Democratic Left

DSA Statement on US Normalizing Relations with Cuba

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The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) celebrates the Obama administration’s move toward the normalization of diplomatic relationships between the United States and Cuba. This change in U.S. foreign policy will help bridge the divide between U.S. and Cuban residents. We believe that increased cultural exchanges will improve the quality of life of both peoples, as will easing the flow of remittances from the Cuban-American community to family members in Cuba. But normal diplomatic relations are not enough; DSA will work with others to pressure Congress to end the unproductive and unjust trade embargo that remains in effect.
 
DSA remains steadfast in its support of those working for full democracy and human rights in Cuba (dissidents both within and without the Communist Party). DSA believes, as Rosa Luxemburg did, that the right to dissent and to form free political associations and parties must be an integral part of a socialist society. Thus, DSA will continue to support organic Cuban dissident and reform movements that are working to democratize the country's political and economic institutions.
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A Socialist Strategy for the 21st Century

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Frank Reynoso

By Jared Abbott and Joseph M. Schwartz

DSA’s current organizational statement of principles and strategic vision, “Building the Next Left,” was written almost 20 years ago, when the political and economic situation was different from that of today. It’s time for a new statement, and the 2013 national convention mandated a two-year, organization-wide discussion in preparation for the rewriting.

Our long-term goal continues to be to achieve a democratic socialist society in which institutions—be they political, economic, social, or cultural—are democratically controlled by their participants. On the way from here to there, what are the intermediate steps, the strategy? 

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Novels for the Not-Yet-Socialists: Young Adult Fiction

We asked members of the YDS Coordinating Committee what novels they might give to a younger sibling this holiday season or what had influenced them. If you have a young adult on your gift list, you might want to check them out (or read or re-read them yourself). We encourage you to order from a local independent booksellerEd.

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After Ferguson

Maria Svart Interviews Darnell L. Moore

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Darnell L. Moore

After Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, this past summer, writer and educator Darnell L. Moore helped organize, with Patrisse Cullors, the Black Lives Matter ride over the Labor Day weekend.  This action brought protesters to Ferguson to join the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and increased militarization of the police. DSA National Director Maria Svart spoke with Moore soon after his return from #FergusonOctober, a mass mobilization attended by thousands of people from around the country, including some DSAers. Brown and Svart discussed building a movement against both capitalism and the so-called “colorblind” system of race relations that sustains white supremacy.

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Save Our Unions, a Battle Cry and a Must-Read

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By Michael Hirsch
 
Does Steve Early exist? Or is his the brand name for a syndicate of crack labor journalists who in James Thurber’s words “get the story and write the story,” but write it from the perspective of working people? That’s a talent that often unappreciated, even by many unions. And, yes, he exists.

When Early was in Vacaville, Cal., last year, covering the state’s contentious healthcare representation election, he got an earful from one side and stony silence from the other. An email after the fact from the communications director of the state’s SEIU healthcare division, whose organizers studiously passed on talking to Early, informed him that his union limits media responses to “legitimate journalists.” Even knowing the prickly back story—Early staunchly supports workplace organizing, rank and file activism and control by workers of their own unions, and is skeptical that the SEIU’s vaunted “partnering” with employers either has worked or can work in delivering anything beyond labor peace via substandard contracts—the slam that he is not a legitimate scribbler is bizarre.

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Don’t Mourn, Organize!

As democratic socialists, we have a long-term vision and, by necessity, a long-term strategy. At the same time, we must understand the current terrain in order to get us from here to there. Last month’s election results were disastrous for the Democratic Party and, by extension, the progressive movement. Not just because who holds state power has real implications (should we hold our breath about a national right-to-work law or more governors enacting policies from the ALEC playbook?), but also because, for many people, elections are their only engagement with the political process, and they engage in elections around one of the two major parties.

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Ferguson’s Lawlessness is Not a Big Surprise

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

By Harold Meyerson

Lawlessness happens when the law breaks down. That sounds like a tautology. It’s not.

The urban — and now, with Ferguson, suburban — riots of the past half-century have characteristically broken out only after the notion that we’re all equal before the law has been mocked by judicial verdicts or police practices that fairly scream that blacks are not the equals of whites — indeed, that they’re fair game for hyped-up, bigoted police. The Los Angeles riots of 1992, which I covered, didn’t break out when the videotape of four policemen beating the prone Rodney King was aired. They erupted when the cops, all evidence to the contrary, were found not guilty. The fires of Ferguson, Mo., blazed not when Michael Brown was killed but when a plainly biased county prosecutor announced that the grand jury he’d guided refused to indict Brown’s killer.

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Excerpts from Black Prophetic Fire

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By Cornel West

With commentary by Duane Campbell in Italics.

DSA Honorary Chair Cornel West  has produced a new book, Black Prophetic Fire, in dialogue with German philosopher Christa Buschendorf.  The book is a series of interviews, or dialogues with West about six of the major African American prophetic leaders of social  movements.  The following are excerpts from this important work.

“Are we witnessing the death of Back prophetic fire in our time? ...”

Since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., it is clear that something has died in Black America … the fundamental shift from a we-consciousness to an I-consciousness reflected not only a growing sense of Black collective defeat but also a Black embrace of the seductive myth of individualism in American culture …

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Upcoming Events

January DSA New Member Orientation - 8 PM EDT (7 PM CDT, 5 PM PDT)

January 21, 2015 · 2 rsvps
Jan DSA New Member Orientation Call - 8 PM EST (7 PM CST; 5 PM PST)

You've joined DSA - great.  Now register for this New Member Orientation call and learn more about our politics and our work.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.

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