Democratic Left

In Dark Times, Growing Pains And Opportunities

By Maria Svart

DSA is now almost quadruple the size it was last summer. It’s a far cry from the organization I joined sixteen years ago as a student in Chicago. Many longtime members had lost steam, and new folks weren’t joining, yet the politics and strategy of DSA resonated with me. I rose in the ranks as an elected YDS and then DSA leader, eventually joining staff as the National Director in 2011.

During those years, a team of national leaders and staff collectively transformed DSA. We held summer relationship-building retreats between YDS and DSA leaders. We developed more organizing trainings. We made the right strategic choices, such as supporting Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary and using a highly democratic, bottom-up participatory process to develop a national strategy document, “Resistance Rising.”

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The Fight for Sanctuary in Los Angeles: A Revolutionary Demand

By Promise Li


Since its inception in mid-February of this year, the Sanctuary City Working Group of the Los Angeles chapter of DSA has secured major victories for sanctuary policies. The group was formed by a group of DSA-LA organizers who are intent on connecting the immediate fight for sanctuary cities to the larger struggle for a just and democratic society.

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When Race & Sports Collide

(Brook Ward/Flickr)

By John L. Elwell

In America there is hardly ever a moment when race and professional sports are not colliding. Long before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier of Major League Baseball in 1947, and long since Doug Williams became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 1988, race has been a key issue and concern for athletes, coaches, and fans of all professional sports. And this is not a purely American issue, as the soccer fields of Europe have had multiple memorable moments where racism and xenophobia have overcome what was meant to be a game. 

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Books by DSA Members

Editors, Democratic Left (magazine)

We have limited space for book reviews, but once a year, we publish a list of books written by DSA members within the past three years. We can only list a book once. If your book is not here, please notify us for next year. Please buy directly from the author or from your local bookstore instead of from an online, non-union behemoth.

Browning, Preston, Struggling for the Soul of Our Country, Wipf and Stock, 2016. Browning asks how the life of citizenship influences our common future and addresses the spiritual dimension of the crises facing the United States.

Early, Steve, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City, Beacon Press, 2017. Veteran labor reporter and DSA activist Steve Early tells the story of 15 years of community organizing that curbed the power of Big Oil in a California town.

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A Memorial Day Observance: The Destruction That Is War


A collaborative effort of the DSA Veterans Working Group

Memorial Day began as a consecration of war dead following our Civil War by recently freed people honoring their comrades who fought and died with the Union Army for their freedom. Its purpose was one of mourning, not celebration; it is only in this generation that it has become — in the mass culture of the United States of America, at least — a festival for commerce and pageantry, far removed from any context or awareness of battlefield casualties. Out of respect for those who died and for those whose lives were forever changed by war, we must not allow this to happen. We don’t need bumper stickers or parades; we need solidarity.

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Lessons from the 1937 Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre


By Susan Hirsch

Earlier this month, on the South Side of Chicago, members of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and its retirees commemorated the 80th anniversary of the Memorial Day Massacre. In 1937, as the Steel Workers’ Organizing Committee (SWOC) attempted to unionize the steel industry, ten strikers were killed and scores wounded when Chicago police opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Republic Steel Plant. Both the reasons the massacre occurred and the response to it suggest to me the magnitude of what has to be done today to reverse the decline in our nation’s minimal protections for the life and well-being of our citizens.

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DSA Chapters: Propose National Candidate Endorsements by June 1


By David Duhalde

The June 1 deadline for national DSA to endorse candidates for elected office who are recommended by local chapters is coming up in just a few days. Here’s why we are doing this:

The Democratic Socialists of America’s current national electoral program presents a not totally new, but certainly improved approach for socialist action in United States elections. Building on our past work, especially around Bernie Sanders, our countrywide election strategy aims to mobilize our members to elect socialists at the local level. The goal is not only elected socialists, but to also strengthen resistance to both the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party and the Donald Trump administration.

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#ForaTemer: Brazil’s Social Movements are On the Move

By José Sanchez

On May 5th, up to 40 million workers held a one-day general strike across Brazil bringing the American behemoth (second only to the U.S. in population and wealth, world’s fifth-largest in area) to a standstill. Roads and subways were empty throughout São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Belém; as well as the capital, Brasília, and other metropolises and towns throughout the country. Beyond the charred barricades, clouds of tear gas, and pitched battles between masked, stone-throwing youths and cops that the Brazilian and international media were fixated on, the massive crowds of demonstrators in their hundreds of thousands in various places were typically peaceful, yet undeniably impassioned. That day’s general strike was the largest since the demonstrations that brought down military rule in the mid-1980’s and illustrated the Brazilian state’s precipitous collapse of popular legitimacy. Elected by no one, President Michel Temer is now polling in the single digits, and with him and the rest of his far-from-youthful, all-white and all-male administration facing corruption charges, those numbers don’t appear to be growing anytime soon.

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