Trump destroyed the Rojava project
By Dave Anderson - October 17, 2019
When Turkey invaded Syria, there was almost universal condemnation
across the political spectrum. But the most unique protesters are the
anarchists all over the planet who say that a new egalitarian society
is being created in Rojava, the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in
Shortly after the invasion, an international campaign called “Rise Up
For Rojava’” was formed (riseup4rojava.org/). The campaign declares:
“Seven years ago a revolution began in Rojava that was to radically
change the lives of millions of people. The Kurds liberated themselves
from the dictatorship of the Assad regime and began to organize
themselves in self-governed councils, communes and cooperatives. In
particular, the autonomous organization of women became the driving
force behind the social revolution. Over the course of the struggle
against the Islamic state, a unique multi-ethnic and multi-religious
project developed, which today guarantees the peaceful coexistence of
millions of Kurds, Arabs and Christians. The Democratic Federation of
Northeast Syria is a unique example of the vision of a peaceful and
democratic Middle East and has therefore always been a thorn in the
side of both regional powers and imperialist states.”
The Rojava project is the brainchild of Abdullah Öcalan, the founder
of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Turkish based party adopted
authoritarian Marxist Leninist politics and initiated a campaign of
armed conflict against the Turkish government in 1984 in order to
create an independent Kurdish state. The PKK attacked government
forces as well as civilians.
A contribution to the discussion of the role of labor and the participation of DSA in labor.
Without a Clear Strategy for Labor, Socialists are Falling Behind Workers, Ryan Mosgrove,
Also; In These Times has 3 articles by DSA members on union organizing.
IN the November issue. Will be on line in November. One is by Bill Fletcher Jr.
Amid Reports of Civilian Deaths, Sanders Condemns Trump for 'Giving Turkish Army Permission' to Slaughter Kurds in Syria
"I strongly condemn Trump's reckless decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to their fate at the hands of Turkish President Erdoğan."
by Jake Johnson, staff writer
Syrian Arab and Kurdish civilians flee amid Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019. (Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)
As Turkish troops invaded northeastern Syria and launched airstrikes that reportedly killed at least seven civilians, Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement late Wednesday condemning U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon Kurdish forces and pave the way for Turkey's military assault.
"I strongly condemn Trump's reckless decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to their fate at the hands of Turkish President Erdoğan," said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish army permission to invade."
"This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish army permission to invade."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Trump on Sunday abruptly announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, a decision that was met with outrage and warnings of a deadly Turkish invasion.
On Wednesday, that invasion began as Turkey began bombarding Kurdish targets in Syria, forcing civilians to flee in panic.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) warned in a statement Wednesday that Turkey's assault "will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded."
Sanders said the U.S. president "should not make significant national security decisions impulsively, by tweets after a single phone call," and urged Congress to assert its constitutional authority over foreign policy.
"Kurdish fighters have fought and died in our joint effort to eliminate ISIS," said the Vermont senator. "They should not be abandoned in this way. Congress must assert its important responsibility over foreign policy and serve as a check on our unstable president."
After Turkey launched its assault on Wednesday, Trump issued a tepid statement denouncing the invasion as a "bad idea."
As The Guardian reported late Wednesday, "activists and observers said at least seven civilians had been killed so far."
"There were also early reports of civilian casualties in border towns hit by shelling," according to The Guardian. "Pictures and video shared on social media showed wrecked buildings and bodies in the rubble."
Reposted from Common Dreams.
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
The fight for democracy can’t be left to the centrists.
Reprinted from In These Times.
BY Max B. Sawicky
Democracy is not merely an identifier or assertion of bona fides for socialists. It is an operational requirement, both to attain power and to employ it.
If you’re trying to build a mass political organization while ignoring the political issue everybody in the country is talking about, you’re doing it wrong.
Why in the world not impeach Donald Trump? You’re a socialist and you don’t want to see him impeached? Really? Back in April—admittedly, before the latest Biden-Ukraine revelations—my friend Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of the socialist magazine Jacobin, made the case against impeachment. He acknowledged that Trump is reprehensible in the extreme, yet dismissed impeachment as “squandering a historic opening to advocate for social reforms in exchange for some political theater.”
