Democratic Socialists of America

Democratic Socialists of America
AbbreviationDSA
National DirectorMaria Svart
FounderMichael Harrington
FoundedMay 1982; 38 years ago (1982-05)
Merger ofDemocratic Socialist Organizing Committee
New American Movement
Headquarters75 Maiden Lane, Ste 702, New York City, New York, United States
NewspaperDemocratic Left
Student wingYoung Democratic
Socialists of America
Membership (December 2020)Increase 86,000[1]
Ideology
Political positionLeft-wing
Colors  Red
Senate
1 / 100
House of Representatives
5 / 435
State Governorships
0 / 50
State Upper Chambers
8 / 1,972
State Lower Chambers
32 / 5,411
Territorial Governorships
0 / 6
Territorial Upper Chambers
0 / 97
Territorial Lower Chambers
0 / 91
Website
dsausa.org
Michael Harrington served as founding chairman of DSA from its establishment until his death in 1989.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a socialist and labor-oriented nonprofit organization in the United States, whose members' ideological views range from social democracy to democratic socialism. Its roots are in the Socialist Party of America (SPA), whose most prominent leaders included Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington.[6] In 1973, Harrington, the leader of a minority faction that had opposed the SPA's rightward shift and transformation into the Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA) during the party's 1972 national convention, formed the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). The DSOC, which Harrington described as "the remnant of a remnant", soon became the largest democratic socialist group in the United States. In 1982, it merged with the New American Movement (NAM), a coalition of intellectuals with roots in the New Left movements of the 1960s and former members of socialist and communist parties of the Old Left.[7]

Initially, the organization consisted of approximately 5,000 ex-DSOC members and 1,000 ex-NAM members. Upon the founding of the DSA, Harrington and the socialist feminist author Barbara Ehrenreich were elected as co-chairs of the organization. The DSA does not run candidates on its own ballot line in elections, but instead "fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people." The organization has at times endorsed Democratic presidential candidates, including Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, as well as Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States today.[8][9] As of November 2020, membership grew to more than 85,000[10] and the number of local chapters was 181.[11] As of December 2017, the median age of its membership was 33, compared to 68 in 2013.[12] In November 2018, two DSA members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, were elected to the House of Representatives as Democrats. There they joined a third DSA member, Danny K. Davis. Eleven were elected to state legislatures.[13] In November 2020, Davis, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib were re-elected to the House, and will be joined by two newly-elected DSA members, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman, who will also be seated as Democrats.

History

Dorothy Ray Healey, "The Red Queen of Los Angeles", was an important link from the Old Left of the far-left organized labor oriented Young Workers League of the '30s to the CPUSA during the Cold War and then to the New Left of the Vietnam War protest era.

Formed in 1982 by the merger of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM),[14][15] the DSA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.[16] At its founding, it was said to consist of approximately 5,000 members from the DSOC, plus 1,000 from the NAM.[17]

Dorothy Ray Healey served as Vice Chair in 1982.[18]

The DSA inherited both Old Left and New Left heritage. The NAM was a successor to the disintegrated Students for a Democratic Society. The DSOC was founded in 1973 from a minority anti-Vietnam War caucus in the Socialist Party of America (SPA)—which had been renamed Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA). DSOC started with 840 members, of whom 2% had served on its national board, and approximately 200 of whom came from SDUSA or its predecessors (the Socialist Party–Social Democratic Federation, formerly part of the SPA) in 1973, when the SDUSA stated its membership at 1,800 according to a 1973 profile of Harrington.[19]

Earlier iteration of the DSA logo

The red rose is part of the official logo of the DSA,[20] having traditionally been a symbol of socialism[21] since the 1886 Haymarket Affair and the resulting May Day marches from the 19th century to the current day.[22] It was drawn from the logo of the DSOC, its precursor organization, and previously of the Socialist International, which shows a stylized fist clenching a red rose, the fist being substituted with a bi-racial handshake pertaining to the DSA's staunch anti-racism.[23][24][failed verification] The fist and rose logo had been originally designed by Didier Motchane and others for the new French Socialist Party founded in 1971[25] and was later shared by socialist and labor political organizations worldwide.

