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Seattle DSA 2020 Local Council Elections

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The Election Committee will be holding the 2020 Local Council Election electronically this year. Starting on Friday March 27 for a 24-hour period there will be an opportunity to nominate additional Local Council candidates “from-the-floor” per the bylaws.

To qualify, a new candidate will need to be nominated by at least 8 members during this period.

At 1:30 PM on March 29 there will be a candidate question and answer forum via zoom, and voting will occur for a 24 hour period starting at 3:30 pm March 29. 

The Local Council is our thirteen-member, democratically elected leadership body of Seattle DSA.  Positions are elected annually, so all thirteen positions are up for election. According to our bylaws, ‚ÄúThe Local Council shall carry out actions which advance the principles, policies, strategies, and campaigns enumerated by the Membership in General Meetings. The Local Council shall manage the day-to-day affairs of the Local between General Meetings.‚ÄĚ

Local Council Positions

Co-Chair (2 Positions)

The ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčshall ‚Äčbe ‚Äčthe ‚Äčofficial ‚Äčpublic ‚Äčspokespersons ‚Äčfor ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚Äčand ‚Äčwill ‚Äčinitiate ‚Äčsuch actions ‚Äčand ‚Äčpolicies ‚Äčas ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal‚Äôs ‚Äčgeneral ‚Äčwelfare ‚Äčmay ‚Äčdemand, ‚Äčin ‚Äčaccordance ‚Äčwith ‚Äčthe ‚Äčdecisions ‚Äčand policies ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil ‚Äčand ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčGeneral ‚ÄčMembership. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčshall ‚Äčorganize ‚Äčand ‚Äčpreside over ‚Äčall ‚Äčofficial ‚Äčmeetings ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚Äčorganization ‚Äčand ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčshall ‚Äčmaintain consistent ‚Äčcommunication ‚Äčwith ‚Äčall ‚Äčcommittee ‚Äčleaders ‚Äčand ‚Äčfacilitate ‚Äčcollaboration ‚Äčand ‚Äčcoordination between ‚Äčthem.

Current Candidates

Co-Chair: Aly B., Harris L.

  • Candidate Response: Aly B

    What is your organizing experience?

    I’ve spent most of the last 15 years supporting movement building for self-determination and liberation. That has involved organizing and collaborating with a number of local and regional initiatives:

    1. developing programs with young leaders within the Afro-Colombian movement to identify and more powerfully advocate for their priorities,
    2. facilitating ongoing strategy and planning processes with activists and organizers working for social justice in Puerto Rico (police reform and accountability, anti-displacement efforts post-hurricanes)
    3. supporting community-led solidarity economy planning in the Bronx,
    4. developing a network of community organizers to share strategies and learn from each others’ contexts and struggles throughout the Americas, and
    5. electoral organizing, especially through the Bernie Sanders campaign

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    At SDSA, I was appointed to the Internal Organizing Committee last summer, and have been working with my awesome, committed comrades to help support some of the critical internal work that makes the chapter run, especially putting together and facilitating general meetings. I’ve been a voting member of the Local Council for about a month.

    I’m a trained facilitator, which is a central part of what I see as the Co-Chair’s role in the chapter Рboth in a concrete sense in general meetings, as well as by holding a broad vision of the great and sometimes disconnected work that SDSA members are advancing, and helping to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

    As an organizer, and formerly the Deputy Director of a center focused on democratizing economies and building self-determination with marginalized communities, I have a lot of experience building internal systems with the goal of increasing communication, transparency and accountability, which I think are critical for a truly democratic organization. I have primarily worked in multi-racial, multicultural, multilingual environments, have gone through anti-oppression trainings, and really love collaborating with others to build power!

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    I am a true believer in deep listening, and one of the most powerful things we can do as organizers is make people feel heard and acknowledged, especially in an oppressive capitalist society where we are regularly made to feel isolated and expendable. In groups of all kinds, and especially when there is disagreement or conflict, I think that skilled organizers can affirm what different people are bringing to the conversation, and make connections between those issues and what we’re collectively fighting for Рour shared intention. This can be very helpful in building alignment, and/or better defining where the substantive disagreements lie, and understanding our disagreements is essential to developing a healthy democratic culture and strong movement strategy.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    I am regularly floored by the depth of experience, knowledge, and empathy of my SDSA comrades, and I really believe in our collective capacity to have an impact on the lives of working people like ourselves in Seattle and beyond. In such a turbulent time (what an understatement!), there is a real rupture in the status quo, the ruling class is showing its hand, and we are facing an unprecedented opportunity to fight for socialist priorities.

    In order to do so, we have no choice but to step up our organizational game. First off, I think that means using our collective spaces, like general meetings, for the things that really matter, including defining chapter priorities, developing strategy for the major campaigns we take on, and collective learning about what is working to build working class consciousness and power. Secondly, I’d like us to focus on supporting and developing our members through political education, as well as building SDSA’s internal processes so that anyone who wants to contribute has clear ways to plug into the work and be supported in doing so. Finally, I’d like us to think more intentionally about our constituencies and embed our work in communities, so that beyond individual campaigns, we are building long-term infrastructure for a socialist transformation of society.

