Workers’ Self-organization, Mutual Aid and Socialist Politics

Acts of solidarity, self-organization, and mutual aid can be building blocks of social power and pre-figure the human relationships of a democratic socialist society.  How do we connect organizing mutual aid to building the power to challenge the capitalist state’s neo-liberal austerity policies?  How do we connect workers’ self-organization to a movement for revolutionary change?

This event will be facilitated by Dianne Feeley with the following participants.

Kali Akuno is the co-founder and executive director of Cooperation Jackson, an emerging network of worker cooperatives in Jackson, Miss. He served as the director of special projects and external funding in the mayoral administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba, and served as the executive director of the Peoples’ Hurricane Relief Fund in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He is the co-editor of Jackson Rising.

Michael Esealuka (she/her) is the cochair of New Orleans DSA and on the steering committee of the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission. She is a longtime restaurant worker and became a socialist after a year and a half drive to organize a union at a restaurant where she worked in New Orleans. She currently works for a small environmental watchdog in the Gulf South, organizing workers in rural south Louisiana to fight petrochemical buildout and building popular support for green jobs and a just transition.

Ann Finkel (she/her) is a member of Solidarity and in the DSA Ecosocialist working group and Forward Caucus. She is also a member of the Boston Teachers Union and the still-forming BTU Caucus of Rank and File Educators (BTUCORE). She is a teacher in East Boston, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID19, where many people are essential workers, as well as undocumented. In her capacity as a teacher and member of the East Boston neighborhood coalition PUEBLO, she’s been working to mobilize our teaching staff behind supporting our school, our students, and the broader neighborhood.

Ted McTaggert (he/him) is Secretary/Treasurer of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC), a 6000-member bargaining unit of the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA). UMPNC and the MNA nurses have a close connection with the communities they serve, much like teachers. They sent volunteers and bottled water to Flint during its crisis and are on the front lines in the Covid-19 pandemic.