170-1 DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

DSA’s Taylor Jones was among the scheduled speakers at an anti-inaugural Human Rights rally, according to Sloane Smith at The Austin Chronicle. Nancy Benac at the Associated Press included DSA in a pre-inaugural report, as carried by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example. A pre-inaugural political report by David Weigel at The Washington Post included DSA. Kristin Toussaint at Metro – Boston also mentioned DSA in coverage of upcoming Boston anti-Trump demonstrations.

DSA made Rachel Miller’s list of anti-inaugural to-do’s at Brooklyn Magazine, as we did in Madina Toure’s list at New York Observer, as we did in Eddie Pamintuan’s list at Sactown Magazine, as we did in Brenden Gallagher’s list at Merryjane, as we did in the editors’ list at Blunderbuss Magazine. Since Joseph Schwartz was included among Philadelphia’s 19 face of resistance at BillyPenn, so was DSA. DSA also made Talia Ergas’ list at Us Weekly. Now, will DSA become a fashion statement? Commodify your dissent with this decorative DSA membership! But Sarah Slamen at Texas Observer urged people to get active, and mentioned DSA, oh yes, as one of the possible alternatives.

Danielle DeCourcey included advice from DSA (among others) for first time protesters at attn:.

University of Oklahoma YDS staged an anti-inaugural demonstration, according to Hannah Pike at OUDaily. Adam Troxtell covered the same demonstration at The Norman Transcript. DSA was mentioned in Cynthia Moreno’s coverage of an anti-Trump demonstration at the California State Capitol at Vida en el Valle. John Ferrannini covered the same Sacramento demonstration and included DSA, at The State Hornet. DSA was part of the coalition of groups organizing 144 hours of protests in Sacramento, according to Dan Bacher at San Diego Free Press. Frank Torres’ coverage of an anti-Trump demonstration in Orlando, Florida, included DSA at The Orlando Political Observer. Alex Eng and Ryan Grewal included a quote from DSA’s Spencer Brown in their coverage of Boston anti-Trump protests at The Huntington News. Mass Live’s Gintautas Dumcius’ coverage of the Boston Commons protest also included DSA. The anti-Trump demonstration in New York was covered by Jake Offehartz for Gothamist, and mentioned DSA, as did Zach Williams at Chelsea Now. Sputnik News gave DSA full credit for organizing the anti-Trump demonstration in New York City, as did Jake Sigal at Pacific Press Agency. Is this the foundation for a conspiracy narrative? Well, funny you should mention it! None of this (including DSA) would be happening without George Soros, according to William Jasper at the John Birch Society’s The New American. A large contingent from DSA participated in the anti-Trump demonstrations in Philadelphia, according to Martha Woodall at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Layla A. Jones also included DSA in coverage of the Philadelphia anti-Trump demonstration at The Philadelphia Tribune. DSA was included Paul Schwartzman’s and David Weigel’s coverage of anti-Trump demonstrations in DC at The Washington Post. In India, Ruchir Ferroro Sharma mentioned DSA in connection with anti-Trump demonstrations at Swarajya magazine. The Young Democratic Socialists were involved in inaugural anti-Trump activities in Eugene, Oregon, according to Eric Howanietz at The Torch, likewise in downtown Kansas City, according to Emily Park at University News.

Gabby Bess’ interview with Winnie Wong about the Women’s March on Washington mentioned DSA, at Broadly. DSA made the photo gallery (#125 of 139) covering the Women’s March on Montana at Great Falls Tribune. Roqayah Chamseddine discussed some of the feminist politics surrounding the Women’s March on Washington at Shadow Proof, wherein DSA was mentioned. Art Forum provided several accounts of Women’s Marchs around the country, including an account from the DSA delegation in DC by Ed Halter. Paul Kengor managed to link Kim Il Sung, the Women’s March on Washington and DSA together at The American Spectator. An editorial at the Houston Chronicle mentioned DSA in connection with the Women’s March and opposition to Trump. At Case Western Reserve University’s The Observer, Eamon Sheehan and Christopher Nguyen mentioned YDS in their account of the Women’s March on Cleveland and on Washington. Nassau Weekly published a series of first person accounts of the Women’s March that mentioned YDS. Medill Reports Chicago posted an article and a photo gallery by Derek Robertson of DSA at the Women’s March on Washington. Robertson includes quotes from Clara Alcott and Peg Strobel.