  • Candidate Response: Harris L.

    What is your organizing experience?

    * Tax Amazon co-chair, DSA’s rep. to coalition
    * Helped re-start and chair Queer & Feminist Caucus
    * Helped build D2 group; focused on DSA for Bernie
    * DSA Internal Organizing Committee
    * Ongoing workplace organizing
    * Organizer in Kshama Sawant’s office for housing

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    From my experiences above, I think DSA is capable of being a decisive force in Seattle. I’d like to see the LC help unify our work through joint campaigns, so we can be more than the sum of our parts, making full use of our many work groups.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    The different tactics, strategies and ideologies in DSA are vital to our big tent org‚ÄĒif we build each other up, learn how to debate ideas, help each other become more confident organizers, we‚Äôll build a vibrant force rooted in unions and our communities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’m a revolutionary socialist, organized in DSA’s Reform & Revolution caucus. I believe we need to fight for every concession we can possibly win under capitalism, while preparing ourselves and our class to completely dismantle the capitalist system.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    Productive, educational, decision-making monthly meetings | Relaunch Seattle Hellhole | District groups: roots in every neighborhood | Build toward a Seattle socialist party: organize union work, run candidates to build DSA, wide-reaching campaigns

Note:  According to our bylaws, no more than one co-chair may identify as a cis-gendered man and at least one must have an annual income less than twice the highest Seattle minimum wage rate (currently $16.39/hour).

Vice Chair

The ‚ÄčVice ‚ÄčChair ‚Äčis ‚Äčresponsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčassisting ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčwith ‚Äčall ‚Äčof ‚Äčtheir ‚Äčduties. ‚ÄčIf ‚Äčboth Co-Chairs ‚Äčare ‚Äčunable ‚Äčto ‚Äčperform ‚Äčtheir ‚Äčduties, ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčVice ‚ÄčChair ‚Äčshall ‚Äčperform ‚Äčall ‚Äčduties ‚Äčand ‚Äčassume ‚Äčall responsibilities ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčuntil ‚Äčsuch ‚Äča ‚Äčtime ‚Äčas ‚Äčone ‚Äčor ‚Äčboth ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčare ‚Äčable ‚Äčto ‚Äčresume ‚Äčtheir posts.

Current Candidates

Vice-Chair: Justin R.

  • Candidate Response: Justin R

    What is your organizing experience?

    For the Bernie campaign, I’ve organized numerous Bernie campaign events and Bernie Journeys. As part of Seattle DSA, I’ve organized DSA For Bernie debate watch parties, text blasts, postering and other promotion for DSA For Bernie events. For the social events WG, I helped put on several socials and bbq/picnics. I also have some experience organizing tech workers, LOTS of electoral campaign door-knocking experience, and in another life was a PCO for the 37th district Democrats.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I know what goes into organizing successfully in DSA. I can help us build coalitions, build DSA presence in our communities, and ultimately win. I also know what I don’t know, which means I usually know when to shut up.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    It‚Äôs important that we make decisions democratically. If we’re making a big decision that will affect a group of people, we should get their input first. I strive to hear all sides of a conflict before casting judgement. I will be accountable to comrades in all caucuses and working groups.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    I want to make SDSA’s big tent work — I believe SDSA’s multiple tendencies can be mutually beneficial. Workplace organizing and mutual aid efforts can build SDSA‚Äôs presence in our communities, giving us more credibility when it comes time for electoral work. Electoral work builds SDSA‚Äôs name recognition, giving us more fundraising power and clout when we do non-electoral organizing.
    In the here and now of the pandemic, I’m currently putting this into practice. I’m working on mutual aid efforts and pressure campaigns related to covid19.
    My goal is to weather the storm, help comrades materially right now, build SDSA presence, and set the stage for a strong electoral run by a Seattle DSA member in 2021 or 2022. In the long-term, we need to move towards developing a new workers’ party.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    Over my past year and change in Seattle DSA, being part of a collective organization that‚Äôs bigger than myself has been both humbling and motivating. I would love to help build and improve Seattle DSA, so I’m asking for your vote.

