Member Statements on 2024-03-GR3: Choose Solidarity - Build the Left, Fight the Right

Statements from chapter members both in favor and against 2024-03-GR3: Choose Solidarity - Build the Left, Fight the Right will be posted in this thread.

IN FAVOR by Tim S.

I am, unsurprisingly, in favor of this resolution: it does a good job of laying out the stakes and opportunities that specifically face our chapter in the 2024 election, and correctly emphasizes the importance of using this election as an opportunity to build the left. Whether Trump or Biden wins, we need to be a lot stronger to take advantage of the potentially-rapid changes in our political context under a new administration, and starting on that now – under a specifical, democratically-adopted framework – is an important part of getting us there. In the meantime, there are a lot of opportunities for us to use popular focus on the election to highlight our opposition to the politics of a second Trump term, which creates an opportunity for us to meet a significant chunk of the working class in the DMV where they are already, and to bring them into our very tangible organizing projects oriented towards fighting the right. We’ve had clarifying debate around the amendment, but I hope that regardless of your views on that conversation, you’ll join me in voting yes on this resolution, in continuing to work to support our chapter’s TRBA and Uncommitted MD work, and to find ways to build up the chapter as a whole, so that we can be ready for whatever new fights the far right brings to us in the DMV area.

IN FAVOR by Claire M.

2024 might just be the biggest election of our lives (aren’t they all?) and the Choose Solidarity resolution sets forward a strong vision for how our chapter should engage to oppose the fascist right while building the socialist left. In addition to taking a firm anti-Trump position, the resolution outlines how both national DSA and the Metro DC chapter can use this election year to build a more organized left and stronger DSA. Ultimately, I believe DSA’s work as an organization is to take the hand we are dealt – even when it’s a rough one like another Trump v. Biden election – and figure out how to win the game by growing our mass organization. This resolution sets us on the path to just that. It also takes seriously the threat of an emboldened right – whether from a second Trump administration or a second Trump presidential loss – and lays out a plan for the work we must do to keep one another and our organization as safe as possible. I encourage my fellow members to vote yes!

IN FAVOR by Ben D.

The 2024 election presents great risks for our chapter but also opportunities. After our primary elections, the national elections in November will be the foremost topic on the minds of our members and our base, which presents a great organizing opportunity - if we have a plan. Our chapter is also in an extremely unique position, encompassing mostly-disenfranchised DC; the seat of our government, the swing state of Virginia, and deep blue Maryland. The far-right and the possibility of a Trump presidency are a massive threat to our chapter, our members, DC home rule, and workers and marginalized communities everywhere. We have not been presented with good choices, but we can make our own, presenting a socialist alternative to the status quo that engages working class people.

We should have an analysis of the political moment - and a socialist future.

The issue is less who DSA members vote for, but how we can avoid being in a situation where every election is an apocalyptic struggle between morally bankrupt liberalism and incipient fascism.

The staid politics of the Democratic Party are what got us here. Their inability to ahead past the next election means they’ll constantly be on the precipice. We have an actual analysis of the world: its past, present, and future. The only way to stop fascism is a mass movement of militant workers.

When we talk about the election we must reject the trap set for us of caring only about scrounging up enough votes to win the next election and debasing ourselves in the process. That’s not to say the winner isn’t important, or that we can opt out, but that we offer an alternative for the future that will pull up fascism by its roots so every election doesn’t have to be like this.

DSA has designated March and April as discussion periods for the 2024 election and highly encourages chapters to do the same. This resolution is an attempt to start that discussion in our chapter and provide a clear outcome and orientation.

This resolution firstly affirms our orientation to the presidential election, “Defend Democracy Through Political Independence,” which passed with 82% of the vote. Most of this resolution is taken directly from that one.

Essentially, it commits us to building the left by recruiting people to DSA, fundraising through solidarity dues, and presenting DSA as an alternative to the status quo through public agitation and things like the uncommitted campaign. Second, it fights the right, by campaigning around trans rights, protecting abortion, and defending democracy. To be very clear, what it does not do is encourage people to go out and canvass for Joe Biden or the Democrats. Quite the opposite. We fight the right by bringing people who are rightly scared of a Trump victory into DSA, by showing that we are the ones fighting hardest to protect our basic rights against the right through independent campaigns around those issues.

Lastly, it fights the right by making sure we and our allies are prepared for what’s to come. The period of November through January will have real fascist activity in DC. There will be protests. There will be actions. We need to be prepared. We need to be prepared for another coup attempt. Beyond that, in the event of a Trump victory, we need to be prepared for the arms of the state to target us, the chapter, far more than they already do and shut down our speech. We also need to be prepared to rebuild a militant mass movement in DC for statehood in the event that home rule is removed. We also need to be prepared for things like a massive purge of the civil service, which includes many members of this chapter, and to be prepared to mobilize newly politicized people in the area into DSA to resist fascism.

Currently, the proposal DSA nationally, and we in MDC through the amendment to this resolution, are considering is a campaign to encourage socialists and workers not to vote for Biden in the presidential election. This could be disastrous for the organization and our chapter, alienating us from unions and other coalition partners, elected officials we need to pressure, and most importantly, our base.

Instead of telling people to do nothing, to sit on the sidelines, we must present an actual organizing for disillusioned people to plug into. We have a socialist perspective that presents an alternative and can cut through the fog of the election. Our strongest unifying message is “Build DSA, so we never have to make a choice like this again.” The only thing that can defeat fascism is socialism. We must choose solidarity.

IN FAVOR by Bakari W.

Comrades, I ask you all to vote YES on this resolution. It’s essential for DSA as a whole to adopt an orientation towards the 2024 general election that takes into account every aspect of our conjuncture. Passing this resolution is the only way for us as a chapter to weigh in on DSA’s position during the national debate period about the general election that’s currently being held across the organization.

This resolution takes into account that a Trump presidency would devastate the rights of marginalized people, the labor movement, the Green New Deal, DC statehood, and everything else we care about as socialists. It reiterates the need to build power independently from centrist neoliberal Democrats, and lays out local and national plans for the election that put DSA in the optimal position to do so. If you want to add these considerations to the national conversation, then vote YES.

IN FAVOR by Carl R.

Comrades, I am asking you to vote FOR this resolution. I believe it’s vital that we, as the DSA chapter in the nation’s capital, properly prepare ourselves for the possibility of a second Trump presidency and engage with the presidential election in a way that is most likely to build a socialist future, no matter which terrible old man wins.

I believe that the plan laid out in “Choose Solidarity - Build the Left, Fight the Right” - showing that we are the political force regionally and nationally that can fight the right, preparing ourselves for the specific impacts to DC that are possible under a Trump presidency as well as the more general attacks on everyone and everything we as socialists care about, and organizing to strengthen DSA internally - is the best course of action in the historical situation we find ourselves in.

I also think that this section is vital:

“Following the 2023 Convention resolution mandate to defend democracy through political independence, opposing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign without endorsing Biden by openly criticizing Trump and his far-right agenda from an independent socialist perspective and not taking a national position that discourages people from voting for the Democratic nominee for President—a position that would make right-wing advances far more likely.”

This is straightforwardly the correct position: there is a huge amount of correct resentment and anger at the feckless positioning of national Democrats, a willingness to hand the levers of state to a deeply radicalized, hateful right. By criticizing Trump forcefully and showing a different path - while leaving space for people who correctly assess a second Trump term as individually and collectively threatening to what meager rights we have - we stand to benefit the most from a frankly bad historical conjuncture. There’s a huge base of people pining for exactly that position, as evidenced by the widespread success of the uncommitted campaign. Let’s go recruit them to socialism.