Updates

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
Housing

Newsletter Issue 1: Housing

Renting, landlords, and your socialist horoscope, all inside…

  Table of Contents


  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Half of Lawrence is made up of renters, many living in buildings that cost far too much and don’t meet basic needs.
  • Some buildings aren’t even accessible to those with disabilities, the elderly, or families with small children, yet Lawrence has one of the highest rent rates in Kansas.
  • Most renters don’t dare speak out for fear of landlords and property management groups, who wield considerable political influence and can retaliate through harassment or even eviction.

  WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

  • When renters can be intimidated into silence and forced to accept unacceptable conditions, the entire Lawrence community suffers.
  • Landlords and property management groups count on the fact that, because so many renters are college students, it’s harder to organize and fight for more affordable and dignified housing, which makes organizing all the more necessary.
  • When renters come together to connect, discover common hardships, and learn about opportunities to organize so that no one has to be afraid to speak out against unsafe and unfair housing, everyone wins.

  INTERVIEW:
Lawrence DSA Housing Working Group Chair

Why did you get involved with this issue and what are DSA’s concerns and goals regarding housing in Lawrence?

Our chapter’s biggest concerns with housing right now are making sure renters are protected. Lawrence has one of the highest rent rates in the state of Kansas. Many renters live in buildings that cost too much and provide too little. This issue affects people from all backgrounds and it is a working class struggle. We want to hear tenants’ struggles and give them the tools to get material change in their lives.

Many buildings in town are not accessible. A lot of apartment complexes are not accommodating to individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and to families with small children. Landlords’ desire to take a few extra dollars profit will always come before tenants’ need to live.

Half of Lawrence is renters and I see that we have the potential to tap into real power. By bringing people together on this issue we can bring solidarity and power to the working class.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing renters in Lawrence?

Coming up against the landlords and the property management groups – the landlord class holds a lot of political power and capital. It can be intimidating to even start to think of standing up against this class, especially since they have a lot of pull in local government and city boards. When doing this work, there is also the fear of being evicted or harassed by your landlord. It is important to remember that we as the working class can come together. There are many of us and only a few of them.

Given Lawrence is a college town with students who might rent for only a few years, how would you respond to students who might ask why they should be invested in Lawrence’s housing issues?

As college gets more expensive, a lot of students worry about making rent. It is not unusual for students to use student loans to cover basic living expenses. Students should not have to worry if they are going to make rent. Whether students stay in Lawrence for life or only a few years, tenant organizing and solidary are a powerful tool everywhere. Fighting for housing is not just a Lawrence issue but a global issue.

What will be covered during the DSA teach-in?

We want to bring renters together to discuss issues they are facing. By bringing renters together, we can discover the ongoing and shared issues with landlords and property management companies. Along with airing grievances, we can build solidarity across the community. This is the first of many steps to come together as the working class. Housing affects people of all walks of life since everyone needs a place to live. When renters share their issues, the actions necessary become more apparent.

What are the long term goals of DSA in regards to housing and what do you see as the stakes moving forward?

We hope to see renters start to organize. To not only hold the landlord class accountable but to dictate how housing should be as the working class. To have housing that is not only affordable and safe but to also be accommodating to all.


🦒  JARGON GIRAFFE

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

  • Property Management Group – A company that owns and maintains a series of rentals. Many apartment complexes and neighborhoods around Lawrence are owned by property management groups.
  • Landlord – A landlord is someone who owns land, and rather than make money by working, takes money from people who do work by charging them rent to live.
  • Tenant – A tenant, like most people, doesn’t legally own the place he lives. Because of this, he is forced to pay the owner the money he earns by working, or else become homeless.
  • Profit – The difference between the amount a landlord earns from tenants in rent and the amount spent on upkeep of the property. Landlords seeking to increase their profits generally will raise rent on tenants and/or spend less on the property(ies) they own. They make the most money by charging renters more and keeping conditions bad.
  • Rent – Unlike payment for a good or service, rent is something owners charge even though they have contributed no work or value to the property. Rent in Lawrence is among the highest in all of Kansas.
  • Property – Land owned or possessed by a landlord they then charge others to use.

  GET INVOLVED

DSA Housing Teach-In

January 31, 2019
Lawrence Public Library, Auditorium
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

More2 (Kansas City, MO)

more2.org

Just Shelter (National)

justshelter.org


  GET INFORMED

State and Local Resources

Information for KU Students

Editor’s Recommended Reading


  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


  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

Perhaps you don’t believe in making resolutions. That’s fine. But you can’t help noticing new shoots cropping up out of the winter dirt. They’re not resolutions. They’re passions, red as roses, waiting for you to pluck them.

