Introducing DSA Refoundation

Announcing Refoundation, DSA’s new radical Left Caucus.

For 3 years, the DSA had a Left Caucus which set out to achieve goals for the organization which included leaving the Socialist International, an examination of its relationship with the Democratic Party and an orientation toward independent politics, development of a radical intersectional analysis of capitalism and oppression, and other goals. Some of these goals were met, such as leaving the SI. Other work remained unfinished. While the old Left Caucus never officially went public, its largely behind-the-scenes role represented the birth of new a movement – within DSA – of young Marxists.

The old Left Caucus officially stopped its work right before the historic 2017 DSA National Convention. Shortly after the convention, members of the old Left Caucus and others from chapters across the country came together to pick up the torch and create Refoundation which represents a refounding of the old caucus and of a new socialist left in general. DSA Refoundation’s vision and program is bold and ambitious because we don’t think the left can afford to be anything less any longer. We must Build the Base.

Our structure consists of committees, including a steering committee, groups, and  members across the country. Our Steering Committee includes Kevin H from Portland, Delé Balogun from Chicago, Jenny E from Texas, Jason N from Los Angeles, and a comrade from Boston. Two of our members currently sit on the DSA National Political Committee.

We are a caucus of revolutionary Marxists active in Democratic Socialists of America. We wish to see DSA grow, flourish, and become a mass, independent socialist party in the United States. The times demand it. With the massive growth of DSA over the past year and a half, we believe we have a unique opportunity to build a movement and a party that can fight for and win socialism in the United States. We cannot let this opportunity pass.

Socialism or barbarism. Historically, this has been the choice forced on us by capitalism. Either we win a world controlled from the bottom-up by ordinary and working people, or we sink further and further into the morass of war, of social decay, of state repression, of ecological disaster and devastating inequality. If the past several years have proven anything, it is that these barbarisms are no longer a feared future. They are a concrete fact. And it is clear that unless a better world is won, our current one will grow worse and worse, become more uninhabitable, more unfit for any dignified existence.

The experience of the Bernie Sanders campaign uncovered an enthusiasm for radical and socialist ideas in the United States. The explosive growth of DSA in the wake of this campaign and Donald Trump’s election as president presented the possibility that this enthusiasm might be organized. And the embrace at its August convention of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign — solidifying DSA’s support for the Palestinian people — as well as the abolition of prisons and police, reflect how deep this radical impulse might be.

Shortcomings remain. For the past several decades, the American Left has hung its hopes for incremental reforms to the fortunes of the Democratic Party. We are committed to fighting for any reform that improves people’s lives, and we plan to fight alongside comrades of other tendencies both within and outside of DSA to do so. But we cannot afford to believe in the illusion that capitalism can be reformed out of existence. And we certainly cannot afford to rely on the Democrats any longer to deliver anything worthwhile to us. DSA’s recent, more radical trajectory puts it on a collision course with its staid practice of support for the Democratic Party. The challenge of political independence — a mass workers party that fights for socialism — is an urgent one. This is a party that must be built from the ground up in workplaces and communities, including communities of color, queer and trans folk, immigrant and rural communities. We want to push DSA to take this challenge head on. We aim to win our comrades to doing so through patient discussion and democratic debate.

We start from where we are: a collection of comrades active in chapters across the country, at the local and national level, including members of the National Political Committee. It is a sign of this organization’s newfound vibrancy that so many caucuses based around various outlooks have sprung up recently. We wish to work with these different formations, to get to know them, forge comradely and collaborative relationships with them. We think a solid and vivid revolutionary socialist vision is necessary for DSA’s success, as is a strong left-wing within the group that can push the organization in that direction. These are our immediate tasks. If you wish to help us achieve them, then read our points of unity and program. Reach out to us, ask us questions.

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