Our old pal Joel Freedman is back in the news this week as the city of Philadelphia struggles to cope with the novel coronavirus and attendant public health crisis. Freedman, you’ll recall, is the vulture capitalist who, just last summer, shut down 500-bed Hahnemann University Hospital, seemingly in hope of capitalizing on several blocks of valuable Center City real estate. Now, with the hospital sitting vacant (and a huge tax break coming from the Senate’s COVID relief bill), Freedman is demanding upwards of $1 million a month in rent for the city to use Hahnemann as a crisis center. “I think he is looking at this as a business transaction,” Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy told the Inquirer on Monday as negotiations over the hospital came to a halt, “rather than providing an imminent and important need to the city and our residents.”
Truth is, Freedman is lucky the city is negotiating at all, amid increasingly loud calls for the city to seize the hospital via eminent domain and keep it open after this pandemic recedes. As Councilmember Gym tweeted last week, “We are the largest city in the nation without a public hospital. If this pandemic worsens, we cannot be the only city with a vacant hospital building sitting unused in the middle of a health crisis.” Philly DSA agrees completely, and we’re asking our members to sign Councilmember Gym’s petition to put Hahnemann to use.
Sign on here
Bernie Sanders, who has refocused his campaign around the coronavirus, has amplified these calls: “It is outrageous,” he said Monday, that a Philadelphia real estate investor who closed a hospital is now trying to gouge the city to re-open it.” He is, of course, the only national leader who understands that this crisis means we need Medicare for All. “Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders,” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor wrote in the New Yorker this week; there’s still time for Pennsylvania to do so, too.
**New Primary Election Campaign Organizing Program! Virtual Phone-Bank Parties**
There’s no way around it: the coronavirus crisis has upended this society. This is a difficult, frustrating, and scary time for many.
Without democratic socialists in office fighting to put workers’ needs first, responses to the crisis will continue to ignore working people and cozy up to big business. That’s why campaigning for Bernie, Rick, and Nikil has never been more urgent. We can’t canvass right now, but we still need to keep the pressure up in these races in every way we can. You can make a difference in these campaigns by phonebanking to identify supporters.
The Canvassing Committee has rolled out a new Virtual Phonebanking Party organizing program to support our endorsed candidates. When you sign up for a shift, you’ll be placed in a group chat with a coordinator from the Canvassing Committee. Your group will work together to complete a series of calls for each candidate, with breaks and regular check-ins, and the Canvassing Committee will provide real-time training and guidance. It’s easier to make calls when you know you’re not alone! Make sure to RSVP for a shift to get added to the virtual organizing group.
Endorsed Candidate Virtual Organizing Parties:
Phonebank for Rick, Nikil, and Bernie
Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5 | Shifts begin at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm
Phonebanking for Rick, Nikil, and Bernie
Saturday and Sunday, April 11-12 | Shifts begin at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19 | Shifts begin at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm
Are you a union worker affected by the coronavirus crisis? Are you organizing in your shop or workplace to demand higher safety and sanitation standards? PHLDSA’s Labor Commission is convening a series of calls where representatives from unions in the greater Philadelphia area are discussing and coordinating responses. Email Paul Prescod for more information.
Marx Reading Group
Wednesday, April 8 | 7:00 - 9:00 pm | Zoom Link
Virtual Happy Hour
Wednesday, April 8 | 8:00 - 10:00 pm | Digital Drinks via Zoom call | Zoom Link
Sanders, South Carolina, and the Mystique of the "Black Vote"
Friday, April 10 | 6:00 - 7:30 pm | Livestream
Bernie COVID-19 Policy and Organizing Training
Saturday, April 11 | 1:00 - 3:00 pm | Zoom Info to Come
Monday, April 20 | 6:00 - 8:00 pm | Digital Drinks via Zoom Call
New Members Meeting
Wednesday, April 22 | 6:00 - 8:00 pm | Zoom Info to Come
GND Strategy Committee Meeting
Monday, April 6 | 6:30 pm | Zoom Link
BuxMont DSA: COVID-19 Open Strategy Call
Saturday, April 4 | 1:00 - 3:00 pm | Zoom
BuxMont DSA: Socialist Trivia Night!
Wednesday, April 15 | 7:00 - 8:30 pm | Zoom
BuxMont DSA: April General Meeting
Saturday, April 18 | 1:00 - 3:00 pm | Zoom
Support 👏 Philly 👏 DSA 👏!Local Dues - support our campaign work and cover everyday operating costs like meeting space // Contribute to Philly DSA PAC - help fund our independent electoral campaigns // Accommodations, Accessibility, Childcare - let us know what you need to stay involved // Moved away from Philly? - update your address on the DSA national database.
Harassment and Grievance ProcessIn accordance with Article XIII of our Bylaws, a commission has been formed to receive, process, and review grievances for disciplinary action. To read more about the process or to file a grievance you can do so here.
Stay safe and wash your hands,
Philly DSA Bulletin Team
Inquiries | Website
PAID FOR BY PHILADELPHIA DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA (WWW.PHILLYDSA.ORG.) NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE'S COMMITTEE.
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