Statement on Anti Blackness in the DSA

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Statement on Anti Blackness in the DSA[1]

We as the AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus stand in solidarity with the Black woman in DSA North Texas who was wrongfully suspended by DSA North Texas Co-chairs. This action by the DSA North Texas Co-chairs is racist and in particular anti-Black. This is not an isolated incident of racism but represents a pattern of anti-black and white supremacist actions within DSA which must be acknowledged, held accountable and systematically rooted out. There is a pattern of anti-black behavior that stems from the founding of DSA North Texas that has led to each generation of Co-chairs either perpetuating or being complicit in anti-black racism.

The Black member that was suspended shared two proposals in her chapter’s Slack channel which is closed to members and made for members to correspond with one another. These proposals originate from Seattle DSA AfroSoc that uses a reparations framework to call for a portion of local chapter DSA funding to be earmarked for projects led by Black folks in AfroSOC. The other was modeled after DSA Los Angeles who have a Black liberation resolution that guarantees antiracism training for the chapter. In response, the co-chairs stated that posting them for the entire membership to see was “inappropriate” and violated the bylaws. Their own secretary confirmed it WAS NOT a violation of the bylaws in the Slack. The Co-Chairs then unilaterally and without discussion with anyone in the chapter decided that the resolutions would not be heard. They then deleted the post and removed the two members from the slack. It wasn’t until another member prompted them for answers that the three cochairs decided to suspend these two members. These members were suspended without consulting the steering committee, and this suspension was a unilateral punishment doled out without any type of due process.

In solidarity and to disassociate with the racist behavior of the Co-chairs two members resigned from steering. One of these members was the only other active black woman in the chapter. DSA North Texas had only two active black women in their chapter. The Co-chairs suspended one which forced the other to resign.

One of the the reasons that AfroSOC is necessary is to address anti-Black and white supremacist behavior by DSA members. The DSA North Texas Co-Chairs’ behavior clearly is a case that falls under such purview. Anti-Blackness and white supremacy are real, are oppressive to our BIPOC members and are a barrier to organizing in DSA. However, the responsibility of ending anti-Black, white supremacist behaviors and actions within DSA should not fall solely on the shoulders of BIPOC members: we need accomplices on our side within DSA.

We recognize that the North Texas chapter is currently under investigation for this behavior by national leadership, where they are interviewing current and former chapter members of color to assess the scope of the issue. Still, the damage has been done both to the wrongfully suspended members but also to the members who have resigned from their positions in solidarity. The harm from this episode erodes BIPOC folks’ general trust in the organization as a safe place and therefore extends to every BIPOC individual in DSA who has been fighting against undemocratic practices levied against organizers of color.

Moving forward we demand that: The wrongfully suspended members get reinstated immediately. The three co-chairs and any other member of DSA North Texas steering committee who were complicit in the wrongful suspension be removed from leadership. The proposals get a fair, democratic deliberation process and vote. This process should be led by and accountable to the members of color in DSA North Texas. A nationally coordinated racial justice equity review of all by-laws, leadership, governing policies and procedure be done to ensure members of color are able to effectively participate in the democratic decision making processes of the DSA at a national and local level.

The AfroSocialists and Socialist of Color caucus is committed to realizing DSA as a multi-racial, working class, socialist organization. We can only do so if comrades within DSA are committed to accountability for anti-Black and white supremacist behaviors and actions in our organization while also committing to an organizational overhaul to ensure fair, just and equitable treatment of all members of color. In solidarity,