2022 Year in Review from Indy PSL

Happy New Year!

In 2022, the Indianapolis branch of the Party for Socialism is proud to have struggled alongside our fellow poor, working-class, and oppressed people with a clear vision that a better world is possible and worth fighting for. Over the past year, we have been involved in many important fights for vastly different causes, but all of them had one thing in common: they all were about ending the brutality of our capitalist system and bringing about justice, equality, and the empowerment of the working class. As we look forward to the great potential to be found in 2023, we’re also looking back fondly at the highlights of 2022. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and hope it inspires you to join the PSL!

You’ve seen us in the streets, when the struggle is at its peak and at its lower point. We’re consistent, dedicated, and always involved in the pressing issues facing our class today. To support our work, please make an urgently needed donation now! We are entirely self-funded and run completely on volunteer labor. We don’t take foundation money because we must remain politically independent. It’s thanks to our members and supporters that we’re able to do the organizing we do!

Defending the right to abortion 

Our Party played a pivotal role in the fight to protect abortion rights in the wake of the far right’s undemocratic and misogynistic attack. The unelected supreme court and deeply gerrymandered state legislatures set the clock back by half a century for at least one-third of all women and trans people in the country. When the Dobbs decision was leaked in May, the PSL took to the streets that very night in a display of rage and solidarity at the repeal of our fundamental rights. The fury of our class, as well as the popularity of abortion access in Indiana, has meant that Indiana’s abortion ban – the first post-Roe ban in the country – has still not gone into effect thanks to multiple lawsuits against it. PSL Indy remains prepared to defend our right to access safe and legal abortions, no matter the outcome in the courts. PSL led or helped organize dozens of the abortion rallies here in Indy and across the state of Indiana, as well as all over the country, including nine different protests in Indianapolis alone. From the countryside to the biggest cities, working-class people of all genders have proven that we will never give up the fight for our rights!

Fighting Back Against Transphobia, Homophobia, and All Forms of Bigotry

In January, at the very beginning of the 2022 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly immediately launched an all-out attack on schools and the LGBTQ+ community. This attack included HB 1041, which bans transgender girls from school sports, and SB 167/HB 1134, so-called “CRT bills,” which would have banned teachers from discussing “sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin,” as well as allowing bigoted parents to challenge any curriculum on those topics. We showed up to defend children and LGBTQ+ people from day one by protesting, submitting testimonies, and packing the statehouse. Within a month, we defeated SB 167 and HB 1134, and in March, Governor Holcomb vetoed HB 1041 less than an hour after we protested on the lawn of his mansion.

In mid-December, we mobilized in response to a call from BLM B-Town and Bloomington Pride to defend a drag brunch show from threats of violence by the far-right militia, the Proud Boys. The community showed up in the hundreds, and the handful of bigots left in mere minutes. 

While the assembly overrode Holcomb’s veto for the sports ban to become law, the initial veto, the defeat of both “CRT” bills, and the successful defense of the drag brunch show that we can win when we fight back!

Hope Packages Continues the Struggle for Housing Justice

The Indianapolis City-County Council’s Democrats introduced Prop 256 in the summer. The bill, a crude rewrite of a Republican bill we defeated in 2020, aimed to essentially criminalize helping out our homeless neighbors by distributing food, clothing, or other necessities. The cruelty of the capitalist class and the politicians who work on their behalf advocated for this bill because they complain that allowing unhoused people to congregate at these distributions drives away customers. They do not hesitate to make homeless people suffer to protect their profits. Our Party intervened quickly over the summer and called media attention to the fact that Democrats aren’t on the side of working and poor people, as much as they pretend to be. Indy Hope Packages was part of a coalition of mutual aid organizations in the city that fought back against this anti-working class bill and defeated it before the council even took it to a vote as it has not been reintroduced in committee yet. Indy Hope Packages serves the homeless and working poor all over Indianapolis with supplies to keep them going one more day until we achieve victory in our struggle for working class power over this corrupt capitalist system.

Indy Hope Packages gets its support directly from the working class of Indianapolis with volunteer power, and generous donations of food, clothing and funds. Check out Hope Packages and get involved in 2023, including our current coat drive.

Liberation Forums Arm the People with Knowledge

We hold Liberation Forums throughout the year covering a wide range of topics to inform our class of local, national and international struggles for justice and equality. This year, we hosted special guest speaker Nino Brown during our Black August forum, highlighting political prisoners and our collective desire for an end of the oppressive carceral system. We also hosted Liberation Forums on trans liberation, healthcare, disability justice, climate change, the struggle for socialism and more! Our Liberation Forums are free and open to the public. There will be more to look forward to in 2023!

Standing in Solidarity with Struggles Across the World

The Indy PSL branch struggled for not only a better world in the U.S. but across the planet by demanding a peaceful end to the US proxy war with Russia. We spread the message that endless imperialist wars only harm working-class people, while the rich and powerful profit from the devastation. We are continuing to demand that our government end its efforts to escalate the conflict in Ukraine, especially through NATO expansion efforts. This escalation could lead to all out nuclear war which would mean the end of humanity. The only solution is an end to the exports of arms, an end to economic warfare and sanctions, and peace negotiations free from the meddling of the U.S. We partnered with the ANSWER coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) to host peace rallies on Monument Circle to call for an immediate end to the war. We also supported the reunification of Korea with the exit of US troops in Korea and military bases the world over. Our comrades published a book demystifying capitalist propaganda against the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. ANSWER even sent a few members as part of a peace delegation to Japan. We understand that our struggle is global and we work to strengthen our international ties and unite the working class struggles all over the world. 

#NoShutOffs Campaign Demands Justice for Tenants

In four different apartment complexes across the city, slumlording corporation JPC Affordable Housing stole millions of dollars that their tenants had paid them for utilities, resulting in Citizens Energy Group, the corporation that controls all water utilities in the city, shutting off water in two complexes. To avert the unprecedented crisis of thousands of Hoosiers losing their water, the city paid half of JPC’s debt using taxpayer money. Six months later, in August, JPC still continued their embezzlement of utility payments, resulting in the threat of water shutoffs in Capital Place, Woods at Oak Crossing, Covington Square, and Berkley Commons. The shutoffs were slated to take effect on September 30 unless JPC paid its debts, despite the tenants who would actually be affected by the shutoffs bearing no blame. 

After being contacted by a teacher whose students were affected by the threat of shutoffs, the PSL joined forces with other community groups to form People for No Shutoffs, which canvassed the apartments and held forums to demand that Citizens Energy stop the shutoffs, that tenants have a voice in how their neighborhoods are run, and that the corporate ownership of JPC is criminally charged for their negligence and theft. The shutoffs were canceled thanks to the huge efforts of residents and their supporters, and the struggle for the rights of tenants in Indiana continues!

Library Struggle Reignites: Community Rebukes Crooked Library Board

The Indianapolis Public Library struggle initially escalated into a fight in the summer of 2021 when the AFSCME 3395 library union ousted former CEO Jackie Nytes over racist behavior. In 2022, empowered by this success, the library union’s own Nichelle Hayes took the role of interim CEO. Hayes, an Indy local with generations of roots in the city who rose through the ranks of the library, was promptly removed after nine months of her leadership because of the board’s crooked backroom dealings, in which they’d rather uphold white supremacy than hire an overqualified Black woman because she stands with the workers instead of the elite who appoint the board. The struggle escalated into another fight when the board refused to hire Hayes permanently in the CEO role. In 2023, this struggle will continue to be important for the future of the community’s right to have a say in how the library is run as library workers build up and exercise their collective power to change our public library for the better.