The San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America demand that the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force reject politically motivated gerrymandering. As socialists, we are committed to democracy, both as a means and an end. We are building a mass movement of working class people to take back power from big corporations and the 1%. Across the country, we have seen partisans draw lines that split constituencies in order to weaken our movement and reverse social progress.
This week, gerrymandering came to our city. The Redistricting Task Force has betrayed their responsibility to their constituents, by reversing a prior vote and sneaking in a new map at 3 a.m. that guts District 5 wholesale. Working class San Franciscans from across the city have spent precious hours waiting late into the night to demand fair maps and we agree with them: San Franciscans deserve better.
The motives behind this decision are crystal clear. A leaked email was released from a board member of Neighbors for A Better San Francisco, a dark-money PAC full of billionaire Mitch McConnell supporters that attacks homeless San Franciscans in racist, classist mailers, and has funded (by its own admission) 80% of the recall campaign against District Attorney Chesa Boudin. This board member, Nick Podell, made his name as a luxury gala-hopping developer fighting to steamroll tenant and anti-gentrification organizers in the Mission District. Emailing his fellow co-conspirators this Wednesday, Podell gloated, “After rocking, my next favorite activity right now is San Francisco politics… We are in the final week of the Redistricting process and it is going better than I could have ever dreamed.”
This isn’t just a threat. It is a confession.
Why are the billionaires so excited about the current redistricting proposal? Because it guts District 5. District 5 has shown again and again that a movement-based approach to politics, led by tenants and workers, can still defeat deep-pocketed corporate interests. A broad coalition of socialists and progressives won reforms to make San Francisco a home for all, including a universal right to eviction counsel, progressive taxes to fight homelessness & displacement (Prop C, Prop I), a new mandate for municipal social housing (Prop K), and the defeat of a naked power grab by the Police Officers’ Association to remove use of Tasers from public oversight (No on Prop H). It is not lost on us that our obstructionist mayor and her enablers have stood in the way of nearly all of these efforts.
Our coalition has also elected Dean Preston to the Board of Supervisors twice. Since the Mayor and her allies in San Francisco’s real estate and big business establishment have been unable to defeat Dean Preston and the policies we have fought for alongside him at the ballot box, they now want to draw his district – and our proven progress for the working people of this city – out of existence.
As we speak, the Mayor and her political allies are weaponizing the redistricting process to attack DSA member and D5 Supervisor Preston, while using the residents of the Tenderloin as political pawns. For twenty years, the residents of the Tenderloin and their neighbors in SoMa have worked together in District 6 and built political coalitions to represent their mutual interests. DSA SF stands with the Tenderloin community in choosing whatever district best uplifts their struggle, especially as the Mayor and her allies have proven once again in recent months that the Tenderloin is worth little more to them than an opportunity to score cheap political points at the expense of real material progress for the community.
The Redistricting Task Force has until April 14 to complete their work. At every meeting from now until then, DSA SF members will join community leaders from across San Francisco to demand truly democratic representation. The same truth is clear in North Carolina, Alabama, Seattle, Texas, San Francisco, or anywhere else: wherever the capitalist establishment undermines democracy in the service of their own power and profit, working class people suffer.
It’s not too late to give San Franciscans the representation that they deserve! Here’s how you can help:
- Show up at the next Redistricting Task Force Meeting on April 7 and demand that the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force reject politically motivated gerrymandering.
- Join DSA SF and our current Empty Homes Tax campaign to keep the political establishment quaking as we continue to build a better and more equitable San Francisco.
This is a pathetic attempt to rig city politics for the next decade, but we’re committed to winning socialism in all of San Francisco, whether we begin in the Western Addition, the Tenderloin, or South of Market, in city hall or in the streets.