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

Film Discussion: When Abortion Was Illegal

March 26, 2017
· 13 rsvps

Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, When Abortion Was Illegal (1992, nominated for an Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject) reveals through first-person accounts the experiences of women seeking abortion before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. We are one Supreme Court nominee away from a return in many states to back-alley abortions. Join Amanda Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, to discuss challenges to reproductive justice and abortion access. (Lilith Fund funds abortions for women in need in the Central and South Texas area.) Learn about how to participate in April Bowl-A-Thons to raise funds for low-income women. View the film here for free before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 30, 2017
· 39 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.  9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 50 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 30 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 53 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

What Is DSA? Training Call

April 05, 2017

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 15 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 6 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.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.