“We’re here to win. And at a grand scale we want to transform society.”
— Maria Svart, DSA National Director, in the Guardian
RAIR Foundation USA has compiled a startling collection of statements made by Marxists – including elected officials, union leaders and powerful international communists – during the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) biennial convention earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia. The Convention’s revealing slogan “A World to Win” is indicative of their ongoing “open borders” and “internationalist” objectives as highlighted in their priorities.
While America’s largest Marxist organization was largely mocked for their “hypersensitivity” and “jazz hands” style of applause by those who bothered to cover the gathering, the thousand-plus convention delegates – representing 56,000 dues-paying members – will have the last laugh if citizens don’t take them seriously.
Unsure of DSA’s influence? Consider that DSA:
- has two card-carrying members in Congress (Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rashida Tlaib);
- boasts 94 members in elected office across America (up from “over 75” in April) (this does not include their allies in Congress);
- is involved with drafting and promoting legislation – from the local level (such as the “Schools and Communities First” initiative for California on the ballot in 2020) to the national level (“Medicare for All” and the “Green New Deal” are at the forefront of DSA’s priorities);
- engages in effective “corporate pressure campaigns.” For example, DSA actively campaigned against Amazon coming to New York City;
- is incredibly active in the labor movement. Currently, the DSA is heavily recruiting teachers, who pressure other teachers to form unions and go on strikes, and intimidate those who do not toe the line.
- Is actively working with international communists, forming an official alliance with militant groups who want to destroy the West.
These accomplishments scratch the surface.
DSA set their priorities for their 56,000 members during the convention. Included in the chilling list was a commitment to form alliances with international communist organizations, Cuba Solidarity, a focus on Medicare for All (single payer), Open Borders, Reparations, Green New Deal, pressure tactics that can be employed against Bernie Sanders should he be elected (and electoral strategy in general), and creation of “Working Groups” for Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS), Antifa and “police and prison abolition” to name just some.
Here is a summary of the passed resolutions:
NATIONAL PRIORITIES Delegates established DSA’s priorities for the next two years: Ecosocialist Green New Deal, Medicare For All, our National Electoral Strategy, Labor, Childcare, Housing, Decarceration, Political Education, Grassroots Fundraising, and National Growth and Development.
BERNIE DSA will urge Bernie Sanders to support expanded public housing and renters’ rights, and will create an online petition urging him to commit to a multi-point People’s Foreign Policy Platform. If Bernie Sanders doesn’t get the Democratic nomination, DSA won’t endorse another Democratic Party presidential candidate, but we’re doing the door knocking, phonebanking, and local coalition building to build working class power and make sure he wins the primary!
OPEN BORDERS DSA supports the uninhibited transnational free movement of people, demilitarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, abolition of the agencies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, decriminalization of immigration, and a pathway to citizenship for all non-citizen residents. We will not allow Trump to scapegoat immigrants for the results of neoliberal austerity nor use ICE to bust our unions.
SEX WORK DSA supports the full decriminalization of sex work.
CLASS-STRUGGLE ELECTIONS National DSA will only endorse candidates who lift up a class-struggle perspective.
REPARATIONS DSA calls on all candidates for President to develop a Comprehensive Platform for African American descendants of Slavery & Jim Crow, from 1619-1965.
NEW WORKING GROUPS National work groups will be formed to work on BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), ending cash bail, police and prison abolition, anti-fascism, and decolonization (self-determination for indigenous nations and overseas territories).
As RAIR has discovered by pouring through the speeches made by hard left attendees at the convention, DSA has all intentions of inserting themselves as a force at the forefront of the communist movement in America, and indeed, the world.
The convention featured many international Marxist leaders such as Temir Porras Ponceleon, (also known as Temir Porras) who “has been a Chavista militant from the beginning of Hugo Chávez’s presidency in 1999” and served as chief of staff to Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro from 2007 to 2013.