In electoral politics, the DSA was very strongly associated with Michael Harrington's position that "the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party". In its early years, the DSA opposed Republican presidential candidates by giving critical support to Democratic Party nominees like Walter Mondale in 1984.[26] In 1988, the DSA enthusiastically supported Jesse Jackson's second presidential campaign.[27] Since 1995, the DSA's position on American electoral politics has been that "democratic socialists reject an either-or approach to electoral coalition building, focused solely on a new party or on realignment within the Democratic Party".[28] During the 1990s, the DSA gave the Clinton administration an overall rating of C-, "less than satisfactory".[29]

The DSA's elected leadership has often seen working within the Democratic Party as necessary rather than forming or support third parties. That said, the DSA is very critical of the corporate-funded Democratic Party leadership.[30] The organization has stated:[31]

Much of progressive, independent political action will continue to occur in Democratic Party primaries in support of candidates who represent a broad progressive coalition. In such instances, democratic socialists will support coalitional campaigns based on labor, women, people of color and other potentially anti-corporate elements. Electoral tactics are only a means for democratic socialists; the building of a powerful anti-corporate coalition is the end.

Electoral positions

In 2000, the DSA took no official position on the presidential election, with several prominent DSA members backing Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader while others supported Socialist Party USA candidate David McReynolds and others voting for Democratic nominee Al Gore.[32]

In 2004, the organization backed John Kerry after he won the Democratic nomination. In its official magazine, the DSA's Political Action Committee said that a defeat for Kerry would be taken as a defeat of the mainstream left, but that “On the other hand, a Kerry victory will let us press onward, with progressives aggressively pressuring an administration that owed its victory to democratic mobilization from below.”[33]

The only resolution on upcoming elections at the DSA's 2005 convention focused on Bernie Sanders's independent campaign for the Senate in Vermont.[34] The organization's 2007 convention in Atlanta featured record-breaking attendance and more participation by the organization's youth wing. Sanders gave the keynote address.[35]

In 2008, the DSA supported Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his race against Republican candidate John McCain. In an article written in the March 24 edition of The Nation, DSA members Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr., along with Tom Hayden and Danny Glover, announced the formation of Progressives for Obama,[36] arguing that Obama was the most progressive viable Democratic presidential candidate since Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.[36]

Following Obama's election, many on the political right[37] began to allege that his administration's policies were "socialistic", a claim rejected by the DSA and the Obama administration alike. The claim led DSA National Director Frank Llewellyn to declare that "over the past 12 months, the Democratic Socialists of America has received more media attention than it has over the past 12 years".[38]

For the 2016 presidential election, the DSA endorsed Sanders as its favored presidential candidate. Sanders’ candidacy prompted a surge in DSA membership among young voters.[39] The DSA made it clear that Sanders' New Deal-inspired program did not fulfill the socialist aim of establishing social ownership of the economy, but considered his campaign to be a positive development in the context of contemporary American politics,[40] since he was a self-identified democratic socialist candidate as well as "a lifelong champion of the public programs and democratic rights that empower working class people".[41] The DSA ran the internally-focused #WeNeedBernie campaign to mobilize DSA supporters for Sanders.[41] After Sanders' defeat in the 2016 Democratic primaries, the DSA called for the defeat of Donald Trump, but did not officially endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[42]

2017 off-year election gains

In the United States elections of 2017, the DSA endorsed fifteen candidates for office, with the highest position gained being that of Lee J. Carter in the Virginia House of Delegates.[43] DSA members won 15 electoral offices in thirteen states, bringing the total to thirty-five (the DSA, having changed its electoral strategy at its national convention, had anticipated picking up approximately five seats): city council seats in Pleasant Hill, Iowa (), Billings, Montana (), Knoxville, Tennessee (), Duluth, Minnesota () and Somerville, Massachusetts ( and ); and the seat in the Virginia House of Delegates contested by Carter, among other offices.[44][45] 56% of the DSA members who ran in this election cycle won compared to the 20% previously in 2016.[45] These results encouraged dozens more DSA members to run for office in the 2018 midterm elections.[11]

