By Jared Abbott
Thanks to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s election as president, DSA’s membership has nearly tripled over the past year. Sanders brought the “S” word out of the closet, and Trump sent thousands of people in search of an effective organization both to fight the right and to push forward with Sanders’s political revolution.
By Emily Robinson
|Members of the Socialist Sunday School prepare for an anti-Trump rally|
Hae-Lin Choi speaks to Maxine Phillips
Too often, when DSA members have children, they drop out of activities because the locals do not have meetings at convenient times for parents or are not consistent in providing child care. In addition, members would like to provide places for their children to learn socialist values and to meet other young people whose parents share those values. Socialist groups and parties in other countries have strong programs for young people, and in the past, U.S. groups did, too. Maxine Phillips talked to NYC DSA member Hae-Lin Choi about Choi’s experience in starting a young people’s program in Brooklyn.—Ed.
By Michael Hirsch
One might be tempted to read Sarah Jaffe’s book with a kind of archaeological nostalgia, to look upon it as a remnant of a bygone-era when the left had confidence in the gains it was making, before a meteor named Trump struck earth.
But the people Jaffe describes don’t have to become fossils buried beneath the sediment of the nascent Trumpian-era. The struggles her heroes and heroines face prefigure future battles to come. Writing from the not-so ancient times of pre-election America in 2016, Jaffe offers example after example of what ordinary people can do when pushed too far and the Trump White House will likely push most of us to our limits.
|Newspapers React to Trump Victory|
By Nikil Saval
Since the election results of November 8, shock has compounded shock. The initial shock was the surprise victory of Donald Trump, and the Republican Party throughout the country. The second has been the immediate turnaround on the part of commentators from shock and surprise to confident analysis and prognostication. It took virtually no time for the intelligentsia—pseudo- and otherwise—to reheat an old dish and serve up the culprit to be feasted on: the white working class. Endlessly discovered and rediscovered, from the hardhats of 1972 through the Reagan Democrats of 1984 and the Angry White Men of 1994, professionals have also wasted little time in projecting fantasy after fantasy onto this impossibly vast and intellectually diverse group of people (around 42 percent of the country). Barbara Ehrenreich dissected the lurid imaginings of the middle classes about the working classes in Fear of Falling (1989) in the wake of the victories of Nixon and Reagan. Now, as then, writers have launched blithely into trivial essays on what the voters wanted, more often through modes of inquiry resembling divination than actual reporting or analysis.
The following interview was recorded by This Is Hell. It is partially reproduced here.
Chuck Mertz: We are facing multiple crises that will change our lives and our planet forever. There’s climate change that will be environmentally devastating; we’ve got the crisis of capitalism, which is in a tailspin; and the potential for our jobs to be replaced by automation. And all of those problems may happen a lot sooner than you think.
So what does our future hold for us? Here to talk about the possibilities is sociologist Peter Frase, author of Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. Peter is a sociologist at the City University of New York, and on the editorial board of Jacobin. Welcome to This is Hell!, Peter.
Peter Frase: Thanks for having me on.
CM: You write, “Two specters are haunting Earth in the 21st century: the specters of ecological catastrophe and automation.” Why do you see automation as a threat that can be put in the same sentence as climate change? How much of a threat is automation to the planet? What would you say to someone who says that climate change is clearly the most important thing that we need to be engaging with right now?
PF: It’s really the interaction between those two things that we ought to be concerned with. Obviously climate change and the ecological crisis more generally is something that has come to our attention now as the new thing we should be worried about—and we should be very worried about it.
Statement from DSA’s National Political Committee
November 13, 2016
How Trump Won: Seizing the Anti-Establishment Ground through Racial and Economic Nationalism
On November 8, voters in the United States narrowly elected an openly racist, misogynist and nativist candidate for president. Donald Trump succeeded in defining himself as an anti-establishment candidate who will end dynastic rule in Washington, D.C., by elites who care little for “forgotten Americans.” The grain of truth in this rhetoric masked an ideological appeal to a “white identity” that Republicans have long cultivated — in this instance, focusing on fear of immigrants, Muslims and people of color. The facts go against the liberal media’s narrative that “poor white people” were the primary force behind Trump’s rise. We must understand “Trumpism” as a cross-class white nativist alliance; the median family income of the 62 percent of white voters who supported Trump was higher than that of Hillary Clinton voters and wealthier than Bernie Sanders’ primary base.
Governing elites have long used racism to divide working people. The Left must understand the centrality of racism to capitalism and speak directly to how racism has hurt the interests of the white working class. The far Right in Europe and the United States has succeeded in speaking to the anger of people long abandoned by the bipartisan conservative and center-left consensus in favor of unbridled corporate globalization. Trump’s victory should show once and for all the dire consequences of leaving the Left’s response to economic insecurity in the hands of corporate-aligned centrists like the Clintons.
By Harold Meyerson
Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. DSA’s perspective on the 2016 elections can be found here. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.
There comes a time in the life of all revolutions when circumstance erodes solidarity, when cracks, splits, and factions emerge. As anyone who’s been watching the Democratic Convention can attest, that time has come to the Sanders Revolution. The factions this time around aren’t Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. They’re more like the Realos (realists) and Fundis (fundamentalists) who fought each other in Germany’s Green Party once the party began to win some power. That’s not a bad way to describe the two wings of Sandersism, though the Sighted and the Blinkered might do as well.
By Neal Meyer
Reading groups have been the backbone of socialist groups since the start of our movement. They are where new people go to connect their intuition that the world is unjust to an analysis and critique of capitalism. They are where socialist activists go to learn from the past and adapt their forebears’ strategies to new conditions. Most important, reading groups are where socialists stop reading by themselves and start to socialize their knowledge.
By Maurice Isserman
“It is very probable, especially if you are a young person, that you have never heard of Eugene Victor Debs.” Those are the first words spoken in a 1979 documentary (you can find it on YouTube) about the man who, running on the Socialist Party ticket in 1912, won nearly a million votes. Debs’s 6% of the total vote was, at least electorally, the high-water mark for U.S. socialism. The producer of the half-hour educational film intended to restore Debs to his rightful place in U.S. historical memory was one Bernie Sanders of Burlington, Vermont. At the time a marginally employed 38-year-old radical organizer, he would enjoy his own electoral triumph two years later by being elected Burlington’s mayor. Sanders’s documentary about Debs is earnest and informative, and distinctly low-budget. He wound up voicing the famous bits from Debs’s speeches himself (“I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, someone else would lead you out”), which can be entertaining, given the Brooklyn transplant’s still very pronounced accent.