Socialists Must Fight to Defund the Police

On June 3rd, the New Orleans Police Department used chemical weapons (teargas) and rubber bullets against peaceful protestors marching on the Crescent City Connection bridge to the West Bank. This comes after the previous night of protests (6/2), when NOPD tried to play us by taking a knee as protesters lined up to block I-10, only to turn around and use force the next evening, in a situation with children present. The use of teargas over the CCC bridge could have ended with protestors falling off the bridge. NOPD must be held accountable for their dangerous, life-threatening actions.

Over the last several years, Black uprisings against the police in cities across the country have advanced popular understanding of policing and prisons. We have seen police departments across the country attempt to implement “reforms” like de-escalation training, community police boards, and requiring police to wear body cameras. These reforms have not proven to be effective, as Black men, women and children are still dying at the hands of cops. Here in southeast Louisiana, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and Kenner Police have been responsible for the deaths of many Black people in recent years, including Modesto Reyes, Keeven Robinson, Chris Joseph, Daviri Robertson, Armond Jairon Brown, Desmond Willis, and others.

Eric Garner was killed by the New York Police Department nearly six years ago. His death, and his final words, “I can’t breathe,” were captured with irrefutable video evidence. Yet his murderers were not held to account. Police violence has been captured on video for decades now with few consequences.

It is not the job of socialist workers to stand back and watch the uprisings re-shaping our political system and society. We do not merely provide commentary on the Rebellion taking place across the nation in reaction to police murder. We are working class organizers. These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves now: how can we support and sustain the spirit, the leadership of the Black rebellion? What steps must we take to end racist police violence?

The vague, liberal promise of “community policing” and “bias training” are not enough. They misunderstand the nature of the problem. We cannot sensitivity train the institutionalized racism and violence of the policing system out of existence. We must fight to reduce police interventions and to eliminate access to riot gear and weapons of war police use to terrorize our communities. Police officers are treated like general first responders, called for all emergency situations, even though they are an ultra-militarized force trained to arrest, shoot and kill. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. We must fight to defund and disarm the police.

Currently, 30% of New Orleans’ city budget is spent on policing. That does not include the costs of Orleans Parish Prison, a notoriously unsafe, violent institution. What could we do with that money? How many childcare providers, educators, and social workers could we employ? How many youth after-school programs could we fund? How many emergency first responders, trained to safely address mental health crises, could we put to work?

As socialists who struggle for the liberation of Black, brown, Indigenous communities and all oppressed peoples in our society, we must ORGANIZE for real working class solutions. Do not let yourself be lulled into a sense of complacency by copaganda and liberal half-answers to the institutionalized state violence.

Disarm the police. Defund the police.

2019 Voter Guide Released

Our Voting Guide for this year’s state and local elections has arrived! It’s live and online to help educate y’all about candidates and issues. Huge shoutout to Municipal Action Committee for their extremely hard work on this, and be sure to join us this Saturday for Picnic at the Polls: Candidate Rally & Voter Guide Release Party, where we’ll be releasing the guide physically and celebrating early voting with some delicious food!

2019 Chapter Convention Candidate Statements


Trey D:
Over the last several years, I believe we’ve witnessed a genuinely rare moment: for the first time in decades, we have the chance to truly build a unified, durable and powerful workers’ movement in New Orleans and nationwide. Generations of stagnant wages, the Great Recession, and the endless fiasco that is our political system have swept underfoot generations of old lies about socialism (and a lot of other lies besides). As a result, our organization has grown from a tiny sect to the largest anticapitalist organization in the country in at least 50 years.
I am running for co-chair because I believe our chapter, and DSA at large, now faces a profound and crucial question: what comes next? How do we turn this moment into a durable, powerful and multiracial workers’ organization?
I believe we must prioritize, above all, both sustained membership growth and democratic durability. Growth that will continue regardless of who is in office or what happens on election day; growth which actively and tirelessly reaches beyond the heavily white demographics of our current membership. Democratic durability that is built on creating opportunities for involvement in our movement beyond committee-centered, single-issue organizing; durability that is founded on making democratic self-organization a part of the fabric of working peoples’ lives.
I hope that some of my work over the last fifteen months as membership chair, such as creating the chapter Mobilizers Program to ensure every person expressing interest in our chapter is connected with an established member, leading development on the chapter website, and co-authoring the Collective Power Network’s Regional Representation plank, has contributed to beginning to address these goals. But as a chapter, I feel we must deepen our commitment to them, and if elected to co-chair, doing so will be my priority.

