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. 

What Is DSA? Training Call

May 30, 2017
· 57 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 95 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 27 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.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

June 13, 2017
· 14 rsvps

Join Bill Barclay, Chicago DSA co-chair, and Peg Strobel, National Political Committee and Feminist Working Group co-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. 9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 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 Bill Barclay, chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 5 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.