DSA for Bernie: Campaign Update!

it’s 2020 and we’re ramping up our local campaign for Bernie Sanders. We had thirty people attend our Bernie planning meeting this past Saturday, and on Sunday the 5th, fifteen folks turned out to knock doors in the upper 9th Ward!

Our next Bernie Meeting is set for Sunday, Feb. 9th, 3 to 4:30PM at 2533 Columbus St.

Bernie is polling neck and neck with Biden. He can win, but it’s up to grassroots organizers to make it happen. That’s why New Orleans DSA is running an ambitious campaign and we’ve set goals to:

– Knock thousands of doors
– Register hundreds of voters
– Hold Bernie 2020 events every week until the primary

Bernie doesn’t have billionaire funders or corporate media on his side, but he has an army of volunteers like us who are organizing all across the U.S. to win Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, democracy in the workplace, racial justice, and a stop to endless wars.

Keep reading to see all of the events we have planned for this month! If you want to get involved but don’t know where to start, fill out this form and an organizer will be get in touch with you.


December General Meeting Recap

We had over sixty people attend our November General Meeting, including many new folks! We’re so glad you made time to come out and participate in our chapter’s work. To recap:

We’re starting a new project to learn more about our membership! We’re conducting a survey to help us learn more about our members so we can make a real strategy to grow.  

Click here to fill out our brief Membership Survey.

DSA Joins the Coalition to Stop Jail Expansion

In February of 2019, DSA signed on to join the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, which is fighting to stop jail expansion and bring justice to our city’s broken criminal punishment system.

Since then, we’ve helped make calls, email our city council members, and show up to demand community resources be spent on social services like improving education, creating good jobs, and fixing our infrastructure — NOT jailing New Orleanians for crimes of poverty.

Yesterday, 12/5 we turned out 10 of our members to a hearing where the City Council deliberated on whether to expand OPP. And our coalition won! City Council unanimously passed a 1,250 person-cap for the city’s jails, soundly rejecting the sheriff’s proposal and moving us towards the Council’s pledge of getting the jail population below 998 by 2021. Councilmember Banks also agreed to create an ordinance that makes the new cap enforceable, and the Council overall supported the notion of ensuring that no ICE detainees are held in Orleans Parish Prison.

“This is a win for the advocates who want to reduce the size of the prison,” said District B Councilmember Jay Banks.

The fight for justice, prison abolition and an end to mass incarceration continues. Onward!

DSA Supports Marciano Art Foundation Workers!

In November, art workers at the Marciano Art Foundation museum announced their intention to form a union, so they could have power and democracy on the job, and the ability to bargain with management to improve wages and working conditions. Within days, the Marciano family fired every worker and closed their museum.

But the Marciano Art Foundation workers are not giving up without a fight. They’re running a community pressure campaign around the country demanding the Marciano family reopen their workplace, rehire the workers and recognize their union.

The Marciano family also owns the Guess brand and is known for union-busting, paying poverty wages, and violating workers rights. So on Black Friday, the MAF Union lead a coordinated action around the country to disrupt business as usual at over 50 Guess stores across the U.S.

New Orleans DSA members Michael and Jeff joined AFSCME and UTNO organizers to flyer inside the Riverwalk Mall, passing out information and having conversations with around a hundred different people. DSA will keep following the MAF Union campaign as we do our part to support workers around the country!

DSA for Bernie! Campaign Update

New Orleans DSA members & supporters at the chapter’s favorite bar, Pirogues, for a debate watch party.

We know that Bernie Sanders is the best presidential candidate for workers and our families, so New Orleans DSA is running an ambitious campaign for Bernie 2020! We will be knocking thousands of doors, making hundreds of calls and texts, registering voters, hosting monthly Bernie educational and social events, and canvassing & tabling across the city. There’s plenty of work to do and we’re going to need all hands on deck, so come join us! Our next Bernie campaign meeting is Saturday, Dec. 7th, 2 – 3:30 PM in the common space at Fairgrinds Coffee House (3133 Ponce de Leon).


2019 Runoff Voting Guide Released

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!

New Orleans DSA members stand with striking Chicago educators!

