Democratic Socialists of America

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Group.png Democratic Socialists of America  Rdf-icon.png

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is an organisation of democratic socialist, social democratic and Labour-oriented members in the United States.

The DSA has its roots in the Socialist Party of America (SPA), whose most prominent leaders included Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington.[1] In 1973, Harrington, the leader of a minority faction that had opposed the SPA's rightward shift and transformation into the Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA) during the party's 1972 national convention, formed the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). The other faction that split following that convention was the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA), which remains an independent democratic socialist political party. The DSOC, in Harrington's words "the remnant of a remnant", soon became the largest democratic socialist group in the United States. In 1982, it merged with the New American Movement (NAM), a coalition of intellectuals with roots in the New Left movements of the 1960s and former members of socialist and communist parties of the Old Left, to form the DSA.[2]

Initially, the organisation consisted of approximately 5,000 ex-DSOC members and 1,000 ex-NAM members. Upon the founding of the DSA, Harrington and the socialist feminist author Barbara Ehrenreich were elected as co-chairs. The DSA does not run candidates on its own ballot line in elections, but instead "fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people". These reforms include decreasing the influence of money in politics, empowering ordinary people in workplaces and within the economy and restructuring gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.[3] The organisation has at times endorsed Democratic Party electoral candidates—notably Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders—and the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

The DSA is not only by far the largest socialist organisation in the United States in the 21st century, it is also the largest socialist organisation in the United States in over a century.[4][5] By the end of 2017, membership in the organisation had risen to 32,000, primarily because of the influx of youth in reaction to the presidency of Donald Trump. As of 2 September 2018, membership stood at 50,000 and the number of local chapters had increased from 40 to 181.[6] the median age of its membership was 33, compared to 68 in 2013.[7] In the 2017 United States elections, fifteen candidates who were members of the DSA were elected to office in thirteen states, most notably Lee Carter in the Virginia House of Delegates, adding to the twenty members already holding elected office nationwide.[8] In November 2018, two DSA members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, were elected to the United States House of Representatives while eleven were elected to state legislatures.[9]

A member of the Socialist International (SI) from its founding in 1982, the DSA voted to leave the SI in August 2017 over its acceptance of what the DSA perceived as neoliberal economic policies.[10]


References

  1. Svart, Maria (November 7, 2011). "Let's Talk Democratic Socialism, Already". In These Times.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  2. The New York Times reported on the Convention for three other days:
  3. "What Is Democratic Socialism?". Democratic Socialist of America. Retrieved January 10, 2014.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  4. DSA North Texas chapter's twitter account (April 30, 2018). "With about 37,000 dues-paying members spread across 200 local groups, DSA now dwarfs all other far-left organizations in America. There are at least 11 chapters in Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso." #Yallidarity".Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  5. Otterbein, Holly (November 18, 2017). "The Kids Are All Red: Socialism Rises Again in the Age of Trump". Philly Mag. Retrieved December 13, 2017.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  6. Stockman, Farah (April 20, 2018). "'Yes, I'm Running as a Socialist.' Why Candidates Are Embracing the Label in 2018". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2018.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  7. Heyward, Amy (December 1, 2017). "Since Trump's Victory, Democratic Socialists of America Has Become a Budding Political Force: Why an army of young people is joining DSA". The Nation. Retrieved December 25, 2017.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  8. Goldberg, Michelle (November 10, 2017). "Revenge of the Obama Coalition". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2017.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  9. Vyse, Graham (November 9, 2018). "Democratic Socialists Rack Up Wins in States: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib made headlines for their congressional wins. But a number of Democratic Socialists also won state-level races this election". Governing: The States and Localities. Retrieved January 19, 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  10. "DSA Votes for BDS, Reparations, and Out of the Socialist International". Retrieved August 8, 2017.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
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