The Middle Tennessee chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America encourages people to vote “No” on the upcoming Nashville Transit proposal.
Our chapter has voted by the slight majority of 52% to present a unified front opposed to the measure While on principle the chapter is strongly in favor of increased public transit, climate conscious governance, and an increase in union-backed jobs, this plan does not directly or equitably serve the citizens of Nashville that depend on transit the most.
Nashville faces not only a transit crisis, but also a crisis of gentrification and displacement on a monumental scale. Concrete issues such as transit deserts, rising housing costs, dependence on exploitative ridesharing services such as Lyft and Uber, and poor bus coverage all need to be addressed head-on by local government. The unfortunate fact that this transit plan lacks a community benefits agreement addressing any of these issues eliminates the possibility of a principled socialist endorsement.
Our chapter has publicly supported a local working class coalition called the People’s Alliance for Transit, Housing, and Employment (PATHE). We stand in solidarity with their demands which include 31,000 affordable homes by 2025, 24/7 bus service with expanded routes into transit deserts, and guaranteed living wage construction jobs.
Dirty money is heavily involved on both sides of the issue, with reactionary Koch-backed groups fighting the plan and reprehensible actors such as CoreCivic supporting its passage. We seek to distance ourselves from all corrupt interests and focus on the concrete, material impact this particular plan will have on our communities.
While any group that supports the general welfare of the people in Nashville should advocate for increased transit access, this plan serves only to maintain the status quo and accelerate the destructive forces of capitalist development in the area. We urge our members and supporters to vote against the Transit plan on May 1st and to join other working class efforts to create a better, equitable future for Nashville’s transit. This fight does not end when the ballot box closes