2018 elections

In the 2018 midterm elections, the DSA had anticipated seeing the first DSA member in Congress and reaching 100 elected officials nationwide from its strategic down-ballot campaigns.[8] 42 formally endorsed people were running for offices at the federal, state and local levels in 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan; Maine's Zak Ringelstein, a Democrat, was its sole senatorial candidate.[46] Local chapters have endorsed 110 candidates.[47] Four female DSA members (Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee, Elizabeth Fiedler and ) won Democratic primary contests for seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with Innamorato and Lee defeating incumbents.[48][49][50][51] Additionally, Jade Bahr and won their primaries in Montana for the State House[52] and won his primary for the Maine House of Representatives.[53][54] In California, Jovanka Beckles won one of the top two spots in the primary and advanced to the general election for a State Assembly seat in the East Bay.[55]

On June 26, DSA member and endorsee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary against incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district in a surprise upset, virtually guaranteeing her the congressional seat in the heavily Democratic district which spans parts of the Bronx and Queens.[56][57] Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, dismissed the win as "not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else"[58] and argued that it only represented change in one progressive district.[59] Conversely, head of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez proclaimed her to be "the future of our party"[60] whereas the Trotskyist International Committee of the Fourth International critiqued her and the DSA as being a "left" cover for the "right-wing Democratic Party", particularly in regard to foreign policy.[61] Six weeks after Ocasio-Cortez's primary victory, DSA member and endorsee Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic primary in Michigan's 13th congressional district.[62] Both Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib went on to win their respective general elections to become members of Congress. Ultimately, about a dozen members (or non-members who were endorsed) won office in their state legislatures.[63] In the aggregate, the DSA had backed 40 winning candidates at the state, county and municipal levels.[13][64]

Ocasio-Cortez's victory and the subsequent publicity for the DSA led to more than 1,000 new members joining the organization the next day, approximately 35 times the daily average[65] and their largest ever one-day increase in membership.[66] These signups helped boost the organization to 42,000 members nationally in June 2018.[67] That number increased to 50,000 by September 1, 2018.[68]

DSA members elected to Congress in 2018 include Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and incumbent Danny K. Davis. DSA members elected to state legislatures in 2018 include Hawaii Representative Amy Perruso, New York Senator Julia Salazar, and Pennsylvania Representatives Fiedler, Innamorato, and Lee.[69]

2019 off-year election gains

The 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections saw six DSA members elected to the 50-seat Chicago City Council: incumbent Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as well as newcomers Daniel La Spata, Jeanette Taylor, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, and Andre Vasquez.[70] In the 2019 off-year elections, DSA members made further gains by capturing over a half dozen city council seats across the country, such as Dean Preston becoming the first democratic socialist elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in forty years,[71] while Lee Carter won reelection in the Virginia House of Delegates.[72]

2020 elections

Presidential

The DSA endorsed Bernie Sanders after an advisory poll reported 76% of the participating membership approved his endorsement,[73] despite being objections from a part of the DSA membership concerning statements by Sanders on among others slavery reparations.[74] No other candidates were included in the poll. After Bernie Sanders dropped out in April 2020, the DSA explicitly did not endorse the presumptive nominee Joe Biden.[75] Two DSA chapters (Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City) voted to endorse Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.[76]

In May 2020, the failure of the DSA to endorse Biden was criticised by 91 "founders, officers and activists" of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the 1960s in an open letter "to the New New Left From the Old New Left" published in The Nation.[77] Daniel Finn (on Jacobin) responded that in invoking the specter of fascism under a second-term Trump, the former SDSers are engaging in "melodramatic hyperbole" and, on that climate change is not an issue that can wait until 2024 or 2028. "No socialist", he argued, "who campaigned for Bernie Sanders should feel guilty about abandoning [the Democrats] and concentrating on building a movement that is the only real hope for the planet’s future".[78]

