The latest labor social was held on a mild Thursday evening, and saw over 30 people involved or interested in labor’s struggles come together to meet and talk about their experience with organizing in their place of work. Teachers, nurses, graduate students, technicians, and workers of all kinds grabbed drinks and discussed topics like how they’ve organized in the past, how they’re organizing now, and the need to create a strong union in their workplace. The endeavor of labor, and the organization of working people, are fundamental to the democratic socialist vision. We aim to strategically organize for workplace, local and far-reaching socialist politics. In light of the Supreme Court’s ‘Janus decision’ this June, which determined that public workers must personally elect to join their union rather than be included by default, the need for workers to organize to protect their rights is as strong as ever.
‘Back to school’ was the theme of the night, as many teachers, graduate students, and former educators were in attendance, laughing while they told work stories and exchanged teaching strategies, in addition to discussing past and future workers’ struggles to win better workplace conditions. One local teachers’ union, Oakland Education Association, is currently in contract negotiations with the district, so there was much discussion on the status and direction of these negotiations between current district teachers directly involved in the struggle. As democratic socialists, we recognize the indispensability of public educators and a strong system of public education overall, and we will continue to fight to improve and preserve these institutions.
It’s an exciting time for labor organizing and socialism in general. While the left has seen exciting progressive victories recently in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Andrew Gillum in Florida, these struggles are not over, and democratic socialists are still looking to organize workers to achieve a strong base of solidarity. Not all of those who came on Thursday were DSA members or even socialists (yet), but all those in attendance felt the need to somehow organize politically, and over friendly conversation and a couple of drinks, the night ended with many contacts exchanged and momentum gathering in the labor movement. If you missed out, check out the East Bay DSA website for upcoming events, or come out to the next labor social event on the last Thursday of the month — check our calendar for details!