October 29, 2016
For decades, the dominant approach to electoral politics on the left has followed a now-familiar formula. The formula goes something like this: the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate leave much to be desired. They fall far short of our aspirations for a free and just society. Despite these shortcomings, however, the Republican Party and its candidate are far worse and will inflict much harm on the institutions and constituencies we care about. We have no illusions about the Democrats, but leftists and progressives should vote for them because the political terrain will be much more favorable to us with them in office. Once the threat from the right is defeated at the polls, we will mobilize to hold the Democrats accountable whenever they move to implement neoliberal and militaristic policies.
However, we 75 signatories of this statement seek an alternative.
By Jared Abbott
Over 100 DSA activists and leaders came together during the weekend of May 2-3 to discuss the organization’s strategy, past present and future. To save money and time, rather than have everyone gather at a single location, DSAers assembled at 10 regional meetups around the country, and the meetups were all brought together via videoconference. Around 20 DSA locals and organizing committees sent representatives to the conference, and a number of at-large members also attended. The task of the conference was to engage as wide a cross-section of DSA activists and leaders as possible in a frank discussion about a recently-written strategy document that was meant to serve as a first draft for an organizational strategy document that will ultimately be proposed to the DSA convention in November of 2015 for adoption by the organization.
(This is the second part of a two-part article. Find Part One here)
The Democratic Field: Clinton v. Warren v. Bernie
By Dustin Guastella
The media have already christened Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Clinton’s coronation should come as no surprise, as she has positioned herself as a friend of Wall Street (and Wal-Mart). She advocates fiscal discipline and so-called “privatized Keynesianism” and takes her political advice from “the markets.” She prides herself on her role in gutting welfare, her aggressive foreign policy and her close relationships with Republican leaders. Most damning of all: BENGHAZI! I don’t think I have to convince readers of this blog that she is the epitome of a neoliberal Democrat and her candidacy represents what Tariq Ali calls “the extreme center”.
Many progressive Democrats are frustrated by her supposedly inevitable victory. They want someone to challenge Clinton. Unfortunately, they don't want Bernie. For months now, progressives in and outside the party have called on “populist” Senator Elizabeth Warren to run. And even though Warren has made it clear that she won’t, organizations like MoveOn and Democracy for America (and even to some extent the Working Families Party) have committed to a “draft Warren” campaign. Worse yet, some of the same progressive forces who want her to run don’t necessarily want her to win. They would like to see her “toughen Hillary up” for the general election and pull her to the left on economic issues, but ultimately they are content with a Clinton victory.
By Jared Abbott and Joseph M. Schwartz
DSA’s current organizational statement of principles and strategic vision, “Building the Next Left,” was written almost 20 years ago, when the political and economic situation was different from that of today. It’s time for a new statement, and the 2013 national convention mandated a two-year, organization-wide discussion in preparation for the rewriting.
Our long-term goal continues to be to achieve a democratic socialist society in which institutions—be they political, economic, social, or cultural—are democratically controlled by their participants. On the way from here to there, what are the intermediate steps, the strategy?