#WhyDSA – Noah Weston

By Dallas G

The journey to socialism was no stretch for Noah Abraham Weston, “It’s in my blood!” he quips. 

The 33-year-old Bay Ridge resident assigns his active membership in NYC-DSA — where he’s now a Brooklyn Electoral Working Group field captain for Julia Salazar’s campaign to win Martin Dilan’s seat in the New York State Senate — more to a chance encounter while doing errands. That Saturday, photographer Chi A was on the ground in Bay Ridge, canvassing for single payer and the New York Health Act.  That was the ticket.

“At the time that I met Chi, I was already interested in DSA, but I didn’t go to meetings.  I couldn’t see how I would contribute. After we talked, I joined.  Months later, when I saw what was happening with [Reverend Khader El-Yateem’s] campaign [for City Council from Bay Ridge], I saw something palpable happening.  DSA was really doing it!  They were performing actual tasks, making gains, and I got involved with Khader’s campaign.” “At college, there were lots of activists and leftist groups talking, but with DSA, I saw something was really resonating with people.”

“That encounter was my jumping on point, my ‘Shane’ moment,” laughed Weston — known for his signature horn-rimmed glasses and quick repartee.  “Health care matters a great deal to me. It’s essential to form popular support for a single-payer program, and New York could be a potent proving ground.”

“As I see it for DSA, health care can change the most lives with the fewest number of steps.  It’s the great game changer.  You get it for people, and it fuels your work on other issues. It’s easier to organize for other things — anti-war, housing — but health care dictates our jobs, our lives, and it’s elusive for so many people:  Every job gives money.  Not every job gives health care.”

That was the fall of 2017. Weston is now the veteran of three bruising Brooklyn DSA political campaigns, including the City Council runs of Palestinian-American El-Yateem and Crown Heights-Bushwick’s Jabari Brisport.  The candidates lost, but by margins that knocked the political operatives who run the city off their chairs. 

Now Weston’s concentrating his best energies on Julia Salazar’s run for NY State Senate.  “Julia’s all that she’s cracked up to be.  There’s no pretense there. She is a great candidate.  It’s so important that we take back the senate, and her background is housing and criminal justice reform.  As it happens, my first job in New York was as an investigator for the Civilian Complaint Review Board.  I was living in Crown Heights and saw gentrification up close. I thought, ‘What could change this?’ Seeing what DSA’s doing, I have hope.”

“In our South Brooklyn branch, we can trust the experience and capacity of one another, and that makes the difference, I think.  If one doesn’t know the answer, then let’s go to the person who does!  We’ve benefitted so much, too, from the groundwork laid by Black Lives Matter and Occupy.  We’ve learned from them.  As I see it, our work is to set it up and get out of the way.”

“I want Socialism, and electoral work is my wheelhouse in DSA.  If we succeed, it’s not about DSA.  Winning means that we get socialism:  what DSA does would be what America does. If we — DSA — can just help to get America to the point where organizing comes from whole towns, unions, groups and associations, then the people are doing it for themselves, and we have succeeded.  That’s what I want.  It’s not about DSA.  It’s about making Socialism the prevailing ideology in America.”