DSA, YDS Membership Grew Fast, Still Growing

By David Duhalde

Today, the Democratic Socialists of America is approximately a third larger in both membership size and the number of community and college chapters than at the start of the Sanders presidential campaign. His candidacy and DSA members’ strong support work both remade the organization. However, new staff and continuing outreach are also playing a real and sustainable role in this growth.

Since 2015, when the Sanders campaign began, DSA’s community-based chapters have nearly doubled. Today, we have 42 locals and organizing committees, up from 26 over a year ago. Last week, YDS admitted its 20th chapter – the largest the youth section has been in nearly two decades.

This is on top of the nearly 2,500 new dues-paying members since Bernie’s race started. At our 2015 convention, DSA had a little over 6,000 members. Now we have over 8,000 members and are still growing. The organization experienced triple the normal monthly membership sign-ups during the Sanders campaign. And this month we sent out over 400 welcome packets to new members as a result of our recent national campaign.

DSA is more ready than ever to welcome our new comrades. In October, we hired Eileen Casterline as our administrative and office coordinator. Our staff of now six employees - totaling five full-time equivalents because two are part-time - is well equipped to activate new members into our chapters and committees. With dozens of people building new chapters, it doesn’t look like we will be slowing down any time soon.

In this era of political tension and opportunity, this country needs a socialist vision that mobilizes both grassroots activism and intellectual discourse required to make sustainable economic and social progress. A more vibrant DSA will mean a stronger progressive movement overall. The Political Revolution will continue with us!

UPDATE: Nearly 1,000 new members joined DSA during the two days following the election!

David Duhalde is deputy director of DSA

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

What Is DSA? Training Call

March 03, 2017
· 44 rsvps

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

March 07, 2017
· 24 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.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 11 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. 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
· 21 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.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 35 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.