All across the US, nearly 50,000 workers at General Motors plants represented by United Auto Workers union (UAW) are out on strike to demand dignity and justice on the job. DSA members from Texas to Pennsylvania have joined their picket lines to show support for the workers in their battle against the GM bosses.
This week, New Orleans DSA are sending members out on Wednesday and Friday to walk the picket line with striking workers in Brandon, MS. When asked what our members could bring to show our support, one UAW union member said, “Bring your fighting spirit … I want us to be seen. There is strength in numbers.” We are proud to stand with workers from New Orleans to Mississippi!
On April 4, Louisiana will hold a primary election to decide which Democratic candidate to support in a run for president. This will be a closed primary, so it will only be open to registered Democrats. Many members of the Democratic Socialists of America are not registered Democrats: they may have been drawn to the DSA because they have no faith in existing political parties, or because they don’t see any political party that is a good representation of their personal ideology. The Democratic Socialists of America are a political group, but not a party. When our members register to vote, we don’t have a DSA box to check, we have to make our own choice about party affiliation. In this primary for the Democratic nominee for president, we are encouraging our members to register as democrats to take part in this contest. It’s a simple process for voters to change party affiliation to Democrat to cast this vote, and then change to something else afterward if they wish.
Our Voting Guide for this year’s state and local elections has arrived! It’s live and online to help educate y’all about candidates and issues. Huge shoutout to Municipal Action Committee for their extremely hard work on this, and be sure to join us this Saturday for Picnic at the Polls: Candidate Rally & Voter Guide Release Party, where we’ll be releasing the guide physically and celebrating early voting with some delicious food!
Last month, chemical company Wanhua announced its withdrawal from a bid that would have seen it build a 250-acre plant in Convent, a small community along the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Its defeat can be attributed in large part to community activists, including Rise St. James, a local, faith-based group determined to turn the tide on toxic air, land, and water pollution caused by a chemical industry run amok. There are 22,000 residents of St. James, and 32 chemical plants. The defeat of the $1.2 billion complex means that its annual production of 300 tons of harmful pollutants will not exacerbate a problem in a community already dubbed Cancer Alley.
ICE is waging a terror campaign in our community. It has residents afraid to leave their homes, go to church, pick up their kids, or go to work. The campaign is part of a nationwide push to dehumanize and threaten immigrant communities, and a local organization, Congreso del Jornaleros (Congress of Day Laborers), has served a critical role in protecting our vulnerable neighbors.
On Wednesday 18th of September 2019, DSA New Orleans Labor Standing Committee (LSC) held its monthly meeting. This was more than a standard meeting as the committee was electing its new leadership for the year ahead. Furthermore, committee members were greeted with pizza and drinks. The meeting was well attended as more than 15 members came out, but we must keep growing to demand better conditions for all the workers of Greater New Orleans.
On Aug. 1-4, five DSA New Orleans delegates (Michael E, Sue M, Josh L, Frances G, and Jordan F) attended perhaps the largest gathering of organized socialists in at least a generation to help write new bylaws, define a new vision and chart the course forward for the country’s largest socialist organization.
There is a new publication from our chapter: Red Delta! We will be keeping y’all updated on local and statewide issues from a democratic socialist perspective, writing on everything from candidates for office, housing justice, environmental organizing, and more. Each edition of Red Delta is sent out to our supporters every other month so make sure you sign up for our mailing list. All of the Red Delta articles can also be read on our website by clicking the link in the sidebar.
Whether it’s tax policy that throws away public resources, a carceral system that steals years of labor from citizens or demagogues aiming to divide with extremist right-wing rhetoric, the residents of the state capital face a constant barrage of reactionary politics.
In that environment, a new DSA chapter is working to bring socialist ideas to the fore.
Pepper Bowen Roussel is a food, water and environmental attorney running for State Representative of District 91 in New Orleans, the election of which will be on October 12. Ms. Roussel did not seek or receive the endorsement of the DSA, but agreed to an interview to explain some of her positions. To find out more about her campaign, visit her site vote4pepper.com. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.