The Municipal Action Committee of New Orleans DSA is proud to release the Fall 2022 Voter Guide! You can learn about the candidates and ballot initiatives here. We hope to connect issues in the races to larger discussions in our city and world, and give a better understanding of the positions and processes of our city and electoral system. The guide covers statewide races, as well as what’s on the ballot specifically in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Beyond educating ourselves through working on and publishing this guide, we hope to inspire readers of the guide to think critically, be curious, and evaluate politicians on how they relate to power.
The campaign will organize ratepayers in debt to Entergy to demand forgiveness of all post-pandemic utility debt and a permanent shutoff moratorium after the November 1 end of the temporary moratorium.
New Orleans, LA – Dissatisfied Entergy New Orleans ratepayers will organize their neighbors to refuse to make ongoing payments, or pay off any debts to the utility until Entergy and the New Orleans City Council forgive all debts since March 2020, and agree to place a permanent moratorium on power shutoffs.
New Orleans DSA campaign leaders say Entergy’s record profits, along with their reliance on dirty fossil fuels, as well as a litany of tacked-on fees, justify their effort to “Make Entergy Pay” for ratepayers’ ever-increasing debts.
“While New Orleanians have suffered regular sunny day outages, massive failures in storms due to a lack of maintenance, and skyrocketing bills, Entergy executives and shareholders have given themselves raise after raise,” said Jack R., a campaign organizer, “It’s high time Entergy paid the price for its poor management and outright greed.”
In spite of Entergy New Orleans’s poor performance, the COVID pandemic, and several major tropical storms, in 2021 the company reported record profits of nearly $1.4 billion, while outgoing Entergy Corp. CEO Leo Denault is paid a salary of $16 million, before even including lucrative stock bonuses.
The campaign will recruit 10,000 pledges among Entergy New Orleans ratepayers before initiating the strike, during which participants will refuse to make payments on previous utility debts and future charges.
The strike will continue until Entergy agrees to the campaign’s demands, or is forced to acquiesce by the New Orleans City Council.Campaign organizers say they will continue their efforts beyond the debt strike in pursuit of a fully municipalized, public electrical utility for New Orleans, owned by city residents and operated under the auspices of the New Orleans City Council.
About New Orleans DSA
New Orleans DSA is the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a volunteer organization supported by its dues-paying members with the goal of democratizing all aspects of society, political and economic. The New Orleans chapter has previously participated in the Save Your NOLA Library campaign, the effort to decriminalize sex work through the state legislature, engages in regular community mutual aid projects such as free health fairs and free brake light replacement clinics, and produces regular voter guides to provide unvarnished analysis of local and state elections.
On July 31st, an estimated 100,000 self-employed Louisiana residents, including musicians, contractors, and “gig workers’ were cutoff from federal assistance programs. New Orleans DSA spent the last month gathering potential plaintiffs and agitating for a lawsuit to stop this cutoff, similar to ones filed other states. Over a thousand people responded to our call, and the case will be heard tomorrow, August 12th, in front of Judge Kelly. With permission, we would like to share just a few of the heartbreaking stories from some of the resilient and hard-working Louisianans whose livelihoods depend on these benefits. All stories are in their own words and have been lightly edited for clarity.
“I lost my brother to COVID it’s just so sad and upsetting that the government wants us to go back to work when nobody is hiring and if they are hiring they’re only hiring for part time jobs. This is really going to set me back because I have to figure out how to provide and live with my kids along with having fear of getting sick and dying.”
“I’m hoping PUA is extended because I have 3 children and 2 step kids that I’m taking care of. I have bills that have fallen behind and I have 3 autoimmune disorders that really affect my body- one of them being in late stages in my lungs so my doctor has told me with everything spiking again and with the delta coming into play that I need to stay home as much as possible. If the PUA unemployment benefits are going to be cut off then I’m going to be forced to go into public and risk my life to find a job to support myself and my children, and that really scares me because I’m all they have. This unemployment is my life line right now and if it’s not off I don’t know how we will survive, especially paying our bills.”
“I really think unemployment benefits should be saved because A lot of single mothers including myself and a lot of people in general have been really affected by the coronavirus. If the unemployment isn’t reinstated me and my new born child will be homeless and without any food. I applied for so many jobs since the beginning of the pandemic and not one has even contacted me. I really do desperately depend on unemployment. I know everyone has a sad story. Before the pandemic I worked and made my own money. I had to stop working due to catching the virus and I really do hope and pray to get back to work one day soon because I’d really rather work for my own money rather than depend on the government, but I have to due to Covid 19.”
“I’m soon to be 55 years old and I have several health issues myself, high blood pressure being the first and most important. I was an employee at a hospital in Louisiana when I went on leave to take care of my mother out-of-state, who is ill, and my adult son who has schizophrenia. The last day I worked was in March of 2020. That was the day my admin department was shutting down because of Covid.
Unemployment allowed me to pay my rent and bills while out. Cutting off unemployment early will be devastating to me and worse for others. My rent is going up and with no job I can’t pay it, nor utilities, etc. I support and buy food for my son.
Louisiana takes advantage of the working people, this state capitalizes on indentured servitude. No one can live decently making under $15 an hour- have a car, insurance, have health insurance, decent housing, utilities. I can’t imagine having small children under these conditions.
People accuse us of being lazy and not wanting to work. Someone should hold the employers accountable for firing people indiscriminately during a pandemic. I know first hand what poverty, poor education, lack of resources look like. We will be ruined if this unemployment stops early. We were smart enough to pay rent ahead and unemployment benefits will be used to pay our bills to allow for more time to find employment.”
While we await results from court, we would love your help in flooding the phone lines of Governor John Bel Edwards to let him know how this cutoff has impacted you, your family, and your neighbors. Governor Edwards needs to know that his decision to cut benefits has had far-reaching consequences on his constituents. With COVID numbers continuing to surge, and seeing the cancellation of more events, there will only be a greater need for sustained assistance for unemployed workers, and he needs to take action TODAY. Let Governor Edwards know you are watching how this lawsuit pans out, and urge him to think of unemployed workers in Louisiana.
Governor John Bel Edwards:
Constituent phone line (225) 342-0991 Or, you can e-mail him at the link here.
Are you impacted by the July 31st Cutoff? Last month, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards sided with corporatist legislators and business lobbyists and against the people of Louisiana. On July 31st, an estimated 100,000 self-employed Louisiana residents, including musicians, contractors, and “gig workers’ will be cutoff from federal assistance programs. Thousands more will have their weekly benefits slashed in the midst of surging COVID hospitalization rates.
The People of Louisiana Deserve Legal Representation Worker Power Louisiana and New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) created this form to help identify potential plaintiffs for a lawsuit similar to those filed in Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. Our goal in collecting the names of potential plaintiffs is to encourage legal aid organizations, such as the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) to file a lawsuit before July 31st. At this time, we are not aware of any legal aid group, attorney, or legal team prepared to file suit. We hope to change that. Legal aid groups in other states have filed suits on behalf of their people. The people of Louisiana deserve the same representation.
If you or someone you know will be impacted by this cutoff, please help spread the word!
Our Voting Guide for this year’s November 16th Runoff Election 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!
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.
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 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.