Member Statements on PCR2: Select WePower as a Priority Campaign for 2024

Statements from chapter members in favor and against PCR2: Select WePower as a Priority Campaign for 2024 will be posted in this thread.

IN FAVOR by Matt S.

I’m writing in support of the resolution to select We Power DC as a priority campaign for 2024. I’ve been a member of MDCDSA, and deeply involved in We Power, since I moved to DC in fall 2021, and over these two years, I’ve had the privilege of working with phenomenal organizers and making exciting gains through this campaign. Public ownership of energy infrastructure is a crucial goal of a global green new deal, and deserves to be a central focus of eco-socialist formations across DSA. As socialists, it should be self-evident that billion-dollar for-profit utilities that pay their shareholders millions each year, and have no contrition about shutting off power to our poorest neighbors, are never going to lead us towards decarbonization at the rate necessary to prevent ecological collapse. In DC specifically, the data shows that our only hope for fully decarbonizing is through a municipally-owned utility. We Power DC is fighting for exactly this: a power system that transparently and democratically to fight the climate crisis and meet everyone’s needs, regardless of their ability to pay. (For more on the state of public power across the US and in DC, check out our comrades’ excellent piece in the Washington Socialist The State of Public Power in 2023). Our campaign has made great strides towards this ambitious long term goal over the past year through several important legislative efforts. We’ve been working with a coalition led by center for biological diversity (and we power member Selah) to get council to introduce the first universal, permanent ban on utility shutoffs in the country. We’re working with a coalition of environmental and EJ orgs on a campaign to stop “Project Pipes,” a massive investment in fossil gas infrastructure for which Washington gas wants $4.5 billion from ratepayers. Most notably, we worked with CM Parker’s legislative staff to draft and introduce the “EJ amendment act of 2023,” a radical piece of EJ legislation that would make it far more difficult to permit or re permit polluting facilities in overburdened neighborhoods, taking an important stride in protecting our working class black and brown neighbors from the dangerous pollution that racist zoning policies have forced them to deal with for decades. These efforts, while vitally important in their own right, have helped us build towards our long term goals in a few key ways: The first two efforts are important for eroding the power of our energy utilities, and de commodifying energyThrough these sub campaigns, we’ve built strong relationships with a few key legislative staff, and we’re working to build relationships with staffers across council. For example, the EJ legislation emerged from an energy/environmental justice policy circle that we formed with CM Parker’s staff, which we plan to continue to use to advance important EJ legislation—most notably, public power.We’ve built powerful organizing relationships through these coalitions, especially with EJ groups that are deeply connected with the communities impacted by utility rate hikes and shutoffs; the communities that would most benefit from a public power utility. And in building these relationships, we’ve also continued socializing the idea of public power. The efforts all have tremendous momentum right now, and organizing will only deepen in the new year. Along with continuing this work, we have big plans for 2024, including expanding our robust research work, expanding political education through quarterly public facing meetings, and engaging deeply in the democratic primaries. The success of this important work will require the resources and backing of the chapter, so I implore my comrades to vote in favor of this resolution.

IN FAVOR by Gary Z.

We Power DC is an excellent campaign with clear momentum. Establishing public power in the District will be a hard task, but the team established through this working group has been consistent and resolute — I’m confident this campaign will make strong use of the priority campaign status. I’ve also been impressed by their deft use of chapter resources over the last two years. Their work in publishing research and updates through the Washington Socialist and Weekly Update is the intended use of the channels developed through our Publications team, and something I hope to see other working groups model. Additionally, participation from some of We Power’s members in participating in publications work is an excellent demonstration of how working groups can build up shared chapter resources through campaign work.

IN FAVOR by Winston Y.

I am writing in strong support of extending the WePower Campaign’s priority status within metroDC DSA. Since its elevation to priority status last year, WePower has testified for legislation to electrify low-middle income households, hosted community tabling, protested fossil capital’s expansion projects, connected with public power campaigners around the country, and many more. It has also significantly grown in strength, going from about 10-20 active members to about 30-50 members in an effort to make public power a mass people’s movement. It is for these reasons that I believe WePower should be granted said extension.

IN FAVOR by Claire M.

We Power DC is a strategic campaign with a transformational ecosocialist demand at its heart. Public power literally transfers assets from the billion-dollar companies funding the ongoing climate crisis and to the people under democratic governance. It also has incredible potential to transform the material conditions of the working class by ending inhumane utility shutoffs, forgiving utility debt, and lessening the cost of living crisis by stopping rate increases. And it’s key to transforming the energy sector itself, from ensuring clean energy is union-built and -operated to correcting historical environmental racism in operation of the electric grid and in the placement of energy generation infrastructure. We Power DC is on the path to deliver these benefits in the coming years. We have done the strategic work to build coalitions, establish relationships with councilmembers, and strengthen the campaign’s structure. We have clear goals for 2024, and this chapter should continue to invest in the fight for public power!

1 Like

IN FAVOR by Tim S.

I’m writing in favor of WePower primarily to emphasize what a good job this formation has done at member engagement and leadership development. The work they’re doing is great on the merits, but I’m sure a lot of people have that covered. They take member engagement and development really, really seriously, though, and at a time when a lot of our internal debate is laser focused on that work – with good reason! – voters should be aware that this is a campaign to emulate. WePower built up a structure for doing one on ones with new organizers years ago, and has just quietly kept doing it, kept growing, and kept building new capacity because of how many people are excited about doing climate work at the municipal level, and easily roll into the campaign. Having enough people to actually do the work sustainably, and to have lively internal conversation about strategy and structure, has been great for leadership development: many people from WePower have stepped into various leadership roles, locally and nationally, and its internal leadership has reconfigured itself a few times in the years I’ve been involved. This is a campaign that cares a lot about engaging people our chapter might otherwise not engage, and then bringing them up a ladder of engagement while doing really creative and important work. We have a lot of great priority campaigns, but they could all learn from how WePower does this stuff, I think.

1 Like

IN FAVOR by Eduarda S.

I believe the chapter should vote in favor of making We Power DC a priority campaign for 2024 due to its demonstrated success in garnering support from DC Council members and advancing a comprehensive strategy for environmental justice. The formation’s well-structured approach, commitment to political education, and capacity-building efforts align with MDC DSA’s broader goals, making We Power DC an impactful choice for priority attention and resources in the upcoming year.

IN FAVOR by Ralph C.

I write today encouraging all members vote for the We Power Resolution to be a priority campaign. Putting the resources into replicating amazing Public Power campaigns like in New York will make an amazing impact in the lives of the working class. The campaign to take on Pepco can be expanded into Maryland. There are also matters of land use and trash incineration PG members are seeing the energy to organize coalitions to take on powerful utilities.