Madison Area DSA Spring 2020 Political Platform
The Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America (MADSA) is fighting to create a community that is free from oppression and segregation. We believe that everyone deserves the social and economic means to live a thriving and healthy life. In order to get there, we need to start organizing our community so that people have genuine power over the conditions of their livelihood, which means a real say in public policy, their economic and social life, and the governance of their workplace. The MADSA political platform is a series of priorities that our members believe are crucial to the transformation of our society into a genuine democracy, organized around socialist principles.
Our platform consists of building an anti-racist community, confronting climate change and delivering environmental justice, creating equitable schools, guaranteeing mental health care to all, ending housing injustice, standing in solidarity with immigrants, ensuring that people can practice reproductive rights, and overcoming the economic inequality that is endemic to American society.
The MADSA Electoral Politics Working Group wrote this platform while balancing the following values:
- Movement Building: The proposal should serve to mobilize existing DSA members and create opportunities for organizing more of our community. It should offer DSA an opportunity to build an alliance with other groups.
- Socialist Practice: The proposal should represent a socialist solution to a social issue.
- Political Topicality: There should be political potential to take on the issue at this moment.
- Political and Institutional Challenges: It should be “worth fighting” for these proposals, if there are challenges to implementing them. These kinds of political struggles should build power instead of wasting time.
- Intersectional Movements: We should consider who will benefit from this proposal, and who is excluded from it. We should understand when the problems and solutions of these proposals are being defined by particular groups, and comprehend how the power of that group is understood in our class society.
The pernicious effects of racism are present in every aspect of American life. Particularly in Wisconsin, Dane County, and Madison, our community has produced some of the worst racial disparities in the country. Black, Southeast Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans have all endured unique and traumatic oppressions under white-imposed capitalism. MADSA stands for ending systemic racism, which means that we need systematic solutions that give power to communities of color.
Climate Change and Environmental Justice
With less than eleven years to adopt radical solutions to solve our climate change crisis, we call upon Dane County and the City of Madison to declare a climate emergency and begin immediate work to mitigate our climate disaster. We support a radical, worker-first, and union-friendly Green New Deal that includes the following concrete actions to improve our ecological footprint and achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions in Dane County by 2030:
Quality education is a fundamental right of all children and families. This means that schools must be equitable for students of color, queer students, and disabled students. Beyond creating “trauma-informed” schools, we must actively work to prevent and dismantle traumatizing systems of oppression in education. Public money should be used to prioritize student learning and family well-being by instituting:
Mental Health Care
Healthcare in America is a system that can provide incredible, life-saving care and treatment, yet it is rationed out for only the wealthiest Americans to use. Health care is a human right and rather than piecemeal solutions, we need comprehensive and universal solutions like Medicare For All. These solutions need to recognize the struggles of workers in the mental health care industry — such as unionized workers at Journey Mental Health Center — and allow for workers to organize within their workplace. While we demand Medicare For All at the national level, our community can take steps forward to make universal mental health care a reality.
Our community is in the throes of a crisis of housing. Far beyond an issue of affordability or availability, tenants face hostile landlords who destroy the lives of families through unjust evictions and substandard housing. We need to treat housing as a fundamental right of everyone in our community and build significantly more housing in Dane County, while also shifting power to tenants, not landlords. State law is no excuse for local paralysis when it comes to solving these crises. Wherever state law prevents municipalities from enacting these policies, we demand our political leaders pass trigger laws that can form the basis for a legal challenge to the state.
Immigration status is yet another way that people are segregated by class and race in our society, allowing for the separation of families, exploitation of workers, and horrible trauma to be inflicted upon people seeking a better life. Immigration detentions and deportations are inhumane and must end immediately.
The body is an essential location for the intersection of ageism, sexism and racism; hatred and love; slavery and freedom. We believe that bodily autonomy is integral to liberation. We operate from a human rights framework of reproductive justice, which encompasses the right to have children if, when, and how we choose, as well as the right to terminate a pregnancy at any time and for any reason. Our society functions on stealing the autonomy of women’s bodies and the subsequent exploitation of women’s unpaid labor. To achieve gender equity, we must work towards reproductive justice that is centered around the bodily autonomy of all people, regardless of their gender.
We can’t achieve an equitable society without addressing economic inequality. We live in a class-based society that is organized to keep people poor in order to support the wealth of an undeserving few. Healthy, educated, and equitable societies cannot exist in the face of extreme economic segregation, and we believe that all people in society deserve economic dignity.