Chicago DSA v. 3.0

by Bob Roman

You have probably heard that DSA has tripled its membership since the November election, reaching 19,000. The same is true for Chicago. Last year at this time, membership was at 250. Now, in the Chicago metropolitan area, it’s over 750. Even within Chicago DSA’s redefined borders, membership is just less than 600. These are not huge numbers, but they are record highs. Moreover, this growth has been matched by a notable increase in people willing and downright eager to take responsibility. This is manifest in the proliferation of DSA chapters across the nation; we’re very nearly a 50 state organization now. In Illinois, we have a West Suburban Illinois chapter, and organizing committees in the Quad Cities, Northern Illinois and Champaign – Urbana. In Chicago DSA, we now have three branches: Greater Oak Park, Northside Chicago and Southside Chicago. Within our chapter, we also have a number of self-organized working groups, some of which are mostly notional while others, such as the Rapid Response group and the Labor group, have staged useful interventions in Chicago politics. The Labor working group, for example, recently blitzed CTA stations in support of the Amalgamated Transit Union’s negotiations with the CTA. The Rapid Response group has made sure that DSA has been visible at several recent demonstrations. (We really do need to be better about blowing our own horn.) This is the good news.

The less good news is that on the local level, most of this work is being done out-of-pocket whenever there are expenses. Furthermore, our new members are predominantly younger adults who have grown up on the web. Combined with meager branch finances, this means that nearly all the organizing and communication is being done via Facebook, email, Twitter, and other social media. Basically, if you’re offline or if we don’t have your email address then you’re a second class member. (But really, apart from holiday cards, how often do you get personal letters these days?)

Chicago DSA was moving in this direction before the avalanche. The percentage of members lacking an email address had been dropping, and it’s dropped radically with this influx of new members. There are ways of working around these mismatched modes of communication, and we’ll find ways of doing it, especially if those of you off-line insist.

Other changes are on the horizon. If money allows, we may move the office again as our Executive Committee meetings have been drawing capacity crowds. You will see new leadership at Chicago DSA. The terms of office for our CDSA officers are staggered, but also there are vacancies. There is also an Executive Committee expanded by more representatives from branches.

But the most important change will be when Chicago DSA becomes a player that intervenes in politics in a strategic way on behalf of a particular constituency. This will require your participation. This will require your contributions. Remember, your continued support is important, and I do appreciate it.

Save the date!

Chicago DSA’s workshop, “Introduction to Democratic Socialism,” will come to south suburban Homewood on Sunday, May 7, 2017. The workshop starts at 1:30 p.m. at Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway.

New DSA members, young people and anyone interested in a fair and prosperous society are encouraged to attend.

Homewood Public Library is easily accessible by the Metra Electric passenger rail line.

For directions and more information, contact Bob Reilly at

DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

Sydney Robinson explains the growth of DSA at The Ring of Fire Network. The rapid growth of DSA is used as part of an argument by Joe Allen at Jacobin. Tom Hesse featured the growth of YDS on campus at The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle’s report was noted elsewhere, including at The American Interest. What’s driving the growth of DSA? DSA’s David Duhalde was a guest on KCRW‘s “Press Play with Madeleine Brand” to discuss the matter. DSA’s Jason Schulman was interviewed about U.S. politics, including DSA’s growth, at Workers’ Liberty. The growth of DSA was a topic in an interview by Daniel Denvir of DSA’s Maria Svart and Sean Monahan at Jacobin Radio’s The Dig. Oh, yeah? DSA as an answer to Trump, according to Noah Berlatsky’s interview with Sam Pritchard at Splice Today. Jared Aponte used Trevor Hill and DSA to argue millenials do not like capitalism at The Greyhound. Jessica Yarvin used DSA, among others, to examine our “socialist moment” at PBS News Hour. And William Guebhardt mentioned DSA in reviewing the mainstream U.S. left at Contrepoints. Ben Kew provided his own gloss at Kyle Chayka mentioned DSA in passing in assessing the rise of the hard left at The Ringer. Bessam Idani mentioned DSA in an essay about the growth of the left in general at WHYY’s NewsWorks, likewise a mention in a similar editorial at Viewpoint Magazine. Andrea Levy interviewed Bhaskar Sunkara about the state of U.S. politics at Canadian Dimension and DSA got a mention. Peter Rugh combined DSA, local Brooklyn politics and national trends at The Indypendent.

Joe Allen managed to mention DSA’s growth in connection with organizing in the logistics industry at Jacobin. DSA’s growth got mentioned in Juliet Kleber’s interview of Michael Kazin regarding his book documenting the World War I anti-war movement at New Republic. DSA’s growth was mentioned by Daniel Clarkson Fisher in exploring a “people’s Buddhism” at Political Animal Magazine.

