2023 DSA National Convention: Mini-Issue Articles

Communist Caucus Interviews 2023 NPC Candidates

Excerpt from the Communist Caucus Convention Committee’s interview with NPC candidates about their paths to DSA and organizing experience.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Over the past few months, the Communist Caucus has interviewed several comrades running for the DSA National Political Committee (NPC). An excerpt from each conversation is published here. To read the full transcript, sign to become a Friend of Communist Caucus.

  1. What’s your organizing background? Have you organized on the job, in a tenant, social movement or community group before? What did you learn from that political work? 

Megan R- Red Star: My story is that I turned 18 five days before 9/11. So my entire adult life has been shaped by that specific event. And there was anti-war organizing going on, I did some of that. Not a lot, partly because I was young and dumb, and just kind of on a roll doing other things with my life. 

And then I pulled away from politics for a long time, but I did organize in community ways. I have a 13 year-old, and I’ve been involved as a school parent for a long time. And I’ve done PTA stuff- organizing funding to have art teachers, which we didn’t have in his elementary school in Louisiana and things like that. I had a friend killed in a mass shooting in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, and I did some anti gun organizing there. But in general, DSA is really the first time I’ve organized in a specifically leftist context. 

John L- Red Star: I was politicized when I was around 14 or 15, when my locker mate got his skull kicked by our school resource officer. It was recorded on cameras. We organized to get this guy out of school, we even went to the court and the school board. And they suspended my friend and kept the school resource officer in our school. So that campaign was kind of a massive failure. And he also continued to threaten those of us that even thought about saying something about it. That was my first foray into political organizing. 

From there, my dad’s been active in the southern church. And then eventually, somehow, I ended up going to college from New Iberia. And I started student organizing- ended up joining a black benevolent society, a mutual society, which is a fraternity called Phi Beta Sigma, with some famous members: Kwame Nkrumah, A Philip Randolph, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton too. And then that started to get more explicitly political when, unfortunately, coming to police again, my friend got killed by an Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department officer, and that was this Inception point of like, there needs to be something a little bit more. Because there weren’t a lot of very active explicitly non-liberal or explicitly anti-capitalist identified political activity in my area,  that put me on a path of engaging more electorally. I ended up helping out as a staffer for an electoral campaign that was successful. 

But from there, I kind of recognized that they don’t really care about  working-class people. And you can kind of see from my Inception story, why we were gonna diverge. So we kind of split off from each other there even though I ended up on one of our parish commission’s, where we do some policy research analysis, tried to help people, you know, the common commission stuff. But from there, I ended up coming to DSA. 

Also, I am a union member. And I did a little bit of union organizing there and some other stuff like that, but just wanted to get into that. And that’s kind of how I ended up here today. I learned a whole lot from all those different things that kind of feed into my political work and political organizing. 

Sam H-L- Red Star: I don’t know if I would say that I was a red diaper baby, maybe I was more like a pink diaper baby. My dad was a public high school teacher, and both my parents, particularly my mom, were active in the anti-war movement in the first Gulf War, like right before I was born, I grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, my mom was always part of gay rights demonstrations and stuff. So as I was sort of politicized in that left liberal political space from  a pretty early age, in late middle school and high school. I did a lot of work with a local youth voter engagement nonprofit called the Washington best in Seattle, some Seattle folks might be aware of it. And had you know, done a lot of sort of the nuts and bolts electoral organizing work. And, you know, I had kind of been involved with some of that stuff kind of through high school and in college. 

I didn’t become activated as a socialist until I joined DSA through the chapter’s ballot measure campaign for free representation for people facing eviction in San Francisco. I was like, “hey, this seems like a really good campaign” when I got asked to sign the petition, signed the petition and then started getting signatures the same day, because it was something that I had kind of already done in previous work. From that I ended up more and more close to the chapter of San Francisco. I did a lot of political education through the chapter and came to my understanding of Marxism and socialist theory. 

In addition to sort of like the DSA electoral partisan work that I’d done, I was part of some pretty early organizing at a previous job, getting to the point of doing some direct confrontation with management around workers who were being fired. I’ve been through that process, like it really, really awakened me to a lot of the basic contradictions of capital and labor that I had kind of understood academically, but hadn’t really experienced. It was just a really powerful process for me. You know, in addition to that, I took larger roles in the DSA work, which we can then probably talk about. 

