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


Why you should oppose this amendment

Comrades, I write to urge you to vote NO on the amendment to the Choose SolidarityBuild the Left, Fight the Right resolution.

It is incredibly important that we have this debate, a real serious debate of our present political moment and what our analysis and orientation should be as socialists. The central question here for us to answer as socialists is: is our message

“Liberals are unable to defeat fascism. Only socialists can. Join DSA and build an alternative to fight the far right,” as in the underlying Choose Solidarity resolution.

Or: “Liberals are fascists. Join DSA and fight back,” which is the position of this amendment.

The first is correct both analytically and morally, and because of this, I believe we must vote down the amendment and for the original resolution.

A key problem with this amendment is that it’s disorganizing when the point of the original resolution was to channel widespread disillusionment around the election into organizing. The point of organizing is to let people know they have power - and how to use it. The premise of this amendment is that DSA cannot meaningfully affect national elections. This premise is, first of all, not true - DSA has a social base beyond our membership that numbers in the millions, something we can see from the number of people nationwide who consistently vote for DSA-endorsed candidates up and down the ballot. We do have power and should use that to offer an alternative. We can’t focus on telling people what not to vote for; we have to provide concrete tasks that actually build our collective power.

When DSA endorses voting in a specific way, it is a collective action to exercise power. In this case, we have an impossible choice. For our members, how to vote for president this time only works as an individual choice.

Instead, we must openly campaign on the absence of an alternative. We are stuck making this impossible decision because of a political crisis that can only be resolved by building DSA. We should honestly acknowledge in our messaging how difficult it is to sort out a clear plan. Trump is worse, but Biden’s actions are so egregious, and yet third parties are an absolute dead end. If we emphasize how frustrating and impossible the situation is, most people will agree. We can’t dodge the question of who we vote for, but it’s best to leave that judgment up to individual DSA members because there are no org-wide voting strategies that would make sense.

A fundamental premise of this amendment is that there is a base of non-voters who think that Trump and Biden are equally bad and are ready to be awakened to socialism. This wishful analysis misses that we already have an actual, measurable social base looking for leadership.

This is part of the reason for the uncommitted campaign’s success. But our base can see through lazy phrase-mongering—if you tell them, “Trump and Biden are the exact same; don’t vote for either of them,” they’re going to stop listening because that’s obviously not correct.

DSA grew under Trump because we could credibly say, “We are against fascism, we are against the far-right, and we are the only thing that can credibly defeat the far right. Liberals are unable to, but workers united can.” This needs to continue to be our message because it’s the truth, and it’s far more compelling than “both parties are fascist, don’t vote.” We can’t be anything less than fully anti-Trump. We shouldn’t be telling marginalized people that their rights don’t matter to us, but instead demonstrating that they matter more to us as socialists in solidarity than they do to the Democrats who support the rights of the oppressed only when it’s politically convenient. Our vote matters as a collective, but we have to have something to vote for. When we don’t have that on offer, we must let people make their own assessments and focus on building DSA as an organizational alternative.

People will not join DSA if we are not in opposition to Trump. And for good reason! We need to be out there, protesting fascism and disrupting the far right as we were when Trump was first elected. That’s what brings people to DSA, and that’s what defeats fascism.

My final point is that being anti-Trump is not pro-Biden. The idea that resolutely opposing Trump is implicitly pro-Biden is a liberal idea. It’s an idea we must reject entirely. Only socialism can defeat fascism. If we don’t stand against Trump, we cede this ground to liberals and the forces of anti-fascism being subsumed by the Democratic Party. The mass of working class people who form the base of any socialist project are rightfully anti-Trump. We have to show that DSA is the force fighting fascism, that DSA is an alternative to the broken status quo, and that workers should join DSA and build an independent alternative.

What the underlying resolution does

I also want to address a misconception about the underlying resolution. It is absolutely not a “soft endorsement” of Joe Biden or the Democratic Party.

The language in the resolution was taken directly from the convention resolution Defend Democracy Through Political Independence, passed overwhelmingly by the body and authored and supported by the groupings in DSA with the most overtly revolutionary socialist orientation.

The resolution does not call for anyone to vote for Biden or to do any work with or for the Democratic Party in any way, shape, or form. The only mention of Biden is to condemn him and affirm that we will not endorse him.

