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Red Labor’s 2023 Convention Slate: Toward an Independent, Working-Class Socialist Party and Programmatic Regroupment

The upcoming DSA National Convention is occurring at a crossroads for the organization. The Red Labor slate is running on a program of building an independent, working-class socialist political party.

Aaron Liu

July 27, 2023
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Red Labor Slate members running for NPC election in DSA 2023.

The upcoming 2023 Democratic Socialists of America National Convention in Chicago represents an important crossroads for the organization. As the first in-person convention since Bernie Sanders’ last run for president, and while membership has waned and no major political campaigns await, the convention can set a new direction for the organization. This convention will allow the DSA to forge a national identity independent of campaigning for Sanders. Further, the DSA is positioning itself to be a greater force in the labor movement, tenant organizing, and other social issues. However, to accomplish these things, be taken seriously by the working class, and develop a concrete identity as a socialist political organization necessitates indepence from the capitalists and a pointed political program. 

The Red Labor Caucus and Boise DSA have nominated a five-member slate for the National Political Committee (NPC) consisting of Alex Reuter-Gameon, Austin Ray Losinger-Eggiman, Kent Kiser, Somik Mukherjee, and Zeth Roark. The Red Labor slate seeks to build toward an independent, working-class socialist political party; move towards a regroupment of the broader American Left under a common program; and implement democratic discipline of elected DSA members. The NPC slate is joined by delegates from California’s East Bay, and at-larges from Minnesota and Colorado. 

Toward an Independent Party 

Though the Clean Break resolution will not be coming to the convention floor alongside Red Labor’s slate of candidates, the goal of an independent, socialist workers’ party remains central. Red Labor’s slate seeks to strengthen a growing pro-party wing of the DSA. The growth of this wing is clearly visible in the rise of “dirty-break” caucuses such as Reform and Revolution and Marxist Unity Group. Though tactics and strategy may vary among the left wing of the DSA, it is united by a shared vision of the organization having the potential to play a key part in the development of a class-independent socialist workers’ party. 

The Red Labor slate will be bringing the vision of a class-independent party to the convention floor and, if elected, into the National Political Committee. Losinger-Eggiman affirms: “If elected to the NPC, I will make it a priority to center the need for an independent socialist labor party and the necessary work in organized labor to achieve that.” He continues, “The Democratic Socialists of America has the opportunity to serve as a beacon for independent class politics, and that requires a firm stance against all enemies of organized labor, namely the Democratic Party and its agents.”  

Somik Mukherjee, the co-chair of Boise DSA, brings years of experience organizing in one of the most conservative states in the country. Mukherjee states, “Breaking with the Democrats is essential to set the base of (an) independent socialist party in the red states.” If elected to the NPC, the Red Labor Slate will bring Boise DSA’s fight in Idaho to the national stage. 

Programmatic Regroupment

As the largest active socialist organization in the United States with over 50,000 members in good standing, the DSA is uniquely positioned to help steer a regroupment of a fractured American Left. Emphasizing regrouping of disparate left-wing organizations under common programs and praxis will be at the forefront of the Red Labor Slate’s strategy in the NPC.

Kent Kiser of the Red Labor Slate explains, 

We think there’s a lot more people like us, people that have their ears to the tracks in their workplaces and trade unions and have noticed that within the working class there is an incredible amount of disillusionment with liberal democracy and capitalism. With this disillusionment comes a real opportunity to meet people and explain why the world around them is the way it is. But we gotta do this before others try to do the same thing with real disgusting ideological intentions.

Rallying the disillusioned and the class conscious of the American working class around a common program should be a priority for the U.S. socialist movement.

As it stands, the DSA relies a lot on telling members and organizers to enter spaces such as the labor movement and tenant organizing to introduce a socialist presence. However, the lack of a program leaves these socialists like hunters without guns. Building a concrete program that the DSA membership can bring to their workplaces and communities will offer clarity in times of uncertainty and provide a common political framework to analyze economic and social issues without compromising on class independence. 

Disciplined Electeds

Alongside building a party and regrouping under a common program, a key point of Red Labor’s vision for the DSA is democratic discipline of endorsed and elected DSA members. 

Reuter-Gameon, a union wireman and member of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) describesasserts, “We have embarrassed ourselves by allowing Jamaal Bowman to remain after voting to fund the Israeli apartheid regime and further the grip of the American empire and…by allowing AOC, Cori Bush, [and] Jamaal Bowman, to remain after voting to strike break and force a contract on rail workers.”

Kiser states, “In order to meet working people, in order to really be trusted, you can’t be connecting yourself to the same politicians that screw our class over in every important moment.” If the DSA is to take steps towards creating a class-independent socialist workers’ party in the United States, it must be able to retain democratic control over elected members. 

Slate member Mukherjee adds, “As a DSA member running for NPC, who has spent a significant portion of the last three years helping build our local chapter, I would like DSA members to consider the following questions: What sway do we have over our electeds in office, especially those elected on the Democratic Party ballot line? Without a binding political program, can DSA even hold its endorsed electeds accountable?” 

Working out the next steps to keep elected DSA members and endorsed politicians accountable will be a main priority for the Red Labor Slate. 

Conclusion: Independence, Programmatic Unity, Democratic Discipline 

The Red Labor Slate for NPC is rallying behind three points: class independence, programmatic unity, and democratic discipline. Each of these points are essential in the creation of a socialist workers’ party, and the victory of the working class in the struggle against capitalism. The Democratic Socialists of America sits at a crossroads, and the Red Labor Slate will push to take the organization in the direction of independence, unity, and discipline in the pursuit of a class-independent socialist party in the United States. 

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