Sacramento DSA has a new home page. It is here.
Active organizing for democracy is needed now
more than ever. For this to succeed, both working
and poor people – who are the majority – have to
have a voice. DSA is one of those voices.
See weekly updates on DSA activity at www.dsausa.org
See local DSA activity here https://www.facebook.com/DSA.Sacramento
Local DSA active in the Our Walmart protests on Nov. 28.
See prior post: “A Working Class View of Immigration Reform,” by David Bacon.
Get involved at http://www.dsausa.org/current_campaigns.
DSA is the major organization on the American Left with an all embracing moral vision, systemic social analysis, and political praxis rooted in the quest for radical democracy, social freedom, and individual liberty.
Cornel West. DSA Honorary Chair
See the renewed, vibrant new DSA national web site. www.dsausa.org
An essay on Martin Luther King Jr.’s developing view on democratic socialism.
“Sharply breaking with his earlier social democratic aspirations, King entered 1968 with the firm belief that the evils of capitalism necessitated a project of redistributing and reconstructing economic power relationships. He also entered his final year with an equally firm belief that the government would not lead this project as asserted by social democracy. Both of these elements led King to a democratic socialist ideology in the vein of “Socialism-From-Below.” Capitalism was unjust not simply as a system with a side effect of inequity, but as a system of enforced misery and curtailed autonomy, one imposed on the powerless by those with control over the means of production. The government, rather than the means of redress, simply mirrored the asymmetries of power and reflected the priorities of the privileged instead of amplifying the voices of the dispossessed. The rioting of Watts, the ghettos of Chicago, the failure of the Great Society, and the disintegration of the liberal coalition spurred an ideological evolution that led King to reject social democracy and embrace democratic socialism.
While King’s democratic socialism was firmly established in theory, he remained programmatically and practically rooted in social democracy. Abandoning social democracy meant moving into uncharted waters for King. His career had been founded on mobilizing a liberal coalition to pressure federal intervention in localized civil rights conflicts. He not only stepped out of bounds by criticizing the economic heart of injustice in America, he dissented from the most acceptable method of rectifying that injustice; top-down redistributive efforts. He critiqued not simply capitalism and government, but undemocratic concentrations of power. This radical democratic ideology left King isolated. Garrow notes King’s growing depression during the last few months of his life, which was likely rooted in a lack of direction he faced as he dealt with the failures of social democratic solutions. Until the end of his career, he still advocated the implementation of a “guaranteed income,” a massive government program, the very “neat package” he rhetorically rejected. King’s analysis had advanced beyond his tools as an activist. He suffered a crisis of praxis. King did, however, grope toward a solution: a Poor People’s Campaign.”
Dolores Huerta. California Hall of Fame – 2013. Honorary Chair. DSA.
Induction was March 20, 2013
Dolores speaking at Sac State 2004.
Huerta has contributed to movements for union rights and social justice since the founding along with Cesar Chaves, Philip Vera Cruz and others of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and she continues through her current work in supporting union democracy, civic engagement and empowerment of women and youth in disadvantaged communities. The creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S. In her frequent public engagements at college, universities and high schools she presents a Latina feminist perspective to civil rights and immigration issues. Dolores continues active as a supporter on union picket lines and union struggles throughout the state.
A staunch advocate for women’s rights and reproductive freedom, Huerta is a founding board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation and serves on the board of Ms. Magazine and she is an Honorary Chair of DSA ( along with Cornel West). She frequently speaks at universities and organizational forums on issues of unions, social justice and public policy. Dolores continues working to develop community leaders and advocating for the working poor, immigrants, women and youth as President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
Some of her prior awards. Presidential Medal of Freedom • U. S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor • Smithsonian Institution – James Smithson Award • National Women’s Hall of Fame • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award • The Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award • The Ellis Island Medal of Freedom Award • Icons of the American Civil Rights Movement Award
For more on Dolores Huerta’s activism see www.MexicanAmericanDigitalHistory.org
\Why I Joined DSA. ( from an editor of Marxism Today).
"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." With all the right-wing hoopla about how President Barack Obama is waging class war, you might be surprised to learn that Warren Buffet said these words in 2006. The billionaire investor was acknowledging 30 years of a widening income gap--but I'll go a step further. I believe that unfettered capitalism is inherently undemocratic and that human action can significantly democratize our political system. That's why I'm a socialist.
