Against Dual Membership in the DSA

Firebrand has enacted a policy prohibiting our members from holding dual membership in our organization and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). This policy is based on our commitment to working-class independence and revolutionary socialism, because we understand the DSA to be an organization fundamentally committed to one of the two capitalist parties of the US.

by | Jun 21, 2023

We have enacted a policy prohibiting our members from holding dual membership in our organization and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). This policy is based on our commitment to working-class independence and revolutionary socialism, because we understand the DSA to be an organization fundamentally committed to one of the two capitalist parties of the US.

The DSA seeks to build and lead radicals into an imperialist party. We want to do the opposite. Our members and prospective members must choose one or the other. While the DSA may be the largest organization in the US with the word “socialist” in its name, no principled socialist should join, build, or support it.

The entry of various sections of the far left into the DSA has had predictable results: radicals have acclimated to the culture and politics of the DSA without affecting the direction of the larger organization, and where they have maintained principles, the nature of the organization is such that they have merely served as left cover and loyal opposition. Leftists entering the DSA have attempted to pressure the DSA, much as the DSA’s main strategy is to pressure — or “realign” — the Democrats, and with equal success.

The DSA seeks to build and lead radicals into an imperialist party. We want to do the opposite. Our members and prospective members must choose one or the other.

The DSA remains committed to supporting the US empire under the guise of meeting Democratic Party supporters “where they’re at.” It has refused to expel or even censure politicians like Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have consistently voted to fund imperialism and, only months before the toxic train derailment in Ohio, voted to outlaw a railroad workers’ strike. The most recent NYC-DSA district convention went so far as to curtail members’ and branches’ right to publicly criticize these politicians.

Reports from across the country have further indicated that during the largest upsurges of class struggle in recent years, such as the George Floyd rebellions of the summer of 2020, DSA chapters were remarkably absent, preferring to focus on electoral initiatives. No matter how many minority caucuses with hammer-and-sickles on their blogs may proliferate, this indicates an organization committed to electioneering at the expense of class struggle.

Some revolutionary socialist groups who have been working within the DSA have recently begun to reevaluate this strategy. Whether or not such reevaluations will lead to a principled break with the organization remains to be seen, but early indications are not promising. When these groups raise the question of whether their intervention into the DSA has failed, they generally leave the initial premise unquestioned; that is, whether liquidating into the DSA in the first place was a defensible position.

We maintain that the current state of the DSA is not the result of political changes within the organization but the continuation of the core politics dating back to the organization’s founding. We have insisted on maintaining our own independent organizations since the DSA’s resurgence in 2016 and before, to focus instead on class struggle and building revolutionary socialist cadre, and we believe our position has been proven correct. Where the left wing of the DSA is experiencing political disorientation as a result of trying to navigate hostile organizational waters, we have continued to develop revolutionary cadre and thriving local organizations active in class struggle and political education.

While revolutionaries can and should work with any and all potential allies of the working class, including the DSA, the revolutionary left requires independence of thought, criticism, and action to fight the class war and build toward the goal of a mass revolutionary party. We call on all revolutionary forces to decisively split with the DSA.

Firebrand
is a communist organization in the tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky. We are committed to building working-class revolutionary organization that stands outside of and in opposition to the parties of the ruling class.

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