DSA Statement on the 2000 Vote

Marta Russell ap888 at SPAMlafn.org
Mon Aug 28 22:09:00 MDT 2000


I find it post ironic that DSA, which has never formally acknowledged that disabled
persons are oppressed, critique Nader on his lack of a platform on sexism and racism.

It has been brought to DSA's attention on numerous occasions that they have omitted
disability and to this day they still omit it.

Marta

Xxxx wrote:

> While I guess I'm happy that DSA no longer views itself as the "left wing of the
> Democratic Party," this statement leaves me confused as to what DSA's tactics are.
> They're committed neither to building an independent working class party such as
> the Labor Party nor are they committed to the Democrats and they're all over the
> map on the Presidential election. DSA mentions that it's a co-sponsor of the
> Working Families Party in NY which, I believe, is a practitioner of "fusion"
> politics (ie running candidates on it's own and the Democratic Party ticket). If
> so what's the difference between the DSA and the New Party?
>
> Xxxx
>
>                                    The DSA Statement on the 2000 Elections
>
>   The National Political Committee consciously chose not to endorse any major
> party presidential candidates. While understanding that for pragmatic reasons many
> progressive trade unionists, environmentalists, and African-American and Latino
> activists have chosen to support Al Gore, DSA s elected representatives believe
> that Gore, like the now defeated Bill Bradley, represents a centrist, neo-liberal
> politics which does not advocate the radical structural reforms   such as
> progressive taxation, major defense cuts, and real universal health and child
> care   necessary to move national politics in a genuinely democratic direction.
>
>  Gore’s strong support for “free trade” fails to integrate the need
> for international solidarity and global regulation of transnational capital
> required for egalitarian politics at home and abroad. Nor is it sufficient to talk
> of getting “soft money” (unlimited contributions directly to the
> political parties) out of politics. Corporate influence over electoral politics
> can only be curtailed through public financing of campaigns and access to free
> media. It is a sad commentary on the state of American politics when
> dyed-in-the-wool conservative John McCain is portrayed by mass media as a
> “progressive reformer” of campaign law.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>Some DSAers may support Ralph
> Nader for president, if he appears on the ballot in their state. Others may
> support our Socialist Party comrade David McReynolds. Nader’s campaign is
> likely to appear on more state ballots and it has the potential to harness the
> energy of the protests in Seattle and Washington against the WTO and IMF. This
> time around, DL hopes he runs a serious campaign and does not again dismiss issues
> of racism and sexism as “divisive” or “gonadal” politics.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>But in states where the
> presidential race appears close next November, it is likely that DSA members with
> ties to mass constituencies will engage in pragmatic lesser-evilism and hold their
> nose and vote for the Democrat. These are all understandable tactical choices. DSA
> Vice-Chair Harold Meyerson’s electoral analysis in this issue concludes with
> a case for “critical support” of Gore. This position is by no means an
> official DSA “line,” but a perspective held to by many in the
> organization, but dissented from by numerous others.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>It is inaccurate to describe
> DSA as primarily working within the “left-wing” of the Democratic
> Party.” The 1993 DSA convention in fact resolved “that the imperative
> task for the democratic Left is to build anti-corporate social movements which are
> capable of winning reforms which empower people. In so far as such social
> movements and coalitions wish to influence state policy they will, at times,
> intervene in electoral politics. The fundamental question for DSA is not what form
> that electoral intervention takes, whether it be through Democratic primary races,
> non-partisan local elections, or third party efforts. Rather, our electoral work
> aims at building majoritarian coalitions capable of not only electing public
> officials, but capable of holding them accountable after they are
> elected.”<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>DSA’s main task is to
> build grassroots, multi-racial, progressive coalitions. There is no short-cut to
> doing so other than the hard work of “education, agitation, and
> organizing.” Neither flying the flag of a third party which lacks a mass
> social base, or placing uncritical faith in isolated progressive Democratic
> politicians will build a powerful Left. A successful third party would have to
> command sufficient strength in mass constituencies that it could split one of the
> two major parties.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>DSA is no more loyal to the
