DSA-RGV Monthly Newsletter — September 2020

Contents:

  1. Welcome Note
  2. DSA National Updates
  3. DSA Texas Demands Safe Schools
  4. DSARGV Back to School Vigil and Summit
  5. DSARGV Racism & Capitalism Reading Group
  6. DSARGV Green Space Cleanup
  7. Monthly Meeting Report
  8. Membership update
  9. Endnote

1. Welcome Note:

Dear DSA-RGV family,

Well, this is just another newsletter, from your friendly neighborhood DSA chapter! Hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy and secure. Can you believe it’s been a whole month since our last newsletter? As you may recall from our August missive, we’ve been keeping busy despite COVID. Last month we told you about our new website, our post-hurricane clean up at the Sal day Rey, our new regular Leadership Meetings, and our continued “Racism & Capitalism” Community Reading Group. In the below, we’ll update you on work in these areas, and more!

We have a lot to discuss, in this newsletter. In terms of highlights, however, we should start by mentioning two items from DSA national. The first is the 100K membership campaign. Another big one is the launch of a Training Resource Library, for chapters and members. We’ll discuss more about these items, below.

Locally, we are really excited about some upcoming plans, too. We are working on planning a major event, the “Back to School Vigil and Summit,” for educators and students in RGV. This is part of the Texas DSA Demands Safe Schools initiative. We also have another meeting of the DSA RGV Reading Group, and another Green Space Cleanup, all coming up in the next weeks. We’ll talk about all these things in more detail, below.

Before we get started, just to remind you of these various ways of keeping in touch with us!

  1. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DSARGV/
  2. Twitter: @DSAoftheRGV
  3. Instagram: @DSARGV
  4. Website: https://dsargv.org
  5. Slack: dsargv.slack.com (for dues-paying members only)
  6. Email: dsariograndevalley@gmail.com

2. DSA National Updates:

Couple of interesting items to mention here:

The 100K membership campaign: At the 2019 DSA convention, in Atlanta, delegates voted on a goal of growing our multiracial, working class socialist organization to 100,000 members by 2021. To achieve this, the NPC voted to establish an ambitious 5-week Recruitment Drive running from October 1st to November 7th —to bring in 5,000 new members, grow every chapter by 10%, and plug these new members into existing campaigns.

We are looking for volunteers right now for the position of our DSARGV 100K membership “captain.” The first training will be coming up at 3 PM, on Saturday, Sep. 26. If you are interested, let us know. Meanwhile, here’s some information if you’d like to know more:

DSA Training Resource Library: The DSA recently hit 70,000 members, nationwide. It is a time of incredible growth and progress, for our movement. While the world endures the catastrophic failures of a capitalist system that prioritizes ruling class wealth over working class health, DSA welcomes thousands of new organizers who refuse to give in to the barbarism. To address this moment, DSA aims to provide our members the resources they need to continue to strengthen their active work and campaigns.

This week, the DSA launched its online Training Resource Library. It allows various DSA groups (DSA/YDSA chapters, national committees, etc) to have access to standardized educational and skill-building resources. As a chapter of DSA, we can access these trainings, too. DSARGV will be talking about these trainings in the coming days and weeks. Look out for DSARGV online chapter training sessions, coming soon!

3. DSA Texas Demands Safe Schools (7 PM, Tuesday, Sep. 22):

DSA has been running a campaign for a safe return to school for some time now, in the context of COVID. Recently, Texas DSA chapters have swung into action, too. Multiple events have been held around the state, including online regional summits and socially distanced vigils. At 7 PM, on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Texas DSA chapters will be holding an event, to express solidarity with students and teachers, and to organize and win our demands.

Our demands are clear:

  • Safe school conditions for all workers and students, including PPE and smaller class sizes
  • Equitable access to online learning
  • Police-free schools with enough counselors, nurses and community/parent outreach workers
  • A moratorium on charter schools and other attempts at privatization
  • COVID-19 community and family support, including rent and mortgage cancellation, an eviction/foreclosure moratorium, direct cash assistance to those unable to work or unemployed, and other critical social needs so working-class parents aren’t pressured to send their kids to unsafe schools

You can sign up for this Texas DSA event, here:

4. DSARGV Back to School Vigil and Summit Planning Meeting (5 PM, Monday, Sep. 21):

DSARGV is passionate about the cause of school safety, too, and we plan to do our part. Our voices need to be heard, and we call for our local leaders to support our community by prioritizing safety.

Our first goal is to host a brainstorming session with local education, labor and community groups. The event will aim to provide a space where our community can voice their concerns about going back to school during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, along with ways to address issues regarding online & hybrid schooling.

If you are interested, please join us.

We hope you can join us and get involved with organizing and planning this event. And please share the word on all your networks.

5. DSARGV “Racism & Capitalism” Community Reading Group (7 PM, Friday, Sep. 25):

“We should be working to improve the conditions where people come from and allowing them access to the opportunities we have. We cannot and should not rely on ever more intensive, violent, and oppressive border policing to manage problems that we ourselves helped create.” — Alex Vitale

This summer, recognizing the widespread uprising for black lives that took place after the murder of George Floyd, we re-committed our Reading Group to examining the intersections between racial oppression and capitalism. In our recent sessions, we’ve turned to Alex Vitale’s excellent book, “The End of Policing,” and reading on various debates he addresses, concerning how and why American policing has been so detrimental for black people.