Temir Porras with Cuba’s late Communist Dictator Fidel Castro (via actualy.es)
Ethan Earle of DSA’s International Committee (far left) re-tweeted a photo taken by blue-checked communist Bhaskar Sunkara of the DSA publication Jacobin (also verified by Twitter, of course) from a discussion held during the convention featuring, among others, Temir Porras (far right).
DSA comrade Chip Gibbons tweeted out a photo of Temir Porras (speaking) along with other international Marxist leaders. The first two, Aaron Pedrosa of the Philippines and Waltraud Fritz of the Communist Party of Austria, are influential Marxists who spoke at the convention.
Waltraud Fritz is particularly concerning, as she represents an organization that represents over 30 Marxist groups in Europe. During her short speech, she declared:
“We Europeans highly appreciate the consequent engagement of DSA for a radical change in the current U.S. foreign policy. The European Left Party has realized the necessity to work together – much closer with the DSA than in the past. Much, much closer, I want to add… Comrades the European left forces are drawing much energy and hope from your work.” [author emphasis]
Bruno Magalhaes, a Sao Paolo based militant and leader of the Socialist Left Movement, represented the Brazilian Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), a mainly Trotskyist grouping which broke away from the Workers Party some years ago, essentially because they were too moderate. Addressing the comrades during the convention, Magalhaes declared:
“We in Brazil are really, really excited with the Democratic Socialist movement here in U.S.”
Other notable PSOL affiliates include socialist journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and Rio City Council member David Miranda and former PSOL member Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, who stabbed then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the stomach during his campaign last year. Bolsonaro thankfully survived and was elected President. Adelio Bispo de Oliveira was acquitted due to mental illness and will be “held in a mental facility indefinitely.”
Executive Director of DSA Maria Svart: “We have today a panel to talk about the world that we have to win and the world that we must win and the role of DSA [Democratic Socialists of America] today…”
City Council member in South Fulton, GA khalid kamau: “I’m the first Black Lives Matter organizer elected to public office… I want to talk to you about dismantling the ‘Electability Complex’… It is our antiquated two-party system that says you have to choose this person that’s supported by capitalists or this person that’s supported by some other capitalists… We’re going to run candidates and we’re going to win…
A lot of the ideas that we talk about as socialists seem foreign or abstract. People love to go to the extreme of our extreme and say that we want to – like tomorrow – we want to get rid of all property ownership. Right? We want to dismantle all corporations and – we do.** [laughter] But we don’t have to do that tomorrow; there are a hundred steps between here and there…
When I became a councilman in the city of South Fulton, I got to pick the police chief. So, I went from protesting police chiefs to picking police chiefs… And then when I got into office, we defunded the police – a little bit. We couldn’t get rid of them in one year…
So I want to encourage all of you when you leave here to get involved in someone’s campaign. It helps if they’re a socialist. But if they’re halfway-decent, and you get access to a VoteBuilder account and you learn how to use VoteBuilder, you can take that account and go and get a socialist elected that you believe in… Our Enemy is capitalism.”
Audience: “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!!”
United Teachers Los Angeles Erika Alvarez: “I’m here talking to you today about our strike; about our national strike movement… This is the noble work of laborers across America. We believe in a Democratic Socialist future because we all deserve a seat at the table. We deserve to shape our government and its policies to distribute resources fairly and sustainably. Was it scary to strike? Absolutely, but in the words of AOC we did it anyway… We strategically would walk in circles to discourage crossing entrances to schools which was a little illegal, but we did it anyway… We coordinated with each other to film and report people that were actually threatening us to like to run us over because they wanted to come in and collect the pay that that scabs got paid… On Day Two we were empowered by tacos – courtesy of DSA – $10,500 dollars’ worth…
After the strike, we were unified in a way at the workplace that had never happened before. There were only people that joined us on the strike and people that didn’t. All teachers know that they have to be activists. It’s not enough to just clock in and clock out of work…
Since the strike, our focus has also been on the “Schools and Communities First” initiative for California on the ballot in 2020. It’s the “Tax the Rich” legislation which DSA will be throwing ourselves into alongside the Union… We are working to get the only democratic socialist candidate with a comprehensive education plan – Bernie Sanders – into office.
