Democratic Left

DSA Statement on Nazi Violence in Charlottesville

Statement of the DSA National Political Committee Interim Steering Committee, August 13, 2017

Yesterday's events in Charlottesville, Virginia are a stark reminder that we must fight for socialism or succumb to the barbarism of white supremacy.

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the white supremacist, racist, anti-Semitic terrorist attack on our comrades in the DSA, the ISO, IWW, Antifa and all others who joined forces in the streets of Charlottesville, VA yesterday.

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Opinion: It’s Not About Bigotry On All Sides. It’s About White Supremacists

One dead after car plows into anti-racist demonstration. (Ryan M, Kelly/The Daily Progress)

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

I sat here listening to Trump’s remarks in connection with the violence carried out by neofascists in Charlottesville this afternoon, violence which has resulted in the death of at least one anti-fascist.  He condemned bigotry on what he called all sides.

Once again Trump obscures reality.  He either ignores the violence and terrorism carried out against traditionally oppressed groups, e.g., attacks on mosques, or he uses evasive language in order to avoid pointing the finger at the real perpetrators of racist violence.

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DSA In The News: Convention Round-Up

By Tom Ladendorf

Last week's annual convention in Chicago brought DSA's name to the headlines in a number of publications. Many outlets, including Chicagoist, Salon, Slate, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, New Republic, and The Week ran general pieces on the convention. Even CNN was willing to admit that, with 25,000 members, a historic convention, and a growing list of elected officials, it might be time to start taking DSA seriously.

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Assessing Leon Trotsky


By Jason Schulman

The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky

By Victor Serge and Natalia Sedova Trotsky, published in France in 1951; Haymarket Books, 2015

Leon Trotsky ,By Irving Howe, Penguin Books, 1978

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, a workers’ revolution led by a Marxist party with the intent of sparking a Europe-wide revolution, which never came. These two books on the leader of the Bolsheviks’ Red Army and the Marxist theorist of “permanent revolution” and “combined and uneven development” are worthy additions to any socialist’s personal library. One is co-written by Trotsky’s widow (herself a revolutionary) and an anarchist-turned-Bolshevik who joined Trotsky’s small international movement of anti-Stalinist communists (“Trotskyists”) in the 1930s. The other is by a former Trotskyist who became a founding editor of Dissent magazine and, with other erstwhile Trotskyists seeking a less “sectarian” existence, helped form what is now DSA. 

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Member Opinion: The Wrong Way to Resist Trump

By Patrick Stall

The palace intrigue around Donald Trump’s ties to Russia stewing since before last year’s election is crescendoing at a rapid pace. Mainstream news outlets bombard us daily with the latest revelations in an endless saga of allegations and denials of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. A small but growing chorus, mostly of Democratic Party officials and liberal media correspondents, but also some activists on the ground, is now openly calling for the President’s impeachment. How should socialists react to these calls?

Trump is a reprehensible man who espouses and practices racist, sexist, and neoliberal politics. His policies are already having devastating effects on undocumented immigrants and refugees, which adds to the urgency of resisting and removing the President. Of course, this urgency has been translated into words and action. There was a start-up movement to convince members of the Electoral College to not vote for Trump in December 2016, even before the spectacular Women’s March and airport protests this January. Moreover, there is an open debate on the Left on whether or not to throw our weight behind the Russia investigations and proto-movement to impeach the President.

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Thank You for Not Killing Us

By Jeremy Mele

John McCain is a true American hero” is a sentiment that has exploded across mainstream news sources and the Internet this week. After he voted against the “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, a not insignificant portion of the media and general public have been quick to sing the senator’s praises as they rushed to proclaim that the “maverick” McCain they knew and loved had returned to them. One would think, from all of the admiration sent his way, that McCain had accomplished something superhuman. McCain, however, did not alter the course of a mighty river, nor did he leap a tall building in a single bound. He voted against 15 million people having their health insurance taken away from them.

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Bolsheviks and Beyond

By Michael Hirsch

Ten Days That Shook the World - by John Reed, originally published 1919, Penguin Classics, revised ed., 2007

John (“Jack”) Reed wasn’t looking backward to the French Revolution or even the Paris Commune when he chronicled the seizure of power of the Russian Revolution of 1917. As a 30-year-old independent radical journalist, he was looking at it with fresh eyes. What he saw was not just the overthrow of a repressive monarchist oligarchy and its attendant bourgeois class, but a vast democratic, majoritarian movement based on “soviets,” or councils, made up of workers, soldiers, and peasants. Although he had been embedded in Pancho Villa’s rebel army in Mexico and covered Industrial Workers of the World strikes in New Jersey and miners’ struggles in Colorado, it was witnessing the cataclysmic events in Russia that confirmed him as a revolutionary.

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Member Opinion: A Polite Disagreement on Racial Politics

By Paul Glaze

To the delight of capitalists everywhere, the newfound momentum of the left in the United States has, so far, been easily slandered as predominantly white and male. In light of these fair criticisms, many, most notably Jacobin Magazine, and recently Matt Hartman on this blog, have pointed towards a path that reads well, but misses the mark for political organizers - particularly in the inner cities and deep south. 

On a practical level, Hartman argues that “to succeed in the long term, we must address that problem at the root by prioritizing organizing projects that create material connections between the everyday lives of DSA members and the working class more broadly.” 

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