Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)


* Largest socialist organization in the U.S.
* Works closely with the Congressional Progressive Caucus



At the height of the Cold War and the Vietnam War era, the Socialist Party USA of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas split in two over the issue of whether or not to criticize the Soviet Union, its allies, and Communism: One faction rejected and denounced the USSR and its allies—including Castro‘s Cuba, the Sandinistas, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong—and supported Poland’s Solidarity Movement, etc.  This anti-Communist faction took the name Social Democrats USA. (Many of its leaders—including Carl Gershman, who became Jeane Kirkpatrick’s counselor of embassy at the United Nations—eventually grew more conservative and became Reagan Democrats.) The other faction, however, refused to reject Marxism, refused to criticize or denounce the USSR and its allies, and continued to support Soviet-backed policies—including the nuclear-freeze program that sought to consolidate Soviet nuclear superiority in Europe. This faction, whose leading figure was Michael Harrington, in 1973 took the name Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC); its membership included many former Students for a Democratic Society activists.[1]

DSOC operated not as a separate political party but as an explicitly socialist force within the Democratic Party and the labor movement. As such, it attracted many young activists who sought to push the Democratic Party further leftward politically. Among the notables who joined DSOC were Machinists’ Union leader William Winpisinger, feminist Gloria Steinem, gay rights activist Harry Britt, actor Ed Asner, and California Congressman (and avowed socialist) Ron Dellums.[2]

By 1979 DSOC had made major inroads into the Democratic Party and claimed a national membership of some 3,000 people. In 1982, under Michael Harrington’s leadership, DSCOC merged with the New American Movement to form the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).[3]

Harrington’s strategy was to force a “realignment” of the two major political parties by pulling the Democrats emphatically to the left and polarizing the parties along class lines. He expected that this would drive business interests away from the Democrats and into the Republican Party, but that those losses would be more than offset by an influx of newly energized minority and union voters to the Democratic Party, and that over time the Democrats would embrace socialism as their preferred ideology. Thus Harrington sought to establish DSA as a force that worked within, and not outside of, the existing American political system. Following Harrington’s lead, most DSAers were committed to electoral politics within the Democratic Party. They feared that if they were to openly move too far and too quickly to the left, they would run the risk of alienating moderate Democrats and thereby ensuring Ronald Reagan’s reelection in 1984.[4]

Early in DSA’s history, political organizer Harry Boyte, convinced that even Michael Harrington’s non-revolutionary form of socialism would be rejected by most Americans, formed a “communitarian caucus” within DSA. As author Stanley Kurtz explains:

“The communitarians wanted to use the language and ethos of traditional American communities—including religious language—to promote a ‘populist’ version of socialism. Portraying heartless corporations as enemies of traditional communities, thought Boyte, was the only way to build a quasi-socialist mass movement in the United States. Socialists could quietly help direct such a movement, Boyte believed, but openly highlighting socialist ideology would only drive converts away. In effect, Boyte was calling on DSA to drop its public professions of socialism and start referring to itself as ‘communitarian’ instead.”[5]

But DSA rejected this approach, worried that if it failed to publicly articulate its socialist ideals, genuine socialism itself would eventually wither and die. Boyte’s opponents stated: “We can call ourselves ‘communitarians,’ but the word will get out. Better to be out of the closet; humble, yet proud.”[6]

Influenced by Antonio Gramsci

DSA draws heavily from the ideas of the late Italian Communist Party theoretician Antonio Gramsci. As the Orange County (California) DSA stated in its February 1984 newsletter, Gramsci’s writings “have … formed a vital part of the ideas that brought about the formation of today’s DSA.”[7]

Ties to the Congressional Progressive Caucus & the Radicalization of the Democratic Party

DSA helped establish the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) in 1991 and continues to work closely with the latter to this day. Virtually every CPC member also belongs to DSA.[8]

In 1998, WorldNetDaily (WND) published a two-part series of articles titled “Congress’ Red Army Caucus,” which exposed the close association between DSA and CPC. At that time, DSA hosted the CPC website. Shortly after the WND revelations, CPC established its own website under the auspices of Congress. Meanwhile, DSA scrubbed its own website to remove evidence of its ties to CPC. Among the items removed from the site were the lyrics to such songs as the following:

  • “The Internationale,” the worldwide anthem of Communism and socialism
  • “Red Revolution,” sung to the tune of “Red Robin” (This song includes such lyrics as: “When the Red Revolution brings its solution along, along, there’ll be no more lootin’ when we start shootin’ that Wall Street throng.…”)
  • “Are You Sleeping, Bourgeoisie?” (The lyrics of this song include: “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie. And when the revolution comes, We’ll kill you all with knives and guns, Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie.”)[9]

In October 2009, the Socialist Party of America announced that at least 70 Congressional Democrats were members of its Caucus at that time—i.e., members of DSA. Most of those individuals belonged to the Congressional Progressive Caucus and/or the Congressional Black Caucus.[10]

DSA seeks to increase its political influence not by establishing its own political party but rather by working closely with the Democratic Party to promote leftist agendas. “Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party,” says DSA. “We work with those movements to strengthen the party’s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus…. Maybe sometime in the future … an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats.”

“Where We Stand”: DSA Manifesto from the Early to Mid-1990s

In a document titled “Where We Stand: Building The Next Left,” which was written between 1990 and 1995, DSA outlined in detail its political perspectives. Key excerpts from this document include the following:

  • “Nearly three decades after the ‘War on Poverty’ was declared and then quickly abandoned, one-fifth of our society subsists in poverty, living in substandard housing, attending underfunded, overcrowded schools, and receiving inadequate health care.”
  • “In the global capitalist economy, these injustices are magnified a thousand fold. The poorest third of humanity earns two percent of the world’s income, while the richest fifth receives two-thirds of global income.”
  • We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.”
  • “We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.”
  • “A democratic socialist politics for the 21st century must promote an international solidarity dedicated to raising living standards across the globe, rather than ‘leveling down’ in the name of maximizing profits and economic efficiency.”
  • “Equality, solidarity, and democracy can only be achieved through international political and social cooperation aimed at ensuring that economic institutions benefit all people.”
  • “Democratic socialists are dedicated to building truly international social movements—of unionists, environmentalists, feminists, and people of color—that together can elevate global justice over brutalizing global competition.”
  • “To be genuinely multiracial, a socialist movement must respect the particular goals of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and other communities of color. It must place a high priority on economic justice to eradicate the sources of inequality; on affirmative action and other compensatory programs to overcome ongoing discrimination and the legacy of inequality; and on social justice to change the behavior, attitudes, and ideas that foster racism.”
  • “Free markets or private charity cannot provide adequate public goods and services.”
  • “The capitalist market economy not only suppresses global living standards, but also means chronic underfunding of socially necessary public goods, from research and development to preventive health care and job training.”
  • “U.S. dominance of the global economy is buttressed by its political power and military might. Indeed, the United States is engaged in a long-term policy of imperial overreach in a period in which global instability will probably increase.”
  • “Fifty years of world leadership have taken their toll on the U.S. The links among heavy military spending, fiscal imbalance, and a weakening economy are too clear to ignore. Domestically, the United States faces social and structural economic problems of a magnitude unknown to other advanced capitalist states. The resources needed to sustain U.S. dominance are a drain on the national economy, particularly the most neglected and underdeveloped sectors. Nowhere is a struggle against militarism more pressing than in the United States, where the military budget bleeds the public sector of much needed funds for social programs.”
  • “As inequalities of wealth and income increase and the wages and living standards of most are either stagnant or falling, social needs expand. Only a revitalized public sector can universally and democratically meet those needs.”
  • “Social redistribution—the shift of wealth and resources from the rich to the rest of society—will require: massive redistribution of income from corporations and the wealthy to wage earners and the poor and the public sector, in order to provide the main source of new funds for social programs, income maintenance and infrastructure rehabilitation, and a massive shift of public resources from the military (the main user of existing discretionary funds) to civilian uses.”
  • “Over time, income redistribution and social programs will be critical not only to the poor but to the great majority of working people. The defense and expansion of government programs that promote social justice, equal education for all children, universal health care, environmental protection and guaranteed minimum income and social well-being is critical for the next Left.”
  • “The fundamental task of democratic socialists is to build anti-corporate social movements capable of winning reforms that empower people. Since such social movements seek to influence state policy, they will intervene in electoral politics, whether through Democratic primaries, non-partisan local elections, or third party efforts.”
  • “Electoral tactics are only a means for democratic socialists; the building of a powerful anti-corporate coalition is the end.”

