Talking Points for DSA’s Electoral Work between May and November 2016

The National Political Committee (NPC, DSA’s elected leadership) is providing the following Talking Points, passed by the NPC on May 20, 2016 to enable DSA members to present a coherent description of how the NPC believes DSA members should engage in electoral work at various points between now and the November 2016 election. DSA members are free to disagree with these talking points, but the NPC asks that DSA members articulate these points as the organization’s perspective and then indicate where the individual member disagrees. Finally, these are just preliminary talking points on the elections; the NPC will issue a formal statement on DSA and the elections directly after the National Conventions this summer.

1. Support Bernie through the convention

DSA’s “We Need Bernie” campaign represents a significant democratic socialist contribution to the Sanders movement. DSA is committed to continuing this work through the California and New Jersey primaries and on to the Democratic convention. Bernie winning the nomination would represent a radical transformation of U.S. politics; short of that, his influencing the party platform will give activists demands they can use to pressure whatever administration comes to power. DSA will work diligently to build a more multiracial post-Sanders trend in U.S. politics that fights all forms of racial, gender and class inequality.

2. Organize against a Trump victory

DSA believes that a Donald Trump presidency would represent a victory for the most reactionary nativist, misogynist, Islamophobic and racist forces in the country. A Trump administration would bring immediate harm to many people and would create conditions hostile to organizing for progressives. Therefore, DSA will work with the emerging labor, immigrant, and anti-racist-led “Dump Trump” movement. For this reason, we do not endorse the #BernieOrBust tactic, though we understand the sentiment behind it. Our perspective can best be summarized as: “Dump the Racist Trump: Build the Left from the Grassroots Up.”

3. Criticize Clinton administration if elected; support left-wing candidates

DSA has no illusions about the neoliberal, pro-corporate politics of the Clinton wing of the Democrats and will join the left opposition to a Clinton administration if and when it is elected into office. The best way to begin this task is for DSA locals to work this summer and fall, in a visible and organized fashion, for left-wing candidates both within and, where conditions permit, outside the Democratic Party, who have a multiracial mass base and who embody an anti-racist vision of the Sanders/social democratic trend in U.S. politics.

4. Support Debbie Medina (NY State Senate) and Eric Fink (NC State Senate)

National DSA will concentrate its scarce organizational resources on two electoral campaigns of DSA members for state office. These campaigns exemplify the post-Sanders anti-racist coalition that DSA prioritized building at its October 2015 convention. DSA will work to help DSA member and open democratic socialist Puerto Rican community activist Debbie Medina, running in the Democratic primary for the New York State Senate on an anti-gentrification and democratic public education platform in the 18th district (Bushwick and E. Williamsburg Brooklyn). We also will support long-time DSAer Eric Fink, running as an independent in the 26th State Senate district in North Carolina as the only opposition to State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R), a major proponent of HB 2, the transphobic “bathroom bill.” National DSA encourages other locals to work for candidates, preferably in multiracial districts whose campaigns focus on issues of racial, gender, and economic justice.

DSA recognizes that the specific form of electoral organizing DSAers engage in depends heavily on local conditions. Regardless of what tactical forms such organizing takes, however, DSA is committed to building a stronger organization that can influence the public conversation about socialism, while playing a visible anti-capitalist role within mass, anti-racist progressive coalitions.

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 79 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
· 37 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.

 

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 19 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.