Let’s start a campaign to build toward a Democratic Socialist Party

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Let’s start a campaign to build toward a Democratic Socialist Party was initiated by the Reform & Revolution caucus of Democratic Socialists of America in 2020.

Petition

PETITION BY Mimi Harris WA, Washington.

To: National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America.

We, the undersigned, ask the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to take the following steps:

1) After the 2020 presidential election is over DSA should organize broad left conferences regionally and nationally in 2021 to discuss the idea of forming a Democratic Socialist Party. This does not mean simply declaring a new party, but instead opening up discussions among DSA members and the left wing of Bernie’s base about the need for our own independent party. A new party would not preclude the tactical flexibility of that party running candidates on the ballot line of the Democrats, while also preparing the ground to break free from the Democratic Party.

2) We recognize that a viable Democratic Socialist Party will need a larger base than what DSA currently has. Alongside growing DSA, we should call on Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Labor for Bernie leaders, and many other individuals, unions, and organizations to join us in taking steps towards such a working-class, democratic, membership-controlled force to advance our political revolution against the billionaire class.

- end of the petition: -

:: Initial co-signers :: (All in personal capacity unless otherwise noted)

Why We Are Launching this Petition ::

As the global COVID19 crisis spreads throughout the world, Bernie Sanders’ message of free healthcare and emergency relief for workers is reaching millions of people, pointing in the direction of political revolution against the billionaire class. We continue to fight alongside Bernie for his program even though he ended is presidential campaign on April 8, 2020. Our efforts were not strong enough to win on the hostile terrain of the Democratic Party and faced with the biased reporting of the corporate media. However, we are winning the battle of ideas.

Bernie's campaign has revealed that millions are willing to support socialist ideas as a path toward economic, racial, gender and environmental justice. Bernie and all of us who supported his campaign are having a huge and lasting impact. We have fundamentally changed the political landscape of the U.S.

Our conclusion from this experience is: we need much deeper working-class and socialist organizing. We need our own organized, democratic, member-run party which systematically builds public support on a sustained basis during and after election campaigns and in social struggles. This project is bigger than any single election campaign.

The time to offer this bigger vision is now, as people are grappling with the successes and challenges of this campaign — although the time for more concrete action probably won’t come until after the general election in November 2020.

We need to expand our infrastructure by launching our own publications and media and building DSA over the next year to be in a position after the 2020 presidential election to launch a Democratic Socialist Party alongside other left-wing organizations, unions, and individuals.

Some on the left propose we simply declare a new party now. Others argue this is not the time and that we should just continue our efforts to run candidates within the Democratic Party until more favorable conditions arise.

We don't buy into the choice between a premature declaration of a new party now or the indefinite postponement of the task of forming a new party.

DSA is neither an insignificant nor a passive force. At the moment, there is no other left-wing working-class organization better positioned to lay the organizational and political groundwork for a future break with the Democratic Party.

The National Convention of DSA in August proclaimed: “DSA is committed to building political organization independent of the Democratic Party and their capitalist donors ...

In the longer term, our goal is to form an independent working-class party, but for now this does not rule out DSA-endorsed candidates running tactically on the Democratic Party ballot line.”

It's time to move forward in this direction.

The formation of a Democratic Socialist Party does not mean ruling out socialist candidates running tactically on the Democratic Party ballot line, but it would mean taking a step to overcome this situation by forming our own organization that would be able to systematically build its strength out of each election campaign. And in many cases we are already in a position to be able to run independent democratic socialist candidates, as Bernie Sanders has successfully done in Vermont.

Furthermore, a working class party is more than a tool for elections, but should be actively involved in workplace and social struggles.

In the meantime, one of the best tools to work toward forming a new Democratic Socialist Party is a recruitment campaign to DSA: We call on all Bernie supporters to get organized in a democratic, member-run, socialist organization. Let’s build DSA and organize the political revolution against the billionaire class![1]

References

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