Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America
Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America is the The Twin Cities chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.
The chapter is involved in election campaigns of progressive candidates from Minnesota and organizes DSA events to help progressive movements and policies in our state. The chapter is in contact with members of the Canadian NDP, the Mexican PRD and maintains contacts and relationships with Socialist International parties in Western Europe. They support the Minnesota steelworkers' "blue-green alliance" and local anti-war campaigns. The chapter periodically publishes the "Fist & Rose" newsletter. As at Nov. 22, 2010, the Twin Cities DSA local had been meeting monthly for twenty years. Up until recently, the chapter met at the home of the late Corbin Kidder, a founder of the local.
In 1990 Twin Cities DSA reactivated, intiating what coordinator Dan Frankot predicted will be a "sharp emphasis on direct involvement by DSA in local issues." Having adopted housing; health care and electoral work as the Local's priorities, members were getting involved in Paul Wellstone's campaign for U.S.Senate and "have heard from area homeless advocates and the director of Minnesota's Health Care Campaign, Tim Sullivan, about joining their efforts". 
In 1992, Stephan Peter, a DSAer who is also a member of the German Social Democratic Party, spoke at a meeting of the St Paul-Minneapolis DSA in November on the political situation in Europe.
May Day 2000
Twin Cities DSA co-sponsored “May Day 2000: College Students, Labor Movements, Political Action,” a conference at Anoka Ramsey Community College. DSA National Director Horace Small was the highlight of this event, and DSA had a literature table. Other speakers included Billie Davenport, President, Teamsters Local Union 2000, and Mary Rosenthal, State Director for the National AFL-CIO. Our local is meeting .
Supporting Wellstone, Dayton and Gore
In 2000 Minnesota Democratic Socialists of America decided to focus all of its efforts as a group the next two years on reelecting Senator Paul Wellstone, who "is closest to DSA’s ideology. Although divided on Gore vs. Nader, they are 100% united behind Wellstone. Wellstone is being targeted by the Republicans and Bush administration for defeat."
For Twin Cities DSA the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone was a personal as well as a political loss, as most many local members knew Wellstone individually. DSA’s Social Democratic Action caucus in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is working to keep Paul’s legacy alive and to move the DFL in a solidly progressive direction. According to Stephan Peter , ome of the local’s members have worked to form a permanent International Commission within DSA and recently hosted a meeting with Swedish Social Democrats and Left Socialists..
According to Dan Frankot, the Social Democratic Action Caucus of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, founded by DSA, "is organizing around various issues and will work to reelect Paul Wellstone for a third term to the Senate."
In 2002, Bill Blaikie was the House Leader of the Canadian New Democratic Party and his party’s trade expert. Blaikie, who represents Winnipeg-Transcona, and Chicago’s Raul Ross Bineva, a member of the Mexican Party of the Democratic Revolution ), accepted an invitation by Twin Cities DSA to explore collaboration between the three “Socialist International” member organizations in the upper Midwest. 
"Building a Multilateral Future"
On October 9, 2004, DSA co-hosted the first of a series of international dialogues that "unite American progressives with their counterparts from around the world. The topic, the future of multilateralism,could not have been more relevant".
The participants were Robert Goebbels, member of the Luxembourg Socialist Labor Party (LSAP) in the European Parliament, vice president of the Party of European Socialists grouping in the European Parliament, and previously Foreign Minister of Luxembourg; Jo Leinen, member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the European Parliament, chair of its constitution committee and member of the committee for foreign affairs, human rights, common security and defense policy; and, representing American progressives, Donald Fraser, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and its committee on international relations, and former mayor of Minneapolis.
Alexa McDonough, the Canadian New Democratic Party’s peace and international development advocate in the Ottawa Parliament and former leader of the NDP, intended to participate in the panel, but was called away to tend to a crisis in her riding
The dialogue was the centerpiece for the Midwest Regional DSA retreat, and also had wide support from other organizations. It was initiated by the DSA International Commission and the DSA FUND and cosponsored by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) Education Foundation; the Freeman Centerat the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute,which donated the meeting space; and the Washington office of the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which provided the travel costs for the speakers. Professor Don Ostrom, president of the DFL Education Foundation, welcomed the panel and the audience on behalf of Minnesota’s progressive community, while Stephan Peter, a member of Twin Cities DSA’s Executive Committee and a co-chair of DSA’s International Commission acted as moderator.
