Democratic Left

Why Is Puerto Rican Oscar López Still A Political Prisoner?


By Margaret Power

Oscar López Rivera is the longest-held Puerto Rican political prisoner in U.S. history. He has now served 35 years in U.S. federal prisons, including 12 in solitary confinement. The movement calling for his release has intensified, broadened and strengthened in the last few years. For example, on June 20, 2016, solidarity events with Oscar López took place on all six continents, and in 39 countries, including Chile, Cuba, Eritrea, France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Syria, Switzerland and Venezuela. In addition, five Nobel prize winners, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa); Jose Ramos-Horta (East Timor), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina), Jodi Williams (United States) and Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Ireland) took part that day in actions urging President Obama to release López. Who is Oscar and why is he still imprisoned? Why is the movement for his freedom growing, and how does it relate to the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico?

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Resolving the Left Impasse Over Elections

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here

By Kurt Stand


Organizing success requires establishing a framework that enables individuals to express their distinct voices in combination with others in an expanding circle of mutual support.  The goal – to form a union, stop police violence, prevent off-shore drilling, cut military spending – brings people together even though immediate concerns and/or long-term aims will vary greatly.  Success or failure in any given campaign resides in how close it gets toward its principle objective, and, crucially, whether people remain engaged.  Win or lose, the next step almost inevitably entails reaching out to those who stayed on the sidelines, advocated a different approach or stood in opposition in order to build strength for whatever follows. 

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Victory at Verizon Is a Victory for All

NYC DSAers Support Striking Workers at Verizon

The strike this past spring by 39,000 Verizon workers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast was the largest and most significant since United Parcel Service workers struck the package giant in 1997. After decades of retreat in the face of attacks by employers and right-wing politicians, it’s a hopeful sign.

Verizon infuriated landline and call-center workers from Massachusetts to Virginia with demands to outsource more jobs, cap pension contributions at 30 years of service, and force workers to live away from home for months at a time.

After 45 days on the picket lines, the unions beat back these concessions. In the end, Verizon committed to adding 1,300 more jobs in the United States, doing away with a hated disciplinary program, and phasing in 10.5% raises over four years. Although the unions still took a hit on healthcare, workers emerged feeling that they had achieved an overwhelming victory against a corporate behemoth.


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Labor, the Left, and the After-Bern


Bob Master talks with Joseph M. Schwartz 

Bob Master is legislative and political director of District One of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and special adviser to the CWA national president on national politics. He also serves as co-chair of the New York State Working Families Party. At 700,000 members, CWA was the largest international union to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for president in the Democratic presidential primary. Master played a leading role in defining CWA’s electoral strategy and is a leader in discussions among labor, electoral, and community activists as to how to build out of the Sanders campaign a long-term, more multiracial left trend in mainstream U.S. politics. DSA Vice-Chair Joseph Schwartz interviewed Master shortly after he addressed DSA’s Socialist Caucus (attended by more than 300 people, including more than 100 Sanders delegates) at the Democratic National Convention in July.

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Unions Turn to Global Campaigns


By Kate Bronfenbrenner 

Worker actions and community and labor support remain essential in union organizing campaigns, but the success of organizing in a global economy also depends on global strategies. In 2001, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) began a drive to organize 800 workers at Brylane’s Indianapolis distribution center. Brylane, an apparel and home furnishing distribution center for nine mail order catalogs, was a major subsidiary of French catalog and retail apparel giant Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). PPR also owned luxury firms Gucci, FNAC, and Conaforma, with lines by big name designers Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. According to Brylane’s own records, in 2000, one in ten workers at the Indianapolis distribution center suffered a repetitive motion injury, a rate nearly 18 times higher than the industry-wide average. It was this issue that jumpstarted the organizing campaign.

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Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux

Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Statement of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) National Political Committee

September 9, 2016

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) condemns the ongoing state and corporate violence against the just resistance of the Dakota Sioux Standing Rock indigenous people to the violation of their land and treaty rights by the Energy Transfer Partners’ construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline. Energy Transfer has vengefully bulldozed a historic tribal burial ground and with state sanction assaulted peaceful protesters with private security dogs. Both acts represent another atrocity in the long history of forced removal and genocide against indigenous peoples by an occupying white power structure. Contrast these brutal tactics with the cautious treatment of far-right-wing racist white hate groups that have tried to privatize federal lands. We hope that the federal government’s recent decision to reconsider the building of the pipeline on native land will lead to the permanent end to the construction of the pipeline.

Building the pipeline on indigenous land is an assault by capital, with the assistance of state and local governments, against the water, land and natural resources of the people of our first nations. Major banks and financial institutions, including public pension funds, have massive investment not only in Energy Transfer Partners, but the fossil fuel industry in general. This resistance by the Dakota Sioux peoples to the irrational and dangerous pipelines that take fracked shale oil from western North Dakota 1200 miles to Illinois is part of a growing movement against the dangerous long-distance transport of crude oil that has already led to numerous emergency situations, including the train derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July 2013.

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An Anti-Trump Electoral Strategy That Isn’t Pro-Clinton

Pro-Bernie protesters outside the DNC (Paul and Cathy/Flickr)

By Jesse A. Myerson


Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

I have spoken to many Bernie Sanders supporters here at the DNC in Philadelphia who find themselves in a bind. For the last year, they have been volunteering, phone-banking, and door-knocking for a candidacy premised on certain principles: overcoming neoliberalism, privileging the concerns of the working class and poor, and shifting to a paradigm where economic security is regarded as a universal human right directly guaranteed by the government. Now, they are being asked to support a campaign that embodies the Democratic establishment they ran against.

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Review: The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan: An American Memoir (Nation Books, 2016)

Reviewed by Adam Cardo


Karl Marx once said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Former YDS organizer and Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan learned that lesson early. In her engaging and relevant memoir, we learn the back story of a young woman who has been fighting capitalism since high school. McMillan became known as the "last Occupier" when her court case for an alleged felonious assault on a police officer clearing Zuccotti Park on the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street became national news. She spent time in the women's prison on New York City's infamous Riker's Island, where she saw firsthand the conditions she'd only read about before

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Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch (9pm Eastern)

October 04, 2016 · 5 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

So you are now a member of DSA, but there is no local chapter where you live. You are thinking of starting a local chapter, but you're not quite sure how to do it.

In Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch you will learn:

  • how other locals got started in recent years
  • how to find out who is already a member
  • the importance of a comrade
  • how to recruit new members
  • the importance of a mentor
  • how to become a recognized organizing committee
  • how to become a chartered local
  • what works best to bring new people in.

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, 5pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).


DSA New Member Orientation Call

October 19, 2016 · 12 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.