NYU-YDSA just got back from an incredible weekend at the 2019 YDSA National Convention in Berkeley, California. Eight NYU-YDSA members, along with 14 members of CUNY YDSA, attended (and, in some cases, facilitated) workshops and plenaries on issues of urgent importance to the Left today, including Medicare for All, College for All, Building a Mass Organization, and Fighting the Far Right on Campus. Members practiced vital organizing skills, shared out experiences with student socialists from around the country, and stood in solidarity with Oakland teachers as they prepared to strike.
Now NYU-YDSA members stand ready to put everything they’re learned into action! They’ll be kicking off their campus Bernie Sanders campaign with canvassing in dorms, and gearing up for a Medicare for All Town Hall with Michael Lighty on campus (March 13, 4-6pm, 60 Washington Square South). The crew has also been dropping some dank memes in the NYU Students for Bernie 2020 Facebook group (join us!), and building up the hype on campus for what’s shaping up to be an incredibly important class struggle campaign. There’s a lot of work ahead of us this semester, but NYU-YDSA is beyond excited to build this movement!
Queens branch celebrated victory over Amazon in February. Just a few days after two dozen DSA members took part in a 100-person coalition canvassing effort, Amazon withdrew from its plan to build a massive second headquarters in Long Island City. The Queens Housing Working Group and field organizers joined the victory press conference that afternoon at Gordon Triangle, danced and shouted at a rally in Jackson Heights that evening, and rallied again the following Sunday in Long Island City.
The branch’s February general meeting included a panel discussion on the Amazon campaign. The team would like to find ways to continue resisting tech capitalism by organizing with comrades and allies at Amazon locations across the country. For now, however, the No Amazon field operation is plugging into the Cabán for Queens campaign, the Housing Working Group's campaign for universal rent control, and resisting the Sunnyside Yards development and tenant organizing.
The Queens branch voted in January in favor of the resolution to endorse Bernie, but right now, its electoral efforts are focused on primarily on electing Tiffany Cabán to be the next Queens District Attorney.
This month, B/UM members canvassed in the Bronx for universal rent control and in Harlem to fight NYC schools' racist suspension practices. Members also picketed at Milstein and Allen Hospitals (New York Presbyterian) in solidarity with NYSNA nurses as they fight for a fair new contract. The branch held a New Member Orientation to welcome new comrades, followed by a happy hour. The B/UM Political Education Working Group co-sponsored a Valentine's Day screening of Ken Loach's Bread & Roses with The Workmen's Circle and organized a set of reading groups on Gramsci. At the February 26th branch meeting, members will vote on new branch bylaws, hear from the Healthcare and Racial Justice Working Groups about their campaigns, and have a breakout period where members can talk to representatives from various working groups and find out about all the work that’s going on.
Lower Manhattan had a great start to the year, beginning with a debate and vote on recommending NYC-DSA’s Bernie 2020 plan. The branch ultimately voted in favor. LoMan also restarted its political education work with the ABC’s of Capitalism pamphlets from Jacobin+Catalyst, with very encouraging responses. The branch aims to continue to offer both highly accessible introductory-level material as well as more advanced content for members.
LoMan held a new member social on Feb 20 to introduce the organization and demystify DSA politics to curious residents in our district. At the monthly meeting on February 28th, in addition to discussing proposals put forward by our membership, there’ll be a panel discussion on the Green New Deal, featuring eco-socialists Kate Aronoff and Nancy Romer. Members will have a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and think through what a transition to a more sustainable, equitable society will concretely look like.
North Brooklyn held its first "Comrade's Basement" open social at Starr Bar on February 4th, co-hosted by the Organizing Committee and their Rose Buds new members' engagement committee. The NBK bi-weekly Night School continues every second Monday at Mayday Space thanks to the NBK Political Education Committee. Recent sessions included "Socialists and the Working Class" and "Poor People's Movements.” The next upcoming session for February 25 is "Unions and the Labor Movement." All are welcome to learn with at NBK Night School!
The NBK Tenants' Committee continues to fight for Universal Rent Control and to support tenant organizing in North Brooklyn. NBK is piloting a new program to encourage hyperlocal organizing called we’re calling neighborhood councils and held a kick-off meeting on February 9. Finally, North Brooklyn members turned out on February 13 to support NYSNA nurses at Mt Sinai Hospital on Madison Ave during their informational picket for safe staffing!
During last month’s branch meeting at CBK’s beautiful new space at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights, members had the opportunity to discuss and vote on several proposals to be brought to the CLC in February. The Membership Development and Mobilization Committee hosted the monthly new member social at Cherry Tree Bar, offering a great opportunity for new and prospective members to learn more about organizing work and meet new comrades. The Base Building Committee has begun organizing comrades interested in running for community board or attending meetings to connect with other organizations and members of the community. At the upcoming Central Brooklyn branch meeting, members will get the opportunity to break out into groups led by working group representatives, discuss their work and find campaigns they may be interested in. Starting on the 26th, there is a CBK reading group for the ABC’s of Capitalism series at the Brooklyn Free School.
In February, South Brooklyn hosted several events: First was a New Member Orientation that drew in 30+ people new to DSA, where participants and organizers engaged in small group discussions around the question “What is (or is not) Democratic Socialism to you?” New and prospective members also had the opportunity to meet working group representatives.
The Political Economy of Welfare, a talk by Social Work Professor Joel Blau, went extremely well. Organizers of the event reported that most of the attendees were active social workers with little familiarity with DSA, leading to highly fruitful discussions. The branch also hosted its first-ever fundraiser, themed around Valentine’s Day, titled Why Can’t I Touch it (the Means of Production), which far exceeded its projected fundraising goal. Looking ahead, an ABC’s of Socialism reading group at Carroll Gardens library will meet on the 23rd. The SBK February branch meeting will be held on the 24th, featuring presentations and discussions from both the Housing and Healthcare working groups.
Read the article titled “Critical Mass” in this month’s issue for updates on the Labor Branch’s resolution to focus on influencing rank and file of targeted industry unions to become more militant.