New York City Democratic Socialists of America

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New York City Democratic Socialists of America are affiliated to Democratic Socialists of America.

Growing influence

Spurred by the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress and Julia Salazar to the state Senate, the Democratic Socialists of America has become a potent political force to be reckoned with in New York City politics.

The far-left group was once seen as part of a fringe movement. But at least eight candidates for public advocate — considered a stepping stone to the mayoralty — have filled out the DSA’s 42-question questionnaire in a bid to win its endorsement in the special election to replace incoming state Attorney General-elect Letitia James, who currently holds the post.

In a special, nonpartisan election that will take place in the middle of winter and could include as many as a dozen candidates, a bloc of votes from committed Democratic socialists could determine the winner.

Among the candidates cozying up to the DSA are Brooklyn Councilmembers Jumaane D. Williams and Rafael Espinal, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan’s West Side and liberal activist and DSA member Nomiki Konst.

The candidates’ answers show they back nearly the entirety of the DSA’s leftist agenda, including: giving noncitizens the right to vote in municipal elections; supporting illegal strikes by government workers; allowing public funding for pro-Palestinian groups that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] movement against Israel; a pledge to refuse campaign contributions from the real-estate industry; endorsing government-controlled “universal” rent control and health care; lessening criminal sentences for violent criminals; protecting sex workers; and providing free CUNY tuition for all.

James will become AG on Jan. 1, and Mayor de Blasio is expected to schedule the election for sometime in February..

“Everyone wants DSA’s endorsement. When they endorse a candidate, they go all out. They show up. They knock on doors,” said political consultant Rebecca Katz, who worked for Cynthia Nixon, a candidate for governor who was endorsed by the DSA. “DSA is growing in importance every year. They’re getting some wind.”

“DSA has definitely proven itself to be a force in NYC politics this year,” the group’s Sam Lewis said.

”We are going to stay focused on building grass-roots power this year, but more and more candidates are realizing they need to pick a side. You can’t stand with working people if you are bankrolled by the powerful and privileged.”[1]

Steering Committee 2020

New York City Democratic Socialists of America Steering Committee 2020.

Socialist Majority slate

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New York City Democratic Socialists of America 2019 Socialist Majority slate for DSA national convention delegates.

A. Sen, Aaron Taube, Abdullah Younus, Abi Hassen, Adam E. Leeds, Andrea Guinn, Bianca Cunningham, Bruce Griffiths Cea Weaver, Charles Lenchner, Daniel Cheng, Daniel Lynch, Danya Lagos, Devin McManus, Emma Caterine, Frank Llewellyn, Itzhak Epstein, Jacob Appel, Jad Joseph, James O., Joe Demanuelle-Hall, John Schneider, Julian Graham, Jared Watson, Jasmin Oppenheimer, Jenny Zhang, Kevin Bohlmann, Leanna Ballester, Maia Rosenberg, Matthew Bond, Matthew Thomas, Michael Cavadias, Michael Kinnucan, Miriam Bensman, Nate Treadwell, Noah Weston, Osman Chaudhary, Paul Swartz, Phillip Henken, Renee Greene Levitt, Renee Paradis, Sam Lewis, Stephen Maples, Susan Kang, Tyler Curtis, Tiffany Gong.

2019 Bread & Roses slate

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New York City Democratic Socialists of America 2019 Bread & Roses slate for DSA national convention delegates.

Alex Silva, Anthony Volpe, Bill Reisman, Danny Noest, Ella Mahony, Fainan Lakha, Halsey Hazzard, Jacob Farbman, Jonah Furman, Keylan Vafai, Kristin Schall, Laura Gabby, Neal Meyer, Niall Reddy, Oren Schweitzer, Pamela Allen, Patrick T. Shepherd, Ryan Bruckenthal, Stephen Thompson, Whitney Witthaus, Zach Lewis.

