Chapter News

DSA: A Political Party?

Bob (Berto) Rossi
January 9, 2019

Socialist organizing is on the upswing and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the country’s largest socialist organization. DSA’s influence extends beyond our numbers and touches other organizations and political trends.

But DSA is NOT a political party. Why?

The key social forces needed to win social change are the politically engaged union members, women, youth, and people of color, LGBTQIA+ people and environmentalists. They and their pro-democracy allies now gravitate to the Democratic Party. Revolutionaries belong among these people and among the most responsible activists.

The Democratic Party is an alliance which includes capitalists, reactionaries, and liberals as well the forces mentioned above. No alliance which accepts the premises of capitalism can represent the long-term interests of the exploited and oppressed people. We work in constructive ways to point this out to others. Our consciousness and capacity to fight back and win basic demands needs to deepen before we can talk about building a socialist party.

A socialist party will be needed to unite people behind a socialist program. The path to getting there leads through every struggle for democracy and against capitalist interests, within and outside of the Democratic Party. Every election and every social and class struggle educates oppressed people and either builds or diminishes our power. Coalition politics is now our best means for waging the fight against the far-right and the bosses. As coalition politics develops more space for socialist movements opens up. Socialist programs develop from that work.

We support candidates who run for office on the basis of our values. And we organize, propose socialist solutions, and protest regardless of who is running or in power. Our relationship to the oppressed and exploited people and our ability to build coalitions and take on tough fights alongside of people matters as much as elections do. Socialist parties are patiently built through the leadership of tested activists from the working-class and oppressed and exploited peoples. There are no shortcuts.