We Won - Now Keep Pushing

As recently as this summer, it looked as if the 2012 national elections had the potential to be nothing short of disastrous. Mitt Romney remained within striking distance of President Obama’s narrow lead, while the GOP seemed poised to increase its far-right majority in the House and threaten the Democratic majority in the Senate.

What a difference a few months makes.

Instead, on the morrow of the election we awoke to a far more favorable prospect. In addition to the reelection of President Obama, the Democrats increased their Senate majority and cut into the Republican majority in the House. Organized labor defeated a major anti-union ballot initiative in California and won a referendum to repeal the anti-union “emergency management” law in Michigan. Voters in four states approved gay mariage through referenda, while voters elsewhere voted against the drug war by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. And instead of preparing to consolidate their power, the Republicans faced the prospect of pro- longed disarray, with its moderate and far-right factions already battling over the future direction of their party. A changing electorate gave lie to the mantra that the U.S. is fundamentally a center-right nation. The coalition of organized labor, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, women (particularly single women), young adults, and progressives that delivered Obama both of his victories is growing and forms the basis of a majoritarian, social democratic political project.

We should reject the argument that demography is destiny, and that current demographic trends portend any specific political outcome. It’s entirely possible that the Right will succeed in maintaining its hegemony by integrating Latinos and Asians into a reconfigured white identity, as was the case with the Irish, Italians, and other ethnic groups who arrived during earlier waves of immigration.

But there’s no question that the large-scale changes underway create openings for our politics that haven’t ex- isted in a long time. For the first time in years, it feels as if the tide of history is slowly but surely moving with us, not against us. DSA is working hard to take advantage of these opportunities. This year, local activists around the country held numerous public events marking the 50th an- niversary of the publication of Michael Harrington’s The Other America. In collaboration with the National Political Committee, locals have also begun to organize GET UP trainings to give our activists the intellectual tools they need to understand our economy and effectively commu- nicate the socialist alternative. And in the coming months, DSA will roll out a new website and social media strategy to complement our work on the ground and bring us into the 21st century.

Still, the challenges that we face are great – and im- mediate. Just days after the election, President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress signaled their willingness to agree to massive changes in Social Security and Medicare as part of a so-called “Grand Bargain” over taxes and entitlement spending. DSA activists in locals around the country need to mobilize against the proposed cuts and to demand tax increases on the wealthy.

We’ve said it many times in this space over the last few years, but it bears repeating. Our role is to push President Obama and Congressional Democrats hard to stop them from shredding what remains of our meager welfare state. The election didn’t signal an end to this battle, but rather the opening of a new and potentially dangerous phase. President Obama will never have to stand for reelection again, raising the possibility that he will sell out his base in a “Nixon goes to China” moment.

We can’t let that happen. This issue of Democratic Left focuses on how we can stop it. Read it, and keep pushing!

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 51 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 18 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 4 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.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 12 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.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 4 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.