Thanks to everyone who came out on a snowy Cleveland night for our January General meeting! We met at the Cleveland Heights Public Library on Thursday, January 5, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 pm.
We began the meeting with introductions and everyone shared their Revolutionary New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. Members and guests made New Years Resolutions to be more involved in politics, read more deeply, get involved in particular causes, and continue to agitate for change. We discussed a few sections from the DSA’s “What is Democratic Socialism? Q&A” and proceeded to news, reports, and new business.
Democratic Socialism in the News
We had no shortage of news to share. On the national level, we discussed the amazing growth in DSA membership, news of new staff at our national office, and recent statements from the National Political Committee on national and world events.
Closer to home, DSA’s growth is reflected in the new additions of Organizing Committees in Akron, Portage Co, and Cincinnati joining the existing Ohio chapters in Cleveland and Columbus. We have been reaching out to the new and existing chapters to better communicate and coordinate DSA activities in Ohio. The Akron Organizing Committee sent us news about their initial meetings, and a member of the Portage County Organizing Committee joined us to update us on their work.
Members of Cleveland DSA talked about recent activities we’ve participated in, including several anti-Trump and antifascist demonstrations in Public Square, tabling at progressive events in December, and other activities in solidarity with Left, Radical and Progressive Groups in Cleveland.
Committee Reports and Ongoing Projects
We’re working on a series of workshops presenting Democratic Socialism 101 as an introduction to socialism for a general audience. Our first presentation will be at the IRTF Social Justice Teach-in on February 4th. As an ongoing political education project, we will begin a reading group with the Cleveland Jacobin Reading Group focusing on Jacobin Magazine’s ABC’s of Socialism. Contact Glenn (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get involved.
The Communications Committee has been meeting regularly to work on our technology infrastructure and communications. We have begun publishing a monthly newsletter emailed to our contact list around the middle of each month. The newsletter is accepting contributions at email@example.com. To get involved with communications, please contact : Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As we grow from an Organizing Committee to a Local Chapter, we are gathering a committee to help work on drafting our chapter constitution, by-laws, and other proposals. We are especially interested in exploring ways to better reach out to members who can’t often attend meetings and develop ways to increase the overall democratic participation in our chapter. Anyone who wants to help organize with this committee, please contact : Sarah (email@example.com)
While news has been pouring in about the attacks on organized labor across the country, DSA Cleveland has also had an influx of new members and interest in helping with labor organizing. The Labor Committee is forming to discuss ways we can reach out to local unions and provide support in their efforts and help build a more militant rank-and-file labor movement. Anyone interested in this work, please contact : Glenn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Direct Action Committee
The Direct Action Committee is organizing to help coordinate Cleveland DSA’s presence at protests and other actions around Cleveland. Cleveland DSA members have already been a presence at the protests against the Trump election and #NoDAPL actions around town, and the Direct Action Committee is organizing to establish a rapid response network and provide support for future actions. All members are invited to join this work by contacting Mike (email@example.com). Additionally, we’re hosting a Socialism Craft Night on January 13th, 6-11pm, to help make signs and protest materials. Please join us!
Northeast Ohio Solidarity Network
Cleveland DSA is participating in the Northeast Ohio Solidarity Network, which has formed to help establish communication and coordination between local activist groups. A representative from the Solidarity Network joined us to describe the organization and its plans, and Cleveland DSA is sending delegates to their upcoming meetings to participate. Any DSA members interested in particpating, please contact the Direct Action Committee or Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Alan Pugh : Candidate for Elyria City Council
DSA member Alan Pugh joined us to talk about his campaign for an At-Large Seat on the Elyria City Council. Alan worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign and was inspired to throw his hat in the ring and bring a progressive left voice to Lorain County politics. Alan discussed his plans for focusing on increased access to public transportation, improving responses to the opiate addiction crisis, and many other important areas that show how DSA can have an important impact on local politics. The Cleveland DSA is exploring ways to support his candidacy and anyone interested in getting involved should contact him through his website.
Inauguration Events in Washington DC
We discussed plans for actions and events surrounding the January 20th Inauguration, both locally and in Washington D.C. Memebrs of Cleveland DSA are participating in events both here in town and in the Capitol. For details, see: http://www.dsacleveland.org/dsa-at-the-inauguration.
Clevelanders for Public Transit: Open Public Square to RTA!
Finally, we heard from Cleveland DSA members actively involved with CLE for Public Transit and the campaign to force Mayor Jackson to open Public Square to buses and transit. The newly redesigned Public Square was built with dedicated transit lanes, but the Mayor has unilaterally decided to keep these lanes closed to transit. This decision was made to curry favor with real estate interests like Key Bank and Forrest City to improve property values, while causing huge financial losses for RTA, delays for riders, and even one death.
Cleveland DSA and CLE for Public Transit urge members to come to the City Council hearing on Monday, January 9th, at 6:30pm to show your support and demand the Mayor and City Council re-open Public Square to Public Transit.
Next Steps and Upcoming Events
Finally, we discussed the many events coming up in the next month. We invite every member of Cleveland DSA to come out and get involved! Our next general meeting will be February 2, 2017. Keep watching this site, our Facebook page and our Twitter for updates!