Below you can find the archive of our internal Bulletin. The Philly DSA Bulletin is a short biweekly e-newsletter that reports on all of our events, meetings, campaign updates and other news. To recieve the Bulletin by email click the subscribe button below. To find old Bulletins use the searchbar below.
Last weekend, Philly DSA held our first (unless we’re forgetting something from the dark pre-Bernie days) fully online General Meeting. We voted to organize around the Essential Worker Protection Bill (which just passed today! More on that below) and heard a final report from the Green New Deal Strategy Committee. Nobody’s call dropped mid-sentence, nobody’s cat stepped on their computer keyboard, and we were done with new business ahead of schedule. Overall, though we sorely missed the subtler aspects of a Philly DSA GM — seeing five other members in line for coffee at the 22nd & Market 7/11, picking up every issue of Catalyst from the Pol Ed book table & then putting them back in the wrong stacks because you only have $5, hooting and hollering whenever a speaker says “Bernie Sanders” — the online meeting went about as well as it could have.
We’ll open with some good news: on Tuesday, the same day Philly DSA rallied with local sanitation workers calling for PPE and hazard pay, Mayor Kenney’s office announced that they were removing the $14 million increase to police spending from their proposed 2021 budget.
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others are an outrage. Worse still, these horrific acts of state violence are not isolated incidents. We live in a vastly unequal and oppressive society that violates any reasonable standard of justice and decency.
As socialists, we know that moral outrage is not enough. We fight to build a better world by attacking the root causes of racial and economic inequality. Only by organizing the vast majority of people in society—working people—can we contest the power that is in the hands of a few.
We are outraged at George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Floyd’s killing and similar acts of violence stem from the brutalities and inequalities of U.S. society.
Big news ahead of the June 2 primary as Bernie Sanders has endorsed Philly DSA member Rick Krajewski for PA State House! “Rick Krajewski is a community organizer and educator who is running for the State House in Pennsylvania,” Sanders tweeted yesterday. “If elected, he will put people before profits while fighting to uphold workers' rights, end the war on drugs, and win a Green New Deal for Pennsylvania.”
We have some updates about the June 2 Democratic Primary, courtesy of the Inquirer, and while it’s unclear what kind of stay-at-home order will be in place for Philly by then, we know one thing for sure: “This June 2, election day,” said city commissioner Lisa Deeley, “it’s not going to look like any election day we have ever seen before.” For last year’s municipal elections, Philadelphia had 831 polling places open. On June 2, we’ll be down to 190 polling places. If everyone votes in person, that’ll mean longer lines, higher wait times, and an increased risk of catching — or spreading — COVID-19.
As some states around the country begin making moves toward prematurely ending lockdowns, Pennsylvania remains under a stay-at-home order until at least May 8. For those of us working safely from home, that’s all well and good; for those of us in frontline sectors like healthcare, transportation, and logistics, these promises that workers will be “kept safe” have started to ring hollow.
Two years of writing this Bulletin every other week, and this is undoubtedly the hardest one to start: Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the presidential race. In some other, more just universe, this email would be urging you to help get out the vote on April 28 for a primary that we had every chance of winning; in this universe, instead of the immediate possibility of a socialist taking executive power in the United States, we have a 15% unemployment rate and something called Zoom.
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.”
Day four of the Philly COVID-19 quarantine, and everything has gone topsy-turvy. The courts are closed, as are the state liquor stores, and the Department of Elections may well be next. “Obviously, we want to keep people safe,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a press conference on Monday, “so to the extent that the state needs to move the April 28 date to another date, other states have already done this, Pennsylvania is certainly taking that into consideration.” As soon as we know what’s going on, you’ll know what’s going on; in the meantime, apply for a mail-in ballot, just in case. It takes less time than reading this email, and when election day comes (if it ever comes), you’ll be able to vote for Bernie from the comfort of your own home.
Jacobin’s Matt Karp didn’t sugarcoat it, and neither will we: Sleepy Joe Biden won Tuesday night. He didn’t win decisively, and, depending on how big a lead Bernie ended up with in California, we might not even end up that far behind in pledged delegates, but the primary, which might’ve been a Super Tuesday coronation for Bernie Sanders, the best, most electable candidate the Democrats have, is now all-but-guaranteed to be contested until the July convention. We pick ourselves up, and we go again.
