Hello from Red Star!
Ongoing Palestine Response
The last month in DSA has centered on our ongoing response to the Israeli genocide of Palestinians, the U.S. government’s response, and the media battle over public perception of Israel. While DSA’s first steps were somewhat awkward and hesitant, the last month has seen the entire org become stronger and more confident in our fight for Palestine.
The November 4th March for Palestine in Washington DC and around the country is an example of DSA’s increasing resolve. While there was initially some hesitancy around endorsing the march, calls from across the org eventually culminated in an NPC endorsement, although regrettably this endorsement did not include any funding. Our determination to support Palestinian groups eventually overcame the reluctance by some parts of the org to affiliate with PSL and PYM, and we’re hopeful that DSA will abandon its defensive posture over media backlash and move towards stronger coalition building.
However, the decision by members of the former BDS Working Group to “disaffiliate” from DSA is an unfortunate part of this moment. At a time when momentum to build and cement a strong anti-Zionist internationalism has never been stronger, we believe that cutting ties and distancing Palestinian organizing from the largest socialist organization in the U.S. is a huge missed opportunity. We have previously critiqued how the last NPC handled this area of work, and we strongly believe that strengthening leadership in DSA to avoid these errors is the correct path forward. We will continue working with Palestine Solidarity Working Group members who remain in DSA, and hope to cultivate a political environment within the org that can attract and retain anti-Zionists.
First In Person NPC Meeting
Last weekend, the NPC met in person in Minneapolis-St. Paul. In addition to voting business, the meeting was planned to develop stronger working relationships between members who are often on opposite sides of political questions in DSA. The meeting was a success, and NPC members closed out the weekend with a karaoke session on Sunday evening. We hope to carry the good vibes from the weekend into the rest of the term.
Red Star works to support our NPC members as much as possible, and for this meeting we had a member of our caucus who lives nearby attend in-person, to help assist NPC members with preparing for votes and discussions, communicating with the caucus, and overall make the NPC meeting more productive. We hope that other caucuses establish similar systems, and particularly send in-person assistants to NPC meetings where possible, to help facilitate more fruitful meetings.
The meeting also produced a new set of NPC committee assignments. We’re excited to get to work in our national bodies, particularly on the GDC State of DSA Reports project which was passed by the most recent Convention.
We’re proud to announce that we’re running Red Star members Megan Romer for National Political Committee Co-Chair, Sanwal Yousaf, Fern Da Silva, and Matt Nelson for Democracy Commission, as well as endorsing Constellation member Sean Bridge for Democracy Commission!
Besides serving on the NPC, Megan has been active in both local and national DSA leadership, as former Co-Chair of DSA SWLA and the DSA Mutual Aid Working Group. As a pro in political media, and with experience in parliamentary procedure, her leadership as Co-Chair will be key to the internal functioning of the NPC and the external image of DSA.
Since joining DSA in 2020, Sanwal has organized with the International Committee and has served as the chair of Philly DSA’s political education committee. He wants the Commission to improve the transparency of DSA, and to incorporate lessons from parties like Pakistan’s Mazdoor Kisaan Party.
Fern has served several terms on the steering committee of the IC. Fern has helped comrades in DSA learn from the inspiring example of Brazil’s left-wing parties through both extensive translation of PT, PSOL, PCdoB, and other party documents, as well as sharing his own experiences as an organizer in Brazilian diaspora left-wing politics. If elected, Fern will use the experiences and skills he has learned from the IC to improve DSA’s internal democracy.
Matt is a trained grievance officer with professional experience in Title IX work. He values the democratic principles that DSA must uphold in order to have generative (and not destructive) conflict. In order to fully realize the promise of a democratic organization, we have to invest in our democratic processes so that we can learn from our disagreements and emerge stronger from hard conflict.
Sean B is a current Co-Chair of the University of Cincinnati YDSA, a member of YDSA’s Campaign OC, and a founding member of Constellation. Sean's focus is to strengthen the connection between YDSA and DSA and create a more member-driven and deliberative culture within the organization.
Red Star believes that democracy is about discovering better ideas and sharpening our own thinking through discussion, debate, and comradely struggle – the path to socialism winds through many contradictions, and our democratic process is how we resolve and overcome them.
To make our organization more democratic requires not only investigating our own experience, but drawing on the lessons of the international socialist movement.
We’re excited to put forward candidates for the Democracy Commission that combine experience with the perspective necessary to incorporate those international lessons, and excited that Megan is bringing her experience and expansive democratic vision to the race for NPC co-chair.
By Megan Romer
Central New York is a long-time producer of heirloom apple varieties, with Empire, Cortland, McIntosh, Jonagold, Macoun, and many others having been developed in the Finger Lakes, where I was born and once again call home. For my first autumn back in the region, I’m going wild, putting apples in and on everything that’ll sit still. As per usual, I gotta make it weird when I can – I can buy normal apple butter at the Mennonite farm stand up the road, if I’m gonna make my own, I may as well quirk it up. This particular experiment went really well:
Pho-Spiced Apple Butter
- 10-12 small-to-medium sized apples, peeled and chonked (literally any apple works but use Cortland)
- 1 cup apple cider (water is fine if you don’t have cider, why don’t you have cider?)
- ¾-1 cup dark brown sugar (more or less to taste, I like it on the less-sweet side)
- Sprinkle of salt
- ½ packet of whole pho spices (I buy these at the Asian supermarket for like 89 cents, but you can make your own mix with a cinnamon stick, a couple star anises, a pinch each of coriander seeds and black peppercorns, a couple cardamom pods and cloves, maybe fennel if you feel like it)
Put the apples and sugar and liquid in the pot, turn on low heat for about an hour. Apples should be really soft by then. Stick an immersion blender in there (or put it in your regular blender, but be careful, it’s little molten lava cubes) until it’s smooth-ish. Add your pho spices. I like to put mine in one of those little one-use muslin teabags, and cheesecloth or something would also work, and you can also just let ‘em scatter, it’s fine! Cook the whole thing for another hour/hour and a half until it’s dark brown and looks almost like caramel sauce. From here, you can water-bath can it (check your pH, you can add lemon or citric acid if it’s not high enough) or just slop it into a jar and stick it in the fridge, where it’ll last a month-ish if you don’t eat it all first. It’s perfect on toast and also makes a kickass glaze for a pork tenderloin (or uhhh tofu tenderloin or whatever).
If you're interested in discussing this piece with other DSA members, head on over to the DSA Discussion forums at https://discussion.dsausa.org/t/red-star-npc-november-newsletter/28591
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