Working Groups' 2018 Wrap-up

Anti-War

In 2018, the Anti-War Working Group focused on spreading awareness of the situations in Yemen and Gaza. In the summer, they partnered with Jewish Voice for Peace to demand that Senator Chuck Schumer condemn Israel’s actions and violence in Gaza.

Debt & Finance

The Debt & Finance Working Group’s 2018 projects this year included a campaign to develop a postal banking pilot program in the Bronx, and a medical debt jubilee to pay off medical bills and spread awareness of the New York Health Act. The group worked with the New Economy Project and the Ecosocialist Working Group to research strategies for bringing public banking to New York; a subgroup is exploring the idea of a DSA credit union.

Ecosocialist

The Ecosocialist Working Group continued to work with the NY Renews Coalition to reintroduce the Climate and Community Protection Act, which calls for a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the Climate and Community Investment Act, which calls for a polluter fee that would generate revenue to invest in sustainable energy projects and the local economy. We're fighting for a Green New Deal for NYC, which would transform heating and energy use in large commercial and residential buildings without harm to others. We're also studying the NY Off Act and working on the local and the national level to develop resources and a legislative program for a Just Transition led by excluded communities and a Green New Deal.

The group participated in the A23 Albany protests, the UpRose Hurricane Sandy anniversary event, and the Rise up for Climate, Jobs, and Justice mobilization. The morning after the Rise Up mobilization, working group members were among the ten individuals who shut down the street outside Gov. Cuomo’s midtown office.

The group also helped draft Julia Salazar’s climate platform, helped fund a Food Co-Op in Crown Heights and fight for Farmworker Justice. In building a citywide mutual aid and disaster relief program, we’re mapping the city, creating a member skills inventory, and developing a series of alliances and a strategy for deploying in the neighborhoods. We're working alongside the D&F WG to push for divestment from fossil fuels and public banking in NYC and NYS.

In 2019, we'll be continuing our state legislative program, mutual aid/disaster relief, public banking, divestment, and food justice campaigns. Well be reviewing what worked and developing new campaigns around issues such as the Extinction Rebellion, Waste, #NationalizeGrid and Energy Democracy, and Public Banking.

Electoral

The electoral working groups of the geographic branches had an eventful year, helping bring Democratic Socialism into the national spotlight and making NYC-DSA a “force” in electoral politics.

In the spring, DSA endorsed and canvassed for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won an upset victory in a Democratic Congressional primary on June 26 against 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, the head of the Queens County Democratic Organization. The widespread national attention for the win gave a boost to another DSA endorsed candidate, Julia Salazar, who went on to defeat incumbent Martin Dilan in the Democratic primary for State Senate on September 14th.

NYC-DSA also endorsed Cynthia Nixon for Governor and Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic primary in September. Neither won, but the high visibility of these statewide campaigns pushed Governor Cuomo to adopt more progressive positions and helped six progressive challengers to defeat incumbents associated with the Independent Democratic Conference.  

Housing

NYC-DSA Housing Working Groups across the city have been educating tenants on their rights, supporting tenant unions, and mobilizing in favor of universal rent control as part of the Upstate/Downstate Coalition.

The Bronx/Upper Manhattan Housing Working Group organized shifts for Right to Counsel’s Court Watch program in the Bronx, attended tenants’ marches and phonebanked on behalf of tenants rights. They partnered with Northern Manhattan is Not 4 Sale (NMN4S) in its fight against the Inwood rezoning plan.

The Lower Manhattan Housing Working Group Organized supported the tenants at 85 Bowery in their ultimately successful fight to return to their homes after badly needed repairs were completed.

The Queens Housing Working Group tabled on tenant rights, before jumping into the battle to stop Amazon from locating a second headquarters complex in Long Island City.

Immigrant Justice

Working in collaboration with non-profit and faith-based organizations, the Immigrant Justice Working Group prioritized three campaigns in 2018: SanctuaryHood, ICE Out of the Courts, and solidarity with the migrant exodus.

The working group canvassed Bushwick and Bay Ridge, in support of sanctuary spaces in Bushwick and Bay Ridge that would protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. It gathered about 4,000 signatures on petitions asking NY State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to stop ICE enforcement actions in our courts; delivered them to DiFiore’s office, and then rallied in Foley Square with partner organizations.

Members traveled to the border to provide support to the migrant exodus, the latest iteration of mass, coordinated movement from Central America to the US, across Mexico. The group also worked locally with coalition partners to highlight the historical causes of migration and the cruelty of immigration policy today; co-sponsored the “No Hate: Refugee Caravan Solidarity” rally at Union Square on November 3; and cosponsored a fundraiser for the migrant exodus organized by the NYC-DSA Sing in Solidarity choir.

Labor & Strike Solidarity

The Labor & Strike Solidarity Working Group began the year helping organize the International Women’s Strike, which drew hundreds to Washington Square to march and rally for inclusive, working class feminism, as well as the May Day/International Workers’ Day rally.

It also hosted workplace organizing trainings and film screenings, an information session on organizing sex workers and the struggles sex workers face after SESTA-FOSTA, and discussions on the city-wide DSA resolution encouraging members to get rank-and-file union jobs. The group also supported strikes and campaigns organized by workers at Wendy’s, Tom Cat Bakery, and the Laundry Worker’s Center.

Racial Justice

The Racial Justice Working Group campaigns gathered petitions for Postal Banking (low- to no-cost check cashing and ATM services at post offices) to combat predatory lending services. It joined the Court Watching programs in Queens and the Bronx, which expose inequities in arraignments and sentencing. It also fought fought for an amendment to the New York City Charter that would create an Elected Civilian Review Board with the power to enforce disciplinary measures against the NYPD and appoint special prosecutors when necessary.

Most recently, the group joined efforts to get the City Charter Commission to amend the School Disciplinary Code to end school suspensions and shut down the school to prison pipeline. All four campaigns will continue in 2019.

Religious Socialists

The Religious Socialists Working Group began the year contributing to the Poor People’s Campaign. Several working group members were arrested during a Poor People’s Campaign protest in Albany in June. The group also worked with the New Sanctuary Movement for immigrant rights, and held support sessions after the Tree of Life Synagogue attacks and the recent IPCC report.

In 2019, the working group will focus on developing a public educational campaign around liberation theologies.

Tech Action

Tech Action launched its own website, with design help from the Media Working Group, and collaborated with the Media group to develop a training session on workplace organizing for tech and media workers. The working group also canvassed for Julia Salazar’s Senate Senate campaign and helped develop the campaign’s tech platform, which received national attention.

Most recently, Tech Action joined protests against the proposed Amazon headquarters in Long Island City. It hosted an information session on Amazon’s terrible labor practices, union-busting, and hostility towards public authority, and it co-sponsored a rally during a City Council hearing on the City and State deal with Amazon. The Tech Action group also created an online pledge for tech workers who will refuse to work for Amazon if they build in Long Island City. Click here to sign!