♉ Taurus

You know your instinct to hunker down. You want to protect it. Expand your definition of home. Think about working on your chapter’s Housing Committee.

♊ Gemini

The full moon is going to make you feel a little crazy, but in a good way. There’s a lot going on right now. You are confident in your ability to get things done. Focus on your ability to make connections.

♋ Cancer

You’ve been feeling good and you’ve been feeling guilty about it. Shake off the guilt and revel in the small pleasures of being a person. Take care of yourself and you’ll find extra energy to spare. Perhaps volunteer some of that energy in a chapter working group.

♌ Leo

You’re still riding the new year high. You can see it – big plans are forming on the horizon. Use your charm to bring people together. Try canvassing.

♍ Virgo

Breathe. Stop and breathe. Find a moment of stillness so quiet it could tear the world apart. The more of these moments you find, the stronger you’ll be. Soldiers of the revolution need sleep too.

♎ Libra

Your confidence and charisma are running hot. You’re fired up about a new person or project. Follow that energy through, don’t let it fizzle out.

♏ Scorpio

The full moon will leave you feeling lots of feelings. Somewhere buried in there is a secret. When you find it, a piece of your heart will unlock. Don’t be afraid to go through whatever was opened up in you. It might be a good idea to talk your way through this experience with comrades and friends.

♐ Sagittarius

The full moon shines a clarifying light on something you’ve been studying for a long time. Expect to find something new in a familiar place. The surprise might leave you shook, but work with it.

♑ Capricorn

You’re wound up like a top. Would you rather spin out of control, topple over, or move with purpose? Find a way to make circular motion propel you forward.

♒ Aquarius

This eclipse hits a little too close to home. You’ll be asked to evaluate what you hold dear. In your intimate, day to day life, what’s serving you and what’s holding you back? Identify sources of toxic energy and get rid of them. It might be something as small as your insecurities, or as big as neoliberal capitalism. Do the work.

♓ Pisces

Something big is coming to a close for you. How do we gracefully exit something that has served us well? By holding the door open behind us. Make eye contact with the person coming in.


January 2019 General Meeting

Howdy all!

First off, a couple things:

Join DSA proper! Dues start at $20/year for students, and it helps the organization at all levels–once we’re officially recognized, we can even start getting a cut of all the dues paid nationally. Just go to dsausa.org/join

Now, if you’re anything like me, you had a delightful and exhausting holiday season, but it’s the New Year now, and so that means it’s time to jump back into organizing with a fervor that you never had within you! Our first General Meeting of the year was on Monday, and what a meeting it was. Below, you’ll find a brief outline of all of our upcoming events, then a more in-depth description of everything that happened, including links and attachments where relevant. It’s a lot of information, but it’s all important information and very good to know!

Upcoming Events in January:

  • Jan. 12th, 13th, 20th, 26th, 27th
    • The Housing Working Group will be canvassing.
  • Jan. 15th, 11:30am
    • The Healthcare Working Group will be spearheading a contingent of LKDSA’ers going to the Kansas People’s Agenda rally at the State Capital in Topeka. If you want to attend, please preregister at kansaspeoplesagenda.org. If you need a ride, let us know!
  • Jan. 15th, 17th, 29th, 30th, 6-7pm
    • The Socialist Education Working Group, in concert with the Socialist Feminism Working Group, will be holding Socialist Feminist Theory Group in the Meeting Rooms at the Library. No prior reading required.
  • Jan. 18th, 7pm (subject to change)
    • The Steering Committee will be holding our chapter’s first bi-weekly New Member Meet’n’Greet of the New Year! The location is TBD, but if you have any friends who you think might be interested in us but who might be intimidated by a General Meeting, this is the thing to recommend to them! And it’s not just for new folks either! It’s a fun time, so come on down to [REDACTED] and have a hoot and a holler.
  • Jan. 19th, 2pm
    • The Socialist Feminist Working Group is going to be canvassing at the KC Women’s March! It’ll be a lot of fun and it’s always great to be part of a march. Let us know if you need a ride!
  • Jan. 21st or 22nd (clarification as the date approaches)
    • The Labor Working Group will be attending a Kansas Appleseed meeting, discussing strategies to radicalize workers and develop a worker-driven response group to Downtown Lawrence Inc. The meeting will be taking place at 211 E 8th St, and more information is forthcoming.
  • Jan. 23rd, 11am
    • The KU Working Group are planning on tabling at KU’s Winterfest, looking to sign students onto our email list and begin to get them involved in organizing both on campus and in the community! If you’re a student who would be interested in tabling as part of this, let us know!
  • Jan. 28th, 7pm
    • Our Reading Group will be meeting at S&S Coffee (on the Northeast corner of 23rd & Iowa) to discuss State and Revolution by Lenin. You are strongly encouraged to read the book before the meeting, but you’re allowed to come either way! If you need a copy, email contact@lawrencedsa.com, because one of our co-chairs has… a completely reasonable number of copies, which he is willing to give away to any interested party for free.
  • Jan. 30th, 5:30-6:30pm
    • The Healthcare Working Group has booked Lori Slettehaugh of Healthcare Now! which is part of the KC M4A coalition to speak with us! The event will be held at the beautiful Carnegie Building at 200 W. 9th St. Tell your friends, and come on out! The group will also be flyering in preparation for the event, so if you’re interested in helping with that, let us know!
  • Jan. 31st, 7pm
    • The Housing Working Group is finishing our month with a bang–holding a community forum/teach-in on housing and tenants’ rights to get a sense of what our chapter’s aims on that subject ought to be and inform folks about what they can do to improve their lives as renters. It will be in the Library’s Auditorium, and most of their canvassing throughout the month will be to the end of turning out people for this, so tell everyone you know who rents about it!