Laura W- Bread & Roses: Starting in 2016, I led two unsuccessful union drives at my workplaces, the second of which I got fired from. I am now a core organizer in my union at my current job as an ESL teacher at Portland Community College. I’ve helped organize multiple shop-floor campaigns and am currently co-leading our Contract Action Team to prepare for a strike next year. I have helped lead strike solidarity efforts in Portland DSA for a variety of unions. I have also volunteered for multiple electoral campaigns for socialist candidates and DSA-endorsed ballot measures, including Bernie 2020. From this work I’ve learned the importance of agency and self-emancipation: people need to be capable of organizing themselves on their own behalf to change the world how they want it. Most people believe workers are not capable of self-organizing in that way. Our role is to show that it’s possible and that it’s our path to liberation.

Alex P- Bread & Roses: My main organizing focus has been electoral and YDSA. I was the campaign manager for DSA-endorsed Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes and have been a volunteer for nearly every DSA-endorsed candidate since 2017. I also served on the NYC-SIO where I pushed for more militancy and transparency. In YDSA, I helped start the Hunter YDSA chapter and was a leader in our New Deal 4 CUNY campaign to make public college free. 

Kristin S- Bread & Roses: I have been on the organized left for 20 years. I started getting involved in anti-war activism as a freshman in college in the lead up to the Iraq war. From there, I joined the Socialist Party USA where I stayed for the next 10 years. During that time, I was a member of the national committee, editor of the newspaper, active in Occupy Wall St., and learned how to do everything from writing a press release to planning a protest. I joined DSA in 2016 where I served on the South Brooklyn Branch OC of NYC-DSA for two terms. I was also active on the Bernie campaign as well as two other electoral campaigns. Through my experience on the left, I learned the importance of gearing our work toward the working class and not towards our own organization as well as the value of working across tendencies to protect the multi-tendency nature of DSA.

Aaron B- Lighthouse: My name is Aaron Berger, go by he, him, his. Joined DSA in 2018. Through DSA, I learned how to organize my workplace. I learned how to stand up to my landlord. I learned how to run ballot campaigns. And I learned how to do sort of what I would call legal clinic work, where you help workers and tenants assert themselves and let them know their legal rights. What have I learned from doing all this work?

I organized a union at the Portland Museum of Art. I was an employee there for eight years before I started organizing. And we were naive and thought maybe there wouldn’t be an anti-union campaign. Maybe it would be too much bad PR and they wouldn’t like to see that since they’re so donor reliant. 

They did an anti-union campaign. They did it hard. And so I reached out to a comrade who’s a staff organizer with National Nurses United, and he gave me some advice that I hold with me to this day.

First, what he said was the longer a fight goes on, the less it is about reason and more it is about emotions. And the boss fights with fear and doubt. And the organizer fights with hope and anger, and solidarity. Hope is the plan to win, having a path forward that can make a difference.

And anger is the sort of emotion that erupts as the boss tells you that you’re too stupid to do this, that you’re not good enough. I’ve always been really good at hope. Love to put a game plan forward and do that stuff. I had to learn how to channel anger. It’s a benefit and a curse in that it’s very hard to unsettle me. I have a high tolerance for cringe, being yelled at, for all sorts of things. But it also means sometimes when other people are upset, I am not reacting the same way they are. That can create a disconnect.

One of the big things I learned is that it’s really important to reflect anger back or confirm that the anger is justified and continue to channel it against the boss. 

Rashad X- Marxist Unity Group: I’m Rashad, I use he/him pronouns, and I’ve organized with DSA, both at the chapter level, serving as co-chair of Lakefront DSA in northeastern Illinois and at the national level, with the GDC and AfroSoC. I organized a union at my green-collar gardening job last year that successfully marched on the boss with a supermajority of workers, and won our campaign for a living wage of $20 an hour. As we were pursuing our second demand of clear roles and corresponding pay, I helped begin the fight for equal pay for equal work as a shop floor issue, because those clear roles and pay scales were implemented in a way where all the people of color were paid the lowest within each of our new positions. Our struggle intensified with our tactics becoming increasingly disruptive, management scare tactics heightening, and several white co-workers scabbed after originally being people in our universal living wage fight. Unfortunately, given my migrant partner’s job status being in flux – I was forced to seek a job with higher pay and more health benefits.

The top three lessons I learned from that experience were: 

1) The state doesn’t determine what is, and what isn’t, a union because, we didn’t necessarily need that official state recognition to act like a real union, committing to democratically acting together to improve our conditions. And so I think about this in the same way we think about party building, right, meaning the legal ballot line is not the core issue, but how we act is most important. 

