Abortion Access History and the Current Landscape

For our March 2021 General Meeting; the Political Education Committee reached out to the Socialist Feminist Committee to give an Ed Segment for Women’s History Month. The committee focused on presenting the history of Abortion Access and the current challenges to abortion access.

Here is a link to the chapter’s official fundraiser for Western PA Fund For Choice! https://fund.nnaf.org/team/346586. Likewise consider joining the team as well!

Outside Pittsburgh? Then email socfem@pghdsa.org for advice on how to start your own abortion drive website!

What the FuQ?! Understanding Right Wing Conspiracy Theories

Join the PGH DSA Political Education committee for a short presentation and informal discussion about the sources, nature, and political reality of right-wing conspiracy theories today—most manifestly, Qanon.

(Content Warning: Due to the nature of these conspiracy theories, discussions of anti-Semitic rhetoric, accusations of pedophilia, and other potentially upsetting material will undoubtedly be a part of this presentation and discussion.)

To view slides for the presentation go here and make sure to subscribe to the PGH DSA YouTube Channel!

Letter of support for United Museum Workers

On June 20, workers at four of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museums announced their campaign to win recognition as the United Museum Workers union. Many in the labor movement associate Andrew Carnegie with violent anti-unionism, and now — only a short distance from the sites of the Homestead Strike and the 1889 Johnstown flood — workers are organizing with United Steelworkers for the right to collectively bargain. 

As socialists, we believe that the union is one of the greatest tools of the working class. We stand in full support of the United Museum Workers. 

Despite their work preserving priceless artifacts, pieces of art and fossils, it is not uncommon that museum workers receive wages of only $8 an hour, and with a schedule short enough that the museum can avoid covering benefits. 

Even as they educate the public, workers face difficulty in developing their own knowledge and professional skills, as management obscures hiring and advancement opportunities.

The pandemic pushed these issues to a breaking point. The museum pleads poverty despite having several large endowments and a Board of Trustees that includes several politicians, UPMC executives, and numerous CEOs. 

It is only appropriate that the museum workers have joined with the United Steelworkers in forming their union. For it is the blood, sweat and exploitation of steelworkers in the late 19th century that funded the creation of the Carnegie Museums. 

The United Museum Workers serve an important role in preserving art, scientific collections and ideas from the past. They are scientists, educators and art handlers. They work as research lab assistants, grant writers and web developers. Visitors see them at the front desks and as event ushers. In all of these roles, they provide crucial education services and inspire people of all communities to take an interest in the world we live in. 

These workers are incredibly passionate, but that passion has been slowly drained through years of exploitation. In addition, they were forced back to work in the middle of a deadly pandemic, to put their lives at risk to keep the institution running. Many have done this without benefits like health insurance, and none have received hazard pay, while the CEO collects a half-million dollar salary (as of 2018). 

The nonprofit industry is not exempt from exploitation and abuse, and their workers should not be exempt from demanding a share of the revenue they generate. 

Unions give workers power to control their wages and hours, working conditions and benefits, but they also mean more: Unions change the power dynamics of the workplace and allow workers to stand against a capitalist system that exploits the working class. 

Just as in the recent successful Carnegie Library union campaign, the institutions that Carnegie created out of a Gilded Age sense of philanthropy are unionizing — with workers joining together to secure a better quality of life. 

While the steel mills in Homestead are long gone, the working class in Pittsburgh still fights for better wages, safer conditions and a share of power in the city’s modern industries.

-Pittsburgh DSA Labor Committee

“What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright.”

Samuel Gompers

Save the USPS Campaign

Background on Save The USPS Campaign

“The Post Office is yours. Help fight to keep it that way.”

For years, there has been a coordinated effort to manufacture a crisis in the USPS. Corporations don’t care that the USPS delivers to all 159 million addresses in the country–no matter who you are or where you live. But you should. 

Facts: 

  • Financial hardships were manufactured and imposed on the USPS in 2006, when the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” forced the USPS to pre-fund future retiree health care benefits 75 years in advance. Private companies like FedEx have canceled their pensions to new employees entirely. 
  • The USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services for funding.
  • The Universal Service Obligation means that your mail will be delivered to you no matter where you live–from Utqiagvik, Alaska to Miami, Florida. Privatizing the Post Office means eliminating that obligation. 
  • The U.S. Mail is the most secure and private form of communication.
  • Over the past ten years, the cost of sending a letter in the UK’s private mail system has risen 80%. 

More about our campaign:

https://usmailnotforsale.org/

More about Senate Bill 2965, the “USPS Fairness Act”:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/2965

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Information on Representatives

Find addresses for your local (town, city, or county) council representatives here:

https://myreps.datamade.us/

Sample Messages for your representatives:

Dear Councilperson _____,

As your constituent, I am writing to call on _____ council to pass a “Save USPS” resolution in support of the US Postal Service, to help ensure that our post office is able to keep functioning during the pandemic. USPS is enshrined in our Constitution, and it serves rural and poor communities in ways that private companies can never replace. A strong “Save USPS” resolution should support a grant of $75 billion in pandemic relief as requested by the USPS Board of Governors, a guarantee that the entire country is able to vote by mail in the Fall elections, and the bi-partisan “USPS Fairness Act” (SB 2965). I believe that _____ council can play an important part to protect our post office and I look forward to your swift response. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[Sign with your name and your full address]

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Information on Senators

Addresses for Pennsylvania Senators:

Senator Pat Toomey
310 Grant Street, Suite 1440
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 
Phone: 412) 803-3501
Fax: (412) 803-3504

Senator Bob Casey
310 Grant Street, Suite 2415
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 803-7370
Fax: (412) 803-7379

Sample message for Senators:

Dear Senator _____,

As your constituent, I am writing to call on you to support the US Postal Service and ensure that it is able to keep functioning during the pandemic. USPS is enshrined in our Constitution, and it serves rural and poor communities in ways that private companies can never replace. I urge you to co-sponsor the bi-partisan bill SB 2965, and provide $75 billion in grant funding as requested by the USPS Board of Governors. I also call on you to make sure that the entire country is able to vote by mail in the Fall elections. I hope that you will take aggressive action to protect our post office and I look forward to your swift response. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[Sign with your name and your ZIP code]

Statement of the Pittsburgh DSA on the National Prisoners Strike

The Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America endorses the National Prisoners Strike taking place from August 21 to September 9. We stand in solidarity with prisoners across the US bravely demanding their rights, dignity, and material well-being.

The National Strike has been called in response to a tragic massacre on April 15 at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina. When tensions between inmates that had been stoked by prison officials boiled over into a brawl, officials did nothing to intervene or treat the injured, culminating in at least seven people losing their lives. The blame for this tragedy lies at the hands of the institution, not the prisoners.

More broadly, the blame lies with a violent society that warehouses people for their social problems — unemployment, drug addiction, mental health issues, and more — instead of actually solving their problems. The vast majority of the imprisoned are not violent, having committed mostly drug and property crimes. Rather, the system of prisons and policing is inherently violent.

As we support the brave striking comrades on the inside, we simultaneously call for the abolition of prisons and police on the outside, knowing full well that this system provides more harm than security and exacts intolerable suffering on the marginalized.

For information on the striking prisoners’ 10 demands, and how to support them, visit the following websites:
http://prisonstrike.com/
https://fundly.com/2018-prisoner-strike
http://sawarimi.org/national-prison-strike

For printable flyers:
https://incarceratedworkers.org/resources/august-21-prison-strike-printable-flyers