Maybe these kids know what they are doing
Politics in America, whether Democrat or Republican, basically involves politicians coming out once every two years, asking for your money and promising things they have no intention of actually doing. No wonder people are sick of it.
That's party politics, but it's NOT a political movement.
Enter the Democratic Socialists of America, full of naive millennials who haven't learned that you can't change the system.
Those crazy kids start doing stuff like holding Fix Broken Car Lights for Free events all over the country.
It's a gimmick, but it's a clever gimmick because it involves a political group actually doing something for average people (as opposed to what the Dems and Repubs do, which is nothing except collect their money).
But these crazy kids didn't stop there. They actually want to change the system.
With beers in hand and electronic music in the background, members of the Metro DC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America hashed through the facts: Each year, landlords in the city submit between 30,000 and 50,000 eviction filings in DC housing court, trapping tenants in a complex and intimidating legal system that rids them of their homes with frightening efficiency. Tenants often don’t show up for court and are evicted by default. Sometimes tenants aren’t even informed that they are facing eviction and have no chance to advocate for themselves. Many renters don’t know where to go for legal help. Many don’t know their rights. But what if people pushed back, the organizers wondered? What if tenants started clogging up that too-efficient court system? The house party ended, and a new housing campaign began.
“We decided to go to the courthouse and pull all of the dockets and start canvassing tenants facing eviction,” says Margaret McLaughlin, the chair of the Metro DC DSA chapter. “We wanted to let them know their rights—that they have a right to a lawyer. That they need to show up to court.”
The chapter started sending out 10 to 20 volunteer canvassers each weekend to do long days of door-knocking at rental units across the city. They hit roughly 200 doors on any given weekend, encouraging tenants to defend themselves from eviction. They wrote an organizing manual to guide their efforts. And they chose an aggressive name for the campaign: They called it Stomp Out Slumlords.
...So far, in 14 months of canvassing, Stomp Out Slumlords has reached more than 2,500 people.
“The court system is mostly working right now as a conveyor belt to evict people,” says Allison Hrabar, a member of the chapter’s steering committee. “We are throwing a wrench in that system.”
Wait just one minute. They can't do that! Can they?
It appears that they can.
DSA chapters in San Francisco, Austin, Chicago and New York have started fighting for tenant rights just like an actual socialist movement.
Emphasis on the word "movement".
n June 5, the residents of San Francisco overwhelmingly passed Proposition F, a ballot initiative that establishes a universal right to legal counsel for tenants facing eviction. The initiative will give every tenant in the city, regardless of income, a publicly funded attorney to help them navigate housing court and avoid homelessness.
Proposition F didn’t happen by accident. It was born from months of prime-grade campaigning on the part of the city’s 800-member DSA chapter and its allies, including the San Francisco Tenants Union.
“DSA members were the vast majority of the canvassers and door knockers,” says SF DSA’s Jen Snyder, who was the campaign manager for Proposition F. “We were the main driving volunteer force, we were the campaign staff, the campaign office was the DSA office.”
We are having the“the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known" (and that was in 2014. It's much worse now), and no one in the Dems or Repubs have talked about, much less have done anything about it.
But those crazy kids at the DSA are doing something about it, and they are doing it on a person-by-person level.
If this keeps up they will scare the establishment.
n recent months, the Metro DC DSA chapter has expanded its anti-eviction efforts in the city and is now actively offering organizational support to renters who are attempting to establish tenants’ associations in their buildings.
It might explain why this is happening.