2013: Meeting the Challenges Ahead

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For those puzzled by the whole federal budget debacle, here’s a simple primer on the steps our so-called leaders in corporate America and Washington, D.C. followed to get us here:

Step 1: Cut revenues by expanding tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations.
Step 2: Expand the military and launch two wars with borrowed money.
Step 3: Deregulate Wall Street.
Step 4: Bail them out with taxpayer funds when they run the economy into the ground.
Step 5: Stand back and wait for the inevitable budget “crisis.”
Step 6: Demand austerity cuts to public services for mil­lions of people.

Leading up to the sequestration, mainstream media talked about longer lines at the airport, while the Right was holding hostage up to 2.1 million jobs – more than were created in all of 2012. A political movement profess­ing to defend “family values” pushed for cuts to food aid for an estimated 600,000 women and children. This amid revelations that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled between the Reagan and Obama admin­istrations, and a push for immigration reform which could simply erect a bureaucratic dam in place of a broken bor­der wall, let corporations control the floodgates, and still exclude millions of immigrants.

The states aren’t any better. Union members in Michigan are still reeling from their state’s switch to an anti-union right-to-work (for less) law; activists in Georgia struggle against legislation criminalizing free speech activities like picketing; and more state-level anti-abortion legislation was passed in 2011 and 2012 than in any previous two-year period, disproportionately hurting poor, young and rural women.

On every issue beyond LGBTQ rights, we seem to be moving backwards just four months after an emerging pro­gressive coalition rose up to elect President Obama to a second term despite widespread voter suppression. But the election didn’t signal an end to the battle, but rather the opening of a new phase. We held off both the Tea Party Right and Democratic leaders in the White House and Con­gress who had signaled their willingness to compromise Social Security and Medicare in a December “grand bar­gain.” As I write this piece, I fear the erosion of those few public programs inspired by social democracy.

Looking forward, I know that if any­one is prepared to meet these chal­lenges it is DSA.

2013 is a con­vention year for DSA. Coming off a successful Young Democratic Socialists conference, we are mobilizing with new energy to train and empower the next generation of democratic so­cialists. Our 2013 membership drive, with a goal of recruiting at least 700 new members – to grow our organization by 10 percent – culmi­nates in the October 25-27 convention in Oakland, Califor­nia. We have a new series of monthly activist webinars available to members; revived commissions; and new campaigns. In addition to our long-standing anti-austerity work, we are committed to concrete immigrant solidarity as central to em­powering the entire working class in this country, whether they have papers or not.

2013 is also the 50th anniversary of the March on Wash­ington for Jobs and Freedom. In this issue of Democratic Left, John D’Emilio explores the history of the march and how radicals on the left conceived and brought to fruition a mass action premised upon coalition building and multi-issue organizing. Cornel West explains the central impor­tance of the full employment demand in the first march and why it must be revived this year. Through our 50th Anniversary and Grassroots Economics Training for Un­derstanding and Power (GET UP) projects, DSA amplifies the message.

We are not just against budget cuts and for taxes on the wealthy. We are for social and economic justice. We are for a more responsive, transparent and democratic gov­ernment. We are for an economic system where human ingenuity, cooperation and technological innovation lead to a better standard of living for all, not private profits and chronic high unemployment. And we know that the neoliberal capitalist economy simply can’t meet the needs of the 99%. That is a message that DSA is well qualified to spread. Let’s get to it!

Maria Svart is the National Director of DSA

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 36 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 51 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 6 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
· 45 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 69 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 18 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.