Public Safety Announcement–Abuse in Lawrence DSA

Please be aware that several incidents of sexual harassment and abuse by Brian Thomas, Dan Jensen, and Leo Niehorster-Cook have been reported to our Steering Committee. These incidents were covered and the perpetrators protected by Sam Allison-Natale and Hannah Allison-Natale. We are sharing this because we have an obligation to our members and to the safety of our community. For more information, please visit dsabusers.com

Douglas County, KS 2019 Voter Guide

View sample ballot

Make a plan to vote:

If you need a ride to vote on November 5, please email contact@lawrencedsa.com

This election, there are three sections on the ballot: 

  • Lawrence City Commission
  • USD 497 School Board (Lawrence Public Schools) 
  • Special Question (statewide)

Lawrence City Commission candidates (you may vote for up to 3)

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.38.06 PMScreenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.55.08 PMJoey Hentzler

Joey is running on a progressive platform including affordable housing, sustainability programs to tackle climate change, and reforms to address systemic racial disparities. He supports making utility rates as progressive as possible and public funding for sidewalk repairs. Joey is Director of Advocacy for Kansas Appleseed, which works to address social, economic and political injustice in Kansas. Joey is endorsed by DSA.

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMCourtney Shipley

Courtney has mixed views about support for developers vs. annexation and about utility rate increases, but supports public funding of sidewalks. Courtney chairs the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Lawrence Preservation Alliance and Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery Board.

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMKen Easthouse

Ken is part of a Public Incentives Review Committee that examines potential impacts of opportunity zones, which provide tax incentives for developers in areas such as business parks and KU. Ken supports funding of sidewalks by the city instead of by property owners, but he opposes the policy that developers must provide some kind of community benefit if they want to annex land to expand the city. 

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMStuart Boley 

Stuart is running for reelection to City Commission, where his voting record reveals support for developers and high-end housing complexes rather than affordable housing. He believes the recent regressive utility rate increases are appropriate and wants homeowners to pay for sidewalk repairs. In addition, Stuart voted against lowering marijuana possession fines in Lawrence.  Stuart is a retired IRS auditor.  

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMRob Sands

Rob supports annexation over developers but opposes the requirement that developers must provide a community benefit. He is an active duty member of the Kansas Army National Guard. Rob volunteers on two city boards: the Lawrence/Douglas County Municipal Planning Commission, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization. 

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMBrad Finkeldei

Brad is a Republican. Brad Finkeldei accepted a substantial contribution from Scott Zaremba, the president of Zarco USA and the previous president of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas. He states he is “considering” returning it. Brad wants homeowners to pay for sidewalk repairs and supports developers that don’t offer some kind of community benefit.  Brad has accepted campaign donations from utility company officials who stand to benefit from changes to city energy policy.

USD 497 School Board candidates (you may vote for up to four)

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.58.41 PMScreenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.55.08 PMCarole Cadue-Blackwood

Carole supports funding social workers and restorative justice programs, not cops in schools. She’s running to create universal pre-K, increase funding for students and teachers, and support the paraeducators union as well as our unionized teachers. Carole is a clinical social worker, has children in USD 497, and advocates for Native communities; she was instrumental in the re-dedication of Billy Mills Middle School. Carole is endorsed by DSA. 

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.55.08 PMThea PerryScreenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.50.39 PM

Thea supports funding social workers and restorative justice programs, not cops in schools. She’s running to create universal pre-K, increase funding for students and teachers, and support the paraeducators union as well as our unionized teachers. Thea is a former teacher and an activist for education, housing, and health care access. Thea is endorsed by DSA.

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.55.08 PMScreenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.50.47 PM Paula Smith

Paula supports funding social workers and restorative justice programs, not cops in schools. She’s running to create universal pre-K, increase funding for students and teachers, and support the paraeducators union as well as our unionized teachers. Paula volunteers with Native American Student Services and has worked as a nonprofit advocate and in Tribal Administration. Paula is endorsed by DSA.

