DSA Weekly

Notes on The Party, Reform, Revolution and the Myth of Spontaneity in Rosa Luxemburg

For those of us who think reform and revolution are concepts tied at the hip, Luxemburg is likely the most important Marxist to speak about politics as practiced in Western democratic societies, and that includes even Antonio Gramsci. I won’t bury Lenin, but I do think we as western radicals have more to learn from Red Rosa than from Vladimir, particularly in her invocation of workers councils (just as Lenin did) and in the value of mass strikes, themselves educational opportunities.

Prayer Is Not a Weapon

While the right’s use of Christian prayer to promote an agenda of hatred is perverse, the left’s prayers are oily, often nothing more than an attempt to score points. Prayer is not a rhetorical flourish or a tool of one-upmanship.

After 40 Years, NORMA RAE Still Has a Lot to Teach Us About Organizing

On the 40th anniversary of the classic labor film Norma Rae, this new review takes a look back at how well it presents the union organizing process. We’d love to see it paired with some of the labor films that followed it, such as 9 to 5 (1980), Silkwood (1983),  and Matewan (1987) — or with its most contempoorary peer, Boots…

What Do We Mean by Populism? The “Second” Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s as a Case Study

American history does, however, offer a specimen of what is today called right-wing populism that includes virtually all the 12 characteristics: the multi-million-member northern Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, also known as the second Klan. It argued that the U.S. was intended as and should remain a nation of white Protestants, “Nordics” in Klanspeak. This national destiny was being subverted by immigrants, namely Catholics and Jews. It is possible that a majority of native-born Protestant Americans shared this attitude, so this second Klan did not need to be secret or violent; it operated by promoting its ideas and electing its members to office. It even claimed to be defending democracy, though of a particular type: majoritarian or “plebiscitary” democracy, in which a majority could override minority interests. Its electoral strategy put into office 16 senators, scores of congressmen (the Klan claimed 75), 11 governors, and thousands of state, county, and municipal officials. Journalist Dorothy Thompson, whose early warnings about Nazism—an extreme form of right-wing populism– were influenced by observing the 1920s KKK, pointed out that a dictator “never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship.”

From “Choice” To Justice

The reproductive justice movement represents a more expanded socialist vision for reproductive rights in line with our goal of removing all political and economic barriers to full participation in society. It makes common cause with movements to end police brutality, raise wages, expand public housing, and win Medicare for All. Leaders in this movement such as SisterSong and Forward Together have been defeating oppressive ballot measures, building a base in their communities, and publishing books and key research. Meanwhile, the pro-choice camp has engaged in narrow legal and electoral fights to keep Roe intact. Despite their efforts, there are fewer and fewer clinics, laws regulating abortion grow more burdensome, and anti-abortion protesters have become increasingly violent in their tactics.

Toward a Left Position on Immigration

If all you knew about left-wing positions on immigration was what you read in the mainstream press, you’d have very skewed ideas about a very complicated situation. Donald Trump has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to “defend” our borders against a nonexistent threat and flooded media with false narratives about people who are in fact…

Stay Furious with Democratic Left’s Winter Issue: Socialist Feminism

DSA’s quarterly, Democratic Left, is now online — and it’s hard to express the richness of the Winter Issue on socialist feminism. But Maria Svart’s introduction, below, gave us a good start. Let us know what moves you the most! (Eds.) First, Christine Riddiough reminds us of our forgotten history and points toward a twenty-first century socialist…

Anti-Imperialism and China

Before launching into critiques of China, we must learn to understand the complexity of its situation. Understanding a method of resistance and solidarity is undoubtedly difficult, but perhaps China’s working-class and intellectual communities have already been offering us some models.

The DSA Community

Every DSA chapter should devote a great deal of its time to formalizing democratic process at their regular and general meetings. This means making sure that all members are encouraged to submit resolutions; that agendas are distributed well in advance of meetings; that all resolutions are debated; that parliamentary rules are obeyed; that votes are publicized and respected; and so forth. Formalizing the democratic process gives all members the sense thatthis is simply what we do.