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The Biggest Opportunity for Socialists in Decades

12-Apr-2019

A Contribution to the DSA Debate on Sanders’ Campaign by the Reform & Revolution caucus

  • Elect Bernie Sanders president to carry out a political revolution against the billionaire class
  • Organize the left wing of the Sanders campaign
  • Build DSA into an organization of 150,000+ members as the starting point of a mass socialist party

Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president is poised to be a historic event of immense proportions. There is a serious possibility for the first time ever of electing a self-described socialist President of the United States, something unimaginable only a few years ago. This raises the prospect of a huge upheaval in US politics with titanic clashes between the ruling capitalist elite and the rising aspirations of the 99%.

Sanders’ campaign is on track to be the largest left-wing electoral effort in American history, raising the sights of tens of millions of working people and the confidence of social movements. Most importantly for socialists, it opens the door for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to take decisive steps towards becoming a mass force.

The combination of Sanders not backing away from his radical demands while being perceived as a frontrunner in the Democratic primaries has generated a wave of enthusiasm.

Over one million people signed up to volunteer for Sanders in the first week of his campaign, and tens of thousands have attended his initial round of rallies. 525,000 people donated over $18 million in the first six weeks of his campaign. Significantly, 20% of these donors had not contributed to Bernie’s previous campaigns. The majority of donors were under the age of 39 and the average donation was $20 (NY Times, 4/2/19).

Debate about DSA’s Role in the Bernie Campaign

Sanders’ campaign has sparked a widespread discussion within DSA and the radical left. Since Sanders is running within the corporate-controlled Democratic Party, should socialists endorse him? Can DSA support Sanders without losing our political independence and ability to criticize his policies we disagree with? Should DSA focus on base-building and building DSA instead of putting the majority of our resources into a national electoral campaign?

Following a national membership survey that showed 76% of DSA members wanted to support Bernie, the DSA National Political Committee (NPC) endorsed Sanders and is setting up an independent DSA campaign for Bernie.

However, debate around these questions continues. The underlying arguments about whether to endorse Bernie will continue to come up in the run-up to DSA national convention in August over how DSA should campaign for Bernie, what our political message should be, and how much to prioritize the campaign. This statement critically reviews some of the main arguments within DSA about this, and elaborates our view of what the DSA campaign for Bernie should look like politically.

Much of the argument within DSA against endorsing Bernie, or for DSA not to run its own campaign for Bernie, was a) that the endorsement was undemocratic; b) Bernie is not radical enough; and c) campaigning for Bernie is a diversion from building movements and DSA.

However, the practical impact of this position ends up reinforcing the very problems these DSA comrades are trying to avoid.

This approach - focused on democratic process in DSA - results in DSA members individually volunteering for the official Sanders campaign, a campaign with no democratic structures for volunteers to have a say in the direction of the campaign. Refusing to endorse Bernie because he is not radical enough means in practice that DSA will not be able to mount an organized challenge to Sanders’ political weaknesses. Despite wanting to build the socialist movement, it would lead to missing a historic opportunity for building an organized socialist base and amplify social movements by connecting them with the Sanders campaign.

For example, the San Francisco DSA chapter resolution opposing an early endorsement and an independent DSA campaign argued that “if DSA does ultimately endorse Bernie, a rank-and-file strategy encouraging members to work directly with Bernie’s own campaign and Our Revolution makes far more sense and is much safer than establishing the expensive, risky, counterproductive Proposed National I.E. Campaign” (I.E. stands for “independent expenditure,” a DSA-run campaign for Bernie).

This illustrates the impact of DSA not providing a socialist lead for our own members and left-wing Sanders supporters. If DSA holds back from having our own Sanders campaign activities, it would mean large numbers of DSA members being funneled into the official Sanders campaign and non-socialist groups like Our Revolution. Despite the best of intentions, this strategy actually results in strengthening the influence of the official Sanders campaign and Our Revolution’s more moderate politics over Sanders’ radicalizing supporters.

