The world is abundant

Most of us are parents, and for the sake of our children we're not interested in a nihilistic apocalypse. We want a future worth fighting for many generations. And in this time we've worked together in Praxis we've grown to trust and love each other. So thank you for that opportunity.

Our future is not inevitable. Our alienation is not inevitable. The struggles we have - to connect and love and grow and give, to be free people - are all connected. We vow to fight for the possibility of a transformative horizon.

 

Solidarity with the Disability Working Group

Praxis would like to express our solidarity with our comrades in the Disability Working Group. We believe that all spaces should be accessible and that DSA should be a leader in advocating for accessibility. Over the course of the convention, we’ve witnessed our comrades struggle with accessibility issues. For example, we currently have no interpreters or closed captioning.

We cannot call ourselves an inclusive organization if we continue to neglect these important needs. Considering this, Praxis pledges to advocate for the following:

1. A specific staff member to be appointed as a Disabilities Officer so that those with disabilities can contact he/she/them with issues or requests.

2. A Disabilities Advocate Committee for any major DSA event. The Disabilities Advocate Committee (DAC) shall be active for any major national event, such as Convention, Regional Trainings, or The People’s Summit. The committee will consist of volunteers who live in the local area of the event. Prior to the event, the DAC shall distribute the Disabilities Accommodation Request survey to identify those with disabilities or special needs. The DAC will then address those needs and ensure accommodations are met, such as interpreters/closed captioning, knowledge of where accessible building entrances are located, and assistance with transportation.

3. Development of a standard disability accommodation request survey, which shall be used for any National DSA event. Local chapters will be strongly encouraged to utilize this form for local events as well. The survey shall have a place for open-ended answers and shall be reviewed by the Disabilities Working Group.

4. A quarterly conference call between the NPC and members of the Disabilities Working Group to evaluate current efforts, needs, and to address recommendations of the DWG.

We cannot continue to ignore the challenges our comrades face and must commit to improving our efforts to advocate for those with disabilities. 

DSA Dues: Building the future

The dues resolution just passed. It is not binding, but the resolution - if properly implemented by the NPC and local chapters - has the potential to greatly expand the national budget. Praxis believes that a dues system should be flexible so that all members can invest in our organization. Currently, there are options for monthly or yearly.

However, dues are important not as a financial issue alone, but because they are an organizing opportunity.

Everyday people, including the poor, donated to the Sanders campaign because they believed in confronting hopelessness. After Trump's election, people joined DSA because the stakes were clear: socialism or barbarism. If we want socialism, we must fight for it and we must fund a fighting organization.

Socialism will not be won by relying on donations from the rich. The transformational political change we want can only happen from the bottom up, when the poor work together. And we're not paternalists: we do not need to tell the poor what they're capable of. When poor people fight revolutions, rich people run. If we don't believe in poor people power, then we might as well be the Democrats.

Most of the Praxis team is in poverty. We're not fighting for an abstraction, we're fighting for our lives. And we want to fund that fight.

The debate is over. It's time for a dues campaign that meets people where they are. We must to provide an opportunity for every DSA member to have a stake in an organization that fights for our collective future. The challenges of 1 or 10 or 100 dollars a month will not stop us from seizing that future. Together.

Praxis Endorsement of Spencer Brown and Hannah Zimmerman for YDS Co-chairs

DSA Praxis endorses the YDS Forward slate, Spencer Brown and Hannah Zimmerman, for Young Democratic Socialists co-chairs because their vision for YDS aligns with our own proposals. Like Praxis, Spencer and Hannah are a diverse slate that will bring both a Marxist and a democratic socialist perspective to YDS. Despite ideological differences, they have come together for the common project of a reinvigorated and organizationally strong YDS.

They bring the sort of varied experiences and leadership both YDS and DSA need to continue to grow. Spencer has served on the coordinating committee as co-chair. Hannah was the youngest Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC, giving her real credibility among millions of Bernie Sanders voters.

The YDS Forward vision aligns well with our own. It lays out concrete methods to strengthen YDS by better defining its relationship to DSA and by offering ways in which YDS and DSA can work together.

Praxis intends to work with YDS Forward to:

1. Set a budget for YDS. Currently, YDS dues go directly to DSA national, which makes it difficult for YDS to act as an independent yet unified national organization. Praxis is committed to making sure that YDS has the necessary resources to build power on campuses across the country.

2. Include YDS leaders in the proposed regional training programs. YDS leaders should be sent to regional trainings where they would build skills for campus and community organizing. This will help build a base of new militants — those with both the organizing skills and the transformative vision to fight for socialist politics long after graduation.

3. Assist YDS with better record keeping of YDS membership.

4. Encourage collaboration between chapters, national leadership and campuses, through mentorship programs and inclusion in regional caucuses.

5. Work to give YDS a clear connection to DSA in both on-the-ground organizing and political messaging. In place of the “Activist Agenda,” YDS should take on a campus-revised version of the DSA national priorities.