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMErica Hill

Erica is the Finance and Operations Manager of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Health Foundation. She serves on three USD 497 committees and advisory councils. Erica did not return our DSA candidate survey. 

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.42.59 PMShannon Kimball

Shannon is running for a third term on the USD 437 School Board, having served as board President and Vice President. She takes pride in her contributions to the facilities upgrades and improvements in college and career readiness programs. Shannon is President of the Kansas Association of School Boards and an attorney. Shannon did not return our DSA candidate survey.

 Special Question (statewide)

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 6.05.08 PM

The 2020 U.S. Census is upcoming, and Kansas is the only state in the U.S. that actively adjusts the federal census numbers to exclude our nonresident students and military personnel. How Kansas counts its population affects how the districts are drawn for Legislative and State Board of Education. Keeping this policy in place is estimated to cost $835,000 in 2020. The Kansas Legislature has supported this amendment with bipartisan supermajorities. Voting YES on this question would amend the state Constitution to eliminate this adjustment procedure and include everyone in the population count. 


The Lawrence Democratic Socialists of America is a nonprofit organization. We’re one chapter of a nation-wide organization, The Democratic Socialists of America, which has over 60,000 members and growing. Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. We’re a political and activist organization, not a party. Our Lawrence DSA chapter works to represent the needs of both our city’s residents and university students. We’re workers, students, long-time residents, and recent arrivals organizing in our workplaces, universities, high schools, unions, and neighborhoods to fight for the immediate needs of workers, students, and Lawrence residents while building our capacity to fight for more radical and structural changes. Join us at our next meeting!

May 2019 General Meeting Agenda

The April 2019 General Meeting will be on Monday, May 6th at 7PM in the Ecumenical Campus Ministry Building (1204 Oread Ave). Childcare will be provided on-site.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows. Time estimates in parentheses.

(5:00) Ice-Breaker

(1:00) Overview of Robert’s Rules / Community Agreements

(1:00) Quorum Check

(2:00) Open Floor for adding items to the agenda

(2:00) Vote on Agenda

(10:00) Reportbacks / Intro to Working Groups

(10:00) Discuss with Working Groups!

(1:00) Call for Dues Renewal


(32:00) Chapter Business Track (For Dues Payers or Regular Attendees)

  • (3:00) Announcement of Election Results for Secretary & Social Media Com Chair
  • (5:00) Social Media Security Discussion
  • (7:00) Bylaw Amendment Committee 2
  • (3:00) Announcement of National Delegate Election Rules
  • (1:00) Announcement of National Delegate Election Meeting
  • (3:00) Overview and vote on creating the Electoral Working Group
  • (10:00) Discussion on electoral WG plan

(32:00) New Attendee Track (For New or Prospective Members)

  • (8:00) Small Group Discussion
  • (12:00) Explainer about How DSA Works (Locally, Regionally, Nationally)
  • (10:00) Question and Answer about DSA
  • (2:00) Call To Action

(5:00) All Attendees Meet Back Up for Open Floor

(5:00) Announcement of Revolution School

(2:00) Plan for Next General Meeting

(3:00) Close Out

Newsletter Issue 3: Socialist Feminism

Working Women of the World, Unite!

  Table of Contents


  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Socialist feminism brings together feminist and socialist modes of thought, recognizing that the socialist project is necessarily a feminist one and vice versa. Barbara Ehrenreich put it well when she said:

At some level, perhaps not too well articulated, socialist feminism has been around for a long time. You are a woman in a capitalist society. You get pissed off: about the job, about the bills, about your husband (or ex), about the kids’ school, the housework, being pretty, not being pretty, being looked at, not being look at (and either way, not listened to), etc. If you think about all these things and how they fit together and what has to be changed, and then you look around for some words to hold all these thoughts together in abbreviated form, you’d almost have to come up with “socialist feminism.”

In a capitalist society that routinely devalues women, nonbinary people, transgender and gender non conforming folks, socialist feminism aims to confront the inter- secting lines of class and gender oppression. The DSA offers support and solidarity to many Socialist Feminist Working groups across the country, including one here in Lawrence, Kansas. These groups aim to organize, educate, and provide a socialist counterpoint to the dominant neoliberal conception of feminism.

