State Rep. Mike Connolly has decided to leave the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, he announced Monday.
Connolly’s decision comes after Boston DSA introduced a motion last week to expel him. In the motion, a group charged Connolly with a variety of offenses, including endorsing Gov. Maura Healey and not participating in the organization’s endorsement process. Boston DSA would have voted on the expulsion July 23 at its monthly general meeting.
Rather than fighting these charges for much of July, a particularly busy time for the Massachusetts General Court, Connolly said, he will devote his energy toward serving his constituents in Cambridge and Somerville. He has been a reliably progressive candidate and legislator, pushing for electoral reform, criminal justice reform and affordable housing, including rent control and the new notion of “social housing.”
“I need to focus on continuing to represent our community on Beacon Hill and delivering for my constituents,” he said.
The charges against him were largely incoherent, Connolly said, making an example of the first charge accusing him of not engaging with DSA’s already opaque endorsement process: The chapter does not have a bylaw requiring members in elected office to seek the endorsement of the organization.
The DSA motion to expel him cited a 2021 chapter bylaw for endorsed officials, using it to condemn actions Connolly took in 2020.
“As you recall from your fifth-grade social studies class, that’s what they call an ex post facto,” Connolly said.
The motion also accused Connolly of endorsing public officials who “are fundamentally opposed to socialist reforms.” These officials include Healey, State House speaker Ron Mariano and Somerville city councilor Matthew McLaughlin.
Connolly said the was disappointed to see that some in Boston DSA do not understand the necessity of cooperation. “For all of us who want to transform society, we need to understand that it’s going to take building broader coalitions, and it’s going to take working with and persuading those in positions of state leadership,” he said.
In-fight draws national attention
The clash drew national media attention, with Ryan Grim at The Intercept noting “a sizable portion” of local progressives supporting Connolly publicly.
Left-leaning local journalist Jason Pramas was critical of the move in an essay published in Cambridge Day, saying the attempt at ideological purity just divided and diminished an already dwindling movement.
“The tiny faction of the shrinking chapter of the smallish group in question is trying to purge Connolly as if it is somehow in leadership of not just a political party, but a ruling political party – in some kind of Soviet-style communist regime that is the antithesis of the beloved community DSA is supposed to be trying to build in what their members believe will be the better socialist and democratic future to come,” Pramas said.
Politico called Connolly’s departure “a setback for the Boston-area democratic socialists who, after years of making gains on local city councils, are now watching their state legislative ranks dwindle from two representatives to one.” Its remaining representative is Somerville’s Erika Uyterhoeven.
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