Secretary

The ‚ÄčSecretary ‚Äčis ‚Äčresponsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčtaking ‚Äčminutes ‚Äčof ‚Äčall ‚ÄčGeneral ‚ÄčMembership ‚Äčand ‚ÄčLocal Council ‚ÄčMeetings, ‚Äčand ‚Äčshall ‚Äčbe ‚Äčresponsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčpublishing ‚Äčthese ‚Äčminutes, ‚Äčas ‚Äčwell ‚Äčas ‚Äčresolutions, ‚Äčreports, and ‚Äčother ‚Äčofficial ‚Äčrecords ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčSecretary ‚Äčmay ‚Äčappoint, ‚Äčbut ‚Äčmust ‚Äčoversee, ‚Äča ‚Äčtemporary ‚Äčproxy minutes-taker ‚Äčfor ‚Äčany ‚Äčmeeting. ‚ÄčThat ‚Äčproxy ‚Äčmay ‚Äčnot ‚Äčvote ‚Äčon ‚Äčbehalf ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčSecretary. The ‚ÄčSecretary ‚Äčwill ‚Äčassume ‚Äčthe ‚Äčresponsibilities ‚Äčof ‚Äčone ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčCo-Chairs, ‚Äčif ‚Äčboth ‚ÄčCo-Chairs ‚Äčand ‚Äčthe Vice ‚ÄčChair ‚Äčis ‚Äčunable ‚Äčto ‚Äčdo ‚Äčso.

Current Candidates

Secretary: Dave B.

  • Candidate Response: Dave B

    What is your organizing experience?

    I’ve spent the last 3 years organizing with Seattle DSA. During this time I’ve served as co-chair of the Political Education Working Group, been a delegate to the 2019 National Convention, and served on the 2019-2020 Local Council as an Internal Organizer. The working class has one of the best chances in a long time to build power and take back the world they’ve built, and well-functioning political organizations serve a critical role in the formation of a mass political movement. I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a chapter over the years, and I’m even more excited and optimistic about what’s to come. I want to help make Seattle DSA the political home of Seattle’s working class.>/p>

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I see the Secretary role as more than simply what’s defined in the bylaws, which is to take minutes at meetings and a few other largely procedural responsibilities. Part of being effective organizers is having the information we need and being able to share knowledge and learn from each other. My experience as a tech worker has allowed me to help fulfill the needs of the chapter in that space, and I will continue to do so as Secretary. I will also work to expand those capabilities and make our chapter more accessible. I will work to make General Meeting minutes available the night of the General Meeting, as well as work to support live streaming of meetings or live updates when appropriate. I will also work on building a member portal where members can easily find all of these resources.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    I try to listen much more than I talk. Anybody who spends their free time working to build a better world deserves a space where they can voice their good-faith beliefs on how to get there and be treated with respect and feel heard. Disagreements are bound to happen, but make us a stronger organization when they are handled respectfully and are from a place of genuine curiosity. I also am grateful for our excellent Harassment and Grievance Officers who take on the task of ensuring a safe and welcoming organization, and will work with the incoming Internal Organizing Committee to ensure appointing a new HGO team is one of our first priorities as an incoming Local Council.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’ve watched this organization grow from 20-odd people in the basement of a retirement center to the organization it is today, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish this year. I’m very much looking forward to helping this chapter exceed expectations and be an integral part of building the working class mass movement we so desperately need.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    My top priority will be helping to ensure our members have all of the resources they need to be active members and be the best organizers they can. If there’s one area of improvement I think it’s critical we make, it’s the ability to better set priorities and most effectively utilize the limited resources we have as a volunteer organization. Political Education and fostering a truly democratic organization are big parts of that, and I will continue to help to foster and facilitate that in every way I can.

Treasurer

The ‚ÄčTreasurer ‚Äčwill ‚Äčbe ‚Äčresponsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčadministration ‚Äčof ‚Äčfunds, ‚Äčbudget, ‚Äčand ‚Äčfinancial organization ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal, ‚Äčincluding ‚Äčoverseeing ‚Äčfundraising ‚Äčactivities ‚Äčfor ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal. ‚ÄčAll ‚Äčfunds ‚Äčcollected ‚Äčby the ‚ÄčLocal ‚Äčwill ‚Äčbe ‚Äčturned ‚Äčover ‚Äčto ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčTreasurer, ‚Äčwho ‚Äčshall ‚Äčdeposit ‚Äčthem ‚Äčin ‚Äča ‚Äčbank ‚Äčaccount ‚Äčunder ‚Äčthe ‚Äčname of ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčTreasurer ‚Äčwill ‚Äčreport ‚Äčto ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil ‚Äčon ‚Äčthe ‚Äčfinancial ‚Äčstatus ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚Äčorganization ‚Äčat each ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil ‚ÄčMeeting. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčTreasurer ‚Äčwill ‚Äčmaintain ‚Äčtransparent ‚Äčand ‚Äčopen ‚Äčfinancial ‚Äčreports ‚Äčavailable to ‚Äčthe ‚Äčentire ‚Äčmembership ‚Äčupon ‚Äčrequest ‚Äčby ‚Äčan ‚Äčofficer ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčTreasurer ‚Äčwill ‚Äčbe responsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčensuring ‚Äčthat ‚Äčmembership ‚Äčdues ‚Äčare ‚Äčpaid ‚Äčup-to-date. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčTreasurer ‚Äčwill ‚Äčprepare ‚Äčthe ‚Äčannual Local ‚Äčbudget, ‚Äčand ‚Äčdeliver ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚Äčfinancial ‚Äčreport ‚Äčat ‚ÄčGeneral ‚ÄčMeetings ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal.