I disagree. This career draft dodger, tax evader, adulterer, debt-defaulter, chiseler, four-flusher and all-around gonif —Donald Trump, our fucking president—is the poster boy for everything we despise. And the entire Republican Party has stood foursquare behind him from the beginning.
Impeachment formalizes and emphasizes that the current administration and all its works—its legislation, its deregulation, its judicial appointments—are fundamentally illegitimate. Impeachment does not only challenge current authority; it challenges its genesis.
A distinction between the current priorities of the Left—Medicare For All, the Green New Deal, etc.—and impeachment is illogical. For the foreseeable future, if not indefinitely, democratic socialists will have to work within the framework of the U.S. state. For this to be feasible, the State’s democratic processes need to be preserved, if not strengthened. We need to attack the legitimacy of the administration in order to defend our increasingly embattled democratic institutions. We need democracy to pursue all our priorities in social reform.
Democracy is not merely an identifier or assertion of bona fides for socialists. It is an operational requirement, both to attain power and to employ it.
Impeachment is not a substitute for a social justice agenda, or a positive electoral outcome in 2020. It is a facilitator. Immediately, it preoccupies the Trump administration and limits the damage it would do on other fronts. It dramatizes a wealth of detail on the administration’s malfeasance. It strengthens the case for whoever opposes Trump, against any Republicans who support him, and against any Democrats who fail to prosecute the case against him energetically.
There is a risk that the impeachment proceedings will be narrow and legalistic, and even worse, that they will feature neoconservative attacks on Trump for failing to support Ukraine against Russia. As with every other issue, the debate within the Democratic caucus in Congress on how to do impeachment will be ideological.
It is up to the Left to promote a progressive frame for impeachment. The chief prospective victim in the Ukraine affair was not Ukraine—it was our own democracy. The degradation of our democratic institutions, from voter suppression to gerrymandering to the stonewalling of Merrick Garland, is the source of Republicans’ current political advantage and prevents urgent reforms supported by strong majorities of the public.
A Race-Class Narrative About Immigration
Encouraging people to see their fates as linked across color lines is critical to defeating dog whistling and its mass violence. The race-class research suggests that efforts to broaden the “we” will be most successful when those not at risk of deportation come to see how fearmongering imperils their own well-being. When people perceive that messages of racial threat are strategic lies that harm them and their families, they’re more likely to reject these fear stories entirely and to recognize their shared humanity with those they’re told menace them. The following box offers a race- class narrative on immigration.26 The one after that dissects the message into its component parts, offering a pocket summary of a typical race-class message.
The Narrative About Immigration
Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children. But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists are putting our families at risk. They rig the rules to enrich them- selves and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while they defund our schools and threaten seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Then they turn around and point the fin- ger for our hard times at new immigrants—even tearing families apart and losing children. When we reject their scapegoating and come together across racial differences, we can make this a nation we’re proud to leave all of our kids—whether we’re white, Black, or brown, from down the street or across the globe.
Anatomy of a Race-Class Narrative
Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children.
Discuss race overtly and as including everyone. Beyond physical features, this can be done by invoking the differences the Right seeks to racialize, including national origin and religion. As a matter of general messaging advice, start with an affirmative value statement rather than a problem.
But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists are putting all of our families at risk.
identify the actual source of threat to working families, taking care to explain motives, even through simple terms like “greedy.”
They rig the rules to enrich themselves and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while they defund our schools and threaten seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Excerpts from Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America.
Ian Haney López. 2019. See post below and opportunity to download the chapter.
CAN PROGRESSIVES BEAT TRUMP'S WAR ON IMMIGRANTS IN 2020 ?
'A Just Society': Ocasio-Cortez Unveils Legislative Package to Tackle American Poverty and Inequality"It's a visionary plan that makes moral and economic sense, and most importantly, is informed by what's moving in communities all around the nation."
