Democratic Left

The Sighted and the Blinkered: Report from the DNC, 2nd Day

By Harold Meyerson

There comes a time in the life of all revolutions when circumstance erodes solidarity, when cracks, splits, and factions emerge. As anyone who’s been watching the Democratic Convention can attest, that time has come to the Sanders Revolution. The factions this time around aren’t Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. They’re more like the Realos (realists) and Fundis (fundamentalists) who fought each other in Germany’s Green Party once the party began to win some power. That’s not a bad way to describe the two wings of Sandersism, though the Sighted and the Blinkered might do as well.

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With Friends Like These... Progressives will find many new reasons to dislike Clinton after reading this sordid exposé

By Michael Hirsch 


Review: My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency, by Doug Henwood (O/R Books, 2016)

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Fight the Right, Bernie or Bust? Slogans and Strategies

Dustin Guastella and Jared Abbott

As the US primary season closes we are faced with a bitter choice between an uninspiring Democrat and a shockingly popular racist demagogue. As such writers on the Left are bracing for the general election and lining up behind one of two supposed “strategies”: Fight the Right and Bernie or Bust.

Fight the Right

Max Elbaum makes his call to “crush the racist right” in this piece. Elbaum urges us that “thrashing the right is the immediate step needed to open a path toward more democracy … and the reconstruction of an inclusive working class-based movement.”

In practical terms this means the Left should vote for and work to elect Hillary Clinton -even in safe states. The “thrashing” Elbaum describes refers to the need to “run up the score” against Trump (i.e. defeating him by huge margins) in order to thoroughly reject racist right-wing populism while isolating Trump and the racist far-right.

Though many leftists agree with this argument, from a socialist perspective it is limited in several respects.

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Organize Against a Trump Victory

DSA believes that a Donald Trump presidency would represent a victory for the most reactionary nativist, misogynist, Islamophobic and racist forces in the country. A Trump administration would bring immediate harm to many people and would create conditions hostile to organizing for progressives. Therefore, DSA will work with the emerging labor, immigrant, and anti-racist-led “Dump Trump” movement. For this reason, we do not endorse the #BernieOrBust tactic, though we understand the sentiment behind it. Our perspective can best be summarized as: “Dump the Racist Trump: Build the Left from the Grassroots Up.” 

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Writing Chicano/Latino History Into California Textbooks


Dolores Huerta 

By Duane Campbell

We Won!

History and social science textbooks in public schools in California and most of the nation are racist, class-biased, and ignore LGBT history. This condition will change in California in 2017 when new textbooks are adopted.

Under a unanimous  decision by the California Board of Education  made on July 14, 2016 , California students will finally be encouraged to know the history of Latino civil rights leaders like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and Filipino labor leaders like Larry Itliong, as well as an accurate and inclusive history of LGBT activists  as a part of the history of California and the nation. These topics are currently substantially absent from public school textbooks. 

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This is an Uprising


Slow March to Surprising Victories

Book Review: This Is an Uprising, Mark and Paul Engler (Nation Books, 2016)

Movements for change are unpopular. They’re disruptive and discomforting, and they face seemingly impossible odds against the institutions that seem to have all the power. Yet, as Mark and Paul Engler outline in their outstanding and important new book, This Is an Uprising, they often win. So much so, the authors argue, that opportunists often take credit for movements they opposed, while pundits write off hard-won victories as the inevitable result of progress. At the same time, cynics posing as “realists” are quick to declare that the movements won’t be able to or have not changed anything—a charge, the authors point out, that has the advantage of not requiring any evidence. A serious evaluation of success is more difficult, not least because the most notable successes may come years after the headlines have dissipated. This is certainly the case with the Occupy movement: nearly five years after the encampments, the list of taxes on millionaires and minimum-wage increases—once nearly universally deemed “unrealistic”—continues to grow. [Full disclosure: I count Mark Engler as a friend and have shared ideas and contacts over the years with him but have never formally worked with him.]


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We're taking it to Philly!

