As a kid, I was always more interested in watching science fiction TV shows and reading Dungeons & Dragons adventures than in who was running for president. However, given my father's political proclivities, it's probably inevitable that I ended up finding a home in political activism.
When I was a student in college, the US embarked on a preemptive invasion of Iraq. I decided then that I couldn't stand on the sidelines any longer. Developing from a inexperienced, apolitical youngster into a seasoned political activist occurred over the course of several years of trial and error. These experiences left an indelible mark on my personality and worldview, convincing me that our society needed to make a transition to an economic and political system that centered around the needs of human beings rather than the dictates of capital.
In 2011, I helped found Philly Socialists. Those of us who established the group had sought to create a political organization that made socialist values directly relevant to poor and working class people, not as an abstract creed, but through real-world action which helped raise up our most vulnerable communities.
Six years later, Philly Socialists has grown in leaps and bounds, led by a cohort of talented young people. Many things have changed in my life; I'm now a father myself with a family of my own. When I think about the future of our planet, it's not just an abstract issue anymore. I look at my daughter's smiling face and I wonder what life will be like for her in a world beset by the perils of war and climate change.
If anything, my years of grassroots community organizing have underscored the necessity of organizations such as Philly Socialists, a group which uniquely combines the embeddedness and rootedness of community organization with a larger strategic vision of a just and equitable society, as well as a roadmap to get there.
Over the years, I've regularly invited you to events (you may have even attended one or two!). You've probably followed the fortunes of our various endeavors, many of which are listed below. Through all the twists and turns, I come before you with the same conviction and earnestness that led me into political life 15 years ago. I will tell you from the bottom of my heart that I believe donating to Philly Socialists is the greatest investment you could make in our collective future.
I remain yours in the struggle,
A community-based socialist group
Philly Socialists was founded in 2011 by a handful of individuals who felt a pressing need to build a left alternative to fight for progressive, intersectional and working class values.
Our uniqe model focused on community organizing, fighting the power and serving the people under an explicitly socialist banner, to build a social base committed to revolutionary change.
Where renters in our city wanted to fight greedy slumlords, we helped build a citywide Tenants Union. Where immigrants were prevented from seeking out educational opportunities, we organized free English classes. Where trash-filled, vacant lots stood, we met with our neighbors and built community gardens. None of this would have been possible without the generous financial support of our sympathizers in Philadelphia and beyond.
A moment of danger, and resistance
Since the Trump administration came to power in January, we've seen an escalation in attacks on our communities. At the same time, progressive and working class Americans are mobilizing as never before. We are protesting, we are resisting, but we are also looking for a way forward, a way to build a better society than what has come before us.
We believe Philly Socialists offers that way forward, and that we have the track record to prove it!
What we've been able to accomplish with your help
Today, Philly Socialists is asking for your help once again. We have a series of ambitious initiatives, which we truly believe can help bring coherence, direction, and organization to our movement. But we need your support to make this happen.
Since our last fundraiser in April 2016, both Philly Socialists and the political dynamic of the US at large have shifted considerably. Some of our highlights from the past year:
- Hosting a weeklong socialist conference in opposition to the Democratic National Convention (DNC), sponsored by all the nationwide socialist groups in the US and attended by over 700 hundred people
- Disrupting City Council's dog-and-pony show hearing on evictions to drop off 1,000 signatures in favor of a Just Cause Eviction law, which will provide concrete protections for renters and provide a stepping stone towards rent control
- Spearheading protests against Donald Trump and Mike Pence's visit to Philadelphia - surrounding the Loews hotel with thousands of protesters - and taking the lead on mobilizing for International Women's Day
- Offering free English classes to immigrants in three locations throughout the city, offering concrete solidarity to those being scapegoated by racist bigots
- Holding mass meetings after the November election drawing crowds upwards of 200 people
- Continuing to grow our Tenants Union and build successful direct action campaigns against slumlords, winning back thousands of dollars for tenants
With your support, here's what we plan to do next
We have big plans for 2017! Here's a taste of some of what we have in the works...
- Opening a brick-and-mortar office in Philadelphia to house our growing operations: Our small group has more than doubled in size since last year, outpacing our ability to provide meeting space, printing, and other logistical support to our numerous new political initiatives.
- Releasing a free, full-color monthly newspaper - The Philadelphia Partisan: This popular effort has been test-run for three issues. An incisive blend of theory, hyper-local reporting, poetry and art, hundreds of copies of The Partisan have been distributed in poor and working class neighborhoods. With your support, we aim to double the amount of copies we make available and distribute them throughout the city, as well as take on more ambitious journalistic and publishing endeavors such as investigative reporting into local corruption.
- A national conference: In coordination with several other groups nationally, Philly Socialists is planning a nationwide conference to network with other ideologically-pluralist, project-based socialist groups, to be held over the weekend of August 4th-6th. The conference hopes to facilitate steps toward unifying the "base-building" trend within the socialist movement, which in turn will promote left unity across the socialist movement.
You can be a part of this movement
- If we raise $5,000, we can fund publication of the Philadelphia Partisan for one year.
- If we raise $10,000, we will be able to host a national conference of locally-based, ideologically pluralist, project-based socialist organizations.
- If we raise $15,000, we will be able to host monthly RED Talks, bringing the sharpest speakers on the left to Philadelphia, and broadcast their talks over the internet.
- If we raise $20,000, we will be able to open up an office to house our expanding operations.
Your generosity and belief in us are much appreciated. These perks are our way of saying "thanks, really!!"
$30 gets you our iconic Philly Socialists t-shirt, designed by renowned illustrator Anuj Shrestha OR a Philadelphia Tenants Union shirt, with logo, designed by talented graphic & web designer Alex Zahradnik. Modeled here by comrades Grosvenor and Stephanie, respectively.
$20 gets you one of our most iconic posters, your pick! All designed by Alex Zahradnik. $75 if you want your copy framed.
We believe that menial work is for machines. Help us inch a little closer to fully-automated luxury communism by donating $100 and claiming this hand silkscreened propaganda poster designed by Alex Zahradnik.
See more perks and photos in the righthand sidebar!