Strike Wave Slate Platform
Our Organizing Priorities
A renewed sense of militancy in the labor movement over the last year has offered the left a glimmer of hope in an otherwise grim political moment. COVID rages on. The Democratic Party under Joe Biden’s leadership has offered crumbs to the working class. To fight climate change, win dignity for the working class, and ultimately, a socialist future, the working class must be organized and fight back.
2021 showed the promise that organized labor can bring for rebuilding a fighting working class: Kellogg’s, Nabisco, Hunt’s Point, John Deere, IATSE, Starbucks, Amazon/Bessemer etc. all captured the attention and imagination of working people––beyond the socialist and labor movements––to become national news. And bottom-up movements inside two of the country’s largest unions won big victories with the success of the OZ reform slate in the Teamsters and one member one vote referendum in the UAW.
But there’s much more work to do to rebuild a powerful labor movement and an organized, militant working class in the US and socialists have a key role to play.
Many unions across the country have been stagnant, undemocratic, top down, bureaucratic, unable to organize new workers or hold onto current members.
To fix this, socialists must pursue the rank and file strategy to organize on the shop floor and cohere a militant minority to transform unions into vehicles for class struggle. In addition, socialists must focus on organizing the unorganized, build up labor solidarity capacities, and bring the socialist and labor movements together in joint campaigns and struggles.
The tasks ahead needed to rebuild the labor movement are numerous. DSA’s labor strategy, while ambitious in its goals, has sometimes lacked a strategic focus. Far too often, we have called on DSA to do everything to intervene in the labor movement, and too little ends up being accomplished. To rectify this, we propose DSA focus heavily over the next two years on building up the work in chapters across the country and at the national level that we have already had the most success doing.
The guiding star of all this organizing is building up rank-and-file worker power, and we believe that the following 3 campaigns offer the most feasible avenues for DSA to build material solidarity with the labor movement, connect the socialist movement with labor struggles, and will encourage DSA members to concentrate themselves in strategic industries as rank-and-file organizers.
🌹 A DSA Labor Corps
From Alabama to the Bronx to Portland, DSA chapters have provided crucial picket line turnout, fundraising, food, and connections to spread the word for workers, often building lasting relationships along the way.
We will build up chapters’ capacity across the country to proactively support labor struggles, including strikes and organizing drives to cohere community support, boost worker morale, increase chances of success, and build critical links between socialist organizers and militant worker activists in unions.
DSLC SC members will work with a DSA Labor staffer to:
- Develop and deploy a toolkit for chapters to map their local labor contexts, map upcoming contract campaigns, begin building relationships and connections with union members, etc.
- Produce educational materials to be printed and sent to DSA chapters about do’s and don'ts of socialist labor solidarity, etc.
- Send DSLC SC members, a labor staffer, and any other key leaders in DSA with labor experience to visit chapters in hot spots of strike/organizing drive activity to advise DSA organizers on the ground and build connections with local chapters and national DSLC leadership
- Partner with the DSA Comms staffer to produce social media content to promote DSA solidarity for labor actions
- Create a national DSA Strike Solidarity fund, a project the NPC and DSLC SC have already voted to support
📦 Building out the Logistics Subcommittee
In addition to supporting DSA labor solidarity campaigns, we also want to prioritize rank-and-file organizing in the logistics sector due to the immense structural leverage logistics workers have in the economy, and growing opportunities for organizing the unorganized in this area.
With new, more militant leadership at the helm of the Teamsters, a UPS contract covering 300,000 Teamsters up for renegotiation in 2023, and increasing militancy and organizing among Amazon workers, there are many opportunities for DSA to build out a national Organize Logistics campaign. The DSLC SC has begun to roll out such a campaign, and has formed a Logistics Subcommittee of the DSLC SC to do so.
We support these efforts wholeheartedly, and our slate members are committed to merging these efforts with ongoing organizing already occurring within the logistics sector. These efforts will involve:
- Helping local chapters build logistics jobs pipelines to build critical organizing capacity in target shops and facilities.
- Engaging in solidarity campaigns to support local struggles within the logistics industry as a part of a wider organizing strategy.
- Helping organize the unorganized in logistics and partnering with other organizations and formations that share our common goals.
🤝 A Rank-and-File Perspective
All members of this slate understand that the rank and file strategy is the key to building the power and militancy of the labor movement. That is, we have to empower workers from below to become leaders on the shop floor, fight for union democracy, and focus on making connections with worker leaders.
Through these labor solidarity and logistics organizing campaigns, as well as our existing projects such as EWOC, we hope to build up new labor branches in DSA chapters that do not yet have this infrastructure to support rank-and-file workers. DSLC SC members will:
- Help chapters develop labor branches, connect these labor branches across the country under the leadership of the DSLC and encourage members to find rank-and-file jobs in industries that are strategic for organizing.
- Increase involvement from existing union members through industry networks and expand new organizing through EWOC.
- Develop national political educational materials on rank-and-file organizing, which will be shared with local chapters
- Approach DSA labor solidarity with a rank and file perspective, by focusing on taking our guidance from and building relationships with rank-and-file workers and elected worker leaders, rather than exclusively working through union staff.