And that’s it! Wow! That’s a lot of events. There will be others as well, and we’ll let you know about those as we get closer to them! If you have any questions about any of those, let us know.

But, without further ado, let’s get to the actual meeting. This one was a really big one, in a lot of ways, so I’m going to make every effort to spend as little time on all of the many, many things that happened as possible.

We had incredible attendance for this meeting, with plenty of new or fairly new people, which brought into sharp relief how badly we need to find a larger space for our General Meetings. The good folks on the Steering Committee are working on this, but if you know of any spaces we might be able to use, let us know!

This was the first meeting in which we made use of Robert’s Rules, and we put that system to good use by voting on a whole lot of things. We will continue to use it in future meetings, so if you’re not familiar, we encourage you to look them up and get some familiarity with them (though we will continue to explain them at the beginning of every General Meeting for the foreseeable future.)

The first matter at hand was, as always, Working Group reports, and I’ll hit very quickly the state of all of them below. If you have interest in any of the work any of our WGs are doing, email contact@lawrencedsa.com, and I’ll connect you with the person leading that work!

The Housing Working Group is set to have a busy month, canvassing to get the word out for their community forum/teach-in before it occurs on the month’s final day. They need help with their canvassing, and any help you can give in getting the word out will be appreciated. Details above.

The Electoral Working Group is recruiting! They’re looking for people who are interested in researching candidates or developing electorally-oriented campaigns for the chapter to work on! Also, though he didn’t do so under the auspices of the Electoral Working Group, member Dave is looking for anyone who would be interested in working on a voter registration campaign–and that campaign is undoubtedly going to be closely entwined with the Electoral Group. If you’re interested in helping getting folks in Douglas County more actively involved in their political lives, let us know, and we’ll put you in touch with Dave.

The Healthcare Working Group is going to be participating in a Kansas People’s Agenda rally in Topeka on the 15th, and is hosting Lori Slettehaugh, a Medicare for All speaker, here in town on the 30th! More info on both above. They’ll also be in need of some legwork for flyering to increase awareness for their speaker!

The Socialist Feminist Working Group is working on getting people together to attend and canvass at the KC Women’s March on the 19th. More info on the event above. This is in preparation for the Women’s Strike in March, which we plan to help organize a contingent for in Lawrence. If you think that we might be able to organize a Women’s Strike in your workplace, and would be interested in organizing to that end, let us know! And, even if you don’t, as things progress, the WG is going to be trying to create a strike fund to subsidize any workers who participate in the strike for their lost wages, so you may still be able to help! More info forthcoming.

The Socialist Education Working Group is working with the SocFem Working Group on having several Socialist Feminist Theory Groups later this month–more info above.

Reading Group took last month off because it usually falls late in the month, but it’s back with a vengeance this month, as we’re reading Lenin’s State & Revolution. Read it, and then come to the meeting on Jan. 28th and talk about it!

The Newsletter Working Group is working on putting together the beginnings of a left-wing local news source for Lawrence and its environs. At the moment, they’re planning on creating a 4-page Monthly Newsletter, with the first month’s edition focusing on Housing issues. If you’re interested in doing some graphic design, writing, editing, or anything else regarding the Newsletter, let us know!

The Labor Working Group is working with Kansas Appleseed as well as local educators at all levels of education. They’ll be representing our chapter at the Kansas Appleseed Service Worker meeting on the 21st or 22nd (more info above), and remain closely in league with the graduate teaching assistants’ union at KU.