At CNN, Gregory Krieg notes that the proposed TrumpCare is provoking calls for “single-payer” health insurance, quoting DSA Deputy Director David Duhalde. Roqayah Chamseddine reports on opposition to TrumpCare and agitation for a national health insurance, mentioning DSA in both contexts, at Shadowproof. “Single-payer” national health insurance is proving to be the popular alternative to Trumpcare, according to Eoin Higgins at attn:, and he gives DSA prominent mention. Sarah Jones also offers “single-payer” as an alternative, mentioning DSA’s growth, at New Republic. Mic set up a debate on health care between conservative writer John Davidson and DSA’s Maria Svart.

At the Cornell Daily Sun, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reported on Cornell University’s decision to pay security expenses for campus speakers, including a quote from Cornell YDS. Samuel Smith reported on Cornel West support for diverse political speech on campus at Christian Post. Newt Gingrich is coming to town, and Cornell YDS is planning to protest, according to Matt Weinstein at Ithaca Journal. And they did, according to WHCU and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs at The Cornell Daily Sun.

DSA was listed as involved in a protest planned for Trump’s visit to Louisville by Melissa Chipman at Insider Louisville. This was also noted by Justin Sayer at the Courier-Journal and by Scott Recker at LEO Weekly… and Wendy Palmer at Naija Oversabi? The earlier visit by Veep Mike Pence was written up by Robin Garr, mentioning DSA, at Forward Kentucky. Chris Suarez reported on an anti-Trump Budget resolution passed by the Charlottesville City Council, mentioning DSA, at The Daily Progress. Antifa militants attacked a pro-Trump march with pepper spray in Huntington Beach, but the Los Angeles Times’ Benjamin Brazil interviewed Byron Lopez from DSA.

Solidarity matters, argued Brenden Gallagher at Merry Jane, and he included DSA among other organizations to be involved with. Putin is the wrong issue, says Andrew Dobbs at Medium, but support DSA.

KVAL covered a town hall held by Representative Phil Barnhart and Senator Lee Beyer noting, primarily, a question from YDS member Nathan Stevens about tuition increases at the University of Oregon. At The Daily Aztec, Will Fritz noted YDS was organizing a demo in response to an announced tuition increase.

YDS was used as an identifier by Chris Anderson in covering the establishment of ISU Student Action at Iowa State Daily. YDS was mentioned by Rene Delgadillo at The Prospector as part of the Continuing the Revolution coalition.

DSA was mentioned in passing by Frank Torres in reporting on the Contact Music Festival at The Orlando Political Observer. DSA will be participating in a social justice music and arts festival, according to Chattanoogan.

At DNAinfo New York, Rachel Holliday Smith covered an evolving 3-way race for the 35th Council District, and mentioned one candidate, Jabari Brisport, is a DSA member. Sarah Jaffe interviewed DSA member (and DSA endorsed) South Fulton city council candidate khalid kamau at In These Times. Max Fennel-Chametzky at The Chicago Maroon explored the connection between recently announced gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss and the University of Chicago, noting DSA member Tyler Kissinger had nice things to say about Biss.

Sephon Johnson and Nayaba Arinde mentioned DSA in their report on affordable housing in Brooklyn at New York Amsterdam News. Sacramento DSA is launching a campaign for rent control, according to Scott Thomas Anderson at Sacramento News & Review.

Hannah Long-Higgins’ account at Uptown Radio of an informational picket in support of warehouse workers represented by the Steelworkers mentioned DSA.

Gothamist still has David Colon compiling lists and DSA makes it on to this one.

A conservative Crystal Lake candidate for the District 155 School Board claims his Twitter account was hacked and he didn’t tweet those offensive things, but he did own up to his terrorist posts on a DSA Facebook page, according to Nate Linhart at the Northwest Herald. Indivisible? They’re all a bunch of bomb-throwing, Soros-financed commies, including DSA, opined Terry McLaughlin at The Union. The “They’re all commies” theme (and liars, too) was pursued by Joshua Delk and Paul Kengor at The American Spectator. Hey, is it time for a dirty war yet?

The People’s Summit is reconvening in Chicago, says Gregory Kreig at CNN, and DSA is among the organizers. Daniel Marans wrote this up (including DSA) for The Huffington Post. DSA is among the groups organizing the Seattle Socialism Conference according to Neal McNamara at Seattle Patch.

DSA member Netta Berman’s obituary was posted at Cleveland Jewish News.

Process, politics, DSA and sports, stewed by Dennis Young at Deadspin.

