Democratic Left

Police Attack Landless Movement in Brazil

By Dan LaBotz

On Friday, Nov. 4, Brazilian police violently assaulted one of the most important institutions of the country’s social movements, the Florestan Fernandes National School, the educational center of the Movement of the Landless (MST). While the MST and the police have for years clashed in struggles over land, this most recent attack is something quite different.
 
Several years ago I went to São Paulo, Brazil for a meeting of several North and South labor education centers—I was there representing Labor Notes—and we met at the educational center of the MST. The MST is a poor people’s movement that since its founding in 1984 has fought through protest demonstrations, civil disobedience, legal cases, and lobbying for legislation to take unused land from wealthy individuals and corporations and make it available to Brazil’s unemployed and homeless.

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We Fight for Socialism over Barbarism

Statement from DSA’s National Political Committee
November 13, 2016


How Trump Won: Seizing the Anti-Establishment Ground through Racial and Economic Nationalism

On November 8, voters in the United States narrowly elected an openly racist, misogynist and nativist candidate for president. Donald Trump succeeded in defining himself as an anti-establishment candidate who will end dynastic rule in Washington, D.C., by elites who care little for “forgotten Americans.” The grain of truth in this rhetoric masked an ideological appeal to a “white identity” that Republicans have long cultivated — in this instance, focusing on fear of immigrants, Muslims and people of color. The facts go against the liberal media’s narrative that “poor white people” were the primary force behind Trump’s rise. We must understand “Trumpism” as a cross-class white nativist alliance; the median family income of the 62 percent of white voters who supported Trump was higher than that of Hillary Clinton voters and wealthier than Bernie Sanders’ primary base.

Governing elites have long used racism to divide working people. The Left must understand the centrality of racism to capitalism and speak directly to how racism has hurt the interests of the white working class. The far Right in Europe and the United States has succeeded in speaking to the anger of people long abandoned by the bipartisan conservative and center-left consensus in favor of unbridled corporate globalization. Trump’s victory should show once and for all the dire consequences of leaving the Left’s response to economic insecurity in the hands of corporate-aligned centrists like the Clintons.

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Countering the Sanitizing of the Vietnam War

Review: The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commitment, by John Maricano (Monthly Review Press)

By Jack Rothman

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The recent book by John Marciano, The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commitment (Monthly Review Press) is an antidote. It is a refutation of the government’s massive campaign to render the Vietnam War an honorable undertaking that upheld the highest values of the nation.

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Post-Election Message From the DSA National Director

By Maria Svart

Tuesday night was not unpredictable. For centuries, the ruling class has used racism to divide working class and poor people and grind us down. It makes sense that people are scared, angry and desperate for change.

Even so, many of us are in mourning. Many of us are very afraid for our families, our neighbors, and our country.

We need to talk about how it came to this so we can develop a strong and strategic response. We are looking at how we seriously build our base for the coming struggle, and increase your ability to take meaningful action. We are looking at what we can do in solidarity and self defense with those who are the immediate targets for vigilante violence, and with those who will be further targeted by the State once Trump is in office.

Today, let¹s focus on immediate, productive action.

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DSA, YDS Membership Grew Fast, Still Growing

By David Duhalde

Today, the Democratic Socialists of America is approximately a third larger in both membership size and the number of community and college chapters than at the start of the Sanders presidential campaign. His candidacy and DSA members’ strong support work both remade the organization. However, new staff and continuing outreach are also playing a real and sustainable role in this growth.

Since 2015, when the Sanders campaign began, DSA’s community-based chapters have nearly doubled. Today, we have 42 locals and organizing committees, up from 26 over a year ago. Last week, YDS admitted its 20th chapter – the largest the youth section has been in nearly two decades.

This is on top of the nearly 2,500 new dues-paying members since Bernie’s race started. At our 2015 convention, DSA had a little over 6,000 members. Now we have over 8,000 members and are still growing. The organization experienced triple the normal monthly membership sign-ups during the Sanders campaign. And this month we sent out over 400 welcome packets to new members as a result of our recent national campaign.

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Give The People What They Want: DSA Members on 2016 and Beyond

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here.

October 29, 2016

For decades, the dominant approach to electoral politics on the left has followed a now-familiar formula. The formula goes something like this: the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate leave much to be desired. They fall far short of our aspirations for a free and just society. Despite these shortcomings, however, the Republican Party and its candidate are far worse and will inflict much harm on the institutions and constituencies we care about. We have no illusions about the Democrats, but leftists and progressives should vote for them because the political terrain will be much more favorable to us with them in office. Once the threat from the right is defeated at the polls, we will mobilize to hold the Democrats accountable whenever they move to implement neoliberal and militaristic policies.

However, we 75 signatories of this statement seek an alternative.

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Hours for What We Will

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Women workers demand shorter work week in the May Day Parade in New York City in 1936

By Johanna Brenner

Mainstream and social-democratic feminists seem to agree that something has to be done to ease “work-family conflict.” Women will never achieve equality without universal child care and certainly the United States is woefully behind the most advanced capitalist nations, particularly the Nordic countries, which provide well-paid parental leave (mandated in some instances for fathers to use) and publicly funded child care. Yet, I am concerned about the political arguments that are currently circulating to defend initiatives such as universal pre-kindergarten or paid parental leave. I’d like to see us develop a politics of care that not only supports the limited changes we might win today, but also connects to a vision that reaches far beyond the horizon of what capitalism will allow.

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Trump's Sexual Assaults Sparks Revival of Women's Movement

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Women rally against Donald Trump in N.J.

By Dan La Botz

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s bragging about his sexual assaults on women appears to be sparking a revival of the women’s movement.

Trump’s remark that he could “grab women by the pussy”—followed by more women coming forward to describe his sexual assault on them over many years—has led to social media protests and to demonstrations in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Trump’s outrageous remarks prompted women of all ages, races, and ethnicities who had been silent for years and even decades to speak out, sit-in, and protest. We seem to be at a “Women’s Lives Matter” moment and perhaps at the beginning of a new women’s movement.

While this is taking place in the context of a political campaign where Trump is challenging Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, women’s comments have generally ignored politics as they have spoken up for full equality, for respect for women, and for an end to men’s sexual accosting and assaulting of women.

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