DSA’s Membership Rolls

As of the early to mid-1990s, DSA had approximately 10,000 members nationwide. This was followed by a period of stagnation and even decline, which in turn gave way to a period of meteoric growth:

  • By 2014, DSA’s membership had fallen to about 6,500.
  • Later that year, the organization decided to firmly and unequivocally support the political agendas of Bernie Sanders, whom they viewed as “sufficiently radical and inspiring” to be worthy of DSA’s backing. By November 2016, DSA membership had risen to approximately 8,500.
  • By mid-2017 — thanks in large part to the left’s passionate hatred for the newly elected President Donald Trump — DSA membership ballooned to about 24,000.
  • DSA member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s election to Congress in November 2018 sparked the largest single-day membership gain in DSA’s history.
  • As of October 2023, DSA’s membership stood at somewhere between 78,000 and 92,0000.

Support for the Anti-American “Black Radical Congress” Call for Reparations

In 1999, DSA supported the Black Radical Congress‘ call for the U.S. government to pay reparations compensating present-day blacks for the evils and the lasting legacies of slavery. That April, DSA also voiced its support for reparations to Mexicans, Native Americans, and other groups as well. Indeed, the organization enumerated a litany of historical American crimes against humanity:

“DSA, as a socialist organization, rejects the proposition that corporate wealth and individual property are the same. The wealth that we plan to re-distribute is corporate wealth not personal private property.

“The wealth of the U.S. corporate class was developed from the exploitation of vast numbers of Africans and a great many indigenous peoples by slavery and the theft of indigenous wealth and land by the Spanish, the Portuguese, and the English-speaking peoples. The current wealth of the ruling elite and the poverty in African-American and indigenous communities are direct consequences of this incorporation by force and terrorism of these and other dominated communities into the capitalist system.

“And we, along with the Latino Commission of DSA, further call for reparations for the assaults and despoliation of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and their descendants, including Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and others, for the loss of their lands and the attempted destruction of their cultures and institutions. This includes supporting the land claims and other treaty-related social justice cases of the Native American tribal nations….

“It is clear from a number of studies that the underdevelopment of communities of African Americans, indigenous people, and their descendants continues to this date. We recognize that this underdevelopment is a direct result of the crimes of the past, and the forced subjugation of these people and their incorporation into a White Supremacist society based upon the unfair and inequitable extraction of labor and capital from the work, and death, of these people.

“We therefore call for monetary reparations to be in the form of public ownership of utilities and means of production. And we call for the investment of compensatory funds into publicly owned institutions for the development of their communities. And public funds shall be used to promote the general welfare, education, health care, public transportation and infrastructure targeted on those communities historically denied lack of access to capital and education by prior governmental and corporate actions.”[11]

Supporting “Pay Equity Now”

In 2000, DSA endorsed Pay Equity Now!—a petition jointly issued in 2000 by the National Organization for Women, the Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women, and the International Wages for Housework Campaign. Together these organizations charged that “the U.S. government opposes pay equity—equal pay for work of equal value—in national policy and international agreements”; that “women are often segregated in caring and service work for low pay, much like the housework they are expected to do for no pay at home”; and that “underpaying women is a massive subsidy to employers that is both sexist and racist.”[12]

Portraying 9/11 As Retaliation for American Transgressions

In 2001, DSA characterized the 9/11 terror attacks as acts of retaliation for transgressions and injustices that America had previously perpetrated across the globe. “We live in a world,” said DSA, “organized so that the greatest benefits go to a small fraction of the world’s population while the vast majority experiences injustice, poverty, and often hopelessness. Only by eliminating the political, social, and economic conditions that lead people to these small extremist groups can we be truly secure.”

Member of United for Peace & Justice

Strongly opposed to the U.S. war on terror and America’s post-9/11 military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, DSA became a member organization of the United For Peace and Justice anti-war coalition.[13]

Unrestricted Abortion Rights

DSA was a Co-Sponsoring Organization of the April 25, 2004 “March for Women’s Lives” held in Washington, D.C., a rally that drew more than a million demonstrators advocating for the right to unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.

Supporting the Employee Free Choice Act

In 2007, DSA National Political Committee member David Green expressed support for the Employee Free Choice Act as a measure that could “limit the capitalist class’s prerogatives in the workplace”; “minimize the degree of exploitation of workers by capitalists”; and “provid[e] an excellent organizing tool (i.e., tactic) through which we can pursue our socialist strategy while simultaneously engaging the broader electorate on an issue of economic populism.”[14]

Supporting Obama for President (2008)

In 2008, most DSA members actively supported Barack Obama for U.S. President. Said the organization: “DSA believes that the possible election of Senator Obama to the presidency in November represents a potential opening for social and labor movements to generate the critical political momentum necessary to implement a progressive political agenda.”[15]

Supporting Occupy Wall Street

In the fall of 2011, DSA was a strong backer of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Said DSA:

“The Occupy Wall Street protests have invigorated the American Left in a way not seen in decades … So we have urged our members to take an active, supportive role in their local occupations, something many DSAers had already begun doing as individuals, because they believe that everyday people, the 99%, shouldn’t be made to pay for a crisis set off by an out-of-control financial sector and the ethically compromised politicians who have failed to rein it in.”[16]

Midwest Regional March for Peace and Justice

On October 8, 2011, DSA co-sponsored a Midwest Regional March for Peace and Justice, a protest demonstration commemorating the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

A Revolutionary Movement Seeking “Transformation” to a Socialist Society

DSA members today seek to build “progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics.” “We are socialists,” reads the organization’s boilerplate, “because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.” “To achieve a more just society,” adds DSA, “many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed.” A major hallmark of such transformation would be an “equitable distribution of resources.”[17]

DSA summarizes its philosophy as follows: “Today … [r]esources are used to make money for capitalists rather than to meet human needs. We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them. Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives.”[18]

According to an October 2023 Capital Research Center report: “[T]he DSA is best understood as a revolutionary movement that seeks nothing less than to overturn the very foundations of American society. Its economic proposals would eliminate American business activity as we know it. It demands the total dismantling of functional law enforcement nationwide. Its hatred of Israel is so vitriolic that at times it has crossed into the realm of moral depravity.”

