4 weeks from an election, MPLS socialists back Hamas

The Twin Cities chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (TCDSA) issued a controversial statement last night in support of the Palestinian cause, just weeks before the November 7 election and two days after the wholesale massacre of civilians in Israel, including at least 11 Americans.

TC is one of three DSA chapters in the state.

A rally promoted by the DSA’s New York chapter in Times Square on Sunday in support of Hamas featured the swastika on prominent display.

The TC statement on Palestine was posted a little after 7 pm last night and announced on Twitter (X), among other social media platforms.

The 500-word statement in support of Palestine is a remarkable document. One word that does not appear in the statement: Hamas.

“Zionist” appears, but not any version of the words Jewish or Judaism. “Muslim” appears, as does “masjid” (mosque).

For a group that includes the word “America” in its name, remarkably, not a single mention is made of American victims of the Hamas terrorists. TC DSA closes its statement with this rouser,

We are resolved to proclaim “From the River, to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” today and until liberation.

For those unfamiliar with this jargon, “the River” is the Jordan and “the Sea” is the Mediterranean. The phrase means to literally wipe Israel off the map.

To his credit, the state chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party, Ken Martin, was quick to criticize the DSA statement, as was Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

The context of this back and forth is the battle between the local DSA and the DFL for control of the Minneapolis city council, up for grabs four weeks from today.

All thirteen seats on the MPLS council are on the ballot next month. DSA party member Robin Wonsley is running unopposed in Ward 2, without the DFL endorsement.

Among their endorsements this cycle, the DSA is backing four other candidates, in wards 8, 9, 10 and 12 (and two in St. Paul).

Back in 2021, TC DSA endorsed only three candidates for Minneapolis city council, Wonsley, Chavez, and Chughtai.

For 2023, Chavez (Ward 9) and Chughtai (Ward 10) are incumbents also backed by the DFL. Challengers Sorenson (Ward 8) and Chowdhury (Ward 12) also hold both DSA and DFL endorsement. So where is the battle, you may ask? And five DSA members does not give Socialists the majority of the council.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Sorenson is running against the Ward 8 incumbent, Andrea Jenkins, who also serves as the council’s current president. Jenkins failed to get DFL party endorsement this cycle, but is running in the ranked-choice voting (RCV) multi-candidate field as a Democrat. Chowdhury (Ward 12) is running for an open seat.

To get to the magic number of seven seats, each side is fighting the battle through proxy Political Action Committees (PACs), which are supporting each opposing team. According to the latest batch of filings at the state Campaign Finance Board, here’s where we stand:

The Twin Cities DSA Fund, true to their socialist roots, have raised little money, and gave most of it ($5,000) to a newly-created entity called Minneapolis for the Many.

The Many are endorsing five candidates, including three with joint DSA/DFL endorsements (Sorenson 8, Chughtai 10, and Chowdhury 12). In addition to those three, the many are endorsing two other candidates, neither of whom has been endorsed by either the DSA or the DFL. Jeremiah Ellison (son of AG Keith Ellison) is the incumbent member from Ward 5. Katie Cashman is a newcomer contesting the open Ward 7.

The Many has managed to raise more than $100,000 in only three months of existence. Half of the cash raised so far has come from out-of-state sources.

The Many was created to counter the business-backed All of MPLS, who have endorsed seven candidates in the race, including incumbents in Wards 3, 4, 8, 11 and 13.

They are backing the incumbent Jenkins in Ward 8 and challengers in the open Ward 7 and 12 races, in the three contests that All of MPLS has flagged as “high priority.”

All of MPLS has raised over $450,000 in 2023, the vast majority of it from local business people. The largest single contributor was the local carpenters’ union, whose $50,000 donation is matched by local DFL-megadonor Vance Opperman.

The only notable out-of-state contributor is retired public radio humorist Garrison Keillor, who lists a New York City address for his $250 contribution.

For its part, All for MPLS is a successor to a now-discontinued PAC named Plan For Progress, backed by the regional chamber of commerce.

Twin Cities DSA was founded as a corporate entity in 2017. Its most recent Federal tax return (for 2021) shows total revenue of $62,000.

The group’s largest single expenditure that year was $19,000, given through its Solidarity Fund, which provides $200 grants to individuals. One could question the propriety of a quasi-political-party unit giving cash grants to individual voters. But I digress.

TC DSA been active in recent elections, and not just at the local level. Last year, the group endorsed four candidates for the state legislature, two each for the House and Senate, along with two local races.

The two most notable were the endorsements for two adjoining Senate districts in Minneapolis. TC DSA endorsed the always controversial Omar Fateh for district 62 and newcomer Zayad Mohamed for district 63.

In just his second term in office, Fateh currently serves as the Chair of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee.

You will recall that one of Fateh’s former campaign volunteers, named Muse Mohamud Mohamed, was convicted of perjury in a Federal case involving voter fraud in the 2020 election. Mr. Mohamed is the brother-in-law of Sen. Fateh and the sister of Sen. Mohamed.

For his part, Sen. Fateh is campaigning on behalf of incumbent Ward 6 council member Jamal Osman, who is not endorsed by any party unit or faction, but is endorsed by local Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and state Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Zaynab endorses her local council member, the DSA/DFL-endorsed Chavez (Ward 9) for reelection, who is backed also by Fateh, Ilhan Omar, and Keith Ellison, along with other local notables.

To make sense of it all, I created this table to show what each majority could look like after the election.

The top seven names would represent a “progressive” majority. The bottom seven would represent the “conservative” majority (more traditional Democrats). And there are two wild card races in the “center.”

The “majority” will be determined in wards 7, 8, and 12.

Buckle up!