Putting Our Experience
We are New Social Democrats, who see the need for a new beginning for our movement. Currently, no viable national organization exists which articulates and advances our vision for a new America based upon advanced social democratic principles of equality and democracy. We hope to be the local nucleus for something that can become much larger in a short period as all over our country there are visionaries and activists who share our perspective. There is no need to reinvent the wheel in regard to our program. We are inspired by the Social Democratic and Labor parties of Europe which from similarly modest origins, went on to govern their nations and to implement policies which are a global model of justice and equality. Sweden's Hjalmar Branting and Olaf Palme, Germany's Eduard Bernstein and Willy Brandt, and Britain's Clement Atlee and Tony Crosland are the kind of leaders who inspire us along with the nameless rank and file party activists who worked tirelessly in the trenches for the gains we celebrate today. We are inspired by all of them, and their work is just as relevant in today's 21st century America as ever before.
Here in America, we are also inspired by the work and efforts in the 20th Century of Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington, the latter known for his great work, The Other America, which inspired the War on Poverty. More recently, the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders, and the stunning election to the U.S. House of Representatives and the rise to national prominence of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez show that the American exception is ending and that social democratic ideas have now entered the mainstream. The explosive growth of organizations like the Justice Democrats, Progressive Democrats, Our Revolution, and Democratic Socialists of America is further evidence of fertile soil for our policy prescriptions.
Locally, we propose to build upon the spade work of mentors like the civil rights work of Hattie Mae White and Reverend Bill Lawson, Judge Ben G. Levy, and the progressive Harris County Democrats, led by Ed Cogburn and Billie Carr, all of whom never relaxed their efforts in a challenging political climate. In sum, there is no shortage of illustrious predecessors to encourage our efforts and suggest templates for activism and radical democratic change.
As a matter of political strategy and principle, we advocate a "big tent," but not one which consists of alliances with sectarian, inflexible, and authoritarian elements of the left. Our “big tent” points in the direction of progressives, liberals and moderates, independent of race, creed or color or sexual orientation, where we can find common ground, collaborate on reform proposals, and make more lasting gains. Some of us are members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), others are not. We respectfully view the current direction of that organization as sadly lacking, especially in its studied refusal to officially back the Biden-Harris ticket (and incoming administration) in this hour that our democracy is in peril. This is just one example of the group’s malaise. DSA is to be credited for recruiting tens of thousands of young members inspired by Senator Sanders, new recruits who already have a strongly social democratic perspective. Its leadership at the national and local levels then immerses them in an organizational culture characterized by off-putting jargon, identity politics, and groupthink, creating and projecting a toxicity that serves as fodder for the far right to discredit “socialism” to the mass of the population. The DSA must either correct its current course or consign itself in the near future to political oblivion.