By Harold Meyerson
Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign is different. He has refused to establish a super PAC. He shuns personal attacks. And, not incidentally, he proclaims himself a democratic socialist.
But there’s one further way in which his campaign fundamentally differs not just from those of the other candidates but also from any in many years: While striving to win votes, it also has to morph into an enduring left-wing movement.
By Paul Buhle
The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Vol.2, Economic Writings. Edited by Peter Hudis and Paul LeBlanc. Introduction by Paul LeBlanc. New York, Verso and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung: 2015, 526pp, $120.
Perhaps the publication of these extremely important and even timely volumes arrives most evidently with a backstory in the front. A favorite saint of many parts of the global Left since her 1919 assassination, Rosa Luxemburg received a tardy and somewhat ambivalent rehabilitation from Communists, with a long-awaited and total vindication after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (or Foundation), an internationalist, democratic socialist institution with many adopted causes, also has adopted the comprehensive publication of their namesake’s work, with Verso as a partner. Even with financial support, this is a massive task, for which a small army of translators, editors and fact-checkers, etc., have pooled their efforts.
|Harrington speaking at a DSOC event (Gretchen Donart)|
We continue our recognition of Michael Harrington’s contributions with recollections from several of our comrades who worked with him.
By Jack Clark
A mistake I'm glad I made led directly to my getting to know Mike Harrington well.
In 1969, I joined the University of Massachusetts chapter of the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL), the youth group of the Socialist Party (SP) which Mike chaired. YPSL opposed the self-defeating antics of some elements of the student left. My mistake consisted in thinking that YPSL shared basic goals of the student left, such as ending the war in Vietnam. Soon enough I was caught up in a faction fight within YPSL and the SP over the war and a range of related issues. Mike was the leader of our faction, the Coalition Caucus in the SP. By late 1972 I had moved to New York City to become organizer for the Coalition Caucus. I threw myself into the Labor for McGovern campaign, organized other young socialists to join picket lines for UFW boycotts and organized to maximize our caucus’s strength at the Dec. 1972 SP convention.
As democratic socialists, we have a long-term vision and, by necessity, a long-term strategy. At the same time, we must understand the current terrain in order to get us from here to there. Last month’s election results were disastrous for the Democratic Party and, by extension, the progressive movement. Not just because who holds state power has real implications (should we hold our breath about a national right-to-work law or more governors enacting policies from the ALEC playbook?), but also because, for many people, elections are their only engagement with the political process, and they engage in elections around one of the two major parties.
By Maria Svart
Capitalism has entered a new phase. Regardless of whether it is a sea change or a shorter-term window of opportunity, new possibilities now exist to build a socialist left in the United States and greatly strengthen and expand DSA. Essentially, capitalism is losing the flexibility to repair the damage caused by its own failures. As a result, the system is losing the once unswerving loyalty of a sizeable and growing portion of the population.
Despairing that the government is capable of applying sufficient stimulus, even former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers admitted recently that economic stagnation may be the “new normal” and could last for decades.
John Nichols talks to Senator Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign. But Sanders has begun talking with savvy progressive political strategists, traveling to unexpected locations such as Alabama and entertaining the process questions that this most issue-focused member of the Senate has traditionally avoided.
“It’s quite often that the radicals, including the socialists, do the organizing work and do the consciousness-raising to get the project to the table, to the mainstream, and then are ambivalent or disappointed about the results of their own work, as if they could have done more. . . . When you go from the margins to the mainstream, you get caught in the muck of the middle. And you fight the fight as far as you can go, until you achieve all you can achieve. You leave nobody on the battlefield, but you use up all the energy at your disposal, knowing that the final phase will be memory, looking back to see what was achieved and what can be built upon. . . .
A Tribute to Bob Dahl (December 17, 1915 – February 5, 2014)
By Jeffrey Isaac
I first met Bob Dahl in the fall of 1979 when, as a new graduate student in Yale’s political science department, I enrolled in what I came to learn was his most famous seminar: “Democracy and its Critics.” I was familiar with some of his work, especially Who Governs?, and also familiar with his reputation as a “pluralist.” Having studied at Queens College, CUNY with a group of brilliant left-wing professors, I was steeped in neo-Marxism and eager to learn everything I could, and also to argue as much as I could, especially with “pluralists.”
This world famous “expert” put on no airs, claimed no intellectual privileges and was extraordinarily down to earth. This guy was no “corporate liberal” (another pejorative of my youth). He genuinely seemed to walk the talk of “democracy,” in the classroom, in the world of Brewster Hall where the political science department he helped to create was housed, and in the world.
By Simone Morgen
Why a Feminist Socialism?
Why, indeed? Isn’t Rosa Luxemburg a socialist icon? Don’t socialism’s core values of equal treatment of all persons, without prejudice or disparate treatment, address feminist concerns?
Formally, yes – but a cursory examination of the ways in which issues are addressed even within socialist circles brings this into question. Even in these more favorable environs, the need for an explicitly feminist view remains. After all, patriarchy as a sex/gender system of organizing society existed long before the capitalist mode of production revolutionized society and colored its directives.
Rustin, working both with and for the unchallenged leader of the civil-rights movement, the venerable A. Philip Randolph, became the central figure in taking that movement national. For Rustin and Randolph, as for King, Baker, Levison, Harrington, Horowitz, and Kahn, the challenge confronting African Americans was always two-fold: to tear down the legal edifice of segregation that imperiled and degraded Southern blacks, and to remake the American economy into a more egalitarian social democracy under which—and only under which—black Americans could actually prosper.
This was the genesis of the network of democratic socialists who seven years later were to conceive, organize, and set the themes for the March on Washington.
Read the detailed article. http://prospect.org/article/socialists-who-made-march-washington
See the details of the March this year, and join us. See blog posts below.