October 20, 2020
Interested in joining DSA’s International Committee? You can learn more about the work of our subcommittees in this newsletter and apply here anytime until June 2021. The next round of applications will be reviewed after the application deadline of December 31, 2020.
Quarterly International Committee Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 1
Main Activities & Results
During the past quarter, the newly formed Secretariat passed statements in support of the Jordan Teachers Union, the Garifuna people of Honduras, leftists facing persecution in Ecuador, Bolivia and throughout Latin America, and Filipinos worldwide protesting Duterte. The Secretariat also took part in closed-door roundtable discussions with like-minded comrades in Costa Rica and Southeast Asia. Our members helped to organize or take part in public online gatherings in France, Chile, the UK, and at the Progressive International. We also approved an event on the explosion at the port in Beirut, and we approved an upcoming event on the Iraqi demonstrations.
As this was the first quarter since the Secretariat’s members were appointed by the National Political Committee, we also spent a good amount of time getting our own house in order, drafting up working rules related to communications, voting and other procedural issues. We likewise spent time getting to know our fellow committee members, including on the IC Steering Committee and its various Subcommittees. Finally, we embarked on several longer-term projects, including a compendium for our general membership of left politics around the world, and a process through which our members abroad can better support DSA’s priorities and our shared goals of international socialism.
IC Steering Committee
In addition to preparing the quarterly IC newsletter, the Steering Committee has also made progress opening up the IC to the full general membership of DSA by implementing a new, more transparent membership process. The Steering Committee created a simple application form that was shared with general membership in the most recent NPC newsletter. The application will remain open to all DSA members until June 2021. Members will be reviewed and onboarded in rounds, with the first round deadline being on October 11 and the second on December 31. We encourage all interested DSA members to apply!
Much of Steering’s work this first quarter of the IC launch involved setting up internal processes and communications. We’ve also connected with national level working groups (Ecosocialism, Labor, BDS/Palestine, Immigrants’ Rights, AfroSoc+SoC caucus, Political Ed) to see how we can work together and how the IC can support their work on an international level. Additionally, we set up Action Network and social media accounts: Twitter and Facebook. As mandated by the 2019 DSA Convention, in addition to this quarterly newsletter, a quarterly report with analysis of international events will be available by the end of October.Lastly, the guidelines on event sponsorship, new member onboarding, and active membership were developed and shared with subcommittees.
The Americas Subcommittee has held a few internal meetings to set the groundwork for our first public meeting, scheduled for mid-October. Our subcommittee has diverse interests, both geographically and by issues—from extractivism and labor to racial justice, electoralism, feminism and beyond.
The Anti-War Subcommittee is rebooting its work on the No War Campaign, which DSA’s NPC adopted earlier this year in response to Trump’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani. The campaign aims to build DSA’s national organizing capacity, to enable us to mobilize our full membership effectively against any further military escalation that could drive us into a hot war with Iran. The campaign also recognizes that US sanctions on Iran—as well as Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and any countries targeted for regime change—are an act of war, with the worst effects felt by the working class and vulnerable populations.
We are currently developing proposals for federal sanctions relief legislation targeting the four countries just mentioned, to be introduced as a package in the next congressional session. We have drafted a bill proposal for Iran, and we recently made contact with the National Network on Cuba to solidify demands for a bill that would provide sanctions relief for Cuba and acknowledge the important work of Cuban doctors in fighting the virus around the world.
Asia + Oceania
This quarter, the Asia + Oceania Subcommittee held its inaugural meeting. We also met with DSA members interested in establishing formal ties between Sri Lankan left activists/parties and DSA. We reviewed a DSA statement on Kashmir in the face of escalating oppression from the Indian government, and considered a request from the Japanese left formation Movement for Democratic Socialism to have DSA send a letter of solidarity. We approved endorsing Bayan and the Malaya Movements’ response to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Union Address, and we interviewed members interested in joining the Asia + Oceania subcommittee.
Economics + Trade
Economics + Trade Subcommittee activities during this quarter were limited in advance of onboarding new members. We held two meetings, on August 4 and 19. At the August 4 meeting we discussed current international issues related to economics and trade and also briefly reviewed several ongoing project areas for our subcommittee. The August 19 meeting was held to inform the previous members of the subcommittee about the onboarding process and the need to reapply for membership in the subcommittee. Finally, representatives from Econ+Trade and IC Ecosocialism joined the national-level Ecosocialist Steering Committee to discuss how we can work together. Much that’s actionable on an international level in regard to ecosocialism takes place at the level of trade deals and international monetary bodies, and we expect much collaborative work between these two subcommittees.
One of first priorities for the Ecosocialist Subcommittee is clarifying and establishing our relationship with the existing national Ecosocialist Working Group. To that end, we met with the EWG Steering Committee on 9/28 (along with a rep from the Econ + Trade subcommittee) to discuss the nature of that relationship. It was agreed that one member of the EWG SC would serve as a formal liaison to the IC Ecosoc subcommittee. We also discussed areas for collaboration especially around political education, including a potential joint event in early 2021.