> Democratic Party – which barely exists as a grassroots institution –
> than are individuals or social movements which upon occasion use its ballot line
> or vote for its candidates. The peculiar nature of the American constitution
> renders third party politics difficult at both the national and state level.
> Myriad structural factors mitigate against viable third parties, and various
> constitutional blockages are exceedingly difficult to amend: executive-based
> federalism makes parliamentary-style coalition-governments impossible, winner-take
> all districts, absence of proportional representation, open primaries in which
> party membership is regulated states not parties themselves — allowing both
> Klansmen and Communists to be members of the Democratic Party, In the GOP, white
> libertarian upper-middle-class suburbanites contend with white working-class
> fundamentalists for influence in that party. Veterans of the left will remember
> that the 1968 Peace and Freedom Party and the 1980 Citizens Party arose at moments
> of greater left-wing strength and did not significantly alter the national
> electoral landscape. Nor has, unfortunately, the New Party, which many DSAers work
> with in states where “fusion” of third party and major party votes is
> possible (such as the DSA co-sponsored Working Families Party in N.Y. State).<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>DSA recognizes that some
> insurgent politicians representing labor, environmentalists, gays and lesbians,
> and communities of color may choose to run under Democratic auspices, as in the
> 1988 Jesse Jackson campaign, or operate as Democrats like Senator Paul Wellstone,
> and the 59 Democratic members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, one-half of
> whom are Black and Latino and all of whom possess strong labor backing and
> operative social democratic politics.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>Electoral tactics are only a
> means for DSA; the building of a powerful anti-corporate and ultimately socialist
> movement is the end. Where third party or non-partisan candidates represent
> significant social movements DSA locals have and will continue to build such
> organizations and support such candidates. DSA honored independent socialist
> Congressperson Bernie Sanders of Vermont at our last convention banquet, and we
> have always raised significant funds nationally for his electoral campaigns. At
> the same time, we were pleased to have Democratic Congressperson and Progressive
> Caucus member Bob Filner of San Diego introduce Sanders at the convention, and
> note that Progressive Caucus member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) will be honored at our
> annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington dinner this Spring in Chicago.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>DSA is a modest, sometimes
> effective organization, whose members have greatest influence in community-level
> electoral politics. DSA is not an electoral organization, but rather a democratic
> socialist political organization which aims to bring socialism into the mainstream
> of American politics. We endeavor to do so through a two-pronged strategy of
> education and organizing. Much of our work is cultural and ideological: forums,
> debates, publications. But our voice can only be heard if we simultaneously play a
> central, activist role within struggles relevant to working people, communities of
> color, women, gays and lesbians and other oppressed constituencies. We operate
> within progressive coalitions as an open socialist presence and bring to these
> movements an analysis and strategy which recognizes the fundamental need to
> democratize global corporate power. We do not see ourselves as a vanguard speaking
> for the masses nor do we romantically believe that a small socialist organization
> can unilaterally transform the U.S. electoral map.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>DSA strives to be a crucial
> socialist leaven within a mass movement for social justice. In the 2000 elections,
> most electorally-active, progressive constituencies will endeavor to elect
> progressives to Congress and to the state legislatures. These state legislatures
> will engage in the post-census redistricting which will influence electoral
> politics throughout the coming decade. For better or worse, it is unlikely that
> presidential politics in the year 2000 will structurally transform the landscape
> of American politics, however important the outcome.<br>
>                                                 </p>
>                                                 <p>DSA will continue to be a voice
> inside — and outside — the electoral process, to argue against panaceas
> of ‘fixed’ markets, and for a bottom-up democratic, decentralized and
> environmentally sane economy.</td>

--
Marta Russell
author
Los Angeles, CA
Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract
http://www.commoncouragepress.com/russell_ramps.html







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