By David Duhalde
Today, the Democratic Socialists of America is approximately a third larger in both membership size and the number of community and college chapters than at the start of the Sanders presidential campaign. His candidacy and DSA members’ strong support work both remade the organization. However, new staff and continuing outreach are also playing a real and sustainable role in this growth.
Since 2015, when the Sanders campaign began, DSA’s community-based chapters have nearly doubled. Today, we have 42 locals and organizing committees, up from 26 over a year ago. Last week, YDS admitted its 20th chapter – the largest the youth section has been in nearly two decades.
This is on top of the nearly 2,500 new dues-paying members since Bernie’s race started. At our 2015 convention, DSA had a little over 6,000 members. Now we have over 8,000 members and are still growing. The organization experienced triple the normal monthly membership sign-ups during the Sanders campaign. And this month we sent out over 400 welcome packets to new members as a result of our recent national campaign.
DSA is more ready than ever to welcome our new comrades. In October, we hired Eileen Casterline as our administrative and office coordinator. Our staff of now six employees – totaling five full-time equivalents because two are part-time – is well equipped to activate new members into our chapters and committees. With dozens of people building new chapters, it doesn’t look like we will be slowing down any time soon.
In this era of political tension and opportunity, this country needs a socialist vision that mobilizes both grassroots activism and intellectual discourse required to make sustainable economic and social progress. A more vibrant DSA will mean a stronger progressive movement overall. The Political Revolution will continue with us!
UPDATE: Nearly 1,000 new members joined DSA during the two days following the election!
David Duhalde is deputy director of DSA
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