Current Candidates

Treasurer: Munya

  • Candidate Response: Munya

    What is your organizing experience?

    As a lifelong Washingtonian, I have participated in and led organizing efforts nationally and locally here in the Pacific Northwest. I joined Seattle DSA in January 2017 when we had our first general meeting after the consequential 2016 election. Though Seattle is the city I always called home, I was attending college in Eastern Washington, which limited my ability to physically be involved. Though I was far from home, I knew there were always opportunities to get involved in our communities, so I organized with Palouse DSA from its inception, growing it from an organizing committee to a nationally recognized chapter today. We canvassed for the successful Medicaid for Idaho campaign, a historic win for the people of Idaho. Most recently, I have served as an Iowa caucus Precinct Capitan for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, and Treasurer for Shaun Scott’s 2019 City Council campaign, which was proudly endorsed by Seattle DSA.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    From my first job as a bank teller, to majoring in finance at my university, I have since held numerous finance and treasurer roles for organizations, including but not limited to:
    Interim Treasurer, Seattle DSA (2019)
    Treasurer, The People for Shaun Scott (2019)
    VP of Finance, Alpha Kappa Psi ‚Äď Beta Lambda (2017).

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    Whether a leader or a rank and file member, throughout the different organizations I have been involved in, I learned a great deal about the value of collaboration and the importance of constructive conflict resolution. I have personally observed the most effective leaders share a common trait of empathy, empowerment, and desire to serve others for a shared large mission. I believe in servant leadership, which puts people in our organization first and fosters growth building upon all of our unique individual skills and dedicate it to a unified collective movement

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    Coming into the SDSA Treasurer position after helping run a city council campaign, I was focused on aligning our organizations control of the financial engine that keeps our chapter running. After the transitionary period, I believe we could benefit in reintroducing online payment options, revamping reimbursement systems, and drive for robust fundraising so we can reinvest in our membership and community at large.

Internal Organizer (3 Positions)

Internal ‚ÄčOrganizers ‚Äčwill ‚Äčco-chair ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčInternal ‚ÄčOrganizing ‚ÄčCommittee, ‚Äčwhich ‚Äčis ‚Äčresponsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčfostering ‚Äča ‚Äčlively ‚Äčparticipatory ‚Äčand ‚Äčdemocratic ‚Äčculture ‚Äčwithin ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚Äčthrough the ‚Äčdevelopment, ‚Äčeducation, ‚Äčmobilization, ‚Äčand ‚Äčrecruitment ‚Äčof ‚Äčmembers. ‚ÄčThis ‚Äčincludes ‚Äčthe ‚Äčkeeping ‚Äčof ‚Äča database ‚Äčof ‚Äčmembers, ‚Äčconducting ‚Äča ‚Äčcensus, ‚Äčdriving ‚Äčdiversity ‚Äčefforts, ‚Äčas ‚Äčwell ‚Äčas ‚Äčany ‚Äčtasks ‚Äčassigned ‚Äčto ‚Äčthe role ‚Äčby ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil. ‚ÄčThe ‚ÄčInternal ‚ÄčOrganizing ‚ÄčCommittee ‚Äčis ‚Äčalso ‚Äčcharged ‚Äčwith ‚Äčorganizing ‚ÄčGeneral Meetings, ‚ÄčInformational ‚ÄčMeetings, ‚Äčand ‚Äčsocial, ‚Äčeducational, ‚Äčand ‚Äčfundraising ‚Äčevents. ‚ÄčUnder ‚Äčthe ‚Äčdirection ‚Äčof the ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil, ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčInternal ‚ÄčOrganizing ‚ÄčCommittee ‚Äčshall ‚Äčdevelop ‚Äčand ‚Äčoversee ‚Äča ‚Äčprogram ‚Äčof ‚Äčsocialist cadre ‚Äčdevelopment ‚Äčthat ‚Äčincludes ‚Äčskills ‚Äčtraining ‚Äčand ‚Äčpolitical ‚Äčeducation; ‚Äčand ‚Äča ‚Äčsystem ‚Äčof ‚ÄčMobilizers ‚Äč(similar to ‚Äčunion ‚Äčshop ‚Äčstewards) ‚Äčwho ‚Äčwill ‚Äčact ‚Äčas ‚Äčan ‚Äčactive ‚Äčconduit ‚Äčof ‚Äčinformation ‚Äčand ‚Äčengagement ‚Äčbetween ‚Äčthe General ‚ÄčMembership ‚Äčand ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil.

Current Candidates

Internal Organizer: MJ C, Hannah A., Ramy K.

  • Candidate Response: MJ C.

    What is your organizing experience?

