Last week we voted to join the #ProtectSLPS (St. Louis Public Schools) Coalition. St. Louis continually closes public schools while opening new charter schools, causing further inequality in educational opportunities. The Protect SLPS coalition calls on St. Louis city to put a moratorium on adding new charter schools in order to protect our public schools. We encourage all members to sign the petition!
Other Chapter Business
In other exciting news, we have filled both vacancies on our Executive Committee. Congratulations to Alicia Hernández for returning as the Co-Chair and to Annie Shields for joining as the Treasurer. We are very fortunate to have two experienced and dedicated organizers willing to step up and help guide our growing chapter.
We also voted to renew our membership in the Missouri Jobs with Justice coalition. Jobs with Justice has been an important partner in our struggle for racial and economic justice. In addition, we voted to renew our commitment to making Trinity Episcopal Church as our Base of Operations. Trinity has provided us with a convenient and central place for meetings, office space, and storage, and hopefully one day we can return to in person meetings there!
If interested in other chapter business, please check our Twitter or Facebook pages.
Cori Bush’s Environmental and Racial Justice bill
US Representative—and St. Louis DSA member—Cori Bush and Senator Ed Markey are proposing a bill calling for Environmental and Racial Justice. Environmental problems have a disproportionate effect on Americans of color, and Bush and Markey are proposing a bill that will research decades of environmental racism and fight environmental and racial justice. St. Louis DSA is proud to endorse the bill, and we welcome everyone to sign on to show your support for it.
Interested in meeting with a chapter leader?
If you support DSA but are not an active member, and want to get more involved but are not sure where to start, we encourage you to sign up for a 1:1 with a chapter leader to help plug you in the chapter. Getting started as an organizer can be intimidating, but talking with one of our leaders will help you feel comfortable with knowing what we are about, how we operate, what campaigns we are currently involved in, and how you can help make the world a better place.
For almost a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken our loved ones from us. It has cost us our jobs, our housing, our healthcare, and caused untold suffering due to isolation from our families, friends, and communities.
This suffering has not been spread out evenly. As usual, working class and poor people have borne the brunt of this pain, with black and brown and LGBTQ working class communities seeing the most devastation. The capitalist class—business owners and investors who run most companies have seen their fortunes grow to unimaginable levels while suffering little of the pandemic’s effects.
Viruses don’t see class or race, so what is going on? This crisis is due to our economic structure and our government’s inability to take care of our most basic needs; this is a crisis of capitalism and white supremacy.
As part of our Protect Public Ownership chapter priority, we are launching a new campaign for a People First Budget! We are making 3 simple demands of the future St. Louis City Board of E&A: Mayoral candidates Tishaura Jones, Cara Spencer, Lewis Reed, & Andrew Jones; and Comptroller Darlene Green:
Tell the candidates our demands by sending them an email with this link!
Don’t live in the City? Sign this petition to show your support for these demands!
We are also having a webinar series about the many ways austerity and privatization make like miserable for us, and democratic socialist alternatives. The first one is on the connection between tax cuts for wealthy developers & the defunding of public education.
Finally, March 13th is the one year anniversary of the city and county enacting restrictions for COVID. We are hosting Candlelight Vigil on this anniversary to mourn the many losses we’ve suffered: loved ones, jobs, time with family and friends, housing, so much more. We know these are not just victims of COVID, but victims of our racist capitalist system. Join us as we stop for a moment to heal. As Mother Jones said, we will “mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living”.
A couple weeks ago, we voted to join the Solidarity With SLPS (St. Louis Public Schools) Coalition. St. Louis continually closes public schools while opening new charter schools, causing further inequality in educational opportunities. The Solidarity With SLPS coalition calls on St. Louis city to put a moratorium on adding new charter schools in order to protect our public schools. We encourage all members to sign the petition!
St. Louis DSA wishes everyone a Happy New Year and hope this is a big year for us! But hope alone will not make this year any better, we need to organize for it, because we know the problems are deeper than just the numbers on the calendar. Keep an eye on your inbox, join us (if you have not already), and let’s make 2021 a memorable year for STL DSA.
Medicare for All Organizing Call
As the COVID pandemic continues, and we continue to see politicians prioritize the interests of capital over working people, it has become even more apparent how important and basic a human right healthcare is for all people. In this spirit, DSA’s national Medicare for All campaign is kicking off 2021 with a series of regional calls, open to members to coordinate and get everything they need to start organizing. RSVP here!
Protect the City Jail Residents Against COVID-19
After two disturbances in the St. Louis City Justice Center stemming from detainees protesting over concerns over exposure to Covid-19, our allies with the Organization for Black Struggle have started a petition to demand protection for the detained residents—please sign and share!