2018 steering committee

New York City Democratic Socialists of America steering committee, 2018;

The Steering Committee is the elected leadership of the NYC-DSA city chapter. The co-chairs, treasurer, secretary, working group coordinator, and membership coordinator are elected at the annual city convention. The branch representatives are elected by their respective branches.[3]

2018 NYC DSA leaders

Congratulations to our newly elected New York City Democratic Socialists of America Steering Committee: Bianca Cunningham and Abdullah Younus (Co-Chairs), Joe Demanuelle-Hall (Secretary), Tiffany Gong (Treasurer), Leslie Fine (Membership Coordinator), and Cea Weaver (Working Group Coordinator).[4]


New York City Democratic Socialists of America, May 2 2018:


Photo: William Matelski. — with Aneesh Bhoopathy, Annie Shields, Julia Salazar, Aaron Taube, Dane Cardiel and Emmy Hammond.

NYC Delegates to 2015 National Convention

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Prominent members of DSA NYC Local

Circa 1983 New York City DSA Local report to National Office

A circa 1983 New York City Democratic Socialists of America Local report to National Office identified Assemblymembers Jerry Nadler, Eileen Dugan and Denny Farrell as members of the Local.

It also named Councilmembers Ed Wallace, and Ruth Messinger.

Organizers of DSA NYC in 2017

DSA NYC Organizers via Meetup

2015 NYC DSA leaders

In 2015, Paul Bedard, Frank Llewellyn, Shannon Sorhaindo, Rahel Biru, Jeevan D'souza were members of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America steering committee.[7] ·

Fourth Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party

Sunday 17 January 2016, Organized by : Theater in Asylum and NY DSA the "Fourth Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party" was held at 192 2nd Ave, New York.

Theater in Asylum, (which was founded in 2010 by Paul Bedard and Katie Palmer), with the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, is preparing to create theatrical adaptations of the Democratic Primary Debates. With a small army of actors, designers, dramaturgs, and support staff, we will watch and analyze the debates, devise a piece, and present it live in NYC... join us for the first step in making it: a Watch Party!

Those indicating attendance, on Wherevent included Camara McLaughlin, Lucy Myrtue, Alex Max Caring-Lobel, Jessie Bangarang Atkinson , Mandy Robbins, James Cajuste, Jeevan D'souza, Chelsea Langford, Alexis Roblan, Rick Fudge, Laura Aristovulos, Calandra Daby, Yonit Friedman, Leah Alfieri, Josh Youngerman.[8]

Serv Industry NYC-DSA


Serv Industry NYC-DSA closed Facebook group, accessed February 9, 2018.

This is the forum for the Serv Industry NYC-DSA working group. We aim to organize service industry workers both in their workplace and poltically, as well provide support to service specific issues. We also hope to onboard service industry workers to DSA. [9]

Admins and Moderators


More names had been added by June 16 2018;

NYC DSA Red Diaper Baby Group


New York City Democratic Socialists of America Red Diaper Baby Group closed Facebook group, accessed December 10, 2017.[10]


  • Kristin Lee, created group on December 9, 2017. CUNY Brooklyn.


More names had been added by January 11, 2018.

More names had been added by June 16, 2018;

NYC DSA Car Caucus


New York City Democratic Socialists of America DSA Car Caucus closed Facebook group, as of October 26, 2017.

This group is for people in NYC DSA who have cars and people in NYC DSA who want rides to things.[11]



More names had been added by June 16, 2018;

Creative Comrades (NYC-DSA Media)


Creative Comrades (New York City Democratic Socialists of America ) Closed Facebook Group, as of September 1, 2017;.[12]

Creative Comrades is a group for NYC-DSA Media where members can:

1) Ask questions. 2) Talk about projects. 3) Pitch ideas. 4) Get advice. 5) Post jobs. 6) Collaborate. 7) Borrow gear. 8) Share resources. 9) Talk politics.

Please keep conversations respectful and be mindful not to use sexist, racist, or classist language. If you see any inappropriate content, please message us immediately at and we will resolve the issue.[13]



More members had been added by October 15.

