practice?
- How do we connect members in various parts of DSA and make them feel like they’re a part of a national organization?
- Do we need an intermediate leadership layer between NPC and chapters?
- WHow do we ensure ongoing and productive national debate and discussion on issues, beyond specific resolutions at Convention?
- How should executive and legislative power be distributed and balanced in DSA? How do we ensure decisions get translated into action?
- How do we ensure bodies with delegated power, such as national committees, are subject to democratic oversight
- What does being a DSA member mean? What minimum political commitments/beliefs do we all share?
- How do we deal with bureaucracy?
- How can we make sure senior staff are acting in the democratic interest of our membership?
- How do we make sure that we can objectively assess our work?
- What kind of organization is DSA, and what should it be?
- What does it mean to be a party? Should we be a party?
Refining a shared concept of internal democracy, as it applies to DSA, should be one of the major tasks of the group. Our internal democracy is not a neutral set of procedures, but is linked directly with our purpose as an organization. Even within the scope of systems that can be called democratic, what may work for a religious congregation, a grocery co-op, or a bourgeois political party may not work for us. While DSA members and caucuses have differing views of how DSA should act, we share a fundamental and deep commitment to building a socialist and democratic society and see a strong, functional, and vibrant DSA as critical to this project. In determining the best way to further democratize DSA, all participants in the Commission should be prepared to further debate and develop our visions for DSA, while holding firm to the shared vision that unites us all as comrades.
- Through years of trial and error from our experiences as leaders, organizers, and administrators of a resurgent DSA, B&R members have developed shared understandings about what democracy means to us. While we do not have a list of easy solutions, we come to these questions and the broader work of the Commission with a shared sense of what democracy means. Too often within DSA (and even more outside it), what ‘democracy’ means is assumed without being clearly stated. It is not enough to ‘know it when we see it’; we will need a clear vision of what we are working towards.
- Democracy is about people having power
- Democracy requires decisions be translated into action
- Democratic organizations have shared common principles/program and definite limits/boundary issues
- In order to build the socialist movement in the US, DSA must remain a broad, multi-tendency body united in a shared commitment to winning power for the working class
- Multi-tendency democracy means members must be able to organize caucuses
- Democracy is primarily a process of collective decision making, not individual rights; that is, any rights possessed by individuals are justified by their utility to egalitarian collective decision-making
- The core of democracy is in social relationships and collective action, not in rules; more meetings and process does not equal more democracy
- Nonetheless, democracy requires clear and transparent structures and systems
- Effective democratic organizing requires leadership
- Effective democratic leaders must be closely connected to their constituencies
- Democracy depends on direct, honest, comradely debate to function