The Case for Realignment
DSA should return to its roots and embrace the realignment strategy to guide our political work.
by Alexander Hernandez - Fall 2022 Socialist Forum
But how do we transform these basically antisocial structures with the urgency that is required? Not by a vague third force. The Democratic Party is where the overwhelming bulk of the reform forces—trade unionists, minorities, women, the issue constituencies—is concentrated. As a Democratic Socialist…, I have no illusion that it is as radical as the times demand. But it is just the only place where a beginning can be made. – Michael Harrington, Time (January 13, 1975)
Michael Harrington was and continues to be correct on where a beginning can be made. In his 1980 book Decade of Decision: The Crisis of the American System, Harrington imagines new political alignment scenarios. The first is a positive one where the Left successfully advances a program addressing human needs. The second is a negative scenario, which has more or less come to pass, that pits working people against each other with reactionary and corporate forces benefiting from the situation.
DSA now has no agreed-upon political strategy to expand the power of the Left, to defend democracy, and to build toward a viable governing majority. The status quo position of becoming a mass party at some point in the future and various debates around strategic orientation have failed to grapple with how we get there. Perhaps revisiting realignment as a strategy and analysis can help ground our work going forward.
What is Realignment?
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