Written by East Bay DSA member Daniel Husman
I encourage my EBDSA comrades to vote Yes to officially endorse our chapter’s support of the Bay to Brake Lights project.
I believe there are many reasons EBDSA should endorse and support this project:
- To reduce the immediate harm of police contact especially for members of targeted groups. State violence, police harassment, and economically devastating fines weaken the working class’ ability to organize and fight for socialism.
- To show solidarity with communities made up largely of people from such groups. DSA as a whole and our local in particular does not reflect the demographics of the working class communities we must organize. Although I do not think Brake Light projects should be used as recruiting drives, I do believe if we are to improve our connections to communities where we are under represented, we must show up to work on projects that specifically impact those communities. Showing solidarity builds trust and opens a path to deeper relationships.
- To show solidarity with other chapters, both around the country and here in the Bay Area. All the other locals around the Bay Area have begun Brake Light projects as have dozens of other chapters, and many EBDSA members are already working together with them in the Bay to Brake Lights umbrella group. These projects are broadly popular in DSA for good reason.
- To give people additional ways to plug in to DSA. Many members are excited to participate in the Brake Lights projects, and we should always encourage a diversity of ways to participate in our Local. Speaking for myself, I found that Medicare for All canvasing is not for me. It’s great and important work, and I’m happy to support it in other ways. In turn, I hope that our Local can officially support those of us who find work on Brake Light projects to be a better fit.
- To create non-commodified social relationships. The most common question I got when sign-holding for our first Brake Light project was “why are you doing this for free?” In however small a way, mutual aid projects like the Brake Light projects plants a seed of a different kind of relationship between people, one free of the “cash nexus.” For example, in Erik Olin Wright’s vision of anti-capitalism, this is “eroding capitalism.” As he explains, “One way to challenge capitalism is to build more democratic, egalitarian, participatory economic relations in the spaces and cracks within this complex system wherever possible, and to struggle to expand and defend those spaces.”
Brake Light projects can be an important component in a mix of projects in a socialist strategy. Please vote in favor of the proposal for our Local to officially support these projects.