October Branch Updates

Bronx/Upper Manhattan

This month, B/UM members helped deliver thousands of petitions calling on the Chief Administrative Judge of New York to end ICE's presence in the courts.  Our members canvassed in the Bronx for universal rent control and in Inwood to save the psychiatric ward at Allen Hospital.

Our Political Education Working Group hosted a forum on currents in leftist thought, featuring five speakers representing different varieties of leftist thought and practice.  And we had an organizing/mobilizer training to strengthen our mobilizer program and help our members get better at having one-on-one organizing conversations. We also helped staff the 25th anniversary fundraiser for Maggie's Magic Garden, a community garden in East Harlem.  

Central Brooklyn

Central Brooklyn Base Building committee has started organizing regular canvasses in Crown Heights and Flatbush supported by the Housing Working Group. The Community and Social committee has been preparing for the CBK Halloween fundraiser: The Red Scare! Tickets are going fast, buy them here.

Central Brooklyn is currently holding a vote on whether to dedicate a portion of the next branch meeting to an endorsement discussion and vote for Howie Hawkins in his run for governor.

Labor

The Labor Branch and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored a rally at LaGuardia Airport in support of workers trying to organize at Delta. The branch’s meeting next month is a Labor Notes-style training on November 14 from 7 pm to 9 pm. Location TBD.

Lower Manhattan

The Lower Manhattan branch had an encouraging and invigorating September meeting where organizers involved in both the NYHA and Medicare for All campaigns spoke, including Roona Ray, Christine Offenbacher, and Jeremy Wheatly of Philly DSA. The branch is gearing up to be an important part of the citywide Housing campaign. It also started a political education Night School to much success, and will continue to hold it for the next several weeks, examining essential issues and questions within a Socialist worldview.

This month's general branch meeting on October 24 looked at the international left movements and parties to help make sense of what DSA should be doing in its particular situation.

North Brooklyn

North Brooklyn DSA marched with the rest of the NYC chapter during the No Justice, No Seat: March Against Kavanaugh on Oct. 1.

On Oct. 8, its Political Education Committee launched a bi-weekly Night School to give members a chance to explore socialist theories, grow as organizers, and gain deeper historical background and context. Session 1 delved into the question: "What is Democratic Socialism?" Session 2 focused on "Marxist Economics (What is Capitalism?)."

North Brooklyn's Tenant Organizing Committee supported residents of 431 Bleecker St. in their Oct. 17 Rally Against Grand Management. North Brooklyn members filmed an outreach video to promote the rally. You can watch the wrenching stories of the beleaguered tenants here as they discuss rampant abuses suffered at the hands of Grand Management: https://vimeo.com/295067939
NBK's own Julia Salazar attended as well and spoke out in support of the tenants.

Queens

About a dozen Queens members showed up on short notice for a raucous hearing at the Queens County building in Kew Gardens regarding the de Blasio administration’s plans to close Rikers. They carried signs bearing the slogan “Or, They Could End Cash Bail.”

The de Blasio administration painted the proposal as a progressive policy, because it would replace the huge antiquated, and difficult-to-reach complex on an East River island with four, smaller, more humane and modern jails near subway stops, where families and service providers could more easily visit inmates.

Criminal justice reformers who spoke at the hearing argued that there’s no need for the new jails. Rikers’ population has been shrinking rapidly due to decreasing arrests for nonviolent marijuana possession; it would shrink even faster if the state ended cash bail, which leads to often long jail stays for people who can’t raise funds for pretrial release. Some 70% of Rikers inmates are awaiting trial. Other opponents of the jail proposed for construction behind the County building on Queens Boulevard (where a parking lot was just built), said it would bring too much traffic and crime to the area. A shelter for homeless families was recently opened in a hotel across from the County building.

Queens DSA also elected five new members to its Organizing Committee: Jonathan B., Niko M., and Aaron T. were elected to fill three vacant seats, and Moumita A. and Ben B. were elected to to two newly created at-large seats. Lastly, Queens DSA’s Electoral Working Group organized a town hall with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

South Brooklyn

South Brooklyn DSA spent the early part of the month co-sponsoring and helping to organize the series of three, rapid-response protests against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

In late October, the branch held its first Health Care Committee meeting, hosted Puerto Rican activists for a film screening and panel, and further developed its new branch membership orientation program.