Michael E:

I’m Michael (she/her). I’m a restaurant worker and student who got my start in organizing as a rank-and-file labor activist, and later as an organizer for United Labor Unions, working primarily with school custodians. I’ve served as co-chair of New Orleans DSA for the past year, working on new member onboarding, navigating our coalition work in the Three Point Platform campaign, and helping to lead our chapter program process. For us to stand a chance in the struggle against the rich power players who run our state, and win working class victories that materially change peoples lives, we have to build our chapter. We’ve got to pair campaign activity with strong systems for growth & member development.

If elected to a second term as co-chair I’ll work to

  • Collaborate with the Labor Committee to build working class power through support for organizing in major industries
  • Team up with the Membership Chair and Mobilizers to implement a strategy for growth – one that emphasizes reaching and building trust with working class communities of color and working class women
  • Create tools to help incorporate political education and organizer training into all of our activity
  • Help guide our work in coalition with membership based organizations and working class communities whose priorities align with our own, especially on key issues like education, healthcare, labor and environment

Jordan F:

We are at a rare moment for the socialist movement. We’ve continued to grow through ongoing political crises because more and more people believe that we are going to win. Our role as organizers is to show people that we will win. We do this when we create material changes for our neighbors and coworkers. And we make these changes by building real power. We must always be thinking about our work in relation to how it builds power, and as co-chair I’ll continue to challenge the membership and chapter leadership to think in these terms.
I’ll do this by focusing my efforts on a small set of concrete goals:

  • Pushing the chapter to do more outward-facing events and outreach to build trust in our work and make it visible to our neighbors.
  • Creating and supporting an internal body focused on onboarding and welcoming new members.
  • Creating and supporting the Growth & Diversity Working Group to organize our neighborhoods beyond specific issue areas.
  • Developing a Leadership Development strategy. To identify informal leaders, create a succession plan for elected leadership, and create tools and trainings.
  • Centering political development and education in all our work.

Read Jordan’s full Statement

Click below to read all other candidate statements.


Free Abortion, On Demand, Without Apology


Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signaled his intention to sign the “fetal heartbeat bill” (SB 184, HB 133, HB 484) that would criminalize abortion after a heartbeat is detected, usually at 6 weeks. This bill is the result of decades of work by anti-choice zealots to shut down abortion access state by state.

This bill won’t protect life in Louisiana. It won’t do anything about the maternal mortality rate that is the 2nd worst in the country. It won’t stop the 45% of pregnancy-related deaths that are preventable. It won’t address the fact that childbirth is 4x more deadly for black people in Louisiana, and 3x more deadly for parents over 35. It won’t provide greater access to healthcare. It won’t help a single person living in this state.

It won’t help parents provide for their children’s food, shelter, education, or healthcare. It won’t create jobs and livelihoods to sustain families. It won’t stop violence. This bill is meant to punish and dominate. To steal autonomy and choice from pregnant people. This bill is designed — as most of Louisiana’s abortion laws are designed — to punish working class people and make our lives harder. Already, 95% of parishes don’t have an abortion clinic (75% of Louisianans live in a parish without a clinic). People seeking abortions already have to arrange transportation and travel, take multiple days off work, receive medically unnecessary ultrasounds and state-mandated counseling, and self-fund procedures that cost hundreds of dollars — starting around $500 in the first trimester and getting more expensive as time passes.


