2017 NPC Candidate
Local Chapter: Central Connecticut
I am an active member of my union UNITE-HERE Local 33 as well as a New Haven, CT resident. This past May I participated in the “Fast Against Slow” in which I did not eat for 8 days to urge Yale University to negotiate a contract with our graduate student labor union. In New York City I was a Worker Cooperative Development Assistant at Make the Road NY, as well as the Student Coordinator for NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives. With both organizations I helped develop startup worker cooperatives as well as successfully engaged in advocacy for city government support of employee-owned businesses. In 2014, I founded Student Organization for Democratic Alternatives (SODA). With SODA I have started or aided in the creation of four participatory budgeting processes.
Currently I am a PhD student in political science at Yale University.
Why I'm Running
I am running because I believe a strong DSA must be built from the municipal-level on up. It is at this level that we build a vibrant base. It is also at this level that we can achieve major victories, both electoral and policy. Many towns and cities have been progressive bastions, by default. However, there is a lack of creativity, care, and direct engagement from the Democratic Party establishment. DSA can provide an alternative. For there to be a viable alternative at the state- and national-level, alternatives must be first tried, tested, and successfully implemented at the local-level. It is this way that we not only build and strengthen our base, but build socialism itself.
My Previous Political Work
My political work in DSA has consisted in advocacy for converting businesses to worker cooperatives (businesses that are owned by workers and operate according to one worker, one vote). I’ve engaged in much of this work across the Northeastern United States, laying the groundwork for reform campaigns at the municipal level, as well as for direct conversions.
The opportunity? Baby boomers are retiring at a very high rate. Boomers own 2.34 million businesses, with nearly 25 million employees. Boomer-owned businesses generate $949 billion in payroll, and $5.14 trillion in sales. Eighty-three percent of boomer business owners lack a written transition plan for when they retire. Only around 20 percent of retiring small business owners find a buyer. This presents a major opportunity to create a sizable sector of democratic employee-owned enterprises, advancing socialism in the process. A strong worker cooperative sector advances the economic power of working people.
My Vision for DSA
Over the next two years I see DSA recruiting more members, but also activating its existing membership to achieve significant victories at the municipal-level. I see DSA leading the charge for building a network of rebel cities that are constructed along the lines of participatory democracy and workers’ self-management. DSA can be a powerhouse for municipalist resistance, as well as municipalist transformation. To do this we must empower local DSA chapters, develop internal organizational participatory processes all the way up to National DSA, and create and launch a comprehensive regional- and locally-focused training program.