Democratic Left

The System Is Not Broken, It Is Working As Designed

A statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America

Democratic Socialists of America mourns with the family, friends, Teamsters local 320, and community of Philando Castile, or ‘Mr. Phil” as he was known at the school where he worked. He was beloved by the children that he served with care, thoughtfulness, and decency.

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Texas Showdown - SB 4


Texas DSA members Join the Fight to Stop a New Anti-immigrant Law

By Glenn Scott, with Monica Olvera, Liliana Pierce and Jen Ramos

Austin DSA has built a large membership of over 640 members by being active as allies against a number of attacks on communities of color, women and LGBTQ people over the last two years. This work has intensified since Trump took office. Perhaps their most important campaign, which other groups can learn from, is their current fight against an anti-immigrant bill.

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South Dakota Leads the Fight for Campaign-Finance Reform

By Charles Austin

The power of big money to influence politics is a central fact of American life these days, something that felt more apparent than ever on November 8, 2016. The night capped a record-setting campaign season in which more than $6 billion dollars poured into federal elections, giving the U.S. its first-ever billionaire president in the process.


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Net Neutrality Is Essential to Online Democracy

A Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America

In May of this year, the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of dismantling one of the fundamental tenets of an open Internet: net neutrality. Enacted in 2015, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should allow users equal access to all online content and applications regardless of the source. It classifies broadband as a utility, thus preventing providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from accelerating traffic to preferred sites (that is, sites that pay extra, are affiliated with them, or that they find politically savory) or obstructing traffic to sites they deem unfavorable.

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How Business “Partnerships” Flopped at America’s Largest University

By Lawrence Wittner

The State University of New York (SUNY)―the largest university in the United States, with nearly 600,000 students located in 64 publicly-funded higher education institutions―has served an important educational function for the people of New York and of the United States.  But its recent “partnerships” with private businesses have been far less productive.

In the spring of 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by businessmen, politicians, and top SUNY administrators, embarked upon a widely-publicized barnstorming campaign to get the state legislature to adopt a plan he called Tax-Free NY.  Under its provisions, most of the SUNY campuses, portions of the City University of New York, and zones adjacent to SUNY campuses would be thrown open to private, profit-making companies that would be exempt from state and local taxes on sales, property, the income of their owners, and the income of their employees for a period of ten years.

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Whither the Rainbow? A Golden Opportunity, 1986: DSA Debates Its Role in Electoral Challenges

jackson_slightly_larger.jpgBy Shakoor Aljuwani, with notes by Duane Campbell

The following article appeared in our magazine Democratic Left (Nov.-Dec. 1986), as a part of “Roundtable,” with diverse points of view.  We cannot offer a link to the entire issue because we do not have electronic versions of Democratic Left prior to 2000. Shakoor Aljuwani was the chair of DSA’s Afro-American Commission at the time of this writing. – Duane Campbell

The candidacy of Jesse Jackson and the growth of the Rainbow Coalition were the most exciting developments of the 1984 election. Jackson’s impressive showing in the primaries, winning more than three million votes and more than 400 delegates to the Democratic National Convention shocked political pundits from left to right.  The Rainbow Coalition showed that it is possible to build a broad and powerful constituency of the “locked outs and drop-outs,” the poor, and working people -- a group that in other countries forms the base of parties of the left.  It was the major progressive voice to counter the onslaught of conservatism.  It brought dynamism to the otherwise lifeless efforts of the Democratic party against the Reagan offensive. In doing so, it helped to open up important space for the socialist perspective on the critical issues facing this country.

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Coalition Politics and the Fight for Socialism

By Joseph M. Schwartz

DSA has thrown itself into resistance to Republican rule of all three branches of the federal government and 25 state governments. Highly visible DSA contingents have marched in every significant mobilization since the presidential election and shown up at local town meetings to push back against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). DSA chapters also are challenging the Democratic pro-corporate establishment at the national, state, and local level. Since the election, in fact, thousands have flocked to DSA to make it—at 21,000 members—the largest socialist organization in this country since the 1960s.

DSA is a rare bird in United States politics: a democratic, national, federated organization (with local and state groups) that is almost completely member-funded. Chapters have considerable local autonomy, and democratically elected local representatives set feasible national priorities at our conventions. DSA is also a multi-tendency organization that believes in democracy as both a means and an end.  We do not compel members to adhere to one ideological line. Our members’ commitment to socialism derives from a multitude of traditions ranging from religious socialists to left social democrats, to various strands of democratic Marxism. We have spirited but comradely internal political discussions. Our most effective chapters build “unity through diversity” by focusing upon a few key activist projects that enable us to work with organizations representing working-class people of all races and nationalities. We function as an independent, visible socialist presence in mass social movements and focus our energy on “non-reformist” or “transformational” reforms—changes in public policy that constrain corporate power and that illustrate how economic democracy better serves people’s needs, such as Medicare for All and free public higher education.

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Reading "Politics in a Time of Crisis" - A View from the Left

(GUE/NGL / Flickr)

 By Duane Campbell

As we know, the economic crisis of 2008-2012 disrupted the U.S. economy. The crisis was much worse in some of the peripheral countries of Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy among others), and even more destructive in under-developed regions of African and Asia.

Spanish political leader Pablo Iglesias Turrión has written Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of European Democracy, published in an English translation by Verso Books. Iglesias provides a critical summary of the crisis that began in the U.S. and spread to much of the world, causing political upheavals and leaving misery, starvation, and massive migration in its wake.  

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