Democratic Socialists of America

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a left-wing multi-tendency socialist and labor-oriented political organization.[6] Its roots are in the Socialist Party of America (SPA), whose leaders included Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington.[7] In 1973, Harrington, the leader of a minority faction that had opposed the SPA's transformation into the Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA) during the party's 1972 national convention, formed the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). The DSOC, which Harrington described as "the remnant of a remnant", soon became the largest democratic socialist group in the United States. In 1982, it merged with the New American Movement (NAM), a coalition of intellectuals with roots in the New Left movements of the 1960s and former members of socialist and communist parties of the Old Left.[8]

Democratic Socialists of America
National DirectorMaria Svart
FounderMichael Harrington
FoundedMarch 20, 1982; 40 years ago (1982-03-20)
Merger ofDSOC and the NAM
HeadquartersNew York City, New York
NewspaperDemocratic Left
Student wingYoung Democratic
Socialists of America
Membership (Summer 2021)Increase 94,915[1]
Political positionLeft-wing[4]
International affiliationSocialist International (1982–2017)[5]
Colors  Red
Members in the House of Representatives
4 / 435
[Note 1]
Members in state legislature
38 / 7,383
[Note 1]
Members in local government
92 / 135,531
[Note 1]
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Initially, the organization consisted of approximately 5,000 ex-DSOC members and 1,000 ex-NAM members. Upon the founding of the DSA, Harrington and the socialist feminist author Barbara Ehrenreich were elected as co-chairs of the organization. The DSA has a stated goal of "[participating in] fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people." To achieve this goal, the organization has endorsed Democratic presidential candidates, including Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, as well as Green Party candidate Ralph Nader and other third party candidates.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States.[9] As of July 2021, the membership of the organization was reported at over 94,000 and the number of local chapters was 239.[1] The organization is credited with the rise of millennial socialism;[9] in December 2017, the median age of its membership was 33, compared to 68 in 2013.[10]

Though not a political party in the conventional American understanding of the term,[a] members of the DSA have run in elections and held office. In November 2018, two DSA members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, were elected to the House of Representatives as Democrats. Eleven were elected to state legislatures.[11] In November 2020, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib were re-elected to the House, and were joined by two more DSA members, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman, who have also been seated as Democrats.


Early history and leadershipEdit

Dorothy Ray Healey, "The Red Queen of Los Angeles", was an important link from the Old Left of the far-left organized labor oriented Young Workers League of the 1930s to the CPUSA during the Cold War and then to the New Left of the Vietnam War protest era.

Formed in 1982 by the merger of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM),[12][13] the DSA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.[14] At its founding, it was said to consist of approximately 5,000 members from the DSOC, plus 1,000 from the NAM.[15] Dorothy Ray Healey served as Vice Chair in 1982.[16]

The DSA inherited both Old Left and New Left heritage. The NAM was a successor to the disintegrated Students for a Democratic Society. The DSOC was founded in 1973 from a minority anti-Vietnam War caucus in the Socialist Party of America (SPA)—which had been renamed Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA). DSOC started with 840 members, of whom 2% had served on its national board, and approximately 200 of whom came from SDUSA or its predecessors (the Socialist Party–Social Democratic Federation, formerly part of the SPA) in 1973, when the SDUSA stated its membership at 1,800 according to a 1973 profile of Harrington.[17]

The red rose is part of the official logo of the DSA,[18] having traditionally been a symbol of socialism[19] since the 1886 Haymarket Affair and the resulting May Day marches from the 19th century to the current day.[20] It was drawn from the logo of the DSOC, its precursor organization, and previously of the Socialist International, which shows a stylized fist clenching a red rose, the fist being substituted with a bi-racial handshake pertaining to the DSA's staunch anti-racism.[21][22][failed verification] The fist and rose logo had been originally designed for the French Socialist Party in 1969[23] and was later shared by socialist and labor political organizations worldwide.