Down-ballot

United States Congress

The DSA elected five of its members to the US House of Representatives. Which includes incumbent representatives Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), all of whom were easily re-elected in the general election, after winning their primaries.[79][80] Cori Bush (MO-1) and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) defeated incumbents in their primaries, and also easily won the general elections in their deep-blue districts.[81][82] DSA members were unsuccessful in being elected to the House in West Virginia (WV-2), Mississippi (MS-1) and California (CA-12).[83][84][85][86]

In Tennessee, Marquita Bradshaw won the Democratic nomination for the 2020 Senate election in an upset.[87] Initially not nationally endorsed, she was endorsed by the Memphis-Midsouth chapter of DSA and after her victory in the primary she was also endorsed by the other Tennessee DSA chapters in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Middle and Northeast Tennessee. [88][89] She lost the general election against Bill Hagerty.

State legislatures

The DSA made significant gains in the state legislatures. Over thirty DSA members and endorsed (either nationally or by local chapters) candidates were elected in sixteen states, including five in Pennsylvania and seven in New York[a]. Notable victories were in West Philadelphia, where Rick Krajewski beat the incumbent of 35 years and in New York City where an entire slate of five candidates was (re-)elected to the state house and the state senate.[90][91] All DSA incumbents were re-elected, with the sole exception being Jade Bahr who lost her race for the Montana House of Representatives.[92]

Local races

Dozens of DSA members and affiliated candidates won their races for local offices. Most notably Nithya Raman, endorsed by the national DSA, won her race for Los Angeles city council in district 4[93] and Janeese Lewis George won her race for Washington, D.C. city council ward 4, after winning her primary against incumbent Brandon Todd.[93][94][95] Dean Preston was re-elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.[96] José Garza was elected as district attorney for Travis County in Texas and Gabriella Cázares-Kelly was elected county recorder in Pima County, Arizona[97][98] Other DSA affiliated candidates were elected to city councils in Austin, Oakland, Burbank, Berkeley, Mountain View, South San Francisco, Redwood City, Sacramento, Burlington, Madison, Stoughton and Portland (Maine).[99][100][101][102]

Membership

In the early 1980s, the estimated membership of the DSOC was 5,000, but after its merger with the NAM[103] the membership of the organization grew to an estimated 7,000 in 1987.[104] In 2002, Fox News said there were 8,000 members in the DSA.[105]

Two founding Idahoan DSA members at a big tent event in late September 2018

Following the election of Donald Trump as president, the DSA experienced a rapid expansion of its paid membership. In 2017, the organization passed a resolution calling for the national office to provide the group's paid members with a copy of a financial report in non-convention years. A first such report covering the whole of 2017 and the first half of 2018 was published in August 2018.[106]

Once the coronavirus pandemic arrived in America, the DSA saw another expansion in membership. In May 2020, organizers claimed that the DSA attracted about 10,000 new members since March. And according to DSA leaders, with Senator Bernie Sanders dropping out of the presidential race in April, leftists who were previously aligned with the Sanders campaign moved over to the DSA.[107]

As of November 2020, the organization claims over 85,000 members.[10]

Structure

The DSA is organized at the local level and works with labor unions, community organizations and campus activists on issues of common interest. Nationwide campaigns are coordinated by the organization's national office in New York City. As of 2017, the DSA website listed 85 local chapters, two statewide chapters, 29 Young Democratic Socialist chapters and 63 organizing committees.[108] As of April 2018, 181 chapters were extant.[11]

Governance of the DSA is by the group's National Political Committee (NPC), which since 2001 has been a 16-person body.[109] The DSA's constitution states that at least eight of the NPC's members shall be women and at least four members of "racial or national" minority groups.[110] A 17th vote is cast by the representative of the DSA's youth affiliate who elects one male and one female delegate who split the vote. The NPC meets four times a year.[111]

The NPC elects an inner committee of six, including five of its own members and one representative of the youth section, called the Steering Committee. At least two of these are constitutionally required to be women and at least one person of color, with the National Director and the Youth Section Organizer also participating as ex officio members. This Steering Committee meets bi-monthly, either in person or by conference call.[112]

