Democratic Socialists discuss local implementation of ideology


Andres Correa/Daily Senior Staffer

City clerk’s office hosts Democratic Socialists panel. Participants discussed the ideology and its implementation at the local level.

Andres Correa, Assistant City Editor

With a new Chicago City Council set to take office next week, Democratic Socialists hosted a panel at the Levy Senior Center on Wednesday where they discussed their platform and its local implementation.

Hosted by Evanston’s city clerk’s office, the event was mediated by the city clerk Devon Reid. Panel guests included Chicago Ald.-elect Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Lucie Macias, co-chair of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. The event is the first in a planned series aimed at discussing political ideologies and their impact on municipalities.

“We host a number of events throughout the year that discuss various things,” Reid said. “Some that are really boring like parliamentary procedures — but we think that’s very important —and some things more exciting, like democratic socialism at the local level.”

Panelists began the event by discussing the role socialism played in their youth.

Rodriguez-Sanchez said she attended her first protest at age 6 when her community in Puerto Rico did not have access to running water. She said she watched her father organize with neighbors and advocate for access. This was the first time she was introduced to the word “socialist.”

She said she grew up with a very special notion of what a socialist meant and an idea that was organic rather than something that was taught.

“The socialists in my community were the people that organize so that the people in the community could have the resources that they deserve as human beings,” she said.

Similarly to Rodriguez-Sanchez, Ramirez-Rosa attended his first protest at age 3 where he fought for equitable funding for public schools. Growing up, he said he was constantly having conversations about making a more “just world.” He said he found most of those conversations about equality in socialist movements.

He said his interactions with socialism influenced him to become an activist in his community because change comes from below and “requires working class people to make a better tomorrow.”

The panelists also discussed common misinterpretations of democratic socialism.

Lucia Macias said the most hardworking and passionate people she has ever met are socialists. She said popular notions of socialism are rooted in a misconception of laziness and fear of the people fighting power.

“We are truly a Democratic organization and that is the foundation of what we are,” she said. “(We want) a more just world, where people don’t have a value based of their production and the fact they can just do a job.”

When it comes to localizing democratic socialism in Chicago, both Aldermen said they are preparing to unveil their plans for their first ‘100 days’ in office which they created with United Working Families.

One of the first pieces of legislations they said they want to introduce concerns housing, which include The Home for All and Development for All ordinances. These ordinances seek to expand and protect public housing, which Rodriguez-Sanchez said should be a public good.

Raymond Diaz attended the event and said he came partially to hear Rodriguez-Sanchez speak. He said the event was well done and he was excited to see more minorities in Chicago politics. Diaz said he is concerned about the ways in which the panelists will increase the number of minority, working class people participating in democratic socialism.

“In general, I feel like coming to these events make it so that this is not just the status quo of older white people coming to these events,” he said. “It’s more a younger generation trying to come in and really try to affect something.”

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