People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be, until they have learned to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises...Guest Essay By Yahmo Ahqha: Why Leftists Should Leave The Democratic Socialists of America
Recently, my friend and fellow Socialist Party USA organizer Yahmo Ahqha wrote a detailed and useful post about the unavoidable problems with the Democratic Socialists of America. His arguments go as follows:
In response to: "Are you against DSA or do you think it's possible to build power with them?"
That's a great question"first I would like to state that the rank and file of DSA are largely good people who want to help their community and change society. I have no doubt that the rank and file of DSA will be involved in the fight against capitalism. Whether DSA will survive its own history"I highly doubt it. The reason I am a member of Socialist Party USA and not DSA is because of the foundations of each organization. Just as "America" will one day cease to exist because of its foundations being rooted in colonialism, Native genocide and African slavery, DSA I believe will meet its end for the role it played in the dismantling of the largest Socialist Party in US history. Socialist Party of America the party founded by the legendary union organizer and socialist Eugene V. Debs was the most successful Socialist Party to date.
Though the Green Party US today has larger ballot access, more candidates in office and it's presidential candidates have earned more votes, SPA had members in Congress and the Senate. SPA ran Milwaukee and it was the city with the highest standard of living in the country. In 1972 the founders of DSA were involved in the dismantling of the Socialist Party of America and the creation of Social Democrats USA. At which point SPA ceased to exist and SDUSA became an exclusively Democratic Party front group and endorsed Democrats until they became irrelevant (I bet you've never heard of Social Democrats USA. Don't worry, no one has. that's the point; Democrats wanted to kill SPA so they wouldn't have any socialist opposition).
A contingency of Socialist Party of America, furious with the decision to dismantle Socialist Party of America in favor of the Democratic Party, formed a predecessor party to SPA immediately the following year. Claiming that the Social "Democrats" USA had infiltrated and dismantled the greatest socialist legacy in US history, the Socialist Party of the United States of America(SPUSA) was founded in 1973 by the members of Socialist Party of America (SPA) who were committed to Socialism and independence from a capitalist party like the Democratic Party.
This is where DSA comes into play. After 10 years of the Social Democrats USA both failing at being a functional Democratic Party front group (mass loss of membership and interest) and failing at ending the popularity of Socialism (with continued existence of the Socialist Party USA), the Social Democrats USA created a caucus called Democratic Socialists of America within their organization. This caucus then joined a notoriously right-wing organization called "Socialist International" in 1982. Socialist International is where the DSA gets it's imagery and much of its orientation.
The DSA logo is not the logo of DSA, but is in fact the logo of the Socialist International. Socialist International between 1982 to today is known in leftist circles for its support for multiple US coups in South America and across the globe. Also for its support for capitalism under the guise of "Democratic Socialism" and "Progressivism". You can go to SI's website right now and see that they support the US backed coup in Venezuela. And they've even went so far as to send their "Secretary General" to meet with Juan Guiado, the US puppet who declared himself interim president of Venezuela.
To DSA's new found credit, they broke with Socialist International in 2017. But this was entirely due to the new influx of members becoming aware of Democratic Socialists of America's history and affiliation. DSA is not what new members of recent years thought they were joining. DSA for 38 years has been a part of an international attempt by capitalists to co-opt socialism and use the language of revolution to steer left leaning voters towards voting for capitalists. This is why the DSA is in turmoil right now. You have a bunch of new members who don't know the history or the original purpose of DSA (which was to absorb any energy that otherwise would have went to Socialist Party USA) who are finding out the truth and revolting against the DSA. You can see this in the Libertarian Socialist caucus in Oregon, or the Red Star caucus in San Francisco, or the AfroSocialist/Socialists of Color caucus on the national level, which is opposing the endorsement of Bernie Sanders due to his position on reparations.
Vladimir Lenin, the father of the Russian revolution, said that any party or organization that does not have continuity will not survive. This was true of the Menshevics (Social Democrats) in Russia and why the Bolshevics (Socialists) became the leaders of the Soviet Union. As new members of the DSA who are genuinely seeking Socialism and a revolutionary organization become aware of the history and purpose of DSA, they are likely to leave or tear it apart trying to make it become something it was never meant to be. That is already happening in the areas I mentioned.
This lack of continuity and affiliation with a capitalist party will ultimately be the demise of the DSA. Even if the DSA where to stop using the Democratic Party's ACT BLUE fundraising mechanism and quit supporting capitalist Democrats posing as socialists, they won't be likely to survive when new members become aware of their roots.
In conclusion, I would say the best thing to do is join the Socialist Party USA. They are the original party of Eugene Debs. And if they don't have ballot access in your state, join the Green Party too and run your socialist candidates there. The Green Party is an EcoSocialist Party and they have 250,000 members versus DSA's 56,000 members. Better to build on what is already there and with organizations that are genuinely anti-capitalist, as opposed to supporting a capitalist party like the Democratic Party.
P.S. Just as the DSA was created by Democrats to absorb any energy that would have otherwise gone to Socialist Party USA, the Sunrise Movement was created by Democrats to absorb any energy that would have otherwise gone to the Green Party US. Notice the patterns and you'll be less likely to fall for the next Democratic Party front group.
Join Socialist Party USA here: socialistpartyusa.net