Neoliberal feminists want there to be more female billionaires. Socialist feminist don’t want there to be any billionaires at all.


  WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

We all know the pay gap sucks. There’s even more to be mad about:

According to the US Department of Labor, 39% of women work in occupations where women make up 3⁄4 of the workforce. Some neoliberal feminists may praise this stat for being super #girlboss, #leanin, but it’s clear to socialist feminists that many women are shunted into low-pay “pink collar” jobs, many of which are in the service industry.

Also according to the US Department of labor, 71% of mothers with children under 18 are active in the labor force. Meanwhile, childcare is not a guaranteed right and many parents struggle to find adequate, affordable coverage. In fact, in Kansas, yearly childcare costs amount to more than in- state tuition for public universities.

In Kansas, hate crime laws cover cases based on sexual orientation, but not on gender identity. This leaves transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming folks at even more risk in a state that refuses to change legal gender on birth certificates.

It is estimated that 9 million women in the United States are currently without healthcare. Even if they manage to see a doctor, it is not uncommon for women’s pain to be ignored or minimized. Across the board there was a 26% increase in maternal mortality rates between 2000 and 2014, and black women are three to four times more likely to die giving birth than non-Hispanic white women.

Socialist feminists look at these statistics and see how the relationship between capital, power, and oppression diminish the quality of life for the many in favor of the few.


🦒  JARGON GIRAFFE

n. Definitions you need to follow along
Ex: What the hell are you talking about? Get the jargon giraffe!

  • Emotional labor – manipulating and regulating one’s emotions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. Many jobs that entail emotional labor are mostly filled by women: waitressing, teaching, nursing, and customer service are a few examples.
  • TERF – Don’t be a TERF. TERF stands for Trans Exclu- sionary Radical Feminist. There’s nothing radical about excluding our trans brothers, sisters, and siblings.
  • Pay Gap – refers to the gap in median wages between women working full time and men working full time. Women are paid less for their work than men. Women of color are particularly exploited, earning on average far less than men and white women.
  • Neoliberal feminism – the idea that women will be best served in their liberation by participating actively and in compliance with the capitalist market.

  GOING FORWARD

The purpose of THE FREE STATE WORKER is to inform you about political issues, legislative proposals, and upcoming events that affect Lawrence. We will also highlight work being done by Lawrence DSA and other activist organizations to benefit our community, the state, and country as a whole.

However, to best serve Lawrence, we need to hear from you. Please contact us to share how you think we can improve our newsletter or if you’d like to learn about how you can get involved with future issues.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In Solidarity,

The Lawrence DSA Newsletter Team

Contact Info


  FURTHER READING

  • Fortunes of feminism: from state-managed capitalism to neoliberal crisis, Nancy Fraser, Verso Books, 2013.
  • Playing the whore: the work of sex work, Melissa Gira Grant, Verso Books, 2014.
  • The problem with work: feminism, Marxism, antiwork politics, and postwork imaginaries, Kathy Weeks, Duke University Press, 2011.
  • We were feminists once: from Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the buying and selling of a political movement, Andi Zeisler, New York Public Affairs, 2017.

April 2019 General Meeting Agenda

The April 2019 General Meeting will be on Monday, April 1st at 7PM in the Ecumenical Campus Ministry Building (1204 Oread Ave). Childcare will be provided on-site.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows. Time estimates in parentheses.

(10:00) Ice-Breaker

(1:00) Overview of Robert’s Rules / Community Agreements

(2:00) Open Floor for adding items to the agenda

(2:00) Vote on Agenda


(10:00) Working Group & Committee Report backs

(15:00) Discuss with Working Groups!

