February Ballot Member Statements

The Metro DC DSA February Ballot will include two items of business for members to vote on. First is the chapter budget for FY 2021, and second the vote of chapter priority campaigns. Below are the member statements that have been submitted on these questions (in order of submission). Ballots will be open until 11:59 pm, Sunday, February 21st. If you have any issues or questions about your ballot please email secretary@mdcdsa.org.

Steering Committee FY 2021 Recommended Budget

Link is here: bit.ly/mdcproposedbudget

Priority Campaign Proposals

Defund MPD
Stomp Out Slumlords
Green New Deal
Medicare for All

Statement from Alison B. R. IN FAVOR of Defund MPD

The Defund MPD Working Group is beginning its most active season of the year, which will continue through the end of the FY22 budget negotiation cycle in June. I support making this campaign a priority campaign during that time in order to provide the funds and priority access to communications platforms that we will need to successfully influence budget negotiations. Right now, it is essential that we build on the progress made in 2020 and ensure that it is translated into tangible investments in the community through divestment from the police. With only two clear allies on the Judiciary committee, we again face an uphill battle and will need numbers on our side to influence DC Council. Having priority access to chapter social media will allow us to promote Defund MPD Coalition letter-writing campaigns and calls for testimony to DSA members so that we can again show up for this cause at the magnitude required by the fight. Additionally, priority communications access would allow us to engage in robust and regular dialogue with elected officials and our Defund MPD Coalition comrades through social media.

As a new working group, being a priority campaign would also provide us with our first steady source of funding, which would allow us to solidify operations through purchasing a dedicated Zoom account, supplying safety and mutual aid supplies for ongoing protests, and amplifying our message through print and web promotion. It would also allow us to develop our ability to host accessible events and to support urgent calls for supplies and financial support for Defund MPD Coalition activities. These are the reasons why I support making Defund MPD a priority campaign from now until at least June 2021.

Statement from Alexander J. IN FAVOR of Medicare for All

MDCDSA should prioritize Medicare for All and healthcare access more generally this year. Not only is access to healthcare a human right and an obvious future goal, but there’s a lot of potential for DSA to directly help those who need it most right this moment if we prioritize the issue, especially with the pandemic still causing so much damage and showing signs of sticking around for much longer. I understand that our vaccine distribution program here in town is so excellent that it is being considered on a national level. What’s more, access to healthcare is a universally popular item outside of socialist groups, and I think there are opportunities to swell our ranks with this issue.

Statement from Lea R. IN FAVOR of Green New Deal

I support the Green New Deal campaign not only because of the urgent necessity of a socialist solution to the climate crisis but because its support and its work is intersectional. The campaign is supported by many local groups, many of whose members live in historically underserved communities that are most at risk from the health and quality of life effects of pollution, global warming, and environmental injustice.

The campaign therefore has an integrated and holistic focus that is not just about combating climate change but also about ensuring environmental justice and quality of life for ALL residents of the metro DC area.

Statement from Chase M. IN FAVOR of Medicare for All

I strongly urge you to vote for the M4A Working Group as a Priority Campaign for the chapter !

The fractured and broken healthcare system we have currently has got to go. But it’s not going anywhere unless we do the hard work of organizing for it, and DSA are the ones who should lead the charge.

Medicare for All is a popular policy in the US and passing it means we will have a healthcare system where everyone will be covered by a single federally-administered health insurance program where all medical services are fully covered and free at the point-of-service. Very importantly, Medicare for All also covers all US residents (non-citizens included), and contains a jobs initiative and severance for those affected by the transition to government-run healthcare.

This chapter’s Medicare for All Working Group does important work coordinating with the national DSA M4A campaign, as well as engage in local health justice initiatives.

Lack of adequate healthcare is an inequality felt harshest by Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities as well as the working class generally. Whether you’re passion is anti-racism, worker solidarity, or the welfare of undocumented people living in this country, health justice and Medicare for All specifically should be important to you.

For these reasons I again strongly urge you to Vote to make the M4A Working Group a Priority.