Did you hear about the Women’s March scandal? Alana Goodman at the Daily Mail tells all. DSA got mentioned but nipples, money and the Communist Party (some how) were the focus, so to speak.

Joseph Schwartz mentioned DSA in the course of analyzing Trumpism and resistance to it at teleSUR. DSA got a curiously sympathetic mention in a commentary about socialist organizing under Trump by Todd Chretien at Socialist Worker. Brenden Gallagher predicts a great future for DSA at Merryjane. Kate Aronoff noted the explosive growth of democratic socialism in America, focusing on DSA, at In These Times. Matthew Schmieder wrote a letter boosting DSA at The Daily Targum. Bhaskar Sunkara called for a left Tea Party, giving DSA’s growth as an example, at The Guardian. Ben Burgis mentioned DSA’s growth in an essay asserting Clinton really wouldn’t have been much better than Trump at, of course, Counterpunch.

DSA was listed among the organizations supporting a sit-in protesting Purdue University West Lafayette’s failure to adequately deal with racist propaganda on campus, according to Meghan Holden at Lafayette Journal & Courier.

DSA’s Jessica Riegert organized a demonstration at Congresswoman Mimi Walters’ office in support of Obamacare, according to Alma Fausto at The Orange County Register. (This has provoked some panic from Orange County liberals.) DSA organized a protest outside of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to demand a vote against confirming Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, according to Christine Mai-Duc at Los Angeles Times. DSA was mentioned in an article on constituent pressure on Senator Chuck Schumer by Michelle Goldberg at Slate.

At Penn State’s The Daily Collegian, Abbi Sales mentioned YDS as being among the organizers of a “The World in One Room: Capitalism and You”.

“Democratic Socialists of Alabama” are among the organizers of a demonstration supporting unionization efforts at a Nissan manufacturing plant in Mississippi, according to Kelly Poe at AL.com.

Sara Tabin included a quote from YDS organizer David Diaz in her account of a No DAPL demonstration in New Haven at Yale Daily News.

DSA @ O'Hare Airport demonstrationTrump’s travel ban provoked demonstrations across the country. Jacob Klinger noted DSA’s participation in the Pittsburgh response at PennLive Patriot-News. Chicago DSA’s Alec Hudson made Reuters “The Wire” but we don’t have the link. Michael Hardy gave Houston DSA partial credit for organizing the travel ban demonstration at Bush International Airport at Texas Monthly. Eamon O’Meara at WDBJ7 TV listed YDS as being among the organizers of a demonstration in support of immigrants in Blacksburg, Virginia. Maynard Wicked Local listed DSA as a member of the Safe Communities Act Coalition in connection with a protest of Trump’s immigration decree.

Habitual fringe candidate Bill Haas is revealed to be a satiric performance art piece, according to Zoe Barnes at Riverfront Times, and the creator of Bill Haas threatens to organize a DSA chapter next. DSA is also part of the landscape when Jeva Lange discusses the “first great art of the Trump era” at The Week. Katherine Brooks’ interview with artist Abigail Gray Swartz mentions DSA at Huffington Post.


Anti-Inaugural Address for Daley Plaza

by Alec Hudson
Afternoon everyone. You all know why we are here. The American political system has given us one of the most depraved, corrupt, and bigoted leaders in our lifetime.

