Member Statements on PCR1: Select Stomp Out Slumlords as a Priority Campaign for 2022

Statements from chapter members in favor and against PCR1: Select Stomp Out Slumlords as a Priority Campaign for 2022 will be posted in this thread.

Statements will be accepted as they are received, until the deadline of 8:00 pm ET on Sunday, December 12, 2021.

Statement from Stu K - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution PCR1: Select Stomp Out Slumlords as a Priority Campaign

I am voting in favor of Stomp Out Slumlords (SOS) as a priority campaign for our chapter. I urge fellow chapter members to do the same. SOS has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to multi-racial, multi-lingual tenant organizing over the last five years in our chapter. Additionally, SOS has worked hard to develop a leadership pipeline so that the tenants who are organizing their buildings are also on a path to leadership in the militant tenant movement across our region. I urge fellow chapter members to vote in favor of SOS as a priority.

Statement from Katlyn C - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution PCR1: Select Stomp Out Slumlords as a Priority Campaign

As an organizer within Stomp Out Slumlords and a member of the NoVA Tenant Organizing Working group, I’m in favor of making Stomp Out Slumlords a priority campaign in 2022. I’m most proud of the deep organizing that SOS teaches and practices. Through tenant organizing, we’ve built real friendships and working relationships with diverse, immigrant, working class folks, and those relationships are the foundation of a powerful, regional tenant movement. So much of this hinges on the incredibly valuable training that SOS conducts on one-on-one organizing. These skills we learn in these trainings are translatable to so many other important fights in the workplace and beyond. Thanks to the priority campaign status, SOS has been able to expand these trainings to tenant leaders, to tenants east of the river, and to Spanish-speaking tenant leaders. Having simultaneous translation at our citywide meetings has been such a game changer for opening up who can participate and the overall efficiency of our meetings. I really encourage folks to vote for SOS as a priority campaign not just to win better housing conditions for our neighbors, but because this is such an important terrain for winning socialism!

Statement from Aparna R - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution PCR1: Select Stomp Out Slumlords as a Priority Campaign

I’m a tenant organizer with Stomp Out Slumlords, and I am speaking in favor of them for a priority campaign. I came to DSA largely because of SOS. I was dealing with pretty bad conditions in my group house for years until it eventually got foreclosed cause our landlord wasn’t paying his mortgage and we were all forced to scramble for housing. After that, I wanted to do some tenant organizing, and I saw DSA as the biggest local actor in the tenant organizing space.

After doing anti-eviction canvasses with them, I started doing deeper organizing during COVID with tenants at Marbury Plaza in Ward 8, around a rent strike to protest inhumane living conditions. In the time we’ve been organizing with tenants there, we’ve seen concrete wins that include the formal creation of a new tenants’ association, a lawsuit from the Office of the Attorney General against the building, and the firing of the old management company. A large part of that success is due to SOS’ status as a priority campaign. Funds that we receive as part of the priority campaign have helped print flyers and purchase supplies for banners that we’ve used to hang from tenants’ windows, use in our local protest at Marbury, and bring to actions that bring tenants together from all across the region.

Priority campaign funds have also been used for community building events at Marbury, including a cookout at Anacostia Park in June which was the first time many of our tenants had all been together since before COVID. These funds are also a necessary part of our logistical work to open up escrow accounts- where we keep rent checks for tenants who are withholding their rent from management.

Priority campaign status has been a huge support to our relationship building, the sense of community within the building, and solidarity with buildings across the region. It allows SOS, and DSA, to be seen as the type of tenant organizing powerhouse that brought me, and many others, into the chapter. And it brings the types of material wins for the working class that we’re seeing at Marbury and at buildings across the region. I hope everyone will vote to keep SOS as a priority campaign.

Statement from Anne Marie C - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution PCR1: Select Stomp Out Slumlords as a Priority Campaign

I’m Anne Marie and I’m writing in favor of PCR1: Stomp Out Slumlords. As a member of the SOS Coordinating Committee, I had the opportunity to contribute to the official proposal. I’ll limit myself to remarks that either add details to our Priority Campaign Report than weren’t possible last week, therefore, or are personal.

In the former category, Stomp Out Slumlords looks forward to working with the Member Engagement Commission that the chapter convention passed on Sunday afternoon. Currently, we have developed a better, although still ad hoc, system for responding to inquiries on #tenantsrights than we had the capacity for six months ago, through which we have spoken with 5+ members about organizing in their buildings. I worked with Adcom to create the proposal for the Member Engagement Commission, however, because we want a more systematic way for new members to find their way into tenant organizing. For example, we plan to create public descriptions of the ways chapter members can contribute to tenant organizing, whether that involves describing what tenant organizers do or providing ways for chapter members to support tenants’ mutual aid needs. I don’t know the details yet, but I am also particularly excited to work with the Member Engagement Commission to ensure that interested members get one-on-one conversations appropriate to their interests!

To turn to my own feelings, SOS has displayed two trends this year that I’m proud of and want to highlight.

Since I received my first organizing training from SOS in August 2020, I have myself started to work on training our new organizers. This year, we have worked to make our training series increasingly accessible, and as a result, its participants have become increasingly diverse. Our organizers now include an increasingly large number of people who are working to organize their own neighbors.

As a NoVA branch member, I am also very pleased about Stomp Out Slumlords’ recent and expansion into and integration with MDC DSA’s branches. As of January 2021, we barely had a branch presence. We now have three Coordinating Committee members from the branches, and we organize at several buildings in Alexandria and Prince George’s County. Our geographical expansion has been one marked by integration among our sites of struggle, too! For example, Maryland tenants have supported protests in DC, and our most recent Alexandria anti-eviction canvass included a working class Latina tenant from Columbia Heights.

For these reasons, among many others, I believe that priority campaign support would help us continue to build a regional, fighting tenants’ rights movement in 2022.