A Brief History of Democratic Socialists of America (1971-2017):

Bringing Socialism from the Margins to the Mainstream

By Joseph M. Schwartz

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)—and its two predecessor organizations, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM)—had their origins in the early 1970s, at the beginning of a long-term rightward shift of U.S. and global politics. This shift to the right—symbolized by the triumph in the 1980s of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher—somewhat overshadowed the central role these organizations played in the movements of resistance to corporate domination, as well as in today's ongoing project: organizing an ideological and organizational socialist presence among trade union, community, feminist and people of color and other activists.

DSA made an ethical contribution to the broader American Left by being one of the few radical organizations born out of a merger rather than a split. DSA also helped popularize the vision of an ecumenical, multi-tendency socialist organization, an ethos that enabled it to recently incorporate many thousands of new members, mostly out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. If you are committed to a pluralist, democratic conception of a just society then you can join DSA’s collective project, regardless of your position (or lack thereof) on some arcane split in socialist history, or even whether you believe in the possibility of independent electoral work inside or outside the Democratic Party ballot line.

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Joseph M. Schwartz is a national vice-chair of DSA and serves on the National Political Committee. He also is a leader in his AFT local of 2,800 faculty, including 1500 adjuncts, at Temple University where he teaches socialist and radical political theory.

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How to Run a Canvass Training

March 18, 2018

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March 18th, 2018 - 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PST

At this training, we'll be running through the basics of how to set up a Medicare for All canvassing campaign in your chapter. Canvassing is a foundational political skill, and one that will help build DSA's political capacity to fight for socialism now and going forward. This training will include a "Rap Training," where we'll be going over in a bit more detail the Medicare for all door-knocking rap so as to get people comfortable with talking about the need for single-payer healthcare.

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Talking About Socialism Webinar

March 25, 2018

This training is at 7:00 pm ET, 6:00 pm CT, 5:00 pm MT, 4:00 pm PT

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Join Steve Max, a founder of the legendary community organizing school, the Midwest Academy, to practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table or canvass. This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources. Questions? Contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.

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