by Lisa Tan
January 15, 2020
The year is 2020 and we need to make our voices heard louder than ever in the fight for democracy and social justice in our community and across the planet. Already we have comrades in Australia facing the terror of climate change denial as communities burn. There is an urgent need for camaraderie across borders to protest imperialist warmongering as the U.S. escalates conflict with Iran. In Cleveland, residents seeking shelter from freezing weather at the Denison UCC are facing barriers to access from city council. The new year marks another year that families are separated by the terrorizing of undocumented people and immigrant communities. Mass incarceration continues to exploit the incarcerated and act as a violent repressive force that victimizes Black and poor communities. Homophobic and transphobic rhetoric has become more divisive and destructive, and LGBTQ communities continue to face disproportionate rates of homelessness, unemployment and suicide. As democratic socialists, we must stand in solidarity with the international working class and demand no war in Iran, support for a Green New Deal, and an end to the housing crisis in our own neighborhoods. We must continue to grow our local movement to abolish ICE, abolish the prison system, protect our comrades, and provide resources and solidarity. The new year’s adversities seem to pile up on those of the last and our attention is drawn in countless directions; how can we learn to cope and carry on with our work?
On January 2nd, Cleveland DSA members gathered in a library meeting room for our first general meeting of the year. We reflected on our accomplishments from 2019: the incredible participation our members brought to the campaign for lead safety; development of presentations for the fight against white nationalism; the strike solidarity we showed for UAW and the teachers of Summit Academy Parma; the creation of an Ecosocialism Committee to organize efforts for climate justice in Cleveland; and the building of our membership outreach that brought new members to the table and out to the picket lines. When setbacks move us to take action, this is what happens— we move, not as separate units but as an organized force. We recognize that we have the opportunity to do work that matters, and the air becomes a little easier to breathe.
We asked our members what resolutions they hope to achieve this year, both as a chapter and individually. Below are some of the answers we got that give us hope that we are not alone in the struggle. Despite everything we are up against, our comrades remain steadfast in building a democratic socialist society that works for everyone.
Members want to see that in 2020 our chapter will:
- Make significant progress to organize tenants at a building in Cleveland
- Develop space for parents and kids in our chapter
- Be more intentionally disability-friendly
- Get more volunteer turn out and grow our chapter
- Broaden our base through education that emphasizes systemic oppression, how our government exploits us, and the inherent failures of our economic structure
- Radicalize Cleveland through electoral politics
- Support labor movements
- See more people of color at meetings
- Recommit to queer liberation, feminism and racial justice
- Increase member development and engagement to build power and take on larger campaigns
- Work on both the electoral politics front and through direct action to promote a socialist future
Members shared some of their personal resolutions:
- Get a job with a union or maybe unionize workplace
- Build Solidarity Economy to full capacity
- Attend Brake Light Clinics
- Get more involved
- Help coordinate an intersectional push against the current power structures
- Read more books
- Get better at non-capitalist self-care
- Take my work as an organizer more seriously
- Work on my communication abilities
- Continue to be accountable for my actions
- Listen more, learn more, and grow as a person
- Do a one-on-one at least once a month
Setting goals with so much intentionality and sincerity is sustenance for our chapter. We would love to hear more of your resolutions for 2020. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you hope to see from Cleveland DSA this year and share a personal resolution!