Jessica Corbett, staff writer
A road map to neutralizing the role of racism as a divide-and-conquer political weapon
Ian Haney López believes that Trump wants 2020 voters debating whether he is a "racist" — it's his strategy for winning.
In 2014, he published Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. In the book, he named and explained how politicians used coded racial appeals as part of a strategy of racial divide-and-conquer to help the 1% get even more powerful.
His new book, Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America, explains how the political exploitation of coded racism has evolved under Trump — and suggests an evidence-based approach on how to beat it.
The evidence comes from the two-year race-class narrative research project involving focus groups and national polling.
The takeaway is that naming racism as a weapon of the rich and calling for coming together across racial lines proved to be the most effective way to defang the Right’s racial fear narratives and to build broad cross-racial support for racial justice as well as for economic populism.
Download Chapter 10: 20/20 Vision: Comparing the Left’s Possible Responses to Anti-Immigrant Dog Whistling here.
US Sanctions Are Designed to Kill
BY KEVIN CASHMAN ,CAVAN KHARRAZIAN,
US sanctions are killing ordinary Iranians by the thousands. Through its control over the world banking system, America’s sanctioning power flouts international human rights law and poses a threat to the world. Jacobin.
prospect.org/laborThe American Prospect has a new website. They have a specific link for labor issues.
An interesting series of articles in Jacobin.,
The AFL-CIO this week launched a website parodying Scalia's resume. "After years of quashing and eroding the rights and safety of working people, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be nominated to lead the Department of Labor,"
Right now, nearly 50,000 UAW workers in 19 states are striking against General Motors. I’m sending this statement and support suggestions from our DSA Democratic Socialist Labor Commission. Read on for more about the strike and how you can help!
DSA National Director
Statement from the DSA Democratic Socialist Labor Commission:
DSA stands with the United Auto Workers on strike against General Motors
Our union brothers and sisters at GM are the poster children of the slogan “They got bailed out, we got sold out.” While GM has enjoyed record profits, $11.8 billion last year, the company continues to squeeze concessions from workers. As socialists we know that the employer’s profits come from our labor.
That is why we are heartened to see UAW workers declaring that they are ready to fight back. We stand in solidarity with them until they are victorious. We stand with them in their fight to beat back healthcare takeaways, end the two-tier wage system, and secure real wage increases.
This strike connects deeply to two of DSA’s major campaigns: Medicare For All and building a democratic, militant union movement. One of the major proposed takeaways is around healthcare. Medicare For All is vital not only because healthcare is a human right but because Medicare for All would eliminate one of the major burdens in contract negotiations. GM is wielding health insurance as a cudgel to scare workers to accept concessions and the two-tier status quo. Winning M4A will strip such power from the capitalist class.
The reports about the preparation for the strike are a textbook example of why we need democratic unions. In the lead-up to the strike members were not included in decisions; there were no informational pickets, no open bargaining, and no community outreach. We hope that this strike will help workers build a vibrant reform movement in the UAW and rebuild a union that is able to fight against the corporations.
Any problems with the UAW officialdom do not diminish the importance of this strike, though. Members are standing strong. DSA will stand in solidarity with the workers until they win!Here is how you can help:
See also: What’s at Stake in the General Motors Strike
Only a strong movement can put the management of capitalism on the political agenda.
Nelson Lichtenstein September 20, 2019, Dissent.
Meyerson on TAPWhy the Striking Autoworkers Need to Win Big. Anyone who understands the need for the United States to reduce its stratospheric levels of economic inequality and to give its workers a boost into the middle class has to be rooting for the United Auto Workers members on strike now at General Motors. Those workers sacrificed a good share of their incomes to help GM weather the 2008 financial collapse, as Mike Elk reported yesterday at prospect.org, and now that the company has record profits, totaling more than $30 billion during the past three years, their demands—to reopen factories whose work GM has offshored; to provide full pay, hours, and benefits to the workers whom GM has relegated to a second tier or to the status of temp—are more than just.
