Fighting Back Against the Rising Tide of Nativist and Racist Reaction

A statement by the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) call on all progressives across the United States to join together in a broad coalition against the rising tide of racist and nativist politics in the United States. The nativist fear-mongering by one Democratic and 27 Republican governors about the alleged threat posed to U.S. residents by Syrian refugees (themselves often fleeing ISIL violence) and undocumented immigrants obscures the true violent threat to our collective security: nativist, racist and misogynist terrorism.

Recent tragedies have shown all too clearly the state of crisis in which we find ourselves. The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting illustrates how right-wing hostility to women’s rights makes those providing and seeking reproductive services targets for murder. The shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis by white supremacists demonstrates that anyone doing work around racial justice must now expect and prepare for a violent racist response. And in Chicago, recent revelations of a year-long cover-up by city officials of the blatant police murder of Laquan McDonald add yet another chapter to the shameful history of police terror against African Americans and other communities of color. Meanwhile, ongoing harassment of individuals and groups who appear to be Muslim or immigrants goes under-reported in the press, as do attacks on mosques and Black churches.  

Over the past decade, heavily armed and mostly white men have killed or injured close to 1,000 individuals in politically-motivated shootings and other mass killings. These are not isolated incidents. They are encouraged by a rhetorical climate produced by right-wing politicians and media personalities who blame immigrants, poor African Americans and foreign countries for the decline in white working-class standards of living. Donald Trump is a perfect example: for him, the barriers to America’s “greatness” are Mexican immigrants, Muslim terrorists, Black protesters, China’s economic and military power and American leaders too weak to oppose them. This nativist politics diverts attention from the 1% — the capitalist class — that long ago declared war on working-class and poor people of all races. This politics is not the fault only of the Republican leaders who espouse it, but also of Democrats like Barack Obama and both Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose “free trade” and austerity policies contribute to the declining standards of working-class communities. This utter failure to put forward convincing ways to explain and solve the crisis leaves a vacuum that racists easily fill.

The far right is a threat to DSA and our allies on the left in two ways. First, they are literally threatening the lives of progressive organizers and protesters and the communities that we come from — the white supremacist shooting in Minneapolis makes this clear. As we plan protests and organize campaigns, we must now always take seriously the possibility of a violent reactionary response — whether from the police or right-wing terrorists — and plan ways to keep participants and organizers safe. Second, like democratic socialism, right-wing extremism recognizes that our society is in crisis and proposes a radical departure from the status quo. But, unlike the Left, these extremists blame people of color rather than the ruling class. Because of this parallel, far right politics directly competes with democratic socialism to win over downwardly-mobile and economically squeezed white people who are currently being politicized.

This nativist, racist and misogynist terrorism and the tragedies it creates can only be ended by a mass coalition of progressive social movements fighting together to put an end to this frontal assault on Muslims, immigrants, people of color and women. Such a coalition must also advance a coherent political analysis and program  that directs white working-class anger at the billionaire class and their politics of austerity and violent repression.

DSA unconditionally condemns the recent killings of innocents by ISIL/Daesh in Lebanon, France, Nigeria and Mali, but we believe the fight at home is primarily against right-wing (not Islamic) fundamentalism. DSA applauds its members and friends who recently organized a rally to defend the right of immigrants and refugees against the racist exclusionary policies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. We urge our members to engage in similar activities across the country to protect the rights of immigrants, women, people of color and followers of all faiths (and no faith). Such actions can take the form of clinic protection, providing sanctuary for refugees, aiding mosques in their defense of religious freedom, and fighting against police violence and mass incarceration and for democratic, accountable law enforcement. DSA also supports the fight of students of color and their allies on campuses across the country to build a more inclusive, multicultural and democratic university. Whatever the particular local form this resistance to racist and nativist reaction may take, socialists must join this crucial struggle for democracy.

This statement was passed by the DSA National Political Committee on December 1, 2015.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 66 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 30 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 85 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

What Is DSA? Training Call

April 05, 2017
· 9 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 28 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 23 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.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 10 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.