Statement from Ben M. IN FAVOR of Defund MPD

I am writing in strong favor of making Defund MPD a priority campaign in 2021 not only because reducing the power and role of police in society is essential in and of itself, but because achieving that will make every other aspect of our chapter’s work easier. To understand what I mean, I think it’s important to clearly articulate the role that police play in the context of racial capitalism.

First and foremost, the role of police and prisons is not, and has never been, about ensuring public safety. Instead, their role has always been to use violence as means of social control, both to maintain as well as to reproduce the vast unjust power relations in society. Consequently, that violence is wielded almost exclusively against Black and Indigenous people, poor people, people experiencing homelessness, trans and non-binary people, sex workers, militant labor organizers, and anyone who dares to take a meaningful stand against the social order (e.g. DSA!) — that is, all the folks who exist at the margins under racial capitalism. This is what we mean when we say cops are violence workers. They are not only the violent enforcement and protection arm of the ruling class, so as to be totally inseparable from it, but also, as Stuart Schrader talked about in a recent Night School event, the police are a class-making institution. They actively create the social stratifications of racial capitalism through their activity, through the construct of crime, and the ways that it is both targeted and enforced against one class of people and not another. For example, when they entrap a working class person in a cycle of arrests, summonses, court appearances, fines, and jail time, they are literally and directly impoverishing that person and that person’s family and dependents, a status which then becomes all but impossible to escape. Or, to take another common police activity, when cops go to violently break up a strike, what they are doing is ensuring that the business owner can continue their current rate of exploitation and wealth capture at the direct expense of the exploited workers. So not only do police and prisons reflect and protect the class structure of capitalist society, they help create it in the first place.

With this understanding, we can properly understand what our struggle for abolition, as currently manifested in our Defund MPD campaign, means for DSA. In the Defund MPD working group, we view abolition — a future free of police and prisons — as absolutely central to socialism, and socialism as central to abolitionism. Each cannot exist without the other. One way to see this concretely is just how every aspect of socialist struggle inevitably runs up against the cops. They’re there when we organize to Stomp out Slumlords and rally to cancel rent. They’re there when we occupy the streets to demand a Green New Deal and Medicare for All. They’re there to break up picket lines and protect the bosses. As long as cops exist, they will be there to forcefully and violently oppose our work on every front.

This reality means that our winnable campaign to specifically and meaningfully reduce the power of police will consequently help clear an easier path for all of our collective work as a chapter. It also illustrates how the fight for abolition is a solidarity-builder across left movements. Put simply, the police are an obvious common enemy, and prioritizing our work against them will help us build the multi-racial working class coalition that we’ll need for all of our fights as a chapter. Organizing against police means organizing for collective liberation, and I urge all of my comrades to vote in favor of making Defund MPD one of our priority campaigns.

Statement from Anders L. IN FAVOR of Green New Deal

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone,

I am writing this in support of the Green New Deal campaign. Such a campaign will be crucial in the coming months and years, as we prove to the public what we already know–that crises like climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice can only be reversed by Democratic Socialism and not the private capital lead initiatives that have failed us so badly in the past.

As Socialists understand, if the movement for a Green New Deal is to succeed, it must be embedded in the multiracial working class. The Biden Administration’s relative support of public investment in green jobs provides us with a small opening; however we must ensure that what little ground the climate movement has is not ceded to the usual cast of corporate backed foundations and non-profits. The only way to resist the fossil fuel industry’s ensuing propaganda campaign is to appeal directly to the energy workers whose livelihoods they hide behind. This resolution’s embrace of both the PRO Act and a Just Transition for energy workers sets it apart from environmental movements past.

There are countless other aspects of this resolution to applaud, but another one I wish to highlight is We Power DC which, along with many other local DSA chapters, seeks to municipalize public utilities. This is not only a good policy but provides a prefigurative model for a Democratic Socialist future. The very communities that now bare the brunt of environmental racism, price gouging and unresponsive private bureaucracy would win control of their local energy systems. What’s more they would do so without having to ask permission from the federal government.

