A History of Democratic Socialists of America 1971-2017: Bringing Socialism from the Margins to the Mainstream

By Joseph M. Schwartz, DSA National Political Committee. Originally posted to DSA’s website July 2017.

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)—and its two predecessor organizations, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM)—had their origins in the early 1970s, at the beginning of a long-term rightward shift of U.S. and global politics. This shift to the right—symbolized by the triumph in the 1980s of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher—somewhat overshadowed the central role these organizations played in the movements of resistance to corporate domination, as well as in today’s ongoing project: organizing an ideological and organizational socialist presence among trade union, community, feminist and people of color and other activists. Continue reading

Burlington’s Political Revolution and Bernie Sanders’ Forgotten Run for Governor

Thesis by Catherine Alison Hill

ABSTRACT

This thesis is the story of Bernie Sanders, the socialist mayor of Burlington and his campaign for governor of Vermont in 1986. The campaign is used as a prism to explore his version of socialist politics and policies within a capitalist state. The policies which Sanders developed in this campaign for lowering property taxes for middle and lower income people, increasing social spending, increasing citizen participation, and raising the taxes for wealthy people and corporations are examined in detail. Sanders claims that city governments can work for poor and working class people; however, this thesis demonstrates the difficulties leftists have in getting elected and in implementing policies whenever they do win. In conclusion, I examine the questions about left participation in the electoral process, the autonomy of the state, and what socialist municipal and state policies should be.

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Bernie Sanders on Capitalism, Radicalism, and How Progressives Win (1987)

The following is a December 1, 1987 interview with then-mayor Bernie Sanders by the Gadfly, a University of Vermont (UVM) student newspaper. It is reproduced for the first time here in full  with addition of relevant hyperlinks, images, and video.

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Gadfly: How did you in your youth view electoral politics, both on a national and on a local level?

Sanders: I don’t think any differently than anybody else in my family, my family was a reasonably non-political family. So the issue: electoral/non-electoral was not relevant. When I was a kid, I think I was reasonably sensitive to the plight of the underdog. Both within the context of classrooms as well as nationally: Black people, Native Americans, these sorts of issues.

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Russian Greens’ Open Letter to Jill Stein

Open letter to Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election

Dear Dr. Stein,

We are writing to you in the spirit of green values and principles, which include fighting for a sustainable future, defending the environment and human rights, and engaging in international solidarity. We are also writing to you as eco-activists, women, and mothers.

In November of this year, you will face an important challenge which will have an impact all over the world, even far away from U.S. borders. As Russian eco-activists, we are following the U.S. presidential election with curiosity and fear. Curiosity for your democratic system and fear for the impact that the result of this election could have on our lives and the lives of our children. Continue reading

Democratic Socialism and World War Two

By Otto Bauer, Theodor Dan, and Jean Zyromski, with a Foreword by Friedrich Adler and a statement by Henry Noel Brailsford (1935). Translation1 and introduction by Ben Lewis.

Introduction

To my knowledge, what follows is the first English-language translation of an anti-war manifesto written by three leading members of the Labour and Socialist International (1923–1940). The translation should be of interest to a contemporary audience for three main reasons. First, it provides a glimpse of the political self-understanding of this significant trend within the workers’ movement, which sought to distance itself from the experience of Bolshevism and to win away workers to its banner. Second, the manifesto offers valuable insights into the geopolitical dynamics of the tumultuous 1930s, with the threat of another generalised global conflict looming ever larger on the horizon. The manifesto’s discussions of such varied phenomena as the history of the Second International, Stalinism, National Socialism and the League of Nations are extremely illuminative (and reveal some of the Socialist and Labour International’s illusions in the latter). Third, nonetheless, the manifesto contains potential insights for the contemporary left in its continued attempts to formulate an anti-war strategy that fights to work most effectively for peace through the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production and its inherent tendency towards war. Continue reading

The Sanders Campaign’s Historic Achievements

  • Won 23 caucuses and primaries, over 13 million votes and 1,846 pledged and unpledged (super) delegates.
  • Raised $222 million almost exclusively through small donations (original goal was ‘only’ $50 million).
  • Received 8 million donations from over 2.5 million donors.
  • Average donation: $27.
  • Average donor’s age: 27 years.
  • Never set up a super PAC.
  • Enlisted the active support of over 250,000 volunteers.
  • Won the most progressive platform in the Democratic Party’s history.
  • Reduced the number of superdelegates by 60% from 715 to 250.
  • Elected 5 state Democratic Party chairs.
  • Helped progressive Democrat Zephyr Teachout win her congressional Democratic primary.
  • Forced Debbie Wasserman Schulz to resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee before the Democratic National Convention officially opened.
  • Inspired 6,700 people to consider running for local, state, or federal office and 16,000 to volunteer for those grassroots campaign efforts.

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Invitation: Socialist Caucus at the DNC

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The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) invites all Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegates, members and friends to the Socialist Caucus, featuring:

  • Rahel Biru, New York DSA, activist in Debbie Medina NY State Senate campaign;
  • Michael Lighty, Political Director of the National Nurses United, key organizer of The People’s Summit;
  • Bob Master, Legislative/Political Director, Communication Workers of America (District 1), Co-Chair New York Working Families Party;
  • Ashley Rodriguez, El Chuco del Norte (El Paso) DSA and Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC; and
  • Maria Svart, National Director of the Democratic Socialists of America.

PLEASE NOTE: Cornell West resigned from the Platform Committee this past Tuesday and won’t be attending the Convention in protest against the Sanders’ campaign not filing minority reports, particularly on Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. We will miss Brother West at the Socialist Caucus, but the other speakers are fantastic (and stay tuned to this page for additional speakers)! Bring your friends and fellow delegates!

This is a free event,

but you must register here.

WHEN:
July 27, 2016 at 1:30pm – 3:30pm

WHERE:
William Way LGBTQ Center
1315 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States
Google map and directions