NPC Statement on Gloria Steinem

Steinem serves as one of eight Honorary Chairs of Democratic Socialists of America (along with Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich, Frances Fox Piven and others) based on her work for DSA in the 1980s and ‘90s and one of its predecessor organizations, Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. While we appreciate Steinem's pioneering work in the feminist movement and view her as a major figure in the history of feminism, we were very disappointed by her disparaging comments about female Bernie supporters, many of whom are active DSA members. Her views do not reflect those of the DSA leadership. 

The National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America views Steinem's remarks as demeaning toward the many dedicated female activists (young and old) who are active in the Sanders campaign because they recognize that Senator Sanders' political program supports feminist and democratic aims more so than the platform of Hillary Clinton.

DSA members individually may and will vote as they choose, but DSA as an organization is actively supporting the Sanders movement. Senator Sanders is fully committed to publicly funded childcare, paid parental leave and a truly universal health care system. Senator Clinton has rejected these feminist policies. She also backed her husband's welfare reform legislation, which had extremely negative effects on the lives of millions of low-income women and children. We find these facts to run counter to the argument that she is the only feminist choice.

Steinem now claims that her remarks were “misinterpreted,” but it is disturbing that these remarks, along with other recent complaints raised by Clinton supporters about women who back Sanders, emerge just as polls show that Senator Sanders is the choice of a majority of young women voters. Young women -- as well as people of all ages -- are supporting the Sanders campaign because they believe in the politics it represents, and we share the anger of those whose motives were questioned by Steinem’s ill-considered remarks.

Showing 3 reactions

commented 2016-03-15 12:38:33 -0400 · Flag
I was shocked and disappointed with Gloria’s comments. I think it was good for the DSA to clarify their position on her statement and the difference in between Sanders and Clinton on women’s issues. I didn’t think it was a criticism of Gloria but a clarification of positions on the issues of women.
commented 2016-02-22 19:22:00 -0500 · Flag
I am dismayed that the National Political Committee issued this statement. While I share the criticism of Gloria Steinem’s comments, I really think it is inappropriate for the organization’s leadership to officially scold her. DSA has always been an open, tolerant, pluralist organization with a membership that holds a wide variety of views on many issues. Unlike some other groups on the Left, DSA does not purport to have the “correct line,” and we shouldn’t have an organizational response to deviations from that line. Ms. Steinem has a right to her opinions -even ones I strenuously disagree with - and the organization should respect that right. (If I had a nickel for every time I disagreed with some of the things said by our Honorary Chairs and Vice Chairs over the years, I could have retired a long time ago.) This NPC statement suggests a less tolerant, more top-down organizational culture than that which DSA has long maintained.
commented 2016-02-11 15:29:12 -0500 · Flag
As a former DSA member (1980s) interested in finding out what the organization is doing today, it’s disturbing to see that Steinem has embraced a neoliberal candidate when the alternative is far superior. If DSA wants to be relevant Steinem should be asked to resign.
Jim Albers, Cincinnati, OH

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

November 03, 2016 · 8 rsvps
Introduction to Socialist Feminism

Join DSA 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? 8-9pm ET, 7-8pm CT, 6-7pm MT, 5-6pm PT.


Feminist Working Group

November 15, 2016 · 5 rsvps
Feminist Working Group Call

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's issues. We will discuss election results and their implications for DSA's work (30 minutes). Business will include reports on screenings of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, preparation for April Abortion Access Bowl-A-Thon fundraising, and leadership development (up to 1 hour). 9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.