    In DSA, I helped re-launch the Queer & Feminist group, including organizing fundraising activities at Pride bringing in hundreds of contacts. I was Field Director for Jon Grant’s City Council campaign, mobilizing DSA members and knocking 50,000 doors.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I want to build a large, energetic, & politically confident membership by engaging new & inactive members. As co-chair of Queer & Feminist caucus, my experience is mobilizing members through organizing political discussions, reading group, & social events.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    I try to fully understand people’s ideas and concerns, and bring different approaches together. Disagreeing openly and being comfortable discussing our politics, strategies, and tactics is how we develop the strongest position for our united front.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’m a member of the Reform & Revolution caucus. I think DSA nationally should work toward forming a mass socialist party and creating left-wing media for the working class. We can grow SDSA (through big campaigns, our own media) toward this goal.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    Build up groups in each district, organized around political discussion and a space for members to grow politically; District groups all in communication through the LC and able to mobilize around central campaigns; Create a SDSA headquarters.

  • Candidate Response: Ramy K.

    What is your organizing experience?

    1) 2013 Campaign Manager, Kshama Sawant for City Council
    2) Led 4 mass student walk-outs against US imperialist wars in Middle East
    3) Led Seattle student walkout that helped shut down the World Trade Organization summit 4) Union activist (8 yrs)

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I have 25 years of experience recruiting and organizing socialist activists, building social movements (such as Seattle’s successful $15 minimum wage campaign), and educating working-class people in Marxist revolutionary ideas.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    Our meetings should feature more political discussions & debates to allow members to weigh up different views within our big tent organization. This will help all of us develop our ideas in a respectful atmosphere and grow and learn from each other.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’m a member of DSA’s Reform & Revolution caucus. I think DSA needs to build mass campaigns that impact Seattle (e.g. tax Amazon for coronavirus relief) while also educating people that real change requires a socialist transformation of society.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    The Democratic establishment went all out to stop Bernie. I think DSA needs to work toward forming a new Socialist Party next year so we can stop relying on the Democratic Party and convince more people of socialist ideas. Please sign this petition.

  • Candidate Response: Hannah A.

    What is your organizing experience?

    I have been involved with our electoral (and non-electoral) campaigns since I joined DSA in 2017. Most recently, I’ve been focused on my role as Secretary on the LC and on SDSA for Bernie.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I’ve worked with the IOC on member engagement and would like to continue with that. Building consensus, organizing meetings, book clubs, and outreach campaigns have helped me develop a skill-set that I think will be beneficial.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    I listen and then see if I can play a role in understanding and discussing options and ultimately reaching compromises. I think operating in good faith and assuming others are as well is key to managing conflicts and disagreement in general.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’m a member of the Bread and Roses caucus and I’m running for internal organizer because now more than ever, it’s critical to build the infrastructure and institutions that will challenge capitalism on both a local and national level.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    My primary goal is to build on our new member engagement efforts and increase opportunities for members to get plugged in and active. I want to improve our ability to delegate and involve as many members as possible in the activities of SDSA.

External Organizer (3 Positions)

External ‚ÄčOrganizers ‚Äčwill ‚Äčco-chair ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčExternal ‚ÄčOrganizing ‚ÄčCommittee ‚Äč(see ‚ÄčArticle VI), ‚Äčwhich ‚Äčwill ‚Äčlead ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal‚Äôs ‚Äčfight ‚Äčfor ‚Äča ‚Äčsocialist ‚Äčpolitical ‚Äčagenda ‚Äčin ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčSeattle ‚Äčarea ‚Äčand ‚Äčbeyond. ‚ÄčUnder the ‚Äčdirection ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil ‚Äčand ‚Äčin ‚Äčorder ‚Äčto ‚Äčrealize ‚Äčthe ‚Äčpolicies, ‚Äčpriorities ‚Äčand ‚Äčcampaigns ‚Äčset ‚Äčforth ‚Äčby the ‚ÄčGeneral ‚ÄčMembership, ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčExternal ‚ÄčOrganizing ‚ÄčCommittee ‚Äčshall ‚Äčmanage ‚Äčor ‚Äčexecute ‚Äčall ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal‚Äôs issue ‚Äčand ‚Äčelectoral ‚Äčcampaigns, ‚Äčdirect ‚Äčactions, ‚Äčrallies, ‚Äčand ‚Äčother ‚Äčactivities ‚Äčexpressly ‚Äčtargeted ‚Äčat ‚Äčthe ‚Äčgeneral public ‚Äčfor ‚Äčpolitical ‚Äčpurposes.

Current Candidates

External Organizer: Joanna M, BoJohn M., Philip L.

  • Candidate Response: Joanna M.

    What is your organizing experience?

    I have been a member of Seattle DSA since January 2017, and currently I am serving on the Local Council as an Internal Organizer. In October 2018, I worked with a couple other SDSA members to start Socialist Night School, and continue to help lead that project.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    Beyond the experience listed in the previous question, I canvassed with the DSA for Bernie campaign and have been helping with Union Members for Bernie. I’m a steward for my union local, and have been building connections with fellow members of the labor movement across the country. Many of the skills that I have developed while serving as an Internal Organizer will transfer to those needed as an External Organizer.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    Be patient. Adapt to conditions as they change.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’m a member of Bread & Roses. Feel free to reach out on Slack if you have any questions or would like to chat (@joanna).

