On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars talk to two organizers from the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, the largest socialist organization in the United States. First, Emily Robinson joins us from Edinburgh, Scotland, where she is also a member of the Scottish Labor Young Socialists. You can find her writing in Current Affairs. We were also joined by the pseudonymous “Larry Website”. He is a former northwest field organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign and refers to himself as the Billy Mays of the DSA, which definitely seems to be a fitting description.
After Kumars eviscerates Emily and Larry by their own logic, the gang gets down to business, talking about the history of DSA, its mission, and why Emily and Larry each got involved. We have a candid discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of DSA’s approach to organizing, comparing and contrasting with groups to their right and to their left along the political spectrum. Larry and Emily discuss their participation in the Left Caucus within DSA which is trying to pull the organization in a more radical direction.
We talk about the role that Bernie Sanders played in making socialism palatable to wide swaths of the country, boosting the profile of virtually every socialist organization in the process. We also talk about the limits of Bernie Sanders’ approach and the weaknesses of democratic socialism as an end in of itself, rather than a means to achieving a more radical future.
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Also, DSA is having a membership drive now through January 22nd trying to get to 15,000 members. If the group appeals to you, consider joining up! If it’s not your thing, find a group that fits you better and get to work!