(10:00) Report Back from Regional Convention

(5:00) Quarterly Expense Report

(5:00) Call for Dues Renewal

(1:00) Split up into Chapter Members and New Attendees


(24:00) Chapter Members Track

(5:00) Saying Goodbye to Kellin ❤️

(6:00) Announce Nominees For Secretary

(3:00) Announce Nominees For Social Media Committee Chair

(5:00) Socialist Education Working Group Renewal

  • (4:00) Overview of reason for renewal
  • (1:00) Vote for Renewal

(10:00) BAC 2

  • (3:00) Overview of the Committee
  • (6:00) Debate and Motion
  • (1:00) Vote for Ratification

(24:00) New Attendee Track

(5:00) Small Group Discussion

(12:00) Explainer about How DSA Works (Locally, Regionally, Nationally)

(5:00) Question and Answer about DSA

(2:00) Call To Action



(5:00) All Attendees Meet Back Up for Open Floor

(2:00) Plan for Next General Meeting

(3:00) Close Out / Call To Action

March 2019 General Meeting Agenda

The March 2019 General Meeting will be on Monday, March 4th at 7PM in the Ecumenical Campus Ministry Building (1204 Oread Ave). Childcare will be provided on-site.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows. Time estimates in parentheses.

 

(10:00) Ice-Breaker
(2:00) Open Floor for adding items to the agenda
(2:00) Vote on Agenda

(3:00) Overview of Robert’s Rules / Community Agreements

(10:00) Reportbacks / Intro to Working Groups (1 Minute each)

  • Electoral
  • Healthcare
  • Homelessness / Mutual Aid
  • Brief announcement that it is open to projects
  • Housing
  • KU
  • Labor
  • Newsletter
  • Socialist Feminism
  • Socialist Education
  • Transport

(10:00) Discuss with Working Groups!

(5:00) Overview of Pre-Convention Information
(3:00) Overview of Bernie Discussion from March 3rd

(28:00) Chapter Business Track (For Dues Payers or Regular Attendees)

  • (7:00) Caucus Rules
  • (4:00) Bylaw Amendment Committee #1
  • (3:00) Tech Training – File Server
  • (2:00) Security Chair Confirmation Vote
  • (4:00) Social Media Secretary Position
  • (2:00) Explainer of Monthly Event Priorities
  • (3:00) Vote on Monthly Event Priority Rules
  • (3:00) Discussion on Monthly Priority Events for March

(28:00) New Attendee Track (For New or Prospective Members)

  • (7:00) Small Group Discussion about Bernie
  • (15:00) Explainer about How DSA Works (Locally, Regionally, Nationally)
  • (6:00) Question and Answer about DSA
  • (2:00) Call To Action

(5:00) DSA-Cation Explainer

(5:00) Open Floor
(2:00) Plan for Next General Meeting
(2:00) Close Out / Call To Action

 

Wages

Newsletter Issue 2: Wage Labor

Getting paid, labor activism, and Super Bowl analysis

  Table of Contents


  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Kansas has one of the lowest minimum wages in the U.S., at $7.25 an hour; many people in Lawrence who receive money “under the table” or through stipends make even less.
  • Someone working forty hours a week, every week of the year, at $7.25/ hour would make, before taxes, $15,080.
  • Many of our fellow Lawrencians do not earn enough to meet basic needs. This is by design, a natural byproduct of the failed capitalist experiment.

  WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

  • The wage system of employment perpetuates inequality, disproportionately affecting individuals from marginalized groups.
  • Wages create artificial distinctions between different types of work. What does a hedge fund manager do for society? Why does a hedge fund manager even need to exist? Why does your landlord make more money than you do?
  • A fair and just society moves beyond the concept of “minimum wage.” One’s right to survival should not be determined by the arbitrary wage employment system.

  INTERVIEW:
Sam from Service Workers Lawrence

Many Lawrencians work in retail, restaurant, or other hourly- wage jobs that pay at or just above the minimum wage. In this interview we talk to Sam, a laborer in the food service industry who is involved with Service Workers Lawrence, which is organizing workers in the food industry around the issues of wages and health care:

Talk a little bit about your experience working in the Lawrence food service industry:

I’ve been working in food & beverage service since I was 16. I’ve worked in both front of house and production areas in business from fast-casual to fine dining.

