Endorsement of National Prison Strike 2018

We, the Albuquerque Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, have voted to endorse the 2018 Prison Strike and announce the organization of a solidarity action in support of the strike to take place on Saturday, September 1st at 6:30 pm. The action will be held outside the federal courthouse at 4th & Lomas in downtown Albuquerque.

The demands of the incarcerated individuals participating in the strike can be found here. Our support for the strike, be it in the form of work stoppage, refusal to eat, sit-ins, or boycotts, is driven by our principles as socialists. Our action is intended to express the following:

1.       The recognition and affirmation of the humanity and rights of all incarcerated individuals.

2.       A call that the national demands of incarcerated people protesting their conditions be met immediately and without repercussions.

3.       An iteration of our vision for a world without prisons.  The demands currently made are but breathing room to organize and make increasingly larger steps on the way to the abolition of the carceral state. There is nothing utopian in our aims; a world without prisons is a requisite for true freedom.

4.       Our intention to highlight the disturbing lack of media coverage given to the prison strike at both a local and national level. Particularly as modern-day prison slavery is an extension of chattel slavery, one of the greatest injustices the world has ever seen, it is appalling to see the public kept unaware of this struggle.

5.       The promotion of an understanding of the broader connections between the struggle of incarcerated individuals and those on the outside. Prisoners are workers, prisoners are disproportionately working-class and non-white, and the exploitation of prison labor is being used to prop up cheap prices of consumer goods for the sake of profit.

As socialists, these are our intentions, and we will fight on the outside for our comrades on the inside. For the abolition of prison slavery, for the abolition of the carceral state, and a truly free world.

 

In solidarity,

Albuquerque DSA

Text of Speech Given at Albuquerque May Day 2018 at Morning Side Park

First of all, I want to thank all of you for showing up on this International Worker’s Day.

There has been considerable thought on what we, the Central New Mexico Democratic Socialists of America, wanted to say today, but sometimes it helps to speak directly from the heart.

The 21st century began in chaos and the time we live in is one of tumultuous change and progress, some of it good and some of it bad. We are facing challenges that our forebears never thought were possible. We are facing challenges that few people ever thought of planning for.

We are a generation that came out of one of the worst economic collapses since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, caused by rampant capitalist greed. We are staring down the barrels of fascism, automation in manufacturing, and corporatism. Our rights to organize inside and outside our workplaces are increasingly being challenged. We are seeing a new wave of right-wing, white supremacist terrorism in our communities. Racists, bigots, and authoritarians no longer have to wear pointy white hoods, they wear red baseball caps.

The time for fear is over. We are standing up, straightening our backs, and fighting back. We are protesting and counter protesting. We are making our voices heard. We are still organizing, and we are doing it well. For the first time in decades, it is socially acceptable to publicly identify as a socialist, an anarchist, a communist, a leftist, or a progressive, and we have to take advantage of this opportunity if we want to build a better world.

The world is in turmoil, but in that chaos, we can shape a better society, we can bring order into the disorder, we can give people hope, we can forge a better world out of the ashes of the old. Our new direction is no longer to rehash old grievances, fight old fights, seek revenge on old enemies, but to take on the future with hope in our hearts, wisdom in our heads, and a will and a drive to do better for everyone.

Automation is a scary thing for many of us because it upends a supposed “natural order” of things. It challenges us to think differently about what we want direct our personal labor towards, it changes our plans for the future. We are not luddites, we understand that technological advancements are a natural thing but there is hope in this area, proposals for Universal Basic Incomes and Job Guarantees are seeing new light and new support. Furthermore, proposals for higher wages, better benefits, and Universal Health Care are also in the works for many communities and the nation.

However, it is one thing to have our bread but we as people in a modern world also need roses. We need happiness beyond the 9 to 5 office job. We need art, culture, and most of all we need meaning in our work. We want to chase our dreams, take big risks, and find satisfaction in the direction of our lives. For many of us, the new wave of activism has provided new meaning in life. We want to do more than increase company profits by percentage points for the rest of our lives.

In this new era, we can shift the emphasis from living to work to living for our passions. We can recapture the idea of being a “renaissance” person, someone who is endlessly passionate about a plethora of topics, ideas, hobbies, and projects.

