Twin Cities DSA Little Red Letter #113: Fair Driver Compensation Vetoed, Encampment Evictions Continue,Closing the HERC, and More!




Twin Cities
Democratic Socialists of America

Little Red Letter #113

Fair Driver Compensation Vetoed, Encampment Evictions Continue,
Closing the HERC, and More!

Let’s start local this week. As always, it has been an eventful time. As we mentioned in our last issue, on August 15, 2023 a wide range of people including doctors, union leaders, scientists, teachers, waste workers, experts, and impacted community members spoke at the county board meeting on the need to close the trash incinerator by 2025. This latest push coincides with legislation passed this year requiring a closure plan to qualify for certain state funds. As climate change increasingly leads to poor air quality events such as we have seen over the summer, it is critical to reduce other emissions which cumulatively impact our health, particularly in frontline communities that have been made to bear the brunt of these industrial and economic choices.

On August 24, 2023, the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation evicted roughly 140 people from an encampment at the Wall of Forgotten Natives along Hwy. 55. Residents of the encampment had been given one day’s notice and phone numbers which went to already full shelters or outreach workers whose information should not have been included. Activists and unhoused people held a press conference that morning to speak to their demands for housing and resources. Encampment evictions have been the policy of the city of Minneapolis and other agencies. These evictions, including those that lead to this encampment forming, lead to people being unaccounted for and undercut efforts to offer services, as they are forced between temporary locations.

The Minneapolis city council passed the Fair Drives, Safe Rides ordinance, which was then vetoed by Mayor Jacob. The ordinance would have protected basic workers’ rights and guaranteed a minimum compensation for rideshare workers. Rather than standing with the drivers and passing a policy that supports them, Minneapolis caved to pressure from rideshare companies, following a veto of a similar bill by Governor Walz earlier this year. In the lead up to the city council vote, Uber and Lyft both threatened to cease or limit their operations in Minneapolis. This is a familiar tactic for corporations to employ in Minnesota in recent years as people organize to improve our conditions, with similar threats happening around the passage of the Saint Paul rent stabilization ordinance and the “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act”.

Lastly, let’s end with some rapid fire good news. 

  • UPS Teamsters ratified their contract, including wage increases, the elimination of two-tier wages for package car drivers, the installation of air conditioning in new vehicles, and the creation of thousands of new full-time warehouse jobs. Over the past month, workers reviewed and debated the contract offer to decide whether or not it was good enough. These negotiations have given an opportunity for UPS Teamsters to flex their power as workers, and for DSA to be energized alongside them through our Strike Ready campaign, which DSA will now look to carry into the fight at the Big Three auto companies and the struggles beyond. 
  • Our allies at the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) successfully reached and surpassed their crowdfunding goal of $50,000. This will enable them to begin the pre-development phase of the project, using the money for environmental remediation and capacity-building efforts, as well as architectural and engineering assessments.
  • Thank you to everyone who turned out to the Solidarity Festival on Saturday, August 26. Held by City Council Member Robin Wonsley’s campaign, this event celebrated a number of victories this year, including the EPNI fight and blocking the return of the third precinct building to its former location. It also created space for people to come together and talk about the fights ahead, from tackling unaffordable housing to municipal sidewalk clearance. All who attended helped make it a success and we look forward to staying in solidarity with everyone. 

Ruling Class Counter Attack

Kip H shares a recent experience related to Twin Cities DSA’s support for the East Phillips Urban Farm and Soren Stevenson, and his analysis on what we have to expect as an organization as we continue to build working class power.

TCDSA committees and working groups need members to get involved in order to create the multi-racial, worker-powered socialist future we’re all aiming for. Below are some opportunities to be part of the exciting work going on in our chapter right now!

  • East Phillips Urban Farm
    • Following the huge Roof Depot victory, there’s still plenty of work to be done to continue the fight for environmental justice in the Twin Cities. Current focuses are shutting down the HERC Trash Incinerator, continuing community engagement in East Phillips for the realization of the Urban Farm, We are also developing our work toward shutting down Smith Foundry and Bituminous Roadways and engaging with the process to reimagine Highway I-94.

      If you’re interested in any of this work, reach out to TCDSA’s East Phillips and EJ Working Group at or on Slack at #epni_coalition_with_and_events to get plugged in! 

  • Twin Cities DSA Sports
    • Ultimate Frisbee
      TCDSA is putting together an ultimate frisbee team for a nine week fall league! Games will be on Sunday afternoons from September 11– November 6, and we need more players to fill our roster! If you’re interested please join the #socialists-play-sports-ultimate-frisbee Slack channel. All experience levels welcome!
    • Basketball
      Join us Sundays at 9:00 to play some casual pickup basketball games with comrades! Join the #socialists-play-sports-basketball Slack channel to stay in the loop! All skill levels are welcome 🏀
    • Disc Golf
      Disc golf is the golf of the working class! Most courses are in public parks and are free to play. Discs are inexpensive compared to most sporting gear and can be bought used, and many people who’ve been playing for a while have a collection of extra discs available to borrow. We’re organizing occasional TCDSA group rounds—join the #socialists-play-sports-disc-golf Slack channel for more info! All are welcome, regardless of athleticism.