170-4 DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

At Texas Observer, Gus Bova characterizes DSA’s explosive growth as a “red dawn”. And Matt Pearce at the Los Angeles Times is seeing red, noting the tripling of DSA’s membership. This was picked up by other publications in the old Tribune network, including the Chicago Tribune. MSN posted a 30 second spot (also see Wochit Headline News at Daily Motion), this also has been echoed at a few TV stations. John Sexton turned it into a brief item at Hot Air. DSA was on the menu in a report by Lisa Provence about the rise in activism at C-VILLE Weekly. Christian Horbelt wrote a report on DSA, focused on Pittsburgh, for International Politik und Gesellschaft. DSA came up in Harry Shukman’s interview of Winnie Wong at The Tab. At The Tab, Harry Shukman did a similar interview with Moumita Ahmed. A meeting of the Philadelphia DSA was the occasion for Jason Nark to examine DSA’s growth at The Philadelphia Inquirer. I missed this in the previous survey, but one episode of Bill Press and Friends included a growing DSA as a topic. And there’s a brief mention from Dan Sweeney at Sun Sentinel.

Sam Beem at Underground Voices covered a meeting of the Penn State YDS, focusing on their decision to not debate a conservative group. If you’re on a bandwagon, everyone wants on board so they invent an issue for a ticket: Aidan Mattis at The Libertarian Republic decided YDS was just afraid to debate. And Alana Hope Levinson at Mel Magazine contends a real cuckboi is a card-carrying DSA member. Aaron Klein passed off as fresh some stale canards and half-truths about DSA at Jewish Press and Trevor Loudon complains that it’s Not Your Daddy’s Democratic Party Anymore at World Net Daily. Cheryl Chumley whined about DSA’s growth at Washington Times.

So what is DSA? The Chicago Tribune posted a slide show as a brief explanation. Since we’re trending, here’s Circa.

It’s a dismal time for the left, sez Richard Whitten at Paste, but there’s DSA, among others, as light at the end of the tunnel? DSA was one of many topics touched on in an interview of Bhaskar Sunkara and Robert Brenner by Suzi Weissman at Jacobin.

Michelle Chen’s article on the immigrant rights movement mentioned DSA at Dissent. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s victory party was the occasion for DSA organized demonstration demanding LA be a sanctuary city, according to Gene Maddaus at Variety. It appears the Los Angeles Times ran a similar story but I can’t find the URL; however, here is a more recent Los Angeles Times article on Garcetti’s victory by Dakota Smith. The YDS chapter at Princeton University signed on to an open letter to the university president urging him to stand up for human rights, posted at The Princetonian.

David Highfield’s report on International Women’s Day activities in Pittsburgh for KDKA TV focused on DSA. YDS was among the groups organizing a International Women’s Day march and rally in DeKalb, Illinois, according to Aimee Barrows at the Daily Chronicle. The same event, with YDS mentioned, was covered by Sophia Philips at Northern Star. Times-Union mentioned DSA among the organizers of the Day’s rally in Albany, New York. Coverage at KTVU of the International Women’s Day march and rally in Oakland, California, quoted DSA member Jamie Gardner. Aaron Cynic’s coverage of the Day at Chicagoist included DSA’s blitz of Chicago Transit Authority stations in support of Amalgamated Transit Union’s ongoing negotiations with the CTA. (But we were at the Fight for 15 demo, too. There’s a photo of Tom Broderick, with DSA button, at the Chicago Sun-Times.) Rather like disguising a science fiction novel as a romance novell, Jenna Lemoncelli included DSA as part of her celebrity-journalism style coverage of the Day at Hollywood Life. Scott Heins at Gothamist interviewed Yvonne Martinez from DSA (“You’re here surrounded by Democratic Socialists”). Jackie Labrecque and Stephen Mayer at KATU mentioned DSA in their coverage of the Day. Michael Alison Chandler explored unpaid labor and the strike, quoting DSA’s Ariana Ascherl, at The Washington Post. This being The Washington Post, it got reposted some and excerpted more. Amber Randall smiled as she as she cut and pasted and mentioned DSA at The Daily Caller. Elizabeth Harrington at The Washington Free Beacon mentioned DSA while pointing out the International Women’s Day is rooted in Socialism (with a capital S). DSA got mentioned by Sophie Weiner mentioned DSA in an essay exploring color and politics at Racked.

How can Trump win the support of the Black Congressional Caucus? Richard Dimery thinks the prospect of being tarred and feathered with the likes of DSA and such should help, at Black Community News. Is DSA a Christmas goose? Marxist-Leninists whet their knives at Left Voice.

Kshama Sawant mentioned DSA in her response to Trump’s speech to Congress, as posted at Counter Punch. A discussion of electoral politics and the left by Daniel Moraff at In These Times mentioned DSA. Using the contest for DNC Chair and its outcome as tea leaves for the future, Cole Stangler at In These Times quoted DSA’s David Duhalde.