Supporting the Anti-Israel BDS Movement

At DSA’s national convention in August 2017, its members voted by a large majority to pass a resolution “fully supporting” the worldwide Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative designed to financially cripple and politically delegitimize Israel. The resolution explicitly affirmed DSA’s “solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent struggle against apartheid, colonialism, [and] military occupation[,] and for equality, human rights and self-determination.”

Withdrawing from the Socialist International

Prior to its national convention in August 2017, DSA had described itself as “the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International,” the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist, and labor parties. But at the convention, DSA voted to withdraw from membership in the Socialist International, on grounds that the latter had allegedly become too connected to imperialist and colonialist powers.

DSA’s Parallels with Communist China

In November 2017, historian Ronald Radosh noted: “[R]ecent documents from DSA’s large Los Angeles chapter reveal that it has moved closer to the kind of membership rites familiar to those who study totalitarian movements. Rites such as those practiced by the Chinese Communists during the Cultural Revolution and by the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, which continually charged dissenting members with betraying the party. They often expelled them from their ranks, or forced them to grovel in public demonstrations of obedience to the party line.” To offer an illustration of this mindset, Radosh noted that DSA’s Los Angeles chapter had recently found fault with a Twitter post that featured two principal elements: (1) a photograph in which a member of that chapter’s Steering Committee, a professional standup comedian named Josh Androsky, was smiling and pointing at the Hollywood Walk of Fame star dedicated to Bill Cosby, who had allegedly raped many women; and (2) a caption (above the photo) that read: “hey libs try taking THIS statue down.”

Charging that the tweet’s “ironic caption …. minimized the experience and mistreatment of rape survivors,” the Steering Committee demanded that Androsky: (a) publicly declare [that] “I caused people pain and suffering, and for that I am truly sorry”; (b) praise the “heroic efforts” by which his DSA comrades had advanced the cause of socialism; and (c) pledge to make “meaningful reparations and amends” by resigning from the Steering Committee, suspending all of his DSA-related work, and announcing that “I’ll be voluntarily undergoing sensitive/anti-oppression training offered by an external third party before I consider returning to DSA organizing.” “With these actions,” wrote Radosh, “it has become clear that DSA is replicating the ‘self-criticism’ sessions of Marxist-Leninist Old Left groups,” and he then proceeded to offer some examples. “With their castigation of an activist stand-up comedian as politically incorrect,” Radosh added, “and his being cast out until his ‘oppression training’ is complete and the Steering Committee assured that he is fully reformed, Democratic Socialists of America has proved that it risks being indistinguishable from the old American Communist Party and its Stalinist practices.”

Notable DSA Vice Chairs, Honorary Chairs, & Members

Over the years, DSA’s more notable vice chairs and honorary chairs have included such individuals as Barbara EhrenreichDolores Huerta, Steve MaxEliseo Medina, Eugene “Gus” Newport, Frances Fox PivenGloria Steinem, and Cornel West.

Other prominent DSA members have been: Neil Abercrombie, Stanley AronowitzEd Asner, Ron BloomPaul BoothHarry BoytePaul Buhle, Noam Chomsky, John Conyers, Danny Davis, David Dinkins, Michael Eric Dyson, Manning Marable, Jerrold Nadler, Major Owens, Bernie Sanders, Jan Schakowsky, John Sweeney, and Quentin Young.

Three DSA Members Are Elected to High Office in 2018

In 2018, 28-year-old DSA member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rose to prominence when, with no prior political experience, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Another newcomer to Congress in 2018 was DSA member Rashida Tlaib. That same year, DSA member Julia Salazar won a seat in the New York State Senate.

Blaming “White Supremacy” for the Death of George Floyd

On May 28. 2020, DSA condemned the highly publicized death of a black Minneapolis man named George Floyd in a confrontation with a white police officer three days earlier. DSA characterized Floyd’s death as a “public execution … at the hands of the Minneapolis police,” and as a “murder [that] falls into the deeply entrenched pattern of violence, anti-Blackness, and oppression upheld by policing in this country.” “This is white supremacy,” DSA added. “We refuse to euphemize it by calling it ‘hate’ or ‘fear’: we will aim to give justice to those who’ve been brutalized by police by naming white supremacy so we can eradicate it.” Moreover, DSA stated that “racist police violence is not incidental to the capitalist system, it is necessary to maintain its operation.”

DSA’s 2021 Political Platform

In 2021, DSA adopted a comprehensive Political Platform. Below are numerous key excerpts from that document:


The Democratic Socialists of America are fighting to win a world organized and governed by and for the vast majority, the working class. We are socialist because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are democratic because we know that this transformation cannot be won from the top down, by a small group of elites who claim to have all the answers, or by even well-meaning politicians. This transformation can only come from the bottom up, when millions of working-class people stand together. DSA organizes to realize our working-class collective power, which stems from the reliance of the capitalist economy on our labor. Democracy is necessary to win a socialist society. Socialism is the complete realization of democracy.

Our fight to end capitalist exploitation is inextricably tied to our fight to end oppression. A democratic socialist society must end all systemic domination, whether it’s based on race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. The historical development of U.S. capitalism was heavily reliant on the theft of people’s lives and land, through the enslavement of Black people and genocide of Indigenous people. Our legal, economic, and social institutions continue to perpetuate racialized oppression. We will never be able to unify a multi-racial working class without confronting structural racism.

Likewise, a democratic socialist society must end the economic subjugation of women in the workplace, violence and harassement affecting women and non-binary people, and the entire system of unpaid, gendered work. We strive for the emancipation of all people by forging the multiracial working class into an organized, fighting force on the terms of its most oppressed members. In overcoming the old, barbaric order of capitalism, the working class will not only liberate itself from its own shackles, but all of humanity from the parasitic death-drive of capitalism. As capitalism’s climate crisis ravages the whole Earth, the well-being of the working class is ultimately aligned with the survival of the whole planet.

In 2021, the U.S. socialist movement is on the rise for the first time in most of our members’ lifetimes. Millions of people have been inspired to seek out alternatives to the existing political regime, owing to Bernie Sanders’ two democratic socialist presidential campaigns, working-class electoral victories at all levels of government, massive popular protests and organizing for racial justice, an influential upsurge in militant labor activity, and strategic campaigns to build popular support for key issues, such as healthcare and climate change. In the four years of the Trump administration, DSA membership exploded and is currently approaching our goal of 100,000 members.

But this growth of the socialist movement is not nearly enough to overcome the devastating impact of four decades of neoliberal capitalism, let alone bring about a transition to socialism. Neoliberalism is the political project of lowering taxes for the rich and corporations, eviscerating democratic decision-making both in the workplace and at the ballot box, slashing spending on essential social services such as education and social security, deregulating industries across the economy, and opening up flows of capital across national borders. The success of neoliberalism has enforced a culture of hyper-individualism and alienation from the kinds of collective, democratic organizations necessary to challenge the power of the capitalist class.