What is Service Workers Lawrence’s long-term vision?

Our long term vision is to provide a support system for Service workers that exists beyond governmental and employer influence.

What actions have Service Workers Lawrence taken towards realizing that vision?

Service Workers Lawrence is in its nascent stage so our main focus is organizing and educating workers as to their rights.

How would you characterize the current relationship between Lawrence restaurant owners and their employees?

At present, labor in Kansas is under-protected and wholly removed from any government granted agency. Lawrence service labor suffers from the same insecurity but is “protected” by neoliberal capitalists claiming progressiveness because they hire minorities and LGBTQ individuals. This low standard created by Kansas labor laws allows Lawrence bosses to grant bare minimum provisions under the guise of being conscious employers.

How can people get involved with Service Workers Lawrence?

Anyone interested in becoming involved with Service Workers Lawrence can join our mailing list at serviceunionlawrence@gmail.com


  SHORT SOCIALIST SUPER BOWL ANALYSIS

What a game. Once again, the fast food corporations, the yacht-owning team owners, the toxic masculinity torch bearers and the beer brands we know and love won in the tightest of contests. Like every year. Many people thought this would end! Many people thought this would be the year a different kind of football emerged but, alas, it did not. Good thing there is always next year. May we make up new plays. Sing the songs of violence and blitz, of sack and fumble and cheer. Onwards! To a different kind of Super Bowl! To a different kind of sports, bereft of advertisement, exploitation, and bosses! Put the team owners in their place! What a game.


🦒  JARGON GIRAFFE

n. Definitions you need to follow along
Ex: What the hell are you talking about? Get the jargon giraffe!

  • Wage – The lowest amount of money your employer can get away with paying you so you will show up to work and do their bidding
  • Boss – The person who makes more money than you and believes this is to be “the natural order of things”
  • Minimum Wage – What the government thinks is the lowest amount of money an employer should be able to pay an employee.
  • Universal Basic Income – A system where the government pays all of its citizens a basic wage, regardless of their personal identity or current/ past/future employment status.
  • Stipend – What employers will call an employee’s salary when they aren’t really paying that employee a salary; a farce.
  • Fight for 15 – a nationwide movement that seeks
    to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. A good start.

  UPCOMING DSA EVENTS

Lawrence DSA Healthcare Working Group meeting

February 27, 2019
Lawrence Public Library, Meeting Room C
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Renters Together LFK – Community Housing Conversation

February 28, 2019
Lawrence Public Library, Auditorium
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


  SOCIALIST HOROSCOPE

The stars will outlive capitalism by many unfathomable leagues of time. It is to them, then, that we look for wisdom and guidance.

  • Jan 20th – Sun enters Aquarius
  • Jan 21st – Full Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo
  • Jan 24th – Mercury enters Aquarius

The lunar eclipse will leave us all feeling like we want something. Full moons magnify our problems, so they may seem big and overwhelming, but they also offer the opportunity to closely inspect things, to get up close and see the surface.

♈ Aries

The next few weeks are asking you to harness and direct your energy. Do the work, or else you might feel bogged down in a cloud of your own making.

♉ Taurus

Remember what keeps you committed to the cause. Think of a moment that shaped you and your beliefs and hold that moment in mind as you walk through the world.

♊ Gemini

You may be feeling pulled in many directions at once. What’s holding you together is your relationship with others. Work on strengthening the tie on that common thread.

♋ Cancer

Take a risk and change your daily routine. You don’t have to be stuck. To start making a better world, you have to believe it’s possible.

♌ Leo

You’re feeling in need of stimulation. Find something that engages both your intellect and your personal passion. Try a reading group!

♍ Virgo

You’re good at making plans and you love to dream, but don’t let planning and dreaming cancel each other out. Don’t lose sight of the dream in the moves you’re making.

♎ Libra

You’re experiencing an exciting moment of inspiration and growth, but there might be some growing pains. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Drink some water.

