Fighting Back Against the Rising Tide of Nativist and Racist Reaction

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) call on all progressives across the United States to join together in a broad coalition against the rising tide of racist and nativist politics in the United States. The nativist fear-mongering by one Democratic and 27 Republican governors about the alleged threat posed to U.S. residents by Syrian refugees (themselves often fleeing ISIL violence) and undocumented immigrants obscures the true violent threat to our collective security: nativist, racist and misogynist terrorism.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) call on all progressives across the United States to join together in a broad coalition against the rising tide of racist and nativist politics in the United States. The nativist fear-mongering by one Democratic and 27 Republican governors about the alleged threat posed to U.S. residents by Syrian refugees (themselves often fleeing ISIL violence) and undocumented immigrants obscures the true violent threat to our collective security: nativist, racist and misogynist terrorism.

Recent tragedies have shown all too clearly the state of crisis in which we find ourselves. The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting illustrates how right-wing hostility to women’s rights makes those providing and seeking reproductive services targets for murder. The shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis by white supremacists demonstrates that anyone doing work around racial justice must now expect and prepare for a violent racist response. And in Chicago, recent revelations of a year-long cover-up by city officials of the blatant police murder of Laquan McDonald add yet another chapter to the shameful history of police terror against African Americans and other communities of color. Meanwhile, ongoing harassment of individuals and groups who appear to be Muslim or immigrants goes under-reported in the press, as do attacks on mosques and Black churches.  

Over the past decade, heavily armed and mostly white men have killed or injured close to 1,000 individuals in politically-motivated shootings and other mass killings. These are not isolated incidents. They are encouraged by a rhetorical climate produced by right-wing politicians and media personalities who blame immigrants, poor African Americans and foreign countries for the decline in white working-class standards of living. Donald Trump is a perfect example: for him, the barriers to America’s “greatness” are Mexican immigrants, Muslim terrorists, Black protesters, China’s economic and military power and American leaders too weak to oppose them. This nativist politics diverts attention from the 1% — the capitalist class — that long ago declared war on working-class and poor people of all races. This politics is not the fault only of the Republican leaders who espouse it, but also of Democrats like Barack Obama and both Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose “free trade” and austerity policies contribute to the declining standards of working-class communities. This utter failure to put forward convincing ways to explain and solve the crisis leaves a vacuum that racists easily fill.

The far right is a threat to DSA and our allies on the left in two ways. First, they are literally threatening the lives of progressive organizers and protesters and the communities that we come from — the white supremacist shooting in Minneapolis makes this clear. As we plan protests and organize campaigns, we must now always take seriously the possibility of a violent reactionary response — whether from the police or right-wing terrorists — and plan ways to keep participants and organizers safe. Second, like democratic socialism, right-wing extremism recognizes that our society is in crisis and proposes a radical departure from the status quo. But, unlike the Left, these extremists blame people of color rather than the ruling class. Because of this parallel, far right politics directly competes with democratic socialism to win over downwardly-mobile and economically squeezed white people who are currently being politicized.

This nativist, racist and misogynist terrorism and the tragedies it creates can only be ended by a mass coalition of progressive social movements fighting together to put an end to this frontal assault on Muslims, immigrants, people of color and women. Such a coalition must also advance a coherent political analysis and program  that directs white working-class anger at the billionaire class and their politics of austerity and violent repression.

DSA unconditionally condemns the recent killings of innocents by ISIL/Daesh in Lebanon, France, Nigeria and Mali, but we believe the fight at home is primarily against right-wing (not Islamic) fundamentalism. DSA applauds its members and friends who recently organized a rally to defend the right of immigrants and refugees against the racist exclusionary policies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. We urge our members to engage in similar activities across the country to protect the rights of immigrants, women, people of color and followers of all faiths (and no faith). Such actions can take the form of clinic protection, providing sanctuary for refugees, aiding mosques in their defense of religious freedom, and fighting against police violence and mass incarceration and for democratic, accountable law enforcement. DSA also supports the fight of students of color and their allies on campuses across the country to build a more inclusive, multicultural and democratic university. Whatever the particular local form this resistance to racist and nativist reaction may take, socialists must join this crucial struggle for democracy.

This statement was passed by the DSA National Political Committee on December 1, 2015.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 45 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 14 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 9 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 4 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.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 8 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.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 4 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.