Democratic Left

Tom Hayden Always Rocked The Boat: An Appreciation of the Legendary Political Activist

By Peter Dreier

In 2013, Tom Hayden—who died on Sunday at 76 from complications related to a stroke he suffered a year and a half ago while investigating fracking and oil drilling in California—donated his archives to his alma mater, the University of Michigan. The 120 boxes of material include more than 22,000 pages of his FBI files, the result of the agency’s 15-year surveillance of Hayden. Historians and journalists will mine this treasure trove of documents to learn about the key movements and personalities in American culture and politics since the early 1960s. Throughout his remarkable career, Hayden was both a prophetic voice and a political strategist, a rare combination. No single figure embodied the spirit of the generation that came of age in the 1960s more than Hayden.

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The Populist War on Women

By Slawomir Sierakowski

WARSAW – Jarosław Kaczyński and Donald Trump, two politicians who have shocked the world this past year, have mostly gotten away with their outrages. But not anymore.

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DUMP TRUMP, DEFEAT RACISM AND MISOGYNY, BUILD THE LEFT: A call from 47 grassroots organizers (see signatures below)

 Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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.

October 17, 2016

RIGHT NOW IT FEELS LIKE WE’RE IN AN “EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES” MOMENT.  A lot of us see something really clearly, but few of us – radical and revolutionary organizers – are willing to say it out loud.

So we’re going to say it. Defeating Trump in the presidential election is a top priority for the left. And at a minimum, that means mobilizing voters for Hillary Clinton in swing states even if you vote for another candidate in a safe state. We’ve got to beat Trump and Trumpism while building movements that will fight, resist, and disrupt a Clinton administration that will be militaristic and pro-corporate.

Most of us on the left feel about the Clintons the way we feel about leftovers that have been sitting in the fridge for too long: repulsed. NAFTA, mass incarceration, Palestine, the 2003 Iraq invasion, legitimizing the coup in Honduras, cozying up to Wall Street – take your pick of crimes that can be laid at the Clintons’ feet. And judging from the DNC, the Clintons will talk a good game on economic inequality while resorting to jingoism and nationalism throughout the election. But if the Clintons’ neoliberal politics induces nausea, then Trump's brew of racism and misogyny makes us projectile vomit.

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Thinking about Gender: Update

By Chris Riddiough

Our understanding of gender, sex and sexuality has grown in the two years since I originally wrote a two-part blog post called “Thinking about Gender” (Part I and Part II). My thinking and understanding continues to evolve as I talk with people and learn more. First, let me be clear that DSA and myself, personally, support trans liberation and have for some time. But because as we all have grown up in a society that is racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic, we can all learn more and do more to fight injustice wherever it occurs.

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Sources for Authentic Portrayal of Life with Disability

The Finishers (2013) is a French drama about a 17-year-old boy who challenges his father to jointly participate in an Ironman race.

By Natasha Abner

If you were paying attention to certain areas of news and social media, you might have noticed that one of the earliest summer blockbusters of 2016 brought with it a storm of controversy. Me Before You, based on Jojo Moyes’ novel of the same name, stars Sam Claflin as Will Traynor, a man who is paralyzed in adulthood after a motorcycle accident. The film drew criticism from across the disability community for its all too typical portrayal of life with disability as a pitiable existence not worth living (spoiler – Will pursues euthanasia in the end) and its casting of a non-disabled actor to play a disabled character, a practice that is (somewhat contentiously) referred to as cripface.

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Native Struggles Continue While Leonard Peltier Languishes in Prison


By Reid Freeman Jenkins

Much of the news lately has been about the North Dakota Access Pipeline (NDAP). It's the same old, same old for American Indians. Not that long ago, American Indian Movement (AIM) activists in South Dakota were fighting the U.S. government's plans to turn the Pine Ridge Reservation into a "National Sacrifice Zone," with a giant "energy park" to supply electricity for most of the contiguous 48 states. These plans included giant "slurry pipes" to send coal to the southern U.S., washed through those pipes with water that would need to be pumped out of the aquifers so they could dig deeper to get more coal. The pipes were to be run right over the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest one we have, which services 30% of our agricultural industry.

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The Real Christopher Columbus

The following is adapted from Howard Zinn's acclaimed A People's History of the United States. Find more at

By Howard Zinn

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned. . . They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They would make fine servants . . . with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

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At Standing Rock, Native Leadership Matters

 Dallas Goldtooth, a veteran organizer of the Keystone XL fight, is amazed at the historic support from tribes at Standing Rock—even from tribes that rely on resource extraction.

 Sarah van Gelder

Yes! Magazine

This year’s massive buildup of resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline follows closely on the heels of the victory over Keystone XL pipeline, something often credited to feverish organizing by But years before 350’s involvement, there was the Indigenous Environmental Network, which launched that movement and its “Keep It In the Ground” messaging. This time, with nearly 200 tribes unified behind the Standing Rock tribe’s opposition to the pipeline and more than 3,000 people gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, Native Americans are clearly leading the movement.

The encampment at Standing Rock are filled with prayers and ceremonies, and the spiritual core to this movement gives it resilience and power. The courage and clarity of the stand to protect our water is attracting support across the nation and around the world.

I came to Standing Rock to cover the arrival of Northwest tribal canoes and stayed for the rulings Friday on whether construction of the pipeline can continue. I spoke to Dallas Goldtooth, a veteran of the Keystone XL movement, on a hill overlooking the camp. Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota and Dińe) is the Keep It In The Ground campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network.


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Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

November 03, 2016 · 8 rsvps
Introduction to Socialist Feminism

Join DSA activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 8-9pm ET, 7-8pm CT, 6-7pm MT, 5-6pm PT.


Feminist Working Group

November 15, 2016 · 5 rsvps
Feminist Working Group Call

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's issues. We will discuss election results and their implications for DSA's work (30 minutes). Business will include reports on screenings of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, preparation for April Abortion Access Bowl-A-Thon fundraising, and leadership development (up to 1 hour). 9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.