Perhaps even more important to the nation at large, though, a successful strike at GM would continue to signal the return of the most important income equalization tool in American history: the strike. Over the past 18 months, teachers, hotel workers, and telephone company workers have waged and won major strikes, after decades in which the strike had almost disappeared from the nation’s economic landscape. Low unemployment rates embolden workers, but there’s nothing like a string of successful strikes to embolden them more. (And all praise to the telecom workers’ union—the Communications Workers of America—for persisting in waging, and winning, strikes over the past decades when most other unions hadn’t done the work required to strike and win.)
When GM was the nation’s largest employer, and when unionization rates were so high that even non-union workers got raises so their employers could keep them from defecting to unionized firms, the UAW’s strikes at GM had far greater impact on the nation’s economy than today’s strike can have. America’s mid-20th-century middle-class majority was largely the creation of the more than 300 major strikes the nation experienced every year during the 1950s. We’re a long way from that level of broadly shared prosperity now, but one indispensable way to begin to re-create it is to roll the union on. Ergo: Go, UAW! ~ HAROLD MEYERSON
PUBLISHED IN JACOBIN. Aug.26, 2019
If we're going to revive the labor movement, we need a strategy that's rooted in socialist principles but flexible enough to adjust to changing conditions in the US workforce…
DSA is perhaps the only organization on the US left right now that could imagine supporting its members to take on such work in a systematic way. The organization could even, for example, explore purchasing or renting homes near targeted facilities and providing free or subsidized rent for salts. I have very modestly supported DSA salts to buy a car that they share, but we can be much more thorough in our support of people willing to take on this grueling, vital work.
We should also be actively assessing the willingness of existing left-led unions — even ones where the target industry or company is not a perfect fit — in their willingness to support such efforts. That is, we don’t just need to wait until new activists who are targeting unions for takeover have success — there are already unions that have a vibrant, left-wing, democratic culture.
Leftists can build relationships with left-led unions. To the point above, some unions already experience the vibrant and militant internal life that is the goal for many on the Left to achieve when they get jobs on the shop floor of existing bargaining units. We could be building relationships with such unions to assess opportunities for collaboration — on new organizing, working-class legislative goals (like the new rent laws in New York), solidarity in the midst of pitched industrial battles, and much more.
Leftists can support or build workers centers. Workers centers are one of the more creative organizational forms generated in the recent decades of general labor movement decline. At their inception, they did not aim to negotiate collective bargaining agreements like traditional unions, but rather they organized low-wage workers to fight the boss, often using wage-and-hour violations as leverage...
This is especially important with respect to the looming environmental crisis — if we cannot pivot the bulk of the existing labor movement to a coordinated approach to transitioning to a sustainable economy, there will be no labor movement because there will be no humans to populate it.
Leftists can run campaigns and win elections. If it weren’t for Bernie Sanders bringing democratic socialism to the millions through a Democratic Party presidential primary, we would not have the current scale of organized left to even host the discussion we’re having right now about labor strategy. There are stakes to this debate in part because there is an organization with nearly sixty thousand members that could really take a crack at deep and serious involvement in the labor movement. At this level alone, elections matter and should be understood as an essential tactical element of left labor strategy.
Projects like Labor for Bernie suggest further possibilities — leverage high-profile elections to build connections with and among regular workers who have politics to the left of their unions. Such projects are another potential path to identifying and cohering shop floor leaders, even if they don’t fit the typical mold.
Read the entire piece on Jacobin.
reposted with permission,
Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect
At its biennial convention last weekend in Atlanta, DSA (which, with 56,000 members, is now the largest American socialist organization in the memory of anyone under 80) passed a headline-grabbing resolution declaring that it would not endorse any Democrat save Bernie Sanders in next year’s November presidential runoff.
The vote on the resolution was actually fairly close, though support for Sanders in the primaries is overwhelming within the organization. And its proponents provided a number of qualifications and caveats, making clear that DSA members are free to campaign for the eventual Democratic nominee if they so choose, and that in 2016, DSA locals did campaign against Trump (and members for Hillary) in swing states.
