Want to Elect Socialists? Run Them in Democratic Primaries

By Daniel Moraff. First published by In These Times.

There are currently 7,383 state legislators in the United States. Nine of them are affiliated with the Vermont Progressive Party. One of them is an independent from Alaska who caucuses with the Democrats.

This is the grand sum of the left presence in American state legislatures outside the Democratic Party. There has been a single instance of federal-level victory in my lifetime—Bernie Sanders’s election as an independent to the U.S. House, then Senate, in Vermont. No one else has even come close. And Sanders, after 30 years as an Independent, elected to seek the presidency through the Democratic primary. Continue reading

Number of Elected U.S. Socialists Quintuples Since 2012

votesocialist

The good news is that the number of socialists elected to public office has quintupled since 2012.

The bad news is that this quintupling is a jump from one to five:

  1. Bernie Sanders, independent U.S. Senator from Vermont.
  2. Pat Noble, Socialist Party USA Red Bank Regional High School board of education member.
  3. Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative Seattle city councilmember.
  4. Mike Sylvester, Democratic Socialists of America Maine state legislator.
  5. Julie Ann Nitsch, Democratic Socialists of America Austin, Texas community college trustee.

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Labor for Bernie: Our Revolution Is Just Beginning

By Peter Olney and Rand Wilson. Reposted from the Talking Union blog.

Now that the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has ended with Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee, Bernie Sanders’ campaign for “political revolution” moves to its next phase.

Everyone who supported Labor for Bernie is very proud of the of the unprecedented grassroots effort to rally rank-and-file members on his behalf. A network of tens of thousands of supporters (largely recruited via the Labor for Bernie website and social media) campaigned in nearly every union to get trade union organizations to endorse Bernie.

Labor4Bernie Continue reading

Political Revolution Comes to Brooklyn

By Nicole Disser. Originally published by Bedford and Bowery. Primary day is September 13, 2016.

To meet with Debbie Medina, New York’s first Democratic Socialist candidate for State Senate, I was invited not to a campaign office, nor a public appearance, not even to join her on a campaigning stroll through the 18th district, but to Medina’s Williamsburg apartment– specifically, her dining room table. Here, she advised me not to take off my shoes. “You’ll ruin your socks if you do that,” she laughed.

It became clear to me immediately that Debbie Medina, who’s running her second grassroots campaign to snatch the 18th-district seat in the fall, isn’t at all like other politicians. For one, hers isn’t the sort of practiced, regal charisma that most politicos have– a perfect grin and an unerring face, both provided with extra protection from the elements by a layer of effervescent self-assurance so infectious that if you’re not careful it can briefly paralyze your capacity for doubt, and turn you into a nodding, agreeable dimwit.

Medina is not only an unusual candidate because she’s a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (an organization that recently endorsed her campaign), but because she doesn’t really look like most other politicians (white, old, male) or carry herself like them either– in fact, at a recent public meeting filled with City and State leaders (in such high concentration that the place felt like a police academy graduation ceremony), Medina tiptoed into a seat amidst all the bigwigs and began talking in a low voice, which drew the apparent ire of a woman seated in front of her. True, Medina didn’t really fit in with all the suited-up men around her, but something about the way she didn’t seem to notice or care, and the way her unwitting audience seated ahead might as well have been clutching actual pearls, that made it seem like Medina’s just keeping it real. Continue reading

What America’s Third Parties Teach Us About the Democratic ‘Party’

The debate between Jason Schulman of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Barry Finger of New Politics about how to build a party to the left of the Democratic ‘Party’ in the 21st century has largely ignored actually existing third-party efforts and focused instead on whether it is possible to use the Democratic Party for progressive ends in light of the astounding success of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Schulman along with DSA argue that yes, it is possible — in certain situations under certain conditions — while Finger says no, it is not possible in any situation or under any conditions. For Schulman and DSA, working within the Democratic Party could help lead to the formation of a left-of-Democratic Party wheras Finger contends that all roads within the Democratic Party framework lead inevitably to dead ends.

The best way to settle this debate is to look at the three organizing models provided by America’s actually existing third-party efforts. Continue reading

Meet the Democratic Socialist Running for NY’s State Senate

By Sam Adler-Bell. Originally published by The Nation.

Debbie Medina has lived her entire life south of Grand Street in the Southside of Williamsburg, a historically Puerto Rican neighborhood in Brooklyn. The office of Southside United HFDC — better known as Los Sures — where Medina has worked as a housing organizer for 30 years, is on South Fifth, eight blocks away. When she walks down Driggs Avenue, Debbie can point at the buildings and recite their histories. “This neighborhood has always had some nasty landlords,” she says.

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Debbie Medina (center) with the city council’s Antonio Reynoso (D) (right).

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