169-1 DSA News

DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

DSA member Jeffrey Durand was interviewed on Dan Yorke’s “State of Mind” program on FOX Providence. Seth Goldstein explained why he joined DSA at Raging Chicken Press.

Conservative post-election gloating featured DSA in a piece by Joshua Alvarez at The Swanee Purple.

A lefty post-election dismay piece by Alex Payne included DSA at Medium.

It’s difficult to profile Cornel West without at least mentioning DSA, and Connor Kilpatrick is no exception at Jacobin.

Fidel Castro, Ed Sullivan, Jack Paar and… DSA? in a piece by Jesse Walker at Reason.

The Washington Standard reposted a blog item that mixes Barack Obama, Frances Fox Piven, DSA, and professional anti-Communist Manning Johnson for a predictable stew, worth noting not so much for the venue but that the item has had multiple postings on right-wing blogs.

We Fight for Socialism Over Barbarism

A 11/13/2016 statement by DSA’s National Political Committee begins:

On November 8, voters in the United States narrowly elected an openly racist, misogynist and nativist candidate for president. Donald Trump succeeded in defining himself as an anti-establishment candidate who will end dynastic rule in Washington, D.C., by elites who care little for “forgotten Americans.” The grain of truth in this rhetoric masked an ideological appeal to a “white identity” that Republicans have long cultivated — in this instance, focusing on fear of immigrants, Muslims and people of color. The facts go against the liberal media’s narrative that “poor white people” were the primary force behind Trump’s rise. We must understand “Trumpism” as a cross-class white nativist alliance; the median family income of the 62 percent of white voters who supported Trump was higher than that of Hillary Clinton voters and wealthier than Bernie Sanders’ primary base.


169-1 Politics

Changing the “Free Trade” Consensus in Europe

At Democratic Left, Tom Ladendorf begins:

In the not-too-distant past, support for so-called “free trade” from the mainstream of the Democratic and Republican parties was a foregone conclusion. But this year, the free-trade consensus has come into serious question. Both “outsider” candidates in the U.S. presidential election made a major point of opposing free trade because of its effects on the working class, driving this issue into the national debate in a way no one would have predicted. Following Trump’s election, many are presuming the much-discussed Trans-Pacific Partnership dead — although it remains to be seen whether Trump will actually deliver on any of his supposed “economic populism.”

In Europe, too, the consensus on free trade is facing serious challenges. Massive political pressure has been building in opposition to three trade deals, respectively known as TTIP, Ceta, and TISA. Actually, with the help of the organized opposition, that number appears to have fallen to just two. TTIP, which seeks to harmonize regulations between the US and EU, has “de facto failed,” according to German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. In the end, the two parties couldn’t unite on what the transatlantic standard of regulation would be, apparently because Europe refused to submit to lower American standards of regulation.


Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

Oscar López Rivera is the longest-held Puerto Rican political prisoner in U.S. history. Supporters are petitioning President Obama for his release:

President Obama, Throughout your presidential term, the people of Puerto Rico, our politicians, political parties, media, celebrities, teachers, writers, journalists, workers, have united behind one common cause: the freedom of Oscar López Rivera. Rivera has been imprisoned for more than 34 years, many of those years in solitary confinement. Whatever your stance into his wrongdoing, we can safely conclude he has done his time. He does not pose a threat, and he deserves to be home with his family to live in peace the rest of his years.

Please, President Obama, do what is right and release Oscar López Rivera before your term ends. With the election results, now more than ever, we need you to hear the voice and plead of the Puerto Rican people.


Misgivings at Thanksgiving: Standing with Standing Rock

At Religious Socialism, Rev. M. Lara Hoke writes:

…Once again, federal authorities are treating the Sioux as a people who need to be subdued and conquered.

The pipeline that threatens to go through the Standing Rock Sioux’s heritage lands, endangering their water supply, was originally supposed to go through Bismarck, ND. Bismarck residents were not happy and had it rerouted because of the potential danger that it posed to that city’s water supply. This clear case of environmental racism poses danger to the Standing Rock Sioux.


What Women Used Before They Could Use the Law

At N+1 Magazine, Alex Ronan provides:

…an incomplete inventory of methods and means to abortion — undertaken with varying levels of success and the ever-present possibility of death — in America before the passage of Roe v. Wade.