Still, inasmuch as DSA locals work closely with immigrant-protection groups, and the national organization has called for the abolition of ICE, it could be difficult to explain to undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, facing deportation and family separation, why the group won’t join its allies in a forthright fight to dump Trump.
However, I find myself of two minds in assessing DSA’s position. As a member of the organization and one of its predecessors (the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee) for the past 44 years, I’m embarrassed and regretful that my organization hasn’t grasped the primacy and urgency of joining, in a public and full-blown way, the battle to rid the world of Trump. In 1944, the U.S. Communist Party effectively, if temporarily, self-abolished so its members could support Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election bid, as part of the fight against fascism. To be sure, that move came at the behest of Joseph Stalin, whose nation was allied with ours in the existential battle against Hitler. But for all its myriad and ultimately fatal flaws, and granting that its self-abolition was a typical CP overreaction, the U.S. Communist Party understood the gravity of the fascist threat. Why not DSA?
That’s the reaction of my DSA mind. But partly through my long-ago work with DSOC, which led to my political work for some left-wing unions, which led to my own work for left-wing candidates and causes, I also seem to have a political-consultant mind. And that mind tells me that the eventual Democratic presidential nominee needs the formal endorsement of DSA like a hole in the head. Where DSA is strong and where socialist and progressive candidates can win—generally, in cities with substantial populations of millennials, immigrants, and minorities—a DSA endorsement can make all the difference, producing scads of the most tireless precinct walkers and dedicated phone-bankers. It has made that difference in New York, Chicago, and any number of smaller cities. In nearly every state, and certainly in the nation at large, however, a DSA endorsement would be one more item on the bill of particulars the Republicans would hurl at the Democratic nominee in hopes of revving up more of their right-wing base. In every encounter with reporters, the nominee would be pressed about DSA’s endorsement. Just as well, says my consultant mind, that DSA takes a pass—particularly since I have no doubt most of my fellow members will end up helping that Democratic nominee in states where that help matters.
Read the essay
Media coverage of the DSA convention.
The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/06/democratic-socialists-us-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-bernie-sanders
DSA convention and North Star made the New York Times.
I was present for a speech Harrington gave to the 1983 convention of the UAW where he told delegates their enemies weren’t Mexican workers but the companies that pitted workers against each other. The delegates were largely silent at first, but as Harrington’s logic unfolded and his passion exploded, they raised the roof with their cheers.
Harrington died in 1989, just sixty-one years old. He did not succeed in building a mass socialist organization — that would require two decades more of capitalism’s erosion of democracy and economic security, the crash of 2008, and the elite recovery that followed. But no one who’d read Mike’s writing or heard him speak could be completely surprised at the instability and cruelty of capitalism, nor by the current democratic-socialist surge against the devastation that capitalism has wrought.
In a time when America and the world were moving rightwards, Harrington kept the socialist flame burning, and fitted the socialist idea to the global challenges of the twenty-first century.
Maurice Isserman, Maxine Phillips and I each have Mike stories up on Jacobin's website today:
The North Star Caucus is a group of DSA members, democratic socialists, who share a broad outlook around the political questions that face DSA and the broader US left. We are not a faction, a group wanting to take over DSA and remake it in our own image. See our statement of principles.
We believe that defeating Trump and the Republican agenda is the most pressing
political priority facing the U.S. left today.
North Star Endorsed DSA Convention Resolutions
There is a large number of resolutions proposed for discussion at the 2019 DSA Convention, many of which have merit. In particular, North Start urges votes for the following four resolutions:
Resolution #5: Defense of Immigrants and Refugees
Resolution #13: Defeating Trump, Trumpism, and Electing Democratic Socialists and Progressives.
Resolution #27: Proposed 2019-2020 National Priorities for DSA.
Resolution #34: Ecosocialist Green New Deal Priority.
North Star Endorsed NPC Candidates
Based on discussions both within North Star and with other DSA members, North Star endorses the following candidates for the 2019 - 2021 NPC. They are listed in order of our recommended ranking: Rank order is important.