The Europe Subcommittee began ramping up our work over the last couple months in collaboration with the broader IC. We are focused on three goals:
1. To educate and inform DSA members about European peoples history and politics,
2. To strengthen the bonds of solidarity between DSA and our comrades in Europe,
3. To develop concrete initiatives and campaigns in which DSA chapters and members can participate.
We hosted our first video conference education event on September 26 titled “Covid-19, Crisis, and Conflict in Europe,” featuring socialists and health experts, including:
Petter Nilsson (Center for Marxist Social Studies and the Left Party in Stockholm), Ornella Punzo (a doctor in Rome who works in the National Institute of Health in the Communicable Diseases Department), Jorge Luis Díaz González (a doctor in Medicine and Public Health in the Mar de Barcelona Hospital and a member of Anticapitalistas), and Lara McNeill (a physician at Eastbourne District General Hospital and a member of the Labour Party’s NEC).
And we have begun reaching out to our comrades in Europe to discuss Trump’s ongoing voter suppression and potential threats to democracy before and after the November 3 elections. Finally, we have just started working with a significant group of DSA members who are living in several European countries who are looking to build international bridges.
Labor Subcommittee has been researching and conducting interviews in the first areas of focus which are Mexico and the Philippines, but also international federations. This information is being noted and may appear in a reference doc for members once we have an adequate amount of info to warrant it.
The Labor Subcommittee in recommendation to the IC signed onto a statement from the Middle East and Africa Subcommittee against the arresting of top leadership in the Jordanian teachers’ union by the Jordanian state.
The Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME) electrical workers unions will be holding an anti NAFTA 2.0 bi-national conference in October. Whether the IC wants to promote this is up for discussion. SME is traditionally one of the only trade unions not linked to the Mexican state. It would be nice to see at least one national representative attend this video conference.
Contact with a Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) representative will be established soon via connections in San Francisco. KMU is a mass trade union federation in the Philippines.
Middle East + Africa
We issued a statement supporting a Jordanian workers strike. We held an educational panel on the protest movement in Lebanon (with co-sponsorship from Haymarket Books) following the explosion in Beirut. We held a meeting with DSA’s BDS committee members regarding possible collaboration on a campaign to cut US military aid to Israel.
Migration + Refugees
Our activities so far have focused on outreach, as we revamp this subcommittee and build out its infrastructure. We took a concerted focus on two existing national formations: Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus and the National Immigrants’ Rights Working Group. We will continue to do outreach to chapters with existing immigrant justice work. At the same time, we are connecting with outside organizations doing work on the ground. The vision for the Migration + Refugees Subcommittee is to make it action-oriented around two areas of urgent focus: abolish ICE work and organizing against detention centers. Additionally, we aim to expand the work laid out in Resolution #73 on Open Borders. We want to further develop the demand and work toward building a plan for a socialist program.
Activities Planned for Next Quarter
During the coming quarter the Secretariat will continue its work on several longer-term projects on which it embarked during the previous quarter, including a compendium for our general membership of left politics around the world; a process through which our members abroad can better support DSA’s priorities and our shared goals of international socialism; and internal development of the Secretariat and broader International Committee through proposals regarding the refinement of procedural rules and institutional norms.
The Secretariat will also continue to play its role as an advisory body to the NPC, weighing in when asked, or when it deems appropriate, on important issues related to international politics and DSA diplomacy. It will also continue to play a role producing statements on emerging political issues and endorsing events and open letters that are proposed and pass its vetting process.
IC Steering Committee
In the next quarter the Steering Committee will support Subcommittees in reviewing applications and onboarding new members to the IC, to ensure a smooth opening process. Once new members are on board, Steering will work with Subcommittees to set up starting projects and begin to develop a coherent body of work from the full IC that will provide both educational and activist opportunities for DSA membership. The Steering Committee will also plan to support the NPC as appropriate with regard to its November 2020 Political Analysis & Strategy.
Last year ended with a wave of uprisings across the region—from Haiti to Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Chile. We are keen to work with allies across the region to stand in solidarity with those on the frontlines of these struggles. We look forward to working with DSA members to employ a diverse range of tactics and strategies in order to make our solidarity concrete and felt on the ground, whether that be through campaigns, delegations, political education series, interviews with activists and leaders, etc. Join us in this work!
Aside from continuing to support the No War Campaign, securing support, and introductions for all proposed sanctions legislation, we hope that this subcommittee will serve as a place for anti-war and internationalist organizers around the country to meet, share resources, and coordinate their local campaign work with comrades around the country. We also plan to support the ongoing Black-led social uprisings against police, emphasizing the connections between US state violence at home and abroad, both of which may increase in the leadup to the presidential election. Finally, we are hoping to assemble great resources produced by local DSA bodies on political education around issues of militarism, state violence, and US imperialism, and want to supplement that with programming developed in close collaboration with other entities within DSA to further educate ourselves around organizing to end these injustices (for example, a discussion of POC-led anti-war work in the US, such as that from the Panthers and Young Lords, or the Chicano Moratorium.)
