By Kate Aronoff & Miles Kampf-Lassin
After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory in New York earlier this summer, pundits warned of a socialist takeover. The front page of the New York Post put the city on “Red Alert,” cheekily depicting the likely incoming congresswoman in bright red lipstick.
Following the primary elections on August 7 — where leftist challengers Abdul El-Sayed and Kaniela Ing lost their bids — just as many outlets declared socialism dead on arrival. Then on August 14, a string of progressive insurgents — including Ilhan Omar, Jahana Hayes, Randy Bryce and Christine Hallquist — clinched victories, leading to a new round of media takes announcing the “resurgence” of left politics.
Democratic socialism offers a world to work toward that looks a hell of a lot better than the one we’ve been handed — and a moral roadmap for how to get there.
The reality is the progressive left hasn’t gone anywhere. Indeed, membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has been ticking upward since long before all these elections, exploding by 800 percent since 2015. According to DSA’s national office, the group now counts nearly 50,000 members in all 50 states — most of them millennials. And as our September cover story at In These Times magazine explains, they don’t look to be going away anytime soon.
More than a few pearls have been clutched as a result. Former FBI director James Comey warns Democrats not to “lose your minds and rush to the socialist left.” A recent story at Vox argues Americans aren’t “ready for the bill” posed by democratic socialist policies. At the New York Times, Bret Stephens says embracing democratic socialism is “Dem Doom.” And at the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf says it actually “threatens minorities.”
This hysteria reveals a fundamental misunderstanding among media pundits and political elites about why the DSA is experiencing such explosive growth. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecmmonercall.org )
Why The Democratic Socialists Of America Won’t Stop Growing
By Kate Aronoff
In These Times (August/September 2018)
VISITING JULIA SALAZAR’S NORTH BROOKLYN CAMPAIGN OFFICE ONE WARM JULY WEEKEND, I’m greeted by a volunteer with a spreadsheet. Like nearly everyone else in the converted coffee shop, she’s a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and she asks me cheerily if I’m there to canvass. I’m not, but if I were, I would be instructed to make my way to a training session on the sunbathed patio out back that is scattered with half-full bottles of sunscreen. After that—in the span of just a half-hour—I would know everything I need to know about how to help elect a card-carrying socialist to the New York state Senate. …
- Midwesterners Aren’t Scared Of Socialism — They’re Hungry For It — In a recent interview on CNN, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., claimed that candidates who push policies “too far to the left” won’t be able to win in Midwestern states. It’s an idea that many Democrats have returned to in the wake of surprises like democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s New York primary victory in June. The theory is that more bold, left-wing ideas might appeal to some voters on the coasts, but average folks in the heartland aren’t interested in scary ideas like socialism. While this argument may comfort mainstream liberals, it’s not one that reflects the history — or the present — of socialism in the Midwest. … Read the Rest and 2-Minute Video
- What Today’s Socialists Can Learn From the 1970s New Communist Movement — With the popularity of politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the explosion in membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), socialism is all of a sudden central to the national political conversation. And it’s happening in the United States. Despite being a country long argued to be uniquely allergic to all talk of class conflict and any alternative to capitalism, here we are, watching many Americans question whether we should remake our political and economic systems from top to bottom. But this isn’t the first time mass numbers of people in the United States have considered socialism. The last time was half a century ago, when the New Left raised questions about capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism and much more. … Read the Rest
- Big Question For Dems —‘I don’t understand why the Democrats are not pounding on this chart every single day’ — Donald Trump said the Republican tax bill would boost the average family’s disposable income by $4,000. Donald Trump said wealthy people like him would lose big after the bill was passed. Donald Trump says a lot of things. Hardly any of them are true. And here’s the stark proof that, when it comes to the Republican tax scam, Trump’s critics were right, while Trump was just wanking off to an ‘80s pin-up of the Laffer curve: Link to Story
Want To Learn More About the Proud History & Role Of Socialism In The Best Parts Of American History & Tradition? Check Out This Great Book By Wisconsin Journalist John Nichols…