Democratic Socialists of America
Membership currently close to 50,000.
Largest socialist organization in USA since the Communist Party of the World War 2 era.
,Itu2019s a kind of big tent organization that has many different viewpoints u2014 and even organized caucuses or tendencies u2014 within it.
,There are probably some people in DSA who simply understand u201cdemocratic socialismu201d the way Bernie Sanders does u2014 as simply reforms to the capitalist system to create benefit systems like Medicare for All and controls on the predatory behavior of the corporate sharks.
Thatu2019s called u201csocial democracyu201d in Europe.
,Because the membership sky rocketed in the wake of the 2016 elections in which the Sanders campaign popularized u201cdemocratic socialismu201d, we can assume some people are primarily oriented to electoral politics and think in social democratic terms.
,But that is not officially how DSA defines its purpose.
DSA u2014 and many of its activists u2014 see the goal as a replacement system for capitalism.
They probably envision this as coming about gradually through reforms over time.
Many in DSA think the democratic socialist goal as a kind of market socialism consisting of worker cooperatives with the government nationalizing some key industries like utilities and health care.
This goes beyond social democracy.
,However, DSA is not simply limited to electoral politics.
There are many activists in DSA who are also involved in other areas u2014 building unions, fighting ICE and its deport and detain efforts, building tenant unions, and so on.
Many in DSA see socialist movement as consisting of the u201ctwo legsu201d that Eugene Debs used to talk about u2014 both the mass struggles in workplaces & streets as well as electoral politics.
,There are also some tendencies in DSA (like the Communist Caucus and the Libertarian Socialist Caucus) who donu2019t even see electoral politics as the main thing at all.
As we can see, DSA is a multi-tendencied socialist organization, a big tent u2014 and they are sort of struggling to hold it all together, given their huge recent growth.
(The Communist Caucus by the way arenu2019t Marxist-Leninist communists but sort of libertarian communists.
),In regard to electoral politics, there are also different views about the strategy.
Back in the u201980s when DSA was formed they talked about re-aligning the Democrats into some kind of social democratic party.
They donu2019t see that as possible any more I think.
I think they see the necessity for an independent socialist politics that uses a variety of electoral tactics u2014 running on Democrat party ballot line sometimes, other times as independents, and quite a few hope for creation of some socialist or progressive political party to left of the Democrats down the road.
,Unlike u201cdemocratic socialistsu201d of previous generations theyu2019re not entirely happy with identifying u201cdemocracyu201d with electoral or u201crepresentative democracyu201d but also see some need for an element of participatory democracy u2014 radical democratization of social institutions u2014 possibly something along the lines of participatory budgeting.