The Democratic Socialist Alternative - What Is It?

By Jack Rothman

The following is the first few paragraphs of a paper which was originally presented at the Left Coast Forum and later published by the LA Progressive. While it is not an official DSA publication, we believe it can serve as a useful basis for discussion and reflection, especially with new members. You can read the whole document here.
- Editor

American Capitalism in Crisis       

Americans in large numbers are becoming puzzled and agitated. Every day newspaper headlines blare out that the US is in trouble, together with our Western free market allies. The government doesn’t work, as political divisiveness freezes decision-making. The extent of inequality is “obscene,” to borrow an oft-used description by Bernie Sanders. The elected president comes over as an egomaniac and buffoon. The middle class is in continuing decline, struggling to survive through multiple jobs. The infrastructure is decaying and CEOs dismantle industry, transporting production to more profitable global domains. Racism abounds, punctuated by recurring protests against police brutality. Workers face unemployment, declining wages, reduced benefits, and weakened unions to fight their cause. Homelessness is a continuing, intractable shame. All around us students agonize about being able to afford college and old people worry about whether Social Security will hold firm for them.

At the same time, America’s foreign policy (its imperialist cast ever more obvious) has fomented a sequence of unwinnable wars that have damaged our reputation and drained our treasury—while destroying the lives of so many of our young people and of populations around the world. Increasingly Americans have disturbing doubts about what has been happening to and around them. Why else do almost a hundred million eligible voters fail to go to the polls?  Scholars generally agree that capitalism is in deep crisis and many see it positioned at cliff’s edge.

The dysfunctions and heartaches of capitalism are no mystery. It stands to reason that a greed-based model emphasizing maximum profit accumulation as a philosophical value, together with dog-eat-dog competition, inevitably will cause an amassing of social ills. . . .

Jack Rothman is professor emeritus at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and a member of Los Angeles DSA.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

New Member Call, June 24

June 24, 2018

9pm ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT

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You've joined DSA - Great! Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision. And, most importantly, how you can become involved.

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M4A Chapter Activist Training Call: How to Passing a Medicare for All City Council Resolution

June 30, 2018

Saturday June 30th at 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PST

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In March, Philadelphia DSA members showed up in droves with healthcare workers, community members, and elected leaders to pass a Philadelphia city-wide resolution supporting the Medicare for All Act of 2017 and affirming universal access to healthcare as a human right. This victory showed that in a city where the poverty rate is over 26%, city council leaders learned where to stand when it comes to universal healthcare. To move a national campaign to win Medicare for All, we need to build support from a broad range of cities and municipalities across the country. With some research, planning, and lobbying, you could work with city council members to pass a resolution of support in your city too!

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