DSA Goes Off the Deep End by George Fish
DSA Goes Off the Deep End
DSA likes to think of itself as a serious left political organization. It has 90,000 dues-paying members, has distinguished alums such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, provided massive numbers of activists to the two Bernie Sanders Presidential campaigns, and, regardless of what one thinks of his politics, provided through Michael Harrington, one of DSA’s key founders, a vibrant voice for democratic socialism and feasible measures that went far beyond Great Society liberalism, which made him, through his seminal works, a force within the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party. That is why it is so distressing to see DSA devolve into the pettiest of “far left” dogmatism, sectarianism, and grotesque conspiracy mongering in its nationally approved statement on the Atlanta killings of eight people, six of them Asian-American women, its March 17, 2021 “In Grief and Solidarity.” To be even “communist” about it, the DSA statement fits all the criteria that Lenin, of all people, polemicized against in his notable “’Left-Wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder”!
Already, in the second paragraph, DSA goes into untenable conspiracy-mongering, as it writes in the March 17 statement: “These attacks fit into a xenophobic pattern of anti-Asian violence that the capitalist class not only condones, but welcomes as a scapegoat for their complete inaction in the face of the COVID crisis. Of the thousands of incidents targeting the AAPI community, many have been geared especially toward women, the poor, the elderly, and the undocumented.” (Emphasis in original.) Yes, “not only condones, but welcomes.” That is why, precisely, President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, surely representatives of the “capitalist class,” went to Atlanta to meet with members of the Asian-American community: to tell them bluntly, “Tough beanies”! As, clearly, killing of Asian-Americans by a lone, probably deranged, gunman is an absolutely great and necessary way to get the US public’s mind off of the “complete inaction in the face of the COVID crisis”! My, my, my, what a clever “capitalist class” it was that thought of this!
But it gets worse. It brands the Asian-American female victims as sex workers by default since they worked in massage parlors, then rails against the “ongoing misogyny, objectification, and hypersexualization of Asian women” and ties it to the “continuous dehumanization of the Asian working class, as well as the ongoing criminalization of sex workers,” while also denying that the Atlanta massacre was a “hate crime”! In fact, the DSA statement cavalierly dismisses the whole notion that it was a “hate crime” at all, but rather states instead that “it is not hate that is allowing this violence but power: the power of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation whose violence is minimized as hate between individuals based on race and/or gender”! DSA then ends this (thankfully, brief!) statement with a ringing “So we commit to building socialism and dismantling the systems and structures that uphold white supremacy, empire, and perpetuate racist violence” while standing “with the Asian-American community in grief and solidarity.”
While it is certainly true that former President Trump played an active role in making hatred of Asians both commonplace and “acceptable,” and fanning these flames of hate against Asian-Americans by repeatedly characterizing COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and blaming the Chinese mainland government for everything wrong that occurred during the pandemic, it is not the “capitalist class” nor Joe Biden as such individually which is promulgating this hate. A hate, unfortunately, as the myriad attacks of Asian-Americans have shown, is vicious and widespread. While capitalism, and by extension, the “capitalist class,” certainly are guilty institutionally of creating a social and political climate where ethnic and racial hatreds are acceptable to some, tolerable to others, and ignored by many, these hatreds are not a direct conspiracy of individuals, no matter how powerful or prominent—which is what the DSA statement clearly alleges. DSA’s statement of March 17, 2020, “In Grief and Solidarity,” thus stands not only as ultraleft drivel, but as an embarrassment to the organization itself.