DSA Salutes President François Hollande Victory and Opposes Austerity Politics

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) welcomes the recent Europeanwide 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 raise 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 left must now win a majority in the June French parliamentary elections and stand firm on its preelection pledges. The fight against the global capitalist politics of austerity must be truly international; thus the United States 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 magazine 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 longterm economic growth. If the ECB used its borrowing power to exchange existing sovereign debt for ECBguaranteed 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, either in the US or Europe. But the battle of ideas is won in the streets, not in the halls of thinktanks. 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 centerright 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, proausterity parties, the conservative New Democrats and the patronagedriven, neoliberal “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 farright, antiimmigrant parties.

DSA recognizes that rightwing 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 United States, 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 rightwing 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, neoliberal obsession with balancingthebudget 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. 

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.