Debt & Finance Working Group
This month, the Debt & Finance Working Group held an Organizing Committee election. Four members will be continuing on the committee and one new member will be joining.
Debt & Finance has been very focused on its public banking campaign. Currently, New York City and New York State funnel substantial amounts of New Yorkers’ money through private banks, which use those funds for socially destructive purposes such as private prisons, oil pipelines, and so on. Debt & Finance has been campaigning for New York to divest from these private banks, which are notoriously difficult to reign in, and instead create a system of public banks that strengthen our communities. A fuller statement on the public banking campaign can be found here.
As part of the public banking campaign, Debt & Finance has worked closely with the Public Bank NYC coalition, and conducted internal political education programs within DSA.
Additionally, the working group has been in contact with similar movement leaders in California, West Virginia, Washington, and Germany (among other places). They have lead outreach events in North Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, and have held teach-in events covering the history of the movement within New York (including how DSA founder Michael Harrington almost got a public banking initiative passed in the 1970s), the history of the movement in other areas, and how this issue intersects with worker co-ops.
Currently, Debt & Finance is developing potential legislation that would bring public banking to New York. While still in the planning stages, they hope to hold a public banking meeting in July, which will focus on the intersections between this movement and the fight for housing justice.
For scheduling and further information, reach them at: email@example.com
Healthcare Working Group
Since launching the citywide working group in January, the decades-long fight for single payer at the state and federal levels has been simultaneously marked by moments of progress and disappointment this year.
With respect to the New York Health Act, which would guarantee healthcare free at the point of service to all New York State residents (including undocumented residents): the bill enjoyed a historic first-ever hearing in the State Legislature this year since being introduced three decades ago, signaling a substantial increase in visibility. However, despite a newly progressive Democratic majority and a number of wins for lefty activists in the state, the State Senate yet again refused to put the New York Health Act to a vote.
The Healthcare working group, in tandem with its coalition partners, focused on targeting the last two Democratic holdouts for this bill in the five boroughs – State Senators Andrew Gounardes and Diane Savino, the latter formerly a member of the notorious IDC. While we succeeded in getting Gounardes to cosponsor, Savino refused to cosponsor, leaving us one vote short of a Senate majority. With the legislative session now over, Healthcare is now strategizing around the question of what lessons to learn from this year’s campaign as we set the groundwork for activism around next year’s State legislative budget session.
In the meantime, on the federal level, momentum continues to build for Medicare for All. The first-ever Congressional hearing for Medicare for All took place back in April, and a number of House Reps have signed onto the bill, thanks in part to organizing pressure from DSA chapters throughout the country. Earlier this month, the bill also enjoyed its first hearing in the House’s Ways and Means Committee, which has significant jurisdiction over healthcare policy. In New York City, the healthcare working group is focused on targeting Reps Hakeem Jeffries and Max Rose in Staten Island to pressure them to cosponsor Medicare for All. Staten Island DSA just launched a long stretch of summer canvassing focused on Max Rose, following a lobby meeting with his office back in May. Central Brooklyn DSA has also launched a canvassing operation in Crown Heights targeting Jeffries and has been birddogging him at town halls.
Throughout the rest of the summer, we look forward to increased organizing in NYC around Medicare for All and a renewed strategy for the New York Health Act going into 2020.
Immigrant Justice Working Group
Congratulations to the new members of the Immigrant Justice Working Group Committee: Britt Stern, Cody Carlson, Dan La Botz, Dinah Foley, and Robert Espinosa!
With few days remaining for the state legislative session, the working group’s ICE Out of the Courts campaign was focused on getting the Protect Our Courts Act up for a vote before the Assembly and Senate adjourn. The bill remains in committee for both houses.
In good news, The Open Borders resolution passed the NYC-DSA convention!
People interested in joining or working with the Immigrant Justice Working Group can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ecosocialist Working Group
This month, New York State passed the most ambitious climate legislation in the country! New York will now aim for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and economy-wide, net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. For years, activists from across the state, including the Ecosocialist working group, have been working in coalition through NY Renews to pass this legislation. While select areas were watered down at the last minute (for example, the Climate and Communities Protection Act that NY Renews had been pushing for stipulated that 40 percent of all state investments in climate and clean energy go to disadvantaged/frontline communities, but the final legislation allotted “no less than 35 percent”; also, zero emissions economy-wide become net-zero emissions while allowing for a small percentage of carbon offsets for certain industries), this is still a major win and may prompt action from other states.
Following this win, The Ecosocialist working group continues to make headway in their Public Power NYC campaign. At the end of May, they picketed outside of Con Edison’s annual shareholders meeting to demand an end to closed-door decisionmaking and the beginning of democratic control over our major energy systems and resources. Photos from the action can be found here, and the press release about the action can be read here.
On June 26, the working group held a direct confrontation with the Public Service Commission by delivering testimony at the public hearings for Con Edison’s current rate case. This was related to Con Edison’s desire to raise rates in order to build more fossil fuel infrastructure. Currently, the company has no plan for renewables.
On July 22, at 7:00pm, the working group will be holding another public hearing to collect testimony for the rate case in Astoria, co-hosted by Council Member Constantinides.
At our June general body meeting, the working group revived its Food Justice subcommittee.
Contact the Ecosocialist Working Group here: email@example.com
Religion and Socialism Working Group
On July 28th, The Religion and Socialism Working Group is sponsoring a panel at the Left Forum exploring the relationship between religion and socialism. Find out more about the panel and register here.
Contact the working group here: firstname.lastname@example.org