The Bronx/Upper Manhattan branch has been involved in campaigns around a number of vital neighborhood issues. They have been working all year on the campaign to pressure New York Presbyterian not to close Allan Psychiatric Hospital, a crucial mental health ward. The branch has also been pushing back against the Inwood Rezoning Plan along with neighborhood organizations. Branch members participated in canvassing campaigns for postal banking in the Bronx and for an Elected Civilian Review Board to increase police accountability. They helped support local green spaces such as La Finca del Sur, an urban farmer cooperative in the Bronx, and Maggie's Magic Garden, a community garden in East Harlem. Members have canvassed and marched for Housing Justice and Universal Rent Control, as well as the effort to bar ICE from NYC’s courts.
The B/UM Political Education Working Group organized a forum for attendees to learn about and discuss various socialist tendencies, and the group also collaborated with the Socialist Feminist Working Group on a reading group dedicated to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. Both the forum and the reading group were well-attended and brought new members into the organization.
And of course members canvassed and got out the vote for their representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the primary and general elections!
NBK’s year included canvassing for universal rent control as part of their branch campaign and they mobilized members for the March for Universal Rent Control. NBK and the Housing Working Group co-hosted a Tenants’ Town Hall that included a rent laws workshop and organizing training. NBK’s Tenant Organizing Committee supported residents of 431 Bleecker St. in their Oct. 17th Rally Against Grand Management. North Brooklyn members joined with the statewide Housing Justice 4 All coalition to march on the offices of the Rent Stabilization Association in November.
NBK also held a Healthcare Community Fair, with workshops on consent-based sex ed, narcan, and first aid, as well as a panel with Tim Faust, Emma Caterine, and (now) State Senator-Elect Julia Salazar. Additionally, NBK-DSA members, in collaboration with the Service Industry and Labor & Strike Solidarity working groups, assisted workers at House of Kava in organizing a union in the face of abuse and wage theft by ownership. NBK member Justin Charles won the county committee rep seat for his election district and Julia Salazar won her race for State Senate District 18.
Members of NBK hosted a memorial for Heather Heyer in August to honor her life, educate themselves about the anti-fascist movement, and renew their commitment to fighting white supremacy. NBK marched with the rest of the NYC chapter during the anti-Kavanaugh protests in the first week of October. Also in October, NBK’s 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.
NBK also launched a new members' welcoming committee, the Rosebuds, who hosted their first New Members' social in July, and another in November, just after the midterm elections.
After the announcement that Amazon HQ2 would be coming to Long Island City, North Brooklyn members began to mobilize to support the Housing WG and Queens DSA in efforts to organize workers and tenants against the Amazon deal. NBK members participated in a canvass in Sunnyside ahead of the community forum put together by DSA and other Queens organizations.
In December, NBK members helped organize a Climate Justice Townhall at El Puente in South Williamsburg with environmental justice coalition partners NY Renews, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, UPROSE, the Brooklyn Movement Center, Indivisible, and others. Over 100 attendees turned out, including State Senator-Elect Julia Salazar and State Assembly Member Brian Kavanaugh.
The North Brooklyn branch ended its year with a Socialist Snowflakes celebration where they learned about anti-Amazon organizing in Queens, DSA’s efforts to support the migrant caravan at the border, and the “snowflake model” of team leadership.
In 2019, they will be reviewing their branch provisional bylaws to democratically determine the structure and organization of their branch. They also have plans for an organizing training with the Center for Popular Democracy, a presentation from the Debt & Finance WG on public banking, and more!
In order to support the influx of new members and broaden what the branch has to offer, this year Central Brooklyn created new committees to allow members to contribute to branch organization.
Coordinating with the Housing Working group, the base building committee has been doing regular canvassing in their neighborhoods for Universal Rent Control and other tenants’ issues. The events & social committee played a major role in planning the recent branch fundraiser - The Red Scare Halloween party - which raised over $4,000. The operating committee built and maintains Central Brooklyn's website, cbkdsa.org, and has been building out resources to support local organizers. The membership & mobilization committee recently hosted a new member social and has been organizing new member orientations at branch meetings.
In the coming year, they will continue to expand committee work to make the branch a true home of socialism in Central Brooklyn.
SBK focused on political education, and their healthcare branch campaign, in 2018.
