Member statements on 2023-02-GR6: Resolution to Support Efforts to Oppose the US Blockade on Cuba
ABSTAIN by Greg W.
Dear Comrades, I was one of the original co-sponsors of this resolution. However, following the adoption of an amendment that substantially altered the resolution’s original intent, I decided to withdraw my name from the resolution’s sponsorship and now urge chapter members to abstain on this resolution. The Cuba campaign’s work so far included forming a working relationship with the Cuban embassy in DC, hosting the Cuban ambassador at our last convention, sending the first-ever DSA delegation to Cuba, and being of the first DSA organizers to devise and deploy a strategy that succeeded in getting policy out of committee and onto the floor of the United States Congress to increase US food exports to Cuba, becoming the most significant vote on Cuba policy in 6 years. Make no mistake - the amended resolution we are voting on has put an end to everything the MDC-DSA Cuba campaign built in this chapter and has already caused organizers to pursue Cuba solidarity efforts elsewhere. Instead of having our back when we were targeted by the US government and a major corporation, we feel we have been scapegoated for the consequences of an oppressive US sanctions regime. Since this resolution is no longer primarily about solidarity with Cuba, but now is mostly about reprimanding the chapter’s Cuba campaign, it makes no sense for me to support it. Also, because of the passage of the amendment that restricts organizing and the unwelcoming organizing atmosphere that thereby has been created, there is no active Cuba campaign in the chapter anymore. It thus makes little sense for the chapter adopt a resolution that commits it to support Cuba solidarity work. It would be a cruel irony to pass a resolution meant to support Cuba organizing efforts that also has destroyed those very efforts. However, because this resolution declares solidarity with Cuba while also acting to undermine our ability to organize for Cuba, members of the Cuba campaign urge you to abstain during this vote.
IN FAVOR by Aparna R.
Hi everyone, as one of the sponsors of the Cuba resolution as amended, I hope you vote yes for this resolution.
As efforts to end the embargo gain more traction nationally and even in Congress, DSA and our chapter specifically have a unique role to play in these efforts. I’m glad that members in the chapter brought forward this resolution and that we were able to strengthen it based on the delegation proposal that the DSA’s International Committee is also making at the national level. National DSA’s diplomatic relationship with Cuba is ramping up as chapters across the country release resolutions in support of ending the embargo and move similar ordinances at their local city councils. I’m excited for our chapter to join these other chapters across the country and make a public commitment to helping fight in solidarity with the Cuban people and against the blockade.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m also glad that we were able to strengthen the resolution to ensure that our chapter is protected from future financial or legal issues.
According to public minutes from DSA’s National Political Committee steering meeting last month (relevant section starts on page 13), the co-chair of national DSA’s International Committee assured that for any Cuba delegations, individual “chapters will not be broadcasting the delegation on social media, the Internal Committee would.” That proposed social media policy barring chapter social media accounts to post about delegations is even more centralized to National DSA than the resolution we have before us now to vote on, which only outlines that chapter social media around delegations should get approved by National. He also said that the financial issues our chapter faced with the Cuba delegation last year, the fact that the delegation organizers were not interested in coordinating with National DSA, and the fact that the trip “exploded terrifically” for the organizers, were all the impetus for them to centralize their Cuba delegation operations to National DSA including logistics, finances, and communications. I’m glad that the resolution before us today reflects our socialist values of international solidarity while also aligning with the protocols that national DSA’s International Committee are hoping to adopt to protect both local chapters and DSA as a whole.
Socialism requires an internationalist perspective, and international organizing requires a strategic approach and a long term vision. This is a struggle that will last potentially our whole lives. This resolution is just the first step to affirm our support for Cuba and support the work that’s happening across the country to advocate for an end to the embargo. I hope that everyone votes yes on this resolution to support efforts to end the US blockade on Cuba.
ABSTAIN by Sheena S.
This Cuba resolution was supposed to be a signal of our chapter’s commitment to Cuba solidarity and to organizing to lift the cruel US blockade against the island nation. Instead, due to a poison pill amendment by chapter leadership, this resolution is now a condemnation of local Cuba work and also includes extremely restrictive policy that makes it impossible to organize for Cuba in this chapter. Because of this cruel irony, I am asking that you abstain from this vote.
ABSTAIN by Hector M.
This Cuba resolution was supposed to be a signal of our chapter’s commitment to Cuba solidarity and to organizing to lift the cruel US blockade against the island nation. Instead, due to a poison pill amendment by chapter leadership, this resolution is now a condemnation of local Cuba work and also includes extremely restrictive policy making it impossible to organize for Cuba in this chapter. Because of this cruel irony, I am asking that you abstain from this vote.
IN FAVOR by Hayden G.
Hello Comrades, The blockade of Cuba placed by the United States government is unjust, undemocratic, and represents the legacy of evil that we are fighting against. The Cuban people deserve the right to thrive, not be stifled by the American regime. We must support socialists abroad and have an internationalist perspective. I support this resolution because I support it’s goals. I hope you too will support the removal of unjust sanctions, and commit our chapter to fighting for this goal. In Solidarity, -Hayden
IN FAVOR by Michael M.
Comrades, I urge you to vote in favor of the resolution to support efforts to oppose the US blockade on Cuba. This is an important resolution that holds significance for our chapter for a few reasons:
- It correctly identifies the imperialist sanctions on the Cuban people as a threat to their livelihood, economic prosperity, and physical health — and that President Biden has failed to deliver on his campaign promises to return to Obama’s Cuba policy of thawing relations and has instead maintained the cruelty of Trump’s policy.
