Hey all, I’m running for a position on the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission. Here’s my candidate statement.
I’ve been a socialist for over four decades and a member of DSA since the summer of 2018. I’m currently a member of the steering committee of the Chicago Labor Branch. I believe that Eco-Socialism and Workers’ Power have to be at the center of our workplace strategy.
My work life has largely revolved different sections of the freight and logistics including for such major employers as A.P.A Transport, Yellow Freight, and United Parcel Service (UPS). I worked for nearly a decade at UPS between its Watertown, Mass. and Chicago, Illinois hubs. My final year at UPS, I worked as a package car driver in Chicago’s Loop. I’ve worked for the last decade and half at a small ‘last mile’ delivery company.
My journalism and books reflect the importance I place on key issues that I believe that the labor movement faces in the United States: U.S. imperialism, racism, reforming the Teamsters, organizing the logistics industry, and fighting the far right.
My writings are available at Jacobin, In These Times, and the International Socialist Review. My book The Package King: A Rank and File History of UPS will be published this spring by Haymarket Books. My two other books Vietnam: The last War the U.S. Lost and People Wasn’t Made to Burn: A True Story of Race Murder, and Justice in Chicago are also published by Haymarket.
I’ve been active in a wide variety of activities in and around the labor movement, including organizing a union at a small restaurant chain in the mid-1980s, strike support for striking Latino drywallers in in San Diego in 1992, solidarity with striking UPS workers in 1997, and during the Iraq War I helped found Chicago Labor against the War. I was an activist in Teamster 705 in Chicago for nearly a decade.
I think education and debate are necessary for DSA and socialists in the labor movement. Reading lists I compiled for the Midwest Socialist include, the Rank and File Strategy and the Auto Industry. I believe that a developing realistic and practical perspectives for DSA is important. While we passed many labor-related resolutions at the 2019 convention, I found many of them more aspirational than practical. My perspectives on DSA and UPS, I hope can ground these resolutions in the reality of one important U.S. workplace
I have also not shied away from criticism of the direction of some of the reform currents in the U.S. labor movement, especially, Teamsters for a Democratic Union. I believe that we are in a transition era for the U.S. Left and many of the institutions and ideas that are entrenched deserve to be examined with fresh eyes.
The next few years will present many challenges to us, including the prospects for war, resurgent far right nationalism, and a new recession, all of which could up end politics and the small gains we have made during the last few years.
I’ll end by saying that DSA should be in the lead in organizing a political revolution in the U.S. trade unions in this country — one of the preconditions for organizing the unorganized — and laying the foundation for a popular labor party.
Thanks for your time.