Their Political Education Committee hosted a series of Day Schools, on single payer and immigrant justice, for which they partnered with the Socialist Feminists WG and IJWG. They also facilitated reading groups for ABCs of Socialism and Socialism 101, and created a Solidarity Summer Film Series in which they showed films on Puerto Rican activism, local union organizing, and other leftist topics.
Their healthcare committee focused, earlier in the year, on the M4A/NYHA Campaign, tabling in Coney Island in support of single payer and canvassing in collaboration with the Salazar campaign. SBK ran weekly canvasses on Mondays and Wednesdays in Park Slope, talking to folks about the Nixon/Williams campaign as well as the New York Health Act. They hosted a Power-Mapping event in the spring, and a NYHA Teach-in in the fall.
SBK also co-sponsored and helped organize a series of three, rapid-response protests against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh; a direct action in support of the release of pizza delivery-man Pablo Villavicencio, who was detained and arrested at Fort Hamilton; a protest in conjunction with Bay Ridge activists against State Senator Marty Golden and his connection to the Proud Boys; and a series of protests in Manhattan against ICE.
At their monthly branch meetings, they’ve hosted a broad range of speakers from across NYC-DSA, to speak on topics such as the history of Pride, the drug war, and postal banking.
Following the passage of Resolution 33 at the 2018 Convention, which resolved that NYC-DSA will actively recruit members to get Rank and File jobs, the Labor Branch has been focusing on this mission. They have held a number of Labor Notes inspired trainings and Troublemakers’ School meetings, as well as informative panels for those interested in furthering DSA’s causes through union organizing and membership.
They also met with the Nixon campaign to help influence her to adopt a strong Democratic Socialist labor platform, and worked to connect the campaigns of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julia Salazar with the labor movement. They were instrumental to the inclusion of language opposing the Taylor Law in Nixon's labor platform, which brought the issue of the right-to-strike for public employees into the spotlight. Labor also held canvasses for Julia Salazar, and helped get out the vote.
The next Labor Branch meeting will be on January 10, from 7-9 pm, location TBD.
The LoMan branch campaign for 2018 was housing. They hosted talks on housing and planning in the 21st-century Lower East Side, as well as presentations on state rent laws and rent regulation history.
They organized for the Ocasio-Cortez campaign and conducted an endorsement process for Nixon and Williams that brought out a large number of members who hadn't yet been active within the DSA. This was in addition to NYHA canvassing, universal rent control canvassing, and mobilizing members to either canvass or phone-bank for the Nixon, Williams, and Salazar campaigns.
In August, the branch participated in the M4A weekend of action.
Shortly thereafter, they rolled out a political education night school, focused on the key ideas that they think every socialist should integrate into their analyses and actions.
In collaboration with the Labor Branch, they also introduced their Rank and File strategy, as passed at the City Convention. LoMan sees building a 21st century labor movement as imperative to the DSA's political goals. This initiative encouraged DSA members to actively join the unionized workforce so as to help steer unions toward a socialist analysis of the relationship between Labor and Capital.
Their October meeting looked at the international left movements and parties to help make sense of what DSA should be doing at this moment.
In November, LoMan talked about childcare with the Red Sprouts and reflected on the past few months of electoral work.
The Queens branch came into its own in 2018, building on foundations laid the prior year.
In the first half of 2018, the branch played an important role in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary campaign, with transformative results for DSA and U.S. politics: Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory and subsequent star role as an organizer and media figure fueled the doubling of DSA's membership nationally and in NYC, and supercharged campaigns for DSA-endorsed and other candidates in New York and nationally, while putting issues like Medicare for All, Abolish ICE, and the Green New Deal into the national spotlight.
In the second half of the year, Queens DSA played an early, outspoken leadership role in the ongoing #NoAmazon campaign, which has focused attention to the importance of fighting gentrification and neoliberal, tax-cut fueled development schemes.
Participating in both campaigns has tied the branch into the Queens and NYC progressive communities: AOC's campaign created or deepened ties with new and existing networks of electoral activists; the #NO Amazon campaign, with local and citywide housing and community groups.
Tangible results for the branch include larger and livelier monthly membership meetings and social events in recent months, and the development of broader leadership. The Queens electoral, housing and mutual aid groups have solidified. Potential involvement in the Queens District Attorney election next year (the electoral working group is currently reviewing candidate statements) offers a chance to further deepen and broaden our leadership team and community ties, while making the Queens criminal justice system more deserving of the word “justice.”