DSA-RGV Monthly Newsletter — October 2020

Contents

  1. Welcome Note
  2. DSARGV Back to School Vigil and Summit
  3. DSA 100K Pledge & Membership Drive
  4. DSARGV Racism & Capitalism Reading Group
  5. DSA Training Resource Library
  6. October Monthly Meeting Report
  7. Membership update

1. Welcome Note

Dear DSA-RGV family,

Welcome to another jam-packed October DSARGV Monthly Newsletter. We have a lot to cover in this month’s issue. And, more importantly, a lot of ways for you to get involved! From our plans for an upcoming Safe Schools Covid Vigil and Town Hall event, to our participation in DSA’s national 100k membership pledge, to our continued Racism and Capitalism Community Reading Group, there are many ways you can be part of our growing socialist community here in RGV. We hope you can join us.

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. DSARGV Back to School Vigil and Summit, 5:30 PM, Oct 30, at Basilica of San Juan del Valle

We are happy to announce the date and venue for our upcoming “Back to School Vigil and Summit,” for educators, students and healthcare workers, here in the RGV. In collaboration with teachers and other organizing groups in the Valley, and inspired in part by Texas DSA Demands Safe Schools initiative, this event will feature a mass for those who wish to participate, followed by speakers outdoors, and an altar/ofrendas, inside.

As schools reopen across the country, DSA recognizes the concerns teachers, school employees and students have about their safety in the context of COVID. DSA has been running a campaign for a safe return to school for some time now. 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.

DSARGV is passionate about the cause of school safety, and we plan to do our part. With this vigil and summit, we wish to promote the following demands:

  • Better ventilation, masks and other PPE, proper sanitation in schools, along with social distancing, and smaller class sizes
  • A schedule for sanitizing services for common used areas and water and soap available to all
  • Police-free schools with adequate staffing levels and the availability of the full range of academic, social–emotional, and mental and behavioral health services to all students
  • Free testing for those suspected of being infected with COVID-19. We demand transparency on reporting cases of COVID-19, and a detailed protocol for dealing with infected students, staff, and household members.
  • Clear, appropriate policies for quarantine leaves, both for individual staff who must quarantine or leave to care for sick family members and for all personnel if schools have to close to manage outbreaks
  • Copies of plans to be provided to staff and students in English and Spanish, and readily available on school websites
  • A moratorium on charter schools and other attempts at privatization
  • Equitable access to online learning
  • Emergency extended sick leave for infected staff
  • 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

Guest speakers at the summit will include local elected leaders, along with representatives from local teaching and healthcare organizations. A number of perspectives on the illness, its impact on the community, its impact on higher ed, and/or the politics of the illness, will be represented.

In advance of the event, we have set up a ‘padlet’ virtual testimonial website which people can use, to post thoughts and memories of their Covid experience. This can be found here:

The event will be organized in a safe and careful way, to allow for social distancing and hygiene. While the basilica itself is a very large venue, and can take 4,000+ people, the church is currently strictly limiting occupancy to 800. Also, the church has a robust sanitation program in place.

Another planning meeting for this event will be coming up Monday, October 19, at 5 PM. If you want to get involved, email us at dsariograndevalley@gmail.com and we’ll send you the Zoom link.

3. DSA 100K Pledge & Membership Drive

DSA’s national 100K recruitment drive is underway! Already, over 4,000 new members have joined DSA. The goal of this 5-week drive is not only to recruit new members, however. It is also an opportunity to develop our skills as organizers, and to make DSA into a thriving and multiracial movement of the majority. We believe DSA can reach 100,000 members by 2021.

But we won’t hit this goal by just relying on social media and word of mouth. We need to organize and reach out to everyone in our chapter to be a part of this effort. That’s why we’re launching the “Call a Comrade” Program, to have members call other members and ask them to sign the DSA 100K pledge to bring in 3 new members to DSA during the drive.

Your local DSA 100K “Pledge Captains” are:

  1. Colton Wholley
  2. Nicholas Kiersey

These pledge captains have each committed to signing up three new DSARGV members. Do you want to be a 100K Pledge Captain, too? If so, contact Colton or Nick, and they will help you get started.

DSARGV’s unique membership signup website is also now available, here:

4. DSARGV “Racism & Capitalism” Community Reading Group (Wednesday, October 28, at 7 PM)

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 been reading selections from Alex Vitale’s excellent book, “The End of Policing.” Looking ahead to our next session, we have a selection from a new book, ‘Futures of Black Radicalism,” edited by Johnson and Lubin.

Assigned reading:

Chapter 1: Steven Osuna, Class Suicide: The Black Radical Tradition, Radical Scholarship, and the Neoliberal Turn

Paired video:

Discussion questions:

  • What comes to mind when you hear the term “Black Radicalism”?
  • What was your favorite section or quote?
  • What is the framework for imagining possibilities beyond racial capitalism?
  • How can academics and intellectuals drop the “megaphone” put on the “hearing aid” and join the collective struggle?

Registration Info:

5. DSA Training Resource Library

The DSA recently hit 75,000 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.

Recently, 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!

6. November Monthly Meeting (Friday, November 13 at 6:30)

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, October 9, 2020. A number of issues were discussed, including the following:

  1. Report backs: the meeting opened with reports from Leadership. It was announced that the next Reading Group meeting would be on Wednesday, 10/28.
  2. DSA National’s Membership Captain Training was discussed. Colton and Nick have volunteered as the “100K Pledge Captains” for our chapter. Over the next several weeks, and will be seeking to contact lapsed members and bring in new members.
  3. Recent difficulties coordinating Green Space Cleanup were discussed. We decided that all leadership members should have full access to all DSARGV social media platforms, to allow for urgent updates to announcements and more direct communications, during events.
  4. Continued plans were discussed for the upcoming Educators Vigil and Summit. We need to create a new DSARGV banner, as nobody knows where the old one is.
  5. “Newbie perspectives” — two new members of the chapter expressed frustration with slow communications, and difficulty finding out when the meetings were to be held.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Finally, an upcoming Activism Fair in RGV was mentioned, and we’d like to stay tuned to see how we can be involved.

7. Membership Update:

As in previous Monthly Newsletters, we like to keep you all abreast of how our membership is doing. Despite COVID-19, we have actually gained members. After a spike in numbers over summer, our membership has been holding constant the last couple of months. In September, membership held steady at 56.

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! DSARGV’s unique membership signup website is also now available, here:

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 to stand together!

Thanks for reading.

See you out there,

DSARGV

NotMeUs #TrySocialism

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