TALKING SOCIALISM | Back to the Beginning: DSA at 40

In February of 1982, members of the New American Movement (NAM) and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) met in Detroit to join together as DSA. Democratic Left spoke with two of the key players in effecting the merger: Richard Healey (RH) of NAM and Jack Clark (JC) of DSOC.

What was the impetus for the merger? What were the initial steps?

RH: In 1975 or 1976 I was national secretary for the New American Movement. I realized that NAM’s growth and, even more, its ability to act as a socialist organization, was declining. The energy and excitement of the sixties was dying. NAM’s prospects for serious growth or serious impact on the world, particularly in leadership in the women’s movement, looked very grim. We had to ask, “what would it take to survive as a socialist feminist organization, who are our friends in the world, who is sort of like us but not quite the same?” In ’76, or ’77, I called Jack and we had a pleasant conversation.

That led me to want to start to have this bigger discussion.

Read the full article in the Spring 2022 issue of Democratic Left.