Democratic Left

Kansas Socialism Is In the House, Again

Kansas may count as a “red state,” one that’s backed national Democrats only on the rarest of occasions, but it has a proud radical tradition, too. A strong abolitionist center, it produced a fiery populist uprising and hosted a strong socialist presence in Lawrence. It also spawned a first-rate socialist newspaper, The Appeal to Reason, which at its height in the first decade of the 20th century had a circulation of some 200,000, counting among its regular contributors Eugene Debs and Upton Sinclair.

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Locals Focus on Elections and Today’s Other America

National and state elections took place this fall as our economy struggled to recover from the worst recession and greatest levels of inequality since 1929. Some DSAers were able to find ways to make a difference in the elections, volunteering as canvassers in swing states or for local candidates. Many used the 50th anniversary of our founder Michael Harrington’s historic book The Other America: Poverty in the United States to re-introduce the “invisible poor” into the public discourse, urge mobilization for solutions, and celebrate our organization’s history. They strove to combine analysis with coalition building that addresses the profound structural causes of the current crisis and the threat to democracy posed by the corporate-funded right wing. Here are a few examples of effective local actions: 

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Taking GET UP on the Road

In June, Bill Barclay and Peg Strobel set out for California to do a GET UP workshop on “U.S. Capitalism in Crisis and Social Market Alternatives” at six different DSA locals. GET UP stands for “Grassroots Economics Training for Understanding and Power.” It covers inequality, housing, debt and finance, and the alternative policies that would restructure the US political economy. Laced with interactive exercises, its goal is to equip people to identify and counter neoliberal arguments about the economy and society.

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