♏ Scorpio

Now is a good time to slow down, guilt-free. Your strength comes from your self confidence. Build up that charge at home before unleashing it on the world.

♐ Sagittarius

Go out of your way to learn about something that challenges or expands your view of the world. Talk to neighbors while canvassing or dig into a new text in a reading group.

♑ Capricorn

You’re strong and capable but you’ve been flexing too hard. Pause and appreciate what’s around you. Remember that you are more than the sum of your productivity and labor.

♒ Aquarius

Lately your intuitive vision has been out of this world. Imagine unconventional solutions to the long game and go after them.

♓ Pisces

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. We’re all in this together. Ask for what you need, be it from a partner, a friend, a community, a 7 job, or the world.


  GOING FORWARD

The purpose of THE FREE STATE WORKER is to inform you about political issues, legislative proposals, and upcoming events that affect Lawrence. We will also highlight work being done by Lawrence DSA and other activist organizations to benefit our community, the state, and country as a whole.

However, to best serve Lawrence, we need to hear from you. Please contact us to share how you think we can improve our newsletter or if you’d like to learn about how you can get involved with future issues.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In Solidarity,

The Lawrence DSA Newsletter Team

Contact Info


  THE FINAL WORD

Capitalism asks us to sell our labor to the highest bidder, to wholly submit to the designs of our bosses and to appreciate the meager allowances we receive for our time. Capitalism is not only unfair: it is highway robbery.

As such, there have been many plans put forth to “solve” this problem. Everyone seems to agree that no one should work forty hours a week and still live under the poverty line. Many states (not Kansas, however) have raised their so-called “minimum wag- es” over the past several years, and there is a growing movement throughout the U.S. called the “Fight for 15,” which pushes for a $15.00 minimum wage.

Fifteen dollars, obviously, is better than $7.25 (the Kansas minimum wage), and $7.25 is better than $5.15 (the previous Kansas minimum wage). But the problem isn’t the minimum wage. The problem is a system that ties one’s economic security to the ar- bitrary nature of wages and salaries. A truly just and humane society does not allow for one person to be “worth more” than another person. A truly just and humane society ensures that everyone maintains a universal standard of living that is healthy, fulfilling and dignified. A universal basic income system, where the government pays everyone a standard recurring salary regardless of their personal identity or employ- ment status would be a positive step in this direction.

It is possible to be in favor of a fifteen dollar minimum wage while also looking towards a future where wages do not exist. If the Fight for 15 is also the fight for economic justice, then so be it. But fifteen dollars is just fifteen dollars. True power lies in the refusal of a wage system of employment empowering oppression and propagating anxiety.


February 2019 General Meeting Notes

Hi everybody!

This month’s minutes are here, with some (but not all) of our events for February included! To stay updated on all our events, check LawrenceDSA.com/calendar as the month goes on. That said, without further ado, here’s some of them:

Every Saturday and Sunday this month, starting on the 9th, the Housing Working Group will be gathering people at the Sunflower House (1406 Tennessee) to canvass renters in Lawrence on tenants rights issues here! If you’re interested, let us know and I’ll put you in contact with them!

On Friday, February 15th at 7:30 pm the Newsletter Working Group will be having a meeting at a member’s residence to discuss their upcoming issues–let us know if you’re interested in going and we’ll give you the address! Don’t worry, we’re not withholding it because we don’t want you to go, we just don’t like to broadcast that stuff super publicly.

On Friday, February 15th at 6:30 pm the Healthcare Working Group will be meeting with a city official to talk healthcare. All members are welcome and healthcare is not the only thing that will be talked about! If you’re interested, send an RSVP to the Healthcare Committee (healthcare@lawrencedsa.com)

On February 19, 21, 26, 28, Theory Group will be meeting at either the Library or online, depending on the date. For more info on where the meetings will be and what will be read, go to lawrencedsa.com/calendar!

