Our chapter’s Medicare for All campaign began with a handful of canvasses spread out over several months in 2017. In the fall of that year, the number of active members rose to a level at which it was possible to form a regularly meeting working group. One of the first decisions of the new working group was to incorporate a state bill for earned sick days into our canvassing, thereby giving the campaign a mid-term goal to complement the long-term goal of Medicare for All, connected by the underlying philosophy of health justice.
At around this time we also elected to join the New Jersey Universal Healthcare Coalition. By sharing tactics and working towards a unified campaign, we will strengthen our collective position and more effectively work towards our common goal. In this same spirit, we have endeavored to work with those most affected by the sorry state of healthcare in this country. To make our organizing accessible to people with disabilities has been among our highest priorities, and we seek to work with existing disabilities rights groups in our future efforts.
The rate at which we held canvasses increased dramatically going into Spring of 2018, and we held multiple weekend canvasses during our March and May campaigns. The earned sick days bill passed, and while we continued to canvass, the need for additional dimensions to ground our message in the material needs of the community was clear. Furthermore, our chapter lacks both a labor working group and the organizing capacity to support one. It was therefore a blessing when National Nurses United announced their intention to begin a Medicare for All canvassing campaign this summer, as well as their desire to work with DSA in the effort. As socialists, we believe that the most potent way for oppressed people to express their power is through organized labor. To add this dimension to our work will deepen our movement and build a real base of power for our struggle.