2) The second lesson was the power of EWOC, which provided an organizer who supported us as we progressed- which is one of the reasons why I have been excited to support the local EWOC amendment so that we can build that capacity within chapters vs. just a national volunteer pool. And last but not least…

3) I learned from something I didn’t do, which was the importance of forming some sort of socialist caucus or socialist formation within the union. I had different individual political relationships, but I failed to collectivize those. This was a mistake, because those people turned out to be the most militant and committed people to our struggle, especially when it took the form of fighting for equal pay for equal work. I didn’t collectivize them, because I didn’t even know that was a thing or an option to do so as a socialist, instead, I was only focused on maintaining the organizing committee we had. And so that’s one of the reasons why I’m really supportive of MUG’s labor position to really make building our independent socialist presence within our unions normal, both to advance our political goals, but also even practically, so we can have reliable fellow workers in our shop floor struggles.

Amy W-Marxist Unity Group: My name is Amy, I use they/she pronouns, and I’m in Seattle DSA. Before being involved with DSA, I was involved in tenant organizing with a local group that called ourselves Neighborhood Union. And before that, I was a member of Seattle Communists, which was a local base-building group.  And long before that, I was a trans activist in what became an NGO. In Neighborhood Union we ended up bringing a few tenants on as leaders in the organizing effort, which was really cool and we won a campaign to get a property manager who was really cruel and racist toward tenants fired. Unfortunately the effort kind of fell apart towards the beginning of the pandemic when you really couldn’t canvass.

But, I did get to learn some things from that. Very early on, 10 years ago now, I was involved in a queer activist organization. And while the org has been pretty successful, continuously putting on Trans Pride in Seattle, it’s something I have some open criticisms of. Those criticisms are basically the same I have of other organizations which are that you can be as radical as you want to be, but in a lot of cases, if you’re gonna depend on grants, donations from major things, you’re gonna get forced into pretty typical corporate structures and behaviors.  One of the takeaways from that is that class independence is really critical. Because if we depend on institutions for their resources, then we wind up being under their rules which always have strings attached. Ultimately, even if we try to, in some cases, manipulate them by saying, “oh, we’re going to change your public image,” that only works in some institutions. And even then it’s really limited. 

Another takeaway was that organization needs to be connected to political goals and a movement. It’s hard! You know, something where you have a campaign, win or lose, it can be hard to keep people around, especially something like organizing labor. And ultimately, having political viewpoints and a goal and a connection to a broader movement, I believe, helps to help people feel like they have something to be there for after a campaign. A big part of both of those is building people involved in the effort up as leaders in their own right, including finding those that already exist. And whatever principles we bring to the table to try and guide, putting the desires of those who we’re trying to organize with first, because ultimately, we should argue for our points, but if they’re not popular, if they’re not held by a significant majority, if they’re not something that people want to do, then they’ll just stop talking to us.

Jorge R- Emerge: My name is Jorge Rocha. My pronouns are they/he, and I’m from New York City DSA. 

The first time I ever heard of DSA was when AOC won her primary in 2018 against Joseph Crowley. I decided to formally join the organization on July 3 2019. Since then, I’ve been involved with many different kinds of organizing: abolition, organizing, mutual aid, political education, anti-war, internationalism, electoral, digital comms and internal organizing to DSA. Not labor, unfortunately, not tenant organizing. 

But in terms of leadership position to have done a lot of work into the political education committee it’s been a delegate for both local and national convention, was also co-chair of North Brooklyn DSA and have been on the steering committee for the International Committee. Being on the International Committee I spoke to UN ambassadors, international members of parliament, national coalition’s leaders, the left wing parties, and I spoke to 1000s at the March 18 rally in front of White House. 
The first time I ever organized in my life was in 2019. I was involved with an effort to close Rikers as part of an opposition to the plan proposed by the city council, which was called the close Rikers bill. But in truth, what this bill really entailed was the construction of new jails across New York City. And what I learned from that is more people than you believe are willing to accept fundamental premises about the social structures of our society. When so much of the organizing dealt with speaking to families, who had members or friends who were incarcerated in Rikers. And when you say, “I’m against prisons,” in general, more often than not, people are willing to say, either something along the lines of “Oh, interesting. Tell me more” or “Yeah, I think I agree with that.” So sometimes, you can’t be afraid to reveal what your revolutionary politics are. Because it turns out many people might just agree with you. 

