On Wednesday, September 4th, House Democratic Caucus chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) announced his support for Medicare for All. Not only does this historic announcement bring the total number of co-sponsors in the House of Representatives up to 119 (including the majority of the Democratic caucus), but as one of the highest-ranking Democratic lawmakers in Congress, Rep. Jeffries's support will give this legislation an especially large boost. Since Jeffries is a member of the Democratic Party leadership, the early success of this local pressure campaign speaks to the growing power of DSA's field organizing in the region and to the particular approach the Healthcare Working Group is taking.
Rep. Jeffries first met with NYC-DSA members in February 2019, where he expressed unwillingness to take a clear position on Medicare for All. In the months that followed, NYC-DSA members collected hundreds of constituent signatures on a petition seeking his support, made thousands of phone calls to his legislative office, raised the issue with him at town halls, co-hosted a people's assembly in his district attended by nearly 200 community members, and with a growing group of coalition partners organized their neighbors and coworkers into a powerful constituency demanding healthcare justice.
Throughout this campaign, NYC-DSA has taken a two-pronged approach. First, we held regular canvasses to drive calls to Rep. Jeffries’ office and collected petition signatures calling on Jeffries to support the bill. Second, we developed new community partners in this campaign, from church leaders to small patient advocacy groups like Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patients Network (SCTPN).
Rep. Jeffries’ public endorsement of this legislation is the result of these efforts and of this growing national movement. And yet, while his co-sponsorship of the bill is a major victory, it is not unequivocal. Rep. Jeffries also chose to cosponsor a public option bill, Medicare X, which would preserve a role for private insurance corporations alongside a very limited public insurance program. Given the connections the Healthcare Working Group is making and the power we are building in his district, NYC-DSA and our coalition partners plan to keep the pressure on in the coming months, and to make the most of this important endorsement toward the full realization of Medicare for All.
Immigration Justice Working Group
NYC-DSA's Immigration Justice Working Group is preparing an action on October 11 as part of a nationwide mobilization to Close the Concentration Camps. At the action, they will be demanding an end to corporate profiteering from immigration detention, the closure of the immigrant detention camps, and asylum for all. The Administration has declared war on immigrant communities, and companies like Amazon and Salesforce are facilitating it. Using their software, agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have been surveilling and threatening communities, jailing children and adults in detention centers under inhumane conditions, preventing refugees and asylum seekers from entering the country, and much more. Amazon and Salesforce profit, directly and indirectly, off the detention and deportation of immigrants through multi-million dollar contracts with ICE and CBP. It's up to us to hold them accountable for these human rights violations and demand that they stop.
Join the Immigrant Justice Working group at 4pm on October 11th outside the New York Public Library on E. 41st St. and 5th Ave, to call for an end to the detention and deportation of immigrants and the profiteering that drives these policies.
The Queens Electoral Working Group recently concluded their first ever competitive OC elections and have elected a new 7-person committee. Congratulations to Aaron Taube, Kathryn Dale, Zohran Kwame Mamdani, Sonya Elango, Kathy Lu, Matthew Thomas, Gary He.
The working group has been leading Bernie canvasses across Queens, where they both register voters as well as persuade already enrolled Democrats to vote for Bernie. There are a number of canvasses every week.
The Queens Electoral Working Group has also partnered with the Ecosocialist Working Group to talk to voters in the Rockaways about Public Power and the Green New Deal.
Finally, the working group is in the midst of planning three candidate forums - two in October and one in November. Details are to come, but make sure you watch out for the chance to see 10+ candidates give their pitches on why we should endorse them and then answer questions from membership.
The Media Working Group held a general meeting on September 17 and invited comrades from communist collective Red Bloom to facilitate a Worker Inquiry specific to workers in the arts fields: a useful way to reflect on the “work” side of working in the arts and to connect and build solidarity with fellow toilers in the culture and content mines. The next general meeting’s topic is still TBD.
Media would like to promote the following links to connect with and engage the services of our members and volunteers for all your NYC-DSA media needs:
To post on chapter Social Media accounts
To get your event on the calendar at socialists.nyc and Facebook
To get design, illustration, writing, editing, photography, filming, or a website
To pitch an article to Red Letter
Get on the Radio!
For general questions,