Sunday, December 08, 2019

Heidi Sloan's Plan for Political Revolution

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Heidi Sloan, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, is running for Congress in Texas' gerrymandered 25th district, which stretches from Burleson, split between Tarrant and Johnson counties, just south of Ft. Worth, through Gatesville, Ft. Hood/Killeen and Texas Hill Country and into the heart of Austin (including the UT campus). The incumbent is a super-rich, super-corrupt used car salesman named Roger Williams. The district gave Trump a 55.1% to 40.2% win over Hillary and the PVI is R+11. Most of the district's votes come out of Travis County, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. The problem for Democrats lies mostly in Johnson, Burnet and Corvell counties, which are even redder than Travis is blue. This cycle there are 2 progressives, Heidi and 2018 candidate Julie Oliver, battling it out to see which will face Williams next November in what is shaping up to be another anti-red wave election.

Goal ThermometerHeidi is a farmer and an organizer, fighting for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, worker’s rights, and safety and liberation for marginalized people. She didn't get into politics to become a candidate. Like a lot of folks, 2016 was a wake up call for her-- she told us she "saw the election of Trump as the consequence of a broken system, and I knew I had to act. For me, that action was not getting involved in elections but getting involved in my community. I became a grassroots organizer, and following that path has led me to see politics very differently than most people asking for votes these days." Below is a guest post she penned for DWT. Please read, enjoy and consider contributing to her campaign by clicking on the Take Back Texas thermometer on the right.



We All Deserve A Good Life-- How Come We Don't Have It?
-by Heidi Sloan

For the last 7 years, I've been a farmer at a housing project for the formerly homeless, and before that I spent years teaching toddlers with disabilities in public schools. I have spent my life on the margins, and in that time I have experienced firsthand how our institutions fail our people. Working in a preschool, I was very close to the problems at the root of our education system-- low wages and shamefully few resources for teachers, who spend too many hours in schools with too many students. I came to see that the leadership of teachers was key to addressing those problems, but teachers were not being listened to. In my work with the homeless, I grew weary watching more and more of my neighbors become homeless, knowing that no matter how well I did my job the structures that caused homeless maintained a never-ending pipeline of people destined for the street. In my personal life, I have cared for my mother, who struggles with finding and accessing the care she needs for her mental health. I have grown intimately aware of the many ways in which our health care system is designed to generate profit for insurance companies at the expense of healing the sick.

I tried to be the change I wanted to see in the world, and I came up against the limitations of being a single person in this world. And so in 2016, when Trump was elected, I decided to take a different path. I started to organize.

I joined the Democratic Socialists of America in Austin, and through that organization I learned what community organizing was by practicing it. I organized alongside the beloved Glenn Scott to win the largest affordable housing bond in Texas history. I organized alongside workers to win Paid Sick Days in Austin, a campaign which has been caught up in the courts but inspired similar successful campaigns in both Dallas and San Antonio after we won. I organized an 18-month campaign to move Congressional Representative Lloyd Doggett to sign onto the House Medicare For All bill. I stood with the Black community to block an egregious police contract.

What I learned through all of these efforts is that there is a way to build power outside of elections. For too many Americans, politics is about the one day every four years where somebody asks you to vote for them. For me, and for my fellow organizers, politics is about so much more than voting, and a person's power reaches so far beyond their vote.



The challenge lies in doing the work it takes to bring people into spaces where they connect with their power and find the courage to use it. That work is slow, and it requires patience and compassion and dedication to something greater than one's self. That is the work of movement building, and that is the work that led me to run for office.

I am committed to winning Medicare For All and a Green New Deal, to reforming our criminal justice system so it heals us rather than locking us in cages, to building power for the working class through unions, to securing safety and liberation for all people, to investing deeply in our families and schools and communities rather than in war and the destruction of our planet. But I understand that we will not win those things through elections alone. Over 70% of Americans already support Medicare For All-- we don't have this program for a reason, and the reason is that the institutions of power in this country are resilient to change that weakens capital and undermines the supremacy of the ruling class.

Our answer to this challenge is to run a class struggle campaign-- not to put one woman in a Congressional seat, but to organize a district so that no matter who is in office working people have enough power to hold their representatives' feet to the fire.

What's a class struggle campaign? A campaign that names and fights enemies-- as we did when we called out Governor Greg Abbott for scapegoating the homeless for political points. A campaign that crafts policy with directly impacted communities at the table-- as we did in drafting our platforms and endorsing the Homes Guarantee. A campaign that stands with our neighbors as they fight their fights-- as we did when we organized alongside Rodney Reed's family to stop his execution. A campaign that leverages its own power to build power alongside our allies-- as we did when we knocked doors to win a decarbonized Austin Energy, or when we mobilized around student protests, picket lines, and school closures. A campaign that follows the leadership of the working class-- as we did when I was arrested in solidarity with striking airport workers over Thanksgiving.

I am demonstrating the kind of leadership constituents can expect from me in office right now. But I wanted to make clear my commitments and my loyalties to the working class, and so our campaign has created an Organizing Platform which makes promises about the manner in which I will lead when in office. In this platform, I pledge to double union membership in the district, to never pay dues to the undemocratic DCCC, to invest in new leadership so that the continued growth of our movement doesn't depend on me being in office. I pledge to listen to communities of color when they take issue with how I am legislating, and to be available and accountable to my constituents with a clear set of promises to achieve that. I pledge not merely to vote on progressive legislation, but to organize and mobilize around winning the proposals we demand.

In our first three months, our campaign has knocked on over 20,000 doors. We have brought hundreds of volunteers into our movement, and we intend to bring hundreds more. Win or lose, we are building power that will outlast this election, and win or lose I am committed to the movement building work we are doing right now, which we did before and which we will continue to do. This is one fight, and we are all in. I invite you to join us in this fight.


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4 Comments:

At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

political revolution as a democrap?

the definition of self-repudiation.

 
At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@6:17

You posting the same old defeatist you've posted a thousand times before?

The definition of idiocy.

As always, GFY.

SPM

 
At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"defeatist garbage"

What can I say? I was in a rush to insult you and posted before I should have.

Still, GFY.

 
At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we know you can't wait to insult and wish harm. do you have any proof that I'm wrong? being the most hateful and evil does not make you right, in spite of your religion.

 

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