Do you love making Powerpoint presentations? Are you passionate about sharing your interests with others? Apply to present in STL DSA's upcoming Powerpoint party! A Powerpoint party is a virtual event where folks present about a fun topic of their choice for 5-10 minutes. Read more about what a Powerpoint Party is and how to submit a presentation idea at this form. Stay tuned for more information and thank you in advance for your interest!
It’s safe to say, as 2020 winds to an end, that none of us foresaw all the events and challenges we would come up against this year. From a global pandemic, to a sustained uprising in the streets against the ongoing legacy of racism and policing, to now facing an economy that has both delivered obscene wealth to a few while millions of working and poor people are unsure if they will have money to meet their most basic needs.
For all these reasons, we at STL DSA will continue to fight. We know the problem isn’t the year on the calendar, it’s the system—capitalism—that perpetuates these injustices, hand in glove with oppressive systems like racism and patriarchy that allow the powerful to continue dividing the working class. And while we are glad Trump will be leaving office soon, we know these problems run deeper than the Presidency. If you haven’t already, please join us in this fight, now and into 2021. Happy new year!
Regardless of how you celebrate, we hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season and has a chance to take their mind off the constant trepidation of American racial capitalism. Please take care of yourself during this time and look for more events coming up when we regroup after the holidays.
Goodwill CEO is a real Scrooge!
Our allies at Missouri Jobs with Justice along with Coalition for Truth in Independence and UFCW 655 are staging an event tomorrow at 2pm to present Goodwill CEO David Kutchback with a “Certified Scrooge” award for making $193/hour last year while also clamping down on union organizing of his employees. We encourage anyone who can make it to attend and let the Goodwill CEO know what we think of the Scrooge.
Thanks to all who attended our New Member Orientation Saturday! We were pleased to see around 50 people, mostly new members, spend a Saturday morning to learn about DSA and our strategy for bringing change to our society.
We have a busy week full of events for both old and new members to get plugged into. Tomorrow night we have a Protect Public Ownership event, where we will continue planning our next campaign. Wednesday night we have a Tech Committee event, Thursday we have both a Community Event and an Electoral Working Group meeting, and Friday we have an AfroSOC movie night. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to contribute!
Reminder: December is for New Members!
If you’re new to the movement, a veteran pulled back into the socialist struggle, or just concerned that Biden and the Democrats will dissipate the tremendous energy needed in the fight for structural changes to save the planet from capitalism—our December STL DSA Orientation is for you!
Our New Member Orientation is here to help give new and potential members some grounding in DSA: what we believe, how the organization functions locally and nationally, and ways to get involved. Also we’ll give people a friendly face at the next DSA event you attend! StL DSA invites you to come learn about (and hopefully join!) our working class community organizing for power—RSVP here.
Final session of the Fall Term for Socialist Night School
Tomorrow night is the final session of the Fall Term for Socialist Night School!
Week 5: Why Get Involved Locally? (and how-to!)
In this last class of the current session we will discuss direct action and electoral strategies, specifically looking at examples from St. Louis. Presenters will provide concrete information about how to get better informed and involved in local politics.
Across the country, people are hurting and their government—let alone capitalism—is doing little if anything to ease the suffering. In St. Louis, publicly funded programs that protect the actual public interest, and not just capital’s, are few and far between. As the COVID cases locally keep rising, and an economic recovery looks less and less likely in the immediate future, socialists (and everyone!) need to beware the threat of austerity: severe cuts to the needed resources and programs.
STL DSA has prioritized fighting privatization—helping beat back Rex Sinquefield and his cronies scheme to take over the airport—and we must keep up this fight to demand an anti-austerity budget from City Hall!
In order to do this, we need an effective strategy and campaign. Join us tomorrow, for the first of several conversations about how we can do that, including basics like cutting an issue and picking a target. New members and those curious about DSA welcome!
As we crawl toward the end of the Trump era, it’s more clear than ever that politics as usual will do nothing to stem the escalating crisis of capitalism. To fight this, we know we need to grow and strengthen our base of working-class people! Already we are seeing an exciting growth in membership and interest in socialism—just in time for our November chapter meeting. We want to give a space for new members or people interested in joining our movement a space to discuss with each other and learn what priorities and campaigns our chapter is up to.
In addition, we will be discussing this proposal by members Jon Stratton and Aaron Rogers to host a webinar about Socialism and Christianity, as a base building event. They will be at the meeting to present and take questions, then we will have an electronic vote in the days following. RSVP here and see you Tuesday night!
