Manifesting the “General Strike”

Image: Picketers behind explosion overlay; red background. Text: Manifesting the General Strike

If you’ve spent any time in left organizing spaces over the past ten or twenty years, especially online, you’ve probably heard people say “we’re having a general strike! Everyone out!” And then predictably, nothing happens. It’s almost an inside-joke among left organizers that if you say “general strike,” they’re the magical words that will make everyone go out of work.

Building Playgrounds for the Rich and Jails for the Poor

Image: Dollar signs falling out of the sky; overlayed with prison bars. Text: Building Playgrounds for the Rich & Jails for the Poor

Who says that government can’t give us nice things? Just this week, Monroe County approved $4.3 million in tax exemptions for the latest sports fad, Topgolf, to come to CityGate. While its proponents tout jobs, tourism, and reinvestment in the local economy, without a doubt there exist more beneficial means of achieving these goals. This is just the latest insult by a political class demonstrating who they work for—not the working class, but the idle rich.

Transparency & The Reservoir

Our city has a transparency problem. While we have several amazing projects by movement journalists, broadly our news media avoids controversial topics, focusing on journalistic work which advertises this city as a good place to drive to. What that leads to is a shockingly petty and personalistic political space, where politics is often a matter of loyalty or disdain for particular political figures, rather than anything substantial. It also leads to the vast majority of the people in this city not understanding that the issues they face are political issues which they can change. The image we basically get is of a city where nothing happens, or at least nothing that any one person can affect.


Cover image for Rochester Red Star, May 2024 Issue. Logo: Rochester Red Star (Black text with Red Star). ROC DSA logo, with "Democratic Socialists of America Rochester NY." Artwork: stamped flowers; Red rose and yellow sunflower. With textured leaves on either side. Purple flowers at bottom with moss. Flower borders on left and right, green ribbon border top and bottom.

Welcome to the inaugural issue of ROC DSA’s monthly newsletter, Rochester Red Star. I hope this project will help to accomplish goals I announced while running for Steering Committee: Expanding our capacity for political education to develop class consciousness; improving our organizing capabilities and community structures to establish foundations for the future; and building transparency and communication between Steering Committee and membership.

May this be one step along the path to carving out a left media sphere that will form the intellectual basis for a vibrant socialist politics in our region. I encourage you to get involved by submitting articles, photos, event write-ups, and feedback. Together, a better world is possible.

University of Rochester Students Call for Reversal of Ban on Students Peacefully Protesting on Campus

Five days into our encampment, our reasonable demands to the University of Rochester Administration remain. We continue to call on UR Administration to: (1) join the City of Rochester and Universities across the country in Calling for a ceasefire, and (2) fully divest from all academic ties to the state of Israel. Until the demands are met, or we are forcibly removed, we will remain peacefully on the Eastman Quad, drawing attention to the University of Rochester’s support of apartheid and genocide. Additionally we are now calling upon the University to lift these unreasonable bans and allow us to continue our peaceful protest. 

Chapter Statement: Bello, Yudelson, and Maffucci Side With Republican Caucus on Public Power, Leaving Constituents at the Mercy of RG&E’s Corporate Greed

In opposing the study, County Executive Adam Bello, along with Legislators Michael Yudelson, Howard Maffucci, and the entire Republican caucus, have sided with RG&E’s corporate lobbyists over their constituents. Instead of getting the facts, Bello has resorted to fearmongering with baseless concerns. The influence of Bello and associate Bob Duffy over the County Legislature (Duffy receives over $200,000 a year to serve on the board of RG&E’s parent company, Avangrid) has subverted the will of the people.

BID Battle: Community Prevails Over Big Developers

Mural Above: "The Gentrifiers" Mayor Malik Evans, NY Senator Jeremy Cooney, Andy Gallina, Ken Glazer, Galin Brooks, Patrick Dutton, Chris Hill

The suspension of the BID formation process is a direct result of sustained resistance. A diverse coalition of residents, small businesses, community organizations, and artists united under the name of BID Education Committee to oppose RDDC’s agenda. Over the past two years, these organizers tirelessly engaged with the community, raising awareness about the anti-democratic nature of BIDs and the potential adverse impacts on equity. …

Rochester Prevails Against the Unjust BID

Image: Paintbrushes and paint tubes over a canvas background. Text: Rochester Prevails Against the Unjust BID. Logos: ROC DSA and No BID Roc

While Rochesterians have won the battle by stopping the BID, the war against privatization, gentrification, and over-policing is far from over. Rochester should not be run by wealthy property owners and they certainly haven’t given up on their goal of control of downtown. ROC DSA is committed to continuing this fight and we urge you to join us.

Chapter Statement: Letter of Resignation from the Police Accountability Board Alliance

Rochester skyline in Red, Red Rochester DSA logo. Title: Chapter Statement: Letter of Resignation from the Police Accountability Board Alliance

Despite the critical role of the PAB and the need for independent police oversight in Rochester, ROC DSA has made the decision to resign as a member agency of the PABA. This decision was not made lightly. Over the last several years, the PABA has become a challenging and, at times, deeply toxic environment. Our organization’s departure is far from the first and, unfortunately, it will almost certainly not be the last. We urge the leadership and remaining members of the PABA to take a critical look at the state of the alliance and find the lessons that must be learned. This city needs the PAB, and the PAB needs a functional PABA.