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    Expand the Socialist Night School program. Strengthen Seattle DSA’s ties to the labor movement, locally and across the country. Learn from other DSA chapters who have lead impressive campaigns and organizing efforts, and adapt lessons from their work to our local conditions in Seattle. Support effective, focused chapter campaigns. Help create more coordination between the various groups within the chapter.

  • Candidate Response: BoJohn M.

    What is your organizing experience?

    I’m a custodian and union shop steward so my primary organizing comes labor organizing.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I’m a coalition builder and organize across different unions and community organizations for common goals, skills vital to an External Organizer position.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    My background is in anthropology and community based research coordinating among numerous stakeholders.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    These are frightening times we’re entering. My project focuses in DSA have been centered around autonomous community driven infrastructure such as organizing a people’s garden with veterans and filling the delegation of the Martin Luther King Labor Council with labor radicals. In short, now more than ever do we need socialist infrastructure and a solidarity culture.

  • Candidate Response: Philip L.

    What is your organizing experience?

    * Political Director of 15 Now, a grassroots campaign central to winning $15 in Seattle
    * Political Director of Kshama Sawant’s 2013 & 2015 election campaigns
    * Student walkout organizer against US wars in Afghanistan & Iraq
    * 25 years as a socialist organizer

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    * Organizing with my union SEA for substitutes to be paid while schools are closed due to coronavirus
    * Active in SDSA Tax Amazon & Labor Committees + District 2 group
    * Experience in different capacities with left-wing electoral politics (Sanders,Sawant, Nader, Labor Party)

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    * Direct, honest, respectful communication
    * Openly discussing different politics, analysis,& strategies that exist in our big tent organization, and striving to avoid these differences only being expressed indirectly or informally

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’m editor of the Reform & Revolution magazine. I believe Marxism provides the best tools to understand capitalism and oppression, and is the best guide to building a principled mass socialist movement that avoids both reformism and sectarianism.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    A critical part of SDSA becoming a much larger & stronger organization is developing dynamic & impactful campaigns. This will help us recruit to DSA and achieve a higher level of member participation in our chapter. I’m also committed to expanding SDSA public media.

Note: No more than 3 internal & external organizers can identify as cis-gendered men and at least three must identify as national or racial minorities.

At-Large (2 Positions)

At-Large ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil ‚ÄčMembers ‚Äčwill ‚Äčparticipate ‚Äčin ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil decision-making, ‚Äčand ‚Äčare ‚Äčresponsible ‚Äčfor ‚Äčattending ‚Äčall ‚Äčrelevant ‚Äčmeetings ‚Äčand ‚Äčreading ‚Äčall ‚Äčrelevant documents. ‚ÄčAt-Large ‚ÄčLocal ‚ÄčCouncil ‚Äčmembers ‚Äčare ‚Äčalso ‚Äčtasked ‚Äčwith ‚Äčrepresenting ‚Äčthe ‚Äčviews ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe membership ‚Äčthat ‚Äčelected ‚Äčthem ‚Äčas ‚Äčwell ‚Äčas ‚Äčhelping ‚Äčto ‚Äčadvance ‚Äčthe ‚Äčgoals ‚Äčof ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčLocal ‚Äčgenerally.

Current Candidates

At-Large: Andrej M., Rachel K.

  • Candidate Response: Andrej M.

    What is your organizing experience?

    In 2018 I started our local DSA M4A campaign and later became DSA’s PNW regional organizer. In 2019 I led our local effort to endorse Bernie and helped in setting up our local campaign. Currently, I am a member of DSA’s International Committee.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    I helped organize Seattle DSA into an official chapter in 2016 and served in leadership as chapter chair in 2017.

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    In a big organization like DSA there will always be a variety of views. By focusing on concrete questions (where people are more likely to find common ground, even if for different reasons), we can reduce the chance of disagreement turning personal.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our biggest priority as an organization both locally and nationally will be to lead efforts to ensure Bernie’s 2020 coalition doesn’t go its separate ways after the end of the campaign. Win or lose we need a durable movement to keep up the fight.

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    An overarching priority needs to be making it easier for members to get involved in the chapter’s work. We will likely see a membership spike later this year and we need to be prepared to incorporate those people at the moment they are interested.

  • Candidate Response: Rachel K.

    What is your organizing experience?

    I’ve canvassed for Medicare for All periodically within the past year-and-a-half with the Eastside branch of Seattle DSA.  I also volunteered for about 20 hours during the Bernie campaign in the Ann, Arbor Michigan area.  The campaign work mostly constituted knocking doors, although I participated in phone-banking for a few hours and will commit to more phone-banking through the New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Democratic primaries. I additionally knocked doors and held a small phone-bank for Sarah Smith, a social-democrat who attempted to oust pro-war incumbent Rep. Adam Smith from office during the 2018 election for federal office in the 9th congressional district.

