As co-chairs of the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America (Twin Cities DSA), we want to respond to "Socialists growing force in Mpls." (May 28), an article on the success of our endorsed Minneapolis City Council candidates.
The multiracial working people of Minneapolis — teachers, Amazon workers, nurses, Uber and Lyft drivers, restaurant servers — have long been shut out of decisionmaking at City Hall. Democratic socialism is about bringing more people and voices to the table to address the roots of the problems facing all our communities.
Our vision for Minneapolis puts human needs before profits and is grounded in people's everyday realities. It includes:
- Housing for all. Rents are going up, pricing our neighbors out of their homes. Proposed rent control loopholes for corporate developers leave behind too many of our neighbors. After the St. Paul City Council overrode the rent control policy passed by voters, one-third of St. Paul renters are now without protection from rent hikes.
- Sidewalk plowing. Mobility and accessibility should not be a seasonal privilege in Minneapolis. Whether you're waiting for the bus, walking to your car or just trying to get to the store down the block, sidewalk plowing would make our winters more pleasant for everyone.
- A Green New Deal. From East Phillips residents and their vision for an urban farm at the Roof Depot to the demands to close the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, our communities deserve clean air to breathe and meaningful action on climate change.
- Public safety that keeps us safe. In the three years since the murder of George Floyd, nothing has changed at the Minneapolis Police Department to prevent continued murders by MPD. Minneapolis is on track to pay out $111 million in police misconduct lawsuits just for 2020. That money is coming out of budgets for pothole repairs and snowplowing.
- Support unions and worker organizing. From Minneapolis educators striking for the schools our children deserve, to Starbucks baristas demanding living wages and stable work schedules, strong unions make Minneapolis better for everyone.
Minneapolis residents want a local government that is unafraid of naming the problems and bringing solutions to the table. They're not voting for or against a particular label. Minneapolis residents are voting based on policy and principle. Twin Cities DSA-endorsed elected officials and candidates are winning broad support by providing solutions that invest in social safety nets and put the interests of our communities first, not corporations' bottom lines.
Council Member Robin Wonsley is championing major investments in public housing, receiving unanimous support for funding fire sprinklers in all public housing high-rises.
Council Member Jason Chavez and East Phillips residents won a pathway to community ownership of the Roof Depot, a major victory for Indigenous communities and environmental justice.
Council Member Aisha Chughtai is leading on finding solutions that actually address homelessness, rather than the inhumane and ineffective encampment evictions.
The Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce lobbyists are at City Hall every day to ensure protection for the interests of hedge funds and landlords. Their vision for Minneapolis is the status quo: unaffordable rents, pothole filled streets and a ballooning police budget that has failed to keep our neighborhoods safe.
It undermines our democracy when city leaders elected to represent all of us choose to paint vast swaths of the Minneapolis community who share our values as "extreme activists" who are "unable to govern."
Twin Cities DSA brings together working people from across Minneapolis who believe our communities should have a say in how our city is run. Twin Cities DSA is a member-funded, volunteer run organization. Our organization's priorities and candidate endorsements are democratically developed and voted on by your neighbors — the people who work, live and play in our community.
Election campaigns are only one part of Twin Cities DSA: We have a softball team, we fundraise for abortion access funds and we are active in our unions to build power for working people.
Want to join us in building this vision of Minneapolis? Find us at East Lake Open Streets on June 10 or sign up for our Twin Cities DSA 101 on June 11.
Arianna Feldman and Kip Hedges are co-chairs of Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America.