Electoral politics and office-holding membersEdit

In electoral politics, the DSA was very strongly associated with Michael Harrington's position that "the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party". In its early years, the DSA opposed Republican presidential candidates by giving critical support to Democratic Party nominees like Walter Mondale in 1984.[24] In 1988, the DSA enthusiastically supported Jesse Jackson's second presidential campaign.[25] Since 1995, the DSA's position on American electoral politics has been that "democratic socialists reject an either-or approach to electoral coalition building, focused solely on a new party or on realignment within the Democratic Party".[26] During the 1990s, the DSA gave the Clinton administration an overall rating of C−, "less than satisfactory".[27]

The DSA's elected leadership has often seen working within the Democratic Party as necessary rather than forming or support third parties. That said, the DSA is very critical of the Democratic Party leadership, which the DSA argues is corporate-funded.[28] The organization has stated:[29]

Much of progressive, independent political action will continue to occur in Democratic Party primaries in support of candidates who represent a broad progressive coalition. In such instances, democratic socialists will support coalitional campaigns based on labor, women, people of color and other potentially anti-corporate elements. Electoral tactics are only a means for democratic socialists; the building of a powerful anti-corporate coalition is the end.

Presidential electionsEdit

In 2000, the DSA took no official position on the presidential election, with several prominent DSA members backing Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader while others supported Socialist Party USA candidate David McReynolds and others voting for Democratic nominee Al Gore.[30]

In 2004, the organization backed John Kerry after he won the Democratic nomination. In its official magazine, the DSA's Political Action Committee said that a defeat for Kerry would be taken as a defeat of the mainstream left, but that "On the other hand, a Kerry victory will let us press onward, with progressives aggressively pressuring an administration that owed its victory to democratic mobilization from below."[31] The only resolution on upcoming elections at the DSA's 2005 convention focused on Bernie Sanders's independent campaign for the Senate in Vermont.[32] The organization's 2007 convention in Atlanta featured record-breaking attendance and more participation by the organization's youth wing. Sanders gave the keynote address.[33]

In 2008, the DSA supported Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his race against Republican candidate John McCain. In an article written in the March 24 edition of The Nation, DSA members Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr., along with Tom Hayden and Danny Glover, announced the formation of Progressives for Obama,[34] arguing that Obama was the most progressive viable Democratic presidential candidate since Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.[34]

Following Obama's election, many on the political right[35] began to allege that his administration's policies were "socialistic", a claim rejected by the DSA and the Obama administration alike. The claim led DSA National Director Frank Llewellyn to declare that "over the past 12 months, the Democratic Socialists of America has received more media attention than it has over the past 12 years".[36]

For the 2016 presidential election, the DSA endorsed Sanders as its favored presidential candidate. Sanders' candidacy prompted a surge in DSA membership among young voters.[37] The DSA made it clear that Sanders' New Deal-inspired program did not fulfill the socialist aim of establishing social ownership of the economy, but considered his campaign to be a positive development in the context of contemporary American politics,[38] since he was a self-identified democratic socialist candidate as well as "a lifelong champion of the public programs and democratic rights that empower working class people".[39] The DSA ran the internally-focused #WeNeedBernie campaign to mobilize DSA supporters for Sanders.[39] After Sanders' defeat in the 2016 Democratic primaries, the DSA called for the defeat of Donald Trump, but did not officially endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[40]

In 2020, the DSA endorsed Bernie Sanders after an advisory poll reported 76% of the participating membership approved his endorsement,[41] despite there being objections from a part of the DSA membership concerning statements by Sanders on, among others, slavery reparations.[42] No other candidates were included in the poll. After Sanders dropped out in April 2020, the DSA explicitly did not endorse the presumptive nominee Joe Biden.[43] Two DSA chapters (Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City) voted to endorse Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.[44]

In May 2020, the failure of the DSA to endorse Biden was criticised by 91 "founders, officers and activists" of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the 1960s in an open letter "to the New New Left From the Old New Left" published in The Nation.[45] Daniel Finn (on Jacobin) responded that in invoking the specter of fascism under a second-term Trump, the former SDSers are engaging in "melodramatic hyperbole" and, on that climate change is not an issue that can wait until 2024 or 2028. "No socialist", he argued, "who campaigned for Bernie Sanders should feel guilty about abandoning [the Democrats] and concentrating on building a movement that is the only real hope for the planet’s future".[46]

