Akron DSA Announces Fall 2021 Priority Campaigns

Priority #1: Housing Justice and the Formation of Tenant Unions in Summit County

Author: Alyssa F.

Cosponsors: Heather H, Becky F, Caleb W, Adam L, Stephanie B

Cosigners: Joseph B, Christian M

Whereas Akron’s eviction crisis is some of the worst in the country, with the 24th highest eviction rate¹;

Whereas Akron is historically redlined, and the majority of evictions occur in redlined neighborhoods²;

Whereas Akron has a history of displacing black communities and other communities of color into these historically redlined neighborhoods, and continues to do so today,

 further entrenching segregation in housing³;

Whereas residents in these neighborhoods have been and continue to be underserved in a variety of ways, as a product of structural racism within the city⁴;  

Whereas Akron’s housing stock is old, with many homes in poor condition, mostly located in the redlined neighborhoods; racial and ethnic minorities and low-income individuals are most impacted by low-quality, older housing and the health issues that come with it⁵;

Whereas landlords are required by Akron Municipal Code to ensure that basic facilities in their properties are functional and safe, but some 600 properties in Summit County still lack services such as complete plumbing and heat⁵;

Whereas tenants lack resources and power to make demands about their housing conditions; 

Whereas tenant unions can provide them with this power, the right to organize tenant unions at HUD housing complexes is protected by the Department of Housing and Urban Development⁶, and local organizations have been and are prepared to continue to provide legal protections and support formation of tenant unions in Summit County; 

Therefore be it resolved that… 

  • The Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America will participate in existing tenant union organizing activities with the following organizations: Community Legal Aid Services, Freedom BLOC, and Fair Housing Contact Services.
    • Specifically, the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America will canvass housing complexes which are targeted for tenant union organizing.
  • The Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America may, in the future, be involved in other facets of tenant union organizing, to be determined in the future, based upon past participation and capacity.
  • The Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America may vote to nominate one liaison to these efforts; this individual will manage communications between the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and Community Legal Aid Services, Freedom BLOC, and Fair Housing Contact Services.
  • The Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America will be afforded the opportunity to recruit new members into our organization as a part of canvassing efforts; though our primary goal is to assist in formation of tenant unions, increasing membership and engaging more socialists locally will undoubtedly result in strengthened ability to win improved conditions for all tenants in the greater Akron area, including those who are not part of a tenant union.

Priority #2: Political Education

Author: Tyler B

Endorsed by: Christian M, Adam L

Akron DSA to hereby run and operate a political, historical, and economic educational series focusing strongly on the science of Marxism and its application historically to the struggle in Akron. In order to build a revolutionary organization in Akron we must apply Marxist dialectics to our historic and current-day struggle. Ranging from reading groups to the analysis of the current city administrations neo-liberal austerity politics to historical recallings of Akron’s socialist and labor movement to fully understand the responsibility we have as modern socialists. The goal is to establish Akron DSA as a leading voice of Marxism in our community and provide a guiding star to the proletarian of Akron. 

  • Whereas, to achieve this goal we must create an outlet of resources and empower members of Akron DSA to take upon themselves a duty to actively learn and apply the science of dialectical materialism within and outside of DSA. 
  • Whereas, ensuring Akron DSA has a strong foundation of Marxist politics by the creation of a Political Education Committee to build a robust and relevant guide of literature around contemporary theorists as well as providing accessible and meaningful dissection of the topics discussed.
  • Whereas, the Political Education Committee is to provide a multitude of ways for members to absorb information and revisit meaningful discussions through an official archive of Education materials.
  • Whereas, to apply the science of Marxism thoughtfully, the Political Education Committee will employ an emphasis on historical education and reflection on the socialist and labor movement during the rubber strikes as well as the rise of fascism in the Akron Police Department and influence of the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. 
  • Whereas, any materials needed will be provided by the chapter for members and will be made accessible to any member that wishes to be involved in the campaign.
  • Whereas, a focus on new member ideological development and working relationship with the Akron DSA Communications Committee to share educational materials and events with the public and membership alike. 

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