Zac Echola

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Zac Echola


Zac Echola is a North Dakota activist.

Red River DSA

In April 2017 Zac Echola and Courtney Schaff were organizers for the Red River Valley Democratic Socialists of America .[1]

DSA 2019 National Political Committee Candidates

Democratic Socialists of America 2019 National Political Committee Candidates

Austin GonzalezSauceTheresa AltSean EstelleDaniel MerrillDarby ThomasRussell Weiss-IrwinMichelle BruderZac EcholaJen SnyderJennifer BolenBlanca EstevezMarsha NiemeijerMarianela D'AprileTawny TidwellLloyd GoldsmithErika PascholdEmily CameronDan QuayleValerie SinclairNatalie MidiriRavi Ahmad HaqueJose G. PerezTim ZhuRachel ZibratAbdullah YounusMegan SvobodaMaikiko JamesKristian HernandezDavid PinkhamHannah AllisonJen McKinneyAustin Smith[2]

NPC candidate

In August 2017 Zac Echola stood for election to the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, at the National Convention in Chicago, from Red River Valley Democratic Socialists of America.[3]

I’m a software engineer by trade (Minnesota public employee, MAPE 1502), but I initially studied Political Science and Journalism in college. Having worked summers and early falls with the ND Democratic-Nonpartisan League, I developed a distaste for it and switched my Political Science major to American Studies where I was freer to explore interconnections of American history, politics and culture.
I am running with a slate of candidates, Praxis (dsapraxis.org) on a platform explicitly focused on two things: building capacity and building diversity.

First, small and new chapters need representation in the NPC. New chapters will be small by definition of their newness. But as we grow to a massive organization, we need to understand that a large portion of our members are new. However, nobody is born with the skills to organize effectively. We need to learn from one another. We can do that by building a national culture of leadership.
Most of my political action happens at incredibly local levels. I’m regularly referred to by a sitting city councilperson as a “rabble-rouser rouser” and a “far far far far far left-wing BernieBro” by a talk radio host. I’ve been on committees for everything from food cooperatives to arts programs to historical preservation projects. My latest organizing work has been around election reform that would expand the Fargo city council and introduce new, better voting methods. We are extremely close to being the first city in America to use approval voting.
I have also organized around regional issues in North Dakota. We fought back—and won—against a measure that would have allowed corporate farming in ND. We fought back—and won—against a measure that would have granted personhood to fetuses. Progress is winning in North Dakota while the Democrats continue to lose. I understand that there is hope in the face of a daunting task.
That’s why I joined DSA. DSA is one of only a few organizations that believes in places like this. I never expected to do more than build up a chapter and find other people to run it, but the more I work with DSA, the more deeply committed to its mission I find myself.

Within DSA, I helped form my chapter: Red River Valley. I worked very hard to help discover and develop its leadership. I am currently the treasurer, but if elected to the NPC I leave my chapter in extremely capable hands.
The Praxis slate of candidates (Ravi Ahmad, Allie Cohn, Leslie Driskill, Celeste Earley, Michael Patterson, R.L. Stephens and Zac Echola laid out a detailed platform for organizing on our website at dsapraxis.org. We believe in organization with key values and strategic thinking at its core, with discipline and orientation toward base-building and relational organizing..[4]

2017-2017 DSA NPC members

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Members elected to the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, August 2017;

DSA Prairie Dog Caucus

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Members of DSA Prairie Dog Caucus closed Facebook group. As of August, 2017, included Zac Echola.[5]

DSA National Climate & Environmental Justice Working Group

Members of the DSA National Climate & Environmental Justice Working Group closed FB page, as of April 26, 2018 included Zac Echola.

"Wholesome Meme Stash"

Democratic Socialists of America Wholesome Meme Stash closed Facebook group, accessed November 14, 2017.

Wholesome memes only.[6]

Admin

  • Zac Echola, created group on October 26, 2017.

Democratic Socialists Swag Swap

Members of Democratic Socialists of America's Democratic Socialists Swag Swap closed Facebook group, accessed January 12, 2018 include Zac Echola .[7]

Comrades

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Ruth Anna Buffalo with Zac Echola and Janel Herald Fargo North Dakota January 22 2018.

Nebraska’s Red State Conference

According to Lincoln Democratic Socialists of America activist Anthony Engebretson October 9, 2018, Midwest Socialist:

The hot August air was stifling as the sun beat down on Lincoln, Nebraska. The oppressive atmosphere was befitting. Like the rest of the country, Nebraska’s marginalized and working class communities are under assault by reactionary forces—attacks on healthcare, education, and women; ICE raids terrorizing communities and tearing apart families; and just last month, for the first time in 20 years and steered by the barbaric whims of its millionaire governor, the state executed a man.

Despite these grim circumstances and the sweltering atmosphere, over 100 people gathered on a Saturday in the cool confines of Lincoln’s Unitarian Church: leftist thinkers, activists, organizers, and newcomers from all over the region. Together, they began creating a new vision of what it means to be a “red state.”

The first annual “Red State” Leftist Conference was the state’s largest explicit gathering of leftists in many decades. Nebraska DSA, Nebraska Left Coalition, Lincoln ISO, and the Black Cat House sponsored the one-day event. The purpose was to nurture unity and share ideas and strategies, all toward building a working-class movement that seeks to dismantle capitalism and other oppressive structures and shift power to the people.

The day kicked off with the panel: “What is the Red State?” Organizers Zac Echola, Jewel Rodgers, Reed Underwood, and Rose Welch discussed the challenges and opportunities of organizing in the Midwest. Discussions ranged from tackling the town and country divide to organizing conversations and models for campaigns.

Between panels, attendees came together in breakout workshops. Topics included post-Marxist thought, intersectionality, accountability and self-assessment, starting a radical space, one-on-one conversations, printmaking, and more. The scope and depth of the workshops reflected the breadth and diversity of the working class. It also reminded us how often capitalism limits our ability to express ourselves, even when we are with our comrades. Rarely are there settings where educators practice having a one-on-one with a steelworker. In one instance, in a workshop on Theatre of the Oppressed—a form of theatre designed to promote social and political change—attendees paired up and engaged in an exercise called “Columbian Hypnosis.” In this exercise, pairs took turns following the hand of their partner as closely as possible with their head. While a fun exercise, it also became a simple demonstration of how class conditions and power relations function.

The second panel of the day was “Where Does the Red State Go from Here?” Three prominent organizers in the region—Hannah Allison, Amanda Huckins, and Brett O’Shea—discussed the future of building leftist power in the Midwest. The discussion included building a strong anti-fascist infrastructure, building dual power, left plurality, and sharing spaces.

“We have access to power,” Huckins told the crowd when explaining her housing work. “But we’re not using that power.” On a similar note, O’Shea explained the importance of leftists reaching out to the working class beyond their political bubble, namely the “depoliticized and the apolitical.” Occasionally the panelists disagreed, particularly along the question of electoral politics. But overall, it ended with an atmosphere of respect and unity, keeping in line with the purpose of the conference.

If you have any interest in organizing a regional conference in the model of Red State, contact DSA Lincoln at dsalincoln at gmail.com. We’ll be here, ready to organize with you.[8]

References