Corporate America's assaults on working people--seeking profits through offshoring jobs, busting unions, paying politicians to slash corporate taxes and deregulating the banks--have ruined our economy. Meanwhile, millions of workers have been thrown from their jobs while unions are scapegoated for manufactured budget crises at the state and local levels.
The accident of birth should not determine the course of a person's life. Government expenditures are an indication of a society's priorities, and it is both economically and morally imperative to provide a safety net for those who suffer the most in a downturn. Without massive public investment in healthcare, education, infrastructure and green jobs--which could be funded by progressive taxation of income along with a tax on financial transactions--our future is bleak. With high unemployment and anemic demand, the economy will continue to limp forward. Those lucky enough to have work will likely remain afraid to agitate for better conditions.
Right now, we need more jobs and better pay for less work. In the long term, ordinary people need more power--through unions, worker councils and seats on the board in the workplace, and in politics, through a public campaign finance system that provides sufficient exposure to all candidates. We need a political economy that allows everyone space and time for personal growth and thoughtful participation in the decisions that profoundly impact their lives.
I feel so strongly about these values that I recently quit my job as an organizer for SEIU to become the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which has its roots in both the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington and the New American Movement, a nonsectarian organization that grew out of the American New Left and whose founders were instrumental in establishing In These Times back in 1976.
DSA's strategy is to push American politics to the left by strengthening social movements such as Occupy Wall Street. Movements are the only force capable of making elites respond to popular demands. That doesn't mean we ignore elections. Among other races, the organization is looking forward to helping socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) win re-election.
I was raised in a union family that directly benefited from the kind of government programs that DSA fights to protect and expand--like the GI Bill. As a bi-racial woman, I experienced oppression and learned that the world isn't fair, despite what I was taught in school about the American Dream. When I attended a DSA youth section event at the University of Chicago, I realized that the patterns I had seen all my life signal structural problems. Capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy--they are linked structures of oppression that must be dismantled.
Analyzing these structures is critical to forging a political strategy to challenge corporate power. But doing so is not the only reason I decided to become DSA's national director. Some may argue that I should work in a more mainstream organization and "get more done," but without a clear alternative to the Tea Party narrative, national politics will continue to slide to the right. In the current climate, even the most moderate reforms are red-baited. We need a strong socialist organization in the United States to counter Republicans' (and often Democrats') dangerous buffoonery.
As 30 years of neoliberal economic destruction come home to roost, more and more people are beginning to question the wisdom of capitalism and becoming open to socialism--DSA's membership has grown 60 percent since 2003. I believe that someday soon American politicians will stop fearing the s-word, and start enacting systemic change.
Maria Svart, who joined the Democratic Socialists of America in 2004 as an undergrad at the University of Chicago, is now the group’s national director
Democratic Socialists of America’s mission is to establish democratic socialism as a political force in the United States and around the world by training and mobilizing socialist activists to participate in a vibrant and diverse socialist organization at both the local and national level. DSA both educates the public about democratic socialist values and policies, and builds progressive coalitions to win victories that move the US and the world toward social democracy. In the near term, democratic socialists struggle for reforms that shift power andresources away from corporate elites and put them in the hands of ordinary citizens. In the long term, democratic socialists fight for a world in which all people share equally in the governing of the economic, political and cultural institutions and relationships that shape their lives.
The right wing is playing its usual role: Race-bait and attack immigrants and the poor to justify cutting taxes for the rich and the corporations. Block legislation so that people come to expect nothing from their government except pain. Demand arrests of the undocumented and new fences at the border. Shift the economic crisis to the states to cut health services for women who can't otherwise afford care and to families who can’t afford to feed their own children. Blame teachers and unions for failures in education caused by childhood poverty. Ignore the foreclosure crisis and the jobs crisis.
The right wing viewpoint has won another victory in the California budget crisis- even though Democrats control the legislature. It is long past time for the various progressive forces in the U.S. , each of which is being crushed by casino capitalism, to work together to defend democracy. This requires unions, teachers, academics, Democratic Party activists and others to recognize that what they have in common is the need for a powerful united front to defend against the right wing onslaughts.
Change the USA. Join the DSA!
Yes, I want to join the Democratic Socialists of America. Enclosed is my dues payment of:
Introductory $35 r Sustainer $65 r Student $20 r Low Income $20
For information on DSA and Democratic Socialism visit our web site: www.dsausa.org
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