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.

LGBTQ Conference Call

February 20, 2017
· 44 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming an LGBTQ 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.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

February 22, 2017
· 36 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; 6pm MT; 5 pm PT.  

What Is DSA? Training Call

March 03, 2017
· 28 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

March 07, 2017
· 13 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.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 2 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. 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
· 20 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.