January Update

Happy New Year! We hope you had a restful holiday. We’ve got a few great events planned for this month that you should know about. This Saturday we’ll host our first brake light clinic of 2019. Next week we have a Special Meeting where we’ll elect a new at-large council member for the chapter, discuss the 2019 DSA national convention, and continue to strategize around our goals for the coming year. Later in the month, we’re teaching folks how to canvas for Medicare for All, and holding a potluck dinner for new and old members. We hope you’ll join us!

As always, check our calendar for the most detailed and up to date information on all of our committee meetings and chapter events.

Candidate Statements for the 2018 At-large Council Elections

Following are Candidate Statements from the four members running for election as Councilmembers At-large of DSA New Orleans for the ’18-’19 term. Per our Bylaws, two members will be elected. The election will be held Monday August 6th, at 6:30PM at 2022 St. Bernard Ave. All members in good standing will be eligible to vote and are strongly encouraged to attend. In alphabetical order:

Jordan F

As at-large member of local council I will focus in two areas: building the strength of membership and committee programming. Membership strength comes from size, skills, and connection to the New Orleans working class. I will work with committees to design programming that builds members’ skills and working class power simultaneously. This way our chapter will build horizontal leadership. I will work to build programming capacity between committees: sharing work, resources, best practices, and feedback. Our chapter has grown dramatically over the past year. To build a strong chapter for the future we need to focus on membership and programming impact.

Read Jordan F’s Full Candidate Statement

Kaitlin M

As an at-large member, I want to work on building regional capacity. The small chapters that surround us here in Louisiana, in Mississippi and Alabama, they face unique challenges of geography, ideology, and capacity. Our experience has been quite different, but what makes New Orleans DSA well positioned to help these chapters grow is our vision. We know that the south is diverse, and there are people in urban, suburban, and rural areas who are willing to fight for a better world. This can be hard to remember that we can win when you are working in what feels like a suffocatingly conservative political atmosphere. I want to work to strengthen our ties with these chapters and organizers. I want our chapter to help develop organizing efforts beyond urban areas and start understanding how to organize in rural areas. A medium-term goal of mine is for us to build a socialist movement in the Gulf South that is so strong and so powerful that it’s confusing to the rest of the country. They won’t see it coming, but we already do. I believe that we can help other chapters overcome challenges that we don’t even necessarily have blueprints for by supporting them, offering guidance when we can, and reminding them and ourselves always, always, always, always, always: we can win.

Read Kaitlin M’s Full Candidate Statement

Sue M

Over the past year, New Orleans DSA has grown tremendously, taken on new projects and programs, and thoroughly earned our reputation as “a chapter full of badasses.” Looking forward, there’s so much potential for more growth and for our organization to be a strong voice for socialist ideas and analysis in our city and region. I’m running for At-Large because I want to work with all of you to support that potential: to build systems and capacity for our organization, to expand our reach into our working class base, and to help strengthen our collective voice by supporting new leaders. I’ve spent two decades organizing, mobilizing, and advocating with New Orleans groups and organizations, and I’m genuinely excited by what I see in our chapter, and eager to help build even stronger going forward!

Read Sue M’s Full Candidate Statement

Logan Y

I work in environmental education, where I develop new projects, coordinate resources, and interpret quirks of energy policy for actual human consumption. As this chapter of the DSA has flourished, we’re shifting to fewer general meetings, mobilizing our membership through committees and projects. Our committees will consequently bare a heavier load, as they play a larger role of the laboratories which concentrate the diverse interests of the chapter into action.

I would use the At-Large position to offer institutional support and logistical coordination for committee and chapter leaders, facilitating the synthesis of a cohesive chapter. As our membership’s positions are realized across the chapter, the at-large council members can assist committees in articulating those interests through practice. Each of our meetings is an opportunity for recruitment, agitation, and to surface the “everyday communism” that nourishes us. I’m seeking an At-Large Council seat to make this period of expansion distinct and cogent within and without.

