We've got a lot going on, so we decided to start a newsletter!
With everyone stuck at home, the steering committee wanted to re-imagine our chapter meeting and create more opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie. In that spirit, we’ve decided to take the working group and officer reports to a written format and publish them as a monthly newsletter. We hope you enjoy the change, and look forward to spending more time in the monthly chapter meetings getting to know each other.
The DSA Ventura County Steering Committee
In this inaugural edition, you'll find:
Intros from the 20-21 chapter leadership
Updates from all of our active working groups and events
Opportunities to get involved!
Keith Nieves, Chair
Hi there! I’m Keith, the chapter chair. Outside of functional chapter duties like making agendas and supporting our working group, I also coordinate and organize with other DSA chapters at the statewide and national level around actions and campaigns.
For me, this past month was one of camaraderie and planning. While meeting with other chapters in California to support Yes on Prop 15, I had the opportunity to connect with our comrades at DSA Santa Barbara. I look forward to upcoming joint actions alongside them, as we continue to build a mass socialist movement that represents the diverse working class in the Central Coast.
Rae Hoyt, Secretary
Howdy. I’m Rae, the chapter secretary. I joined DSA because I want to help build a future that includes universal healthcare, environmental stewardship, and equity for all oppressed peoples. Along with taking minutes at the meeting, I look after meeting decorum, general record keeping, and our website.
This month, I learned the in’s and out’s of NationBuilder, the tool that powers our website. If you haven’t been to our website recently, be sure to check it out. I’ve added more mobile responsiveness, meaning the site should work better than ever on your phone or tablet. While you’re there, be sure to RSVP for some of our upcoming events and actions.
Michelle Jafari Sood, Treasurer
Hello. I’m Michelle, the chapter treasurer. I manage our budgets and reporting requirements. A little about me - I homeschool my daughter, love identifying plants, and practice learning Spanish for fun.
This month we approved our proposed budgets for the new fiscal year, and digitized some forms (funds and reimbursement) that working groups can use to request funds for their projects. I want to thank all our donors and members - future projects are possible because of you.
Working Group Reports
The Outreach working group accomplished quite a few things this month. We sent out letters to the editor for two working groups, in order to reach outside of our leftist circles. The Healthcare working group wanted to get their message to the general community and elected officials about the benefits of Medicare for All, especially during a pandemic. We heard back from a couple of city council members and The Acorn who expressed interest in publishing, but has yet to do so.
The Police Oversight working group wanted to get out a message to Ventura county residents about the need for defunding the police departments. The VC Reporter will post our letter on their website October 1st! This will help out a lot in reaching people who share our views and hopefully will be inspired to join us.
We also helped create a message that was sent out on our social media and as a press release to announce to the general public that the progressive voters guide being put together by the Elections working group is on the way. We steered people to sign up at our website in order to receive an electronic guide when it’s ready.
Coffee with Comrades, created by this working group last year to welcome potential new members, is still going strong. We also are participating in a DSA National outreach effort.
Join the slack channel: #wg-outreach
New to DSA? Interested in meeting other members?
Join us for Coffee with Comrades!
11 AM | Saturday, October 3 - and every 1st Saturday following the chapter meeting!
With the November elections right around the corner, the elections working group has been - busy. We have endorsed 4 candidates and one proposition for the November election. Members from every working group have come together to help build a progressive voter guide for the other races and measure Ventura County voters are faced with.
Working on the Yes on Prop 15 campaign has brought us closer to our comrades across the state. More than 10 chapters have joined together to plan Yes on Prop 15 events and actions. Some of our members visited Santa Barbara over Labor Day weekend, to attend a Yes on Prop 15 car caravan organized by DSA Santa Barbara.
Join the slack channel: #wg-elections
Help tell commuters: Vote Yes on 15!
Yes on 15 Overpass Party
4-6 PM | Friday, October 9
This month’s discussion focused on the work of French economist Thomas Piketty. In his new book Capital and Ideology, he discusses something he calls participatory socialism, a decentralized system based on the circulation of property and power—through voting rights for workers in corporations, and through more progressive taxation of income, wealth, and inheritance—in order to allow everybody to access a minimal amount of property.