Congress and other racesEdit

In the United States elections of 2017, the DSA endorsed fifteen candidates for office, with the highest position gained being that of Lee J. Carter in the Virginia House of Delegates.[47] DSA members won 15 electoral offices in thirteen states, bringing the total to thirty-five (the DSA, having changed its electoral strategy at its national convention, had anticipated picking up approximately five seats): city council seats in Pleasant Hill, Iowa (Ross Grooters), Billings, Montana (Denise Joy), Knoxville, Tennessee (Seema Singh Perez), Duluth, Minnesota (Joel Sipress) and Somerville, Massachusetts (JT Scott and Ben Ewen-Campen); and the seat in the Virginia House of Delegates contested by Carter, among other offices.[48][49] 56% of the DSA members who ran in this election cycle won compared to the 20% previously in 2016.[49] These results encouraged dozens more DSA members to run for office in the 2018 midterm elections.[50]

In the 2018 midterm elections, the DSA had anticipated seeing the first DSA member in Congress and reaching 100 elected officials nationwide from its strategic down-ballot campaigns.[51] 42 formally endorsed people were running for offices at the federal, state and local levels in 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan; Maine's Zak Ringelstein, a Democrat, was its sole senatorial candidate.[52] Local chapters have endorsed 110 candidates.[53] Four female DSA members (Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee, Elizabeth Fiedler and Kristin Seale) won Democratic primary contests for seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with Innamorato and Lee defeating incumbents.[54][55][56][57] Additionally, Jade Bahr and Amelia Marquez won their primaries in Montana for the State House[58] and Jeremy Mele won his primary for the Maine House of Representatives.[59][60] In California, Jovanka Beckles won one of the top two spots in the primary and advanced to the general election for a State Assembly seat in the East Bay.[61]

On June 26, DSA member and endorsee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary against incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district in a surprise upset, virtually guaranteeing her the congressional seat in the heavily Democratic district which spans parts of the Bronx and Queens.[62][63] Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, dismissed the win as "not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else"[64] and argued that it only represented change in one progressive district.[65] Conversely, head of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez proclaimed her to be "the future of our party"[66] whereas the Trotskyist International Committee of the Fourth International critiqued her and the DSA as being a "left" cover for the "right-wing Democratic Party", particularly in regard to foreign policy.[67] Six weeks after Ocasio-Cortez's primary victory, DSA member and endorsee Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic primary in Michigan's 13th congressional district.[68] Both Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib went on to win their respective general elections to become members of Congress. Ultimately, about a dozen members (or non-members who were endorsed) won office in their state legislatures.[69] In the aggregate, the DSA had backed 40 winning candidates at the state, county and municipal levels.[11][70]

Ocasio-Cortez's victory and the subsequent publicity for the DSA led to more than 1,000 new members joining the organization the next day, approximately 35 times the daily average[71] and their largest ever one-day increase in membership.[72] These signups helped boost the organization to 42,000 members nationally in June 2018.[73] That number increased to 50,000 by September 1, 2018.[74]

DSA members elected to Congress in 2018 include Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and incumbent Danny K. Davis. DSA members elected to state legislatures in 2018 include Hawaii Representative Amy Perruso, New York Senator Julia Salazar, and Pennsylvania Representatives Fiedler, Innamorato, and Lee.[75]

The 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections saw six DSA members elected to the 50-seat Chicago City Council: incumbent Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as well as newcomers Daniel La Spata, Jeanette Taylor, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, and Andre Vasquez.[76] In the 2019 off-year elections, DSA members made further gains by capturing over a half dozen city council seats across the country, such as Dean Preston becoming the first democratic socialist elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in forty years,[77] while Lee Carter won reelection in the Virginia House of Delegates.[78]

In the 2020 elections, at least thirty-six DSA members won office, earning more than 3.1 million votes.[79]

The DSA elected four of its members to the US House of Representatives, including incumbents Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and newly elected members Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) and Cori Bush (MO-1).[80] DSA members were unsuccessful in being elected to the House in West Virginia (WV-2), Mississippi (MS-1) and California (CA-12).[81][82][83][84]

In Tennessee, Marquita Bradshaw won the Democratic nomination for the 2020 Senate election in an upset.[85] Initially not nationally endorsed, she was endorsed by the Memphis-Midsouth chapter of DSA and after her victory in the primary she was also endorsed by the other Tennessee DSA chapters in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Middle and Northeast Tennessee.[86][87] She lost the general election against Bill Hagerty.

