On August 11th and 12th, DSA Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky will attend the inaugural DSA Rust Belt Conference, with chapters from as far as Buffalo, Huron Valley, Columbus, and West Virginia congregating in Pittsburgh. A first for an organization that has coordinated mostly local or national campaigns, the Rust Belt Conference brings together members from across the region to begin strategizing for a socialist future. With a plan to support up to a hundred and fifty attendees, the local host DSA Pittsburgh has wasted no effort in supporting the ambitious goals underlying the conference.

Two months out, chapters are already beginning workshop preparations for the conference. Focused on the successful work that’s been done at the local level, and on the power that chapters can collectively generate on a regional level, the conference offers an opportunity for DSA to confront the Rust Belt’s unique challenges.

DSA Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky is prepared to make the most out of this opportunity We want this conference to be a space where DSA is not content to rest on its laurels, but forward-looking in its ambitions. No prior event has offered as great an impetus to establish DSA as a political force throughout the region, and the work that follows must meet that promise.

DSA Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky has had conference proposals accepted both to discuss our past work and present struggles that the region as a whole could move forward. The Our Library, Our Decision! campaign has illustrated the importance of public space, not just for the working class at large, but even for the immediate needs of our local DSA chapter (like the north building’s Makerspace, which we use frequently). Also, the Environmental Justice committee has imagined what a regional health initiative connected to the Ohio River might look like. Despite the major role it plays in the lives of people throughout the region, the river has itself has received little attention in socialist organizing efforts. Finally, the Conduct Committee will lead a discussion on the grievance policies & codes of conduct found in the Rust Belt chapters of DSA, asking how to address harassment, abuse & interpersonal conflict in a socialist organization.

August will set the foundation for regional grassroots coordination between the disparate chapters of DSA, establishing dialogue and building capacity for future action. If the work we’ve seen in the locals is any indication, Rust Belt politics are poised for a transformation after this conference is finished!