In this new world we can build a democratic economy, one that values us instead of profits. Workers are more productive, happier, and more creative when they are not alienated from the products of their labor. The worker needs to be more attached to their labor and they need a say in what their workplace does to them, for them, and with them. We can build a better economy that truly serves our desires and passions and not our greed and pride.

Today, I ask you to join us and commit to building a better world, building a better, more democratic economy as an attempt at reaching not only for our bread but for our roses as well. Thank you all for your time and enjoy your evening.

April 2018 Brake Light Clinic and Fundraiser

The Central New Mexico chapter of Democratic Socialists of America will be hosting a clinic to repair or replace broken brake lights for area residents free of charge. Adapted from a program piloted by New Orleans DSA, this public service event aims to increase vehicle and driver safety and also reduce the likelihood of encounters with law enforcement and the costly tickets, fines, and court appearances that can follow.

Tractor Brewing’s Wells Park location has generously agreed to host the clinic in the afternoon of Saturday, April 7th, 2018 The funds to purchase brake lights were provided by donation by members of the local community at a previous fundraising concert headlined by local band Duke City Riots. The clinic will be followed at the same location (Tractor – Wells Park) in the evening by another fundraising concert, in order to purchase more supplies for our third brake light clinic event. The evening concert will again be headlined by the Duke City Riots’s full band, with singer-songwriter Evan Woodward opening.

Give DCR’s music a listen here: http://dukecityriots.bandcamp.com

And check out Evan Woodward here: https://evanwoodward.bandcamp.com

Links to the Facebook Events:

Brake Light Clinic, https://www.facebook.com/events/559694144397987/

Brake Light Clinic Fundraiser, https://www.facebook.com/events/155538781819070/

Condemnation of Albuquerque Journal

In the February 7th, 2018 issue of the Albuquerque Journal, a highly racist, offensive, and xenophobic cartoon by Sean Delonas was published in the Editorial section. In response to this, we, the Central New Mexico Democratic Socialists of America, are calling for the resignation or immediate termination of D’Val Westphal, Editorial Editor of the Albuquerque Journal, and the ending of any contract between the Journal and Cagel Cartoons, a cartoon syndicator that optioned the offending cartoon.

 

Westphal’s reasoning for publishing the cartoon was explained in a staff written article published on the Albuquerque Journal’s website the following evening. She explained that the goal of the Editorial page was to inspire debate and challenge reader’s opinions. We feel that the decision to publish the cartoon demonstrates poor judgement, lack of integrity, and a lack of basic human compassion towards members of her own community.

 

In an era where the President of the United States of America can openly call Mexicans rapists and thugs, and his Chief of Staff can call Dreamers lazy, this type of cartoon is not shocking. We denounce the Albuquerque Journal’s flagrant disrespect of Dreamers and immigrants. These types of cartoons only seek to enforce and further imprint racist, xenophobic, and repugnant stereotypes of the most vulnerable members of our community; they do nothing to inspire debate or conversation, only condemnation and distrust in traditional media

Endorsement of Dr. Peter DeBenedittis

We, the Central New Mexico Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, have chosen to endorse Dr. Peter DeBenedittis for Governor of New Mexico in the 2018 Gubernatorial race. His People First Platform is progressive and far-reaching: establishing single-payer healthcare and a publicly owned state bank are transformative reforms that will benefit all New Mexicans, including and especially the most marginalized among us. Furthermore, we support his plans for living wages for the poor and working class, a cleaner environment through renewable energy, and statewide early childhood education.


Through his actions and words, Dr. DeBenedittis has also convinced us that this is a campaign for the people and by the people. He has consistently proven to be open and willing to learn from his constituents about how best to represent ALL New Mexicans. He has committed to not taking any corporate campaign donations and to ensuring his campaign is as transparent as possible. He understands the odds he’s up against, but he’s running to win, and our chapter will fight right alongside him for a better New Mexico.


The Democratic Socialists of America are committed to economic, social, and environmental justice for all, and we know Dr. DeBenedittis and his campaign will work tirelessly to advance these goals. Dr. DeBenedittis has our endorsement and our support; now let’s work together to build a better future for us all.

 

For more information on Dr. Peter DeBenedittis’ campaign, how to get involved and contribute, go to www.peterd4gov.com

For more information on Central New Mexico DSA, visit www.abqdsa.org

And for more information on the Democratic Socialists of America in general, go to www.dsausa.org