Chris Maisano

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Chris Maisano

Chris Maisano is a member of the Young Democratic Socialists New York City chapter. He studied at Rutgers and Drexel University and in 2010 worked as a librarian at a large public library branch in Brooklyn.[1]

Young Democratic Socialists

As of September 2009 Chris Maisano was Activist Editor of the Young Democratic Socialists[2].

“President Bernie” Forum

Lower Hudson Democratic Socialists November 17, 2019


Our “President Bernie” Forum in White Plains was a huge success! Thanks to our panelists Bhaskar Sunkara, Chris Maisano, Vanessa Agudelo, and Kat Brezler for their insightful commentary, and thanks to the audience for asking great questions. — in White Plains, New York.

DSA Economic Crisis Group

In 2009 Democratic Socialists of America member Rob Saute was the primary mover behind the establishment of NYC DSA Economic Crisis Group, which has since attracted the active participation of Karie Gubbins, Jason Schulman, Michael Hirsch, Itzhak Epstein, Peter Frase, and Chris Maisano[3].

It will attempt to use such understandings to conduct economic organizing in New York City, produce a small number of short pieces of popular literature on the crisis, and conduct public educational fora that will advance an analysis and program of action that reflects the ideological and political orientation of DSA in the broad left, which could use an infusion of the kind of visionary yet pragmatic radicalism that is our organization’s hallmark. Such activities will also be aimed at recruiting new members who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the crisis and who are open to embracing the particular intellectual and political contribution DSA can make. We believe that these goals are achievable, and that any socialist organization worth its salt should have a theoretical and practical program concerning the deepest crisis of capitalism in 80 years.

Bringing down Medicaid

Writing on the Young Democratic Socialists website on March 22, 2010, Maisano explicitly called for a new application of the Cloward-Piven Strategy. Maisano recommended that activists work to deliberately overload Medicaid to the point of failure, forcing the Federal government to assume full responsibility for all health care - or "single payer' socialized health care.[4]

Maisano wrote;

With yesterday’s passage in the House of the Obama administration’s health care reform bill, it would seem at first glance that the movement for national, single-payer health insurance has been seriously derailed...
However, there are many serious flaws in the bill that will put single payer back on the political agenda sooner than we may think. The indispensable and indefatigable folks at Physicians for a National Health Program cataloged many of them in a press release earlier today, but they only briefly touch on an issue that I think could potentially be a central aspect of single-payer strategy in the coming years: Medicaid and the fiscal crisis of the states...
Under the plan that Congress will pass, about half of the roughly 30 million people that would gain access to health insurance coverage would be placed in Medicaid. Medicaid is funded jointly by the federal government and the states, but the combination of dwindling tax receipts and surging enrollment – an estimated 3.3 million people joined the program in the last year alone – has severely impaired the states’ ability to meet their Medicaid obligations. This has forced many states to cut Medicaid reimbursements to doctors, resulting in drastic hardships for many Medicaid recipients. .. Since state budgets are not expected to return to health any time in the foreseeable future, Medicaid expansion could potentially break the budgets of many states around the country...

Maisano on to invoke a revival of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, which was credited with almost bankrupting his hometown New York in the late 1970s.

So what does this all have to do with formulating a winning strategy for the single-payer health care movement? To begin to answer this question, we need to look back at an old strategic proposal that I think has acquired a new relevance in the political terrain created by the passage of the Obama administration’s health care reform bill...
In 1966, scholar-activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven (a long-standing DSA member) wrote an article for The Nation called “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy To End Poverty.” In the mid-sixties, Cloward and Piven found that only about half of the families eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (what welfare used to be called), were actually enrolled in the program. Recognizing the political opportunities this gap between welfare law and practice presented, they formulated an analysis that became known as the “Cloward-Piven strategy.” As they explained in their book Poor People’s Movements, the strategy had two main components...

Maisano directly quoted from The Nation article;

"If hundreds of thousands of families could be induced to demand relief, we thought that two gains might result. First, if large numbers of people succeeded in getting on the rolls, much of the worst of America’s poverty would be eliminated. Second…we thought it likely that a huge increase in the relief rolls would set off fiscal and political crises in the cities, the reverberations of which might lead national political leaders to federalize the relief system and establish a national minimum income standard. It was a strategy designed to obtain immediate economic aid for the poor, coupled with the possibility of obtaining a longer-term national income standard" -

Maisano then goes on to say;

As efforts to win single payer through traditional organizing techniques and engagement with the established political system fail to bear much fruit, the crisis provoking strategy proposed by Cloward and Piven may be our best way forward...