In 2008 Twin Cities DSA and the DSA International Commission played host to a prominent northern member, Canadian politician/activist and New Democratic Party member Marianne Cerilli, in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Cerilli was caucus chair and opposition critic for Environment, Housing, and Immigration and held a ministerial portfolio in Family Services and Housing in the Manitoba Legislature. She also ran second in the 2006 election for mayor of Winnipeg. 120 students and community members at a local community college attended, and there was an informal international talking circle of over 20 DSAers and friends in downtown Minneapolis.
In 2009 Twin cities DSA collaborated with the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Progressive Caucus and the local Socialist Party USA , and sent a member to Germany to develop a sister partnership with a German SPD local.
- Americans of all types were at this event- anarchists, socialists, tea-partiers, Ron Paulites, libertarians, and ordinary people, all protesting Corporate power and its alliance with government. It is not shrill to suggest that unchecked corporate power is leading to a nascent fascism. Average Americans are being asked to sacrifice, while the rich and corporations are not being asked to sacrifrice. Corporate profits are privatized, while corporate losses are socialized.
Minutes of the Re-energizing Meeting, 19 February 2012
Membership Meeting, Democratic Socialists of America, Twin Cities Local, 19 February 2012
Location: 2210 E. 40th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After attendees introduced themselves, the meeting was called to order by Deb Ramage at 5:30 PM.
I. Agenda: A seven-point agenda provided by Deb Ramage is approved ; the use of Rusty’s Rules of Order is approved for meeting process. Ramage notes that the last TCDSA meeting was held 23 October 2011 at Davanni’s restaurant, Minneapolis. No minutes are known to have been taken of the meeting.
II. Meeting Officers: Deb Ramage volunteers to facilitate the meeting. Alan Makinen volunteers to take meeting minutes. Kate Baird volunteers to account for donations collected.
III. Structure Committee: Deb Ramage asks for volunteers to serve on a structure committee tasked with composing a proposal for new TCDSA bylaws that will be reported back to the membership [and national DSA] for review. Kait Baird, Alan Makinen, and David Pera volunteer to serve on the committee.
IV. Doug Mann, candidate for Minneapolis School Board. Mann speaks about his candidacy: This is his third run for a seat on the Minneapolis School Board. His support increased on his second try and he thinks he can build on that success in his current campaign. He has found support in the Minnesota Green Party in the past, especially among the Nader wing of the party, but he has not been able to garner the supermajority required to attain a GP endorsement, he says. He has had good support from students, having received the highest vote among all candidates in 2008 in the University of Minnesota campus district. He considers his chances poor of an endorsement by the DFL. However, an early TCDSA endorsement could improve his chances of success in the primary election. He brings a concern for social justice; the system is failing low-income students. And he seeks to end racism in public education. He would be an advocate on the school board for compliance with desegregation law, which the board has evaded. He discusses his opposition to the G. W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which pushes a corporate agenda on public education; for example, charter schools. This agenda has also been embraced by the Democratic Party. | A brief discussion follows about the function and responsibilities of the school board and Mann’s relationship with the teachers’ union. He has received support from individual teachers, he says, but not from their union, noting the close relationship between the union and the DFL. | Mann asks for TCDSA’s endorsement of his candidacy. Ramage says that it is now appropriate to move for an endorsement. Makinen questions whether a quorum of the membership is present and if an endorsement should be voted without the local having decided an endorsement process. There is time between now and the August primary to create an endorsement process, he notes. An alternate tack might be for a leader of TCDSA to make a personal, but organizationally identified, endorsement of Mann. Pera comments on the over-reliance on testing in the US education system. Both Republicans and Democrats are trying to undermine the power of education and postal unions, he says. Ramage points out that now is a good time for TCDSA to make an endorsement because the issues Mann is running on are being talked about. There is no parliamentary reason nor concern about election law that should prevent us from making an endorsement of Mann at this time, she says. Pera wonders if an endorsement by a self-described socialist organization might be used as red-baiting against Mann. Mann assured that he has long been public about his socialist politics. Baird moves that TCDSA endorse Doug Mann’s candidacy for Minneapolis School Board. Dave Pera seconds. The motion passes on a count of hands with two abstentions (Gosman and Makinen).
