Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America

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Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America is a Massachusetts affiliate of Democratic Socialists of America.

Contact

In March 2017 Dave Lartigue was contact for the Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America Organizing Committee.[1]

Co-chairs

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Amy Borezo and Ted McCoy were elected co-chairs of Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America in November 2017. Jaime Margolis? is Secretary, Dave Lartigue? is Socialial Media coordinator and Willie Thompson?is Treasurer.

New beginnings

At 72, Ed Collins of Springfield has been involved in socialist political organizing in the Pioneer Valley for at least four decades, and has seen several efforts to form lasting chapters of a particular socialist organization fail.

However, Collins says that the formation in early 2017 of the Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America — which covers Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties — is different from previous attempts, and has a strong likelihood of being the most enduring effort to date.

The local chapter’s sudden and continued presence mirrors a nationwide trend. Since the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, has seen an explosion in membership as the political left continues to grapple over which direction the Democratic Party should move in the era of Donald Trump. For DSA and others in the progressive wing of the party, the answer is clear: away from the “center,” which actually becomes more conservative every year, and further to the left.

“There of course was the Bernie bump, as it’s known in DSA,” Willie Thompson, the Pioneer Valley chapter’s treasurer who joined DSA in 2014, said in an interview in October.

“I think the reality is that we have a two-party system; we don’t have the parliamentary, multifaceted representational system that most of us would like,” said Pioneer Valley DSA co-chairman Ted McCoy, of Leeds. “If we want socialist candidates in office, it’s the structure we’re unfortunately stuck with.”

That work includes pushing progressive issues — free public college, universal health care, criminal justice reform — at the level of the state Democratic Party, where Collins is a member of the executive committee due to his chairing of the state party’s labor outreach subcommittee.

Collins said that DSA and other progressive organizations — such as Our Revolution, which spun out of the Sanders campaign — had a large presence at the state Democratic Party’s platform convention last year, playing a significant role in shaping policy stances.

One initiative that the national organization has helped local chapters organize is canvassing for legislation to promote universal health care. The Pioneer Valley DSA has collected signatures to put a non-binding resolution on the ballot in Holyoke to support a statewide “Medicare for All” bill.

“That puts pressure on elected officials to show that there’s support in their district,” chapter co-chairwoman Amy Borezo of Orange said of universal health care.

Borezo said the local chapter has around 160 dues-paying members, with a solid core of about 50 active members. The group routinely organizes activities like an upcoming “Socialism 101” event to teach people what exactly socialists believe in, and also includes those educational efforts in their monthly meetings in Holyoke.

“We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.”

Borezo says DSA and its local chapter are welcoming of members spanning the political left.

“I think what DSA is really wonderful about is that it’s a big-tent organization, and so it incorporates social democrats, democratic socialists, farther-left socialists, anarchists,” she said. “It’s a very big tent.”

But Collins — a longtime member and official with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — is confident. He says unlike previous local DSA chapters that were largely made up of students in the wealthier communities behind the “tofu curtain,” this chapter has expanded to include people in the region’s more industrial communities, and that gives him hope.

“We didn’t hit a home run here, we’re on first base,” Collins said of the group’s efforts. “But it’s still amazing progress.”

Tim Enman, is also a member of the Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America.[2]

Healthcare rally

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Donna Wilson, Nikolas Letendre-Cahillane and other ‎Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America members at July 29 2017 single payer healthcare rally. ·

March For Racial Justice

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Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America October 1, 2017;

A handful of the PVDSA comrades at the March for Racial Justice this beautiful October afternoon. — attending March For Racial Justice Holyoke, MA with Michael Barboza-McLean, Nikolas Letendre-Cahillane, Chris Martin and Ted McCoy at Holyoke Heritage State Park.

Public Facebook group

Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America public Facebook group, as of March 16, 2017;

Democratic Socialists coming together in the Pioneer Valley to struggle against capitalism. Never met a means of production we wouldn't at least *consider* seizing.
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Admin

Members

Others added by May 2017 included;[4]

More names were added by October 15.

Admins

Members

More names were added by June 6, 2018;

Feminist Caucus - Pioneer Valley DSA

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Feminist Caucus - Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Closed Facebook Group, accessed November 24, 2017.

Admin

  • Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Created group on August 22, 2017

Members

More names had been added by June 6, 2018;

References