Anti-Racism Working Group

The Anti-Racism Working Group of the Democratic Socialists of America is part of our continued effort to make both anti-racist work and non-Eurocentric perspectives central to DSA. We aim to provide resources for DSA local chapters to use in organizing with other anti-racist groups and as well as institutions of color, and to push for more prominent democratic socialist, anti-racist critiques throughout DSA and our publications.

We recognize that any fight for democratic socialism must include dialog between people with diverse experiences in order to develop an understanding of how capitalism, racism, and other systems intersect to structure our lives. Otherwise, both our movement and our political perspectives are weak and incomplete.

Despite some progress, in our country there are few problems more urgent than the effects of racism. While rooted in the history of slavery, invasions, genocide and the early development of the Americas, the system of white supremacy remains as fundamental to the structure of our society and economy as is capitalism. Furthermore, this system affects both people of color and white people at the personal, cultural and institutional levels.

To fulfill our goals, we pledge to provide a safe space for people of color (in the form of an electronic Caucus meeting space open only to members of color) as well as provide a space for collaboration and focus on racial justice in this “working group” for both people of color and white allies.

DSA has endorsed the Vision for Black Lives Policy Platform and we as a majority white (though multi-racial) organization, we have affiliated with Showing Up for Racial Justice as a resource for our white members.

Anti-Racism Working Group Structure
The committee will work with national staff to develop a comprehensive set of projects as directed by our National Political Committee, and is structured with a steering committee of five (5) people and a larger action committee for others working on committee projects. The steering committee has terms of 6 months, so individuals interested in being on the committee but not sure they’ll want to/be able to continue working on the committee after that time can essentially try out being on the committee without obligating themselves to a long-term commitment.

Current committees of the ARWG other than the steering committee:

  • Immigrant Self-Protection and Solidarity
  • Rapid Response against Muslim Registration, hate crimes and other potential moments such as attacks on anti-police brutality activists, bystander training, etc
  • Power mapping and community assessment training
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice liasoning
If you are interested in being actively involved in helping DSA at the national level with our racial justice work, please click here to fill out the interest form. We will then follow up with you about the best way(s) you can plug in.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 52 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 19 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 5 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.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 12 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.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 4 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.