Michael Ifeoma Esealuka

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Michael Ifeoma Esealuka


Michael Ifeoma Esealuka is a New Orleans activist.

I’m a restaurant worker and organizer in New Orleans, Louisiana. I became a socialist through my experience organizing a union with my coworkers, for almost a year, at a popular wine bar. We got to 75% strong but ended up losing the fight — we were green organizers with no institutional support facing off against a high-paid anti-union consulting firm. I went on to work as a staff organizer for a small independent union, United Labor Unions, which represents low wage workers in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. During this time, I was also an organizer in the Hospitality Workers Committee (now Alliance), a rank and file membership organization that focuses on issues affecting workers in the tourism industry. We lead marches through the French Quarter to shut down restaurants where bosses had been accused of sexual harassment and ran a public transit campaign that was able to pressure the city to add late-night routes from the French Quarter to a working class Black and Vietnamese suburb that many of New Orleans’ hospitality workers have been displaced to.
Most recently, I worked at a restaurant where my coworkers and I organized shop floor actions around safety concerns — staging a 100% walkout when the boss forced us to continue cooking on the gas hotline in a hot, dark kitchen during a power outage, doing sickouts during periods of street flooding when we were still expected to come to work, getting our manager removed and winning my job back after I was fired for stopping management from calling the police on two black regulars.

I’ve served as the co-chair of New Orleans DSA for a year and a half, and am very active in our labor work. Our labor committee functions as a training ground for workers to learn how to organize. We’ve done strike support for UAW members in Mississippi, organized with union teachers to activate workers in their local, helped a member win back stolen wages, and advised a member who organized to win an across-the-board pay raise and improvements in safety at his job.[1]

Structure of DSLC

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The Democratic Socialist Labor Commission is headed by a twelve-person elected Steering Committee. 2020 Members of the current Steering Committee are:

Socialist Majority Caucus Labor picks

DSA Socialist Majority Caucus February 8 2020

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Voting for the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC) began Thursday! We recommend voting for Zack Pattin #1 on your ranked-choice ballot along w/ the following candidates who also polled over 60% from our members:

Toward Workers Power Slate

In 2020 Alec Desbordes, Mindy Isser, Daniel Dominguez, Michael Ifeoma Esealuka, Dennis Prater, Dario Sulzman, Emmanuel Segura ran on the Toward Workers Power Slate for Democratic Socialist Labor Commission.[3]

New leadership

June 2019, a number of candidates ran for local council seats in New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America, with Jordan Flaherty elected as a new co-chair alongside re-elected Co-Chair Michael Ifeoma Esealuka

The entire elected Local Council includes Zach D. and Sophie Kosofsky as at-large Local Council members, Logan Y. as membership chair, Alli DeJong as treasurer, and Ryan S. as secretary. Michael Ifeoma Esealuka, Sue M., Frances Gill, Joshua Lewis, and Jordan Flaherty were chosen to represent the chapter at DSA’s upcoming National Convention in August.[4]

AfroSoc

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DSA member

In 2018 Michael Ifeoma Esealuka (she/her) ran for co-chair of New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America.

As the largest socialist organization in the U.S. for a generation, DSA is now able to leverage some serious political muscle. We’ve elected socialists around the country, won municipal reforms like paid sick leave, and supported striking workers in New York, West Virginia and beyond. Right now the socialist movement is in a period of high activity and DSA has the momentum on our side.
Prior to joining our chapter, I’ve been primarily involved with labor activism. In my time as a staff organizer for United Labor Unions, an independent union in the Deep South, one of my accomplishments was increasing union density in a long-neglected 100+ worker unit of school custodians from 5% to 60%. As a restaurant worker I helped lead the organizing committee that formed the Bacchanal Workers Union. As a former core member of the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Committee, I helped organize and lead a 75-person worker’s march through the French Quarter last fall. In April, after my restaurant’s manager called the police on two young black regulars and fired me for intervening, my coworkers and I organized to have him removed — I was later reinstated to the job, where I now work. I approach all of my organizing efforts from my experiences as a black woman and low-income worker.
In my time as a member of our chapter, I was a lead organizer of one of our first public political education events, the Southern Struggle forum in January of this year, where I spoke to an audience of fifty about the history of the Alabama Sharecropper’s Union. I’ve helped to lead the formation and development of our Socialists of Color Caucus. I was on the team that organized and oversaw our chapter’s first-ever canvassing efforts with our Block out the Sun Yard campaign, and as a member of the Direct Service Committee I helped initiate our canvassing efforts to promote our Brake Light Clinics.
I’m committed to helping our chapter realize its great potential. I believe I would be a strong asset to our work in a leadership position. I want New Orleans DSA to become a force for all working people as we continue to build our power to fight against capitalism in the years ahead.[5]

Comrades

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Eric Blanc May 29 2019·

So New Orleans is definitely one of the best (the best?) cities in the U.S. Many thanks to the DSA New Orleans comrades who hosted me this weekend, y'all are doing really amazing work and I had a such a great time strategizing, drinking, and dancing with you all. — with Jeffrey Oswald Barrois, Sue Kuyper, Michael Ifeoma Esealuka, Ernesto Bernesco NogueraGarcia and MonaLinda Smile.

References