This is the most promising moment for the American labor movement in decades. Not only have there been historic union victories at Amazon and Starbucks, but public approval for unions is the highest it’s been in half a century and young workers are showing an extraordinary level of interest in unions. Join leading figures behind this surge in union organizing as we discuss how best to increase worker power and ensure that this promising moment becomes a larger and truly lasting movement. What are the next steps for interested workers and for established unions? What will it take to strengthen the labor movement and make sure it fights for fairness for all workers?
For a few years in the mid-1990s, AFSCME President Gerry McEntee (1935-2022) repositioned American labor and restored some of its clout.
By Harold Meyerson.
This is an important history of part of labor including the role of DSA. It is a major improvement on the misinformation often shared about DSA and labor by newer, less well informed, DSA members and those who were in other left organizations. (ed)
At the same time, Wurf invested heavily in organizing. Along with teachers’ union president Albert Shanker, Wurf really built what had been the nation’s weak public sector unions into powerhouses—waging strikes and engaging in kindred agitation to the point that cities, counties and states granted their employees the right to collective bargaining. It was one such campaign, waged by the Black sanitation workers in Memphis, to which Martin Luther King, Jr. lent his support, during which he was murdered.
Like Bernie Sanders, Wurf had Brooklyn in his voice and socialism in his heart. The two big wall hangings in his office were photos of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. Under his leadership, AFSCME formed a de facto coalition with the United Auto Workers, the Machinists and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers to oppose the Cold War obsessions of Federation Presidents George Meany and then Lane Kirkland’s AFLCIO, making floor fights over such matters as labor’s support for Ronald Reagan’s Central American interventions a regular feature of the Federation’s conventions.
" Sit down, read, educate yourself for the coming conflicts." Mother Jones, circa 1914
That is the only interpretation of the most recent statement from the Democratic Socialists of America/International Committee (IC) that makes any sense. Here are three links to the campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This all comes from the IC steering committee. IC members were not consulted. I know because I’m one of them. Steering committee members are appointed by the DSA National Political Committee (NPC), so at the very least they are responsible for the treacle that comes out under the auspices of the IC.
by Duane Campbell
The current hearings on the January 6 committee clearly indicate that the authoritarian/neo fascist threat we described in our NS strategy continues to grow.
We said “The authoritarian threat is global. Donald Trump’s collaborators include Narendra Modi in India, Victor Orban in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Vladimir Putin in Russia, and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. Describing such demagogues as populist obscures their neo-fascist nature and their support from corporate interests. Theirs is a budding alliance that strengthens corporate interests’ ability to perpetuate climate-destroying fossil fuel consumption and accumulate wealth from wage theft, tax evasion, and financial deregulation. Their drive for profit runs roughshod over workers’ rights and concentrates growing economic power in fewer hands. Their neglect of the common good precluded effective responses to Covid-19 and enabled an anti-vax movement, leading to catastrophic loss of life.
We in North Star would like to emphasize the gravity of this threat, but we also recognize the historical precedents for an effective movement against it. People of color are already playing a leading role in resistance to neo-fascism in the United States. Growing voices across the political spectrum support the fight for universal, fundamental human needs and human rights. White people are increasingly aware of the importance of white supremacy in corroding U.S. democracy."
MICHAEL BEYEA REAGAN IN THESE TIMES
The following is an excerpt from the book Intersectional Class Struggle (2021, AK Press).
In the 1930s, a new type of union, an “industrial” union that welcomed all workers in a single workplace emerged as the cutting edge of working-class struggle. Previously, unions and employers both had a long history of racism and support for white supremacy. Certain jobs were reserved for whites, and Black workers were kept out of factories and union halls. This had catastrophic consequences for the working class. For example, in the 1919Steel Strike, employers brought in 30,000 Black and immigrant workers to break the strike staged by white workers and their racially exclusive unions. Long prevented from joining those unions, and the labor movement in general, Black workers crossed the picket lines. With that, employers got production moving again, defeated the strike, and prevented worker organizing for the next 15 years.
In the 1930s, as the labor movement thought about how to win during the Great Depression, the lessons of the 1919 Steel Strike loomed large; workers’ movements would have to be anti-racist and intersectional if they were to win.
DSA member DIANA MORENO In These Times
Socialist feminists don’t want “choice”—we demand full abortion rights for all, without exception.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, defenders of abortion rights face a stark choice in how to respond. While many politicians and organizations have taken up a liberal individualist position on the question of abortion, by emphasizing personal choice rather than collective rights, it’s critical to highlight an alternative approach: Through a socialist feminist perspective, we can understand and speak about abortion as a class issue that impacts working people everywhere. This approach could help reproductive health activists organize a mass movement strong enough to win free abortion on demand, without apology.