On Wednesday, February 20th at 6:30 pm at Kennedy Elementary School (1605 Davis Rd) we’ll be having a New Member Meet and Greet! It’ll be good fun for anyone who wants to come as we discuss what socialism is, what our chapter is, and have some good discussions along the way. If you want to introduce friends to the chapter, this is the place to do it!!

On Monday, February 25th at 7 pm at S&S Coffee (2208 Iowa), Reading Group will be meeting to discuss Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. It’s always good fun, so read up and come on down!

And that’s everything for now! It should be a great month for us, and more events will be announced soon! So, let’s talk about the General Meeting.

Our excellent co-chair started us off with an icebreaker focusing on the creation of little Socialist Valentines, which was a lot of fun and produced some powerfully silly valentines. After that, our Treasurer walked us through our Community Agreements and Robert’s Rules, both of which we’re continuing to use at General Meetings. We try very hard to make sure that our Community Agreements encourage voices that are often unheard to be heard–if you feel that we aren’t doing a good enough job, or even if we are that there is a change we could make to be doing even better, please let us know!!

Also, under our new bylaws, only members who are national-dues-paying are allowed to have binding votes. We’re extremely aware of the spot this puts some of our members in, and so if you are not currently national dues-paying and cannot afford to be, but want to be, let us know and we can put you in contact with one of our members who have volunteered to be sponsors.

After that, we got reportbacks from our Working Group leaders! And, if any of the work that follows sounds interesting, let us know and we can put you in contact with the leader of that group.

Housing did canvassing last month, and turned out nearly 40 to its month-ending tenants’ rights meeting. This month will be more-or-less the same, as the group plans on continuing its door-knocking campaign in the run-up to a similar meeting toward the end of this month.

Healthcarealso had a big month last month, hosting Lori Slettehaugh of Healthcare Now! for an event toward the end of the month. This month is also going to be focused on getting the word out about Medicare for All, especially in the upcoming week as part of the nationwide M4A Week of Action! Be ready for canvassing and other action, with news to come very very soon.

Newsletter also had a big January! They put out the first issue of our new socialist periodical, focused on housing, and the second through fourth issues are already in the pipe (focusing on wages, education, and love & sexuality). If you’re interested in being involved with any of those–writing something, making a graphic, helping with the print process, anything–let us know and we’ll put you in touch. They will be having a meeting soon, the details for which can be found above.

Socialist Feminism went to the KC Women’s March in January with hot drinks and our banner and good chants! It was great and a lot of fun, and going forward, they’re looking to build power in preparation for the nationwide Women’s Strike day in March.

Socialist Education had Socialist Feminist Theory Group last month, and although they’re looking to do more feminist lit going forward, this month is something of a return to form. All of their dates and times can be found on the website at LawrenceDSA.com/calendar

Reading Group had a large meeting at the end of last month to talk about Lenin’s State and Revolution, and we all had a spirited and good-natured discussion of the text and its implications today. This month, we’ll be reading Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, a novel! It should be just as illuminating and enjoyable as anything we’ve ever read though, and the info for that meeting can be found above.

Electoral had a meeting recently and is talking to voter advocacy groups in town. They’re looking at maybe putting together a campaign centered on Kansas’s Senate Bill 43 which would allow same-day voter registration in Kansas.

Labor are still working on organizing teachers. If you know any, at any level, let us know. Also, members of the committee are working on organizing service workers, so if you’re one of those, still let us know!

KU is still looking for someone to take the lead on organizing on campus. Anyone who would be interested in this would not do so alone–the Steering Committee is willing to help anyone any way we can to get organizing going on campus.

Transport has successfully bought a bus!!! We have a bus!! It’s a bus!! If you’re not sure why we have a bus, that’s okay, the working group wrote up a 13-page report a month or two ago which spells out most of the reasons as well as the risks and upkeep costs. But, perhaps more notably, we also voted at the meeting for the chapter to approve a fundraiser on GoFundMe to reimburse the members who paid out of pocket for the bus, as well as to get funds together to put toward the first year of bus ownership! It’s currently running, and after just about 2 full days, we’ve almost met our goal! It’s fantastic, we’re very happy, and we’re looking forward to all getting to use the bus in one way or another. Find the GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/lkdsabus

So, with reportbacks brought to an exciting end, we spent some more time talking about the bus before voting on and approving the fundraiser.

