Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

DSA Votes for BDS, Reparations, and Out of the Socialist International

A brief run-down on events at the DSA National Convention.

Juan C

August 5, 2017
Facebook Twitter Share

The National Convention of the Democratic Socialists of America is currently under way. An estimated 700 to 800 delegates representing 25,000 members nationwide are participating in the four-day event at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In the weeks preceding the convention, numerous resolutions were put forward by individual members and groups, some of which were circulated throughout the organization to be presented for discussion and vote at the convention.

On Saturday (Day 3), the discussion centered on amendments to the DSA’s constitution as well as the organization’s national priorities.

The delegates voted to sever relations with the Socialist International, a conglomeration of parties that have embraced and in some cases implemented neoliberal policies around the world (ie., the German SPD, Hollande’s Socialist Party in France, Peña Nieto’s PRI in Mexico, the Indian Congress Party, and the Greek PASOK).

The resolution that passed stated, “Our affiliation with the Socialist International hinders our ability to develop stronger relationships with parties and social movements that share our values and which, in many cases, are bitterly opposed to their country’s SI affiliate(s),” and, “In many countries, they have helped to lead the attack on the welfare state and on the rights of workers and unions.”

The DSA has been affiliated with the Socialist International since its founding in 1982. Saturday’s vote to leave the international marks a historic shift, signaling the political leanings of the exponentially growing new membership.

At the same time, some members are putting forward proposals for building “stronger relationships with new left parties and movements” outside of the SI, “from Podemos (Spain) to PSOL (Brasil) to Momentum in Britain” (from DSA Momentum Platform ).

You might be interested in “The Party We Need; A Revolutionary Socialist Party”

On Saturday, the assembled delegates voted to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. The bulk of the resolution is an indictment of Israel’s occupation of Palestine:

“Israel has engaged in a program of rapacious colonization (‘settlements’) of the Occupied Palestinian Territories…Israeli settlers in the West Bank are given the rights of Israeli citizenship, subject to civilian law, and are permitted to drive on roads barred to Palestinians…Palestinians in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens, are subjected to military law, including being tried in military courts with a 99% conviction rate, are forced to drive on different roads…[T]here are today at least 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

“…[A]ll of the aforementioned constitutes apartheid…”

With this vote, the DSA has taken a stance that leaves behind the Democratic Party’s line and that of Bernie Sanders, who, when asked whether he supported the BDS during an interview with Al Jazeera , bluntly replied, “No, I’m not a supporter.”

The decision immediately rippled through social media and was lauded by many inside and outside the organization.

You might be interested in “The DSA in the Democratic Party Labyrinth”

Also on Saturday, delegates voted in favor of a resolution by members of the NYC and North Jersey members of the Afro-Socialist and Socialists of Color Caucus. The proposal included formal recognition of the Caucus by the National organization. It included a statement in support of reparations in the US to “communities descended from slaves” and the Global South “nations who have suffered hundreds of years of economic exploitation” by “imperialist nations.”
The statement pointed out,

“Reparations won’t erase the shamefully violent history of our country, or the irreparable damage 400+ years of free labor has caused the black community. It is, however, a means of redistributing wealth to the communities descended from slaves, which could ease the material burdens they face today.”

Of note, in an amendment that was eventually voted down, New York City members proposed to replace the preamble of the “Priorities Resolution” with language around the DSA’s relationship to the Democratic Party:

“We should recognize that the Democratic Party is not our party, even if we sometimes run or support candidates within it. We have, therefore, no interest in its internal battles, such as the fight between Keith Ellison and Tom Perez. We should refrain from endorsing or supporting Democrats engaged in political struggles within the Democratic Party. Taking part in such internal Democratic Party fights only disorients our members, leading them to believe that the Democratic Party can be a vehicle for the aspirations of working people.

“We believe it is important to emphasize this point because the Democratic Party has historically been the biggest challenge to progressive movements.”

The proposal did not advance a clear break with the Democratic Party; it was milder in content, but was still struck down at the convention.

Although the DSA’s electoral strategy and the question of full independence from the Democratic Party has proven difficult to resolve, the events taking place at the DSA convention signal auspicious changes brought on by the growing new members and influx of youth.

Facebook Twitter Share

United States

Voters cast their ballots on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Minneapolis. With Election Day still more than six weeks off, the first votes of the midterm election were already being cast Friday in a smattering of states including Minnesota.

The Midterm Elections and the Fight for the Working Class

Republicans and Democrats are trying to win the working class vote on Tuesday, but neither party represents workers’ interests. Socialists must take advantage of the hunger for reform and fight for independent politics and build the party we need: a working-class party with a socialist strategy.

Jimena Vergara

November 7, 2022
Migrants crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico to the United States near Eagle Pass, Texas.

The Far Right Is Attacking Immigrants — We Need a Party that Fights Back

Two years into Biden’s presidency, both the Republicans and Democrats have moved to the right on immigration. Immigrant rights remains an essential fight — one that requires working-class leadership and independence.

Sam Carliner

November 6, 2022

More Crisis on the Horizon as Republicans Rally to Take Back Congress

With just three days left before the midterm elections, the Republicans look increasingly likely to retake the House and perhaps even the Senate. This could have a profound impact on the next two years of Biden's presidency and the 2024 elections. But one thing is for sure: regardless of who wins on Tuesday, the result will be more polarization and more economic, environmental, and political crisis.

James Dennis Hoff

November 5, 2022
Christopher Schurr, who murdered Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, MI, sits in a court room.

Former Police Officer to Stand Trial for Patrick Lyoya’s Murder

Christopher Schurr will go to trial for fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head during a traffic stop in April in Michigan. To truly win justice, we need to continue to organize against the police and the system they uphold.

Tristan Taylor

October 31, 2022

MOST RECENT

ACT-UAW Local 7902 at a rally in April 2022 for NYU adjuncts pay. They carry signs that say "UNION POWER."

A Strike Threat Won NYU Adjuncts a Massive Raise — We Must Prepare to Strike at CUNY

Adjunct faculty at NYU recently won major gains in their contract after threatening to strike. CUNY workers should follow in their footsteps.

Olivia Wood

November 5, 2022
A man holds a Sri Lankan national flag during a protest outside the Parliament complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Protests Against Inflation and the IMF Return to Sri Lanka

Protesters, along with unions and political organizations took to the streets of Sri Lanka on Thursday, mobilizing against inflation, staggering food prices, and new IMF adjustment programs ushered in by the the illegitimate government of Wickremesinghe, which replaced Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government by mass demonstrations in July.

Protesters stage a "die-in" in the lobby of the Orlando International Airport on Oct. 28, 2022

Florida Is Poised to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Minors — We Need a Movement for Trans Lives

In the latest assault on trans youth, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to draft a rule to ban gender affirming care for anyone under the age of 18. This heinous attack must be fought back by a mass movement.

Ezra Brain

November 1, 2022
Jair Bolsonaro pictured on election day. Wearing a yellow Brazil shirt and smiling.

Bolsonarism Will Not Be Defeated in Brazil without Organizing Independently of the Lula Government

Lula won by a narrow margin in yesterday’s elections in Brazil, but his government is unwilling to truly challenge the Right’s advance. A Brazilian socialist describes the fight ahead for the country's workers and Left.

André Barbieri

October 31, 2022