An Introduction to DSA Medics
About our commitment to supporting all DSA organizers’ health and wellness
A DSA delegate who was a medical student asked me at the convention, “why does a political organization like DSA need medics?” events have now overtaken us. It has become clear that between the high of our convention in Chicago and the low of the shameless terror attacks on DSA and allies at Charlettesville, that DSA needs to build new capabilities on top of our existing de-esclalation infrastructure. We must organize and train medics to help ensure that all of our members’ voices are heard and involved in our political work, rapid response, and direct action by providing community healthcare, mental health support and first aid to all who need it.
Whether pouring herbal tea and calming down over stimulated convention goers, safely evacuating and stabilizing wounded protesters, medic support is critical to boosting our effectiveness at events and can save lives. While independent protest medic collectives exist, and do crucial work supporting activists in their work, increasingly these medics are being stretched thin by the training needs of other more marginal groups and with our resources and national organization we should be able to support ourselves and help others as well. As our organization grows and our events grow with us, we will need people who understand the medical and infrastructure needs for large events, protests and militant direct actions. Unfortunately as we become more effective, our oligarchs and their allies will unleash more and more repressive measures against our movement. As the effects of late capitalism become more acute, we will need to structure mutual aid and solidarity into our daily organizing practice. As our climate is changed and our communities are effected by recurrent “natural disasters” we will be challenged by humanitarian and environmental crisis not seen since the 1930’s. But we can begin to meet these challenges by organizing now.
We are organizing to train people to provide medic support but also to train other medics who can quickly stand up regional DSA medic networks, that can start coordinating support and logistics together. Our first regional training is being organized in conjunction with Richmond DSA and is open to all DSA chapters who are under acute threat from state and vigilante violence in the area surrounding Charlottesville.
DSA Medics are working:
- To provide evidence based street medic level support to DSA direct actions, protests, community defense, town halls, events and other chapter and branch level activities, and to interface with EMS when patient needs are beyond DSA medic scope of practice.
- To support DSA members with physical and mental disabilities, to ensure they have the opportunity to express themselves politically in the safest possible way, to the extent that they desire.
- To ensure DSA members from marginalized and oppressed communities are given culturally appropriate and sensitive care, to ensure they are able to fully express their own politics as well as to ensure members from these communities are trained as medics and are part of discussions about medic activities.
- To provide health and wellness spaces that are safe for all DSA members, helping deescalate mental health crisis, spreading calm and providing a space with comforts to ensure DSA members can continue on with vital political work in spite of chronic illness, minor injuries and ailments.
- To ensure chapters have medics trained to act as allies to victims of sexual assault or abuse, who DSA members can turn to if they need support or access to resources while recovering from trauma.
- To organize against gendered/racist bullying and harassment and help make DSA a safe place for radicals of all backgrounds to build the kind of world we want to live in.
- To train other medics to quickly stand up regional DSA medic networks, that can start coordinating medic support together, and identify coalition partners who may need additional medic support and provide it.
- To provide input into logistical planning of DSA events and actions to ensure human needs are accounted for such as access to water, food, shelter and restroom facilities, so that all DSA members are as comfortable and safe as possible while doing political work. To help DSA activists cope with, process and heal from participating and witnessing traumatic events or situations, from a place of understanding and mutual aid.
Our initial goals are to organize the training of medics, and establish the co-ordination of medic activity on the national level, to share up to date evidence based medic practice. To organize horizontally to ensure that we are not dependent on a few organizers, and ensure accountability and comradely collaboration. To share lessons learned and continually improve medic activity as DSA organizes for socialism.
Our work will help build DSA by ensuring the membership has as much medic support as they need to carry out our political organizing work as safely as possible, and to be ready for inevitable police, vigilante and far right violence as DSA becomes more successful and prominent in the fight to dismantle capitalism.
We invite you to share this piece and contribute to our crowd funding campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/dsa-medics-richmond-va-training Every dollar we raise is going to the direct purchase of critical training and medic supplies, as well as get trainers out to your local as quickly as possible. We thank you all for your interest, support and solidarity.