Democratic Left

Hope in a Dark Era:

In the Face of Barbarism, Thousands Turn to Democratic Socialism

By Jake Johnson

In his book The American Left and Some British Comparisons, published in 1971, the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith sought to analyze the persistent shortcomings of the Democratic Party. The stakes, he believed, were quite high, as the collapse of the New Deal order seemed imminent. Almost 50 years later, Galbraith's study makes for striking reading. Take, for example, the following observation:

"Everything considered," Galbraith wrote, "if the test of the success of a party is the quality and number of its office holders, the Democrats are not doing well."


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Lump of Coal


By Rosemary Fuerer

I’ve been thinking about Santa Claus and the lump of coal threat from folklore. Thinking about it in relationship to this month, which is the anniversary of one of the highest miner death tolls in a single month  in US history, December 1907.

Two of those December 1907 disasters were forever associated with Santa Claus, or at least St. Nicholas when immigrant lives were saved by their refusal to give up their holiday to their corporate masters.  In Monongah, West Virginia, and Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, it seemed to some that St. Nicholas had intervened on some workers’ behalf, sparing them.  Catholic immigrants were still celebrating St Nicholas in the western tradition on December 6 when the Monongah disaster struck. In the eastern tradition, the feast day was on December 19, saving Slavic immigrants celebrating near the Darr mine at Jacobs Creek. It became known as the great intercession, a tale handed down through the years and in the icons of the Church.

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A First Step Towards a Peace Process

DSA’s National Political Committee’s Statement on the UN Security Council Resolution 2334
January 2, 2017

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) commends the UN Security Council vote of 14-0-1 in favor of Resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016, a resolution that condemns all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as having “no legal validity” and amounting to a “flagrant violation of international law.” We wish that the United States government had voted in favor of the resolution, but we note that the U.S.’s abstention enabled the first Security Council condemnation of the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank since 1980.

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DSA Welcomes New Office Staff

By the DSA National Office

During a surge in membership because of Bernie Sanders’s campaign, DSA hired new staff, who were in place when the wave of new members joined after the presidential election. By freeing the national director of administrative tasks, they allow program staff to be in the field and respond more quickly to organizing opportunities.

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Starting a Socialist Sunday School

Members of the Socialist Sunday School prepare for an anti-Trump rally

Hae-Lin Choi speaks to Maxine Phillips

Too often, when DSA members have children, they drop out of activities because the locals do not have meetings at convenient times for parents or are not consistent in providing child care. In addition, members would like to provide places for their children to learn socialist values and to meet other young people whose parents share those values. Socialist groups and parties in other countries have strong programs for young people, and in the past, U.S. groups did, too. Maxine Phillips talked to NYC DSA member Hae-Lin Choi about Choi’s experience in starting a young people’s program in Brooklyn.—Ed.

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Positive Peace and Negative Peace

 Peace advocates Jane Addams and Mary McDowell

By Amy C. Schneidhorst

The Nobel Prize committee recently celebrated the 2017 prize recipients, among whom were Bob Dylan and Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos. Decades ago, on December 10, 1931, Jane Addams and Nicholas Murray Butler were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In his speech on behalf of the peace laureates, Halvdan Koht, member of the Nobel Committee, introduced the two recipients with this statement:

American social idealism expresses itself as a burning desire to devote work and life to the construction of a more equitable society, in which men will show each other consideration in their mutual relations, will provide stronger protection to the weak and will offer greater opportunities for the beneficent forces of progress.

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Give the Gift of Socialism!

5 Ways You Can Grow the Left this Holiday Season


1. Support the Socialist Press! The socialist movement has long relied on a robust and independent socialist press that helps us clarify and make sense of the world. Today the socialist press is growing but these independent publishers need your support! We encourage you to buy subscriptions to Jacobin, Dissent Magazine, In These Times, New Politics or n+1 magazine. Many DSA members write for these small but serious magazines and journals and many more benefit from their insightful political commentary. A subscription also makes for a great gift!

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Class Struggle and the Fight for Freedom

By Thomas Wells

The day after the election, I was involved in an online discussion with an activist. After expressing my deep concern about the potential consequences of a Trump presidency, he replied with the following statement: “Yesterday’s election was deeply troubling. We know that HRC would have been a disaster. Trump may or may not be a bigger disaster. Hail be to the clairvoyant!” I am no fan of Clinton. I think she is a disingenuous American politician who displays a remarkable tone deafness to the conditions of working people, coupled with an obsessive preoccupation with political calculation. But if only she were unique in that regard, among the neoliberal power brokers of Washington! Returning to the comments of the activist, I should say I found them fairly astonishing. I must confess I had to regroup after reading them.  After some reflection, I replied saying the following: “Clairvoyance is not required to make a reasonable prediction of future events based on tangible evidence. Statisticians, information technologists and social scientists have been doing it for many decades. My ability to coexist with oppression may or may not equate with the Latino immigrant, the Muslim or the police profiled African-American. Hail be to the minimizer!”               

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