1. Russell Weiss-Irwin
2. Maikiko James
3. Timothy Zhu
4. Abdullah Younus
5. Hannah Allison
6. Kristian Hernandez
7. Theresa Alt
8. Jose A. Perez
9. Blanca Estevez
10. Dave Pinkham
11. Natalie Midiri
12. Marsha Niemeijer
13. Marianela D’Aprile
14. Megan Svoboda
15. Rachel Zibrat
16. Daniel Merrill
An appeal by the DSA National Immigrant Rights Working Group
The National Immigrant Rights Working Group (NIRWG)of the Democratic Socialists of America calls on DSA members and all working people to mobilize in support of actions such as the Lights for Liberty Vigils to End Human Detention Camps on July 12, the demonstrations organized in San Diego and elsewhere by the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps and the July 13 Action to End Criminalization, Detention, & Deportations in Chicago.
Trump's attacks on the human rights of the most vulnerable has once again galvanized the nation's conscience.
We should make this the beginning of a concerted drive against immigration detention and child abuse, as well as the unjust immigration system that has empowered Trump's racist attacks as well as the campaigns to jail and deport the undocumented of past administrations.
We urge our members to call for an end to family separation, to concentration camps, to immigration detention, to criminalization, to deportation. The real solution to the immigration crisis is legalization of the undocumented as permanent residents ("green card" status) with the same rights as all other immigrants, including the right to apply for citizenship.
NIRWG Steering Committee
July 3, 2019
The Immigrants Rights Working Group Steering Committee asks DSA members and friends to distribute this statement widely through social media, web sites and mailing lists. We urge DSA bodies, such as chapters, steering committees, working groups and convention delegations to discuss and sign on to this statement at http://bit.ly/SupportDSAImmigrationAppeal.
A new issue of the DSA publication Socialist Forum has been posted with an emphasis on electoral strategy. Here. https://socialistforum.dsausa.org/issues/spring-summer-2019/electoral-politics-class-formation-and-socialist-strategy/
The editors selected articles that seem not to notice that Latinos participate in politics and there is a pivotable election in 2020. The Latino vote is growing rapidly in key states. 44% of Latino voters are millennials. A second item missing from this article and the selection of articles is a recognition of how important the election of 2020 is to communities of color.
I had proposed a piece for Socialist Forum based upon the work of the North Star caucus with such an anti-racism focus. Here is our argument in brief.
"Our first priority in this election is the electoral and political defeat of Donald Trump, the Trumpist Republican Party and all of the authoritarian forces aligned with them. The white nationalist authoritarianism of Trumpism poses a ‘clear and present danger’ to working people and their unions, to people of color, to women, to LGBTQIA people, to immigrants, to members of minority religious faiths and to democracy itself. Trumpist victories in the 2020 elections would mean the consolidation of an authoritarian state with the most reactionary politics, the expansion of imperial aggression abroad and the collapse of the political space for democratic and left forces at home. The defeat of Trumpism is thus a strategic imperative, the most important political task of our time.
Given the central role of racism, white nationalism and bigotry against immigrants and Muslims in the political agenda of Trumpism, and the echoes of the most shameful racist moments of past U.S. history in Trumpian discourse, a failure to prioritize its defeat would be nothing less than the abandonment of the struggle against racism. "
See here. https://www.dsanorthstar.org/blog/proposed-resolution-defeating-trump-trumpism-and-election-democratic-socialists-and-progressives
The editors selected articles that seem not to notice that Latinos participate in politics and there is a pivotable election in 2020.
A similar argument has been made by members Bill Fletcher and Carl Davidson in Portside, ITT, and a number of publications.
They, too proposed a piece for Socialist Forum and it was also not accepted for publication.
A strategy for DSA and the left needs to look closely at the potential Latino vote. In 2018 the Latino participation was a relatively low 44%. This vote exists in states critical to the Democratic primary and any Democratic candidates victory. Latinos make up 28 % of Nevada, in Texas, Latinos are 39.6 % of the population, in California 39.3 %, and 21.7 % in Colorado. See Pew for more.