- It codifies the requirement of our chapter to select a liaison to contribute to national Cuba organizing and help coordinate planning and information sharing for our chapter to participate in future national delegations to Cuba.
- Now that the general body has democratically decided to incorporate the amendment to the resolution, it fully clarifies that all fundraising efforts and external communications relating to national delegations to Cuba reside with National DSA and the National International Committee. This is a crucial clarification that must be codified so we do not repeat the issues our chapter ran into last year where our chapter finances were shut down for 3 months, including the shuttering of the chapter WePay account, the loss of nearly $5,000, and the freezing of $10,000 meant to reimburse tenant organizers and leaders, because the word “Cuba” being used in the memo description of fundraising efforts for the Cuba delegation raised a red flag with our payment processor.
It is imperative that our chapter continue to support International solidarity organizing as well as Cuba solidarity work. As a Cuban American and socialist, this is really important and personal to me. I have family in Cuba who I’ve never had the opportunity to meet before and are suffering under the embargo. I would love to see a day where the Cuban people can sustain the success of their revolution and socialist project without the crushing weight of the U.S. empire constantly pervading their right to self determination. Normalizing relations with Cuba and organizing to put pressure on the Biden administration to reverse the cruel Trump-era policies toward Cuba is important work that our chapter should continue to support.
Additionally, it is also critical that we protect the chapter’s financial and legal liabilities by codifying measures to reduce our risk and mitigate harsh corporate compliance regulations. No one campaign, working group, section, etc. is more important than the next, and we need to ensure that all of our formations can continue their organizing efforts without the risk of having their fundraising efforts cut off. We must be cognizant of the legal and monetary consequences that could ensue if we slip up and put the chapter at risk of non-compliance. That’s exactly why clarifying the ambiguities around who holds responsibility for fundraising efforts and external comms for future delegations to Cuba — confirming that it resides with National DSA — is an important distinction for our chapter to make.
For the reasons outlined above, I encourage you to vote yes in support of Resolution to Support Efforts to Oppose the US Blockade on Cuba (as amended), as I intend to do.
ABSTAIN by Nate B.
Hi, I’m writing to mark my abstention from voting on this resolution. While I support DC Metro DSA’s and the international working group’s work on lifting the Cuba embargo, I’m particularly concerned with the language at the end of the resolution—which is a result of the amendment last month—stating that the chapter “use only language provided by National or approved by National’s legal and comms team when communicating to chapter members about delegations over Slack, email, and other non social media formats. Topics include but are not limited to delegation recruitment, information-sharing, and any other purposes.” This is a clear and inappropriate extension of power using broad language to discipline member communications and undermine their ability to organize. The Cuba resolution was supposed to be a signal of our chapter’s commitment to Cuba solidarity, but it is not serving that purpose in its full capacity now because it creates an unneeded top-down bureaucracy that restricts how we can communicate and organize together. This will force solidarity organizing elsewhere outside of DSA, which is unfortunate.
IN FAVOR by Kareem E.
Comrades, I am writing today to urge you to vote yes on this resolution. Our chapter should join the national Cuba solidarity campaign, and passing this resolution is the way to do it. Now that this resolution is amended, it will keep our chapter safe while committing us to engage with the important work of ending the US backed suffering of the Cuban people. I am excited to participate in the work ahead. Please join me in voting yes!
IN FAVOR by Carl R.
I am happy to support this resolution deepening our Cuba solidarity work! Socialist internationalism is a key part of socialist organizing, and showing that we, as a chapter, stand behind DSA’s important work to end the blockade is a fundamental part of solidarity with the Cuban people. Especially now that it is strengthened - by the amendment the chapter resoundingly passed - we should all support this. I highly urge every chapter member to vote yes and show our commitment to solidarity with Cuba.
IN FAVOR by Stu K.
Statement in Support of the Resolution to Support Efforts to Oppose the US Blockade on Cuba I urge fellow Metro DC DSA members to vote YES on the Resolution to Support Efforts to Oppose the US Blockade on Cuba. As amended, the resolution that we’re now voting on provides our chapter with a strong framework for not just continuing—but also advancing—our advocacy efforts to end the imperialist blockade of Cuba. I look forward to attending future events organized by the local Internationalism Working Group that focus on these efforts. Additionally, the national-level DSA Internationalism Committee has gone to great lengths to outline a clear path forward for organizing to dismantle the blockade. The resolution at hand will help to ensure that our chapter is in alignment with campaigns and international delegations organized at the national level. This is the type of collaboration and coordination that’s necessary to run and win campaigns with a global reach. For these reasons, I hope all Metro DC DSA members vote YES on this resolution.
ABSTAIN by Stephanie K.
I am writing to record my abstention from voting on the Cuba resolution. A big fan of Cuba work, but strongly opposed to the language at the end of the resolution (resulting from the amendment last month) that states that the chapter “use only language provided by National or approved by National’s legal and comms team when communicating to chapter members about delegations over Slack, email, and other non social media formats. Topics include but are not limited to delegation recruitment, information-sharing, and any other purposes.” This is nothing more than an embarrassing overreach by members of the Steering Committee who appear to be ideologically opposed to the Cuba work that members were carrying out. It’s an untenable misuse of power, and very demoralizing.
IN FAVOR by Bakari W.
As I wrote in my statement about the amendment to this resolution, solidarity with the people of Cuba is important. The amendment to the resolution doesn’t harm our Cuba organizing because the delegation is being organized by National, not our chapter. There will be a lot of activity around Cuba happening this year, like the DC Council’s vote to condemn the blockade, so now is an especially important time to act in support of these efforts. I will be voting in favor of this resolution, and I encourage you to do so as well.