169-1 Democratic Socialism

Letter from Mondragon

At Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative, Armin Isasti writes:

Cooperativism needs new forces, new points of view, new imaginations; in other words, it is necessary to rethink cooperativism so that the cooperative movement can reach other parts of the world, and in this way keep the flame of the “Mondragon Cooperative Experience” alive. In this regard, encouraging initiatives like CUCI and 1Worker1Vote have been set in motion in the United States and have a lot of potential.


Live Long and Prosper?

Peter Frase is a writer, editor at Jacobin magazine, a sociology PhD candidate at CUNY, and a University of Chicago YDS ex-pat. Frase passed through Chicago in November to flog his new book, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. Part of his tour stop was to be interviewed by Chuck Mertz for the “This Is Hell!” radio show. A transcript of the interview is posted at antidote zine. As Verso Books describes Frase’s book:

Peter Frase argues that increasing automation and a growing scarcity of resources, thanks to climate change, will bring it all tumbling down. In Four Futures, Frase imagines how this post-capitalist world might look, deploying the tools of both social science and speculative fiction to explore what communism, rentism, socialism and exterminism might actually entail.

Could the current rise of real-life robocops usher in a world that resembles Ender’s Game? And sure, communism will bring an end to material scarcities and inequalities of wealth — but there’s no guarantee that social hierarchies, governed by an economy of “likes,” wouldn’t rise to take their place. A whirlwind tour through science fiction, social theory and the new technologies already shaping our lives, Four Futures is a balance sheet of the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if those movements fail.

DSA News

Chicago DSA held a membership meeting and public forum on Saturday, November 12. The meeting was held at the Midwest office of National Nurses United on Chicago’s near west side as the Chicago DSA office was far too small for the anticipated audience.

Chicago DSA meeting
Chicago DSA Membership Meeting, photo by Alec Hudson

The membership meeting was mostly devoted to reports on Chicago DSA’s various activities. Since nearly a majority of members attending were new, there were questions and clarifications.

The public forum was titled “What Happened?” It featured DSA national vice-chair Harold Meyerson who addressed the results of November’s national election. Meyerson participated via Skype video conference and, after his presentation, took questions from the audience.

The Chicago DSA Executive Committee held a special meeting on Saturday, November 19, to consider strategies for making Trump a one term president.

The Chicago City Branch of CDSA held a meeting on Tuesday, November 15 to discuss what

CDSA @ 11/19 Anti-Trump Demo
Chicago City Branch CDSA at anti-Trump demo on 11/19/2016

is to be done. Among other things, they decided to help the campaign to get Keith Ellison elected as the DNC Chair.

The Chicago City Branch also organized a delegation to participate in the November 19 anti-Trump demonstration in Chicago’s Loop.

Students at Northwestern University have gotten the Young Democratic Socialists recognized as a student organization. They are on their way to organizing a YDS chapter.

DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

The formation of a YDS student organization was covered by Jonah Dylan at The Daily Northwestern. MacKenzie Stuart interviewed Francis Fox Piven for Fordham Political Review, with DSA as part of Piven’s bio.

While DSA didn’t make it into the article by Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer, we did rate the photo, re: #NoDAPL (protesting, of course). An unsigned item at Dallas Voice mentioned DSA as one of the participating organization in an upcoming “prayer rally” against the DAPL.

In These Times, as part of its debate on “lesser evil”, posted a letter endorsed by 75 DSA members. In These Times also posted the DSA NPC statement from several weeks ago. Iowa State YDS chapter leader Kaleb Vanfosson spoke out against Hillary Clinton prior to a Sanders stump speech on her behalf; this was covered by Alex Hider at KTTS-FM, Stephanie Dube Dwilson at Heavy.com, Grayson Schmidt at the Ames Tribune, Shannon McCarty at Iowa State Daily, also right-wing sites: Michael Qazvini at the Daily Wire, Justin Baragona at Mediaite, Jim Treacher at The Daily Caller, Jessica Chasmar at The Washington Times, and Irving Chambers at American Journal Review. Right-wing bloggers reposted accounts from right-wing sites (though it was nowhere near the 2008 echo chamber), but the event was also part of articles about the election by Jon Queally at Common Dreams, Arit John at Bloomberg, David Weigel at The Washington Post, and James Hohman at The Washington Post. Some of the mainstream stories (Bloomberg in particular) were carried by other mainstream media, including, for example, The Chicago Tribune.

