Democratic Left

Want to Elect Socialists? Run Them in Democratic Primaries

By Daniel Moraff

The Democratic Party is deeply flawed and repellent to left challenges—but it still offers the easiest path for socialists to win elections and build power now.

There are currently 7,383 state legislators in the United States. Nine of them are affiliated with the Vermont Progressive Party. One of them is an independent from Alaska who caucuses with the Democrats.

This is the grand sum of the left presence in American state legislatures outside the Democratic Party. There has been a single instance of federal-level victory in my lifetime—Bernie Sanders’s election as an independent to the U.S. House, then Senate, in Vermont. No one else has even come close. And Sanders, after 30 years as an Independent, elected to seek the presidency through the Democratic primary.

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WTF Is Neoliberalism?

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By Brandon Richard

Neoliberalism is inescapable. Yet as frequently as the term is used, there’s a remarkable amount of disagreement about its usefulness – and sometimes its very meaning. Some argue that the word should be abandoned as jargon, or a meaningless term of abuse. Others protest that it is politically confusing, since it describes Reaganomics and Thatcherism just as easily as Clintonism and Blairism. Nevertheless, the term is too important and too widely used to be jettisoned. So let’s nail it down: What actually is neoliberalism?

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Puerto Rico: Uncle Sam's Colony

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By Jose Cortes Sanchez

A century ago on March 2, 1917, President Wilson signed the Jones Act, granting citizenship to the 1.2 million residents of U.S.-occupied Puerto Rico, though almost 300 rejected the sainted Wilson’s offer. A month later, the U.S. entered WWI, and after some 18,000 Puerto Ricans fought on the metropole’s behalf, they came home to an island of second-class citizens ruled by sugar monopolies. We’ll see if today’s islanders will have the foresight and resolve of their forebears as they prepare to vote in a referendum this June on either statehood or independence. What is clear is that Puerto Rico’s status as an “unincorporated territory” has exacerbated the effects of a cruel imposed austerity requirement to pay back the island’s staggering $72 billion of publicly-held debt. The status quo is unsustainable. 

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DSA Condemns the Bombing of Afghanistan

A Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America

April 14, 2017

DSA condemns the first military use of the largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan on April 13. Allegedly used to attack a cave used by ISIS in Afghanistan, the GBU-43 bomb (which contains 11 tons of explosives) poses a threat to all human existence within a one-mile radius of its target. The Trump administration’s praise for massive bombings, first in Syria and now in Afghanistan, as “the US military doing their job as usual” shows the Trump administration’s commitment to the United States’ tradition of using brutal and indiscriminate military force as the primary response to complex foreign policy problems.

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Socialists and Immigration

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By Duane Campbell

In spite of the economic boom for the wealthy, working people in the U.S. have yet to receive a significant improvement in their standard of living for over 30 years.  At the same time, democratic forces are once again confronted with anti-immigrant campaigns- this time fostered and promoted by a president of the U.S.

As socialists, we stand with and among the U.S. working class in opposition to the rule of the transnational corporations and their exploitation of the economy and their despoliation of our lives, our society and our environment.

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DSA Chapters Raise Money for Abortion Funds

By Caroline Reid

Socialist feminists know that women deserve free abortion on demand, a full range of reproductive health care and family services, and an economic system allowing for full employment and compensation for caregiving of the elderly and young. "Reproductive justice" is a concept that moves beyond the notions of "choice" and "rights." It links the calls for reproductive choice (a woman's right to control her own body) to the broader issues of economic justice and human rights (creating conditions that enable people to have children, not only to not have them). Access to abortion is one small, but critical, part of reproductive justice.

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Kitchen Table Socialism: Taxes

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By Steve Max

Do you find yourself having arguments about public policy with your loved ones or relatives you might see once a year? “Kitchen Table Socialism” is here to help. When you gather around the table, these talking points could be useful, especially at tax time. —Ed.

Many of us have seen the Disney film about Robin Hood and heard the villain, King John, rant, “Double the taxes. Triple the taxes.” With this message imprinted on young minds and old, it seems logical to read all of human history as one long tax revolt. Indeed, that is how the right would like us to think of it and how the history of our own country is often presented. Remember that tea dumped in Boston Harbor?

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Democratic Socialists of America Condemns the U.S. Bombing of Syria

A Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America

April 8, 2017

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has consistently opposed U.S. military intervention in the civil war in Syria and condemns the Tomahawk cruise missile attack by the Trump administration. DSA has also supported from spring 2011 onwards the massive and democratic Syrian uprising against the brutal Assad regime, a regime that has shown no hesitation to use massive force, including chemical weapons, to suppress its people.

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DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 26 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 47 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran 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? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 3 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

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

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

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

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
· 34 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.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 68 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 17 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.