Maisano's strategy?

So here’s what I would propose as the next step in single payer strategy: explode the Medicaid rolls. Single payer activists should organize in their communities to sign up as many eligible people as possible for Medicaid – if the administration wants to expand Medicaid coverage, then let’s give it to them. Many people would get the health coverage they need in the short term. In the longer term, the system would probably not be able to support all of them when the financial burden shifts back to the states. Popular pressure could then be mobilized to force drastic federal intervention to deal with the ensuing crisis, possibly including the implementation of single payer...

NYC DSA steering committee

In 2009 New York City Democratic Socialists of America elected a new steering committee, with Maria Svart as chair, Chris Maisano as secretary, Kenny Schaeffer as treasurer, David Yap as membership coordinator, and Jason Schulman as at large member.[5]

Friends of Sean Monahan


November 28, 2013 Sean Monahan of Providence Democratic Socialists of America wished Happy Marxgiving! to a list of people Silvina Hdz, Henry Seiler, Alex Jones, Amanda Davis, Betsy Tammaro, Calli Nicole, Alex Gourevitch, PM Gutierrez, Ingrid Hjertaker, Catalina Arreaza, Remeike Forbes, Neal Meyer, Maria Svart, David Duhalde, Andrew Porter, Matthew Riley Porter, Bryan Michael, Daniel Hanson, Elizabeth Henderson, Jim Sullivan, Nate Wade, Joseph Schwartz, Michele Rossi, Benjamin Kreider, Jesse Butterfield, Chris Maisano, Peter Frase, Bhaskar Sunkara, Ian Lee, David Roddy, Andee Johanna Sunderland, Ryan Briles, Alex Deane, Sarah Slichter, Sarah Gollwitzer, Kasey Knopp, Daniel Adrian Santiago, Tatiana Guerrero, Betsy Avila, Mike McCabe, Trace Cabot, Will Emmons, Elena Blanc, Davey Scher, Deanna Gosling, Ian Georgianna, Jana Koehn, Jackie Sewell, JP Kaderbek, Kate McCreary, Lauren Hines, Karen Narefsky, Noah Baron, Tom DiNardo, Brynn Cassidy West, Emahunn Raheem Ali Campbell, Chris Hicks, Melinda Fiedler, Isabel Anreus, Elizabeth Pride, Beth Cozzolino, Donald Bryan Hopkins, Joshua Luther, Dan Ludwig, Alec Hudson, Kyle Hempe, Luis Caza, Brian Flowers, Sam Miller, Jacob Curry, Liz Wright, Phillip Logan, Justin Simons.

Convention delegate

Chris Maisano was a New York Democratic Socialists of America delegate to the DSA 2015 National Convention.[6]

Generation Left: Millennials Building the Next Socialist Movement

"Generation Left: Millennials Building the Next Socialist Movement" Mayday Community Space, 214 Starr Street, Brooklyn, NY, Friday 12 February 2016, 18:00 till Sunday 14 February 2016, organized by Young Democratic Socialists.

This year’s event comes at an unprecedented time for socialism in the United States. Polls show the growing popularity of democratic socialism and the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign among people under 35.

Those indicating intention to attend on the Wherevent website included Bhaskar Sunkara, David Littman, Emma Lucia Llano, Mark Benjamin Vondrasek, Andrew Shelton, Jameson Goetz , Chris Maisano , Ryan Bruckenthal , Juan Antonio Hernandez, John Guzek, Daniel Moraff, Joseph Schwartz, Joshua Nodiff, Heidi Easton Chua Schwa, Rahel Biru, Winnie Wong, Brandon Kemp, Sara Ali, Neal Meyer, Michele Rossi, Valencia Barbosa-Ferrer, Jason Hugh Korzelius, Mercy Villa, Barry Goldberg, Spencer Brown, Paul Goodspeed, Alex Kudeyar, Joey Iannitelli, Sean Bailey, Kayla Popuchet, Ben Packer, Alex Nitecki, Alex Nitecki, Bruce Haskin, Noelle Flan, Adam Goldman, Patrick Bon Tonissen, Patrick Bon Tonissen, Ethan Earle, Jack Suria Linares, John Richard Nolan, Byrne Hollander, Meryssa Dickerson, David Duhalde, Riaasa Muntaz, Desiree Feliciano, Louie Messina, David Lorenzo III, Priscilla Cordero, Kelsey Fatu Lizotte, Sean Monahan, Tonee Burley, Diana Dang, Orlando Escobar, Claudia Marroquin, Michelle Denise Fisher, Hoang Do, Kate Bush, Nora Evita Aresti Osis, J-anie Segui, Michael Brandini, Jake Burger, Ashley Rodriguez, Darci Collins, Shlomo Boukai, Russell David, Jonny Tsunami Iezin, Ryan Adler-Levine, Shelby Murphy, Karie Ames, Adam Cardo, Eric Dolan.[7]