The then upcoming November election also gained DSA a mention by Jake Lahut in The Wesleyan Argus. Wesleying did a round-table discussion about the then upcoming election, including DSA. DSA got a mention in a Green / Libertarian article by Akriti Paracer at The Quint. DSA got a mention and Harold Meyerson quoted extensively by Eduardo Febbro at Pagina 12. Theresa Alt, as a member of Ithaca DSA, was quoted about the local Congressional contest by Drew Musto at The Cornell Daily Sun.

Margaret Butler of the University of Oregon YDS spoke at a post-election rally and march, according to Emily Olson at Daily Emerald. Emma Loop at BuzzFeed wrote up an election-watch party at the home of DSA member Sean Monahan. Morgana Visser mentioned DSA at the end at Medium as did Chelsea Fagan at The Financial Diet (she joined) and Christine Escobar at The Huffington Post. Violet Alexander mentioned DSA in an account of a post-election demonstration at The Odyssey Online. Camren Ward and Alex Gordon had an op-ed re: the election at The Daily Northwestern. Nik Heftman at Iowa State Daily included quotes from YDS’ Kaleb Vanfosson in an article about a “Not My President” rally. A follow-up meeting was also covered by Nik Heftman at Iowa State Daily.

DSA was also mentioned in a post-election article by Jason Brown at Patheos. Brendan O’Connor compiled a number of “Where Does the Left Go From Here” comments that included DSA at Jezebel. And an essay by Marley-Vincent Lindsey at The Society Pages (not what you think) included a hopeful mention of DSA.

Paul Kengor at The American Spectator included DSA in some conservative gloating over the election results. Matthew Vadum noted DSA’s fingerprints on anti-Trump demonstrations, but it’s mostly the fault of George Soros, at Lifezette.

Post-election guerrilla theater politics in Atlanta got a write-up plus photos and video for DSA in coverage by Deborah Tuff and Julie Wolfe at WXIA (this network account got echoed by several other TV stations). Natalie Rubion mentioned the same event (and DSA) in a post-election item for CBS, picked up by several TV stations including WGCL-TV. Cal Callaway and Deidra Dukes at the local Fox5atlanta also reported the story. Raisa Habersham reported the story for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Various rewrites of these articles have been showing up elsewhere, including parts of the right-wing echo chamber. At World Net Daily, Art Moore used the Metro Atlanta DSA action as a lead-in to an article about left-wing violence, including incitement to assassination.

CNN updated its bio file on Ed Asner, including DSA, and it got echoed all over the place.

Night of the Living Trumps

by Bob Roman

I missed the slow agony of election night, having gone to bed early, but arose in the wee hours from an uneasy sleep. Coffee! And the first thing I hear from the nattering pundits on the BBC is, “President Trump.” Say again? They did. It was a deep dismay yet not much of a surprise. After all, the Cubs had won the World Series. Clearly it was a very… seriously… cold season in Hell and demons are loose upon the land.

I had been joking that Trump would win. It was inspired by a spooky memory of a science fiction novel, title and author forgotten, that used a scenario out of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End: The orderly and irresistible end of the human species by an alien power, but in this account, in the final World Series a few months before the end, the Cubs are allowed to win.

A geezer I am. I have lived through Nixon, Reagan and Dubya. Should I mention LBJ? One might think of this as yet another spell of really bad weather and verily the sun also rises. But there is a stink of existential threat from Trump that hasn’t been so strong in the air since Nixon.

Part of it is Trump’s so nakedly disordered personality. Nearly everyone who aspires to be President is likely to be a bit insane, but until now most have been able to simulate normality. Part of it is the enthusiastic bigotry used to motivate Trump’s electorate; there’s no putting that back in the bottle while Trump holds office and the Republican caucuses control the legislature. Part of it is the solid wall of chaotic uncertainty about just what a governing Trump actually means in terms of policy.

President Trump is not totally unknowable, of course. We can expect a proactively hostile labor policy rather like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. (Worst case: Chile’s labor movement survived Pinochet but not by much.) And to the extent it can be accomplished administratively (and that’s a lot), we can expect a full-throated and nearly immediate gutting of environmental, consumer, civil rights, occupational health protections. It may be a very bad time to be an undocumented migrant. We may see an end to the filibuster in the Senate, a very bad and a very good thing indeed.

Beyond that, the Congress was intended to function largely by consensus. How much of a spine will the Democratic caucuses display? Will the Republican caucuses remain united? What of the economy? And what will be the implications of the continued devolution of what passes for political parties in the U.S.? Will the left (including DSA) fight back, fight forward, or fight each other? Are there enough question marks to continue discussing a Trump Presidency?

Remember: That which doesn’t kill you… doesn’t kill you.