Democratic Left

Everything to Lose: Reflections on the Baker/Parsons Training Weekend

(Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung NYC)

By Jhari Derr-Hill

Over the last weekend in June, I joined upwards of 35 women, trans, and gender-nonconforming members of the DSA in Manhattan for an intensive two-day organizing workshop. To go, to be of that cohort, to know we represented a greater network, felt like an act of power-taking, -building, and -sharing. We came from around the country, from urban, suburban, exurban, and rural places—from chapters of only a few members and chapters with hundreds. The training was coordinated and funded through a collaboration with the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Foundation. They named the weekend after Ella Baker and Lucy Parsons, also socialist activists and organizers like Luxemburg, whose lives and work continue to inform socialist feminist praxis.

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Organizing for Socialism

Hannah Allison talks with Maxine Phillips


If you’re in a DSA chapter you may have already heard from DSA’s new full-time organizer. We caught up with her in between trips and asked about her enthusiasm for DSA.—Ed.

   MP: Why did you join DSA?

   HA: Friends I trusted were joining DSA. One in particular— a social worker like me, who is a leader in his union — had a one-on-one conversation with me and asked me to join. I pay monthly dues because I believe that we’ll win by organizing people and organizing money. No one but us is going to pay to overthrow capitalism. 

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Memories of Charlottesville: Another Member's Account

By Palmer Foley

Four years ago, I was a groom’s maid in my dear friends’ wedding in a little chapel in Charlottesville. I’d spent many happy, moon-shining nights talking and walking the streets of the college town, 45 minutes from my home in Richmond, VA. When I learned armed fascists, confederates, white nationalists, and sundry other scum, emboldened by the pandering faux-Bonapartist businessman in the White House, were descending en masse on the community, I was no longer thinking about long-game Left strategy. I only knew we all had a duty.

The morning of Saturday, August 12th was drizzling and miserable when our crew from the Richmond DSA chapter set out. By the time we met up with other DSA chapters in Charlottesville, the storm clouds had cleared. After precautions, plans, and red armbands were shared, we set out for Emancipation Park. A comrade handed me a button that read, “No Race But Human.” 


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DSA Veterans Working Group Statement on Afghanistan

The Democratic Socialists of America Veterans Working Group harshly condemns President Trump’s plan to continue the sixteen-year occupation of Afghanistan.

August 22, 2017

The history of Afghanistan since 1973 has been one of foreign intervention, subversion of popular will, and the devastation of the Afghan populace — a trend willfully continued by American political elites. Trump and his administration delude themselves in believing that a U.S. military solution can stabilize Afghanistan and South Asia. All it will bring is continued violence and radicalized young people in all countries involved. There is no military force that will achieve victory as this current administration defines it.

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Solidarity Has Many Names

By Sarah Ngu


This strangely feels like church, I thought. I was at a Democratic Socialists of America meeting in Brooklyn. People all around me were singing, with lyric sheets in hand, “Solidarity forever… for the union makes us strong.” Many of us were trying to keep up with the words and match, however haltingly, the tune. People were, I’d guess, like me: at their first-ever DSA meeting, awakened by Bernie Sanders’s championing of democratic socialism and galvanized by Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States

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The “S” Word Lives

By Maxine Phillips

“Socialism Through the Generations”, a panel at DSA's Naional Convention.
The author was one of the panelists.

 “We’re going to have some press coverage. The reporter is sympathetic. Do you want to talk to him?” Sure, always happy to talk to a member of the press, even though I didn’t hold out much hope for a favorable story. This was, let’s face it, the 2011 convention of the Democratic Socialists of America. After three and a half decades as either a volunteer or a staff member, I’d been to too many conferences and conventions that got either no coverage or a few skewed paragraphs. My favorite example was the year one of the predecessor organizations brought to Washington such luminaries as Olof Palme, François Mitterrand, Michel Rocard, Michael Manley, Felipe Gonzalez, Willy Brandt, and Tony Benn—all either legendary democratic socialist leaders or soon-to-be prime ministers in their own countries. Three thousand people attended. We rated a few paragraphs in the style section of the Washington Post on what leftists wear to such an educational event (hint: knapsacks, because they’re probably sleeping on someone’s floor).

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A Member's Account from Charlottesville

By Austin Gonzalez

When I attended the counterprotest in Charlottesville on Saturday, I thought of my family. I come from about as diverse a background as one could imagine. My father was born in Puerto Rico, and my mother is a New Yorker of Italian descent. My parents are deaf. Being raised by deaf parents has always given me a deep sense of responsibility to help those in my community who cannot help themselves. I also thought of my friends. I thought of my fellow Democratic Socialists and other comrades who had turned out to counterprotest with me. I thought about a lot. But most importantly, I thought about all the friends and activists across the country who could not be there: people locked in jails for petty crimes, trapped in detention centers for fleeing violence in their homelands or otherwise silenced by hate because of the way they look, the way they think or the people they love.

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Member Reflections on Convention

(Reid Jenkins)

The recent convention in Chicago brought together a diverse group of members from all over the country. To get a sense of what members are thinking, Democratic Left invited convention attendees to submit their reflections on the convention. Below are a few personal accounts offering thoughts and takeaways on the largest socialist gathering since World War II. 

Jeb Boone, Metro Atlanta DSA

I was reading a lot of Debs in the weeks leading up to the convention. His speeches were masterpieces and he spoke of standing shoulder to shoulder with comrades as if it were the greatest joy we could ever hope to experience—he called it “the ecstasy in the handclasp of a comrade.”

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