More names had been added by June 16, 2018;

NYC Democratic Socialists of America Public Group


New York City Democratic Socialists of America Public Facebook Group, as of July 20, 2017;[14]

Are you a socialist in the city? Join your comrades in the New York City Democratic Socialists of America. We’re part of the biggest socialist organization in the United States. Help us put democratic socialism on the New York City map![15]



New NYC DSA Public group

NYC-DSA Public Group, accessed June 27, 2018;[16]


Admins and moderators


1990 Debs Dinner

In 1990, the NYC DSA local gave out its Eugene Debs/Norman Thomas award March 21 at a dinner honoring David Livingston, president of UAW's District 65.

Speakers included UAW International President Owen Bieber and Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger.

Also honored was Steve Max, Curriculum Director at the Midwest Academy, who received the first Paul DuBrul Award for his critical role in developing the political strategies of the citizen action movement.[17]

1990 endorsements

In 1990 New York City Democratic Socialists of America's SA PAC endorsed Deborah Glick in her campaign to win the vacant Assembly seat in Greenwich Village. It also endorsed Jack Lester over Republican State Senator Roy Goodman, and DSAer Eugene Prosnitz, who was running for Civil Court Judge from the East Side.[18]

DSA concert

On April 23, 1991 Democratic Socialists of America brought together a crowd of at least 800 to the Riverside Church in New York City to hear Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger, Gretchen Reed, Robin Holcomb, and Kate McGarrigle and Anna McGarrigle. Amid the stunning atmosphere of the church, the performers entertained and inspired the audience with songs and stories of the struggle for social justice. DSA's Rafael PiRoman served as Master of Ceremonies and Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger introduced the event. The concert was sponsored by Youth For Jobs, Peace and Freedom, a project of the Institute for Democratic Socialism and the DSA Youth Section.[19]

1991 Council endorsements

New York City DSA endorsed 13 candidates in a crowded city council election.

The local saw its vision of a progressive coalition In city politics realized by The Majority Coalition for a New New York, which organized an independent political campaign for progressive city council candidates. One candidate. Craig Miller, was a DSA member .[20]

In a hotly contested race in 1991 in Greenwich Village that divided many long-time allies in the progressive community, New York City Democratic Socialists of America picked Tom Duane, a progressive white gay man with a long history of community activism, over Liz Abzug, a progressive white lesbian.

DSA judged her lack of activism in the community to be her fatal flaw.

DSA also devoted significant resources to helping a DSA'er, Craig Miller, challenge ac long-time incumbent who had switched districts.

We got on the phones, calling members that had been to the endorsement meetings or who had indicated interest earlier. We also sent postcards to almost all our members just before the primary, reminding them to vote for our candidate.

In the end, some twenty DSA members were involved in the campaign of Guillermo Linares, a Dominican school board president running in an open seat in Manhattan. Members carried his petitions, coordinated volunteers, phonebanked, organized a fund raising party, and worked on election day. Contrary to the predictions of the political pundits, he won the primary by a 300-vote margin.

DSA also played crucial role turning the tide in a corner of the district for Una Clarke, a Jamaican child care worker and union activist who won the primary in her Brooklyn district by thirty-four votes

Of the thirteen people DSA endorsed, eight won the primary and "will probably win the general election". (Democratic primaries virtually guarantee election in most of New York City.) Four won open seats, two incumbents won, two didn't face primaries and a fifth, surprisingly lost. All of the challengers DSA backed -- including Miller - lost.[21]

Honoring the Sidels

New York City Democratic Socialists of America held a fundraising bash on December 7 1992, at which longtime activists Ruth Sidel and Victor Sidel were awarded the Paul Du Brul Memorial Award. Approximately 150 people gathered to honor the Sidels, to enjoy a performance by Pete Seeger and Randy Harris, and to hear remarks by Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger and other political and labor leaders.[22]

"Our 100 Days or Theirs?"