Asia + Oceania
We would like to have at least two public education events providing context around the current state of the Indian government and the new cold war with China. We would like to plan more topics after onboarding new members.
Economics + Trade
The previous membership of the subcommittee had been discussing five project areas: international aspects of the Green New Deal, US domination of the international financial payments system, tax avoidance and inequality, the US/China economic and trade conflict, and the World Bank/IMF role in the world economy. After adding new members, we will go over those project areas and see if new members have other proposals, then we’ll aim to decide on priorities among the proposed projects. The projects could lead to public actions, webinars, policy statements, and/or political education documents.
As mentioned above, we hope to work with national-level DSA Ecosocialism WG as well as cross-IC-subcommittee with Economics + Trade and others to develop international elements to DSA’s GND. We look forward to producing educational materials, events, and advocacy campaigns to help inform membership and provide avenues of engagement for internationalist ecosocialism.
We are planning more educational events this fall with potential topics including the experience of left-wing parties, the fight against racism in Europe, international Amazon worker organizing, reports on the feminist movement, primers on the role of NATO and the EU, and deep dives into specific countries’ politics and social movements. If you have suggestions for topics and want to help, please see the Contact Us section for Europe below.
The new proposed date for the webinar Labor Rights and Struggle in Mexico is Sunday, October 18, at 10am ET. We have three soft confirmations from panelists and will seek second confirmation in the next week.
The Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA) has found a sponsor in the US House and is making progress toward becoming a presentable bill. We would like to highlight the PHRA nationally through DSA’s official structures, and seek widespread education and support for the act’s issues throughout the country’s branches.
We want to immediately expand research and focus to other countries with the new recruits to our committee once the review of applicants is complete. More members will greatly improve the collection of information.
Middle East + Africa
We are delaying campaign planning pending opening up of the committee to new members. At present, future plans are limited to educational events. We are planning several events, including a panel on protest movements in Iraq, as well as two panels on capitalism, imperialism, and the left in Africa.
Migration + Refugees
1) Political Education:
We will be supporting and boosting the October 12 “Immigrants’ Struggles Under COVID” webinar put on by the Immigrants’ Rights Working Group. In addition to the Abolish ICE work that is ongoing through the Immigrants’ Rights Working Group, this subcommittee can contribute political education projects that are in solidarity with other migrant and refugee struggles beyond the Americas. To start, we plan to hold webinars that uplift the struggles of SouthEast Asian and Pacific Islander migrant workers.
Post election, regardless of outcome, some regional California groups we’re working with are planning a day of action for full legalization on November 14. This will coincide with a national DSA organizing call for immigrants’ rights. If other locals are in support, we can turn that into a weekend for Immigrant Justice.
Communications (Tweets, pictures, videos, etc.)
International Committee, general:
Middle East + Africa
Ella W. (Liaison to: ME & A, Migration and Refugees) [At-large]
Ethan E. (Liaison to: Econ & Trade, Europe) [At-large]
Jack S.L. (Liaison to: Americas, Migration & Refugees) [Los Angeles Chapter]
Marvin G. (Liaison to: Americas, Europe) [NYC Chapter]
Sepehr M. (Liaison to: Antiwar, ME & A) [NYC Chapter]
Nicole G. (Liaison to: Ecosocialism, Europe) [Syracuse Chapter]
Morgan D. (Liaison to: Americas, Labor) [New Orleans Chapter]
Alex W. (Liaison to: Antiwar, Asia & Oceania) [Portland Chapter]
Kevin L. (Liaison to: Asia & Oceania, Labor) [Metro DC Chapter]
Michael G. (Liaison to: Econ & Trade, Ecosocialism) [Metro DC Chapter]
Steering Committee Members:
Chip G. (Liaison to: Antiwar, Europe) [Metro DC Chapter]
Carrington M. (Liaison to: Econ & Trade, Ecosocialism, Europe) [NYC Chapter]
Jared A. (Liaison to: Americas, Europe) [New Orleans Chapter]
Lindsey S. (Liaison to: Antiwar, Middle East & Africa) [NYC Chapter]
Candy L. (Liaison to: Americas) [Portland Chapter]
Fernando S. (Liaison to Migration & Refugees) [North New Jersey Chapter]
David D. (Liaison to: Labor) [NYC Chapter]
Joshua B. (Liaison to: Econ & Trade, Ecosocialism) [Metro DC Chapter]
Brace B. (Liaison to: Asia & Oceania) [San Francisco]
International Committee’s Subcommittees
Co-chairs: Todd Chretien [Maine Chapter]
Migration & Refugees
Co-chairs: Gaston L. [East Bay Chapter],