Democratic Left

After the Ellison Defeat: Continuing the Struggle Against the Neoliberal Democratic Party Establishment

Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America
February 27, 2016

This weekend the Democratic National Committee (DNC) failed to choose Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) for Chair of the DNC. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) backed Ellison’s election as part of a rebellion of progressive Democratic Party activists against a neoliberal Democratic Party national leadership that places corporate interests ahead of the interests of working people.

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If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress

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Frederick Douglass,  1857.

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

 

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DSA In The News

DSA In The News is a roundup of recent media articles featuring DSA. It is based on links from Chicago DSA's New Ground.

  • The recent surge of growth has put DSA on the radar for several major outlets. Jennifer Swann touted DSA in Rolling Stone, while Al Jazeera's survey of the growth of the socialist left since Trump leads off with DSA. And national director Maria Svart was interviewed about DSA's post-Trump growth by TeleSUR.

  • Check out Eviana Hartman’s prescriptions for how to dress for the Resistance (including a mention of DSA swag) at Vogue. Were it not for Trump, I’d say this means DSA fashion has peaked. This would be reassuring to Adam Ozimek at Forbes who led off with DSA: bad socialism, bad.

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The U.S. Economy in 2016 - and a Retrospective to the Great Recession

By Bill Barclay and Peg Strobel

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This phrase from Charles Dickens' novel about the French Revolution, Tale of Two Cities, aptly describes the starkly different views of the U.S. economy in 2016 and progress (or not) in the years since the financial panic of 2008.

The best of times: by the end of 2016, official unemployment dropped from 5.0% to 4.7%, reaching what Federal Reserve Bank ("the Fed") Chair Janet Yellen called close to "full employment."  The worst of times: at his first press conference as president, Trump insisted that “there are 96 million [people] wanting a job and they can't get [one].”  Since 60% of Trump voters believed that unemployment went up during Obama's eight years in office, Trump's claim makes perfect fantasy sense.

We're in a political moment when too many people don’t see the difference between reality (facts) and falsity (alternative facts).

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Honoring American Black Socialists

W.E.B DuBois

A. Philip Randolph

Paul Robeson

Black socialists have long provided important leadership in the several struggles to improve the lives of African Americans in the U.S.

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Documenting Texas' Forgotten Radical History

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The staff of Austin underground left newspaper The Rag in the early 1970s. (Alan Pogue)

By Richard Croxdale and Glenn Scott

Texas may seem like a very red state at the moment, but it has a radical history. Teaching that history is why we started People’s History in Texas in 1976, beginning a journey that would lead us to produce 20 educational videos about the often-forgotten struggles for social justice that have played a crucial part in our state’s past.

Returning to Austin (even now, Texas is not all red) in 1974 from teaching Chicano middle-school students, Glenn (one of the authors of this piece) was inspired to create educational materials for young women who faced a dearth of books, articles, stories and movies about women's history that depict women as active participants in society. To deliver on her vision, she gathered a group of young radicals and feminists to found a non-profit whose aim was (and still is) discovering the history of Texans who have been neglected or underserved by the educational process.

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We Can Resist Trump’s Immigration Orders

By Duane Campbell

The chaos created by Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is only the beginning of a crisis that Trump and his allies are creating.  Less noticed was Trump’s rollout of executive actions on immigration and the border wall on Jan. 25. These executive orders were the opening act of what is certain to be an aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigration.  The left responded quickly to the Jan. 27 ban on refugees with important protests and significant legal challenges.  However, Trump has created so many crises in his first weeks that it would be easy to miss the long-term train wreck being created by Trump’s earlier executive actions on the border wall and the expansion of arrests and deportations.

On Jan. 25 Trump signed an executive order on immigration that directs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to use a  broadened definition of  “criminal” and focus deportation efforts not only on those who have been convicted of crimes, but also those who have been charged, or “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”  This order will increase the number of persons subject to deportation by at least 2 million and the order will triple the number of agents in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office and give them broad power to ultimately decide who should be deported. Increased deportations have already begun under this new executive order. 

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Will This Country Choose Democratic Socialism, or Barbarism?

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We Stand at a Crossroads

By Maria Svart, DSA National Director, January 31, 2017

On November 8th, voters had a choice between two pro-capitalist candidates, after a primary season with a viable democratic socialist candidate. Voter apathy after years of economic neglect and racist voter suppression by the GOP took their toll.

Donald Trump’s actions since his inauguration Friday confirm our greatest fears.

He undermines the free press through clear lies and threats. He directs federal agencies to ignore the checks and balances provided by the rulings of the judiciary and re-shuffle to increase his personal power.

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Feminist Working Group

March 07, 2017
· 51 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.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 09, 2017
· 38 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; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 25 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. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 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
· 22 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.