The next session of the Reading Group is Friday, 9/25/2020 at 7pm

  • Assigned Reading: Chapters 4 and 5 of The End of policing, Alex Vitale
  • Video: https://youtu.be/U-BOFz5TXo
  • Signup: Zoom registration will be required. Stay tuned for updates!

Discussion questions:

  • Let’s share our favorite quotes
  • How can we hold police accountable without using the same forms of oppression that they use on civilians?
  • Why are resources attached to and under the control of the police?
  • How can we envision a world without police?
  • List ways in which the working class, houseless, and minorities (especially black people) are criminalized. What are some solutions to these issues?

6. DSARGV Green Space Cleanup (9 AM, Saturday, Sep. 26):

Join us as we explore and clean up the Sal Del Rey Natural Wildlife Refuge, a 530 acre hypersaline lake and its surrounding Tamaulipan thornscrub and grasslands. Come ready to clean up trash left behind by visitors. USFWS is short-staffed and we are trying to rely on them as little as possible, so we weren’t able to coordinate a pickup for the trash.

  • When: Saturday, 9/26/2020 at 9am (may be cancelled as Tropical Depression 22 develops)
  • Where: Sal Del Rey Natural Wildlife Refuge
  • Directions: From McAllen, go North on Hwy 281 for approx. 20 miles. Exit 186 East for approx. four miles to the kiosk on the north side of the road. From Harlingen, go North on Hwy 77 for approx. 24 miles. Exit 186 West for approx. 22 miles to the kiosk. For more information, tune into AM 530.

Keep in mind, it is our responsibility to dispose of the trash properly. Come prepared with masks, gloves, bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizers, and water. We’ll provide trash bags and some of the listed items.

7. Monthly Meeting:

As you may know, the DSARGV Monthly Meeting takes place on the second Friday of every month. Our meetings are public, and everyone is welcome. You do not have to be a dues-paying member to attend!

Our most recent Monthly Meeting took place via Zoom, on Friday, September 11, 2020. Thanks to our Communications Secretary, Alan Días-Santana, for taking the minutes. A number of issues were discussed, including the following:

  1. Report backs: the meeting opened with reports from various working groups and members who had been on regional or national calls. It was announced that the next Reading Group meeting would be on Friday, 9/25.
  2. DSA National’s Membership Captain Training was discussed. Another training was also mentioned, for Green New Deal leadership, Sept 12-13.
  3. Upcoming local events hosted by DSARGV were discussed, such as the Green Space Cleanup. Also, we discussed local plans for the Educators Vigil and Summit. The idea of perhaps working with TSEU and AFT-AMP on a vigil, was also discussed.
  4. Media and communications were addressed. We discussed the importance of keeping the newsletter going, along with the need to keep our Twitter and Instagram amounts fresh. Members should feel encouraged to suggest posts in the #socialistmedia channel, on the Slack.
  5. The RGV Free Food Fridge situation was also addressed. We will wait to see what the campaign says, in terms of needing assistance with further steps.
  6. Finally, an upcoming Activism Fair in RGV was mentioned, and we’d like to stay tuned to see how we can be involved.

8. Membership Update:

As in previous Monthly Newsletters, we like to keep you all abreast of how our membership is doing. As you know, we are an official chapter now. So one of priorities now is to grow the chapter. Obviously, COVID-19 is going to change financial priorities for many people, and it makes the task of retention critical.

Happily, however, our membership appears actually to be growing right now! As of August 1, we had 56 members (for comparison, on April 1 we had just 46 official members). In September, membership held steady at 56. So, as you can see, we have grown by almost 25% in the last few months alone, and we are holding fast.

It must be emphasized that this growth is vital. Not only does a bigger membership give us more capacity for our activism but, seeing as we get a percentage-based portion of our dues returned to us, it grows the amount of money we have at our disposal to do certain things, like register a domain name for our website. The more members we have, therefore, the greater our capacity for advertising our activities, thereby growing our membership and capacity even more!

So, if you are receiving this, and your membership has perhaps lapsed — or, you’ve been thinking about joining, but were perhaps wavering — now is the time! Socialism doesn’t happen all by itself. It takes the work of a dedicated movement. And no matter what happens in November, whether it is Trump or Biden returned to the White House, change here in RGV can only happen through the creation of a nationwide multiracial working class that can issue the demands, and make the noise that drives that change in the first place. We believe DSARGV can be at the forefront of the progressive struggle, in RGV. But, for that to happen, we need your support!

7. Endnote

We live in difficult times. None of us imagined that 2020 was going to end up like this, caught between the election of our lifetimes on the one hand, and a global pandemic on the other. Karl Marx once said that designing the perfect utopia was a task best left “for the cook-shops of the future.” However, one thing we know for certain is that building solidarity is very much a task of the present moment. Our young chapter is full of vision and energy. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU. So, we hope you can join us, and bring all your ideas and thoughts. We want to know what Democratic Socialism means to you.

See you out there,

DSARGV

NotMeUs #TrySocialism

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