We strongly encourage YDS delegates to vote for Spencer Brown and Hannah Zimmerman.

In solidarity,

Zac Echola (Red River Valley, ND & MN)

Ravi Ahmad (New York)

R.L. Stephens (Chicago)

Leslie Driskill (Oklahoma City, OK)

Celeste Earley (Anchorage, AK)

Michael Patterson (Anchorage, AK)

Allie Cohn (Knoxville, TN)

In Solidarity with Delé Balogun, Re-Issuing our Call for an Abolitionist Framework

DSA Praxis would like to wish Delé Balogun well on his continued run for the NPC. We admire his commitment to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution, and his response to our call for an abolitionist horizon. We share his belief that DSA must link domestic struggles against the state repression disproportionately waged against racially marginalized people, especially Black people, to the Palestinian struggle for existence in the face of Israeli state violence.

Earlier this week, we called for DSA to embrace the abolition of the police and prisons as a political horizon because state repression is a proximate threat to each and every campaign we seek to pursue, especially BDS and anti-racism. The same brand of tear gas police fired at Black demonstrators in Ferguson is also used by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. What happens in places afar affects us at home. In order to act locally, we must consider global struggle.

At a minimum, we can embrace the divestment/investment approach recommended by Black Lives Matter and Black Youth Project 100 as we pursue massive goals like universal healthcare. Healthcare can never be universal if prison and police violence remain the primary and best funded response to social needs.

We called for an abolitionist framework because we can’t just define our political horizon by looking to Scandinavia. It’s time we imagine a world free of repression with the same fervor we envision a world without capitalism. Violence is real, and it is scary. But we are socialists, we can move past the fear and organize towards possibility, to new ways of treating and rehabilitating one another. We can rise to the occasion. We must.

Signed, in solidarity forever,

DSA Praxis

Ravi Ahmad (New York)

Michael Patterson (Anchorage, AK)

Allie Cohn (Knoxville, TN)

Zac Echola (Red River Valley, ND & MN)

Celeste Earley (Anchorage, AK)

Leslie Driskill (Oklahoma City, OK)

R.L. Stephens (Chicago)

Introducing DSA Praxis: Why We’re Running for NPC

The Left’s lack of impact is not a messaging problem; it’s a substantive one. We don’t actually know what Socialism- the liberatory politics of poor and working people- looks like today. The work before us is an organizing challenge- not a demographic balancing act, not an opportunity for polemic- but a profoundly transformative experience for all of us. This group believes that by building through organizing, we are also building socialist ideology that is grounded in today’s realities and the experiences of poor and working people.

We need organizing methods that rupture the characteristic alienation of capitalism. Our National Training Strategy is an attempt to un-pack the ‘secret sauce’ of a wide array of organizing skills and tactics so members develop the skills to pursue their own politics. Poor and working people — particularly people of color — are often treated as external objects of organizing. People all around us are carrying the burden of struggle each day because they must in order to survive. No one is simply waiting for us to reveal the truth of socialism. If DSA truly believes in democratic political practice, we must do more than say we want a working class organization; it must be expressed through our methods. As an organization, the rules we adopt and the campaigns we pursue should manifest an organizing ethos rooted in reciprocity, solidarity, and a deep respect for the minds and lives of poor and working people. We have to meet one another where we are in order to move collectively to where we can be.

Capitalism has taught us to take as much space as possible, to grab whatever crumbs of power and privilege we can to protect ourselves from its predations. A fundamental aspect of capitalism is alienation. The first task of an organizer — every member of DSA — is to connect with those around them. We need to build the largest possible organized community through constant re-building and re-organizing. Organizing should always be transformative. It’s not just the analysis, but also the methods of organizing that we pursue which create the trust, the self-knowledge, and the solidarity to make durable change in our world. Praxis is solidarity.

Solidarity is the emotional bond between people as they move in common struggle. To get there, we need to undo what capitalism teaches us. We need to learn and practice trust with our fellow members and with the poor and working communities we hope to organize. Our lives and struggles are deeply connected. That connection is not purely theoretical, it exists because we are tied together by capitalism. Yet, we yearn for something beyond it: socialism.

That yearning is nurtured not by a prefigurative notion of socialism, but by human needs and social bonds. Organizers politicize and activate these lived connections in order to build a base, a movement, a revolution. Our collective potential is rooted in our community groups, neighborhoods, workplaces, homes, religious spaces, schools and more. Our power rests on our ability to not only recognize our shared experiences of pain in these and other contexts, but also to move together through that pain as organizers committed to social transformation. In DSA, we can practice organizing methods that take on the deprivation and humiliation of being poor, the preventable deaths, and the daily attempted erasure of our lives and our dignity.

We make the path by walking it. What matters is the praxis: to give our hearts to the struggle, to collectively resist, to take up methods that can change our lives. We can win, together.

*More to follow shortly, including team members, a platform, and a website.