We are at a rare moment for the socialist movement. We’ve continued to grow through ongoing political crises because more and more people see the potential that’s there. More and more people believe that we are going to win– and we are going to win. And our role as organizers is to show people that we are going to win.
How does this happen? How do people come to believe that we can win? This happens when we create material changes for our neighbors and coworkers through our organizing. And we make these changes by building power. We must always be thinking about our work in relation to how it builds power, and how in doing so people are brought into the socialist movement by believing that we will win. As co-chair I’ll continue to challenge the membership and chapter leadership to think in these terms and build our projects in a way that that reflects this.
I’ll do this by expanding how we engage in struggle. We’ll expand to new issues, such as environmental justice. We’ll bring more organizing into workplaces and neighborhoods. We’ll make this organizing more visible. Not just with more outward facing events, canvassing, and tabling, but by bringing people in. We’ll bring people in by adjusting our organizing spaces such that our neighbors who might not be inclined to be activists can meaningfully help build our movement and be invested in its success. And in bringing people in we’ll place particular focus on building our movement with our working class black and brown neighbors and communities. Because to win, we need to win together.
My other major focus will be developing membership as leaders. Everyone in the chapter should think of themselves as a leader. This is a collective project and everyone has the skills and perspective to develop organizing projects. I’ve met organizers from chapters across the country and learned that our deep bench of leaders is perhaps our greatest strength. New Orleans DSA is, on average, twice as active as chapters of a similar size and we achieve this through the intentional development of new leaders. I’ll continue to encourage newer organizers to take ownership of projects and practice the skills needed to be leaders.
I’ll do this by focusing my efforts on a set of concrete goals:
- Moving into the street. Pushing committees and the chapter generally to do more outward-facing events and outreach that builds trust in our work and makes us a visible presence in our neighborhoods.
- Creating and supporting an internal body focused on onboarding and welcoming new members. This could be the organizing home for projects such as: childwatch at meetings, ensuring food at meetings, outreach and phonebanking for events, entry point for addressing accessibility, and creating a welcoming and accountable culture in the chapter.
- Creating and supporting the Growth & Diversity Working Group to begin to organize our neighborhoods beyond specific issue areas.
- Developing a Leadership Development strategy. To identify informal leaders, create a succession plan for elected leadership, and create tools and trainings so that anyone can do the organizing work needed to get a project off the ground.
- Centering political development and education in all our work and committees. With a focus on more political discussions and debates which refine our perspective.
- Making our growth sustainable and scalable. By addressing burnout, building processes for fiscal sustainability, and making sure our organizing spaces are big enough to meet the space demands of a growing membership.