Student section

The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) is the official student section of the DSA. The YDSA chapters and members are encouraged to pursue and promote a democratic socialist political education and participate in social justice activism, often taking part in anti-war, labor and student-issue marches and rallies. The YDSA publishes a newsletter called The Red Letter[113] and a blog titled The Activist.[114] The organization's national activities revolve around supporting the DSA campaigns and initiatives and organizing various student conferences, usually held in New York City. The YDSA is a full member of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY).[115]

National conventions

The highest decision-making authority of the organization is the organization's national conventions which are held biennially. DSA holds conventions every two years, with the most recent occurring in Atlanta, Georgia.

A student and young adult outreach conference hosted by the YDSA took place on February 13–15, 2015 in Manhattan.[116]

Publications

The DSA publishes Democratic Left, a quarterly magazine of news and analysis. This publication continues in an uninterrupted run from the original Newsletter of the Democratic Left published by the DSOC (the DSA forerunner) since its establishment in 1973. In 2008, DSA members active in the American labor movement founded Talking Union, a blog that focuses on labor politics, working-class struggles and strategies.[117]

Left-wing quarterly magazine Jacobin is considered to be very close to the organization, although there is no official affiliation between the magazine and DSA.[118] In 2014 its editor Bhaskar Sunkara, who is a DSA member, said that Michael Harrington was “very underrated as a popularizer of Marxist thought".[119]

Political ideas of Michael Harrington

Harrington embraced a democratic interpretation of the writings of Karl Marx while rejecting the "actually existing" systems of the Soviet Union, China and the Eastern Bloc. In the 1980s, Harrington said:[15]

Put it this way. Marx was a democrat with a small "d". The Democratic Socialists envision a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning [...] and racial equality. I share an immediate program with liberals in this country because the best liberalism leads toward socialism. [...] I want to be on the left wing of the possible.

Harrington made it clear that even if the traditional Marxist vision of a marketless, stateless society was not possible, he did not understand why this needed to "result in the social consequence of some people eating while others starve".[120]

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the DSA voiced opposition to that nation's bureaucratically managed economy and control over its satellite states.[121] The DSA welcomed Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms in the Soviet Union. Sociologist Bogdan Denitch wrote in the DSA's Democratic Left (quoted in 1989):[121]

The aim of democrats and socialists should be [...] to help the chances of successful reform in the Soviet bloc. [...] While supporting liberalization and economic reforms from above, socialists should be particularly active in contacting and encouraging the tender shoots of democracy from below.

Harrington voiced admiration for German Social Democratic Chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik, which sought to reduce antagonism between Western Europe and Soviet states.[122]

Social democracy and welfare

One older leaflet detailing the group's official ideas, "What is Democratic Socialism? Questions and Answers from the Democratic Socialists of America", states that "no country has fully instituted democratic socialism". Nonetheless, according to the DSA there are lessons to be learned from "the comprehensive welfare state maintained by the Swedes, from Canada's national healthcare system, France's nationwide childcare program, and Nicaragua's literacy programs".[123] The "tremendous prosperity and relative economic equality" established by the social democratic parties of the countries of Scandinavia and parts of Western Europe are lauded.[123]

Policy and ideology

DSA members have views ranging across the spectrum of eco-socialism,[124] democratic socialism,[125] libertarian socialism,[126] and communism.[127]

The DSA regards the abolition of capitalism and the realization of socialism as a gradual long-term goal, therefore the organization focuses its immediate political energies on reforms within capitalism that empower working people while decreasing the power of corporations.[128][129][130][131]

A member of the Socialist International (SI) from its founding in 1982, the DSA voted to leave the SI in August 2017 over its acceptance of what the DSA perceived as neoliberal economic policies.[132]

