Maria Svart has announced her plan to retire.
Here is her statement upon leaving.
Here are three of many tributes to her work and her contributions to building DSA.
I had the privilege of being on the search committee that proposed Maria as national director. She came to DSA as a skilled union organizer and activist in the New York City Chapter of what was then a small national organization, then shepherded DSA through a period of enormous growth with grace and political acumen. She has my deepest gratitude for her unwavering dedication to democratic socialism and her ability to steer the organization in a period of great potential and many political challenges and wish her well in whatever she chooses to do next.
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I first met Maria Svart about ten years ago. It was early in her tenure as National Director of DSA. I had stepped away from DSA some years before; nonetheless Maria took time at what was then the Youth Section conference to talk with me about where DSA was at. I was impressed with her political understanding and, especially, with her focus on organizing.
Now, a decade later, it’s mind-boggling the changes DSA has grown through, but even more impressive is the fact that Maria has led DSA through those changes. From an organization with a few thousand members to one with close to one hundred thousand; from an organization barely relevant to US politics to one with a real presence in legislatures and the media.
Of course, Maria’s resignation will have a tremendous impact on DSA, but she is committed to continuing her involvement in a different role. After a more than a decade of 80- or 120-hour work weeks, it’s not a surprise to me that it’s time for a change. I, personally, look forward to many more years of political discussion with my friend Maria.
Vice Chair DSA Fund
____. ____. ____ _____
I wish Maria well in the next phase of her life and career, and I thank her for her remarkable service to DSA for the past 12 years. Shortly after Maria came on board as National Director, I was elected to the NPC and served from 2011-17. I saw firsthand how she improved our organizational functioning, positioning us to be better able to absorb people from the Bernie Bump. Because I volunteered in the office, coming in early before NPC meetings, I saw her in day-to-day work, not just interacting with the NPC. We benefited from her excellent writing, her thoughtful approach to strategizing, and her nurturing and development of staff. We have been very fortunate that she stayed on past her initial five-year commitment, under very challenging and exhausting circumstances.
DSA Ventura County CA
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First and foremost, I thank Maria for her hard work and dedication to DSA during 12 years as National Director (ND). The best measure of her abilities is the fact that she survived and thrived in an organization that experienced dramatic change. That change forced all of us, but especially someone in the ND position, to recalibrate and rethink about what the organization can do and be. She took the lead in steering DSA through those years and into the era in which we are no longer an organization that many on the left believed was doomed to irrelevancy. I very much appreciate her choice to make DSA the center of her organizational life for all these years.
A last point: I know some have expressed anxiety about Maria leaving the ND position. That probably reflects the unknowns of DSA’s future. But we will all make that future, building on the legacy that she has left us. And I, for one, believe that left organizations should not desire lifetime national leaders.
I know that wherever she works in the coming years, that organization will be the better for having her.
Ventura, California. NS Steering Committee.
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
Poor People's Campaign
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