Front Range Democratic Socialists of America

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Front Range Democratic Socialists of America was a Colorado affiliate of Democratic Socialists of America.

Beginnings

The Boulder Democratic Socialists of America organizing committee held a hugely successful meeting on January 26 1993. Professor Manning Marable addressed a crowd of over 100. Over half of the attendees expressed interest in working to form a full-fledged DSA local, to be called Front Range DSA, that will encompass Denver, Boulder, and surrounding foothills towns.

Front Range DSA activists have already begun active work with the Colorado branch of UHCAN, the national coalition of advocates for state-level single payer health care systems. They arealso prioritizing campaigns for the repeal of the anti-gay rights Amendment2 and for progressive income taxation in Colorado.[1]

1993 activism

Front Range DSA sponsored a successful forum on progressive city government on October 6. Forty people attended to hear discussions of the experience of Burlington, Vermont.

Speakers included two activists from Burlington — City Council member Jane Knodell and housing activist Ted Wimpe.

In August, Front Range DSAers were a major presence at a town meeting held by U.S. Representative David Skaggs; they challenged him aggressively about his pro-NAFTA stance. The local has also been active in the campaign for a state single-payer health care system in Colorado.[2]

1995 health activism

Colorado DSA continued to focus on the campaign for a statewide single payer health care ballot initiative in 1996, The statewide coalition supporting this resolution "is extremely committed and well-organized".

Endorsing organizations included the AFL-CIO of Colorado, the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union, the Colorado Green Party, the Gray Panthers, the Vietnamese Baptist Church of Aurora, and the Rocky Mountain Peace Center.[3]

"Breaking Bread"

Colorado Democratic Socialists of America initiated its Breaking Bread Project in the Summer of 1994. The goal of this project was to "build a framework for dialogue that will help people and organizations in Colorado struggling for social justice to find common ground".

In January 1995, a small group of activists formed the Colorado Breaking Bread Project as an independent, non-profit organization, registered with the state of Colorado.

On October 8, the Colorado Breaking Bread Project held its first major dialogue project event.

The event was held at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre in Denver and was sponsored by Colorado DSA with support from the Chinook Fund.

The participants were:

Midway through the program, several artistic performances were given.

Urban folk poet Wardell Montgomery, Jr. offered the audience several social commentaries through poetry. A politically charged rap music performance was given by Denver-based artist Jeannie Madrid. Finally, the Rev. Marjory Williams-Cooper gave a dramatic reading based on oral histories of the African-American slave experience.

The moderator was urban folk poet Wardell Montgomery, Jr..[4]

2001 activism

In 2001 Colorado DSA co-chair David Anderson was the first speaker at the May 1st rally in Boulder; he emphasized how the American labor movement started May Day, now an international holiday. The rally coalition also included the local labor council, a peace and justice center, an immigrant rights coalition, the Green Party, a living wage campaign, United for a Fair Economy, and the domestic partner benefits campaign.[5]

2008 elections

David Anderson played a significant role in Colorado, despite having no functioning local at the time . He served as a precinct chair and on the steering committee of the local Progressive Democrats. They defeated two of three anti-labor initiatives that were on the ballot (including the first defeat of a right-to-work law since the 1970s) and expect the third to be struck down in court. “Maybe now we’re headed to a period where being a socialist publicly means more,” he comments. “Those big questions are being raised, like what do you do with the auto industry?”.[6]

References

  1. Democratic Left March/April 1993, page 12
  2. [Dem. Left, Nov./Dec. 1993, page 14
  3. [Dem. Left, May/June 1996, page 20
  4. Dem. Left, Nov./Dec. 1995, page 12]
  5. Dem. Left Summer, 2001
  6. Democratic Left, Winter 2009