This Week in the CDSA (August 4 – August 11)

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Good Morning Chicago DSA,

Yesterday we had to watch helplessly yet again as a mass shooting unfolded, this time in El Paso, Texas, where a white nationalist shot and killed 20 people in an effort to stop the “invasion” of people coming across the border from Mexico and the rest of Latin America. He is the latest in a long line of Far Right extremists to terrorize vulnerable communities both here in the US and abroad.

Very late last night, news broke of another shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Details are scarce as I type this, but the US continues to have a problem both with gun violence and white nationalist violence.

The conversation has already started around gun control, insofar as liberals have begun calling for it and conservatives have their heads buried firmly in the sand as they do the NRA’s bidding. And I would count myself among those who want to see things like universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, CDC research into gun violence, and other common sense measures that almost the entire country is on board with.

However.

My thinking has changed recently on the topic of guns. Robert Evans, a writer and podcast host who is both a leftist and someone who owns and uses guns, has made the argument that 1) the number of privately held guns will never be as low as a lot of people seem to want, mainly because a lot of people are going to refuse to hand them over or sell them and rural police departments have neither the will nor the ability to confiscate them by force, and 2) we on the left may want to have some guns around just in case.

Now, granted, the idea that The People need guns in case the government gets tyrannical is and always has been a silly fantasy. But the argument Evans is (and I am) making is more about what happens as the Far Right increasingly starts to turn their attentions on us, in a way that goes beyond things like Patriot Prayer rallies and Proud Boy rampages. And remember that the police are and always have been the enemy of the working classes, and that they have consistently sided with white nationalists when given a chance. We’re already on guard against undercover cops infiltrating our meetings and membership, shouldn’t we at least consider what happens when they’re looking at us like we’re Fred Hampton?

Am I being paranoid? Probably. We should be doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of everyone, and if that means gun control, then let’s do gun control. But at some point we should probably have a conversation about what gun control means to us on The Left.

Sorry to ramble a bit at y’all. I’m still working through my feelings on this. If you feel like I’m off base here, please feel free to yell at me via email.

In the meantime, we’ve got an excellent delegation at the DSA National Convention in Atlanta this weekend (hope you guys are having fun!), and we’ve got an Executive Committee meeting on Saturday. A reminder that if you want to submit a proposal to the Executive Committee to be considered at this meeting, please do so NO LATER THAN TONIGHT. You can email either (or both) of our co-chairs, Melinda Bunnage and Robin Peterson, at co-chair-1@chicagodsa.org and co-chair-2@chicagodsa.org, respectively.

That’s all from me. Stay safe, comrades.


Tuesday, August 6
  • Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Ordinance Canvass with STOP; 3 – 7 PM; STOP Office, 602 E. 61st St.

    We’re back for more canvassing on Tuesday afternoons! Come join a joint canvass with Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) and the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA) to talk with residents the need for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Ordinance to stop displacement around the Obama Center. Learn more here: http://www.obamacba.org/

  • Anti-Racism Working Group Meeting; 7 – 8:30 PM; U.E. Hall, 37 S. Ashland Ave.

    Monthly meeting of CDSA’s Anti-Racism Working Group to discuss ongoing campaigns supported by ARWG and local anti-racism activism in general. All are welcome! Light snacks will be provided.

Friday, August 9
  • #FreeHeartlandKids Friday Action; 4:30 – 6:30 PM; Heartland HQ, 208 S. LaSalle St.

    Hundreds of immigrant children are being detained in our backyard. Heartland Alliance is a Chicago-based nonprofit org that has historically focused on anti-poverty and immigration issues. Heartland currently operates 5 child detention centers and, until recently, 2 in Des Plaines. Currently, over 350 children are detained by Heartland. The Chicago DSA Immigrants Rights Committee is fighting back. This is a nonviolent action. We especially do not want to put participants who may be vulnerable on account of their documentation status at risk of arrest during this action. Ultimately, of course, the relevant authorities are responsible for how they choose to respond to our nonviolent action, but it is important that participants understand that a nonviolent action is what the the Free Heartland Kids campaign is engaging in for this week. ALL ARE WELCOME! We will have signs, banners, leaflets, petitions, chants, and more depending on the time and day. You can show up with nothing but your principles, and we will have material and information to offer you. If you would like to bring your own signs, banners, leaflets, petitions, chants, and more, we welcome them!

Saturday, August 10
  • Executive Committee Meeting; 12 – 2 PM; U.E. Hall, 37 S. Ashland Ave.

    If there is a proposal you would like to bring to the EC, please email both Chapter Co-Chairs (co-chair-1@chicagodsa.org & co-chair-2@chicagodsa.org) before the end of the day Sunday 8/4/2019. As a reminder, all CDSA members are welcome to attend, but only EC members can vote.

Sunday, August 11
  • Lift The Ban Northside Canvass; 11 AM – 2:30 PM, 33rd Ward Working Families, 3248 W. Montrose Ave.

    It’s time to organize the working class of Chicago to fight gentrification and the power of corporate landlords. We’ll be building a working-class movement around housing by enlisting neighbors in Alderman Rossana’s ward. It’s us against the real estate lobby, and our power comes down to the coalition we can build from our neighbors. We’ll do introductions, a brief training, grab lit and hit the streets!

  • West Cook Branch Meeting; 1 – 3 PM, Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St.

    Come out and join us for our August meeting! We’ll hear from our delegates to DSA’s National Convention and talk about what we can do to build socialism on the west side of Chicago and into the suburbs. All are welcome!


  • If you would like to receive our Red Star Bulletin, providing you with news and analysis from all over Chicago, fill out this form.
  • The Strike and Solidarity Committee is looking for strike captains! If you’re interested in being a strike captain (no experience required!), fill out this survey about the times and areas where you could help. They have also set up an SMS system to keep people posted about strike and solidarity actions. People that want to get updates should text SOLIDARITY to 55222.
  • The Electoral Working Group would like to announce that its endorsement questionnaire is now available! Requests can be sent to electoral@chicagodsa.org.
  • If you are a CDSA meber but aren’t on the CDSA Slack Channel yet, and would like to be, shoot me an email at cdsacomms@gmail.com and I’ll get you set up with it.
  • Grievance Policy. If you ever feel you are being harassed by another member of DSA, or made to feel uncomfortable by a member, or have a conflict with another member, please reach out to hgo@chicagodsa.org to get in touch with our chapter’s Harassment and Grievance Officers.
  • Announcing the No Sanctions, No War on Iran Ad Hoc Committee: The Trump administration pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement and imposing sanctions on Iran brought us to within minutes of a shooting war. The threat still exists and will continue to do so as long as sanctions and the US’s campaign of “maximum pressure” continues. Chicago can’t afford another war! The Ad Hoc committee plans to: 1) provide education on Iran, the history of the region and US intervention, the effect of sanctions, and how to avert war; 2) reach out to organizations like anti-war veterans’ groups and homeless advocates, labor unions, mental health advocates, and others who are affected by another potential war; 3) reach out to our DSA Alderpersons for a letter of support and a possible resolution introduced to City Council. The committee will officially start work in a couple of weeks. If interested to find out more or to work with the committee, contact: Saman at p70volkl@yahoo.com and Sophie at NoIranSanctions@gmail.com.

As Always:

  1. Fill out this form immediately if you have CDSA organized/sponsored event you want on the calendar. Submissions must be in by the preceding Friday at the latest to make this email.

  2. Check out the events page on our website for the most up date list of events.

  3. Forward this email to your friends!

In solidarity,
Caleb Nordgren

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