In preparation we watched this YouTube video from Adam Strømme about Piketty’s first book - specifically the equations he uses to demonstrate the inequality that is innate to Capitalism. We also read an interview with Piketty, recently published by the Democratic Left. During the discussion, one or our members also shared another interview from the Harward Gazette.
Piketty has some amazing ideas that could help create a more equitable future, like a progressive tax on wealth in order to finance a capital transfer to every young adult at the age of 25. Our discussion touched on topics from data privacy and interoperability to world trade and carbon emissions.
Join the slack channel: #readinggroup
Join us for our next Reading Group meeting!
RBG: What does this mean for the future of our country?
11 AM-1 PM | Saturday, October 17
Our mutual aid working group is responding to needs in our community as the failures of the Trump administration and of neoliberalism more generally lay bare the fact that our society’s institutions were never really built to help regular people, and will not save us now.
This month, volunteers from DSA and Food Not Bombs are actively preparing for the rollout of our free garden bed program, designed to build food resilience by empowering members of the community to grow food for themselves and their neighbors. We have now secured a location for soil and mulch drops, and are planning for an inaugural work party/box build sometime in October (date TBD as of this writing.) We will need more volunteers, both to assist on-site with building of raised bed gardens and to start fall-season seedlings for box recipients.
We also continued weekly food and essentials deliveries in partnership with Local Love, distributing hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables and other household needs to community members impacted by COVID and the collapsing economy.
This month also marked the first webinar of the fledgling national Mutual Aid working group, which we attended to represent our chapter and exchange ideas with other DSA chapters who are responding to need in their own communities.
Join the slack channel: #wg-mutualaid
Want to get involved?
Sign up to volunteer: https://forms.gle/ufH4acmKsKN7th9n7
Our healthcare working group is back in action! We are constructing campaign tactics that will help move our legislators and get them to pass a local government resolution in support of single payer healthcare. Come join us!
This is what we did last month:
We wrote letters to the editors of our local newspapers and city council members. This is a great way to reach a large local audience. We got some replies, and that’s exactly what we want.
We had an idea and made it a reality. There are now bi-monthly CA statewide DSA healthcare meetings. The next one is in November. It allows us to engage with other chapters to collaborate, share ideas, and work together to take action. Join us at the next one.
We assisted with our Chapter’s Voter Guide by providing recommendations that impact healthcare justice. We want candidates in office who will openly support single payer healthcare reform. They will be our champions that will help us fight this battle. Help us get them elected & check out the Voter’s Guide.
We are building our coalition. We will be teaming up with Healthy California Now, a statewide coalition of organizations and activists that demand Medicare for All in California. Together we are stronger.
We hope to see you at our monthly working group meeting, the third Monday of each month at 7PM.
Join the slack channel: #wg-healthcarejustice
Want to get involved?
Healthcare Justice Working Group Meeting
7:00PM-8:15PM | Monday, October 18
Our police oversight working group is still in the early stages. Our overall goal is to: Provide alternatives to policing and help our community build the infrastructure necessary to make policing a thing of the past.
In other words: Care not Cops. We have a few projects that are distilling including: ridding our schools or SROs, targeting specific areas of the police budget to defund, and building relationships with allies in our community.
We need your help! Join us and help us build a community free from brutalization and full of solidarity.
Join the slack channel: #wg-policeoversight
Checkout our Digital Resources!
Google doc with police oversight information.
Google calendar with information about many upcoming police oversight actions in the area.
The tech working group has been busy helping the chapter continue to grow into the world of digital organizing. Part of that work has been helping to create graphics for the website and social media. We now have our recurring monthly events setup on Facebook to repeat month-after-month through the end of the fiscal year.
In slack, we introduced location specific channels this month! Get to know the other socialists in your city and discuss local happenings, like upcoming events, public meetings like city council or school board, public works, police, the weather - whatever is going on where you live.
There is a channel for each of the incorporated cities in Ventura County (#city-of-oxnard | #city-of-ventura | #city-of-camarillo | #city-of-simivalley | #city-of-thousandoaks | #city-of-ojai | #city-of-filmore | #city-of-porthueneme | #city-of-santapaula | #city-of-moorpark) as well as #unincorporatedcomrades - a channel for comrades who live in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County. Everyone is welcome to join any of these channels, regardless of where you live.
Want to get involved?
Join the slack channel: #wg-tech