State and local officesEdit

In 2020, the DSA made significant gains in the state legislatures. Over thirty DSA members and endorsed (either nationally or by local chapters) candidates were elected in sixteen states, including five in Pennsylvania and seven in New York.[b] Notable victories were in West Philadelphia, where Rick Krajewski beat the incumbent of 35 years and in New York City where an entire slate of five candidates was (re-)elected to the state house and the state senate.[88][89] All DSA incumbents were re-elected, with the sole exception being Jade Bahr who lost her race for the Montana House of Representatives.[90]

Dozens of DSA members and affiliated candidates won their races for local offices. Most notably Nithya Raman, endorsed by the national DSA, won her race for Los Angeles city council in district 4[91] and Janeese Lewis George won her race for Washington, D.C. city council ward 4, after winning her primary against incumbent Brandon Todd.[91][92][93] Dean Preston was re-elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.[94] José Garza was elected as district attorney for Travis County in Texas and Gabriella Cázares-Kelly was elected county recorder in Pima County, Arizona[95][96] Other DSA affiliated candidates were elected to city councils in Austin, Aurora, Oakland, Burbank, Berkeley, Mountain View, South San Francisco, Redwood City, Sacramento, Burlington, Madison, Stoughton, St. Petersburg and Portland (Maine).[97][98][99][100][101]

2021 Nevada Democratic Party electionsEdit

In March 2021, an all-DSA leadership of a state Democratic party was elected for the first time in its history, sweeping the leadership of the Nevada Democratic Party.[102][103]

2021 Buffalo, New York mayoral electionEdit

In June 2021, the Buffalo, New York chapter-endorsed candidate, India Walton, won the Democratic Party primary election for mayor, defeating incumbent Byron Brown.[104] Following the primary election loss, Brown qualified for the general election as a write-in candidate.[105] In November 2021 Walton lost the mayoral race to Byron Brown, who earned 38,338 write-in votes compared to Walton's 25,773 votes.[106]


Two founding Idahoan DSA members at a big tent event in late September 2018

In the early 1980s, the estimated membership of the DSOC was 5,000, but after its merger with the NAM[107] the membership of the organization grew to an estimated 7,000 in 1987.[108] In 2002, Fox News said there were 8,000 members in the DSA.[109]

Following the election of Donald Trump as president, the DSA experienced a rapid expansion of its paid membership. In 2017, the organization passed a resolution calling for the national office to provide the group's paid members with a copy of a financial report in non-convention years. A first such report covering the whole of 2017 and the first half of 2018 was published in August 2018.[110]

Once the coronavirus pandemic arrived in America, the DSA saw another expansion in membership. In May 2020, organizers claimed that the DSA attracted about 10,000 new members since March. And according to DSA leaders, with Senator Bernie Sanders dropping out of the presidential race in April, leftists who were previously aligned with the Sanders campaign moved over to the DSA.[111]

As of November 2020, the organization claimed over 85,000 members,[112] and according to its financial report before its 2021 convention, the DSA now claims 94,915 members,[113] with at least a dozen DSA members in every congressional district.[114]


National Political CommitteeEdit

Governance of the DSA is by the group's National Political Committee (NPC), which since 2001 has been a 16-person body.[115] The DSA's constitution states that at least eight of the NPC's members shall be women and at least four members of "racial or national" minority groups.[116] A 17th vote is cast by the representative of the DSA's youth affiliate who elects one male and one female delegate who split the vote. The NPC meets four times a year.[117]

The NPC elects an inner committee of six, including five of its own members and one representative of the youth section, called the Steering Committee. At least two of these are constitutionally required to be women and at least one person of color, with the National Director and the Youth Section Organizer also participating as ex officio members. This Steering Committee meets bi-monthly, either in person or by conference call.[118]

The DSA is organized at the local level with guidance from the NPC and works with labor unions, community organizations and campus activists on issues of common interest. Nationwide campaigns are coordinated by the organization's national office in New York City. As of June 2021, the DSA lists 238 chapters and organizing committees in all 50 states.[119]