In October, New Orleans DSA sent members up to Chicago to join the 35,000 teachers and education workers who are on strike for their students. They are members of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73, and their demands include a nurse and social worker in every school, reduced class sizes, and fair pay for support staff.

Blanca Estevez, of Northwest Arkansas DSA and the DSA National Political Committee, helps bag up lunches for Chicago students

The Hard Rock Collapse Is a Predictable, Awful Crime of Capitalism

New Orleans DSA stands in solidarity with all workers in the aftermath of the catastrophic collapse on the corner of Canal and Rampart streets, on the site of a former Civil Rights Movement landmark which was planned to be a Hard Rock Hotel. 

We condemn the greed, neglect, and corruption fostered by capitalists who prioritize profits over human life — not just the developers making a hotel for tourists instead of actually affordable housing for workers, not just the notoriously anti-union contractors who endanger and threaten workers, not just the politicians and bureaucrats who accept donations, bribes, and the goodwill of their most powerful friends, not just our local government who thinks that an Apple Store and Cracker Barrel on Canal Street are the upper echelon of what we can achieve — all of these and more. Capitalism encourages the individualist, profit-driven culture that would call this disaster a senseless tragedy but not a crime.

Of more than 110 workers onsite at the time of the disaster, at least three have died, with dozens of workers injured. This tragedy isn’t over, and the bosses still have the upper hand. Here’s how it happened: 

  • Bosses neglected worker safety complaints. 
  • Bosses misclassified workers. This is wage theft. By calling workers “independent contractors,” bosses avoid paying proper overtime, benefits and taxes.  But it’s even worse than that — misclassified workers are also robbed of workers compensation for injuries on the job!
  • Bosses put profits over workers. Unionized electricians protested at the site last month because contractors were flouting the rules, employing “unlicensed and unqualified electricians, against city ordinances.” 
  • Government didn’t protect us. The original developer received special zoning and density exceptions for the project at the same time that he was defrauding the Road Home Program. When he was sentenced to a federal prison, his family got to keep the property and continue the project. By the way, New Orleans’ Department of Safety and Permits is under federal investigation for building inspectors accepting bribes from 2011 to 2019 from “individuals seeking favorable inspection reports.” 
  • Workers pay the price, always. In addition to the construction workers directly impacted by this disaster — physically, emotionally, and financially — the effects are felt throughout the city’s working class. Businesses near the site have been evacuated, putting people out of work indefinitely. Street closures have affected worker commutes by car and transit.  

What’s next?  

  • Demand the developer and contractor pay all medical costs and back pay to misclassified workers!
  • Demand a responsible bidder ordinance requiring all government contracts AND contracts receiving any subsidies or tax breaks to use unionized labor, including subcontractors.
  • Pay attention. What happens to the property? What happens to the workers? Who do you think should have the power in this situation?
  • Demand a workers compensation fund for workers at nearby businesses that are currently closed around the site of the collapse.

Black Land Loss: Addressing Equity in Louisiana Agriculture

By Alli D.

Decades of racist practices at the USDA have robbed black Louisianans of their farmland, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry could help undo this injustice. Ag Commissioner candidate Marguerite Green wants to make sure that they do. 

Agriculture is big business in Louisiana. The state’s forests and fields are one of our main industries, supporting hundreds of communities and thousands of families. 

While farming can be a lucrative business, it has been at the expense of black farmers, whose land has been stolen from them through corrupt institutional practices, discrimination, intimidation, and collusion. As Vann Newkirk documented recently for The Atlantic, Wall Street firms like TIAA are buying up farmland in the Mississippi Delta, pushing black farmers off their families’ lands. In total, black farmers in the US have lost 12 million acres in the last century. This crisis of land loss is acute in Louisiana. 


Movies in the Park!

DSA member Blake and his son

By Nadia J.

Sunset in the Irish Channel found over 150 neighbors, families and children in Burke Park on Friday evening for the first DSA hosted Movie in the Park presented by the New Orleans Recreation Department. The movie, WALL-E, began promptly after dark, following camaraderie and a festive gathering of neighbors and visitors alike.