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.