GOOD MORNING! SIGN INTO ROLL CALL!
For reference: June SC Report 2021.06 Philly DSA Steering Committee Report
Brief Description of Committee Purpose: The steering committee is the regular steering body of the Local. It is responsible for oversight of the affairs of the Local, ensuring that the campaigns, priorities and strategies approved at assemblies are effectively carried out by the officers, permanent committees, geographical branches, temporary committees, commissions and commissioners in accordance with the rules of the Local.
Committee Quorum: 8
Shawn H, Chair
Khalil M, Vice Chair
Harinee S, Secretary
Ron J, Treasurer
Daisy C (communications); Aliyah BD (member engagement); Sanwal Y (political education); Rachie W (electoral); Emily B (at-large); Anlin W (at-large); Melissa D (at-large); Sam D (at-large); Dan R (at large); Duncan G (at-large)
Number and Dates of Meetings since last Report:
Our committee met 3 times since our last report, on Aug 10, Aug 21, Sept 14
Summary of Actions Taken:
Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees/Commissions:
Recommendations for consideration by the membership:
Appendix: Committee Meeting Minutes
Committee and Branch Reports [MORE TO COME]:
Temporary Committee Reports 2021.9.11 - These questionnaire answers were accepted in lieu of a report for this General Meeting for Temporary Committees
Political Education Committee - 09.26.21 Report
Communications Committee Report
MEC Committee Report Sept 2021
Philly DSA Committee Report_EC 9/21
Philly DSA Labor Branch Report_9.26.21 General Meeting
Political Education Report For July 2021 to September 2021
Creating events including but not limited to reading groups, discussions, talks, for the purpose of raising the political consciousness of the membership.
Committee Quorum: 6
Melissa Naschek, Jarek Ervin, Andrew Knox, Tyler Re, Hannah Utain-Evans, Aurora Munoz,
Aliyah Bixby-Driesen, Mike Dewar, Safai Albati, Keon Liberato, Sindhu Siva, Tarig Robinson
Our Committee has met at least 2 times since the last General Meeting. In these meetings, we met as a body to decide on the events and curriculum that was being taught.
August 15th, 2021 :
September 19th, 2021:
Budget Details: The budget of the Political Education Committee is at the discretion of the Steering Committee and hasn’t been assigned for any major activities yet. Our current plans for our events are supposed to be all online and we don’t expect any major increases in our requests for the budget.
We are working with the Comms committee, with a newly appointed liaison (Erik Lexie) to establish a regular cadence of promotion for political education events. At the time of our September 2021 General Meeting we have made 2 requests of the Comms Committee to create promotional material for 2 upcoming talks on topics of Cooperatives and Liberation Theology.
August 15th Meeting minutes + agenda:
September 19th Meeting minutes + agenda:
Communications Committee Report For July 2021 to September 2021
Committee Quorum: 5
Committee Officers: Daisy Confoy, Chair
Derek Horkel, Austin Binns, Sam Datlof, Julia Alekseyeva, Jordan Teicher, Meag Kaman, Bella Wong, Alan Parkerson
Our Committee has met twice since the last General Meeting, on August 25 (19 people in attendance) and September 20 (16 people in attendance)
The Communications Committee has no independent budget and has not yet sought approval for any financial expenditures.
Our committee is in regular contact with several other committees to ensure events are posted to the website, promoted on social media, graphics are made, and relevant information is included in weekly bulletins. As one example, we work each week with the Labor Branch to gather information about union activity in the city to include in the Labor Corner (“This week in unions”) section of the bulletin.
Recommendations to the General Membership: None
Appendix: Internal Resolutions: None
Attached is the minutes for our meetings on 8.25.2021 and 9.20.2021: Communications Committee minutes
Electoral Committee Report For August, 2021 to September, 2021
Committee Quorum: 4
Committee Officers: Aliyah Bixby-Driesen, Chair
Meag Kaeman, Jack Kelly, Emily Berkowitz, Aurora Muñoz, Dan Parker, Amanda Fox, Colin Evoy
Our committee met four times since our last report, on July 15th, July 26th, August 18th, and September 10th.
The committee spent ~$150 on our Labor Day cookout. We raised $200 from t-shirt sales. We plan to spend ~$300 for an upcoming social event in October.