    What is your experience for the specific position you were nominated for?

    Although I’m admittedly not very familiar with parliamentary procedure, I believe I have the qualifications to volunteer as an at-large organizer and can represent the views of the membership well.  My experience working with teams of canvassing volunteers on the Michigan Bernie campaign has prepared me for working with groups of people for a common purpose. I also have experience volunteering for phone banks and working in retail so I know how to listen to DSA members or to other relevant stakeholders to better understand their perspectives. I’ve additionally participated in the DSA for at least a year-and-a-half and have familiarity with the organization’s platform. 

    Describe your approach to working with others, managing conflict, and developing a united front?

    I first want to acknowledge that my own personal subjectivity limits my capacity to fully understand how to organize people inside and outside the DSA. That’s why listening to other perspectives is crucial for organizing and building the relationships necessary to sustain a political movement. I try to listen 70% of the time and talk the other 30% while asking questions to learn about members’ priorities and to motivate them into participating according to their ability, interests, and time constraints. I also want to learn as much as I can about the local political and economic context informing SDSA’s campaigns so I can motivate volunteers into action and can support them when they plan and execute actions themselves. Regarding managing conflict, I want to ask questions from all parties involved in order to better understand grievances before jumping to conclusions. I would reach out to knowledgeable volunteers on the council and to SDSA committee members tasked with resolving grievances for more serious matters. Developing a united front requires building relationships with members inside the chapter through making time to listen to them.  I’d likewise focus on building relationships and listening while organizing with groups outside the DSA in order to form coalitions for larger-scale political projects.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first part of my suggestions for SDSA includes a rationale regarding why the organization needs to devote more resources to issues aside from electoral politics. I furthermore suggest an alternative course of action for the SDSA chapter. General suggestions include establishing a network of textbank and phone bank volunteers to mobilize membership, posting activism guides on the main website, and training more individuals to more consistently post events on the SDSA calendar. Relevant events on the calendar can also include events hosted by other leftist or progressive organizations which may relate to SDSA’s activism campaigns.  The text bank and phonebank groups can not only mobilize membership, but can also support their activism and help them overcome logistical obstacles. For example, the text bank and phone bank groups can connect individuals with carpools to upcoming events (assuming the COVID-19 pandemic subsides) or with mutual aid. Furthermore, the text or phone banks can connect volunteers with relevant subcommittees within the DSA or with partner organizations outside the DSA to build coalitions. Overall, Seattle DSA needs to better communicate with and mobilize membership in order to transcend organizing people based on transitory political campaigns hindered by the political corruption inherent to U.S. governance and campaign financing. Seattle DSA additionally needs to broaden their coalition through collaborating with related organizations like immigrant rights’ groups, civil rights groups, labor unions, and leftist organizations like the Tax Amazon Campaign or the Seattle IWW. 

    What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

    The DSA still has a majority middle class constituency with insufficient racial or cultural diversity. Reaching out to the multicultural working class and to folks precariously attached to the labor market can build are more formidable base of power to challenge neoliberal political economy. For example, according to Jacobin staff writer Meghan Day, Bernie won Democratic primary voters making less than $50k annually in Michigan and a majority of voters without a college degree in California 1. However low-income voters face voter-suppression and the most pragmatic barriers to voting and participating in electoral politics. Therefore, middle class and wealthy voters enjoy disproportionate influence in electoral politics and the composition of the electorate and the policy priorities of politicians reflect the wealth inequality endemic within the allegedly “representative” republic of the United States.

    The United States features the fourth lowest voter participation rate among the 32 wealthy nations constituting the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with only 55.7% of registered voters casting a ballot in the 2016 presidential election and with a third of eligible voting age adults not registered 2. Primary elections have even lower voter turnout among eligible voters; the 2008 Democratic primary election for example featured “record” levels of turnout with only 27% of voters choosing the nominee in Super Tuesday states4.  An average of only 20% of 18 to 24-year-olds vote during primary elections 3 and 70% of nonvoters are under age 50 5. According to Pew Research, racial minorities only constitute 22% of the electorate compared with 43% of nonvoters and 46% of nonvoters have incomes less than $30,000 annually compared to only 19% of voters 5. A majority of nonvoters also favor government programs to help the poor compared to a minority of regular voters and over half of nonvoters have a high school diploma or less5.  Conversely, 70% of voters have at least some college experience5.  The electoral system strategically excludes the people who have suffered the most due to capitalism and structural racism and neglects the estimated 40 million Americans living in poverty, with 5 million of these individuals having living standards similar to the poor in developing countries6.

