2021 Organizing Guide

Table of Contents
Plank One:Medicare for All is an Anti-Racist Demand

Positioning Medicare for All as an Anti-Racist Demand

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately killing communities of color. State-sanctioned violence, socio-economic and environmental factors, along with co-morbidities rooted in the for-profit healthcare system, account for the disproportionate deaths from COVID-19 among people of color. Medicare for All and the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act are the best policy tools to address racial health disparities.

We must create a system of guaranteed healthcare during the pandemic, which covers everyone for out of pocket expenses and all costs for the uninsured, through adoption of the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, and for the long-term through improved Medicare for All. Only by eliminating profit from healthcare will we ensure healthcare providers and facilities exist in communities of color. Only through a publicly financed and administered system will we be able to prioritize public health, early intervention and prevention, and provide free vaccines. Only if we break the link between employment and health insurance, and eliminate all costs at the point of service, covering all residents regardless of immigration status with comprehensive benefits, can we equitably provide healthcare to all.

Medicare for All provides the model for a society based on solidarity and caregiving, which re-directs resources and establishes healthcare and housing as public goods. Food insecurity, environmental racism, mass incarceration and police violence, and the violence of mass detention of immigrants, must be addressed as a public health crisis. We must create a culturally competent healthcare system that listens to and honors the experience of Black and brown patients. Achieving Medicare for All can lay the foundation and create a system to do that. We urge Congress to pass the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act as the first step.

Campaign Goal DSA will hold 50 educational events connecting Medicare for All and racial justice by the end of 2021
Campaign Goal DSA chapters will build stronger relationships with organizations led by BIPOC leaders in their city and collaborate on health justice organizing efforts
  • Be intentional and be organized! Make a list of BIPOC-led organizations in your city that you want to have stronger relationships with. Identify one person in your organization whose job it is to build that relationship. Deputize that person to reach out and schedule a one-on-one with a leader from the other organization. What are they working on? Are there any projects they could use extra hands on? Is there any piece of political work they would love to see another organization spearhead? Relationship building and trust building takes time - don’t rush it. Below are some great collaborative possible coalitional health justice events that you can organize anytime.
  • Examples:
    • “Solidarity in the Park” Health Fairs
      • Flyer design (example from New Orleans)
      • Health Fair Guide
        • This guide was built from the New Orleans DSA experience of running health fairs, so forgive any New Orleans specific tips, especially regarding the resources we’ve had available at the health fair -- they were left in to inspire ideas about what resources you might try to have at your fairs!
    • Community Resource Guide
      • You can do a general resource guide, or you can focus on “Who can you call Instead of the Police?” Check out similar guides from other cities to get some inspiration for yours.
      • Before tackling a resource guide, be sure to find out if something like this already exists in your community.
      • If it does, reach out to the authors of the guide and see how you can support that work. Does the guide need updating? Do the organizers need help with research, writing, copy-editing, or graphic design? How can you support, collaborate, and build relationships?
      • If nothing like this exists, put together a team of representatives from other groups to start drafting a resource guide, and don’t be afraid to start small and build up from there. A dedicated team of 4 can make a lot of progress on a project like this. Again, focus on using this as an opportunity to build relationships with other organizations, and especially with BIPOC-led organizations in your city. A comprehensive resource guide can be a huge undertaking; don’t feel like you have to cover everything from the very beginning.
    • Educational events, see above!
Campaign Goal Pass city council resolutions in support of M4A in 5 majority Black or Latinx cities in the US by the end of the 2021
Campaign Goal 15 DSA chapters will run and win a locally based campaign with clear demands related to health & policing, health & the criminal system, health & abolition
  • Example Campaigns:
    • Demand that your local hospital stop sharing data with the police or allowing police into the emergency department
    • Demand more counselors, nurses, and social workers in your school instead of police
    • Legalize safe injection sites in your community
    • Pressure their municipality to establish a team of mental health professionals, social workers and/or crisis counselors to send as first responders to calls involving mental health crises, such as the CAHOOTS model implemented in Eugene, OR.
    • What else? Before you start on a campaign, talk to your coalition partners, talk to neighbors, talk to coworkers, talk to your health care provider! Make a list of examples of problems in your community’s health care system and start thinking about where you can intervene. How is our for-profit health care system propping up our criminal system? Where can we push back on that collaboration?
  • How to Run a Strategic Campaign
    • Campaign work is the day-to-day work that helps our organization grow and develop politically. Campaign work -- where you have a demand, a target, and a timeline -- is the critical ingredient to training yourself as an organizer and a leader, to getting more deeply embedded in your political landscape, and to building your membership’s capacity.
    • In order to cut and run a campaign, you’ll need to know how to research campaign viability, assess your chapter capacity, assess political viability, and build a coalition around a demand! All of which is easier said than done, but we have a lot of resources on how to tackle these things. Check out the COVID-19 Campaign Organizing Guide to learn about how to run strategic pressure campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll especially want to focus on reading and discussing Sections 6 - 13 on “Building a Strategy.” At every one of your chapter’s health care organizing meetings, pick a different section from the guide and discuss how you can apply it to your work.