This challenge highlights the insufficiency of “progressivism” as well as the critical task of DSA. Transformational change in society does not come from moral righteousness or a checklist of policy positions, but from growing and wielding power. It is therefore imperative that we organize the largest possible number of people to join DSA and work together with broader coalitions united around common goals. It is to these ends that we are setting out the platform that follows. We have a world to win. […]

Deepening and Strengthening Democracy

The American political system was not made to serve the working class. Undemocratic institutions like the Senate and the Electoral College combine with the force of money in politics to make it impossible for the will of the majority to be expressed. The minoritarian right wing Republican Party uses Jim Crow-style racist restrictions on voting to desperately cling to power through reactionary white populism and their political domination of the South and the rural high plains, while mainstream Democrats are hopelessly compromised by their donor class of capitalists. The little democracy we have is currently under siege by the Republican assault on voting rights in the states and the apparent willingness of Republican officials to wholesale overturn results of elections. True change — abolishing the Senate and Electoral College, overturning the Supreme Court cases that hold that money is speech — would require constitutional amendment, made nearly impossible by our ossified Constitution. […]

Our demands:

  • A new political order through a second constitutional convention to write the founding documents of a new socialist democracy
  • Get money out of politics and institute an effective and robust system of public financing for electoral campaigns at the local, state, and federal level
    • Amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s rulings that campaign spending limits violate the First Amendment (Buckley v. Valeo) and that corporations are entitled to spend unlimited funds on independent expenditures (Citizens United)
  • End minority rule
    • Abolish the Senate and the Electoral College
    • Ban prison gerrymandering, where prisoners are counted as residents of where they are incarcerated, boosting the political power of the rural communities where they are located at the expense of the urban communities they come from
    • Abolish the filibuster
    • Pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact in enough states to trigger its provisions and approval by Congress, which would short-circuit the Electoral College in favor of electing the president via popular vote
  • Limiting the power of the undemocratic judiciary
    • Supreme Court term limits and additional seats to break the countermajoritarian conservative majority
    • Additional seats in the lower courts to ensure the federal judiciary reflects the political composition of the country
  • Transition to a Parliamentary system
    • End of single-member districts with first-past-the-post winners in state and federal legislative elections
  • Democratic self-governance for all
    • DC statehood
    • Binding referenda in all overseas colonies of the United States on independence or statehood
    • End all disenfranchisement based on criminal conviction
    • Extension of voting rights to non-citizens who otherwise meet durational residency requirements for voting
  • Guarantee the right to vote
    • Passage of HR 1, the For the People Act, providing for nationwide online, election day, and automatic voter registration; providing for nationwide early voting; making Election Day a federal holiday; ending felony disenfranchisement upon a voter’s release from prison; public financing for Congressional campaigns with a 6:1 match; requiring independent nonpartisan redistricting commissions for Congressional districts; and reforming the broken FEC
    • Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, reenacting and strengthening the Voting Rights Act
    • No-fault vote by mail in every state […]

Abolition of the Carceral State

The power to create a truly democratic society is found in the organization and self-activity of the working class. The tools of our opposition, enforcing our exploitation and oppression under capitalism, are the repressive forces of the state. A vast, brutal machinery of police and prisons, security and surveillance agencies, immigration and border enforcement, courts and prosecutors all assembled to disorganize working class communities through the routine application of violence, intimidation, and coercion.

Incarceration, detention and policing are active instruments of class war which guarantee the domination of the working class and reproduce racial inequalities. The origins of policing and prisons and their present-day effects demonstrate that they are are white supremacist institutions. […] For all of the working class to achieve collective liberation we must constrain, diminish, and abolish the carceral forces of the state — from prisons and police themselves, to their manifestations in all forms throughout society. […]

DSA nationally endorses the 8 to Abolition demands, which are a basis for our own. […]

Our demands:

  • Defund the police by rejecting any expansion to police budgets or scope of enforcement while cutting budgets annually towards zero
    • Fire officers with excessive force complaints and freeze new hires
    • Eliminate funding for police public relations campaigns
    • Suspend paid leave for cops under investigation
    • End investment in police training or facility renovations
    • Remove police from all hospitals and care facilities and prohibit law enforcement access to private patient information
    • Repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, which protects police from discipline, nationwide
    • End qualified immunity
    • End all police contracts with social services, care services, and government agencies providing care
    • Decertify police unions and associations
      • Make police union contract negotiations public
      • Expel police unions from labor federations
      • Withhold pensions and disallow rehiring of cops fired for misconduct
  • End the criminalization of working-class survival
    • End all misdemeanor offenses, accounting for 80% of total court dockets, reduce jail churn by reducing arrests, and cut funding to prosecutor’s offices
    • End all fines and fees associated with the criminal legal process, including ticketing, cash bail, court costs, and parole and probation fees
    • Abolish all asset forfeiture programs and laws
    • End mandatory arrest and failure to protect laws that lead to the criminalization of survivors of gendered violence; grant clemency to criminalized survivors
  • Freedom for all incarcerated people
    • Free all people from involuntary confinement
    • Stop all funding of prison expansion, stop funding of new buildings, and close local jails
    • End pre-trial detention, civil commitment, and imprisonment for parole violations
    • Remove and repeal all restrictions on the organization, demonstration, and labor action of incarcerated people
    • Make all communication to and from prisoners free
    • Reject “alternatives to incarceration” that are carceral in nature, including problem-solving courts and electronic monitoring and coercive restorative justice programs
  • Demilitarize the police and end colonial policing of our cities and neighborhoods
    • Cease police occupation of Black and brown communities, ceasing and defunding all iterations of “quality of life” policing programs
    • Disarm law enforcement officers, including the police and private security
    • Decarcerate our schools by repealing truancy laws, ending all zero tolerance disciplinary policies, suspensions and expulsions, surveillance of students, and removing police — both public and private — from all schools, colleges, and universities
    • Decarcerate our hospitals and care facilities, removing police and prohibiting law enforcement access to private patient information prohibit law enforcement access to private patient information
    • End police surveillance and cease all funding for contracting, procurement, and in-house development of technologies including CCTV, biometric capture and databases, predictive policing platforms, AI, and risk profiling algorithms
    • End all data and resource sharing with ICE, end immigration detention, end family separation, and let our undocumented community members come home
    • Cease all police militarization programs and end federal grants that entangle municipal police entities with the Department of Homeland Security, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the FBI
    • Prohibit training exchanges between U.S. law enforcement and global military and policing entities
  • Freedom of working-class self-organization and democratic political action
    • […] Repeal local ordinances that criminalize people involved in the sex trades, drug trades, and street economies; that criminalize homelessness; and that criminalize squatting and other productive occupation of unused housing […]
  • Invest in community self-governance and care, not cops
    • Institute neighborhood councils as representative bodies within municipal decision making, multilingual resources for immigrant and asylum-seeking communities, and community-based public safety approaches
    • Ensure investment in community-based food banks and other community-based food distribution
    • Allocate funding for free at the point-of-service social care infrastructure, wellness resources, neighborhood based trauma centers, non-coercive drug and alcohol treatment programming, peer support networks, and training for healthcare professionals
    • Invest in teachers and counselors, universal childcare, and support for all family structures—resources that move beyond punitive models of care and discipline
    • Invest in youth programs that promote learning, safety, and community care

Abolition of White Supremacy

We fight to abolish white supremacy and racial oppression because its destruction is in the interest of all workers, including white workers. Whiteness is a modern sociological construction, and its development and integration into the racial ideology of the United States is linked to the development of capitalism in the original European colonies. […] We cannot meaningfully combat capitalism without combating white supremacy and vice versa.