All StL DSA members can submit resolutions to be discussed at chapter meetings and voted on! Check out this submission form for the details, and contact the executive committee at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. If you've got an idea but not sure how to get started, drop us an email!
We are pleased with the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 election, but we know our work is just beginning and it is not the time to get complacent. Assuming Trump’s attempt to hold onto power fails, once Biden takes office, the same neoliberalism that disenchanted millions and led to Trump returns. We must recognize that Trump and Trumpism (as well as the neoliberalism pushed by most Democrats) are symptoms of the deeper problem: capitalism. And the only way to fight capitalism is with a mass socialist movement.
Our task is not easy. Amendment 3 passed in Missouri, which opens the door for further gerrymandering that favors Republicans. Moderate Democrats have already begun attacking Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the progressive wing of the Party, signaling that the corporate bloc of the Party’s reluctance to lose power. Locally, St. Louis city politicians attack and vilify the Left, despite the fact that growing numbers of younger and left-leaning voters say they prefer socialism to capitalism. But socialist policies like a Green New Deal and Medicare for All are more popular than ever based on exit polls.
As a mass movement, DSA can build the power to push the political discourse to the left and force politicians to address our demands. We are continuing our popular (and now virtual!) Socialist Night School series tomorrow night and hope you can join! This session will look at how socialist politics must go hand-in-hand with anti-racist politics to succeed, and how we can build a multi-racial working class coalition.
Later in the week, we will also be meeting to discuss how we put that base-building strategy to work locally—leading up to our first post-election chapter mass meeting next week! Hope to see you all there! Stay tuned to these emails, our website, and social media for more announcements of organizing and social events through the end of 2020, and of course, if you haven’t yet—join DSA!
We look forward to seeing you this Wednesday, October 21st, at 7pm for our October chapter meeting! We will be hearing about updates and opportunities to get engaged in our chapter priorities, as voted on at our September General Meeting, looking at a proposal for a discretionary spending budget, and getting an overview about amendments and resolutions on the ballot for St. Louis city and Missouri state voters! RSVP here to join us!
One amendment STL DSA is committed to stopping is the deceptive Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3. This would overturn the will of an overwhelming majority of Missouri voters that backed the Clean Amendment in 2018, and would disproportionately alter political power in the state through disenfranchisement of the poor and working class. Help us spread the word by calling voters!
Finally, two of our priorities are teaming up next week! Join us Tuesday, October 27th for the second session of our Fall Socialist Night School, covering readings by Thomas Sugrue and Diane Feeley, on the importance of public ownership. RSVP here!
Welcome back for the first session of our Fall 2020 STL DSA Socialist Night School curriculum!
The Socialist Night School is open to anybody interested in learning more about the ideas and history behind left and socialist movements. Like most STL DSA events, we will be conducting these virtually, via Zoom, at least through the end of 2020. In this week's session, we will be covering a few basic readings:
The first is an article, published recently on Jacobin, called "Building Socialism from Below".
The second article, "Action Will Be Taken", discusses the importance of education and discussion in building a socialist movement.
Hope to see you there! Zoom information will be sent after RSVPing to the event at the link.
DSA Recruitment Drive
At the last DSA Convention, our members voted on a goal of growing our multiracial, working class socialist organization to 100,000 members by 2021. To achieve this, the NPC voted to establish an ambitious five-week Recruitment Drive running from October 1st to November 7th: to bring in 5,000 new members, grow every chapter by 10%, and plug these new members into existing campaigns.
Recruitment drive pledge & referral link generator: https://100k.dsausa.org/login
And if you haven’t yet—you can join DSA here!
Over the last four years, we have seen an explosion in interest in left-wing and socialist politics, including the growth of DSA—the largest socialist organization in the country—to over 70,000 members nation-wide. To keep this momentum going, DSA is starting our (first-ever!) recruitment drive for the next month! Current members committed to helping can pledge here. If you are not a member yet—but feel that the political status quo and ways wealth and power are shared in the US now are stacked against working people—you can join here!
To help kick off the drive, STL DSA member Cori Bush is taking part in a national Q&A for new and curious members! RSVP here to find out ways to get involved, at both the local and national level, with exciting campaigns and events to help grow the socialist movement!
Congratulations to the recently-elected 2020-21 Executive Committee! Chris O will continue serving as chair, with Julia N as recording secretary, Emmett M as corresponding secretary, Cody B as treasurer and comrade-at-large, and Kelly P as the other comrade-at-large.