Student sectionEdit

The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) is the official student section of the DSA. The YDSA chapters and members are encouraged to pursue and promote a democratic socialist political education and participate in social justice activism, often taking part in anti-war, labor and student-issue marches and rallies. The YDSA publishes a newsletter called The Red Letter[120] and a blog titled The Activist.[121] The organization's national activities revolve around supporting the DSA campaigns and initiatives and organizing various student conferences, usually held in New York City. The YDSA is a full member of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY).[122]

The YDSA expanded following youth support for Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential candidacy. According to a YDSA organizer, the group expanded from 25 to 84 registered chapters between 2016 and 2019.[123]

National conventionsEdit

Biennial national conventions represent the highest authority of the DSA and help guide it and its policies. Conventions are held every odd-numbered year.


The DSA publishes Democratic Left, a quarterly magazine of news and analysis. This publication continues in an uninterrupted run from the original Newsletter of the Democratic Left published by the DSOC (the DSA forerunner) since its establishment in 1973. In 2008, DSA members active in the American labor movement founded Talking Union, a blog that focuses on labor politics, working-class struggles and strategies.[124]

Left-wing quarterly magazine Jacobin is considered to be very close to the organization, although there is no official affiliation between the magazine and DSA.[125] In 2014 its founder and then-editor Bhaskar Sunkara, who is a DSA member, said that Michael Harrington was “very underrated as a popularizer of Marxist thought".[126]

Policy and ideologyEdit

Tendencies within the DSAEdit

DSA members have views ranging across the spectrum of progressivism,[3] social democracy,[127] democratic socialism,[127] eco-socialism,[128] libertarian socialism,[129] and communism.[130][131]


The DSA regards the abolition of capitalism and the realization of socialism as a gradual long-term goal, therefore the organization focuses its immediate political energies on reforms within capitalism that empower working people while decreasing the power of corporations.[132][133][134][135]

The DSA characterizes its vision of socialism as an economic system based on maximum decentralization that can be supportive of a range of models for social ownership, including publicly owned enterprises and worker-owned cooperatives. The DSA rejects centralized economic planning in favor of a combination of democratic planning and market mechanisms:[136] because the DSA does not believe capitalism and private corporations can be immediately replaced with socialism, it is favorable to using government regulations and organized labor to make private businesses more accountable to the public interest.[137]

Social democracy and the welfare stateEdit

One older leaflet detailing the group's official ideas, "What is Democratic Socialism? Questions and Answers from the Democratic Socialists of America", states that "no country has fully instituted democratic socialism". Nonetheless, according to the DSA there are lessons to be learned from "the comprehensive welfare state maintained by the Swedes, from Canada's national healthcare system, France's nationwide childcare program, and Nicaragua's literacy programs".[138] The "tremendous prosperity and relative economic equality" established by the social democratic parties of the countries of Scandinavia and parts of Western Europe are lauded.[138]

Foreign affairsEdit

Protesters in San Francisco with a DSA banner call to abolish ICE

In 2016, the DSA issued a statement of solidarity with Venezuela. The statement called the sanctions placed on Venezuela by the Obama administration unjust and illegal. It called for the United States to cease its interference in Venezuelan affairs, saying: "We call on the President and Congress to reverse these actions and stop seeking to undermine the Venezuelan people and their legitimate, democratically elected government".[139]

At the 2017 DSA Convention, the group announced its withdrawal from the Socialist International (SI). The resolution passed states that the DSA will "[build] direct relationships with socialist and left parties and social movements around the world that we can learn from and which share our values.... Our affiliation with the Socialist International hinders our ability to develop stronger relationships with parties and social movements that share our values and which, in many cases, are bitterly opposed to their country's SI affiliate(s)".[140][141] This was viewed as the DSA voicing its opposition to the SI's perceived acceptance of "neoliberal economic policies".[142]

At the 2017 convention it also passed a resolution which solidified the DSA's solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people and with the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement: "Democratic Socialists of America condemns all efforts to deny the right of Palestinians in the United States and their allies to free speech, assembly, and academic freedom".[140] The resolution further condemned Israeli actions, comparing those actions to apartheid.[141] The DSA has shown its solidarity with Ahed Tamimi.[143] The statement also reiterated the DSA's support for the liberation of the Palestinian people.[143]