Our committee has requested social media outreach help from Communications for multiple events.
Member Engagement Committee Meeting Running Agenda
Electoral Committee Report For August 20201 to September 2021
Brief Description of Committee Purpose: Organizing around electoral issues in Philly and surrounding areas.
Committee Quorum: 11
Committee Officers: Rachie Weisberg, Chair
Tess Kerins, Secretary
Jason Leach, Marlin Foreman, Mike Dewar, Michael Kinnucan, Mindy Isser, Ethan Hill, Chris Harding, Greg Windle, Anlin Wang, Ron Joseph
Our Committee has met at least 2 times since the last General Meeting. In these meetings, we have been talking about endorsement timelines, questionnaires, and committee priorities moving forward.
Right now we don’t have a budget but our finance subcommittee is working on establishing what kind of financial contributions we want to be able to offer to candidates as part of our endorsement, as well as our own budget for literature etc.
We do have the Philly DSA PAC as well.
[Please include a summary of any official actions taken by the Committee related to the Committee’s purpose since the last committee report; not all of the following bullets will be necessary; fill-in those that are.]
Think the biggest issue is connecting with candidates and finding times that work with everyone’s schedules, but mostly there are no obstacles.
Our Comms Subcommittee (lead by Mindy and Marlin) is connecting with the at-large Comms committee to work on how we can have specific electoral outreach within the existing phillyDSA infrastructure. We have asked the comms city to help post our Open Meeting on Social Media.
Recommendations to the General Membership: [none]
Open Committee Meeting 8/26
8/26 DSA Electoral Opening Meeting!
September 8th Meeting Meetings + Agenda
9/8 Electoral Committee Meeting
September 19th Meeting minutes + agenda for EC
Labor Branch Report For August, 2021 to September, 2021
Brief Description of Committee Purpose:
The purpose of the Philly DSA Labor Branch is to:
Branch Quorum: 18
Daniel Reyes, Chair
Max Bienstock, Secretary
Leslie Silva, At-Large
Dates of Branch Meetings since last Report:
Budget Details: N/A
Summary of Actions Taken/Upcoming Priorities:
Summary of Resources Needed/Obstacles to Fulfilling Committee Purpose:
Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees:
Authors: Keon L, Tim L
Co-sponsors: Aurora M, Shawn H, Ethan H, Daniel R, Bill B, Chuck G, Ron J, Meag K, Knar G, Duncan G, David B, Mitch C, John B, Nafis H, Mike D, Brian B, Toni D, Matt A, Larry H., Greg W
Whereas the climate crisis is accelerating, as seen this summer in forest fires and floods in the US and around the world;
Whereas toxic and unhealthy environmental conditions are pervasive in Philadelphia and are going unaddressed as a result of the combined fragmentation and exploitation of the workforce;
Whereas workers are harmed by the toxic infrastructure and a deteriorating environment, from teachers working in toxic schools to building trade and other manual laborers experiencing sweltering conditions;
Whereas 50% of railroad workers die within 5 years of retiring, for which worsening climate conditions is a contributing factor;
Whereas many unions across Philadelphia would benefit from a Green New Deal (GND) for Philadelphia but have had little successful engagement and outreach from GND advocates;
Whereas few Philadelphia locals have publicly endorsed a GND and the GND is not well understood among Philadelphians as a result of a disinformation campaign from the center and right;
Whereas Philly DSA has the capacity for effective political education and agitation on behalf of workers laboring amidst increasingly precarious environmental conditions;
Whereas labor militancy is central to the strategy for achieving a GND, requiring a robust partnership between rank-and-file membership and organizers;
Whereas the Labor Branch and GND Commission have approved campaigns to conduct GND popular education programs with Philadelphia locals;
Whereas the Green New Deal is a DSA national priority;
Therefore be it resolved that Philly DSA conduct a GND popular education campaign—wherein DSA members conduct knowledge-sharing sessions with Philadelphia locals to learn more about their work and share information about what the GND is and how it can benefit them;
Be it further resolved that the LB and GND Commission cooperate on this campaign;
Be it further resolved that Philly DSA membership support this campaign by identifying unions to partner with;
Be it further resolved that Philly DSA hold GND organizer trainings for Philly DSA membership;
Be it further resolved that Philly DSA survey and call rank-and-file members of local unions to fact-find about current knowledge of and feelings towards the GND;
Be it further resolved that Philly DSA design communication materials to share insight on the GND;
Be it further resolved that Philly DSA hold in-person and virtual GND workshops to share knowledge with local Philadelphia workers;
Be it further resolved that Philly DSA improve its GND strategy to align with rank-and-file members’ needs, as understood through the campaign, in order to ensure it is fighting for a future for all workers;
Be it further resolved the timeline for DSA’s commitment to a Philadelphia local will include approximately one month of surveying the membership, one month of workshops and actions, and one month of reflection and strategizing based on knowledge gained from the preceding two months;
Be it further resolved that the campaign will have a budget of $500, while the Steering Committee may approve additional expenses for the campaign.