When feminism is detached from class struggle, it runs the risk of being distorted and commodified into a neoliberal, “lean-in” version of feminism that merely celebrates individual women’s achievements under capitalism while ignoring actions that ultimately undermine solidarity. Pop star Beyoncé, for example, can be celebrated for — and profit from — a hit single that quotes feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie while also crossing a picket line to host an Oscars after-party in the face of striking hotel workers calling for a boycott.
Socialist feminism, meanwhile, is not about individual achievements but rather building collective power in order to achieve liberation and reproductive justice for all.
Read the rest: https://inthesetimes.com/article/socialism-roe-abortion-dobbs-dsa-reproductive-justice
We – the thousands gathered here in active declaration of a rapidly growing front of organized moral fusion power – and in deep solidarity with those rising up across this country, who are demanding a reconstruction of this democracy and a reconstitution of the policy and legal priorities of this nation – say: we are in a time of emergency. We gather in Washington D.C. for a Mass Poor Peoples and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls in a dark summer, as our democracy is threatened by a state by state coordinated assault on the right to vote and imperiled by open violence, greed, obstruction, distortions, and denial, while more than 140 million poor and low wealth people of every race, creed, religion, in every region of this country are rising up daily against growing indignities, pain, injury, and death at the hands of immoral policies and interlocking injustices.
by Liz Weston Democratic Left
Today’s ruling on Roe v. Wade came in a week of already-crushing Supreme Court rulings on gun rights, Miranda warnings and school vouchers. This piece, already commissioned by DSA Socialist-Feminists as part of our 40th-anniversary coverage, feels crucial now. If you’re not plugged into your chapter’s pro-abortion action plan, now might be the time. Ed.)
The 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the subsequent legalization of abortion across the United States did not end debates and activity around the question of abortion. Although that decision was partly the result of years of organizing by women’s groups and by medical groups appalled by the rising number of illegal and often back-alley abortions, it did not settle many issues of reproductive rights, such as access to abortion and that of forced sterilization. In fact, those issues became central to the politics of the second half of the 1970s.
DSA Protect Abortion Chapter Toolkit
The DSA National Political Committee condemns today’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which eviscerates the right to privacy and bodily autonomy protected by Roe v. Wade for nearly fifty years, a right the vast majority of Americans support and agree should be protected by the Constitution. The far right wing of the Supreme Court, most of whom were appointed by a President who lost the popular vote, has demonstrated beyond all debate that the Court is an illegitimate institution, flouting the will of the people.
Conflict is inevitable, but acting in bad faith is a choice. Too often it is that choice that renders locals, national bodies, and even the NPC, at times useless. This was the case of the Immigrants Rights Working Group under my leadership. The intention in sharing these reflections is in hope of preventing further harm to the organization by other bad faith actors.
Political conflict should be expected and encouraged, but always with a goal towards growth. When working through political conflict, and hoping to grow through struggle, growth becomes unobtainable when bad faith is involved. Hold no grudges, but if a pattern emerges, the issue must be addressed.
by Jack Suria Linares
Max Elbaum’s recent piece analyzing the political struggle within Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) illuminates the clear necessity for a coherent national strategy amongst the entire US Left that can keep us from falling into irrelevance. Elbaum focuses on the decision by DSA’s National Political Committee (NPC) to reject a demand by a minority within the organization to expel Congressmember Jamaal Bowman for his vote in support of US imperialist military funding for the Israeli government.
by Steven Greenhouse and Harold Meyerson American Prospect
Will today’s unions invest big-time in the young workers now beginning to rebuild American labor? Or will they remain AWOL and ensure the movement’s continued decline?
This is the first time in decades that America’s workers have a real opportunity to increase their power after it has steadily eroded for half a century. If organized labor fails to come in big to help, this may become the last time that workers have that opportunity
by Eric Blanc, Jacobin
It’s a sign of the times that one of the world’s most prominent intellectuals has just published a book of essays titled Time for Socialism. As Thomas Piketty explains in the volume’s long introduction, “If someone had told me in 1990 that I would publish a collection of articles in 2020 entitled Vivement le socialisme! in French, I would have thought it was a bad joke.”