  1. How would you characterize the main cleavages in DSA in 2023? Where do you stand on those questions?

Sam H-L- Red Star:  This is a question that a lot of folks who want a different direction for DSA are trying to articulate, and I think they’re articulating it in different ways. Some of what we’ve heard have been partyist versus liquidation, some formulations that are more oriented around a specific program- this is something Reform and Revolution is putting forward They’re like, “here’s our five point program of stuff that we all agree with.” And in Red Star, I think we broadly think those are all correct things to be fighting for.

The formulation that we’re advancing broadly breaks down along a lot of the same lines of factions of the last NPC, but I think goes a little broader than that. In an article, Megan and I wrote that we believe that the principal contradiction in at least DSA’s national organization is between an outdated system and style of leadership and the establishment of a robust and rigorous socialist democratic culture. It’s pretty clear in how we formulate which of those sides we see ourselves on. But, you know, I think to that end, in addition to the political stances that we do think are inherent to that, which are being politically brave, having a robust political culture, and robust political articulation of our vision. I think there’s also demands for basic governance and competence, that also are sort a part of that formulation that we’re trying to hit with articulation there as well.

Megan R: There’s always internal versus external organization- campaign versus whatever internal work you do. Our general feeling is that these things are not fully separable, like you have to constantly be building an organization of organizers and that can’t be a de-politicized process. We’ve kind of tried that in DSA a little bit. We’ve tried to sort of go there like, we’re just going to read Jane McAlevey, and then we’re going to be great organizers. That’s great for learning how to do organizing work, but what is the goal here? So there has to be politicization there.

In general, our feeling right now is that there’s punching above your weight that’s good and effective. And then there’s a punching above your weight that’s so far above your weight that you’re just wearing yourself out. You’re just like a little kid trying to knock down their dad. And it doesn’t work. And you just end up tired and sad. And I think we need to do a better job of assessing what that “just above our weight” is. And part of that means training socialist organizers, developing people into the organizers who are going to analyze what those situations are, both on the ground and nationally. I do think that in general, DSA has been more successful with local campaigns, like the really impressive things we’ve seen from DSA have come out of chapters as opposed to these sort of big national campaigns. Not that I think we shouldn’t support national work. Like it’s great that the housing justice committee creates these templates by which chapters who might not have housing work background can learn and then do housing work in their, in their locals. Same with labor. 

Housing, labor, and electoral work are of the three  “perma priority terrains” that are always going to be areas where we can and should be struggling. We’ve been accused of being anti-electoralists, we obviously are not, we just believe in a more classical-oriented way of thinking about electoralism. We should be organizing people to become organizers through our electoral work, just like our housing work, just like our labor work. All those things can happen on any level, right? Even the tiniest little chapter in the whole country can do a support action at a Starbucks. Everybody can organize at that level. And then these sort of chapters with more developed and robust programs can win city council races and actually have interactive approaches to city council. 

So if we have trained and developed socialist organizers, part of the goal of having those is to be able to identify when other things come up, that you can jump on. We can’t create contradictions in the world. We can’t know when the next horrible thing is going to happen, but if we’re ready, we can make those decisions about how to organize in response. And we can train ourselves to do that with those sort of perma priorities, and then be ready to kind of meet the moment. Obviously, we’re in favor of all the right things: social justice, liberation, trans liberation, racial equality, getting Moms Demand liberty or whatever off the school boards, and just obvious things. But the point is to get people engaged in class struggle, and then make them into organizers who have a socialist outlook, who can then move bigger and bigger and bigger things. 

Laura W, Alex P, Kristin S- Bread & Roses: The main cleavages exist in our electoral and labor strategy. Bread and Roses believe the goal of our electoral work is to form an independent party that requires us to take a confrontational stance toward current Democratic Party politicians and have high expectations and discipline toward our elected officials. We recognize that other tendencies do not share the goal of breaking from the Democrats and do not believe we should require as much discipline from our elected officials. Bread and Roses also believes that the rank-and-file strategy should be the primary labor orientation of socialists and while we support other avenues of union reform efforts, we do not believe them to be as fruitful. While most people in DSA support the rank-and-file strategy, there is debate over whether it should be our primary labor strategy. 

Internally, there are some that would seek to “win DSA” and lead by majority rule alone. They see members as a volunteer and donor list to be leveraged for their projects after decisions are made behind closed doors.  There are also those that value the multi-tendency nature of the organization and see value in working with others to build a vibrant, democratic organization that sees members’ contributions as important to the day-to-day work of the organization. Bread and Roses falls into the latter camp. We seek to work with others and find compromises in order to lead. We believe that there should be a massive expansion of democracy in DSA.