At the 2019 national convention, DSA formally endorsed the “Red Deal” proposed by the Red Nation. We organize for the formal acknowledgment of Native sovereignty, and the reinstatement of treaty rights for indigenous people. The development of capitalism in the U.S. relied heavily on forced displacement of indigenous people, and therefore our political project must oppose settler colonialism.

Ending white supremacy will require redistribution, institutional transformation, and expansion of legal rights. In the short term, we fight for policies such as reparations for Black and indigenous communities; in the long term, for the abolition of police and prisons, self-determination for all oppressed people, and to transform and expand constitutional rights and economic arrangements for a multi-racial, economic democracy. […]

Our demands:

  • Pass reparations legislation like the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.” Coming out of the commission, we would want budget lines for reparations at municipal, state, and federal levels.
  • End workplace discrimination and impose harsher fines for workplace discrimination cases. This should include efforts to reduce wage gaps between different workers; end E-Verify and allow for legal employment to all persons regardless of immigration status; and employ a larger task force with a purview based on their municipality to address issues of structural inequality. […]
  • Increase funding to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) such as historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), tribal colleges and universities (TCU), Hispanic serving institutions (HSI), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI).
  • Decarceration and eventual abolition of the carceral state, which disproportionately targets and impacts Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color.
    • Enact “Ban the Box” nationwide, making it illegal to ask about past criminal history on a job application, and pass legislation that puts an end to the use of past criminal history as a criterion for eligibility for education, employment, housing, loans, and voting.
    • End racial and religious profiling of South Asian, Arab, and Muslim people by federal, state, and local police forces
  • Establish community based response systems, entirely seperated from the carceral state, in order respond to targeted anti-asian, anti-latino, antisemitic, anti-black, anti-indigenous, islamaphobic, and all types of racist violence
  • Expand disability benefits and protective legislation around sick leave and workers compensation
  • Extend and expand sanctuary protections across the US to end cooperation between state and local law enforcement with ICE; prevent local state agencies from collecting or sharing an individual’s immigration information with federal agencies; ban state and local resources from being used to aid federal immigration enforcement; and guarantee access and provision of legal counsel to undocumented immigrants facing deportation
  • Pass legislation that will work to end racial discrimination in the housing market
  • Implement and fully fund programs for desegregation and integration for all public schools
  • Increase access to education for immigrants by increasing funding for prekindergarten through college education and funding for adult education, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), High School Equivalency (HSE), prep, and English Language Learners (ELL) and Multilingual Learners (MLL) programs
  • Broaden language justice through making translation resources more widely available
  • End the legacy of colonial violence against indigenous people through repatriation, and call for the US adherence to existing treaties and statutes upholding indigenous rights and sovereignty
  • End environmental racism and ensure clean air, water, and soil for all

A Powerful Labor Movement

The importance of a vibrant, fighting labor movement to building socialist power cannot be overstated. In the first half of the 20th century, U.S. labor unions were full of rank-and-file socialists. They helped build more militant unions by training workers to organize and encouraging them to take on the boss. During this time, union membership grew and workers won many concessions from both capitalists and the state. Through class conflict in the workplace and in society more broadly, the American working class exercised enough power to win many of the rights that we still have today.

Times have changed. The labor movement has been on the defensive for decades. Red scare panics resulted in the purge of socialists from unions and expulsion of left-wing unions from labor federations, forcibly separating socialists from the labor movement. The triumph of business unionism moved class conflict out of the workplace and into the legal system, with unions adopting no-strike clauses and union leadership cutting back room deals and making concessions to the bosses. […]

Our demands:

  • Social ownership of all major industry and infrastructure
  • Work for all who want it: full employment through a federal jobs guarantee
  • A just transition for fossil fuel workers, as well as all other workers whose current jobs do not serve the common good, including fully funded retraining and transition to union public sector jobs or dignified retirement with robust pensions.
  • A four-day, 32-hour work week with no reduction in wages or benefits
  • International equality for all workers through enacting labor and trade agreements that mandate equal rights, a living wage, safe working conditions, and collective bargaining rights to workers around the world
  • A dignified life for all, from birth through old age through universal, public child care, education, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, and pensions
  • The legal right to a union for all […]
  • The right to strike for all workers
  • End “at will” employment
  • End “right to work” laws
  • Immediately raise the federal minimum wage to $15, with no exceptions for disability, tipped workers, or any other reason, and index it to inflation

Economic Justice

Over the past half century, wealth, and therefore economic and political power, have consolidated in fewer and fewer hands even as the conditions of most people’s lives deteriorate. […] We call for the nationalization of businesses like utilities and critical manufacturing and technology companies, alongside regulation of corporate, communications, data, and financial sectors. We seek to ensure social and worker control over these businesses. We support an expansion of worker cooperatives, mutual aid institutions, cooperative media, physical infrastructure, care work, and collective land ownership. To ensure the well-being of everyone, we also must secure adequate compensation and living standards, as well as effective infrastructure, healthcare, and institutions in our communities and abroad. We can fund much of this through public development and retail banks, socialized government finance, and taxing the rich and corporations. Wealth taxes, increased progressive income tax rates on the highest earners, and increased estate taxes can redistribute wealth from the billionaires who hoard it to the workers who made it.

We fight for the abolition of capitalism and the creation of a democratically run economy that provides for people’s needs. Our demands:

  • Social ownership and democratic control of utilities and key industries including water, gas, electric, telecommunications, media, and internet service providers and other critical sectors of the economy through direct government support, public banks, and pension funds at every level of government
    • Nationalize and socialize (through worker and community ownership and control) institutions of monetary policy, insurance, real estate, and finance
    • Ensure that employees have the right to purchase businesses and are able to secure funding to facilitate their cooperative ownership in the event of a sale or closure
  • Ensure public control of communications technology and expand infrastructure
    • Expand physical, green infrastructure such as transportation, technology and data centers, and building retrofitting
  • Protect and expand social insurance and pensions:
    • Fully fund public and private pension funds and allow them to consider interests beyond maximum profits in choosing where to invest
    • Fully fund Social Security and disability benefits and introduce new and comprehensive public pension benefits that are under worker control
    • Immediate increase to disability funds for individuals and families
    • End means testing for disability-based Social Security Insurance, including an end to using spouse income to means test for SSI
    • End the current state-based unemployment insurance and adopt a generous, universal dignified national unemployment insurance system that supports and is supported by organized labor.
  • An expanded United States Postal Service […]
  • Create public development banks on the federal level, states, and cities to fund social and technological development for the benefit of all
  • Ensure free and democratic public college and, where viable, free private college for all students and democratize and fund instruction inclusive of all students while minimizing testing at all levels of education
  • Cancel all student loan and medical debt, reform bankruptcy laws to make it easier to file for individual bankruptcy, provide a right to counsel for all debtors facing litigation
  • Disconnect property taxes from school funding and fully fund public education
  • Create a unified, democratic, and public banking system that will socialize the fuel of the capitalist system; finance. […]
  • Regulation of the economy […]

Gender and Sexuality Justice

[…] Liberation means all genders having freedom and control over their own lives and bodies through ending exploitation.

