DSA Salutes François Hollande’s Victory

Willie Thompson

by DSA National Political Committee
Democratic Left - Summer 2012

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) welcomes the recent Europe-wide popular rejection of the austerity politics of the 1%. In particular, DSA salutes the victory of socialist François Hollande in the French presidential election. Hollande ran on a platform that rejected the austerity policies of massive budget cuts pushed by the lords of finance. Such policies only serve to prolong both the Great Recession and the pain it visits upon working people and the poor. Hollande’s program calls for a financial transactions tax and higher marginal tax rates on the rich to increase investment in education, including the hiring of 60,000 new teachers. His platform also calls for a major rise in the minimum wage and for lowering, from age 62 to 60, the age at which manual laborers can retire and receive full public pensions. To achieve such policies, the broad French Left must now win a majority in parliamentary elections in June and stand firm on its pre-election pledges. The fight against the global capitalist politics of austerity must be truly international. Thus, the U.S. Left must pressure the Obama administration to work with Hollande to restart the European economy and to propose similar programs in the United States that would highlight the complete failure of austerity policies.

DSA recognizes that European (and American) bankers and bond vigilantes will resist such modest efforts to promote both equity and economic growth in France and elsewhere. The Economist termed the moderate socialist president “rather dangerous” because he “genuinely believes in the need to create a fairer society.” And the fate of Hollande’s program will not be decided solely in France. The broad Left must not only regain control of the French parliament in June elections. A revived German Left needs to overturn the bipartisan German elite consensus favoring the politics of austerity. Electoral victories by the broad Left in upcoming German state elections could move the German political dynamic leftwards.*

A truly equitable response to the European economic crisis depends upon Germany pushing the European Central Bank (ECB) to drop its obsession with a phantom inflationary threat and adopt policies that would restore long-term economic growth. If the ECB used its borrowing power to exchange existing sovereign debt for ECB-guaranteed Eurobonds, then the fiscal crisis in Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Ireland could be eased, thus allowing for the adoption of full employment growth policies. The undemocratic terms of the European monetary union must be renegotiated. As is, the European Union treaty agreements prioritize fighting inflation over promoting full employment and social justice in each member country. Thus, the people of Europe are being crucified on a cross of the Euro.

Any Keynesian economist can explain the irrationality of this politics of austerity – a government cannot cut its way out of a deep recession, in either the U.S. or Europe. But the battle of ideas is won in the streets, not in the halls of think-tanks. Resistance to the politics of austerity has spread from the youthful indignados of Spain to the general European electorate. In the same week as the French presidential elections, the center-Right government of the Netherlands collapsed in the face of widespread protest; the British Labor Party won a major victory in local elections; and mass protests threatened the collapse of rightwing governments in the Czech Republic and Romania. On the very day of the French elections, the Greek electorate rejected both major pro-austerity parties, the conservative New Democracy and the patronage-driven, neo-liberal “socialist” PASOK. This led not only to the emergence of “The True Left Party” (Syriza), which significantly outpolled PASOK, but also to massive gains for far-Right, anti-immigrant parties.

DSA recognizes that Right-wing populism represents an alternative, noxious form of popular response to capitalist crisis. We see the politics of Le Pen in France, the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, and the Golden Dawn in Greece replicated in conservative efforts here at home to blame the plight of downwardly mobile native workers on immigrants, rather than on the corporate elites who outsourced workers’ jobs. In the U.S., the Occupy movement may organize mass protest at both the Republican and Democratic convention, which is all to the good, but only a popular Left speaking to the needs of working people of all races can forestall the rise of Right-wing populism.

In the U.S., as in Europe, DSA believes that only a combination of street heat and grassroots progressive electoral activity can displace the bipartisan corporate consensus on economic policy. The bipartisan, neo-liberal obsession with balancing the budget at a time of rampant unemployment threatens to turn the Great Recession into a true Great Depression. And as in the Great Depression, only mass protest from below can force the political class to adopt policies that restore full employment and a modicum of social equality.

It is in this spirit, and in solidarity with a revived global Left, that DSA recommits itself to building popular protest movements against austerity while simultaneously working in the 2012 elections on behalf of grassroots progressive candidates who reject the politics of austerity that make working people pay for the blunders of corporate America.

*On May 6 and May 13, the German Social Democratic Party and its allies scored key victories in the states of Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia, respectively.

Grassroots Fundraising: Paying for the Revolution (9pm Eastern)

June 23, 2017
· 46 rsvps

Are you new to socialist organizing? Or after many years do you still struggle, raising money from members when you need it but without a steady flow of income or budget to plan ahead? Are you afraid to tackle fundraising because it seems so daunting or you are uncomfortable asking people for money?

In this webinar, you will learn why fundraising is organizing, and how to do it – face to face, through fundraising events, and other ideas.

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

Instructor:

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

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt talt@igc.org.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  6. Participation requires that you register at least 21 hours in advance -- by midnight Thursday for Friday's webinar.

NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5 pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

June 27, 2017
· 65 rsvps

Join DSA activist Judith Gardiner 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? 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT.

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 8 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.