Democratic Socialists of America Holds National Convention in Atlanta

by Gloria Tatum

On August 2 – 4, 2019, over one thousand Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) delegates from across the country came to Atlanta for their annual national convention.  

They established priorities for the next two years to include Ecosocialist Green New Deal, Medicare for All, National Electoral Strategy, Labor, Childcare, Housing, Decarceration, Housing Justice, Political Education, Grassroots Fundraising, and National Growth and Development.

 DSA has grown from a few thousand members to over 56,000 thousand today fighting for social, economic, and environmental justice.  

The delegates voted to endorse Bernie Sander and to only endorse class-struggle candidates running as open socialists. 

They are committed to forming an independent working-class party and eventually breaking away from the Democratic Party that is dependent on capitalist donors and corporate lobbyists.  

Councilman Khalid Kamau who was elected to the South Fulton City Council as a Democratic Socialist gave the opening and closing speech at the convention.   

One issue Kamau talked about was the electability complex and why it is a problem.  

“The electability complex isn’t just a system of delegates and superdelegates that allows illegitimate people to steal democratic primaries and then lose the election to people who stole the presidential election because Karma is real…  It isn’t just about the electoral college which allows someone to lose by two million votes and still become president of the United States,” Kamau said. 

Kamau explained that the electability complex is an antiquated two-party system that forces voters to choose either right or left when both parties are supported by capitalists and that is why nothing ever changes. 

Kamau believes instead of talking about right or left, we should be talking about up and down or the top one percent and the bottom 99 percent.

Income inequality in the U.S. continues to grow larger and now the richest one percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. 

Too many politicians in both parties care more about retaining power from their capitalist masters than the health and welfare of the American people or the environment.  

DSA has a better idea that working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. 

 “We are going to run candidates and we are going to win and dismantle the electability complex,” Kamau said.

Today, ninety-five DSA members have been elected across the country on every level of government with two DSA members in Congress Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes.

DSA warns the Democratic Party to not disparage socialism and then to ask socialists for their votes for that is a recipe for failure.

Socialism does not carry the scary, negative stigma for younger generations that it does for older generations which mainly watch Fox cable news.

DSA made Medicare for All a political platform priority in 2017 that prioritized the health of working-class people over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives.  

The delegates approved 35 resolutions and below are a few of those prioritized resolutions. 

R-5 Defense of Immigrants and Refugees.   DSA supports the abolition of ICE, an end to the persecution of immigrants, stop jailing refugees, stop the deportation of immigrants, make a path to citizenship, end the Muslin ban, aid to those fleeing violence, political and economic turmoil, and climate change refugees. 

R-9 Establish a national anti-fascist working group to disrupt fascist organizing and secure DSA meetings and events from fascist violence. 

R-25  DSA support universal childcare, preschool, and paid parental leave.  

R-28 End Cash Bail and pretrial incarceration to reduce incarceration.

R-34 Ecosocialist Green New Deal Priority 

This priority campaign will incorporate all of DSA’s national campaigns and priorities, organizing for a society that is democratically run by working people, ecologically sustainable, free of oppression based on race, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or sexual identity and rooted in internationalism and solidarity rather than imperialism and war. 

DSA is committed to building a radical Green New Deal (GND) to address the climate emergency and ecological crisis. Decarbonize all sectors of the U.S. economy by 2030.  Democratize control of major energy systems and resources through public ownership. Reinvent our communities to serve people and planet, not profit. Redistribute resources from the worst polluters with progressive taxes on the rich, big corporations, dirty industry and divert funds from policing, prisons, and the bloated military budget.

The Red Deal is a program for Indigenous liberation, life, and land – an affirmation that colonialism and capitalism must be overturned for this planet to be habitable for humans and other life to live. 

R-35 Establish a national Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and Palestine Solidarity Working Group  

R-38 Fight for abortion access and oppose the criminalization of abortion. 

R-40 DSA supports housing as a human rights.  

R-41 Take the fossil fuel energy companies into democratic public owners.  Put the fossil fuel companies on trial for untold damages they have caused the planet and humanity.  Hold them accountable criminally and financially and reallocate their resources into clean, renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal.       

R-53 DSA supports the decriminalization of sex work  

R-54 Criminal Justice and Decarceration.  DSA will create a Police and Prison Working Group and will also track anti-protest laws across the country.

R-56 Ecosocialism as a Guiding Principle.  DSA recognizes that ecology and climate change are intertwined and will impact the working-class, people of color and the poor more than the ruling class. 

DSA will defend the land use rights of indigenous people, support climate change refugees from Central America, bring under community control the energy infrastructure, address unsustainable and unjust food systems, and combat environmental racism.   

R-59 DSA calls on all presidential candidates support reparations for African-Americans.   

R-67 Organizing the unorganized is a crucial strategy to rebuild the labor movement. 

The United States is at the beginning of a generational shift from older voters who watch Fox cable and fear socialism to the internet-connected savvy younger generation that understands that socialism will help the working class.

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