On January 15 1993 New York City DSA held a forum entitled "Our 100 Days or Theirs?" at which the meaning of the Clinton victory for radical activists was discussed. Speakers included DSA vice chair Jim Chapin, Noreen Connell of the Education Priorities Panel, and Gale Brewer, the federal liaison for New York City.[23]

Officers 1993

Executive committee;[24]

1993 Council elections

In 1993 New York City DSA worked in support of the re-election campaign of David Dinkins, and also on several Council elections, in the hope of boosting progressives' strength on that body.[25]

1993 Debs dinner

The New York City local's 1993 annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington dinner was held June 24. Honorees were Dennis Rivera, the president of Local 1199, and Deborah Meier, the co-director of the Central Park East Secondary School.[26]

Communist history

During the fall of 1994 New York City Democratic Socialists of America sponsored a series of lectures on the history and meaning of Soviet communism. The series was led by D SA Vice Chair Jim Chapin, who then worked as a political adviser to New York City Public Advocate Mark Green.[27]

1995 awards dinner

In 1995, New York City Democratic Socialists of America local's annual dinner was held June 7 and honored Jim Butler, the President of Local 420, the New York Municipal Hospital Employees Union, and Fran Barrett, founder and director of Community Resource Exchange.[28]

DSA May Day "bash"

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine was the site of New York City DSA's 1996 May Day "bash". New York City Council member Guillermo Linares received the Paul Dubrul award for community action and leadership while UAW Region 9A Director Phil Wheeler garnered the Debs/Thomas award.

Barbara Ehrenreich, a DSA founder and honorary chair, was the recipient of a special award honoring her for her contributions as a leading feminist, cultural critic, and political satirist. Over 150 people joined in the celebration, including special guests Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers, DSA Vice Chair Jose LaLuz, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, and Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapoport.[29]

2008 elections

DSA and YDS members were especially active. Some got up “at the crack of dawn,” says Jeff Gold, to take buses to support Obama in various locations in Pennsylvania, sometimes side by side with experienced trade unionists from Working America and at other times with first-time campaign volunteers. They also worked with the social democratic Working Families Party, which ran much of the New York Democrats’ field operations, to help the Democrats win their first majority in the state legislature since the mid-1960s . DSA members living in rent-regulated housing in Queens and Long Island were especially active in behalf of pro-tenant Democrats on the WFP ballot line. Another member traveled all the way to south Florida to help turn out Jewish voters for Obama, especially during early voting, when it was easier to address problems at the polls.

Many of the DSA members who reported their experiences said they enjoyed working with a wide variety of people and the opportunity to see the awesome Obama campaign machine in action. They were exhilarated by the unprecedented enthusiasm expressed by newly energized volunteers and voters. “I’m a seasoned volunteer of 25 years..., but it was different this time,” said one. They strengthened ties with local grassroots organizations, and helped to elect some progressives who, we hope, will support DSA’s Economic Justice Agenda. But to paraphrase FDR, now we have to get out and make them do it.[30]

"Socialized medicine" forum

The New York City Democratic Socialists of America local’s most successful event in 2008 was a forum called “Socialized Medicine? You Bet!” at Judson Memorial Church, with NYS Assembly Dean and Health Committee chair Dick Gottfried and DSAers Naomi Zauderer of the New York Professional Nurses Union, Jeff Gold of the Health Care for All Campaign, and, from the Midwest Academy, "organizing legend" Steve Max. The local has joined the campaign against the privatization of two health insurance programs (GHI and HIP) that serve 93% of city workers and retirees as well as other New Yorkers. They held a second forum on that issue with YDS and the N.Y. chapters of Democracy for America and Progressive Democrats of America. [31]


  1. Post , Democratic Socialists have become a political force in NYC
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  4. [ NYC DSA FB, NYC Democratic Socialists of America Like This Page · May 6 ]
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  6. The Leadership Team, Accessed April 8 2017
  7. NYC DSA FB photos, Maria Svart‎NYC-DSA September 23
  8. Wherevent Fourth Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party
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  19. DEMOCRATIC LEFT MAY/JUNE 1991, page 13
  22. Dem. Left, Jan./Feb. 1993. page 9
  23. Dem. Left, Jan./Feb. 1993. page 9
  24. Dem. Left, Sept./October 1993, page 22
  25. Dem. Left, Sept./Oct. 1993, page 26
  26. Dem.Left, May/June 1993, page 11.
  27. Dem. Left, Jan./Feb. 1995, 28
  28. Dem. Left May/June 1995, page 21
  29. Dem. Left May/June 1996
  30. Democratic Left, Winter 2009
  31. Democratic Left, Fall 2008