Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the DSA

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R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Joined: 15-02-18
Aug 8 2018 06:18

Tbh, I think it kind of comes down to what DSA (and the alternatives) are like in your friend's area, which I can't really comment on in the abstract - in general, I'd say if the local group has members working on a project that seems worthwhile, then sure, work with them on that (possibly without formally joining, at least in the short term?), if they just do electoral/lobbying stuff or similar and have no interest in anything else then don't.

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Aug 8 2018 12:51
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He says that in Russia in the years leading up to 1917, the Bolshevik Party was social democratic, but then became revolutionary. (Unfortunately it later became counter-revolutionary, but the point is it changed from a work within the system party to an overthrow the system party.) I'm not informed enough to say if he's right on this, but if it is, I think it's a good point.

It was both the whole time.

Sorry, I know it's not really on topic, but I think it's an interesting point.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Joined: 29-04-08
Aug 8 2018 13:03
Talisa wrote:
So the other day I was hanging out with one of my anarchist friends visiting from the USA and we started discussing the DSA. We both agree that social democracy is a dead end, a waste of time, a trap. And yet, he says he's thinking of getting involved in the DSA.

You can imagine my confusion. We spoke more and in time I came to understand his reasons, though I'm not sure if I agree... then again, I'm not sure I disagree, either.

1. He feels like, as an anarchist/communist, there are no ideal options of things to get involved in. At least not in his city. So he's kind of desperate.

2. He is excited by an organization that brings together such a huge number of people who are anti-capitalist. He acknowledges that most of them aren't proper anti-capitalists, but at least they have a disdain for the system.

3. He doesn't think that the majority of members are deeply committed to social democracy so much as they are looking for an alternative to capitalism. He thinks they are social democrats by default, simply because they are uninformed about real alternatives to capitalism.

4. Given points 2 and 3, he thinks there is potential to turn people in the DSA away from social democracy and towards a revolutionary perspective. He says that in Russia in the years leading up to 1917, the Bolshevik Party was social democratic, but then became revolutionary. (Unfortunately it later became counter-revolutionary, but the point is it changed from a work within the system party to an overthrow the system party.) I'm not informed enough to say if he's right on this, but if it is, I think it's a good point.

So, given all that, I can understand why he is thinking of joining. But do I agree?

Part of me thinks it's not a good use of his time and that he should be focused on building the power of the working class, not the power of the left.

Another part of me thinks it is a good idea, because if it was possible to shift the DSA into a truly anti-capitalist, anti-state, and anti-electoralist perspective, that'd be fucking great. Or if they could get a split with the Libertarian Caucus growing to a much larger size, after converting a shit-load of social democrats, and then breaking away from the DSA. It seems like a long-shot... a very, very, very long-shot... but hell, everything seems like a very, very, very long-shot these days, so why not?

These are my conflicted thoughts. What does everyone else think?

Activity wise, there might not be much difference between a DSA local and a local of an anarchist political organization. If DSA was the only game in town, I would probably get involved unless they were solely involved in electoral work.

Black Badger wrote:
It’s his time to waste, but he might need to be reminded of the traps represented by a combination of desperation and few options. These are precisely the arguments for anarchists and non-party communists to become involved with Leninists.

The stakes here are definitely the same as 1917 Russia.

Talisa
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Joined: 19-08-17
Aug 10 2018 07:50
R Totale wrote:
Tbh, I think it kind of comes down to what DSA (and the alternatives) are like in your friend's area, which I can't really comment on in the abstract - in general, I'd say if the local group has members working on a project that seems worthwhile, then sure, work with them on that (possibly without formally joining, at least in the short term?), if they just do electoral/lobbying stuff or similar and have no interest in anything else then don't.

Good advice.