I urge my chapter comrades to support this resolution for its commitment to fighting interlocking crises and applaud those of you who are already involved.

In Solidarity,


Statement from Abel A. IN FAVOR of Medicare for All

There is no other policy goal besides Medicare for All that invigorates leftists of all types equally; no system of oppression more blatant than the private insurance industry. BIPOC are particularly oppressed by the current US healthcare system. While M4A will not fix every racial disparity that exists, it is a major foundation upon which we can build an equitable healthcare system that does not discriminate based on race, class, means, gender, or sexual orientation. It is therefore no surprise that Medicare for All has been one of the few platforms that has remained a unifying goal for DSA and one of its best recruiting avenues.

I, myself, joined DSA to fight for M4A more than anything else. In my humble opinion, until healthcare actually becomes a right and not a privilege afforded to the rich, nothing else we do to lift the working class will have lasting effect. Lack of healthcare affects every aspect of a person’s life from birth to death. It influences life expectancy, quality of life and a person’s freedom to pursue work that is satisfying and self-fulling. As long as healthcare is tied to employment, working class people will never be free and will remain in shackles and servitude to corporations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the inadequacies of our current healthcare system blatantly obvious for all to see. Despite the resistance of the Biden administration, there is no better time to fight for Medicare for All.

Comrades, I would argue that this working group should be one of our priority campaigns not only because of the righteousness of its goals but also as an avenue for recruitment, retention and mobilization of our members. Medicare for All is one of our most popular platforms nationally. Despite all the arguments on strategy or smears from insurance company lobbyists, the movement for Medicare for All remains as popular as ever.

Statement from Alexia P. IN FAVOR of Medicare for All

To Whom it May Concern,

I have been an activist and healthcare worker for over 20 years. Under the leadership of Gayatri, David, Abel and Chase, the M4a group is hands down the most effective healthcare advocacy working group I have ever experienced. Gayatri for example is single-handedly organizing a drive to assist ward 4 residents obtain Covid vaccination amidst a failing DC health department response while working going to school and maybe occasionally getting some sleep. Another subgroup developed a detailed campaign to familiarize themselves with the devastating racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare in DC and has put together a multi-faceted campaign to support and augment existing bills to eradicate it… all while living by our socialist mantra of educate agitate organize. This work has allowed us to create direct relationships with DC council members whom we contact and dialogue with regularly. Relationships are one of the building blocks of empowerment and we are using these to pursue our founding objective, healthcare for all… whose early incarnation can be found in the DC HCEG bill. A work in progress, we are currently mounting a pressure campaign on targeted council members. I joined the DSA to fight the proud boys but I’m staying because of this group full of talented folks who. Get. Things. Done. Just think how much more we could do if you chose us as your priority.

Thank you,

Alexia Prochnicki RN

Statement from Howard D. IN FAVOR of Medicare for All

I am writing in favor of making our Medicare for All working group a Priority Campaign through OpaVote. Ensuring the decommodification of the healthcare industry should be a top priority for DSA, especially considering the disastrous societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to make healthcare a human right through Medicare for All, a policy that would drastically improve the lives of working people in this country, and it would be a significant step in reducing racial and economic inequalities in this country. In addition to lowering the price of prescription drugs and increasing people’s willingness to go to a doctor or a therapist, it would ensure critical healthcare access for women and trans people by offering reproductive and transition services. There are so many benefits to Medicare for All, and that’s why it’s so important for the Metro DC DSA to make our Medicare for All working group a priority campaign.

Statement from Caleb W. IN FAVOR of Labor

As the Worker Organizing Chair of the Labor Working Group, I would like to encourage all members to vote for Labor as a chapter priority. The Working Group has initiatives in place to prepare DSA members to organize their workplaces, to train members as organizers helping others build power, and to hold conversations workers on socialism and its connections to their struggles. These three lines of work will increase union density and strengthen the socialist current within the labor movement, two goals that should be fundamental for our chapter. The Working Group’s work mobilizing the chapter to support labor struggles around the DMV is vital to members’ often-expressed wishes to expand DSA’s membership base and specifically to increase our base among workers of color. There is no better way to build solidarity and recruit than by showing up and standing alongside fellow workers on the picket line. I will also be voting for the Green New Deal to ensure that our joint efforts in support of the PRO Act are coordinated and prioritized across the chapter.

