Chapter Update: Detroit

Last year was busy for Detroit DSA. When hotel workers at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel went on strike in downtown Detroit, DSA members were there on the picket lines. We turned out over 30 members for the first public solidarity rally. Detroit DSA members joined the picket line throughout the strike, stopping in whenever they could—on lunch breaks and after work. The hotel workers were victorious, and ratified a new contract on November 3rd that raises wages by 20 percent over the next four years.

We recently published the first issue of our newspaper, The Detroit Socialist. The paper, which is both in print and online, includes a wide variety of articles on our recent activities. There are also great essays from Detroit DSA members about why they joined DSA. The paper includes a print-only kids page written by one of our younger comrades.

Our Medicare for All working group led canvassing efforts to drum up efforts to pressure our legislators to support Medicare for All. Hours after the November election, our Governor-Elect Gretchen Whitmer appointed Dan Loep, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to her transition team. Detroit DSA has circulated a petition calling for his removal, our members have been calling the transition office and protesting in Lansing.

We’ve undertaken a number of efforts to educate our members about socialism. Our Socialist Night School has been a huge success, and has covered a number of topics including labor, electoral politics, and anti-racism. We also have a reading group that meets twice a month, which focuses on book-length readings. Recently, they have been reading Women and Socialism by Sharon Smith.

At our last meeting, we had a lively discussion about what role we as socialists should play in electoral politics. We were, of course, very excited to see our endorsed candidate (and DSA member!) Rashida Tlaib win in the 13th congressional district. Our members also worked for Padma Kuppa, who won in Michigan’s 41st house district, which had previously been held by a Republican.

Our socialist feminist group continues with monthly clinic escorting, and they have started a drive to collect menstrual pads for homeless women. Earlier in 2018 we did our first bowl-a-thon for abortion access, which was hopefully the start of an annual tradition.

We held a brake light clinic on the first Saturday of November in Pontiac. Our members braved the cold and were able to change the brake lights on 14 vehicles. Our Medicare for All working group joined the effort and tabled at the clinic, talking to people about the need for universal healthcare.

Great things are happening in Detroit DSA, and we hope to do even more in 2019.