Yet for Piketty, like countless others across the world, the past three decades of what he calls “hypercapitalism” pushed him to question accepted truths about the prevailing economic system. And while the author still shied away from advocating socialism at the time of the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, his 2013 best-selling magnum opus on inequality, he’s now come to embrace the term — arguing that despite the baggage of its connotations of Stalinism, “It remains the most appropriate term to describe the idea of an alternative economic system to capitalism.”
There’s more to this than terminology. As Piketty explains, his embrace of socialism reflects his newfound conviction that “one cannot just be ‘against’ capitalism or neoliberalism: one must also and above all be ‘for’ something else, which requires precisely designating the ideal economic system that one wishes to set up.” Faced with rampant inequality and looming climate catastrophe, anger with capitalism is already widespread. What’s now needed above all, in his view, is a compelling and “clearly explained alternative.”
A New Socialism
Piketty summarizes his case for “a new form of socialism” as one that is “participative and decentralized, federal and democratic, ecological, multiracial, and feminist.” The vision he puts forward is decidedly in the democratic socialist tradition, which seeks to deepen and expand the representative institutions and political freedoms codified in today’s capitalist democracies. Far from projecting an insurrectionary uprising, Piketty argues that “it is quite possible to move gradually toward participatory socialism by changing the legal, fiscal, and social system.”
In his view, this transition has already begun: “If we take a long-term perspective, then the long march toward equality and participatory socialism is already well under way.” Though progress stalled out in the neoliberal era, he notes that the big story in capitalist countries since the nineteenth century is the “sharp reduction” in inequalities and the dramatic growth of the welfare state.
by Chris Riddiough, in Democratic Left
Essay on political education with Jack Clark and Richard Healy, co-founders of DSA.
The task of political education is to provide a grounding and the dynamics and strategy of building a larger front. this. How do you do it state by state? How do you build a left-center coalition that elects good people to the state legislatures, the cities, and most important, the Congress….
And yet, some people say, “We need to purge this or that centrist Democrat” even in the middle of this discussion about the United Front. That’s the opposite of the United Front. We need to figure out the broadest kind of coalition to win whatever we can win and turn back some very threatening forces that could make things make things a lot worse than Nixon and Reagan ever dreamed of….
The rest here: https://www.dsausa.org/democratic-left/dsa-co-founders-organizers-need-better-political-education/
Comments accepted here on NS. Posted by Duane
from Convergence (formerly Organizing Upgrade).
DSA can focus outward and continue on the path most connected to its recent growth: establishing itself as a socialist force within the progressive trend in U.S. politics whose most prominent figures are Bernie and the Squad. Taking that course would mean focusing, like the vast bulk of that trend, on both defeating the authoritarian right and building the independent strength of social justice and socialist forces in the process.
Full text here.
by Bill Fletcher, Paul Garver, Ron J,, Mirah W.
Socialist Forum Spring 2022
Four DSA members discuss their conceptions of internationalism, imperialism, and the responsibilities of socialists living in the US.
What are the internationalist responsibilities of socialists living in the United States? Do the principles of international solidarity and non-interference in other countries’ affairs conflict, and if so how should socialists navigate that tension? If the world is entering a new multi-polar era, how will this affect our understanding of and practical opposition to imperialism?
The rest: https://socialistforum.dsausa.org/issues/spring-2022/between-sovereignty-and-solidarity/
by Peter Dreier
Despite over a century of anti-socialist propaganda, it is remarkable that 38% of all Americans over 18 have a positive view of socialism, according to a Gallup Poll survey conducted in October 2021.
• There are 258 million Americans over 18, according to the 2020 Census. That means that 98 million Americans have a positive view of socialism. (That's different, of course, from calling yourself a socialist).
• The same poll found that 47% of Americans between 18 and 34 have a positive view of socialism.
• There are 76 million Americans between 18 and 34. That means that 36 million Americans between 18 and 34 have a positive view of socialism.
• The same poll found that 65% of Democrats (compared with 40% of independents and 10% of Republicans have a positive view of socialism. (Who are those 10% of Republicans, by the way?)
• The same poll found that 43% of women and 34% of men (over 18) have a positive view of socialism.
• In addition, 54% of non-white Americans over 18 (that's how the Gallup Poll categorized them), compared with 31% of white Americans over 18 have a positive view of socialism.
• Finally, 44% of Americans who are high school grads or less, 30% of Americans who have some college education, and 40% of college graduates have a positive view of socialism.
by David Anderson
Are the Republicans going crazy? They are banning books, criminalizing abortion, attacking public school teachers who talk about racism, passing anti-LGBT laws and indiscriminately accusing opponents of being pedophiles. Broadly speaking, this isn’t terribly popular and these issues aren’t what most people are concerned about.