After an, uh, interesting week in the 2020 Democratic primary, the Bulletin is excited to offer an unambiguously exciting announcement: our guest speaker at this month’s General Meeting (Saturday February 29, a blessed Leap Day) is none other than The Hill’s Krystal Ball!
The next time we at the Bulletin write to you will be February 6, 2020. By then, those of you who are braving the Iowa cold next weekend will be back home. The polls, promising as they have been lately, will be a speck in our rear window. Iowa votes in eleven days, and from then on, votes and pledged delegates will be the only things that matter.
It’s that special time of year - In just a few days we’ll be hosting our last General Meeting of 2019! Listen to committee reports about everything happening in the chapter, and hear from special guest Richard Hooker, secretary-treasurer elect of Teamsters Local 623, about the winning #623LivesMatter slate earlier this fall. After the General Meeting business, we’ll jingle and mingle at our winter fundraiser and celebration. As always, let the kids tag along & hang out with the Childcare Committee, for an all-new Kiddos Socialist Reading Program.
The full agenda can be found on our website! And, whatever you do, don’t forget to...
The strike wave that has been building power across the country over the past few years has washed ashore once again in Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot’s negotiation team was unable last night to agree to the reasonable demands of the 25,000 member Chicago Teachers Union and nearly 7,500 school support staff from SEIU Local 73.
Philly DSA’s new Steering Committee will be convening its first meeting on October 16, where, among other things, they will be voting on the composition of our new permanent committees (Communications, PolEd, Member Engagement, and Electoral) and charting the course for how the local will undertake the Platform Priorities we voted on at our 2019 Convention (Building a Green New Deal, Electing Bernie and Socialist Legislators, Recommitting to Medicare for All, and Labor For Bernie and Organizing in Our Unions). We here at the Bulletin would like to wish the incoming SC the best of luck over the next two years and give a fond farewell to our outgoing Steering Committee, whose guidance and leadership has helped us build the Local we have today. Onward!
First, a recap for those who weren’t able to make it out to last Saturday’s General Meeting:
After an introduction from PASNAP rank & file nurse Marty Harrison and a couple procedural votes (outgoing SC reports were accepted, the Canvassing & Our City Our Schools Committees were renewed, the Labor Branch’s role was codified under the new bylaws, and the Standing Rules for the local were officially adopted), we got to the new business of the day: the establishment of a Green New Deal Strategy Committee and the endorsement of two Working Families Party candidates for City Council, Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke.
We’re a little more than a week out from our fall General Meeting, and as always we’ve got a packed agenda. Our guest speaker this time around is Marty Harrison of PASNAP. As anyone who’s been following the fight to save Hahnemann University Hospital can tell you, PASNAP has been on the front lines since day one. Harrison, a long-time single payer advocate, a Labor Notes contributor, and the editor of the Temple Hospital Nurses newsletter, will be catching us up on what happened over the summer and speaking on what we can do now.
Last weekend, we held our second Bernie Sanders canvass of the summer. This one was in sunny Germantown, and turnout was, by all accounts, incredible: fifty-plus canvassers, nine of whom were canvassing for the first time, knocked an estimated 1,300 doors Saturday afternoon, taking our 2020 primary total to ~3,000 doors of our 200,000-door-by-April-28th target. And it’s only August!
We can’t speak for everyone, of course, but we here at the Bulletin have never before been this excited for a Presidential primary debate. Bernie’s been on a tear lately, between his bill to cancel all student debt (and his cheeky Warren-esque debt calculator), his uncompromising push to stop the US from going to war with Iran, and his continued usage, maybe unprecedented, of his campaign email lists to mobilize strike support and warn immigrants of upcoming ICE raids.
On May 23, Philly DSA hosted its first Open Strategy Meeting to begin discussing our Chapter's approach to the Bernie 2020 Campaign. The notes from our first discussion can be found here. We hope that other chapters engaging in Bernie work will find this useful. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with any aspect of this campaign should email email@example.com to get in touch with the moderators of each section and learn more! You can also get in touch with Melissa (via the gmail) to find out more about the campaign as a whole.
Our main plug this week is for the Bernie Open Strategy Meeting tonight. For those new to OSM’s, it’s going to be an open (members and non-members welcome!) discussion between attendees about how we can win the city for Bernie in 2020. Winning Pennsylvania isn’t going to be easy; Philadelphia County went for Hillary in 2016, and with Joe Biden headquartering his campaign here in Philly, we’ll certainly have a lot of doors to knock.
