Talking Points for DSA's Electoral Work Between May and November 2016

The National Political Committee (NPC, DSA’s elected leadership) is providing the following Talking Points, passed by the NPC on May 20, 2016 to enable DSA members to present a coherent description of how the NPC believes DSA members should engage in electoral work at various points between now and the November 2016 election. DSA members are free to disagree with these talking points, but the NPC asks that DSA members articulate these points as the organization’s perspective and then indicate where the individual member disagrees. Finally, these are just preliminary talking points on the elections; the NPC will issue a formal statement on DSA and the elections directly after the National Conventions this summer.

 

1. Support Bernie through the convention

DSA’s “We Need Bernie” campaign represents a significant democratic socialist contribution to the Sanders movement. DSA is committed to continuing this work through the California and New Jersey primaries and on to the Democratic convention. Bernie winning the nomination would represent a radical transformation of U.S. politics; short of that, his influencing the party platform will give activists demands they can use to pressure whatever administration comes to power. DSA will work diligently to build a more multiracial post-Sanders trend in U.S. politics that fights all forms of racial, gender and class inequality.

2. Organize against a Trump victory 

DSA believes that a Donald Trump presidency would represent a victory for the most reactionary nativist, misogynist, Islamophobic and racist forces in the country. A Trump administration would bring immediate harm to many people and would create conditions hostile to organizing for progressives. Therefore, DSA will work with the emerging labor, immigrant, and anti-racist-led “Dump Trump” movement. For this reason, we do not endorse the #BernieOrBust tactic, though we understand the sentiment behind it. Our perspective can best be summarized as: “Dump the Racist Trump: Build the Left from the Grassroots Up.” 

3. Criticize Clinton administration if elected; support left-wing candidates

DSA has no illusions about the neoliberal, pro-corporate politics of the Clinton wing of the Democrats and will join the left opposition to a Clinton administration if and when it is elected into office. The best way to begin this task is for DSA locals to work this summer and fall, in a visible and organized fashion, for left-wing candidates both within and, where conditions permit, outside the Democratic Party, who have a multiracial mass base and who embody an anti-racist vision of the Sanders/social democratic trend in U.S. politics. 

4. Support Debbie Medina (NY State Senate) and Eric Fink (NC State Senate) 

National DSA will concentrate its scarce organizational resources on two electoral campaigns of DSA members for state office. These campaigns exemplify the post-Sanders anti-racist coalition that DSA prioritized building at its October 2015 convention. DSA will work to help DSA member and open democratic socialist Puerto Rican community activist Debbie Medina, running in the Democratic primary for the New York State Senate on an anti-gentrification and democratic public education platform in the 18th district (Bushwick and E. Williamsburg Brooklyn). We also will support long-time DSAer Eric Fink, running as an independent in the 26th State Senate district in North Carolina as the only opposition to State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R), a major proponent of HB 2, the transphobic “bathroom bill.” National DSA encourages other locals to work for candidates, preferably in multiracial districts whose campaigns focus on issues of racial, gender, and economic justice. 

DSA recognizes that the specific form of electoral organizing DSAers engage in depends heavily on local conditions. Regardless of what tactical forms such organizing takes, however, DSA is committed to building a stronger organization that can influence the public conversation about socialism, while playing a visible anti-capitalist role within mass, anti-racist progressive coalitions. 

Film Discussion: When Abortion Was Illegal

March 26, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, When Abortion Was Illegal (1992, nominated for an Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject) reveals through first-person accounts the experiences of women seeking abortion before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. We are one Supreme Court nominee away from a return in many states to back-alley abortions. Join Amanda Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, to discuss challenges to reproductive justice and abortion access. (Lilith Fund funds abortions for women in need in the Central and South Texas area.) Learn about how to participate in April Bowl-A-Thons to raise funds for low-income women. View the film here for free before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 30, 2017
· 33 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 50 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 30 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. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 53 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 14 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 6 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 9 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. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.