PhD Assistant Professor of Political Science Thea Riofrancos: We need to cut global carbon emissions in at least by half by 2030 to stave off a climate crisis that threatens the very basis of human society … Addressing these calamities is an enormous task.
Ultimately, we need to confront their root cause: Capitalism… To start with, we should demand massive public investment in renewable energy, social housing, mass transit and ecosystem restoration.
We need forceful regulation and militant direct action to put the fossil fuel industry out of business… We need a radical Green New Deal now… The path to a livable climate and the path to democratic socialism are one and the same…
Enemy number one is the fossil fuel industry. They have a vested interest in destroying the planet. They have knowingly committed crimes against humanity. Their assets should be devalued and expropriated and their executives prosecuted… ICE and Border Patrol is right-wing climate policy as is Fortress Europe… We are of course the largest U.S. socialist organization in almost a hundred years. We have political allies… Insurgent and inspiring elected officials like comrade khalid [kamau] at all levels of public office in this country. Indeed, in just a few years we have transformed the horizons of political possibility.
We must use this power and increase it by steadfastly confronting the most pressing crisis of our century. The Green New Deal – advocated for by our allied politicians in Congress – addresses the severity of the crisis and it recognizes the deep links between rampant inequality and climate change… A radical Green New Deal is a stepping stone to building democratic socialism in our lifetimes…
This is a world historic opportunity to build the political power we need to put our society on the path to climate safety and democratic socialism. We must seize it. Thank you and have a wonderful convention.
DSA Member Linda Sarsour: I want to dare you, DSA, to remember that you live in a country where there is fascism – full-blown fascism is happening around us -and if you don’t see that, then we got problems… You live in a country whose literally every day trying to find different ways to strip LGBTQ people of their rights, a country that every day – and maybe there are days where you may not hear about it because it’s not on Twitter – where unarmed black people are being killed on the streets of their communities all across the country at the hands of police and gun violence… We have undocumented people who everyday got to change their routes and how they go to work so that they’re not stopped by gestapo ICE…
So if you think that you’re gonna talk to me about “capitalism” and “we gotta smash the patriarchy” and capital… I get that. Gotta do parallel tracks ‘cause you live in a capitalist nation right now, I’m sorry to break it to you. And in order for us to build a sustainable movement that is worthy to the people we are fighting for, we got to get our finances together. We need money to build this movement… And DSA has that power, has the resources and the capabilities to do that and we need to do that… I’m counting on you. I come here because I am in solidarity with you. I am a card-carrying DSA member because I see the potential of DSA. DSA has a lot of potential. People are afraid of DSA. I know they are in New York for sure…
Vice President of United Teachers Los Angeles/NEA Cecily Myart-Cruz: 35,000 teachers along with 30,000 parents, students and community members went on strike for the soul of public education. The District could not frame us as greedy teachers. We owned and controlled the narrative for six days. And by the way, we still control the narrative. We spoke about class size and over-testing, supports for our students, community schools, immigration defense, green space and ending random searches that criminalize and marginalize our black and brown youth, our queer youth and Muslims…
Parents and students and community organizations held actions at targeted district official and privatizer homes every single night… and we thank you DSA for running tacos for teachers. That generous donation fed many people on the line and sustained striking workers. DSA-LA put 220 folks at three school sites to bolster picket lines… Time is now to lead; to act boldly and to be unapologetic in our quest for building power and complete liberation of our people. Solidarity.
DSA’s International Committee Ethan Earle: We’re in a period of reforming and growing out the International Committee to sort of match the new organization that we are today, particularly post 2016… We’ve got I believe seven comrades who are going to come up on stage and in the spirit of solidarity – share with us solidarity greetings from different parts of the world….