DSA fights to build a feminism for and by the working class and all oppressed people. Capitalism specifically impacts women workers through devaluing of feminized labor, sexual violence in the workplace, unpaid housework, and the expectation of emotional labor. DSA fights for the democratization of domestic and care work, political and social liberation for all genders, full bodily autonomy for all, and the end of state recognition of the gender binary. We stand in solidarity with grassroots feminist movements around the world in their fight against capitalist oppression and exploitation.

We organize for the liberation of queer people, understanding that liberation – having the power to define our life choices, and fulfill our greatest potential — depends on achieving economic justice for the multiracial working class, and all oppressed people. We fight against violence against black transgender women, federal and state discrimination, and all political and social barriers to full control over our bodies and sexualities. We seek equity so that queer people, subject to discrimination and violence, have the means to live a liberated, fulfilling life.

We strongly oppose “rainbow capitalism,” in which banks, police, and corporations wrap themselves in Pride flags during June in order to make profit, all while exploiting queer workers. We likewise reject “homonationalism,” the process of using superficial support of LGBTQ+ people, such as US military propaganda featuring gay couples, to provide cover for the brutalities of the American empire. Companies in the military-industrial complex may march in corporate Pride parades, but we recognize them for what they are: enemies of the global working class, and of the international queer liberation movement. […]

Our demands:

  • Reproductive justice for all
    • Free contraception and birth control for all who want it, provided by the state
    • Free fertility treatment for all
    • Free abortion on demand
    • Repeal of the Hyde Amendment and all legal restrictions on abortion access
    • Reparations for all those impacted by reproductive and sexual violence committed by the state, such as those forced to undergo hysterectomies in ICE detension
    • An immediate end to forced sterilization of disabled people
    • Affordable representation of disabled people within family courts
    • Protection and expansion of the legal rights of disabled parents regarding guardianship
    • Paid parental leave for all people
    • Universal child care, elder care, and pre-kindergarten
    • Quality, age appropriate, and comprehensive sex-ed taught in schools
  • End employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression
    • Enact federal and state anti-discrimination laws, including passage of ENDA and the Equality Act, as well as the addition of “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” as a protected category in all human rights laws
    • Require “just cause” for evicting someone from housing or terminating employment
    • Enhance and strengthen equal pay guarantees, including by requiring the EEOC to resume collecting pay data from large employers, forbidding prior salary from being considered in setting pay rates, and increasing transparency and protections for workers discussing their own pay
    • Housing for all and a universal ban on housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • End anti-queer violence
    • The establishment of community-based response systems to transphobic and homophobic violence, especially violence targeting black trans women, that is entirely separated from the police and criminal law system
    • Put in place greater protections for survivors of sexual assault and abolition of the requirement that survivors file a police report to access funds
    • Allow transgender prisoners to be housed in facilities reflecting their gender identities
  • Guarantee queer-friendly and gender affirming healthcare
    • Enact a single-payer Medicare for All system that provides free queer sexual health and gender affirming healthcare, including HIV care, PrEP, fertilty treatments, birth control, abortion care, mental health care, hormone replacement therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries
    • Allow trans minors to access gender affirming care without parental consent
    • Prioritize funding for health centers that provide transgender healthcare, especially in rural and conservative areas, on reservations, and in underserved urban areas
    • Guarantee that transition-related healthcare, including HRT and surgery, to all incarcerated people who request it
    • End gender restrictions in insurance coverage, such as the practice of only covering contraceptive costs for women, and demand healthcare tailored to our actual bodies rather than our ID cards
    • End gendered restrictions on medical care, including but not limited to services available to sexual assault survivors
  • End the repression of sex workers and fully decriminalize sex work nationwide […]
  • End the state recognition of the gender binary and enforcement of heteronormativity
    • Remove all barriers and requirements to changing one’s ID gender marker and legal name […]
    • End conversion therapy and provide stronger supportive care for minors whose families abandon them
    • Grant all privileges afforded to married couples to all consenting partnerships

Green New Deal

Capitalism has created an existential crisis for humanity through endless extraction, exploitation, and destruction of our planet. By chasing short-term profits without regard for long-term impact, climate change is yet another challenge humans will have to overcome in the 21st century. Accompanying the changing climate is a crisis in biodiversity that is historic at a geological level. Instead of pursuing a rational strategy to tackle the climate and ecological breakdown, the capitalist class has used it to further already-existing massive wealth inequality, suppress democracy, make jobs precarious, foster racialized and gendered violence, militarize borders, and start endless wars. […] We’re fighting for a Green New Deal that shifts power to the working class, ends the domination of massive corporations over our lives, repairs our infrastructure, and regenerates living systems. […]

Our demands:

  • Decarbonize the economy within a decade.
    • Mobilize all carbon-intensive sectors of the US economy to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions at the source as fast as technically possible, and shift from endless fossil-fueled growth to regenerative systems.
    • Build consensus throughout the Global North for decarbonization targets that greatly outpace those of less industrialized countries, which have contributed the least to and will suffer the most from global warming, while highly industrialized societies have the greatest capacity to rapidly transform to zero-carbon systems.
    • Scale up processes that safely and naturally draw down and remove excess carbon from the atmosphere—not as market-based “offsets” for ongoing emissions, but to begin restoring a safe climate for all.
  • Democratize control over major energy systems and resources.
    • Nationalize fossil fuel producers to phase them out as quickly as necessary—no new fossil fuel projects can be authorized or built. Socialize fossil-dependent industries so that they can be scaled back or transformed to fossil-free processes.
    • Establish public ownership of energy utilities and the electric grid, and support energy cooperatives and community energy projects for democratic control of the rapid shift to 100% renewable energy that is carbon-free in operation, including solar, wind, and geothermal sources. All generation sources must be compatible with regional terrain and minimally detrimental to local communities and wildlife. […]
  • Center the working class in a just transition to an economy of societal and ecological care.
    • Guarantee a job with union wages and benefits to everyone who wants one by creating millions of public sector jobs and funding massive direct investments to decarbonizing infrastructure, ecosystem restoration, climate adaptation, and low-carbon care sectors, focusing first on finding dignified work with matching salaries for workers in fossil fuel industries.
    • Expand funding for public research and development of green technology and agroecology. Ensure workers’ democratic control over the use of technological innovation and automation at work.
    • Decommodify survival, so no one’s life depends on their ability to work or to pay.
    • Guarantee publicly available water, energy, transit, food, and other necessities for all, free of charge.
    • Encourage replacement of individually-owned vehicles and short-haul air travel with free public transit, expanded regional and high-speed electric rail, shared vehicles, bicycles and other non-fossil-fuel modes of transportation in ways that benefit disadvantaged communities. […]
  • Demilitarize, decolonize, and strive for a future of international solidarity and cooperation toward global climate justice. […]
    • Welcome those displaced by climate crisis and an extractive global economy, and end the system of exploitation and oppression of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
    • Transform the rules of the capitalist global economy, through both domestic policy and multilateral cooperation toward decarbonization, the dismantling of neocolonialism, payment of ecological debt with reparatory North-to-South public finance, rewriting of intellectual property rules to facilitate the sharing of life-saving green technology and know-how, and the realization of global climate justice, potentially to be articulated as a Global Green New Deal.
    • Recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, with rights to free, prior, and informed consent before activities that will affect their territory or environment. Accept the decisions of Indigenous communities regarding the construction of future green infrastructure projects that impact their lands and the living beings they support.
    • Combat the massive carbon footprint of the US military-industrial complex by struggling to dismantle US empire, rather than greenwashing its ongoing occupations all over the world.
    • Reparations for the human and environmental destruction caused by US corporations, and full funding for remediation of toxic military sites
  • Redistribute resources from the worst polluters
    • Impose just and progressive taxes on the rich, on big corporations, and on dirty industry
    • Divert funds away from our government’s bloated militarized budget, which has nothing to do with defense of people living within American borders and everything to do with maintaining imperial dominance over other nations and capitalist control of the world’s resources, until global climate funding greatly exceeds military spending.
    • Shift subsidies to extractive, exploitative, unhealthy and militarized industry to support regenerative sectors of our new economy instead.