The DSA opposes United States intervention in the Syrian Civil War. A statement issued in April 2017 called the intervention by the Trump administration a violation of both domestic and international law. In the same statement, the DSA called for protests of Trump's actions and for the lobbying of Congress to halt any further intervention.[144]

At the 2019 DSA Convention, the group announced its support for open borders.[145] At the 2021 DSA Convention, the organization's members voted to apply for membership in the São Paulo Forum, a conference of leftist political parties and organizations largely from Latin America and the Caribbean.[146]

A DSA delegation travelled to Caracas, Venezuela, in June 2021 to meet with Nicolás Maduro and to attend the Bicentennial Congress of the Peoples (Spanish: Congreso Bicentenario de los Pueblos), considered not an autonomous body, but rather "an assemblage of national and foreign supporters" of Maduro himself launched in an attempt "to coat itself with a veneer of international support".[147][148] The DSA was criticized for giving legitimacy to the Maduro administration, as well as for the members of the delegation staying in one of the most expensive hotels in the city, the Gran Meliá Caracas [es], where a night costs $200 USD, and for partying despite the COVID-19 restrictions in Venezuela.[149] They were also criticized for giving "a bad name to the international left in Venezuela".[150]

On February 26, 2022, the DSA issued a statement condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine while arguing that the United States provoked Russia.[151] The statement called for the United States to withdraw from NATO and "end the imperialist expansionism that set the stage for this conflict".[152][153] This statement was criticized by Democratic congresspersons, as well as politicians who were affiliated with DSA.[152][151] Critics described the DSA statement as "tone deaf".[153] Others defended the statement and criticized the responses from mainstream media and politicians attacking the organization.[154][155]

Anti-racism and anti-fascismEdit

Protesters flying a DSA flag during the George Floyd protests in Austin, Texas

Positioning itself as an anti-racist and anti-fascist organization,[156] the DSA connects this fight against fascist groups to its broader struggle against capitalism, saying on its website: "We believe that the terror unleashed on our comrades can be defeated. We also believe that the wider system of racist oppression can be defeated, but only with the ending of the capitalist system which birthed it".[157]

Members have been present at various anti-fascist marches and protests, including counterprotests against the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Boston Free Speech Rally and many other right-wing rallies surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials. The DSA positions itself with other left-wing groups who fight fascism in the United States, including the Industrial Workers of the World and groups involved in the antifa movement.[157] The organization also criticizes the police in the United States for their handling of anti-fascist activities and activities of such groups as Black Lives Matter.[157]

The DSA believes in defending communities from neofascist violence and building a multi-racial working-class movement.[158] This involves deplatforming reactionary and racist groups and events, believing that a united front of left-wing organizations needs to confront these forces wherever they appear.[159]

Labor movement and workers' rightsEdit

The DSA has long been a supporter and defender of the labor movement in the United States and has also argued for the increase of international worker solidarity. The DSA believes in a livable minimum wage for all workers, but it notes that this fight only goes so far and is only the first step in building a more humane economic system: "Ultimately the minimum wage only works for those lucky enough to find a job – even a low paying one – and it doesn't really "work" for them, because it doesn't come with health benefits, adequate schools, or enough money to set aside for retirement".[160] The DSA members have been supporters and active participants in fights to increase the minimum wage across the country, including the Fight for $15 protests.[161][162]

The DSA opposes right to work laws, which are seen as an attack on the rights of workers and the historic advances of the labor movement.[163] It is argued that the enactment of these laws reduces the efficacy of collective bargaining agreements, putting workers at a disadvantage.[163] In a statement released in 2014, the organization said: "Such "right to work" laws consciously aim to weaken union strength; they are the main reason why the "right to work" is, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, "the right to work for less".[163]

The DSA argues that financial elites have consciously fought to destroy union power in an effort to solidify the hegemony of markets and corporate power.[164] The organization believes that for an equitable and sustainable economic system that the production of wealth should be under the democratic control of those who produce it.[164] The DSA also emphasizes the role played by immigrants, women, disabled workers, LGBTQIA+ and workers of color in the broader labor movement, believing that all barriers between working people must be broken in order to help create and maintain a broad and unified labor movement.[165]

