Following are Candidate Statements from the four members running for election as Councilmembers At-large of DSA New Orleans for the ’18-’19 term. Per our Bylaws, two members will be elected. The election will be held Monday August 6th, at 6:30PM at 2022 St. Bernard Ave. All members in good standing will be eligible to vote and are strongly encouraged to attend. In alphabetical order:
As at-large member of local council I will focus in two areas: building the strength of membership and committee programming. Membership strength comes from size, skills, and connection to the New Orleans working class. I will work with committees to design programming that builds members’ skills and working class power simultaneously. This way our chapter will build horizontal leadership. I will work to build programming capacity between committees: sharing work, resources, best practices, and feedback. Our chapter has grown dramatically over the past year. To build a strong chapter for the future we need to focus on membership and programming impact.
As an at-large member, I want to work on building regional capacity. The small chapters that surround us here in Louisiana, in Mississippi and Alabama, they face unique challenges of geography, ideology, and capacity. Our experience has been quite different, but what makes New Orleans DSA well positioned to help these chapters grow is our vision. We know that the south is diverse, and there are people in urban, suburban, and rural areas who are willing to fight for a better world. This can be hard to remember that we can win when you are working in what feels like a suffocatingly conservative political atmosphere. I want to work to strengthen our ties with these chapters and organizers. I want our chapter to help develop organizing efforts beyond urban areas and start understanding how to organize in rural areas. A medium-term goal of mine is for us to build a socialist movement in the Gulf South that is so strong and so powerful that it’s confusing to the rest of the country. They won’t see it coming, but we already do. I believe that we can help other chapters overcome challenges that we don’t even necessarily have blueprints for by supporting them, offering guidance when we can, and reminding them and ourselves always, always, always, always, always: we can win.
Over the past year, New Orleans DSA has grown tremendously, taken on new projects and programs, and thoroughly earned our reputation as “a chapter full of badasses.” Looking forward, there’s so much potential for more growth and for our organization to be a strong voice for socialist ideas and analysis in our city and region. I’m running for At-Large because I want to work with all of you to support that potential: to build systems and capacity for our organization, to expand our reach into our working class base, and to help strengthen our collective voice by supporting new leaders. I’ve spent two decades organizing, mobilizing, and advocating with New Orleans groups and organizations, and I’m genuinely excited by what I see in our chapter, and eager to help build even stronger going forward!
I work in environmental education, where I develop new projects, coordinate resources, and interpret quirks of energy policy for actual human consumption. As this chapter of the DSA has flourished, we’re shifting to fewer general meetings, mobilizing our membership through committees and projects. Our committees will consequently bare a heavier load, as they play a larger role of the laboratories which concentrate the diverse interests of the chapter into action.
I would use the At-Large position to offer institutional support and logistical coordination for committee and chapter leaders, facilitating the synthesis of a cohesive chapter. As our membership’s positions are realized across the chapter, the at-large council members can assist committees in articulating those interests through practice. Each of our meetings is an opportunity for recruitment, agitation, and to surface the “everyday communism” that nourishes us. I’m seeking an At-Large Council seat to make this period of expansion distinct and cogent within and without.