Health Justice

We need a system of guaranteed healthcare that prioritizes the well being of working-class Americans over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives. We need a single, universal system with comprehensive coverage that is free at the point of service. We need to build a health justice movement to save lives. […]

Medicare for All provides the model for a society based on solidarity and caregiving, which re-directs resources and establishes healthcare as a public good. […] Our government must ensure that everyone, regardless of employment, immigration, or insurance status, receives the healthcare they need — including free testing and treatment, mental healthcare, and long-term care for people with disabilities. Health care is 20% of the US economy: Medicare for All is not only the only moral choice, it will strike a blow against capitalist interests by eliminating a huge source of private profit and replacing it with a universal public good. Our horizon is a de-commodified, publicly run national healthcare system in which no one profits from the health or sickness of another person. […]

Our demands:

  • Public ownership and funding of our healthcare system, including hospitals and other healthcare providers, pharmaceutical research and production, and other medical research and production facilities
  • Medicare for All, which is:
    1. A Single Health Program: Everyone will be covered by one health insurance program, administered by the federal government, providing equitable medical services and treatments
    2. Comprehensive Coverage: All medically necessary services will be fully covered. Everyone goes to the provider of their choice. Dental, vision, mental health, reproductive health, long-term care, and pharmaceuticals are all included.
    3. Free at the point of service: All healthcare costs will be financed through taxes, predominantly on the wealthy and corporations; no copays, no fees, no deductibles and no premiums. Ever.
    4. Universal Coverage: Coverage for all United States residents — non-citizens included.
    5. Jobs: A jobs initiative and severance for those affected by the transition to publicly administered healthcare.
  • Increased federal funding for community health centers, the Veterans Health Administration, the Indian Health Service, public hospital systems, disability care, mental health services, and other existing underfunded public health services
  • Free medical school, nursing school, and other training for healthcare workers that creates a workforce that is trained and equipped to deliver healthcare equitably
  • Guarantee home health care for all who need it to decrease institutionalization
  • Establish an Office of Health Equity that produces annual reports on racial health disparities and an action plan to address them […]
  • Implement state-level Medicare for All programs in large states and expand Medicare/Medicaid funding in all states

Housing for All

The housing market, along with the workplace, is one of the key places where the working class experiences direct exploitation by the capitalist class.  […]

Our demands:

  • Public housing for all […]
  • Housing relief for all
    • Recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis by canceling rent debt
    • Pass a universal tenants’ bill of rights that includes right to renew your lease, universal rent control, right to organize a tenants’ union in your home, and a universal right to free counsel in housing court
    • Ensure universal housing voucher acceptance to prevent discrimination based on income source.
    • Mandate increase[d] accessibility requirements of new constructions and make funds available to remodel private housing stock for low or fixed income households to accommodate individuals with disabilities
  • Abolish homelessness
    • End homelessness in the United State by implementing housing-first relief programs
    • End discrimination on the basis of gender, sexuality, race, and religion at all shelters nationwide

International Solidarity, Anti-Imperialism, and Anti-Militarism

[…] As socialists living in the heart of the American empire, we must oppose imperialism and work to address, cease, and heal the harm caused by our ruling class. Only by listening to and aligning with those directly targeted by these policies can we begin to work toward a unified global vision of socialism and international working class solidarity.

  • Stand in solidarity with labor, workers’ and socialist movements across the globe and popular movements against austerity, militarization, and repression.
  • Support labor rights for all, regardless of immigration status, and inclusion of farm workers, street vendors, day laborers, and domestic workers under National Labor Relations Board legal protections
  • Build an anti-war movement that opposes US intervention, including sanctions.
  • Prioritize establishing relationships with mass parties and mass organizations in the Latin American region.
  • Stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against apartheid, colonialism, and military occupation, and for equality, human rights, and self-determination, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
  • Support the Korean Peace and Reconciliation process, which is supported by the majority of South Koreans and is the product of the struggle of Korean left and popular movements.
  • Support normalization of relations with Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, and other countries targeted for resisting US imperialism and exercising self-determination over their resources.
  • End nationalistic posturing toward China, including the current trade war and any future aggressive economic, diplomatic, or military action. Seek to promote peaceful resolution of disputes with China and work with China on climate change and the threat of pandemics.
  • End US government repression of journalists, whistleblowers, and others who expose war crimes and expose the realities of US foreign policy.
  • Dramatically slash US military spending to a level sufficient for a genuine national defense, not the projection of power outside the country.
  • Immediately withdraw from NATO.
  • Work cooperatively with other governments and through the United Nations to solve global problems.
  • Demilitarize the border and end all immigrant detention in the US.
  • Grant immediate and unconditional Amnesty for all immigrants, regardless of current immigration status.
  • End the Global War on Terror, including repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), closing the Guatanamo Bay prison camp, withdrawing US troops from the Middle East and Africa, and ending extrajudicial executions (“drone strikes”), airstrikes, torture, and detention.
  • Stop using economic and financial sanctions to punish other countries, such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran, that dare to act independently of the United States. End all broad-based sanctions that are designed to punish entire populations, violently coerce foreign governments, and instigate regime change.
  • Rewrite the rules of trade, embodied in bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements like NAFTA, to strengthen rather than erode environmental protections, the power of labor, and the ability of Global South nations to chart their own development paths.
  • Abolish USAID, NED, Voice of America, and other governmental agencies that cynically disguise capitalist control as aid and journalism.
  • Discontinue US support of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people, including an end to all military aid and resisting the “normalization” of relations between the Israeli government and other governments.
  • Formally end the Korean War with a peace treaty.
  • Turn away from a new Cold War with China and instead seek to promote peaceful resolution of disputes with China and work with China on climate change and the threat of pandemics. […]
  • Renounce the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and pursue agreements with other governments to abolish such weapons. […]
  • DSA will work for the release of all political prisoners incarcerated for their resistance to US imperialism.
  • Work with colonized peoples for the forgiveness of all debts and the granting of reparations to the survivors of this exploitation, as well as their descendants. […]
  • Support full rights and equal protection for Native people, restoration of tribal sovereignty. Instruct the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work toward a program of repatriation of Native lands.
  • Stop seeking to dominate the world.
  • Work toward a global just, green transition to achieve a sustainable economy and avert disastrous global climate change.
  • Share technology based on global need not profit seeking, taking special account of the needs of Global South countries that are in the most danger.
  • Share the burden of preparing the world for inevitable climate change effects.
  • Transform the rules and structures of the global economy—currently embodied in trade agreements and institutions like the World Bank and IMF—that establish and force upon the Global South a neoliberal world order, and its replacement with a global economy that prioritizes the needs of the working class, equitable development, environmental protection, and sovereignty.
  • Close all US foreign military bases.
  • Support self-determination for the Palestinian people and a political solution to the current crisis premised on the guarantee of basic human rights, including an end to the military occupation, an end to discrimination against Palestinians within Israel, and the right of return of refugees, as outlined in the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. […]
  • Support creation of a new global monetary order that treats all nations equally, to replace the current order that privileges the US dollar. The current system enables the richest capitalist nations to serve as financial safe havens, which damages the Global South.

