Dubuque Democratic Socialists

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Dubuque Democratic Socialists are an Eastern Iowa affiliate of Democratic Socialists of America.

Democrat socialists

Three new Democratic Socialist groups have formed in Iowa since the election, said Christoffer Lammer-Heindel, a professor of Loras College in Dubuque. He’s one of the leaders of the Dubuque County DSA, which just gained chapter status from the national organization.

There’s room for them to grow. A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg News Iowa Poll found in January 2016 that 43 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers consider themselves socialists. That’s fertile ground for people like Lammer-Heindel who think the Democratic Party has lost its way.

“This is why I joined the DSA. I think we need collective, working-class solidarity. And whether the Democratic Party can do that, I don’t know,” he said.

He said the core DSA organizers in Dubuque County were “really dissatisfied” with the Democratic Party strategy on issues ranging from health care to the minimum wage. He said Democrats marginalized advocates of a single-payer health care system and didn’t fight for a $15 per hour minimum wage.

He said Democrats, including President Barack Obama, tried to find reasonable, moderate positions that a majority could support. But, he said it’s a mistake to use that as a starting point for negotiations. “The right just drags them further and further to the right,” he said. “... When you start further left, you might get better policy as an outcome of this sort of contentious political system.”

Lammer-Heindel said he’s been a Democrat since he was in high school. Until recently, he was the faculty adviser for the Loras College Democrats. “My wife and I had decided early on that we would work to get Clinton elected, but there was no enthusiasm there. I disagree with her on so many things,” he said. The other co-chair of the organizing committee is a Green Party member.

Some of the Dubuque County Democratic Socialists of America members , including Craig Reber, are interested in working from the inside to reshape the local Democratic Party. Reber, 65, a retired journalist, said he also worked to help elect Clinton and he’s also a former member of the county Democratic central committee.

He said there are still DSA members on the county central committee, and a few others are trying to get elected.

“I was under the assumption, being a member of the central committee of Dubuque County that I would be involved in decision-making and that kind of thing, which really, I wasn’t,” Reber said.

He said the Democratic Socialists offered an opportunity for him to not only be more active but also to have a voice. “It gives those who were dissatisfied with the election results last year another option and that’s how I see it. And you can take it or leave it. As a Democrat, I’m taking it, and I like what I see so far,” Reber said.[1]

Conference delegates

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Alex Kruse, and Christine Darr, represented Dubuque Democratic Socialists at the 2017 Democratic Socialists of America National Convention in Chicago.

Leaders

2/25/17 DDS General Meeting Minutes;

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Thank you to Rachel Lenstra for leading Socialist School—we are committed to making meetings as accessible as possible for all, including children

Addresses from the floor

  • Pete Hird: organizer with IEW Local 704, only a small handful of union organizers in town, also belongs to Dubuque Federation of Labor that shares many of the same concerns as DDS, building greater community involvement with DFL, invitation to participate in Working Iowa Neighbors committee to include more community members in their work (Dubuque WIN Committee), Sunnycrest one of the issues they are working on, startunion.com for info on how to start a union in your workplace and startunionatwork on FB, pete@ibew704.com, thank UAW for use of their building
  • Marcos Rubenstein: just created rapid response group in case of ICE raids, create systems to protect immigrants in Dubuque and we need more bodies. If you want to sign up contact Carolyn Scherf. If you know someone who needs immediate assistance please contact Marcos or Tom Johnson. Presence every Sunday from 3-4pm at Washington Park in solidarity with immigrants. On March 6 there will be an info session for immigrants @ St. Patrick’s Church at 6:30.
  • Waylen Hackbarth: American Anti-Corruption Act by Represent Us. Law would close revolving door for gov’t lobbyists and gov’t officials, election funding, etc. Starting a local chapter of Represent Us, please contact Waylen if you’re interested participating
  • Paul Uzel: Citizens United brought about a corporate oligarchy. We need to find ways to leverage that by using their game against them. Consumer Corporate Voter Action on FB. If you know a company, product, etc. that is working for the people, go there. You can also provide info of companies to boycott.
  • Carrie Tedore: Community calendar is exactly what we need in Dubuque! Bag It! Showing and Indivisible DBQ. Alex is looking for an ACA march/rally on March

Carrie and Indivisible Dubuque will be working on this, we can join them. Carolyn Scherf volunteered to coordinate. March for Science in Dubuque? Richard says some things are already happening, Christine will connect him with Andrea Bixler.

Chris proposed the following resolution: the committees agree to abide by and adopt these principles in their work. Motion by Nick Agan, second by Allison Drahozal Motion adopted unanimously

Motioned by Melanie Race, seconded by Nick.[2]

13th screening

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Fountain of Youth event

Dubuque Democratic Socialists April 5, 2017;

Much gratitude to the 95 people who attended the screening of the 13th last night at Mindframe Theaters as well as to our four panelists, Anthony Allen (NAACP), Rev. Lindsay James (NAACP), Caprice Jones (Fountain of Youth), and Steve Drahozal (attorney), and Alondra Garcia (BLM) who moderated the panel. Together we raised $264 for Fountain of Youth, a nonprofit that provides mentoring and employment opportunities for young people in Dubuque.[3]

Single payer rally

Democratic activists and progressive groups in Dubuque hosted a rally May 21 2017, in support of a single-payer health care system.

The “Medicare for All” rally was held from noon to 1 p.m. at Town Clock Plaza.

The rally was organized by Dubuque Democratic Socialists in collaboration with Our Revolution: Dubuque, and Americans for Democratic Action Iowa.

“A Medicare for All health care system is the only way to achieve truly universal health care that is both high in quality and cost savings,” organizers wrote in a press release.

Speakers included Steve Drahozal, chairman of the Dubuque County Democratic Party, Black Hawk County Supervisor Chris Schwartz, Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate Courtney Rowe and mental health professional Derrick Rogers Clark.

Contact was Melanie Race from Dubuque Democratic Socialists.[4]

Committee chairs, 2017

Dubuque Democratic Socialists Committee chairs, as of July 19, 2017;

Reading for Solidarity

Reading for Soldiarity. Hosted by Dubuque Democratic Socialists.

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Tuesday, March 14 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM CDT, Dubuque Democratic Socialists, Dubuque, Iowa 52001

References