I am also voting to prioritize the work of Stomp Out Slumlords, which I believe is the exemplar of the organizing projects the chapter should be pursuing. Putting additional people-power towards SOS and directing funds for their language interpretation are both very wise uses of resources.

I am also voting to prioritize Defund. Last summer’s uprisings demonstrated that the movement against racist policing is one of this country’s most sources of resistance to ‘the present state of things,’ if not the most important. Our chapter must contribute to winning the demands of this movement and helping ensure that it resists capture and co-optation.

Statement from Saoirse G. IN FAVOR of Stomp Out Slumlords

Vote YES for DSA to prioritize building working-class power through tenant organizing - Saoirse G.

In order to win power for the working class, we must first build a genuine, organized base of working-class people engaged in class struggle. One of the crucial struggles in the modern day is the struggle of working-class tenants against landlords, real estate capital and the housing market.

Stomp Out Slumlords is one of Metro DC DSA’s crowning achievements. Our chapter’s tenant organizing project developed out of an anti-eviction canvassing effort into a permanent, militant, and mass-oriented tenant organization supporting hundreds of tenants on rent strike and maintaining tenant associations in dozens of buildings around the District. SOS has organized mass, militant protests against local and federal targets and mobilized hundreds of tenants from outside the usual protest subcultures of the DC area to actions.

While credit is almost always denied to militant, socialist sections of social movements, it would not be an exaggeration to note that DC is one of the few jurisdictions to have maintained a universal eviction and rent increase ban for the entirety of the pandemic so far, and has introduced a number of relief programs soon after mass actions taken by DSA tenant organizers and the buildings they organize. Stomp Out Slumlords is fighting to cancel rent, which would provide relief from crushing debts that have accumulated during the pandemic as households prioritize food over paying their landlords.

Our chapter’s tenant organizing work has built ties to, and learned lessons from, crucial partners in organized labor. The partnership with Unite Here Local 23 has been incredibly fruitful, not just for our own chapter but in providing a model for cooperation and solidarity between the labor and tenant movements and transferring skills in relationship building and interpersonal organizing that have been learned through labor struggles to DSA organizers.

Throughout all the project’s efforts, Stomp Out Slumlords organizers have constantly engaged in detailed reportbacks and self-criticism which, as a steering committee member of the national Housing Justice Commission, I see the benefits of on a regular basis in hearing of chapters that have avoided pitfalls and developed programs based on the lessons conveyed through these reports. These reports are a gold standard that all our chapter’s organizing projects should seek to emulate.

The project is seeking to become a priority campaign in part to obtain chapter resources to secure professional simultaneous interpretation for its biweekly regional tenant leader calls, which is a clear rationale for seeking priority status that has a clear potential benefit in terms of building power among the multiracial working class of the chapter’s jurisdiction. Language justice - developing high-quality Spanish and, hopefully eventually also Amharic accessibility at our meetings with tenant leaders - is crucial to ensuring that linguistic communities which are acutely affected by the brutality of the housing market are able to fully participate in our struggles, and is also a visible material commitment to ensuring that our tenant organizing is for the whole working class, not just a subsection.

DSA has a unique role to play in connecting various class struggles together through a socialist and materialist analysis and a strategic focus on building working-class power wherever it is most strategic to do so. The potential contribution of militant tenant leaders to our common struggle cannot be overstated. I hope that we will build pathways to expand the number of chapter-wide leaders who were engaged directly by the chapter through their own material struggles rather than self-selection; and that we will move more of our members who initially self-selected into DSA moving themselves and their neighbors into struggle through the tenant organizing resources provided by Stomp Out Slumlords.

Our tenant organizing is one of our most valuable current and potential contributions to working class struggle. I urge all members of Metro DC DSA to vote in favor of this priority.