DSA Leads Socialist Caucus at DNC

 Socialist-Caucus.jpg

By Joseph M. Schwartz

A rapidly growing DSA held a coming-out party of sorts at the Democratic National Convention. Over 300 Sanders activists attended DSA’s “Socialist Caucus” on Wednesday afternoon, July 27th. In the audience were over  100 Sanders delegates, including most of DSA’s 55 member-delegates; they were joined by Larry Sanders, Senator Sanders’ brother, and the Senator’s son, Levi Sanders. See the extensive media coverage links below..a dozen stories we know of, including substantive articles in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker).

The enthusiastic audience heard from leaders of the two largest unions that backed Sanders.  Michael Lighty, political director of National Nurses United (and former DSA national director) analyzed  the “transformative,” anti-corporate nature of Sanders’ call for single-payer healthcare and a financial transactions tax to finance free public higher education. Communications Workers of America District One Legislative Director Bob Master argued that a post-Sanders political trend would have to broaden its racial basis and coordinate work around several key racial and economic justice demands.  

DSA National Director Maria Svart, El Paso DSA activist and Sanders delegate Ashley Rodriguez, and New York City DSA Co-chair Rahel Biru outlined the role DSA locals play in multi-racial coalitions and electoral campaigns  to fight for immigrant rights, affordable housing and democratic public education.  Jose LaLuz, DSA vice-chair and veteran labor and Puerto Rican rights activist, brought down the house with an impassioned plea to end United States colonial rule in Puerto Rico.  

Maria Svart and Joseph Schwartz, DSA National Political Committee member and chief organizer of the caucus, briefly outlined the NPC’s outlook on the election: building a stronger, multi-racial and anti-racist “post-Bernie trend” that can be in opposition to a neoliberal Hillary Rodham Clinton administration on day one. This can be accomplished, in part, by engaging in independent “Dump Trump” work in swing states (e.g., working for down-ballot progressives and engaging in voter registration and voter turnout among anti-Trump, progressive constituencies). In non-contested states, DSA locals can work for down-ballot progressive candidacies and build independent left electoral  and social movement capacity.

Numerous participants remarked on social media that the caucus was one of the most substantive meetings at the convention. A score of participants joined DSA on the spot and the DSA table rapidly sold out of its 50 bright red DSA “Continuing the Political Revolution” T-shirts.

Shout-outs to all the DSA delegates and volunteers who helped build the caucus. In particular, Tom Gallagher, Penny Schantz, Paul Garver, Harlan Baker, Ashley Rodriguez, Danny and Barbara Fetonte, Larry Wittner,  Rachel Ochs, Rebecca Ryan, Diane Isser and the list goes on...

Here are links to the widespread media coverage of the Socialist Caucus and of DSA:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-sanders-campaign-is-officially-over-now-his-supporters-wonder-whats-next/2016/07/27/812d89d4-5416-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html


http://reason.com/blog/2016/07/27/dnc-socialist-caucus


http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-goal-for-bus-ride-home-healing-democratic-convention-rifts-1469752989


(if you put the WSJ story into Google News you can sometimes get around the WSJ paywall!)


https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/dnc-unconventional-democratic-socialist-electoral-strategy-voter-protection


https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/dnc-unconventional-bernie-sanders-sheepdog-socialist


http://theweek.com/articles/640704/american-socialists-confront-hillary-clinton-problem


http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37021-rep-keith-ellison-dnc-sanders-protestors-are-actually-helping-us


http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-diehard-bernie-backer-considers-what-comes-next


http://inthesetimes.com/article/19349/why-bernie-sanders-lost-and-how-the-next-progressive-challenger-can-win

A full video of the Socialist Caucus, Wed July 27, 2016 is posted here.


Joseph M. Schwartz is DSA vice-chair and volunteer organizer of the Socialist Caucus

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 36 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 51 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 6 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
· 43 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 68 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 17 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.