Letter to DSA National Political Committee about Railroad Town Hall

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DSA Congressmembers’ vote triggers a crisis in DSA

National Political Committee comrades,

We appreciate your statement condemning the betrayal by President Biden and Congress of 120,000 freight rail workers. We agree with your criticism of the decision of “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Cori Bush to needlessly vote to enforce the” tentative agreement on the workers. We also appreciate your commitment to “hold a mass call on the subject with our membership.”

We believe this vote by the DSA Congressmembers has triggered a serious crisis for our organization that must be squarely addressed. The Congressmembers’ votes took place only a year after DSA Congressmember Bowman voted to fund the Israeli military, in which AOC abstained, violating DSA’s democratically agreed platform. In our view, there needs to be a real reckoning about the relationship between DSA and our elected officials. We need a serious discussion about how DSA can hold electeds accountable when they trample on basic working-class principles like the right to strike or anti-imperialism.   

Regarding your plan to hold a mass call on this subject, could you please tell us when the call will be, and what your plans are for speakers and an agenda? It would be great to invite a railroad worker to speak so DSA can learn more about their struggles and build solidarity. Please also let us know if you need help organizing the call; we are happy to help in any way we can.

We have 3 proposals for the mass call, based on the statement we published on December 1st. As of December 7th, 20 DSA and YDSA chapters, AFROSOC, 2 political caucuses, and over 440 DSA members have signed onto the statement.

Our proposals:

  1. We believe the agenda needs to include a discussion on what kind of disciplinary action is needed for the 3 DSA Congressmembers. As part of this, we proposed in our December 1st statement that the NPC invite the DSA Congressmembers to the mass call to hear feedback from DSA members and railroad workers.
  1. More importantly, we believe the mass call needs to begin a structured discussion in DSA on how we can make sure that, going forward, DSA electeds will be held accountable to represent the policies of DSA.
  1. The mass call should not have speakers from a narrow range of views, but rather open up a real debate with a variety of voices representing important trends within DSA’s big tent. We’d be happy to provide a speaker to represent the viewpoint in our statement.

We look forward to your responses to these 3 proposals.

In Solidarity,

Seattle DSA Local Council