Hannah, lead on the KU Working Group, is looking for people who would be interested in taking the lead on organizing on campus. Email contact@lawrencedsa.com if you would be interested and we’ll put you in contact! Even so, we will be tabling at KU Winterfest on the 23rd, details above.

Last but not least, our Mutual Aid Working Group got a tour of the Lawrence Community Shelter, and their directorship expressed interest in working with us if we would be willing to do any volunteer work with them! If you would be interested in that at any point, let us know so we can try to get groups together to go help!

Okay, so that’s what our working groups are up to, so now we only have the details of what actually happened at the meeting itself, so there’s not too much more, I promise!

After Working Group Reports, we moved on to one of the larger issues that has plagued our chapter–actually being recognized as an official chapter by the National Organization. We’re nearly at the end of the process, but had received recommended edits to our bylaws from the National Committee who review every new chapter’s bylaws to make sure they’re in line with DSA’s values. There were only three recommended changes that our Steering Committee felt were large enough to warrant being voted on by the chapter at large–those to our Quorum rules, our rules surrounding Membership in Good Standing, and our Grievance Process.

On quorum, our previous policy was arcane and would have made it very difficult for us to make quorum during the summer months. National recommended that we change it to being at least 5% of chapter membership, but no fewer than 6 members in good standing (more on that shortly.) There was little disagreement or commentary on this change.

On our membership-in-good-standing rules, National had basically one note: remove them. National has fairly strict rules against chapters having their own rules for membership outside of paying National dues. When we had talked to people from National about this, it seemed relatively clear that this wasn’t something they were interested in budging on, so we didn’t force the point. What this will mean going forward is that only people who are current on their dues to National will be eligible for elected offices in our chapter, and to vote on chapter issues in meetings. However, if you are interested in running for elected office, or just want to be a member in good standing, let the Steering Committee know! We want to enable as many people as possible to pay dues to National, and can help financially. If you want to do it yourself, just pop on over to dsausa.org/join!

Finally, our grievance process. National’s note here was to remove it from the bylaws, but not strike it from our rules entirely. The thing about bylaws is that they can only be changed over the course of at least two General Meetings, and only with a chapter vote. This isn’t a good thing for a grievance process, which should, even if crafted well, still be changeable to fit the needs of circumstance. We will be adopting our grievance process as it existed in our bylaws previously as our official grievance process, but it won’t be in the bylaws, so it will be changeable by emergency vote if a corner case arises.

All of these changes were basically uncontroversial and passed unopposed in a chapter vote. If you have any questions or concerns, absolutely let us know. Just because there was limited discussion at the meeting doesn’t mean that there aren’t valid concerns to be voiced.

That concluded our discussion about our bylaw changes. After this, we took some time to ratify five working groups which hadn’t yet been officially recognized and ratified, while we had the chapter present.

The Healthcare Working Group and Newsletter Working Group were ratified pretty easily and quickly. The Transport and Socialist Feminist Working Group, both relatively new, laid out their proposals, and the Transport Working Group (better known as the Bus Working Group) especially enjoyed fun and vigorous discussion, basically all positive. The Socialist Feminist Working Group was similarly well received, and both were ratified unopposed. That said, the Transport Group deserves a bit more explanation on account of how different it is from others.

If you didn’t know, our co-chair Z has been wanting a bus for the chapter for a few months now. If this sounds wild to you, that’s because it is, but he has prepared a thirteen-page report on all of the ins and outs of the bus. I’m not gonna try to do justice to his arguments, but I encourage you to read it for yourself. Either way, the Working Group has been ratified and its goal is endorsed by the chapter, so we look forward to seeing what that turns up!

All of that said, our eyes should remain firmly on on-the-ground organizing and building working class power! And to that end, we also ratified a new elected position: The Security Committee Chair, and the associated committee. This position and committee will exist to keep an eye on local reactionary groups as well as being familiar with their goals both short and long-term.

So, we need people to nominate themselves for the position! If you think you have what it takes, or even think that you could at some point in the future, we encourage you strongly to nominate yourself and write up a brief paragraph about why you think you could do the job well! We have one nomination already, and we’d love to have several more.

And with that, we were done with the work of the meeting! We got so much done! We have so much coming up this month, and so much more floating off in our future! The future of the chapter is somehow even brighter than its present, and there’s no better time to get more involved than now.

Speaking of getting involved, how can you do that? Just get in contact about something you’re passionate about, and we’ll connect you with someone working on it! Or, if there isn’t anyone, we’ll give you the help you need to get started on it yourself! Contact us at contact@lawrencedsa.com!

And that’s it! If you read all this, thanks! If you didn’t, thanks still!

Solidarity and Love,

Kellin
Secretary, LKDSA