While there is no escaping this far-right reality that is ahead of us, the sight of all of us out here in the streets standing up for justice and liberation for black and brown people, working people, women, lgbtq people, immigrants, and all oppressed communities gives us reason to hope. No matter how bleak the future seems we all have a vision of a society beyond the evils of racism, capitalism, misogyny, colonialism, and white supremacy. Our visions may not look exactly the same, but it does not matter. We who believe in progress must remember that an injury to one is an injury to all, that we cannot have true liberation from economic  oppression without liberation for all communities suffering from the evils of racism, capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy.

We in Democratic Socialists of America are  willing to work and struggle with anyone who has a vision of a future beyond these evils. We want to organize with those who do not care about loyalty to a party, particularly a party that talks progress but brings privatization to our public schools and black sites to our police departments. We want to organize for a system that cares about human need more than profit or property rights. There is much work to be done, but if we continue to stand and organize we will not only defeat the far-right but the very system of American capitalism, racism, homophobia, and oppression. We hope to see you in the streets. Thank you so much.

170-1 Politics

Demonstrations! Who Need ‘Em?

At Jacobin, Kenzo Shibata argues that the anti-Inaugural and Women’s Marches were important and best understood from the stand point of collective bargaining, specifically the tactic of a “contract rally”.

On Saturday, marchers showed their leverage over the president, essentially declaring themselves ungovernable. Trump clearly laid out an agenda of taking away the rights of every marginalized and exploited group in America while on the campaign trail. This was a preemptive show of force against that agenda.

The power of the march was in its diversity. Had only the “usual suspects” turned out — professional organizers, community leaders, political militants, and politicians — it could have been easily dismissed by Trump. Instead, it was a broad coalition, much like the most successful contract campaign rallies. The marches’ success can be measured in part by how it seemed to send the Trump campaign into a tailspin on its first full day in office.


A Welcoming Illinois

On January 14, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights put together a platform of policies to make local communities, Illinois, and the United States a welcoming place for refugees and immigrants. They are planning a lobby day in Springfield on February 15. To find out more about the platform, to sign up to lobby, and more: CLICK HERE.

In west suburban Cook County, Oak Park and Melrose Park are considering ordinances making them welcoming communities. Greater Oak Park DSA helped turn out at the Oak Park Village Board meeting and provided testimony in support.

Know Your Rights

At South Side Weekly, Meaghan Murphy writes:

Chicago is often referred to as a sanctuary city, a city that protects immigrants. But as the August 5 raid showed, the specific parameters of those protections matter a great deal. Chicago protects immigrants through city ordinance, through CPD directives, and through public services. The primary mode of this protection is “non-cooperation”: the City of Chicago and its departments will not cooperate with federal authorities to arrest, detain, or deport undocumented residents. This is what the Welcoming City Ordinance ensures. But many in Chicago are demanding more.


Poisoned at the Roots

At Religious Socialism, Adam Joyce writes:

The violence of U.S. life, from police brutality to entrenched economic exploitation, is regularly blamed on “bad apples” — individual aberrations in an overall just and good system. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States makes it plain that we are dealing with more than rotten apples or even rotten trees, but with an orchard rooted in white male supremacy and exploitative capitalism. This twisted orchard has been planted and sustained by many, but white Christians are some of its primary cultivators.


A Left Vision for Trade

At Dissent Magazine, Eric Loomis outlines the problem and has some suggestions for solutions:

…we must seek to appeal to the concerns of working-class people who either voted for Trump or were so unmotivated by Clinton that they did not vote at all. Articulating a progressive line on trade policy, following the lead of politicians such as Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, and Keith Ellison, while also seeking to guide those politicians with new ideas need to be major goals for the labor left. Ultimately, we must spend the next four years advancing a positive agenda for global labor that both rejects the neoliberalism that has dominated national debate for the past four decades and empowers workers around the world to fight for their rights.


