2017 NPC Candidate
Local Chapter: New York City (Brooklyn)
My name is Ella Mahony, I grew up in Boston and have been in New York since 2011. I’ve always been interested in politics but it was through student-worker solidarity activism on my campus that brought me to socialism. Through that work I started organizing with Unite-Here!, a culinary and hotel workers’ union. From there I was lucky enough to organize with the New York State Nurses Union and with OUR Walmart in Dallas, Texas.
Through union organizing and through a journalism class at Brooklyn College I came into contact with Jacobin Magazine and have been working there as an assistant editor since 2015.
Finally I will be arriving to the convention (and after, back permanently to New York) from Sao Paulo where I have been researching and organizing with the Brazilian left for the past 6 months. I’m looking forward to applying my experiences to deepen DSA’s internationalist commitments and to bring new organizing ideas from socialist struggles around the world into the American context.
Why I'm Running
I’m running for the NPC because I think the DSA is at a juncture where it is very important to think critically about the direction of the organization as a whole. DSA has really become a unique force in US politics; it’s multiracial, it’s majority-young but still multigenerational, it’s gaining an increasing presence in rural and red-state regions where Democrats have refused to organize, and it’s internally democratic & lives and dies by the collective, voluntary work of its members. Because of those traits we can do things in American politics that no one else can. But that gives us a special responsibility; if we don’t invest in DSA and the alternative it represents, no one else will, and the unique path we represent will disappear from the political landscape.
I’ve been really immersed in chapter politics since 2014/2015. I remember when our meetings were five people in a room, made up mostly of our elders who have kept the lights of our organization on since the high points of the 1980s. I am really inspired by the way they have been there for the organization and it is because of them that we survived. I want to be here for DSA as well. I’m not going to take for granted that someone else will do the work I think needs to be done. So all in all, I am running on the strength of my ideas for the organization, but also because I think it’s my duty to commit to DSA in this way.
My Previous Political Work
I’ve served DSA in a number of capacities. For a few months I was an administrative assistant in the national office and helped put together the 2015 National Convention. In my Brooklyn chapter, in addition to many other more informal responsibilities, I co-founded our Electoral Committee and helped develop a rough framework for identifying and vetting local candidates and races. More recently, from a distance, I have been working on the national political education and internationalist committees.
My Vision for DSA
I’m running with the DSA Momentum slate of candidates (www.dsamomentum.org). We are Marxists that want to make DSA a truly multi-tendency organization with deeper democratic debates. We advocate mass multiracial organizing as part of a class-struggle road to socialism. Our program lays out strategy in six areas: Medicare For All, labor, electoral politics, internationalism, DSA’s internal democracy, and political education.
I’m running with Momentum because there are a few things I’d like to see happen in DSA over the next two years. I want to break out of the Left’s isolation – a phenomenon born out of its decades-long defeat – from working class communities and communities of color. I want to deepen DSA’s capacity to organize. I want to increase communication across chapters and make sure that no chapter feels isolated and disconnected from comrades in other states and cities. And I want to invest in the training and political education of every individual member, because growth comes not from disconnected and ambivalent members but from involved and committed ones that can confidently represent DSA.
While there are a lot of things I want to change about DSA, and new ideas I want to advance, there’s one thing I want to preserve: its openness. An insular organization is not only ill-equipped to organize but creates an unhealthy environment for women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, encourages bullies, and can adversely affect the mental health of its members. My experience of DSA is of an environment with lots of “oxygen” where new people feel comfortable, where people feel okay disagreeing, and people feel like they can have a life outside the org. These are all vital traits to a healthily functioning democratic organization and to our ambitions to organize beyond our current membership. As an NPC member I hope to preserve and deepen that about DSA.