Aaron B- Lighthouse: I tried to answer this earlier in the year with an essay called “Survey of political demands within DSA”. I wrote it after my chapter did a reading group on “What is to Be Done”. In it Lenin talks about these political demands that have cross class appeal. Differentiating them from trade unionist or reformist demands. It felt fairly obvious to me that the old political demand for DSA was the demand of Bernie Sanders for President.
In my opinion almost all of the political cleavages within DSA are about what demand or goal should replace Bernie Sanders.
To too quickly summarize I think there are 5 main ones.

  1. Abolition of the carceral state
  2. Mass work, building class struggle institutions
  3. Break from the Democrats. I would put all the Partyists here
  4. “Make DSA Big”, sort of electoral base building?
  5. Defend Democracy from Donald Trump

Mass work and Make DSA Big are not political demands in the way that Lenin talks about them. You could call them economistic demands in a way. Which is sort of fine in my opinion. The working class has greatly decomposed. Neoliberalism has heightened alienation to an extraordinary degree. There is very little reason to find a demand with cross class appeal if the working class itself does not yet see itself as a political agent.

I think there is a good spread of consensus on this. You have Commie Caucus’s own “Our Moment”. But even the new caucus Unite to Win has a plank about class composition. I think the good governance pledge and Democratize DSA being popular talking points at this convention is also a sign of this consensus. Members think DSA needs a few training montages right? We need good stewards of organization so we can be ready for some crisis down the line. It’s all mostly internal focused while still being contentious.

There are two problems or points of tension with this though.

First, we have endorsed electeds who are participating in the state apparatus alongside the ruling class and sometimes their actions can have a disarticulating effect on DSA. The dissonance of our elected actions and the principles of our organization can shake faith in the organization.

Second, the partyist folks are some of the loudest agitators within the organization. This includes folks who are pushing for this tribune of the people style governance style from our elected.

I think better structures and good governance can help with the first problem. Do some inoculation amongst the membership so expectations are different. But the second problem is much harder to tackle.

When you want to have a productive debate its important in my opinion to provide a positive alternative when you’re opposing something. But base building, whether its mass work or electoral work, isn’t a positive alternative to the type of political demand the partyists are pushing for. It’s a retreat from their question of where are we going. Saying we’re not strong enough to consider such questions.

I feel like this point needs to be repeated. The party surrogate is not a sufficient answer for the questions the Partyists are asking, because it does not answer ‘where are we going?’

So to me that’s the central cleavage of our organization. What is the political demand that will replace the dream of a Bernie Sanders presidency. I think several people have tried to fill it with other things like internationalism or climate change. But none of it has really stuck and I think we have to get a lot better at internal communication if we want to figure out the answer.

Rashad X- Marxist Unity Group:  One of the main cleavages we see is really around: what does it mean to be anti-imperialist, consistently and unapologetically? I’m sure many would agree with that statement: to be anti-imperialist consistently and unapologetically. But the differences between MUG and other tendencies emerge when thinking about what that means for our electoral strategy. And first and foremost, when we think about our electoral strategy, we believe us socialists have a duty to stand firmly against militarism, number one. Number two, that therefore it’s not enough for DSA-endorsed socialist legislators to just rhetorically criticize excessive military spending- they should force genuine public confrontation over the matter by refusing to vote for military and ICE budgets, for example. 
On the NPC, we’ll use the relationships we’re committed to building with DSA electeds to provide structural feedback on how they can increase the anti-imperialism of their congressional presence, while also being committed to holding them accountable using our full range of options. And we also want to work with the NEC to, like Amy said, build popular support for DSA as an organization first and foremost, so that our candidates are not more powerful and more popular than the organization itself.  When we elect legislators, we want worker voters to support them, because they support DSA. 

Amy W- Marxist Unity Group: Another big thing, a major MUG position, is really the rhetoric of winning the battle for democracy versus the idea of defending democracy. We fall on the side of winning the battle for democracy, rather than defending really the sham that we have. And the reason for that–the idea of defending it really falls on to, it tends towards the defensive tactics of a kind of lesser evilism, and a lot of classic collaborationist positions. Because there’s this idea that we need to defend what we have, and that’s our top priority. But ultimately, we need to fight for something that we don’t have. 

