Statement on Restoring and Expanding Our Democracy

Anti-democratic practices have become a staple of U.S. politics. We have seen it in so-called electoral reforms in many states that restrict the opportunity to exercise the most basic of rights—the right to vote—of minority and other voters based on their party preference. We have seen it in Supreme Court decisions that have equated money with speech, privileging the political rights of corporations, millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the 99%. 

We have seen it in the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, in restrictions on voter registration and in restrictions on early voting. These changes are intended to limit the voting population to persons most supportive of conservative and reactionary political perspectives. The right wing hope is to preserve, at least in non-Presidential and state elections an electorate that is whiter and much more conservative than our population.

The struggle for basic democratic rights has always been a part of the democratic socialist political agenda.  Real democracy requires more than simply beating back the efforts of the extremists. We cannot have democracy without popular movements that empower ordinary people and we must build an electoral system that fosters the participation of most of the voting-age population.

DSA is not in a position to lead a national movement for real democracy. But there are important national and state reform campaigns that where possible, either nationally or through our local organizations, we should support. These include:

  • Campaigns to restore and expand the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act. We see no reason why it could not be applied to all states.
  • Campaigns to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
  • Campaigns to institute public financing of elections.
  • Campaigns to ease the process of voter registration and voting, including safe guarding the voting rights of students in their college community and preventing states from denying voting rights to anyone eligible to vote in federal elections.
  • Campaigns for anti-gerrymandering legislation.
  • Campaigns to institute Instant Run Off voting procedures.

Efforts to expand our democracy cannot be limited reforms of the voting and electoral process. We must also expand the electorate itself so that it is more reflective of the population. We also should support campaigns that:

  • Restore voting rights to convicted felons on their release from prison.
  • Require that prisoners be counted as living in their home community rather than in the location of their prison for the purposes of districting and population based federal and state aid to states and localities.
  • Allow immigrants, with or without documentation to vote, in as many political jurisdictions as possible.

Finally to counter organized efforts to suppress voter turnout we should explore new measures including:

  • Making it a serious crime for a public official to provide false information to prevent individuals from voting or registering to vote.
  • Making Election Day a national holiday, extending in-person voting to 24 hours or national mail-in voting.

Adopted by DSA National Convention October 27, 2013.

Feminist Working Group

December 14, 2016
· 50 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 election.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Turning Members into Leaders

December 28, 2016
· 20 rsvps

Are you starting a new group? Or have you been doing most of the work for your longtime group? Has it been hard to keep new people involved or get them to take responsibility? But suddenly everybody wants to jump in at the same time! Learn how to mentor new leaders and make sure they have all the information and tools they need to succeed.

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

NOTE: This training is at 9:00pm Eastern (8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific). Please RSVP.

Instructor:

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

In Leadership Development you will learn:

The proven steps to developing the leadership skills and commitment of more members:

  • identifying potential leaders
  • recognizing what each one brings to the group
  • asking people to volunteer
  • giving them specific tasks
  • supporting them in their efforts
  • creating opportunities for new leadership
  • following up.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for local leaders who will lead campaigns in their chapters.
  • 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 think you can't do it by computer, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  • You can participate in every workshop or just attend once in a while.
  • Workshops will generally be on a weekends or evenings.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Monday.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

January 19, 2017
· 62 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.  8:30 PM ET; 7:30 PM CT; 6:30 PM MT; 5:30 PM PT.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 10 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.

Full film available on Vimeo.