    Gerrymandering and local election authorities altering electoral results through neglecting to assist voters with provisional or improperly filled out ballots additionally compromises the integrity of the electoral process and discourages participation. The Supreme Court furthermore struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision and this ruling encourages municipalities and counties to enact discriminatory election laws to suppress voter turnout with impunity7. Superdelegates and DNC officials also intend to deny Sanders the presidential nomination even if he wins a plurality of delegates 8 and Clinton advisor and MSNBC contributor James Carville outright advocated calling off the remaining primary contests weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S.9

    Electoral politics can not build or sustain an enduring social movement to challenge concentrated wealth and power.  Although organizing workers into formal unions can engage people typically forgotten by politicians, the process is slow and involves placating bureaucrats at the National Labor Relations Board hostile to organized labor, particularly during the Trump administration.  Many other workers have only precarious access to the labor market and can not logistically join a conventional union, while other unions prefer a complaisant relationship with management and discourage strikes. Seattle DSA should therefore allocate substantially more organizational and logistical resources to encouraging the formation of tenants’ unions in addition to supporting the formation of independent workers’ unions or cooperatives. Tenants’ unions can mobilize people excluded from politics and can empower them to organize against the speculative real-estate market where 10% of new apartments sit vacant while rental prices remain persistently high10.  Organizing based on employment will prove less useful when the economic contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic causes mass layoffs. The unemployment rate due to these economic contractions could reach as high as 30% according to predictions by Saint Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard 11. Therefore, placing a greater emphasis on tenant organizing in addition to labor organizing can build a more sustainable social movement rather than primarily focusing on electoral politics. Those empowered through tenant organizing can learn to question the legitimacy of commodified housing and can learn skills to empower themselves politically. 

     A large proportion of dues paying members in the DSA do not regularly participate in campaigns, events, or attend meetings. The reasons why relatively few members participate is uncertain. However, several factors may reduce participation; namely, economic or employment instability, sectarian differences, or the lack of political guidance. Seattle DSA can take practical steps in the immediate future to increase participation.

    This can include recruiting volunteers to call members to inquire about their activism interests and barriers to organizing. Although the chapter may have limited capacity to resolve many barriers to participation, having phonebanks or textbanks with membership can help identify those issues and can enable the chapter to offer help in the future. For example, if many members have difficulty getting to meetings, then the network could help coordinate carpools.

     Training more volunteers to consistently record events on the Seattle DSA calendar can enable members to adjust their schedules to accommodate events relevant to their interests. The Seattle DSA website should additionally feature activism training guides. The guides should include encrypted email addresses for volunteers responsible for posting events to the calendar or for coordinating actions in some capacity (like if they belong to the communications committee, for example). At-large organizers and perhaps external organizers on the Seattle DSA Local Council can also increase membership and likewise participation through reaching out to other leftist, union, or civil rights groups, particularly when they have unique expertise on issues and can teach membership about activism tactics. For example, members from the IWW can hold training sessions on tenant or workplace organizing or activists with La Resistencia or WAISN can hold trainings regarding immigrant rights. The local DSA can additionally publicize relevant virtual training sessions hosted by DSA National through including them in the guides and advertising them on the calendar. Building relationships with other local leftist organizations like “Rent Strike 2020”, the Tax Amazon Campaign, and the Snohomish County DSA Branch is also important. Encouraging more coordination between leftist and progressive organizations can help build membership and form coalitions strong enough to challenge neoliberal policies.

    Sources:

    1. ‚ÄúA Democratic Socialist Explains Why Bernie Sanders is Losing‚ÄĚ https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/3/16/21165201/bernie-sanders-joe-biden-2020-election-meagan-day
    2. ‚ÄúU.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout‚ÄĚ https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/21/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/
    3. ‚ÄúWhy Don‚Äôt Young People Vote? This System Doesn‚Äôt Want Them To‚ÄĚ https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/voter-registration-young-people-apathy.html
    4. ‚ÄúTHE CAUCUS; Records for Turnout‚ÄĚ https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9405E6D71031F934A35751C0A96E9C8B63.html#
    5. ‚ÄúThe Party of Nonvoters: Younger, More Racially Diverse, More Financially Strapped‚ÄĚ https://www.people-press.org/2014/10/31/the-party-of-nonvoters-2/
    6. “Contempt for the poor in US drives cruel policies,‚ÄĚ says UN expert https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23172
    7. ‚ÄúSupreme Court Invalidates Key Part of the Voting Rights Act‚ÄĚ https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html
    8. ‚ÄúDemocratic Party Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders‚ÄĚ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/democratic-superdelegates.html
    9. ‚Äú‚ÄėLet‚Äôs shut this puppy down‚Äô: James Carville says it‚Äôs time to end Democratic primary after Biden‚Äôs big night‚ÄĚ https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/11/james-carville-sanders-biden/
    10. ‚ÄúAmid building boom, 1 in 10 Seattle apartments are empty, and rents are dropping‚ÄĚ https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/amid-building-boom-1-in-10-seattle-apartments-are-empty-and-rents-are-dropping/
    11. ‚ÄúTop Economists See Echoes of Depression in Sudden U.S. Stop‚ÄĚ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-22/top-economists-see-some-echoes-of-depression-in-u-s-sudden-stop

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