As democratic socialists, we recognize that migrants experience the most damning and direct crimes of the neoliberal capitalist system. Militarized borders, xenophobic/racist immigration laws, and an abusive prison industrial complex aim to dehumanize and marginalize immigrants, functioning to both suppress wages and divide the working class. We seek to abolish these and any barrier to the social, labor, and political power of migrants through an organized decolonial movement. Our response to this aggression is not reform, but full abolition of anti-immigrant policies, structures, and laws. Immigrants in the United States are living under apartheid conditions. Under the current legal framework, migrants in the US are disenfranchised from basic legal protections.

  • Labor rights for all, regardless of immigration status, and inclusion of farm workers, street vendors, day laborers, and domestic workers under National Labor Relations Board legal protections
  • Advocate for state-level legislation like NY’s Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act that implemented collective bargaining rights and other labor protections at the state level
  • Fundamentally transform flawed guestworker and temporary worker programs
  • Legalization of all living in the U.S. at this time, including voting rights and a path to citizenship for every US resident, and recognize the right to migrate and the right to stay home
  • Protect the right to asylum and safe entry and resettlement
  • Demilitarize the border and end all immigrant detention and abolish ICE
  • End all deportations and enforcement actions, immigration detention, private prison contracts, and deputization of local police forces
  • Create an immigration court system independent from the executive branch and allow for full federal court review

Supporting Hamas in the Wake of Its Deadly Terrorist Attack

At daybreak on Saturday, October 7, 2023 — which was the major Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah — the Islamic terror group Hamas carried out a massive, multi-front, surprise attack against Israel, firing thousands of rockets from Gaza into the Jewish state, while dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the Israeli border in a number of locations by air, land and sea. “In an assault of startling breadth,” reported CBS News, “Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip, including towns and other communities as far as 15 miles from the Gaza border. In some places they gunned down civilians and soldiers as Israel’s military scrambled to muster a response.” Said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement: “Citizens of Israel, we are at war. Not an operation, not a round [of fighting,] at war! This morning Hamas initiated a murderous surprise attack against the state of Israel and its citizens.” By Sunday, October 8, at least 600 Israelis had been killed and 1,800 wounded, making it the deadliest day Israel had seen in decades. On October 8 as well, the New York City chapter of DSA held a rally in Times Square to show support for the Palestinians. “In solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid,” the organization tweeted.

Additional Information

DSA publishes a quarterly journal titled Democratic Left, which promotes the political and social ideology of the organization. The founding editor of this publication was Michael Harrington. From 2001 through 2016, the paid circulation of Democratic Left ranged between approximately 4,500 and 6,800 subscribers. Following the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, the figure skyrocketed to more than 28,000 in 2017, and more than 45,000 in 2018.

DSA also publishes a blog called Religious Socialism.

DSA has a youth section known as the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS). Composed of high-school and college students as well as young people in the work force, YDS “works on economic justice and democracy and prison justice projects.” It is a member of the International Union of Socialist Youth, an affiliate of the Socialist International.

In October 2023, the Capital Research Center issued a report about DSA’s size, structure, and finances. Some excerpts:

  • “The DSA is governed by a 16-member national political committee that is elected every two years. Membership dues accounted for a full 88 percent of the group’s total revenue of $6.8 million in 2021.”
  • “There is also an affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable arm called the Democratic Socialists of America Fund (DSA Fund), donations to which are tax-deductible.”
  • More than 200 local chapters and organizing committees are affiliated with the national DSA, some of which also have their own IRS tax-exempt statuses. Chapters vary significantly in size: A survey found that about 50 percent had 1–100 members, 38 percent had 101–500 members, and 12 percent had over 500 members. The largest DSA chapters naturally tend to be located in major urban areas. The New York City chapter has traditionally been particularly influential, reportedly accounting for roughly 10 percent of the national organization’s entire membership.”


  1. Encyclopedia of the American Left (edited by Mary Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas, 1990 & 1992, pp. 722-23); “Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee” (
  2. Buhle, Buhle, & Georgakas, op.cit.; “A History of Democratic Socialists of America” (
  3. Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee” (
  4. Stanley Kurtz, Radical in Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (New York: Threshold Editions, 2010), Chapters 2-3.
  5. Kurtz, op.cit., Chapter 3.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee” (
  8. Ibid.
  9. Congress’ Red Army Caucus” (by Joseph Farah, WorldNet Daily, 7-28-1998); “Congress’ Red Army Caucus, Part 2” (by Joseph Farah, WorldNet Daily, 11-23-1998); “How Many Socialists Sit in Congress Today?” (WorldNet Daily, 8-15-2010).
  10. American Socialists Release Names of 70 Congressional Democrats in Their Ranks” (Gateway Pundit, 8-13-2010).
  11. Democratic Socialists of America” (
  12. Pay Equity Now!” (
  13. Socialism in America: Far Left Democrats Setting the Policy Agenda” (Capital Research Center, 7-22-2009).
  14. Democratic Socialists of America” (
  15. Socialism Comes to America” (by Cliff Kincaid, 10-16-2008).
  16. American Socialists Release Names of 70 Congressional Democrats in Their Ranks” (Gateway Pundit, 8-13-2010).
  17. In the Tradition of the Workers’ Movements in the Past, DSA Is in There with the Rest” (Daily Kos, 11-2-2011).
  18. About Us” (; “What Is Democratic socialism?” (
  19. On the Struggle for Universal Health Care” (, 12-23-2012).
  20. Democratic Socialists of America” (
  21. Ibid.

Additional Resources:

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