We live in dangerous times. Joe Biden won the election, but the results were far, far too close, and he’s still deporting people, dropping bombs and hiding behind procedure. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s fascist base and its puppet masters have captured much of the Republican Party, as demonstrated by a study last fall showing that the GOP now shares key authoritarian characteristics with Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and Viktor Orban’s Fidesz. Republicans are already advancing over 100 bills in 28 states to erode voting rights and introducing bills in dozens of states to criminalize protest.
Not just Republicans, but also neoliberals in the Democratic Party are forcing schools and restaurants to open before vaccines are distributed, and the 500,000 COVID deaths are joined by untold suffering as millions remain unemployed. The crisis in capitalism is killing us, and the political crisis threatens to finish the job.
What is a socialist to do?
When New York City locked down a year ago, the national office sent headquarters staff home for what we thought would be a few weeks. Chapters ended in-person events. Members risked their lives every day at work or struggled at home with kids or cramped conditions and bills piling up.
But you kept organizing. It’s what socialists do.
Fighting for workplace PPE and hazard pay, expanding or building mutual aid networks in response to COVID or weather disasters, pivoting electoral and legislative work from canvassing to phone banking, taking to the streets for an end to racist police violence and for public energy production, and holding chapter education and democratic decision-making events over Zoom: These are but a few of the ways DSA members are still building the mass movement we need to win. Just looking back at our collective work this past year is mind-boggling.
Organizing is how we helped beat back the white supremacist threat in the last few months. It’s how we’ll consolidate left gains and strengthen solidarity across our differences as we take on the capitalist class. And it’s how we’ll build multiracial working-class power for the long term, as when Black and brown essential workers won historic raises and learned solidarity through the Hunts Point strike in January.
The legendary leader of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, may she rest in power, always said to ask yourself this when considering a course of action: “Does it unite us? Does it build power? Does it make us stronger?”
That’s why we are going all-in this spring to fight for the pro-union Protecting the Right to Organize Act. Reach out to your local chapter now. It is never too late to take that first step!