by Sara G.
Since October 7th, DSA members and allies have made over 330,000 calls to voters to talk to them about the war in Gaza, resulting in thousands of calls and over 20,000 emails to Congress demanding a ceasefire. The No Money for Massacres (NMFM) campaign has hosted roughly one phone bank a week since mid-October. At first the phone banks were restricted to DSA members but now they are open to all, with 20-90 attendees from around the U.S. per phone bank. Some phone banks have had special guest speakers like NYC Assembly members Zohran Mamdani and Sarahana Shrestha. Others have featured chapters reporting back on their local campaigns in support of Palestinian liberation. The events tend to be high-spirited, with participants excited to work with sympathetic comrades to do what we can to lessen the horror unfolding in Gaza.
Although we can’t prove direct causation, congressional targets have changed their messaging after these phone banks. We shouldn’t overeestimate our direct impact, but we have helped change the tone of congressional discussion of the genocide. In early October, when only the Squad was brave enough to call for a ceasefire, the White House Press Secretary said that representatives calling for a ceasefire and not supporting Israel were “wrong” and “disgraceful.” Now 18 reps have signed onto Representative Cori Bush’s ceasefire bill and more than 60 Congress members have expressed support for a ceasefire. In Austin, a NMFM phone bank targeted Representative Casar and he signed onto the resolution the very next day. Representative Doggett similarly signed a letter of support for a ceasefire right after being targeted by NMFM. Congressional staffers have reported that legislators have felt pressured by our phone banks and that the vast calls for support of Gaza have raised the morale of friendly legislators and staffers. Contacts in Washington and the results we see online tell us that there’s a link between our phone banks and later demands for a ceasefire from Congress. Who wouldn’t forgive the rooster for thinking he can at least predict the sun?
We’ve had this impact because of strategic planning on the part of the informal organizing team that has developed around the phone banks. Politically savvy members are researching legislators and choosing targets who are likely to flip or who are strategically important. We’ve formed coalitions with other organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace to multiply our impact. We watch for congressional statements daily and adjust our messaging to stay relevant and make the most powerful argument for each legislator. Lastly, we have experienced campaigners building the call list of members, allies, and local voters who would be most receptive to our calls. The experience of the organizing team and the advantages of scale mean that anyone participating in a phone bank is magnifying their impact beyond what they could have by calling their Representative alone.
Unfortunately the situation in Gaza is still dire, so we are still making calls, and there are more opportunities to join us in this campaign. New phone banks are posted weekly. After getting your feet wet, you may find additional ways to increase your contribution. I have acted as Zoom bouncer and vibe promoter in addition to dialing hundreds of numbers and talking to voters about Palestine. I hope to see the next phone bank top 100 callers as we grow the movement.