A strategic direction by DSA should recognize that the electoral victories in 2018 by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and others, and the 2019 election victories in Chicago occur in districts with large Latino and other People of Color voters.
Most in the democratic left have recognized this approach since at least the 1988 Rainbow Coalition campaign and it should have been included in the Socialist Forum issue.
We have supported the creation, the recreation, of the Socialist Forum. At the same time, we in the North Star Caucus want to be certain that Socialist Forum is fulfilling its mandate to post a wide diversity of views on the topic of electoral participation representing the diversity of views within DSA.
DSA needs to incorporate a significant anti-racism agenda in its electoral work . North Star resolutions to start from an anti-racism agenda will be considered at the DSA convention, particularly resolutions 13 and 17. We encourage members and allies to cooperate to pass these resolutions.
Latino Vote. Pew
DSA North Star Caucus
The National Political Committee (NPC) has announced that it will not submit an organizational priorities resolution to the 2019 DSA National Convention. It has entered resolution # 88 to propose that the Convention endorse this decision. If the National Convention were to acquiesce in the NPC’s failure to present proposed organizational priorities to it for its consideration, the result would not be that DSA does not have organizational priorities, but that they will be determined in less democratic and less transparent ways, by subordinate bodies such as the next NPC or by the national staff. This is NOT how a healthy democratic socialist organization should function.
In the absence of an organizational priorities resolution from the NPC, the DSA North Star Caucus has submitted a Priorities Resolution. # 27. Now, the National Convention can debate and democratically decide the direction of the organization over the next year. Our resolution reflects what we believe should be DSA’s priorities, but we would urge other caucuses and individuals who have different priorities to prepare amendments reflecting their views of DSA's priorities, so the National Convention can consider the full range of perspectives in our ranks, and make a democratic decision.
Proposed National Priorities for DSA for 2019-2020
WHEREAS for a membership organization to be truly democratic, it is essential that the important decisions about its political positions and its political work be made as close as possible to the membership, with the widest possible discussion and participation;
WHEREAS as a democratic socialist organization, DSA has among its first principles the importance of collective action, informed by a strategic assessment of the historical moment in which we find ourselves and what it demands of us, and the necessity of deciding how we act collectively through the most democratic processes;
WHEREAS in DSA, the National Convention is established “highest decision making body” in our Constitutions and By-Laws, and has the widest participation of rank-and-file members from across the country;
WHEREAS the democratic venue for establishing DSA’s organizational priorities must therefore be the National Convention; if the National Convention does not act, the important decisions over organizational priorities will necessarily devolve to subordinate decision making bodies with less participation, such as the National Political Committee (NPC), or to the national staff, and be less democratic;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED:
THAT this 2019 National Convention of Democratic Socialists of America do hereby establish the top three priorities for our organizational work for the period until to our next annual Convention:
Ø Defeating Trump and Trumpism, and Electing Democratic Socialists, as set forth in resolution entitled “Defeat Trump and Trumpism, Elect Democratic Socialists”;
Ø Defending Immigrants and Refugees, as set forth in resolution entitled “Addressing Immigration Policy and Defending Immigrants and Refugees”;
Ø Promoting the Green New Deal, as set forth in resolution on that subject sponsored by the Eco-Socialist Caucus.
Why we need new economic policies before we can fix trade deals
By STAN SORSCHER
(June 10, 2019) — In 2016, Donald Trump’s trade message was very simple: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was the worst trade deal ever negotiated. He has renegotiated NAFTA, rebranding the deal as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We never quite understood his objection to the original NAFTA, and we don’t understand how USMCA fixes it. You need to squint to see the difference between NAFTA and its replacement.
“I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me,” Trump has said. His gut instinct said NAFTA was bad. Unfortunately, gut instinct is typically simplistic, often impulsive, and by definition not strategic or coherent.