LGBT+ rightsEdit

The DSA is committed to the rights of the LGBT community, connecting anti-gay prejudice to capitalist exploitation. This includes pushes for equal rights and protections for all those who identify as LGBTQIA+ as well as rights to housing, jobs, education, public accommodations and healthcare. The DSA recognizes that those who are most discriminated against based on identity are disproportionately women and people of color. The organization also seeks to ensure public schools are safe places for LGBTQIA+ students and that students should have total access to facilities that reflect their gender. The DSA supports the protection of same-sex marriages, but it "views marriage as only a first step in recognizing the diversity of human relationships".[166]


The DSA aligns itself with the socialist feminist movement. The organization holds that capitalism is built on white supremacy as well as male supremacy. The DSA maintains that reproductive rights are central to the feminist movement. Connecting democratic socialism and socialist feminism, the DSA says "that birth control and safe abortion should be provided as part of a comprehensive single-payer healthcare program". Believing that electoral politics can only take socialist feminism so far, the organization also says that the emphasis must be on community-based grassroots movements. The DSA further says that socialist feminism must include the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.[167]

Israeli–Palestinian conflictEdit

The DSA is opposed to Zionism and to the current form of the State of Israel. DSA views the current form of the State of Israel as imperialist and as a form of ethnostate.[168][169] The DSA formerly supported Israel throughout much of its history, including socialist and progressive individuals and movements inside the state. In 2018, Jo-Ann Mort, former vice-chair of DSA, described the group as formerly having been "the place to go on the left if you were a socialist and you were pro-Israel".[169]

On August 5, 2017, members of the organization passed a motion to formally endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[168][169][170] Alternet noted that this has been a dividing issue, with older members "tried to reconcile socialism with Zionism" while younger members recognize the movement as a "time-tested means of nonviolent protest" and "the most powerful force to combat Israeli apartheid in the 21st century".[168]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Unlike American political parties, but similarly to European political parties, the DSA is a centralized, hierarchical organization with local chapters and dues-paying memberships.
  2. ^ In California: Alex Lee in State Assembly district 25.
    In Connecticut in State House district 6 Edwin Vargas.
    In Montana Danny Tenenbaum in State House district 95.
    In Kentucky for State House district 20 Patti Minter (incumbent).
    In New Hampshire for State House Mark King in Hillsborough 33rd district and Timothy Smith in Hillsborough 17th district (both incumbents).
    In Rhode Island for State Senate district 5 Sam Bell (incumbent) and David Morales in State House district 7
    In Maine Michael Sylvester (incumbent) in State House district 39 and Grayson Lookner in district 37
    In Hawaii for State House District 46 Amy Perruso (incumbent).
    In Massachusetts for the State House 26th Middlesex district Erika Uyterhoeven and for the 27th Middlesex district Mike Connoly (incumbent).
    In New York for the 8th State House Jessica González-Rojas (34th district), Zohran Kwame Mamdani (36th), Emily Gallagher (50th), Marcela Mitaynes (51th), Phara Souffrant (57th) and for State Senate Julia Salazar (18th) and Jabari Brisport (25th).
    In Michigan in 4th State House district Abraham Aiyash.
    In Minnesota Omar Fateh in the 62nd State Senate district and Jen McEwen in the 7th State Senate district.
    In Tennessee in the 90th State House district Torrey Harris.
    In Vermont for the Chittenden 6-4 State House district Brian Cina (incumbent).
    In Washington in State House District 29 Melanie Morgan (incumbent).
    In Pennsylvania in State House district 21 Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee (34th), Elizabeth Fiedler (184th) (all incumbents) and Rick Krajewski (188th). Nikil Saval was elected to the State Senate in district 1.
  1. ^ a b c Serving as members of the Democratic Party.


  1. ^ a b "Updated NPC Recommendations" (PDF). DSAUSA. Summer 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  2. ^ B. Maxman, Olivia (October 24, 2018). "What Is Democratic Socialism? How It Differs From Communism". Time. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Chacin, Susan (Winter 2021). "A New Vision for DSA: The Socialist Voice in a Progressive United Front". Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  4. ^ "DSA Political Platform". November 2021. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  5. ^ Ferre, Juan Cruz (August 5, 2017). "DSA Votes for BDS, Reparations, and Out of the Socialist International". Retrieved August 7, 2017.
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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit