DSA’S New Direction – From Descriptive to Prescriptive - by Kevin McGuire
Updated: Aug 21
Can the new makeup of DSA’s National Political Committee (NPC) pull them out of their death spiral? National membership is no longer touted at 94K, so I am now hearing numbers like 85K and 78K. The truth is probably considerably less and please, don’t ask the DSA national office for the truth here.
Pulling out of their death spiral remains to be seen. No doubt, with sponsors (I am referring here to the self-identified elected members descriptions of themselves) like “Red Star,” “Bread and Roses”, and “Marxist Unity Group,” along with a new sponsor calling themselves “Groundwork., ” a plausible argument can be made that DSA has found it’s own sectarian path to “democratic socialism. “ They have also decided on a monthly tithing scheme of 1% of your monthly income towards their “causes and efforts. “ This is optional and supplemental to the annual membership. Annual memberships were a staple for the organization since its inception. And included in the “death spiral “is enough money in their coffers to pay for their army of organizers and to prevent layoffs in the offing.
So now they have decided. Much more in the direction of Kshama Sawant than AOC. A greater commitment to the “Working Class” (it all depends how they are defined) and the formation of a new political party.
Well, good luck!
Now, they have their answer. But could their new funding mechanism create a bias in favor of those who tith vs. those who do not? Do you wonder sometimes why certain DSA’ers are granted more profile than others? Is it based on their personal $$$$ “commitment? “And why, in a socialist organization should that matter?
Based on their critique of capitalism, since money is indeed a bias against the democratic process, which it is, then why should this be an exception? It is because their politics, not rooted in Democracy, can easily accept this form of action/payment. Now there will be two classes of memberships within DSA. Those that can afford to be part of the cadre, and those who cannot.
It all comes back to the Marxist cadre, their unfortunate model for America, not rooted in democracy.
Once, in a DSA NorthStar caucus listserv posting, I heard one dominant poster and member lament and complain about hearing the word “Democracy” so much. The reason: This individual knows that real democracy is a check and balance on the work of DSA’s. Heaven forbid!! We should all trust that his Karl Marx will give us our democracy, but in the form of the DSA. How quaint.
And who said we need just one organization on the left? Why can’t we have several? Because the DSA wants to be the granddaddy, and dictate to the rest of us what we should be thinking. Could we also end up with two different "working class" parties? Can Sawant's work and the DSA's own effort cross pollinate or instead remain a separate tendency for each? Sniff sniff, this smells like more of the same and a repeat of history.
So now they have committed and now they will be judged. Allow me to illustrate their problem with what I had observed in Texas back in January 2021. Continue reading as I engage with their cadre.
I was a member of DSA back then and was invited to a ZOOM event of what appeared to be Texas DSA’ers from all across the state. The event was entitled “Goals/priorities survey for Texas DSA electoral working group in Texas,” and I felt it was a rather good idea to form a Texas statewide organization, so I attended.
I am on the ZOOM call with probably some 30 other young DSA’ers. Some forty minutes into the event, I mentioned for the first time, the words, “Democratic Party,” and you could hear this collective, “What!?!? Did he just say that”? I knew then that this “effort” was going to be a total waste of the remaining time I have left on this Earth. Was there any follow up on this meeting? No, Nada, not a single word on the Houston DSA’s website. It remains an eternal dream of theirs, not mine, but theirs.
Can anyone wrap their head around what it would take to successfully form a new national political party? They would probably need at least 3 million members nationwide. And of course, during the ZOOM meeting, I made the helpful comment that why not work with Our Revolution Harris County who are already participating with the Texas Democratic Party?” One immediate retort was from the DSA’s esteemed National NPC member (who was on the call) who stated, “we want something as socialists!” Uh huh.
Just like a year ago, there was a huge 7,500-person rally at Houston City Hall, protesting the Roe v Wade reversal, sponsored by the ACLU, NARAL, and another local organization. Houston DSA was not a sponsor. Then weeks later, the Houston DSA sponsored their own rally in some no name park somewhere which attracted some 100 folks. This is their definition of coalition politics! They saw how important and popular the rally at City Hall was, so they thought they could pull off the same. Poor timing, and not involved leads to missing the moment.
I think what we will be seeing more of in the next few years is Kshama Sawant’s working class party efforts supplanting what the DSA really wants to be. This should further accelerate the DSA death spiral. There is no further vision for DSA and as it so states in the Holy Bible, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish. “And the Democratic Socialists of America is no exception.