As we approach our first meeting of our 2019-2021 term, we, the National Political Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America, want to come together to acknowledge the political moment in which we find ourselves.
Currently, the Democratic Party is inching towards alignment around the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Democrats holding power only responded to Trump’s actions because they attempted to impact others in the capitalist class, particularly Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic front-runner for 2020. Meanwhile, corporate-owned media outlets attempt to erase democratic socialists like Representative Rashida Tlaib, who has been calling to “impeach the motherf**ker” since the day she was elected. As socialists, it’s imperative that we weave together the complex dynamics between supporting the candidates we’ve elected, while articulating a positive vision for the world we’re building — and welcoming the hatred of the Establishment who would both take credit for our work and try to dilute it beyond recognition.
Painfully, the Trump administration’s exacerbation of the existing immigration system — his attempts to secure indefinite detention, to remove deportation deferment for those with life-threatening medical conditions, to cage children and families, to deny visas to immigrants without healthcare, and to uphold a “public charge” rule for those in need — was not enough for the Democratic establishment to fight for our immigrant communities.
The Trump administration has also come out against Medicare for All, with an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop proposals to improve Medicare Advantage, a plan administered by private insurers. His order includes very little specific policy, and yet, comes out against one of the most comprehensive plans, Medicare for All, as laid out by Bernie Sanders. As socialists, we fight for Medicare for All, not only because it is a single, public, universal health insurance system, managed by the federal government, that would cover everyone, regardless of their employment or immigration status, but also because of its liberatory potential, freeing people from dependence on their employer for healthcare, and dealing a massive blow to the private health insurance industry, which profits from denying people care.
LGBTQ rights are also under attack. On October 8, SCOTUS will hear arguments in three cases, including R.G. & G.R. HARRIS FUNERAL HOMES V EEOC & AIMEE STEPHENS. Aimee was fired by her employer for transitioning in the workplace, leaving her and her wife without stable income and healthcare. While the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Aimee was unlawfully fired and that federal sex discrimination laws protect transgender people, the case was appealed. This case risks the rights of transgender people and along with the two others, the whole LGBTQ community. As socialists, we fight for the right to economic self-determination against a system in which our access to the labor market affects our ability to secure stable housing, food, medical care, and so many other human rights controlled by capital. We recognize the fight for transgender rights is intricately intertwined with the fight for economic justice we wage as anti-capitalists.
We are seeing the way injustice unfolds in the streets and in our homes, as people like Botham Jean are shot in their own apartments by the police. Despite a conviction, the light sentence in comparison to the much longer terms typically given to Black and brown people evidences what little value this country’s “justice” system places on people of color. As water protectors face 110 years in prison for protecting Indigenous rights, we remain resolute in our conviction that this police and prison system has no place in a socialist future.
We do not believe that the mere impeachment of Trump will address these injustices. It will not improve the lives of millions of working class people who make enormous sacrifices just to make ends meet. Though this fight was started by “the squad,” as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib have come to be known, their calls for impeachment had long been ignored by the political elite until one of their own was targeted by the Trump administration’s agenda. As such, we don’t believe the impeachment process will do anything to bring working class people into the political process.
Only people powered movements can do that, and we believe change is coming.
People have come together to support UAW workers, at the forefront of the largest private-sector strike in over a decade, against the corporate greed of GM. They have seen the readiness of SEIU 73 park workers to go on strike and fight for better working conditions, as well as education workers, like the teachers of the Chicago Teachers Union and the support staff of SEIU 73, who are prepared to withhold their labor in order to secure better learning conditions for their students. More than 1 million people have contributed to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Millions of people across the globe, led by the young, many of whom are not even voting age yet, have taken to the streets to demand immediate action addressing the climate crisis with the speed and urgency required.
The American working class is hungry for change and ready to fight for it.
As the Democrats push for an impeachment, we believe it’s essential that DSA continues to fight as and with the working class for demands that will shift power away from the 1%. We know that both Nancy Pelosi and Trump are a part of this ruling elite. Though they might find themselves at odds now, in the end they will both be against the demands of the working class and any platform that unites them. As the largest socialist organization in this country, we will continue to fight against the whole capitalist class by campaigning for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, improved public education for all ages, and Bernie Sanders.