Authors: Shawn H, Nafis H, Mitch C, Duncan G, Tim L, Knar G
Co-Sponsors: Anlin W, Chuck G, Meag K, Ron J, Mike D, Zack L, Daisy C, Knar G, Duncan G, Nafis H, Khalil M, Steve B, Aurora M, David M, Austin B, Sal H, Sam D, Jesse K, Emily B, Melissa D, Tim L, Mayci S, Greg W
WHEREAS, Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) is the largest publicly owned gas utility in the country, and PGW remains public because unions, environmental groups, and other allies fought against privatization in 2014.
WHEREAS, PGW operates on ancestral, unceded Lenni-Lenape lands, and settler colonial relations to the land continue to undermine Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, pushing the planet closer to ecological collapse by placing profit and extractive enterprise over the pursuit of collective well-being and prosperity, which can only come of caretaking and repairing relations to the land, and important recent fights along these relations have been around fossil fuel extraction and transportation.
WHEREAS, We’re experiencing the impacts of climate change coast-to-coast, and the recent IPCC report says it’s going to get worse if we don’t radically cut emissions, and many researchers have asserted that the U.S. must nearly eliminate greenhouse emissions from all sectors (including buildings) before 2040 in order for humanity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C.
WHEREAS, Despite being popularized by the fossil fuel industry as a bridge fuel, natural gas extraction, transport, and use has disastrous effects on the climate, and burning gas inside homes produces toxic air pollution that harms residents’ health, while gas extraction produces extensive toxic pollution and contamination of groundwater in rural communities. Additionally, methane, one of its major outputs, has 28 times the heat-trapping power of CO2 in a period of 100 years and around 80 times over 20 years, and Pennsylvania has an outsized contribution to methane pollution due to gas extraction, production, and transportation as the second largest gas producing state in the country
WHEREAS, a livable future requires that we eliminate the use of greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels, including natural gas, transition our energy production to renewable sources of energy, reduce costs and consumption through energy efficiency, and implement other strategies outlined in the Green New Deal.
WHEREAS, In order to make our homes healthy, safe, comfortable, affordable, and carbon-free, we’ll need to remake the energy infrastructure outside our homes as well as repairing and retrofitting the buildings. The combined project--transforming PGW and our buildings--can make life better for working class Philadelphians, create lots of good jobs, reduce energy bills, and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
WHEREAS, Energy is a human right in the 21st century and utilities providing this public good should be publicly owned. But public ownership is not enough--to fully decommodify energy, we need to hold these public utilities accountable. While PGW is publicly owned, it acts with impunity, disregarding the perspectives, needs, and lives of the Philadelphians it serves. Therefore, holding PGW accountable by engaging with and implementing demands from the public is critical to meet our decarbonization needs and enact energy democracy.
WHEREAS, PGW has shut off the gas of over 4000 Philadelphians in 2021, during a pandemic in which people need access to utilities in their homes, after the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) lifted a year-long moratorium on utility shut-offs in spring 2021. Legal aid attorneys report that PGW is shutting off customers while they await a response to their applications for utility-bill assistance. Tens of thousands of PGW customers are at risk of termination.