I really want to emphasize that opposing Trump is not supporting Biden any more than opposing Biden for his support for Israel’s genocidal campaign is supporting Trump. The idea that our many protests against Biden and our support for the uncommitted campaign are some sort of tacit support for Trump is completely wrong. So is the idea that standing in resolute opposition to Trump is an endorsement of Biden’s actions and the genocide in Gaza. We have to be clear-eyed about our political situation and the forces at play and honest about our analysis and positions.

What the resolution actually does is offer an analysis of the political moment and a series of concrete organizing tasks to build DSA as an independent socialist political bloc that stands separate from and in opposition to liberalism and fascism.

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, it does not 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 fighting hardest to protect our fundamental rights against the right through independent campaigns around those issues.

Lastly, it fights the right by ensuring we and our allies are prepared for what’s to come. The period of November through January will have actual 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 attacked. 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.

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 a highly 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 must have an analysis of the political moment - and a socialist future.


The “Choose Solidarity” resolution is good as written, and the amendment contains changes that are either unnecessary or make it worse. The original resolution strikes the right balance that Metro DC DSA (and national DSA) should make in the upcoming election: clearly expressing the risks that Trump poses by highlighting the issues we care about without calling for any sort of DSA endorsement of Biden.

The amendment makes it appear as if our chapter is downplaying the risks associated with a Trump presidency when our chapter and DSA as a whole should be out front and in public clearly showing that we oppose everything Trump and Republicans stand for. Doing that does not mean that we are “soft endorsing” Biden. A DSA endorsement entails many things including canvassing and voter outreach that the original amendment is not proposing. And the fact is that many of the people that DSA is organizing now and hopes to organize in the future – such as tenants, workers, and other unorganized people who should support or goals – hate Trump and the Republicans, and we risk alienating ourselves from them and further hurting our membership growth if we are not clear about where we stand relative to him.

We should vote against the amendment.

Alex S.


Comrades, I wish to speak against the proposed amendment to the resolution “Choose Solidarity - Build the Left, Fight the Right.” I do not know the authors of this amendment, but I know that striking the text they have chosen to strike shocks me in its disregard for the reality of nascent American fascism.

The underlying resolution seeks to chart a path for DSA that is neither overly charitable towards the Democratic Party, nor abstentionist in one of the many critical fights we will have against fascist forces in our country. It states, I think correctly, that a Republican trifecta government with Trump as president will work to endanger all that we hold dear - that it will build even more deportation camps for undocumented people, accelerate the oppression and exploitation of transgender people, seek to make our healthcare illegal, further prosecute the campaign to criminalize abortion, demolish labor rights (one of the few areas of real progress under the current administration), expand the war against Palestine and the genocide campaign against Palestinians, &c, &c. All of this is not only correct, it is essentially inarguable to anyone who was conscious for the first Trump administration, and more broadly, the last twenty-odd years of American politics.

This amendment, for whatever reason, intentionally deletes all these arguments. It deletes the phrase “A second Trump presidency would be disastrous for working people, particularly people of color, queer people, immigrants, and residents of the District of Columbia.” What socialist could argue that any of this is false?

The intent is made clear by the additions and the Resolved clauses. The authors of the amendment seem to feel that we are too harsh to Republicans and seek to leaven our criticism of the GOP with criticism of Democrats. After deleting the various critiques of Trump and his movement, it adds a perfunctory “and Biden too!” to our denunciation of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In other words, it’s a “both sides” amendment.

A socialism that is not permitted to criticize reactionaries in the harshest terms is socialism in name only. And despite what this amendment seems to indicate, the Trump campaign are reactionaries, and the vanguard of fascism in this country. One does not have to believe that liberal parties have the best interests of socialists at heart, nor that President Joe Biden is not complicit in genocide, nor do we have to believe that campaigning or voting for Democrats is liberatory in itself. But if we prevent ourselves from campaigning AGAINST the GOP, AGAINST the far right, in the deluded belief that to do so would be to be too soft on Democrats, we’ve truly lost the plot.

The authors of the amendment seem to think they’re taking a bold stance against the Democrat/Republican dichotomy. But all they’re doing is reinforcing the idea that to focus fire on the right wing movement, one must secretly be a liberal.