Brooklyn DSA


Members and friends of the New York Democratic Socialists of America Brooklyn Branch picket in solidarity with Verizon strikers. From left to right: Laura Moya, Neal Meyer, Mariah Montgomery, Dan DiMaggio, Dave Hancock, Sam Rosenthal, Ben Bennett, Rick Fudge, Chris Maisano, Chris Brooks, Katrina Forman, 2016.


In 2016 Chris Maisano was a member of NYC Democratic Socialists of America. He signed the Give The People What They Want: DSA Members on 2016 and Beyond letter.[8]

Verizon Strike Solidarity Committee


David Klassen May 25 · The Verizon Strike Solidarity Committee in full effect. — with Dan DiMaggio, Patrick Ayers, Patrick T. Shepherd, Joe Richard, Mark Friedman, Luke Elliott-Negri, Dick Sweatte, Flynn Murray, Nick Rynearson, Meghan Brophy, Chris Maisano, Micah Landau, Laura Moya, Mary Clinton and Mark Bergfeld.

NPC candidate

In August 2017 Chris Maisano stood for election to the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, at the National Convention in Chicago.[9]

I’m Chris Maisano, and I’m a member of New York City DSA (NYC-DSA). I first joined DSA as a high school student in the late 1990s, and I’ve been a committed socialist ever since.
That interest was furthered by a somewhat unlikely source: Catholic school. I went to both public and Catholic schools growing up, and it was the Church that first exposed me to critical perspectives on capitalism and militarism. Learning about Catholic social teaching, as well as our government’s support for right-wing death squads that killed priests and nuns in Central America, set me on a path that eventually lead to socialism and internationalism. I have long since left the Church, but I’m grateful for the important role in played in developing my political perspectives and my hunger for justice in the world.
I went to college at Rutgers, and during that time I participated in the anti-globalization and anti-war movements. After graduation I went to work as a union organizer, and then obtained a degree in library science. I worked for about five years as a public librarian in Brooklyn, and was a rank-and-file activist in AFSCME District Council 37 (DC 37), Local 1482. From there I went to work as a research staffer for DC 37, and today I work for a nurses’ union in New York. Altogether, I have about a decade’s worth of experience in the labor movement in a variety of different roles and settings.

Over the last year, I have worked alongside many dedicated comrades to help build NYC-DSA into the strong and dynamic local of 2,000 members it is today. I just finished a one-year term on our local’s Steering Committee, and am active in our labor organizing and political education activities. I worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign in New York and Philadelphia; helped to coordinate our strike solidarity efforts during the 2016 Verizon strike; worked with fellow members to organize an extremely successful holiday fundraiser; and served on the planning committee of the recent NYC-DSA Socialist Day School, a day-long political education event. I was recently re-elected to a second consecutive term on the NYC-DSA labor branch organizing committee.[10]

2017-2017 DSA NPC members

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Members elected to the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, August 2017;

Queens DSA Unofficial Facebook Group

Members of Queens Democratic Socialists of America unofficial closed Facebook group, August 2017 included Chris Maisano .[11]

NYC DSA Car Caucus

Members of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America DSA Car Caucus closed Facebook group, as of October 26, 2017 included Chris Maisano.[12]

The Call

The Call, 2018 contributing editors included Chris Maisano.

Socialist Forum Editorial Committee

Socialist Forum (DSA) Editorial Committee, November 2018.

Albany DSA training

Anna Bonomo March 6 209·

Great weekend in Albany at the NY state pre-convention DSA conference! Nothing gives me more hope than being in a room with 100 socialists from across the state strategizing together and debating the pressing questions facing our org - and keeping it comradely the whole time! Can't wait to keep building DSA with you all. Biggest thanks ever to Capital District DSA, especially Jamie Munro, Dan Lyles, Peter Warren and Sean for making this conference possible. Now on to DC!


Everybody tag yourselves! — with Jamie Munro, Maria Svart, Ryan Bruckenthal, Chris Maisano, Zyad Hammad, Peter Warren, Nina Svirsky, Richard Chandonnet, Andrew Dobbyn, Sasha Hammad, Brian Escobar, Jeanette Zoeckler and Andrew Thomas.