Winning the battle for democracy rather than defending what we have is a solid guiding principle for all of our work, it casts a real movement against the state. And it shows it to be for the democratic practice that’s really embedded in all of our work whether that’s tenant control of housing, worker control of the workplace, social control of arms. Another thing it does really well is it binds the kind of economic and immediate demands that we have to how we can extend and defend those. Ultimately, what we want to do is put the working class in power, and democracy is necessary for that to happen. The working class is the majority class and is the majority of us, and so it’s necessary for democracy to put them in power. And if that is not on the table, then every effort that we have is subject to overrule by the ruling class structures, whether it’s the courts, or Congress, or what have you. I believe it ties into electoral accountability in a big way. Because, ultimately, it’s the same kind of thing that we are fighting for within DSA as we expect in broader society–kind of an imperative mandate that our representatives actually represent us and aren’t just getting there and then doing their own career. It guides how DSA relates to members as well as to the broader masses, which has to be similar. Because otherwise, if we don’t practice democracy internally, if we don’t practice democracy with all of the people that we interact with, then we won’t be able to set up a democratic society. 

Jorge R:  I think there are three right now going into the national convention.
There is a broad consensus in the organization that there is a crisis. I do think that it’s telling what people believe is the crisis. Some people suggest that DSA has a political crisis, others suggest that DSA is in an organizational/operational crisis, I think it’s both in the sense that they feed into each other.

The largest socialist organization in the United States is nowhere near its operational capabilities. The reason it’s not is due to sectarian conflict which pauses the organization’s operations. The manner in which we could cut this Gordian knot of dysfunction is by a coherent and unified organization. But before we can even begin to discuss some kind of unified platform, or some unity of thought, so to speak, we have to have a unified political strategy or unit of action. Just call me to quote a Kwame Ture quote I love so much, he says,  “Unity is not a feeling. Unity is not an emotion. Unity is a means of channeling the energies of the people towards a given objective within principles.”

Another one is a question regarding direction, like, where are we going? When I joined the organization in 2019, there was some disorganization. But very quickly, there was some unity formed around the Bernie Sanders campaign. And once that ended, there was also the George Floyd uprising. But once that political moment also ended, there was no grand unifying strategy for DSA. 

The historic weakness of proletarian self-organization in this country means that our task is to construct and organize a Socialist Party. But given the current context of the United States, we must build power through the primary political form people engage in, which is visible electoral politics. In other words, given that the Democratic Party is an entity that exists, then perhaps a way to kind of build power is to run people to run Socialist on the Democratic Party ballot line. However, this is not to suggest that we must be Democratic Party partisans or operatives, nor should we constrain this organizing to just those campaigns. The vision here that I’m suggesting is that we have to organize the working class into a Socialist Party, which would be an independent pole of power from the political parties reproducing the capitalist economic system. So I think what needs to occur is that you concurrently build independent working-class institutions to wage a robust counter-hegemonic struggle to establish actually existing democracy and socialism. So we have to carefully balance building power through the bourgeois state with electoral campaigns, while also constructing the foundation for a proletarian state with independent working-class institutions so that we can then make a transition from a capitalist society. 
The next five years of how DSA develops will determine the future of socialism in the US, because DSA is the largest experiment to form a socialist party in many decades. Either this experiment will succeed, or it’s going to fail. If what we want to do is a social revolution, we also have to acknowledge the larger historical period, which is an organic crisis where the existing order, what we call neoliberalism, is starting to collapse from the sheer weight of its own contradictions. And there will have to be a new order that will replace it. Now, whether that new order is socialist or not is up to all of us. Given such an ordeal, we have to acknowledge this kind of careful balance between a war of position,  a cultural or ideological revolution, and the war of maneuver, which is a political and social revolution- the party being this organizational form cohering, these two strategies that you push on, so that then you are able to produce a Praxis that can then move us towards the complete social revolution. 

The primary function, in my opinion, of the NPC is to unite the national organization and local chapters by organizing the collective will of this party, whatever it is. The NPC should act as the linchpin, the vital bridge between everything in our organization. Without robust connection and cooperation between the local chapters and a national organization, the project as a whole is disjointed. If there are no key  linking issues for the organization, then it’s the responsibility of the NPC to build it. We should take very seriously that if we are an organization of organizers and if the highest leadership body is the NPC, then the NPC must organize the body which is DSA. So, an important aspect given how chaotic this past NPC has been, collective leadership must be the cornerstone of a socialist organization. This is not just like a structure for governance, but it’s meant to be a revolutionary ethos to make sure that we’re all moving together towards liberation and emancipation. Collective leadership embodies the democratic principle that power should not rest in the hands of just a singular individual, but rather be dispersed among many people. It’s an arrangement where ideas do not and cannot emerge from a singular mind, but are forged in the crucible of collective thought and discussion.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email