WHEREAS, A large number of Philadelphians, like many other working class people around the country, have been struggling for years to pay utility bills. Philadelphia has one of the highest “energy burdens” in the United States. In 2019, 111,000 Philadelphia households paid more than 10% of their income for utilities. Unaffordable utility bills threaten people’s health and well-being in serious ways. PGW’s scheduled rate hike on January 1, 2022 will exacerbate the problem, and PGW is expected to seek additional rate increases for 2023 and beyond.
WHEREAS PGW employs 1,600 workers, 1,150 of whom are members of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) local 686.
WHEREAS, PGW executives currently oppose calls for PGW to operate as a public good and use rate-payer dollars to lobby and advocate on behalf of the fossil fuel industry and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues each year to trade associations that work to prolong and expand the use of fossil fuels, such as the American Gas Association. PGW executives, the Philadelphia Gas Commission, the PA Public Utility Commission, and other associated bureaucratic layers routinely “pass the buck,” resist, or ignore calls from those outside this bureaucracy for PGW to create a business plan that matches the city’s climate goals or even provide full transparency into their lobbying activities.
WHEREAS, PGW’s business model is not financially sustainable. The use of gas is already declining, and the use of electric heating technologies will likely increase in the coming years while many of PGW’s costs will hold steady or increase. Some officials fear a ‘utility death spiral,’ in which PGW seeks large rate increases in order to cover costs, and those rate hikes further incentivize people to reduce or eliminate their gas consumption. An unplanned, uncoordinated shift away from gas will harm working class residents who have low and moderate incomes as well as PGW workers.
WHEREAS, PGW is currently ignoring the demands of its stakeholders, including POWER Interfaith and other organizations that have worked for multiple years to demand that PGW be transparent and accountable to the public which it serves and whose money it runs on.
WHEREAS, PGW is undergoing a business diversification study to plan for its future and assess what its function might be in a changing world, and City Council will hold public hearings on the PGW diversification study this fall.
WHEREAS, The Green New Deal commission has voted to recommend this resolution to the membership.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Philly DSA will undertake an energy democracy campaign to be coordinated and managed by the Green New Deal commission and work collaboratively with the Housing Committee, Labor Branch, Political Education Committee, and Electoral Committee, with the following broad long term goals: (1) shift PGW away from selling gas or other fossil fuels, (2) guarantee affordable, fossil-fuel free heating, and (3) preserve, and ultimately expand, good union jobs for PGW workers throughout the full transition away from gas.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Philly DSA PGW campaign will work closely in coalition with organizations already researching, strategizing, and mobilizing to pressure targets, primarily POWER Interfaith. DSA’s PGW campaign strategy will amplify ongoing work and put pressure on PGW and elected officials with people power.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philly DSA PGW campaign will embark on a strategy and planning process to develop a plan to win and write a second resolution that includes the plan, milestones, and reporting schedule for membership approval at a later General Meeting. We will develop our plan informed by the above whereas clauses.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that while developing the plan to win, the PGW campaign will mobilize around the PGW business diversification process in Fall 2021, efforts to challenge shut-offs, and uphold ratepayers’ right to affordable energy, and use these activities to build interest and inform the strategizing process, develop and deepen relationships with other organizations involved in targeting PGW, mobilize Philly DSA members to testify and submit comment at upcoming stages in the business diversification process, participate in PGW-targeted actions & mobilizations led by POWER and other allied organizations, assist with ongoing research as needed, host at least one political education event to inform Philly DSA members and others about what’s happening with PGW, and host at least 2 open strategy sessions before the next General Meeting resolutions are due to develop the PGW campaign strategy.
Author: Seth F
Co-Sponsors: Miriam O
WHEREAS, “democracy and socialism go hand in hand” according to the DSA website https://www.dsausa.org/about-us/what-is-democratic-socialism/;
WHEREAS, the capitalist class restricts electoral democracy to maintain its power over the working class;
WHEREAS, expanding electoral democracy on local, state, and federal levels would help socialists obtain government power;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Philly DSA form a temporary Electoral Democracy Committee, composed of this resolution’s author (Seth F) as chair, co-sponsor (Miriam O) as a member, and a third member to be appointed by the Steering Committee. The Electoral Democracy Committee will have the following tasks and responsibilities:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the scope of the committee will include:
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the scope of the committee will not include the internal electoral democracy of DSA or Philly DSA.
Author(s): Meag Jae K
Co-Sponsor(s): Chuck G, Ron J, Jen W, Daisy C, Aurora M, Amanda F, Luke M, Ash C, Shawn H, Derek H, Duncan G, Anlin W, Chris R, Michele R, Jesse K, Aliyah B-D, Melissa D, Pearl M, Hamer R
Whereas, DSA intends to build a mass movement in order to enact a break with capitalism and the creation of socialist society, it must - in order to achieve its stated goal - reach, include, and be accessible to the mass multiracial working class in its totality and,
Whereas, Philly DSA has learned through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic to adapt to emerging conditions and,
Whereas, these adaptations have had the side-effect of opening up access to organizing for people who otherwise would not have been able to get deeply involved and,
Whereas, the feasibility of and desire for a “return to normalcy” may call for a return to in-person gatherings, at this critical moment we must safeguard the expansion of accessibility that has taken place over the last year and commit to working to expand accessibility further.
Therefore be it resolved, that Philly DSA undertake the creation of an Accessibility Committee to be composed of the resolution’s author(s) as its chair(s) and no less than 3 voting members, all of whom must be DSA members in good standing. Its initial members will be Jen W, Aurora M, Amanda F, and Luke M. All further members will be approved by the committee by vote and submitted to the Steering Committee for approval. The committee will act with the stated purpose of
to be carried out in the following ways:
Be it further resolved, that “accessibility” be here defined as the feasibility and ease for a person to meaningfully participate in the widest possible range of activity in the Local and encompass associated factors and conditions related to historic barriers to access including (but not limited to) the following:
Be it further resolved, that the Accessibility Committee will have access to all chapter resources needed to carry out accessibility recommendations and accommodation requests including access to chapter data and tools, and budgetary resources with approval from the Treasurer.
Be it furthest resolved, that the Accessibility Committee work in coordination with the Communications and Membership Engagement Committees to advocate for best practices and facilitate the integration of these procedures into the broader chapter context. The Committee will be responsible for providing regular report backs at meetings of the listed committees and provide additional report backs to the Steering Committee as needed.
Be it finally resolved, that the Accessibility Committee be the designated body responsible for following through on accessibility-related recommendations, in coordination with the Communications and Membership Engagement Committees as appropriate.
Author(s): Ron J
Co-Sponsor(s): Austin B, Derek H, Melissa D, Meag K, Patrick W, Mike D, Shawn H, Jen W, Julia A, Daisy C, Aaron T, Greg W, Duncan G, Chris R, Michele R, Jesse K, Dave B, Emily B, Chuck G, Khalil M, Anlin W, Aliyah B-D, Sam D, Sal H, Hannah H, Sanwal Y, Rachie W
Whereas, democracy is at the heart of the democratic socialist movement.
Whereas, the 12-member cap on official committee membership creates barriers between official members with voting rights and unofficial members who are active in the work of a committee but otherwise lack official membership status and associated rights.
Whereas, Philly DSA has substantially grown in membership since 2019 when the current language on committee membership was adopted.
Therefore be it resolved, that the following changes be adopted to the Philly DSA Standing Rules:
Note: proposed additions in blue, proposed eliminations in red and strikethrough
Author: Jesse K
Co-sponsors: Patrick W, Chuck G, Ron J, Anlin W, Daisy C, Meag K, Will M, Aaron T
Whereas, amendments to resolutions from the assembly floor are generally allowed under Robert’s Rules and used by many deliberative assemblies, including at the national DSA convention,
Whereas, floor amendments, including friendly amendments, can allow bodies to easily and quickly make changes to resolutions to make them more amenable to all,
Whereas, floor amendments can incorporate points or questions raised during deliberation of the general assembly
Therefore be it resolved, the Philadelphia DSA standing rules section “General Meetings, Resolution and Amendment Submission” section 2 shall be amended thusly:
“All Amendments to resolutions may must be submitted to the resolutions commission of the steering committee at least  week prior to the meeting. The resolutions commission will make sure that the amendment resolution is in order with Roberts Rules, the Philly DSA Bylaws, and the Philly DSA Standing Rules. Amendments to resolutions may also be made from the floor of a general meeting.”