For this special edition of Partisan, our Praxis issue, we pause in presenting theory and strategy and instead offer stories of that theory fully realized in practice. Ultimately the question we put forward to our readership as you scroll through comrades sharing their organizing lessons and triumphs is the same question Cher dared to ask the world in 1998 as we stood on the precipice of the new Millenium:
Do you believe in life after love?
Over half a year after the “most important election ever” (yes, the one that was supposed to stop fascism) a new presidential regime purporting to be the most progressive since FDR continues to fail to present any meaningful change; it is time to stop feeling the Bern and start determining the course of our own lives. For many of us, this work precedes this watershed on the national political stage. We’ve faced cultivating practical organizational responses out of necessity to meet the different crises of the moment: racist and violent state repression, Covid-19, historic wildfires, unprecedented economic crises, looming and ongoing evictions.
But where to begin in this retrospective roundup? We attempt to give a comprehensive overview of the socialist organizing happening in DSA chapters across the nation. We have contributions from tenant organizers, those building working-class institutions, resiliency and mutual aid work, those fighting for healthcare justice, and those inquiring into the makeup and organization of contemporary capitalist work.
Part of what motivates this issue for us is something we see motivating the project of Partisan as a whole. Frequently, social democratic initiatives in the DSA and other organizing spaces are presented, as if self-evidently, as the pragmatic option, against which socialist and communist organizing analyses and ambitions are characterized as hovering at the level of abstract critique or ungrounded wishful thinking. But as we look at what’s going on in our caucuses and across analogous projects to build out militant organizing bases and durable working-class institutions, we argue for the pragmatism of the nitty-gritty tools, tactics, and strategies we have on offer, especially in the face of urgent realities that working-class people experience as the basic problems and contradictions infusing their everyday lives.
The tools on offer in this issue cluster around certain key sites of struggle: workplace organizing, tenant organizing, and organizing towards resiliency, self-defense, and everyday solidarity as we continue to build a popular anti-capitalist front. There are an array of sites where working-class people directly face the contradictions inherent to capitalism and refuse its logics by challenging the capitalist organization of our everyday lives. That these sites—a shitty, under-paying workplace; an increasingly unaffordable apartment complex; a neighborhood threatened by police and white supremacist violence; a closing healthcare facility in an under-served community, and other failing infrastructure—feel so familiar to so many, make them key points to develop unity in struggle.
So, to answer Cher’s totally rhetorical question from her chart-topping ’98 hit:
We Really Do Think We’re Strong Enough.
And this Praxis issue shows the many practical options for engaging politically with projects and programs in the DSA built by its socialist-communist members—for everyone. By presenting a menagerie of organizing projects with real political stakes related to the material conditions in our communities and beyond, we hope you feel inspired to join us in exploring the practical work of building a Red world without borders.
Partisan Editorial Collective