Socialism

The DSA characterizes its vision of socialism as an economic system based on maximum decentralization that can be supportive of a range of models for social ownership, including publicly owned enterprises and worker-owned cooperatives. The DSA rejects centralized economic planning in favor of a combination of democratic planning and market mechanisms:[133] Because the DSA does not believe capitalism and private corporations can be immediately replaced with socialism, it is favorable to using government regulations and organized labor to make private businesses more accountable to the public interest.[134]

Internationalism

At the 2017 DSA Convention, the group announced its withdrawal from the Socialist International (SI). The resolution passed states that the DSA will "[build] direct relationships with socialist and left parties and social movements around the world that we can learn from and which share our values. [...] Our affiliation with the Socialist International hinders our ability to develop stronger relationships with parties and social movements that share our values and which, in many cases, are bitterly opposed to their country's SI affiliate(s)".[135][136]

At the 2017 convention it also passed a resolution which solidified the DSA's solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people and with the movement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: "Democratic Socialists of America condemns all efforts to deny the right of Palestinians in the United States and their allies to free speech, assembly, and academic freedom".[135] The resolution further condemned Israeli actions, comparing those actions to apartheid.[136] The DSA has shown its solidarity with Ahed Tamimi. The organization called for immediate release from detention. The statement also reiterated the DSA's support for the liberation of the Palestinian people.[137]

In 2016, the DSA issued a statement of solidarity with Venezuela. The statement called the sanctions placed on Venezuela by the Obama administration unjust and illegal. It called for the United States to cease its interference in Venezuelan affairs, saying: "We call on the President and Congress to reverse these actions and stop seeking to undermine the Venezuelan people and their legitimate, democratically elected government".[138]

The DSA opposes United States intervention in the Syrian Civil War. A statement issued in April 2017 called the intervention by the Trump administration both a violation of domestic and international law. In the same statement, the DSA called for protests of Trump's actions and for the lobbying of Congress to halt any further intervention.[139]

At the 2019 DSA Convention, the group announced its support for open borders.[140]

Anti-fascism

Positioning itself as an anti-racist and anti-fascist organization,[141] the DSA connects this fight against fascist groups to its broader struggle against capitalism, saying on its website: "We believe that the terror unleashed on our comrades can be defeated. We also believe that the wider system of racist oppression can be defeated, but only with the ending of the capitalist system which birthed it".[142]

Members have been present at various anti-fascist marches and protests, including counterprotests against the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Boston Free Speech Rally and many other right-wing rallies surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials. The DSA positions itself with other left-wing groups who fight fascism in the United States, including the Industrial Workers of the World and groups involved in the antifa movement.[142] The organization also criticizes the police in the United States for their handling of anti-fascist activities and activities of such groups as Black Lives Matter.[142]

The DSA believes in defending communities from neofascist violence and building a multi-racial working-class movement.[143] This involves deplatforming reactionary and racist groups and events, believing that a united front of left-wing organizations needs to confront these forces wherever they appear.[144]

Labor movement and workers' rights

The DSA has long been a supporter and defender of the labor movement in the United States and has also argued for the increase of international worker solidarity. The DSA believes in a livable minimum wage for all workers, but it notes that this fight only goes so far and is only the first step in building a more humane economic system: "Ultimately the minimum wage only works for those lucky enough to find a job – even a low paying one – and it doesn't really "work" for them, because it doesn't come with health benefits, adequate schools, or enough money to set aside for retirement".[145] The DSA members have been supporters and active participants in fights to increase the minimum wage across the country, including the Fight for $15 protests.[146][147]

The DSA opposes right to work laws, which are seen as an attack on the rights of workers and the historic advances or the labor movement.[148] It is argued that the enactment of these laws reduces the efficacy of collective bargaining agreements, putting workers at a disadvantage.[148] In a statement released in 2014, the organization said: "Such "right to work" laws consciously aim to weaken union strength; they are the main reason why the "right to work" is, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, "the right to work for less".[148]

The DSA argues that financial elites have consciously fought to destroy union power in an effort to solidify the hegemony of markets and corporate power.[149] The organization believes that for an equitable and sustainable economic system that the production of wealth should be under the democratic control of those who produce it.[149] The DSA also emphasizes the role played by immigrants, women, disabled workers, LGBTQIA+ and workers of color in the broader labor movement, believing that all barriers between working people must be broken in order to help create and maintain a broad and unified labor movement.[150]