  • TCDSA Doorknock with Aisha Chughtai – RSVP Here
    • Saturday, September 9: 12:00pm–3:00pm – Whittier Park

      Join us to door knock for Aisha Chughtai in Minneapolis Ward 10!

  • DSA Convention Local Reportback – Location TBD
    • Sunday, September 10: 11:00am – 12:30pm – RSVP Here

      Join us for an in depth discussion oriented report back on September 10th at 11am, location TBD. We’ll go over important debates and takeaways from convention, hear the perspectives of delegation members, and discuss the possible implications for TCDSA chapter work.

  • Steering Committee Meeting – Sunday, 9/3, 3:00pm-4:30pm 
    • Check #steeringcommittee for the zoom link and agenda. If you are a member and need access to slack, sign up at

  • Local Elected Socialists in Office: Administrative Meeting – Tuesday, 9/5, 5:00pm-6:30pm – Register Herem Registration
    • This is a meeting to plan and prepare for meeting with local elected officials. All branches, committees, and working groups are encouraged to bring ideas for how we can collaborate with electeds.

  • Minneapolis Rent Control Work Group – Tuesday, 9/5, 6:00pm-7:00pm – Zoom Registration
    • Join us in the fight for strong rent control in Minneapolis!

  • Internal Organizing Phone Bank – Wednesday, 9/6, 6:00pm–7:00pm
    • Join the Internal Organizing Committee for our bimonthly phonebank to call new TCDSA members.

      We meet on Zoom to go over the script, mute ourselves and make phone calls to other DSA members, and then return to debrief how our calls went. A brief training is provided and no prior experience is required. These phonebanks are a chance to meet newer members to TCDSA, hear what they need from our chapter and what brings them to socialism. All are welcome to join, but new members should note that this is a group calling session where we will call you, not an event designed for new members.

      IO phonebanks are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month. For more information about joining this meeting, see the #internal-organizing Slack channel.

  • Communications Committee Meeting– Thursday, 9/7, 6:00pm-7:30pm – Zoom Registration 
    • The Communications Committee meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month.

      For information on joining this meeting, see the #communications channel on Slack. Not on Slack? Submit to verify you’re on the member list.

Go to to see everything!

How Centuries of Extractive Agriculture Helped Set the Stage for the Maui Fires

The food politics online daily Civil Eats has an excellent and deep analysis of how “extractive” (as opposed to sustainable) agriculture by colonial powers rob the land and ecosystem of its ability to withstand stresses, which led, in the case of Maui, Hawaii, to deadly wildfires.

From Deb K R

East Phillips group given more time to raise millions to buy Roof Depot site

Sahan Journal reports the first good news for East Phillips Neighborhood Institute in a week full of good news. The deadline to raise $3.7M, required to qualify for the further $5.7M from the State of MN in 2024, was extended from September 7 to November 8 of this year in the purchase agreement just signed between the City of Minneapolis and EPNI.

From Deb K R

DSA Convention 2023: A Jump to the Left

Amy Wilhelm, Seattle DSA member and newly elected NPC member, considers the outcome of the August 2023 DSA convention a “jump to the left.” Amy is also a member of Marxist Unity Group.

From Deb K R

Changes to Open Streets show need for ongoing funding, as well as a shift in priorities for transportation advocates

Bill Lindeke writing in MinnPost has a detailed explanation of what went down around the “sudden” announcement of Minneapolis Public Works pulling out of sponsorship of Open Streets. The city claimed it was a mutual decision, which Our Streets denied. If you care about Open Streets, read it and decide for yourself. Although not exactly analogous (the city never paid a penny toward MayDay) this story of an underfunded, idealistic and radical nonprofit struggling to produce something beautiful is reminding me a lot of my last days at In the Heart of the Beast and the two years that followed (2017 to 2019) heralding the end of the old MayDay Parade.

From Deb K R

Ecuador candidate backed by Correa will face banana heir in second round

On August 20, the general elections in Ecuador took place without further incident, after being marred by the assassination of candidate Fernando Villavicencio. Luisa Gonzalez, 45, endorsed by RC (Revolucion Ciudadana) is in first place and Daniel Noboa, 35, endorsed by ADN (National Democratic Action) came in second. There will be a runoff in October to determine the winner. The ballot also elected members to the National Assembly and decided two referenda. RC, Villacencio’s party, and ADN captured 75% of the legislature between them.

From Deb K R

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