Sue Purrington

Political activist, feminist, Debs – Thomas – Harrington Dinner honoree and erstwhile DSA member has died. As mentioned in the obituary, Purrington received the award in 1992 along with Dr. Quentin Young. Vicky Starr, Michael Lighty, Clara Day, Dr. Ron Sable, and Jose LaLuz also were on the program that year. Her award reads:

We honor you as a career fighter for women’s rights and equality.

You have been steadfast in your belief that discrimination against all people had to end.

Under your leadership, the Chicago Chapter of NOW has been able to represent the interests of women in all walks of life. You and NOW have led in battling for women’s right of choice against the vicious attacks of those fanatic forces who want to reverse Roe v. Wade, including the Bush Administration and its Supreme Court.

You helped make the recent March on Washington for Choice the largest demonstration in our country’s history. It was a wonderful spectacle of dedication to a righteous cause.

You were instrumental in persuading Carol Moseley Braun to start her campaign to become Senator from Illinois then you produced votes to back up your pledge of support.

You have always supported labor unions’ good fights.

For your dedication to the fight for true equality, the Debs – Thomas – Harrington Dinner Committee hereby presents to you its annual award this First Day of May, 1992.

170-1 Democratic Socialism

Every Part of Us Has Parts

At Working-Class Perspectives, Jack Metzgar writes:

One important insight from this early round of Trump-shock commentary and reporting is that the white working class is a very large, diverse, and complicated group –- one with people whose thinking is much more complicated than we educated folk tend to imagine. Some of them live in bubbles, too, and some of those bubbles are impenetrable. But just as many live a complicated rage that is open to conflicting and contradictory directions. Listening to and understanding that rage and arguing for a cogent progressive direction for it will take work of many different kinds. It will help a lot if we middle-class progressives begin with a heavy dose of humility and reflect on how our class position and experience, indeed our college educations, tend to make us unaware and dismissive of other ways of seeing and being in the world.


War on Workers

At Daily Kos Labor, Laura Clawson points out that union density continues to decline, not only the union membership rate as a percentage of employees but the absolute number of members as well:

union density

Why Are There No Capitalist Holidays?

by Aaron Armitage
In one sense, all our holidays are capitalist, of course. They’re celebrated by people who grew up under capitalism and who, therefore, have capitalist ideas hiding out in our brains even if we don’t want them there. Less psychologically, they’re capitalist in the sense of being marketing opportunities. There are holidays like Sweetest Day that were invented by capitalists just to sell more candy or cards or what have you. There’s even Black Friday, where they’ve managed to make shopping a beloved Thanksgiving tradition. (Hey, maybe you needed a break from your Trump supporting cousin. It’s okay.)

santa capitalistBut there are no Capitalist holidays in the way that there are religious holidays, or national holidays, or for that matter at least one socialist and anarchist holiday, May Day. The propaganda value of a holiday can hardly escape notice; if you can get people celebrating your idea, you’re pretty much there. But I don’t think that’s most of it. People like to party, and they’ll make anything they like an excuse to party. Birthdays for the individual people in your life; anniversaries for romantic partnerships. Most of the reason why there are religious holidays is that people like their religions, and so religiously significant dates naturally suggest themselves as a good excuse to have fun. People like their countries, so we get fireworks and parades and cookouts. Enough people like the idea of socialism that May Day is still a thing.

On a related note, there are a whole lot of red, socialist, and labor songs, even more nationalistic songs, and uncountably vast numbers of religious songs, but I have never heard capitalism celebrated in song. Celebrations of getting rich, yes, but nothing about how great private capital accumulation and market distribution mechanisms are.

Why are there no traditional observances for Adam Smith’s birthday or the anniversary of when the first stock market opened? I’ve never heard of otherwise — strange behavior that suddenly becomes normal one day a year in honor of the free market. The macabre gets a day, but the job creators don’t?

It’s almost enough to make you think that, even after all the years of propaganda, the wars, the false equation of subjugation to the bosses with freedom, nobody actually loves capitalism.