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