In addition to the resolution outlining responsibilities for the Executive Committee and setting commitments to our priorities, we would like to share the following priority campaigns our chapter voted on for the next year:
Labor Day’s legacy of protecting and commemorating worker’s rights rings true now more than ever, as COVID-19 has devastated American workers. Labor Day 2020 marks a day when STL-DSA is in solidarity with unemployed and unemployed Missourians.
As a reminder, STL DSA Executive Committee (EC) elections are coming up later this month! The EC acts as the administrators for the local chapter and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General and Regular Meetings. The EC also works with formal and informal leadership to build our membership, strategize, and create a welcoming space for all. You can learn a bit more about individual roles here and submit your interest using this form. EC elections will take place through online voting, immediately following our September General Meeting!
Finally, we will also be discussing a proposal to fund a small arts project to produce an animated short about the dangers of privatization. Check out that proposal HERE.
Last week, we passed Medicaid Expansion: an amendment to the Missouri constitution, which will provide health care to 230,000 more Missourians! That’s hundreds of thousands fewer of us who won’t have to choose between healthcare and groceries.
Cori Bush will now be representing us in Washington, which is another large-scale win! Cori will now be able to lead our fights for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, defunding the police, and more -- all while helping to make a space and an example for more democratic socialists in power around the country!
Even though Megan Ellyia Green won’t be heading to Jefferson City next year, we are reassured she will still be here in St. Louis, helping to lead the fight to stop the billionaires and capitalist interests from privatizing the airport, shutting down out state’s only abortion provider, and making life harder for poor and working people in this city.
We should also remember that, while wins are rejuvenating and help keep our momentum always pushing forward, we must realize the fight for a better world is far from over, and there is much more to do, even now. In November, it is likely that voters in the city of St. Louis will be faced with at least one attempt, again, to privatize Lambert airport. Legislators in Jefferson City and their powerful backers are also fighting to claw back some of the reforms voters overwhelmingly supported in last year’s CLEAN amendment, and go even farther with the grossly undemocratic Amendment 3. St. Louis DSA and the broader community of left and progressive movement activists must join and commit in the fight to defeat both these measures in November.
When STL DSA gathered hundreds of signatures this past winter, we looked forward to the day when Medicaid Expansion would qualify for the ballot. Now, it’s on the August ballot and we all get to vote for Amendment 2 tomorrow! Amendment 2 will lead to 230,000 additional people getting health insurance through Medicaid. It also sends a message that working class people want actual public services, not more austerity and cuts. Everyone deserves healthcare, and the best way to get it is through public ownership and democratic control of our healthcare system.
We know the fight for truly universal healthcare doesn’t end tomorrow if we pass Amendment 2, but let’s go claim what’s ours by voting Yes and tell the capitalists their racist scare tactics won’t work to divide the working class.
Today Medicaid Expansion, tomorrow Medicare for All!
Check out our other August 4th endorsements on Instagram and Twitter!
We are continuing our ongoing virtual night school during social distancing with a special short lecture and discussion this week on Ricardo Flores Magón, a Mexican Revolutionary in St. Louis.
"Forward, comrades! Soon you will hear the first shots; soon the shout of rebellion will thunder from the throats of the oppressed ...Land and Liberty!"
These were the words of Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magón printed in Regeneración, the bilingual anarchist newspaper published by the Magón brothers and their compañeros (commonly known as magonistas), on November 19th,1910, just one day before the Mexican Revolution began to radically transform world history. Magón, one of the political precursors to the Mexican Revolution, made this declaration not in Mexico, but in the U.S., where he had been living with other magonistas, in exile due to their radical activities. They originally fled to the Southwest U.S. and in 1904 propelled the group further away from the border, to St. Louis, Missouri.
While in St. Louis, the Magón brothers founded the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM, Mexican Liberal Party), which despite its name was a radical political organization rather than a party. Magón and his compañeros continued their agitation against the Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz and projected their anarchist vision of a world without bosses or borders.
Their organizing and bonds created during their time in St. Louis would lay the foundation for long-term relationships among the radical left in both Mexico and the United States.
Join us tomorrow, June 23rd, for Socialist Night School Week 5! RSVP and access the reading here!
If you have been at an action, public event, shopping center, or even staying at home, you may have been approached recently by somebody asking for your signature. The pitch you heard may have varied—reparations for oppressed communities, reinvestment in the North Side or other neglected areas, or just “cleaning up” the government in St. Louis. While all these messages may seem aligned with our socialist values, the ugly truth is that the reason for this petition is a continued push to privatize Lambert Airport, and St. Louis DSA is committed to continuing the fight to stop it.
If you are approached by a signature gatherer, decline to sign and tell anyone you see talking to the gatherer to do the same. Often just being present and countering the message of the gatherer is enough to dissuade anyone from stopping by to sign.
If you see gatherers at the protests to defund the police, tell everyone around that this petition guarantees $300 million of the proceeds from the deal to the police.
Looking to hear more about our anti-privatization campaign, as well as other chapter priorities (including our endorsed electoral campaigns), and an update on the local fight for housing justice? Our next chapter meeting is this Sunday, June 21st. The business portion will be short and followed by a fun, social (and socially distanced!) event especially geared towards newer members, to key them in to organizing opportunities and help them meet other comrades in the chapter. Hope to see you there!
As we enter the third week of an uprising sparked by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we need to be clear on our own stake in the rising people’s demands. Every working class person, even white people, will benefit from the abolition of police departments and the investment of that money into programs that benefit us all. Abolition of police institutions advances every short and long term goal of this organization. We must live and organize by the mantra “an injury to one is an injury to all” in order to combat a capitalist system that requires racism to separate and divide the working class. Wanting to go out to an action, but feeling uncertain/have no one to go with/have concerns/ something else? You’re not alone! Fill out this form if you wanna be included on our action signal chat we use to keep track of each other at actions!
We are also excited to share that our ongoing political education series Socialist Night School continues this week, with a reading excerpted from the just-published book, Capitalism on Edge. The book argues that present-day capitalism is systemically shifting the risks of economic activity onto the most vulnerable populations while simultaneously redirecting the rewards of that activity to politically favored economic actors. The result is widespread economic and social precarity. But this situation may present an opportunity. For the source of this precarity is the competitive production of profit, the very heart of the capitalist system. So if we can persuade people to fight against precarity, we’ll have persuaded them to fight against capitalism itself.
Contrary to the judgment of NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and our own Board of Health Chair Dr. Will Ross, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County are opening back up today, Monday, May 18th. As of May 17th, the city has over 1680 confirmed cases and exactly 100 deaths, and the number of cases and deaths continues to rise. This is not what “flattening the curve” looks like, and we know it. The decision to open non-essential businesses is clearly based on economic, rather than scientific, considerations. Mayor Krewson and County Executive Page are putting everyone’s lives at risk by reopening prematurely. It should come as no surprise that working class people and people of color in particular are the hardest hit by this crisis in economic terms, as well as by morbidity and mortality. We urge you to maintain the practices of quarantine, social distancing, and mask-wearing whenever possible, and to know the risks.
Check out this list of demands for local governments to make in response to COVID-19 from DSA elected officials across the country—including STL DSA’s own Megan Green.
After a hard-fought primary, this past week saw Bernie Sanders officially suspend his campaign, effectively ending his run for the 2020 presidential nomination. While this is undoubtedly a major disappointment and setback, we should also be absolutely clear about the huge advances Bernie’s campaign made for democratic socialism. Millions of voters across the country made it known that continuing down a path of neoliberalism, means-tested social programs, and a system where the most vulnerable are continuously left behind is unacceptable.
We also know that the end of a campaign can not be the end of our movement’s momentum. We must continue to fight with those millions—as well as the millions more now being affected by a global pandemic and its economic effects; and the billions more that will be devastated by climate disaster if capitalism continues on its destructive trajectory.
To win this fight though, we need a truly mass movement of the entire working class. We need to fight for material improvements in the lives of working and oppressed people now, while maintaining a transformative strategy that seeks to fundamentally reorganize society. The Democratic Socialists of America have seen explosive growth thanks to the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and other elected leaders, not to mention the work being done by chapters across the country, and we are now by far the largest socialist organization in the United States. If you haven’t, please join us (or renew!), and—if you’re already a member—get involved! We have a world to win.
Many of you probably heard that Missouri Governor Mike Parson issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order effective last Friday evening. However, this order barely pays lip-service to public safety and is no different than the social distancing order issued on March 21. It is full of loopholes for non-essential businesses and allows for the override of stay-at-home orders made by local governments. Any system that allows bosses to make potentially life or death decisions about the health of workers is unacceptable for socialists! You can take action against this order though Missouri Health Care for All’s action alert calling on Parson to issue a real state-wide stay at home order here.
While we fight for workers rights and prioritize the health and safety of our chapter and our community, STL-DSA also acknowledges that bonding with comrades in these dark times extends beyond formal political action. Simple socializing can be just as essential as contacting your legislators when it comes to keeping up morale and camaraderie right now. STL-DSA, led by our community committee, will be hosting social hours and game nights over Zoom, so keep an eye out for more information to come!
Also, stay tuned for a big announcement later this week about COVID-19 mutual aid work and updates on STL-DSA fundraising for those projects from the EC.