At the Daily Mail (U.K.), Chis Summers covers a police twerking scandal in Rochester, New York, and quotes a tweet from Rochester DSA.

Ben Jacobson at the Telegraph-Herald quoted DSA’s Derrick Clark about the Iowa legislature’s failure to support mental health treatment (caution: pay wall).

DSA was among the groups rallying for a $15 / hr minimum wage in New Jersey, according to Lindsey Kelleher at The Record. At the DesMoines Register, Kevin Hardy quoted DSA member Patrick Stall in opposition to proposed Iowa legislation preempting local minimum wages ordinances. O. Kay Henderson covered the same hearing, mentioning YDS, at Radio Iowa, as did Bob Fisher at KGLO.

Jenna Chandler listed DSA Los Angeles as being among the opponents of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative ballot measure at Curbed LA.

A progressive income tax for Seattle is under consideration and Daniel DeMay included quotes from DSA’s Stephen Gose at Seattle pi.

Veep Mike Pence visited Louisville, Kentucky, to discuss repealing Obamacare and was greeted by a rather large protest, DSA among the supporting organizations, according to Shelby Brown at The Louisville Cardinal.

Kashiki Harrison profiled DSA’s Joseph Schwartz at The Temple News. The late Michael Israel’s political journey, including DSA, was memorialized by Scott Thomas Anderson at Sacramento News & Review. Kelly Chen profiled YDS activist Hannah Zimmerman for Affinity Magazine.

Kim Jones, Jon Martinson and Brad McGarr explained the Twin Cities Chapter of DSA for Southside Pride. Huh-oh. Barbarians at the hedge row: Geoff Spillane noted an outreach meeting for a possible Cape Cod DSA chapter at Cape Cod Times. This Cape Cod item also got noted by Lauren Dezenski in her Politico column on Massachusetts politics. At Shepherd Express, Keith Schubert profiled the Milwaukee DSA chapter.

The Bowletariats

by Caroline Reid
The Socialist Feminist Working Group is raising funds for women who seek abortions but need financial help. This is an annual event we do through Abortion Bowl-A-Thon fundraisers around the country in April. This is a great way for chapters to have a fun social event while helping raise money for the Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF). CAF is under the National Network for Abortion Funds whose mission is to “remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice,” which aligns with our values at DSA of reproductive justice.

For Chicago, the event is Sunday April 23 from 2:30-5pm at Burnt City Brewing, 2747 N. Lincoln in Chicago. All are welcome! Please sign up to be a Bowletariat with the DSA team or donate to us at:

If you have any questions please feel free to email

[Editor’s Note: For more information about the Chicago Abortion Fund’s work, see Peg Strobel’s interview with Brittany Mostiller-Keith, Lindsay Budzinski and Sekile Nzinga-Johnson at Talkin’ Socialism Episode 59.]

170-4 DSA News

Young Democratic SocialistsIgniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

At Democratic Left, Adam Cardo writes:

From February 17-19, members of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) gathered for “Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump.” The first YDS conference since the post-Bernie/Trump boom, the gathering acted as a rally point for all our new members as well as the staging ground for building and confronting the new far-right administration.

The most notable aspect of the conference was its size. More than 250 people attended, almost three times as many as last year. Many of the attendees had just joined DSA in the past couple of months, and many were first politicized by the Bernie campaign. But as less than a month had passed since the Inauguration, all attendees were concentrated on President Trump’s new far-right administration.


Socialist International

Judging by the list of participants, it was another not terribly well-attended event (and DSA was not there), but Socialist International held it’s 25th Congress in Cartagena, Colombia, on March 2,3 and 4. In addition to electing leadership, the body adopted 11 resolutions, including statements on Mexico and Puerto Rico. You can find out more HERE.

170-3 DSA News

After the Ellison Defeat

DSA’s National Political Committee adopted a statement on Democratic National Committee’s election of a Chair:

This weekend the Democratic National Committee (DNC) failed to choose Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) for Chair of the DNC. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) backed Ellison’s election as part of a rebellion of progressive Democratic Party activists against a neoliberal Democratic Party national leadership that places corporate interests ahead of the interests of working people.


Planned Inequality

Recorded 05.13.2011  at the 53rd Debs – Thomas – Harrington Dinner in Chicago. Our featured speaker for that evening was Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago. Martire contends the wreckage of our public institutions, our soaring private and public debt, our stagnating economy, the growing stench of racism in our politics: these are the natural outcome of an intentional decades-long policy of massively redistributing wealth to those who were already very very wealthy.

Download to listen later [right click]: MP3 (21.3 MB) or OGG VORBIS (17.9 MB) (22:10)


or add to your playlist using STITCHER or iTunes.