Jennifer Bolen is a paralegal, proud Marxist feminist, and currently sits on DSA SF’s steering committee. Since joining DSA in early 2017, she has been a leading voice in the chapter, including chairing the Socialist Feminism Working Group’s first year and representing the chapter in many coalitions.
San Francisco slate
Steering Committee Minutes, San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America, August 8, 2018:
Supporting Dean Preston
Dean Preston for Supervisor March 2 2019:
With Graham Lewis, David Woo, Arthur Barry Persyko, Gabriel Markoff, Bryce Peppers, Jennifer Bolen, Seamus McGeever, Tom Gallagher, Norman Degelman, Buck Bagot, Rhonda Smith, Gail Packwood-Seagraves, Ilica Mocha, Kyle Smeallie, Debby Rovine, Julian LaRosa, MacKenzie Ewing, Brace Belden, Leslie Gray, Brenden Shucart, Kaylah Paige Williams, Tom Ammiano, Thompson Darcy, Dean Preston, Maya Chupkov, Sunnylyn Ballard Thibodeaux, Otto Pippenger, Jason Barrett Prado, Jen Snyder, Gabriel Medina, Larry-bob Roberts, Sara Shortt, Will Rostov, Theresa Imperial, Riel Fuller, Mark Leno, Jackie Fielder, Ellisa Beth, Avery Yu, Zhihan Zou, Jack LR, Brian Haagsman, Lisa Awbrey, Jackie Prager and Democratic Socialists of America: San Francisco in San Francisco, California.
Jennifer Bolen is a member of San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America.
In June 2017, a delegation of five members of San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America, including Judy Tuan, Jennifer Bolen and Jack Coughlin joined government officials, journalists, and activists from over 180 cities across five continents at the inaugural Fearless Cities summit in Barcelona, Spain.
According to Bolen and Coughlin;
- Cities today have a choice between becoming active forces for social change or quietly acquiescing to the whims of global capital. Our own city, San Francisco, stands at a particular crossroads, torn between the progressive ideals of its people and the power of its wealthy, entrenched, corporate elite.
- But how do we as individuals help push our cities in one direction or another...?
- In our search for examples of how cities can move beyond the same old same old politics, we were heartened to learn of the recent municipalist movements in Spain and elsewhere, where, in multiple cities, coalitions of ordinary people were able to take control of their local governments and take back power from political elites. We believe such a movement is exactly what San Francisco needs and, to learn more, we, along with other members of our DSA chapter, attended the Fearless Cities summit in Barcelona, Spain, to hear from those who have blazed this path: the people’s movement Barcelona en Comú (BComú). BComú, though only formed in early 2014, now holds control of the city government of Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain. The Fearless Cities summit was the culmination of two years of organizing to educate activists around the world on how to take control over local governments and to win back power in their cities, as BComú had done in May 2015.
- By 2014, left-wing activists were ready to build on their organizing work and try another tactic. In Barcelona, local activists formed BComú (originally known as Guanyem Barcelona, or “Let’s Win Barcelona”), not as a political party, but as a coalition of leftist political groups solidified into a social movement by their unified vision for the future of the city. These groups put forth a shared, consistent platform, the goals of which included providing direct democracy to the people, protecting human rights, and, critically, combatting austerity politics. BComú created new channels for people’s voices to be heard — primarily through the use of assemblies and online platforms — and these, along with a unifying, public code of ethics for the coalition, allowed the people of Barcelona to build a more transparent, democratic, and responsive form of local government.
- At the same time, on a national level, the grassroots movement led to the formation of a new political party called Podemos (“We Can”), which first sought to place leftist candidates in the European Parliament during the May 2014 elections. While Podemos obtained only 8% of the vote and five seats in the European Parliament during those elections, this initial activity set the stage for greater achievements. During Spain’s municipal elections in May 2015, Podemos supported select leftist candidates, including Ada Colau, a member of BComú. Colau was not a career politician, but was a housing activist who helped form the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) in 2009, after the global financial crisis caused mass foreclosures and evictions. Using people power, PAH led direct-action campaigns against mortgage lenders in attempts to stop evictions, campaigns that included such tactics as the physical occupation of banks. BComú and other Podemos-backed municipal candidates saw success in the 2015 elections, with eight Spanish cities uprooting their established parties and replacing them with people-backed leftist candidates, including Colau, who now sits as Barcelona’s first female mayor. Podemos went on to win over 20% of the vote in the national elections of December 2015, less than two years after its formation, becoming the third-largest party in Spain and nearly as large as the previously dominant center-left PSOE.
- Can a similar movement emerge in San Francisco, where unemployment is low, median incomes are high, and much of the population and political leadership already identifies as progressive...?
- We can learn from other cities’ examples. In New York City, regulators have imposed fines on illegal short-term rentals, demonstrating the fearlessness necessary to oppose those who stand to profit from the commodification of housing. In Jackson, Mississippi, organizers with Cooperation Jackson have once again taken power despite facing high municipal debt levels and a hostile state government. And we can look to a multitude of cities in Spain where municipalist movements have taken power — Castelldefels, Madrid, and Zaragoza — overturning the corporate political establishment by proposing a comprehensive vision for the people’s city.
- A fearless San Francisco will be bold enough to imagine policies that seem impossible. We assert that the right amount of required affordable housing is 100%, no less, and that our Right to the City requires the total decommodification of housing. We demand that San Francisco’s entire homeless population be housed as soon as possible. If necessary, we should seize all of the vacant investment properties in the city to do it. We demand not only that the SFPD not be issued tasers; the SFPD should be disarmed. Twenty-six police homicides in the last decade is a horrific record of violence.
- A fearless San Francisco will be a city that has the confidence and clarity of vision to stand up to these institutions, to the police, to housing developers, to investors, and say, this is our city, and we will make it into a paradise for ourselves, for our families and communities. Until the city is controlled by those who live here and not by those who move their money here, it will continue to be in thrall to global capital, a playground for the 1%. Ultimately, a fearless San Francisco is one that is for the people, by the people.
DSA Women's Caucus Facebook group
Xavier Aubuchon-Mendoza August 1, 2018:
I was incredibly proud to serve as volunteer coordinator at the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez event last night!
Thank you, so much, to all of the volunteers who took time out of their evening to help!!
Thank you to San Francisco Latino Democratic Club for electing me to their board, and the board for selecting me as a delegate to the SFPA, giving me the chance to help make this happen. Thank you to everybody in the club for all your hard work in making us such a vital part of the community and the struggle. Thank you, especially, to our speakers Lila Rodriguez Ruiz and Brigitte Davila, for showing them how it's done!