Read Logan Y’s Full Candidate Statement


Candidate Statements for the 2018 Co-Chair Elections

Following are Candidate Statements from the three members running for election as Co-Chair of DSA New Orleans for the ’18-’19 term. Per our Bylaws, two Co-Chairs will be elected. The election will be held Monday June 18th, at 6:30PM at 2022 St. Bernard Ave. All members in good standing will be eligible to vote and are strongly encouraged to attend. In alphabetical order:

Alli DeJong

I’m Alli DeJong, a founding member of New Orleans DSA and the current co-chair. Over the past year I have led the bylaws drafting and revision process, represented us at the national convention, developed our incorporation paperwork, and assisted other organizers with our campaigns and actions. I’m running for re-election because I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together and I know we can accomplish even more in the next year: building our base through committee-led campaigns, growing our internal capacity, and becoming more involved in local struggles where a socialist perspective can shift public policy. I am a socialist with a MBA who can handle the regulatory, legal, and financial considerations, freeing our chapter’s organizer-members to accomplish extraordinary things. I will keep us connected to DSA National and other chapters, so that we can be a leading voice for socialist organizing in the Gulf South. I will do everything I can to make DSA New Orleans a powerful voice and force for socialism.
Read Alli DeJong’s Full Candidate Statement

Michael Esealuka

I’m Michael Esealuka (she/her). I’m a restaurant worker and student. I got involved in socialist activity through my experiences in the Bacchanal Workers Union, a rank-and-file led union my coworkers and I founded. I’ve organized custodians and other low-income workers as a staff member of United Labor Unions. As a member of DSA I’ve helped lead the development of our Socialists of Color Caucus, and I was on the team that organized our Block out the Sun Yard campaign.As socialists and workers, we know that only an organized working class can leverage the power necessary to fight against capitalism. I believe that in order to become a force for poor and working people in both government and the streets, DSA must build a base of support by embedding ourselves into working class struggle through participation in rank-and-file labor activity, tenant organizing and the expansion of our mutual aid programs.
Read Michael I. Esealuka’s Full Candidate Statement

Josh Lewis

Throughout my first term as co-chair, my aim has been to uphold democracy within the chapter and aid and coordinate the work of our committees. While we have more than doubled our membership this year and enjoyed some victories, we face challenges in keeping our members engaged, our campaigns focused, and our tools of political analysis and strategy sharp and effective. I remain committed to a chapter culture that is welcoming and educational ȉ one that enables us to learn from each other, build shared understanding, and take action together. As more eyes turn toward our movement, we have an historic opportunity to articulate clear ideas and organize campaigns that advance a socialist vision of society. People are listening. If re-elected, I will work with comrades on the Local Council to deepen our efforts to grow our active membership, clarify our vision, and wage effective campaigns in New Orleans and the Gulf South.
Read Josh Lewis’s Full Candidate Statement


Democratic Socialists of New Orleans

Finally, the New Orleans Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is here!

Democratic Socialists of America is the largest socialist organization in the country. We believe that our community — like the United States at large — needs Democratic Socialism as a remedy for the oppression of capitalism. This means that we believe in housing and healthcare as a right rather than a privilege, in living wages for all, in fighting for feminism and civil rights.

Our organization also believes in fighting for local issues at a grassroots level. New Orleans is an amazing, one-of-a-kind city with unique problems all its own. We’re here to fight for environmental justice as our coastline is ravaged. We stand in solidarity with service workers in desperate need of better wages, with union workers fighting for a better quality of life. Everyone in New Orleans deserves housing despite the city’s shameful, rapid gentrification. We stand in opposition to the rampant racial and LGBT discrimination throughout the city. Simply put, we’re here to dismantle the injustices taking place in a city we love.

The New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America is not a political party: it is a movement from the ground up. Join us in building a better future today!

Gimme A Brake (Light)!

The New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America will be replacing brake lights for free for anyone who needs them. The supplies are free, and we will have trained volunteers to install them. No appointment is necessary, but if you’d like to make one, please email us at

If you can’t make this one, we will be hosting an additional clinic on 9/16 at Barrone & Euterpe from 10 am to 3 pm!

Read the introductory letter about our brake light clinics

Download the brake light clinic handbook