The Philly DSA Steering Committee would like to express its support of Adrian Rivera-Reyes candidacy, a DSA member who is currently running for an At-Large seat in the City Council race.
Today, we are opening:
Nominations for Philly DSA 2019-2021 elected positions (officers, permanent committee chairs, at-large Steering Committee members)
Submissions to the Philly DSA 2019-2021 Political Platform
Nominations for Delegates to the 2019 DSA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia
We here at the Bulletin (*extremely Bernie Sanders voice*) have the belief, “and there’s nothing radical about it,” that the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, and groups like it, should not exist.
PAHCF want, and they’re very explicit about this, to maintain the current system of employer-provided health insurance in which outcomes fluctuate wildly by income and your boss can, for example, just decide that you don’t have dental, vision, or prescription coverage in your health plan. They spent $143 million lobbying in 2018, a good amount of which (who can say, really?) seems to have gone toward stopping single-payer.
You can feel it in the air, almost; the trees in West Philly are blooming a little brighter, the dogs in Fairmount are wagging their tails a little faster, and the Social Committee Chair is diligently filling the Kensington dumpster pool in an early effort to win reelection to the new Member Engagement Committee. Yep, it’s the Local Convention, folks, and we love it.
Semi-breaking news courtesy of the Bulletin Squad: last night, the Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia voted enthusiastically and overwhelmingly to strike (the vote, according to FSFCCP’s Twitter, was 98% for). This strike vote comes after three years (!) of negotiations; the university’s “best and final” offer would’ve forced already-overworked CCP faculty to teach a 5/5 courseload in exchange for insufficient raises and higher out-of-pocket costs for health insurance. The walkout could begin as soon as next week.
Philly DSA’s Labor Branch and Local Initiative and Local Action Committee were at City Hall this morning for a press conference with Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and the Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance as they introduced the Philadelphia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in City Council.
Tuesday’s elections are, in some cases, not over: vote early, vote often, folks! Relevant to our chapter, Elizabeth Fiedler won and will be representing the 184th district in the State House! Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato won in PA-34 and PA-21, respectively! We’re building a DSA caucus in Harrisburg! And Kristin Seale’s race is too close to call; Seale is within a few hundred votes with absentee ballots left to count. Considering that the last Democratic nominee lost the 168th by 4,000+, that’s not a bad return.
“If the 99% voted, the 1% wouldn’t matter” – West Philly bumper sticker, spotted on Sunday afternoon just off Woodland
We here at the Bulletin know that, between stalled applications, restrictive voter ID laws, and voter roll purges across the country, it’s unfortunately not that simple.
We’re nearly 40 days away from election day! Members have been canvassing for Kristin Seale bi-weekly since June, and now we’re gearing up for weekly canvasses as GOTV and election day approach. Whether you’ve been coming out every weekend, or have been meaning to get involved, here are some ways you can contribute to our campaign and help send another great socialist candidate to office!
September is a busy month for Philly DSA, with an upcoming Medicare for All canvass, labor solidarity actions, a rebooted Night School, and an exciting discussion co-hosted with 350 Philadelphia, where we’ll talk about howmovements like DSA and unions can band together to fight for a Green NewDeal.
We have the numbers, but our interventions are only effective when we are mobilized for collective action.
This August marks a year since the historic 2017 DSA National Convention in Chicago. Since then, it’s become even clearer that socialism is coming to the mainstream, and that DSA is poised to channel popular momentum into real political projects.
November 6th is only three months away, and we have a rare and exciting opportunity to unseat an incumbent Republican and send an exceptional and principled Democratic Socialist woman -- Kristin Seale -- into office in Harrisburg. It’ll be a hard fight, but we can make it happen if we all commit to carrying through our endorsement by turning out as Kristin Seale’s ground game for canvassing voters in DelCo.
We write on behalf of the people of Philadelphia to urge you to pass resolution 180251 in support of S. 1804, otherwise known as the Medicare-For-All Act.
Our February 10 General Meeting is almost here! At General Meetings, the Local assembles to hear reports from projects and committees, set local policy and priorities, and to debate and vote on resolutions.
General Meeting THIS SATURDAY Feb 10
Upcoming Night School and Capital Reading Group
Philly DSA Be My Comrade Post-Valentines Karaoke Night Feb 17
The Left and Labor Panel Feb 26
Medicare for All Canvas Mar 3
Committee Reports and Meetings
Medicare for All Open Strategy Meeting Recap
Isn’t it time to do something? Get involved with the Local.