Nevertheless, those issues are vehemently supported by a loud, well-funded and highly organized minority. In this midterm year, the Republicans need to win over moderate voters, but they calculate that many of them might not be paying attention.
By Van Gosse and Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Whose side are we on? That is the question that anyone professing a commitment to anti-imperialism should be asking, when a sovereign nation is invaded by a Great Power.
Blinded by American Exceptionalism, however, many of the U.S. Left are not able to answer the question, and their silence speaks.
We must always oppose empire, under any heading. No nation has the right to dominate another, let alone invade and occupy it. That was the principle we as leftists affirmed in 2003, when George W. Bush led the United States into a war of aggression against Iraq.
We should state it plainly, in terms of international law. Aggressive war is the first crime of war, from which all the others flow. As the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg stated, “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Vladimir Putin has now committed this crime of war, and that is the premise from which we should analyze the crisis in Ukraine: Whose side are we on? That of the war criminals who started the war, or those who are defending their sovereignty?
For ourselves, we are on the side of the Ukrainian people against an unprovoked war of aggression by an imperialist Great Power demonstrating in unmistakable terms what V.I. Lenin denounced as “Great Russian chauvinism.”
Here are some questions to consider.
by John Limaldi, Central New Jersey DSA
Many on the Left dream of the early days of the 20th century in which Eugene Debs had a chance for president and where Socialism was gaining popularity around the world. The Left in the United States was crushed for a variety of reasons, not limited to the liberalism of the New Deal “fixing” the capitalist crisis of 1929 rather than transition to socialism. We see now that not only are the monopolistic giants gaining power fast (with a weaker antitrust apparatus) we see that the “gifts” given to workers were fragile because of their Liberal nature. The benefits excluded many industries and classes, and they remained in the privatized sphere. Combine this with the growing crisis of climate change, wage stagnation, and declining social mobility, and the class struggle is heating up. We are seeing quite clearly that the contradiction between labor and capital cannot be resolved within the capitalist mode of production. The workers are starting to accept this.
by J. Hughes
The survey was fielded on April 4 to the 330 or so people who had joined North Star caucus, and to another 350 or so people who had signed a North Star statement. Of the 115 people who responded, 80% were DSA members, and 74% considered themselves members of North Star. So the response rate among North Star members was about one in four. Of those who were still members of DSA (92), 23 were considering leaving, and 20 of those are North Star members.
by Susan Chacin, North Star Steering Committee Co-Chair
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is going through an internal crisis. Members of the National Political Committee, NPC, have resigned and leaders from various tendencies are at odds with each other. Many chapters have been weakened by sectarian disputes. The details of these disagreements are less important than the fact that the dissention is distracting us from what should be our focus: building a broad political movement capable of winning influence and actual demands at the local, state, and national levels.
North Star, a caucus of DSA, is calling on everyone we know to organize and participate in the most urgent struggle of our times: the fight to save representative democracy in the U.S. Many DSA members and friends are already active in such struggles. They see that the Left has an important role to play in building people power. As a “big tent” organization that includes a wide range of leftists, DSA members can disagree about how best to advance the struggle to meet human needs, defend working people’s rights, uproot racism, sexism and homophobia, and save life as we know it on this planet. What we must not do is let our differences inhibit our role in building a left-center electoral force that rejects the authoritarian, right-wing assault being carried out on our imperfect democracy. If we dare to struggle on this terrain, we have a good chance to defeat the MAGA-dominated Republican Party at the midterm elections.
In the U.S., upsurges from the left have come and gone. In recent decades there were mass demonstrations against predatory finance at ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ which turned out to set the stage for the Bernie Sanders’s campaigns in 2016 and 2020. I was well pleased by the breakthroughs in public awareness fostered by Sanders, as well as by the parallel, explosive growth of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
After my years in the political wilderness, I thought, “Isn’t this lovely. Bernie has broken the ice on socialist rhetoric in top-level U.S. political discourse, and the adorable Bernie youth are swelling the ranks of an explicitly socialist organization. Now I will join too.”
North Star caucus members
antiracismdsa (blog of Duane Campbell)
Hatuey's Ashes (blog of José G. Pérez)
Authory and Substack of Max Sawicky
Online University of the Left
In These Times
The American Prospect
Black Agenda Report
Dollars and Sense
Working Families Party
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Progressive Democrats of America
Democracy for America
Black Lives Matter
Movement for Black Lives
The Women's March
Jewish Voice for Peace
National Abortion Rights Action League
National Organization for Women
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights