Chattanooga DSA supports the national DSA efforts to fight for the rights of all, including the woefully underserved: workers, women, BIPOC, LGTBQIA, undocumented Americans, people with disabilities, and the environment. We are working locally on the following platforms.
Defund the police
The Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) commands $70 Million of the total city budget of $259 Million (27%). We believe that a portion of these funds should be reallocated to better serve our community. To that end, we have proposed several amendments to the current city budget that diverts over $4.5 Million from the inflated CPD budget and reappropriates this amount to:
- Affordable Housing Fund
- Head Start
- Human Services Administration (day care services)
- Chattanooga Public Library
- Impending skatepark (city funded
- Chattanooga Area Food Bank
In addition to these amendments, we have been intimately involved in the local Black Lives Matter protests, serving as marshals and coordinating supplies with local partners like Concerned Citizens for Justice and icantbreathcha.
The COVID-19 health crisis has laid bare the unequal treatment of tenants both in our society as a whole and Chattanooga specifically. As a result, we call for the suspension of residential and commercial rents, property taxes, and mortgages as well as a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Additionally, no essential services should be shut off during this pandemic. We are working locally with community partners to advocate for tenants currently facing evictions.
We firmly believe that affordable housing is a human right and personal wealth should not be an impediment to quality, safe housing. We are hopeful for the day when public housing in the United States mirrors that seen in European countries such as Finland, Austria, and Belgium, to name a few. We have submitted an amendment proposal to the city council to divest $1,000,000 from the Police Department and to reinvest these funds in the existing Affordable Housing Fund capital project.
COVID-19 Response & Mutual Aid
The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare like never before the inherent cruelty of America’s capitalist economic system. Millions across this country are losing their jobs and unable to pay their rent, unable to buy food, losing their employer-sponsored health insurance, and risking their lives as essential workers in unsafe conditions - all because if we just took care of people’s needs, some billionaire wouldn’t get to profit off of that.
We have demanded that our leaders at all levels take action. But until our cries stop falling on deaf ears, we have to form our own networks, and we’ve been doing mutual aid work since this pandemic started. Sign up here to assist others in our network, or sign up here to request help in the areas we have the capacity to assist each other in.
The Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, and we proudly ran an IEC here in Chattanooga to that end. We knocked doors and made calls for Bernie all over Chattanooga from October to March, spread the word about DSA, and formed new relationships with people in our community.
Bernie’s platform is absolutely transformative for millions of Americans and will guide us as we develop our voter guides and candidate endorsement criteria for local, state and federal elections in 2020 and beyond.
Medicare For All
Once again, the current health crisis has exposed a glaring deficiency in our society. As companies continue to layoff workers at unprecedented levels, US citizens are losing health coverage at an alarming rate. We need a healthcare system that prioritizes the health of citizens and not the profits and inflated executive salaries of healthcare companies. We support a free, single payer universal healthcare system that provides comprehensive coverage for all people. The broken system currently in place must be dismantled and replaced. We are working with the national chapter to advocate for the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a special report in 2018 that warned that, “without societal transformation and rapid implementation of ambitious greenhouse gas reduction measures, pathways to limiting warming to 1.5°C and achieving sustainable development will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.” We are on the precipice of calamity. We believe that a Green New Deal is a necessary step towards backing off the edge of global ecological disaster. The following guiding principles shape our efforts in fighting for climate justice:
- Decarbonize the economy fully by 2030
- Democratize control over major energy systems and resources
- Center the working class in just transition to an economy of social and ecological care
- Decommodify survival
- Reinvent communities to serve people and planet, not profit
- Demilitarize, decolonize, and strive for a future of international solidarity and cooperation
- Redistribute resources from the worst polluters
We are working with the national chapter’s working group (DSA Ecosocialists) to advance these principles locally.
Confronted with a deepening health crisis and a threat to labor, business owners have accelerated worker exploitation. They have taken advantage of the current crisis by:
- Increasing the intensity of labor
- Failing to provide adequate health and safety measures
- Laying off workers and demanding the remainder to pick up the slack
- Refusing to include hazard pay
All the while, they have implemented price gouging on high demand products just manufactured and stocked by underpaid, underprotected workers. It is as important as ever that we have a robust, organized labor force to push back on the mistreatment of the holders of capital. We are working with local organizations to advance the cause of the worker in our community.