The Bernie Sanders for president campaign has made it possible for democratic socialism to be taken seriously as a viable alternative to the neoliberal agenda that prioritizes corporate business interests over those of all working people. Bernie has energized generations of political activists who are fed up with establishment politicians, and their impoverished vision of America’s future. 

Many of those activists will convene in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention, July 25-28. DSA is participating in many different ways:

If you cannot go to Philadelphia yourself:

Over 50 DSA members will be attending the convention as delegates to continue the political revolution. Not all of them can afford the incredible expenses associated with attendance. DSA is crowd-sourcing a fundraising campaign for the ones needing financial support. Click here to "meet" them and help send a DSA delegate today, especially if you can’t be in Philadelphia yourself.

For those of you who will be in Philadelphia, here’s what DSA has planned:

• DSA will host a meet-and-greet welcoming reception for all DSAers and friends coming to Philadelphia for DNC activities. The reception will be on Sunday evening, July 24th, from 7-11 pm. Click here for details and to RSVP. 

• DSA’s primary public presence at the DNC will be the Socialist Caucus, a public outreach event featuring Rahel Biru, New York DSA, activist in Debbie Medina NY State Senate campaign; Bob Master, Legislative/Political Director, Communication Workers of America (District 1) and Co-Chair of New York Working Families Party; DSA National Director Maria Svart; Ashley Rodriguez, El Chuco del Norte (El Paso) DSA and Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC; and National Nurses United Political Director Michael Lighty on Wednesday, July 27 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Progressive Central in the William Way Center, 1315 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. Click here for details and to RSVP. 

• DSA and its Philadelphia local have endorsed, and encourage delegates, members and friends to attend, “Socialist Convergence—Carrying Forward the Political Revolution,” convened at 1501 Cherry Street in Philadelphia concurrent with the Democratic National Convention. Click here for details and to RSVP. 

Last but not least, DSA delegates, members and friends are encouraged to stop by DSA’s table at Progressive Central, open throughout the convention at William Way House, 1315 Spruce Street (a short walk from the convention center). The table will be staffed from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Thursday of the convention. We’ll have flyers available for the above events that you can use to recruit Sanders delegates and other democratic socialists to our events. If you want to help build the socialist movement and DSA while in Philadelphia, you know what to do.

See you in Philly!

Maria Svart, DSA National Director

P.S. If you can’t be in Philadelphia, please make a donation to a DSA delegate who will be:

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NPC Statement on the Killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the Dallas Police Officers

The Need for A Democratic Transformation of the Criminal Justice and Police System

Issued by the National Political Committee of DSA, June 12, 2016

Democratic Socialists of America condemns the recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. These are the latest in the endless taking of black lives by the excessive and precipitous use of deadly police force. Despite the increased attention to these arbitrary killings by the militant protest of #BlackLivesMatter, the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and scores of others go unpunished.

This devaluing of the lives of African Americans derives from a racist criminal justice system that serves to repress and contain low-income communities rather than promote peace and well-being. The close working relationship between prosecutors and police precludes the impartial investigation and prosecution of police violence. Thus, in addition to greater community control of policing and the demilitarization of police, DSA calls for independent investigation of all uses of lethal police force.

As an organization committed to nonviolent political action to achieve social justice, DSA also condemns the murder of police in Dallas this past week. This senseless loss of life occurred during a peaceful protest against police brutality and in a city where a relatively integrated police force has taken some useful steps towards community and accountable policing.

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Planning an Event: Finding the Time (9pm Eastern)

August 02, 2016 · 17 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

Do your big plans often fall apart? Learn:

  • How to successfully plan an event or project.
  • How to get DSA's socialist name and ideas out in public view.
  • What to prioritize when you can't do everything.
  • How to effectively manage time.

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


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

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt 607-280-7649.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt 608-355-6568.
  6. You can participate in every webinar or just attend once in a while.
  7. Workshops will generally be on weekends or evenings.
  8. Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Sunday for Tuesday's webinar.

NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5 pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).


DSA New Member Orientation Call

August 24, 2016 · 19 rsvps
DSA New Member Orientation

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.