Rasna Mubarak: I’m representing the U.S. Campaign for the Palestinian Human Rights. There is a global divide between those who believe in freedom and equality for all and those who justify racial and religious supremacy… Right wing, repressive, anti-democratic governments are rising around the globe.
Japan: ZENKO (National Assembly for Peace and Democracy): “…as well as MDS movement for democratic socialism, Japan, I would like to extend my fraternal greetings, international solidarity, peace and justice… the world. I sincerely hope this bond among Democratic socialists around the globe will continue to develop till we defeat [Prime Minister Shinzō] Abe in Japan and [President Donald] Trump in the U.S., [President Rodrigo Roa] Duterte in the Philippines and [President Jair] Bolsonaro in Brazil and others…
Germany: Die Linke Oliver Schroder: Anti-fascism is no crime. It’s the opposite. Anti-fascism is a duty to all Democrats and we all together – we are anti-fascists. We are going to the streets and campaigning together for anti-fascist democratic and social society.
Europe: Party of the European Left Waltraud Fritz-Klackl: The ELP [Party of the European Left] is – as already mentioned – is an all-European party – an alliance of 35 members and observers and more partners… Left forces of Europe are quite excited about what’s going on here in the USA… The Democratic Socialists of America are at the forefront of the struggles of a different – of a new America – in another radical changed world… We Europeans highly appreciate the consequent engagement of DSA for a radical change in the current U.S. foreign policy. The European Left Party has realized the necessity to work together – much closer with the DSA than in the past. Much, much closer, I want to add… Comrades the European left forces are drawing much energy and hope from your work. From what you have achieved already and from the sure knowledge that you will succeed for a transatlantic solidarity. Thank you.
Philippines: Partido Lakas ng Masa: Aaron Pedrosa: We believe that today more than ever international solidarity has to be an essential component of the political struggle and this solidarity should be propelled and led by the socialist movement. An important feature of the resistance is the rise in popularity of socialist ideas and socialism as an alternative to the capitalist system, especially among the young people. It is reassuring that the DSA National Convention is composed of almost 80 if not 90% young people… Socialism is not contained in one border. Socialism is internationalism. We will move forward where there is fascism, where there is oppression, and we will unite shoulder-to-shoulder. Mabuhay DSA! Mabuhay socialism!
Sudan: Sudanese Professionals Association Nuha Zein: Solidarity for DSA; Solidarity for the peaceful Sudanese Revolution. You are really our role model right now, you know in Sudan, and I will be happy to transfer what I learned from you since yesterday till tomorrow to my country when I back…
Brazil: Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) Bruno Magalhaes: My Name is Bruno. The last 10 years, I was a public-school teacher in San Paulo. Now I’m working in the International Task in PSOL, our Socialism and Liberty Party. At first I need to congratulate all the comrades. We in Brazil are really really excited with the Democratic Socialist movement here in U.S.
*Other notable PSOL affiliates include journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and Rio City Council member David Miranda and former PSOL member Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, who stabbed then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the stomach during his campaign last year. Bolsonaro thankfully survived and was elected President. Adelio Bispo de Oliveira was acquitted due to mental illness and will be “held in a mental facility indefinitely.”
** DSA passed many resolutions throughout their convention. Some resolutions failed, and still others were not discussed due to time constraints. One of the resolutions that did pass, however, was Resolution #64, “Housing For All: Analysis and Recommendations for DSA Chapters” which stated in part:
We must fight to dismantle the private property market and fight for housing as a human right… We believe that the struggle for fully decommodified housing requires a struggle for renters’ rights in the short and medium term.
At this point, it is no surprise that the hard left establishment media is not raising the alarm about the Democratic Socialists of America. But it is tragic that many patriots are also diminishing the very real threat DSA poses to the United States.