We need to think of our domestic policy and trade policy together. Tariffs, like trade deals, make sense only as tools within a larger coherent strategy. Trade policy should reinforce the principles in our domestic policy. If trade policy is not working, it’s a fair bet that our underlying domestic policies aren’t either.
Since 1980, the prevailing political messagehas been, “Markets will solve all our problems. Government is the problem.”
The term for this is neoliberalism. “Neo” means new. In the language of economics, “liberal” means “liberated” or free from regulation. Neoliberalism “frees” markets by shrinking government, dismantling social programs, and cutting investment in education and research-and-development.
Many of our biggest problems — climate change, growing income inequality, health care, food safety, and workplace safety — are textbook market failures. Neoliberalism responds with its universal prescription — make business succeed and well-being will follow.
Making Sense of NAFTA and Its Replacement.
by Harold Meyerson
In 1916, amid the carnage of World War I, the great German-Polish socialist Rosa Luxemburg wrote that humanity was facing a choice between socialism and barbarism.
Earlier today, speaking at the George Washington University, Bernie Sanders noted that we live in a time of rising authoritarianism, citing the regimes of Putin, Xi, Orban, Duterte and Trump as indices of the growing threat. His speech was billed as offering his definition of socialism, which, a la Rosa, was said to be the alternative to oligarchy and authoritarianism.
Socialism as Sanders proceeded to define it is indeed an alternative to oligarchy and authoritarianism. What his speech left hanging was whether his socialism was in fact socialism.
In 2015, as his campaign was just taking off, Sanders came to a different D.C. university—Georgetown—to deliver what was also then billed as his definition of socialism. Before a crowd of wildly cheering college students, he reeled off a series of social democratic proposals—the universal right to health care, to college education and the like – with constant reference to the great American leader who did indeed lead the successful war against barbarism in the 1940s: Franklin Roosevelt. His speech was so FDR-centric that I wroteat the time:
Throughout the 1930s, Republicans claimed that Franklin Roosevelt was really a socialist. Today, Bernie Sanders said they were right.
Then, as today, Sanders referenced Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union speech – FDR’s last great speech—in which Roosevelt proposed an Economic Bill of Rights. Today, Sanders formally proposed “a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights,” which included a right to a living-wage job, to “quality health care,” to “a complete education,” to “affordable housing,” to “a clean environment” and to “a secure retirement.”
As if citing Roosevelt were not enough, Sanders also cited Harry Truman, whose efforts to create a Medicare for All program in the 1940s were thwarted by conservatives and the medical profession. He quoted Truman, talking about his critics, at length:
Socialism [Truman said] is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.
Nor did Sanders’s talk simply identify socialism with the social democratic reforms of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Truman’s Fair Deal. It also contained two crucial omissions.
First, even as Sanders cited Roosevelt and Truman, but he also did not cite any avowed American democratic socialists, save, in passing, Martin Luther King Jr. He made no mention of his great hero, Eugene V. Debs. Nothing on Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party’s candidate for president in each of FDR’s four elections. Nothing on A. Philip Randolph or Bayard Rustin or Michael Harrington. No reference to Thomas’ line when asked if Roosevelt had actually carried out the Socialist Party’s program. “He carried it out,” Thomas said, “on a stretcher.”
Second, Sanders also omitted his own more socialistic proposals. His speech skipped over some groundbreaking social democratic reforms that Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both advocated in the course of the campaign, including dividing corporate boards between shareholder and worker representatives. He made no mention of an American version of the Meidner Plan – a 1970s proposal never quite implemented in Sweden that would gradually transfer the ownership of corporations, through the yearly payment of profits in the form of stock to their employees’ organizations, to their workers.
In short, Sanders’s socialism, as he defined it, is an expansion of America’s semi-demi-welfare state to include more economic rights. It’s an effort to make us a more functional social democracy—which, of course, is no small proposal and by American standards, a great leap forward. But he could have made the same proposals and labeled them neo-Rooseveltian liberalism without straining historical accuracy.
The opinions expressed here are those of members and allies of DSA North Star Caucus meant to educate, inspire discussion and encourage comradely debate.