V. Action Plan, 2012-2013:
A. Occupy Minnesota. Ramage and Baird discuss their participation in Occupy actions and deliberations. Ramage reports that Occupy Minnesota coheres despite ideological tensions between various constituent organizations and tendencies (which have been written about more broadly in The Nation magazine). There has been dispute about the use of consensus or majority rule in decision making processes. Currently a 90 percent majority is required to approve a decision at general assemblies. Anarchist activists seem more concerned about being co-opted by the DFL than by the many Stalinists who are also involved in the movement. Ramage is positive about the Occupy homes (anti-foreclosure) activism. TCDSA members could help here on various tasks like building fences, doing neighborhood canvassing, providing food, supplying child care. Baird asks for thoughts on how to get TCDSA members to show up for Occupy Home actions. Frankot thinks that members are willing to participate. Ramage suggests pointing members to weekly All Committee Meetings that are held at Walker Community Methodist Church, in Minneapolis. Dinner is served at 5 PM; meetings begin at 6 PM. Also, members should sign up for e-mail alerts at the occupyminneapolis.mn website. Baird and Ramage comment that FBI infiltration and surveillance of such meetings is commonly accepted as a given.
B. Student Loans. Baird advocates involvement in efforts to reform student lending, which would include terms for renegotiation or forgiveness. Such a proposal could be brought to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Currently, government repayment terms are flexible, but private lenders are inflexible and tougher. Ramage asks for more information about how the system works and how to petition for policy change.
C. Food Democracy. Baird reported that GMO food labeling laws are being passed by state legislatures. She proposes that TCDSA join with other groups involved in this issue in Minnesota. Makinen says that he can research what groups are active in the state on this; he is familiar with the issue from his work at a food co-op.
D. May Day Parade and Festival. Ramage describes the event, organized by Heart of the Beast Theatre, which has been held in Minneapolis for many years. She asks if there is interest in participating this year with a table and/or a parade contingent. There is interest in having some presence at the event. Frankot agrees to look into the cost of a table space, but says he does not want to work the table.
E. Other Ideas: Mann suggests that TCDSA participate in Juneteenth activities. Neal Gosman explains that he is interested in initiating an internet space, a collectively constructed wiki, which would be moderated and coordinated, that would encourage a discussion among, for example, Occupy activists, with the goal of better articulating the movement’s common sense ideas. He wonders if TCDSA is interested in taking on such a project. Ramage says that she would be willing to work on the project. A discussion follows on the need to collect e-mail addresses from members so that they can be better informed about projects they could join and communication done more affordably (than through the mail). Pera comments that he has never been asked for his e-mail address. Makinen suggests sending a follow-up membership mailing asking these questions and to include a dues payment reminder. Ramage will put together a mailing that will include minutes from this meeting..
The following are listed as administrators on the chapter's Facebook group:
The following are listed as members on the chapter's Facebook group:
- Joseph Dobbert
- Sasa Safsa
- Jeffrey Iverson
- Linnea Sommer
- Adam Klugherz
- Sara Baird
- Seth Baird
- David Vincent
- Mark Olson
- Naomi Lundgren
- Dan Frankot
- Alan Mäkinen
- Sean Monahan
- Chester O'Gorman
- Gabriel Kierran Mccloskey-Ross
- Christopher Paris
- Caroline Christianson
- Dylan Josselin
- Jeremy Damsgard
- Sean Vriesen
- Deborah Morrison Vriesen
- Deb Ramage
- Claire Smith
- Ryan Michael
- Jaime Helgeson
- Kristy Rasmussen-Vincent
- Karen Sandness
- Kyle Helle
- Craig Jarrell
- Colin Baird
- Lance Goldsberry
- Kate Baird
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Twin Cities DSA website: home page (accessed on Nov. 22, 2010)
- ↑ DEMOCRATIC LEFT SEPTEMBER- OCTOBER 1990, page 20
- ↑ DEMOCRATIC LEFT 14 MARCH-APRIL 1991, page 15
- ↑ Dem. Left, Jan./Feb. 1993. page 9
- ↑ Dem. Left, Summer 2000
- ↑ Dem. Left Winter 2000
- ↑ Dem. Left Winter 2002
- ↑ http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Summer_2002.pdf Democratic Left • Summer 2002]
- ↑ http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Summer_2002.pdf Democratic Left • Summer 2002]
- ↑ Democratic Left • Winter 2004/2005
- ↑ Democratic Left • Summer 2004
- ↑ Democratic Left • Spring 2005
- ↑ Democratic Left Fall 2008
- ↑ Democratic Left, Winter 2009
- ↑ Cities DSA at the Occupy Minnesota (Wall Street) Event, Sunday October 9th, 2011, Twin Cities DSA blog, accessed Novembr 2, 2011
- ↑ DSA Twin Cities blog, Monday, February 27, 2012, Minutes of the Re-energizing Meeting
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Facebook group: Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America (accessed on Nov. 22, 2010)