Thinking through the political implications of the Israel-Hamas War, one month in
Well, as an active member in the Duluth chapter (Twin Ports), I'll say that staying firm with the current crisis has been our most difficult period in some ways since I joined in 2016, but at the same time, it has also brought DSA together like never before. We had an excellent lecture by an anti-Zionist Jewish member historian. We have supported several small local marches and protests, with more to come. We have promoted DSA's "No Money For Massacres" phone banking efforts, which has helped move people. Our endorsed electeds have made statements for a ceasefire and helped lobby congress people, like Representative Betty McCollum, who recently signed a letter to Biden on the 15th, with the Squad and several others, asking for a ceasefire. We have seen no drop off in membership, nor have we seen a rush of new people to join. And Maria Svart is as well known as anyone in DSA. She has sent out our national emails as long as I can remember. She was visiting our chapter on the night AOC won her first primary, eating some mediocre Midwest sushi with a few of us, and got the phone call at the table. We all knew what it meant, and it was super exciting.
Basically, DSA has been very good at punching above its weight. I think this is because we have a unique structure combined with a unique commitment to socialism that is not at all cultish. We do have many very radical people now, but they are also quite smart and determined and respect democracy. That's why it's always disappointing to see some people toss a match in the door when they walk out. What they are really complaining about is a democratic organization that they don't have time to organize within in a meaningful way. Still, DSA is a big tent, and it needs both an entrance and an exit, or it just doesn't work.
Weird how the Democratic Establishment thinks that Russian interference they can't produce evidence of (other than a handful of broken English shitposting and retweeting already existing memes - seriously! Ask any of the neoMcCarthyites to produce some, and let the hilarity ensue) is a fundamental threat to our existence, but Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or anyone else that is a profit center for the military industrial complex are free to give generously, mount campaigns against those who would endanger the gravy train.
It's about money, everything is always about money. War and colonization makes our ruling class rich.
I don't mean to be a whataboutist here, but... does DSA have foreign policy positions that don't involve Israel? Back when I got paid to care about NYC politics in 2019-2021 or so, the DSA had a questionnaire for candidates looking for its endorsement, and the foreign policy section had exactly two questions, both of which were about boycotting Israel.
I could be ill-informed here! But I don't get the impression that their opposition to Israel is part of a broader opposition to imperialism around the globe, instead of a weird pet issue.
I hope you’re right, Ross!
I would have more sympathy for this big tent approach to the Democratic Socialists of America, if only one audible impulse within the tent were… socialist. When has the DSA ever called for the expropriation of ecology-damaging (plastics) or monopolistic (Amazon) private enterprises? If it’s not a viable electoral plank, couldn’t it at least be scrawled by us on walls? When has the DSA ever insisted—audibly!—that unplanned immigration is inseparable from the reign of a global capitalism that undermines every lesser economic center and weaker state structure as well as the climate. I know there are DSA members in Brooklyn who work with undocumented immigrants. Good for them. But I am waiting for the loud proclamation of a worldview that merits the term socialist.
I certainly agree with the opposition to the AIPAC and Israeli policies but am dismayed by the lack of empathy and the undertone of Schadenfreude in current leftist anti-Zionism. The tone, if not the political position, explains why some liberal Jews feel abandoned by their friends.
Maria Svart may not be a nationally recognized name yet
But her posts are excellent and she is respected. Like most DSAers she is young. Give it time and seasoning.