Building Dsa Through The Fight For A Green New Deal Committee

Current Chair(s):

Cody B and Chris O |


St. Louis DSA has a history fighting against privatization and for expansion of public ownership in the St. Louis region. Other than our electoral work, our anti-privatization work has been our most successful public facing campaign in building DSA, developing leaders, developing relationships with other organizations, and building the socialist movement in the region.

Up until now, our work has had two key characteristics: 1. Being predominantly focused on fighting privatization efforts, as opposed to expanding or strengthening publically owned goods and services, 2. Local focus with no ties to a regional, state, or national campaign.

These characteristics have created barriers that have made our campaigns weaker and less effective at building the chapter while winning material gains of power for the working class. First and foremost, focusing on fighting privatization has made it difficult to build power in times when there is not a prominent privatization effort to fight. Once one appears, we have found ourselves at a major disadvantage compared to our opponents as we are not prepared to fight and are playing catch up. This puts us in a reactionary position, just trying to mobilize anyone we can to win.

Secondly, St. Louis DSA covers a large region, with membership spanning 11 different counties plus St. Louis City, across two states, three federal congressional districts, and many more state, county and municipal legislative bodies. At last estimation, approximately 40% of StL DSA membership resides outside St. Louis City. When we focus a campaign on one municipality, as our recent People First Budget Campaign did, we forfeit the ability to include all of our chapter in the campaign.

We believe that the national Green New Deal campaign significantly changes these characteristics. The national campaign committee is designing strategic campaigns that are relevant across the country, and is working with chapters to develop the strategy to the local conditions and provides chapters regular coaching to chapter leadership throughout the campaign. Furthermore, chapters benefit from national committee and staff performing research, trainings, and support roles like literature and design development that would otherwise fall on the chapters to perform, freeing local leaders up to focus on organizing and building the chapter. The current Green New Deal for Public Schools campaign is a great example of a well designed campaign that is highly, near universally relevant to neighborhoods across the US, and of particular relevance to St. Louis given the ongoing attempts at school privatization through the spread of charter schools.

Finally, both the continued dominance of neoliberal trends over the last fifty years and recent history in the St. Louis region have demonstrated that privatization is not a hypothetical—it is a clear and present danger the ruling class is seeking to impose at whatever opportunity they can. We want to be clear that our strategy is not abandoning this fight; rather, it is investing in a campaign we believe will more effectively grow the chapter—and movement—desperately needed to thwart privatization efforts in St. Louis and beyond, and build the ecosocialist future we and our planet need.

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