The next order of business was confirming our Security Committee Chair, but as the only candidate was absent and therefore unable to speak in favor of themselves, we tabled the item until the next meeting.

Our next big topic was the Regional Preconvention, which will be taking place on March 9th and 10th in Denver. It will be focused on getting ready for the National Convention in June, with lots of trainings and panels and discussions–if you plan on continuing to do organizing with DSA, this might be a good thing for you to go to! It will help you get connections with people interested in doing similar work in other chapters, as well as providing you with just a good baseline of organizing knowledge. We get five official delegates, so if you’re interested in going, let us know!! The National will pay for transportation and lodging, so don’t worry about those. If you are able to do it, think about it! Also, we may take the bus, which could be fun.

Next we talked about a new proposed set of rules for the chapter. Since the last General, the Steering Committee has been talking about caucuses. Caucuses, if you don’t know, are internal organizations within DSA which bring people with similar beliefs regarding DSA’s direction together. This is not a bad thing! But we as the Steering Committee felt that our chapter should remain officially separate from caucuses, and that no chapter business should be conducted in the name of- or even in association with- a caucus. If you’re interested in seeing the proposed rules in full, which were discussed and debated but ultimately tabled until the next meeting in consideration of time, you can find them here.

If you have any questions about them, or additions, let us know, and we’ll be talking about them either at the next General Meeting or at a separate rules meeting sometime this month, news to come.

Our Grievance Process (full text here) was finally voted on and adopted as rules outside of the bylaws. It’s been a long road, but the long-and-short of it is that we have a grievance process! And the first step, if you ever feel victimized, is to reach out to whichever member of the Steering Committee you feel most comfortable reaching out to. The process is victim-led, and focused on getting justice in the way most comfortable for the victim, so please don’t hesitate if you ever feel in any way aggrieved. Our chapter should be a safe space for everyone, and if it isn’t, something needs to be changed immediately.

At this point we were very short on time, so we tabled for yet another month the changes to the bylaws that had been proposed by the Bylaw Amendment Committee.

Finally, we opened the floor for questions and comments not relating to the agenda items. During this time, a member pointed out the lack of transparency in Steering Committee meetings as an item of concern, and the Steering Committee broadly agreed that it had not been enough of a concern for us. Going forward, we will be alerting chapter members in advance of meetings so that members can sit in as observers.

So that’s it! If you have any questions about our events, our group, or anything vaguely left-leaning at all, feel free to ask! 

February 2019 General Meeting Agenda

The February 2019 General Meeting will be on Monday, February 4th at 7PM in the Ecumenical Campus Ministry. Childcare will be provided on-site.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows. Time estimates in parentheses.

  • (5:00) Introductions and Ice-Breaker
  • (5:00) Overview of Robert’s Rules / Community Agreement
  • (2:00) Open floor for Adding Items to the Agenda
  • (2:00) Vote on agenda
  • (16:00) Report-backs / Intro to Working Groups (1 minute each)
      • Housing
      • Healthcare
      • Newsletter (Additional 1 Minute)
      • Socialist Feminism
      • Socialist Education
      • Reading Group
      • Homelessness / Mutual Aid
      • Electoral
      • Labor
      • KU
      • Transport (Additional 4 minutes)
  • (5:00) Break Out Session
  • (3:00) Vote for Security Chair
  • (10:00) Regional Convention Information
  • (5:00) New Caucus Rules Proposal
  • (5:00) Break Out Session
  • (5:00) Discussion of Grievance Process
  • (3:00) Vote to Adopt Grievance Process
  • (5:00) Vote on Bylaw Amendment Committee #1
  • (4:00) Vote on ratifying Working Groups (2 minutes each)
      • Renew Mutual Aid Working Group
      • Farming Working Group
  • (5:00) Open Floor
  • (5:00) Plan for next General Meeting