LGBT rights

The DSA is committed to the rights of the LGBT community, connecting anti-gay prejudice to capitalist exploitation. This includes pushes for equal rights and protections for all those who identify as LGBTQIA+ as well as rights to housing, jobs, education, public accommodations and healthcare. The DSA recognizes that those who are most discriminated against based on identity are disproportionately women and people of color. The organization also seeks to ensure public schools are safe places for LGBTQIA+ students and that students should have total access to facilities that reflect their gender. The DSA supports the protection of same-sex marriages, but it "views marriage as only a first step in recognizing the diversity of human relationships".[151]

Socialist feminism

The DSA aligns itself with the socialist-feminist movement. The organization holds that capitalism is built on white supremacy as well as male supremacy. The DSA maintains that reproductive rights are central to the feminist movement. Connecting democratic socialism and socialist feminism, the DSA says "that birth control and safe abortion should be provided as part of a comprehensive single-payer healthcare program". Believing that electoral politics can only take socialist feminism so far, the organization also says that the emphasis must be on community-based grassroots movements. The DSA further says that socialist feminism must include the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.[152]

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

The DSA is opposed to Zionism and the current form of the State of Israel. Members view them as imperialist and a form of ethnostate.[153][154] The DSA formerly supported Israel throughout much of its history, including socialist and progressive individuals and movements inside the state. In 2018, Jo-Ann Mort, former vice-chair of DSA, described the group as formerly having been "the place to go on the left if you were a socialist and you were pro-Israel".[154] Alternet noted that this has been a dividing issue, with older members "tried to reconcile socialism with Zionism" while younger members recognize the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as a "time-tested means of nonviolent protest" and "the most powerful force to combat Israeli apartheid in the 21st century".[153]

On August 5, 2017, members of the organization passed a motion to formally endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[153][154]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In California: Alex Lee in State Assembly district 25.
    In Connecticut in State House district 6 Edwin Vargas.
    In Montana Danny Tenenbaum in State House district 95.
    In Kentucky for State House district 20 Patti Minter (incumbent).
    In New Hampshire for State House Mark King in Hillsborough 33rd district and Timothy Smith in Hillsborough 17th district (both incumbents).
    In Rhode Island for State Senate district 5 Sam Bell (incumbent) and David Morales in State House district 7
    In Maine Michael Sylvester (incumbent) in State House district 39 and Grayson Lookner in district 37
    In Hawaii for State House District 46 Amy Perruso (incumbent).
    In Massachusetts for the State House 26th Middlesex district Erika Uyterhoeven and for the 27th Middlesex district Mike Connoly (incumbent).
    In New York for the 8th State House Jessica González-Rojas (34th district), Zohran Kwame Mamdani (36th), Emily Gallagher (50th), Marcela Mitaynes (51th), Phara Souffrant (57th) and for State Senate Julia Salazar (18th) and Jabari Brisport (25th).
    In Michigan in 4th State House district Abraham Aiyash.
    In Minnesota Omar Fateh in the 62nd State Senate district and Jen McEwen in the 7th State Senate district.
    In Tennessee in the 90th State House district Torrey Harris.
    In Vermont for the Chittenden 6-4 State House district Brian Cina (incumbent).
    In Washington in State House District 29 Melanie Morgan (incumbent).
    In Pennsylvania in State House district 21 Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee (34th), Elizabeth Fiedler (184th) (all incumbents) and Rick Krajewski (188th). Nikil Saval was elected to the State Senate in district 1.

References

  1. ^ https://twitter.com/demsocialists/status/1334221841481789440?s=21. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "A Social and Economic Bill of Rights". DSAUSA. December 23, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "Bread and Rose DSA".
  4. ^ "Our Statement". DSACommunistCaucus. 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "DSA Libertarian Socialist Caucus".
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Further reading

External links