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!

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 82 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 47 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 19 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.