While understandable, the left-wing instinct that “the election is a distraction” and that “the key is to build DSA instead” is mistaken. No matter what DSA or the rest of the radical left does, we are not going to be able to alter the reality that US politics over the next two years will be dominated by the presidential election. It is also a fact that a large majority of DSA and other leftists will be supporting Bernie and will want to actively express this. Given these objective conditions, the question facing socialists is not should this happen, but what can we do to have an impact on how this is expressed?

We in Reform & Revolution believe DSA should actively engage on the field of Bernie’s campaign with the aim of building support for socialist politics. Abstaining from this battle does not strengthen the support for radical politics - it means isolating ourselves from this critical site of struggle and radicalization.

With our own independent DSA campaign, we have a vehicle for our members to support Bernie that takes a critical and independent socialist position towards Sanders. By joining the Sanders movement, we have the opportunity to engage an audience of hundreds of thousands of left-wing Bernie supporters where we can actively challenge Sanders’ political limitations and spread support for more radical socialist politics. This will allow DSA to actively build out of the Sanders campaign, as a democratic, member controlled, socialist organization that continues on after the election is over.

The logic of a hesitant approach towards the Sanders campaign is also seen in the 2020 Foresight statement endorsed by the DSA Libertarian Socialist Caucus. Despite their call for DSA not to endorse Bernie before August or launch its own independent socialist campaign, they write: “By no means do we discourage Bernie’s supporters from participating in his campaign... Many of us surely will be volunteering alongside you. But at the same time, given the likelihood that supporters who want to volunteer for Bernie will go first to his own offices to contribute and given that several other structures for organizing Bernie’s supporters already exist in groups like Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, MoveOn and others, we are not enthusiastic about the prospect of DSA becoming a tertiary canvassing operation.”

This strategy dissolves DSA members into the official campaign as individuals with no significant power to impact the campaign’s politics. The approach we are arguing for instead brings DSA members together as an organized force, with real power to influence Bernie’s campaign, in which DSA members have the democratic ability to set the political direction.

The Relationship Between Reform and Revolution

This debate highlights a larger question facing the socialist movement - how do socialists relate to struggles that are not initiated by us or where our politics are not the leading force in it?

Socialists should not stand on the sidelines when working-class people are engaged in progressive struggles, whether they be economic, social, or electoral. This is true even when the politics leading these struggles have problematic aspects. Socialists must actively take part in working-class struggles, while seeking to help them achieve their goals and empower them to move toward a socialist society. This will require coalitions with others, but also healthy debate.

Reform & Revolution disagrees with limiting the role of socialists to promoting a general vision of a future society while in our day-to-day work following behind the existing non-socialist leaderships of various movements. Such an approach of seeing the struggles going on here and now as disconnected from overthrowing capitalism is very similar to the reformist “minimum-maximum” program of the old Social Democratic parties.

Up until the 1990s, the mass Social Democratic Parties internationally generally claimed to be committed to achieving a new socialist society. (Since the collapse of Stalinism, these parties have abandoned even their rhetorical commitment to socialism.) Yet in practice, these reformist parties focused their day-to-day work on fighting for immediate reforms within the existing capitalist framework (the minimum program). Socialism (the maximum program) was separated from their practical activity, either abstractly tacked on to immediate demands or only mentioned on holiday speeches.

We believe that a Marxist strategy is to support every progressive step forward for the working class and the oppressed, while engaging in a living struggle for socialist policies in contrast to the other political trends in these social movements (liberal, populist, reformist trends, etc).

Applied to the Sanders campaign, this means recognizing that electing Bernie would undoubtedly be an enormous progressive step forward in the current political context. Socialists should throw ourselves into this struggle while applying our socialist politics concretely to the immediate issues raised by his campaign and constructively challenging them when we disagree.

Historic Opportunity to Build DSA

While it is widely agreed that Sanders’ campaign can lead to a new wave of growth for DSA, in our opinion the scale of this opportunity and its strategic importance for DSA is often not fully recognized.

With an audacious independent campaign for Bernie, DSA can grow dramatically from its current 55,000 members to 100,000, 150,000, or even 200,000 members and deepen its roots among working-class and oppressed people. This would represent a historic strengthening of the socialist left, emerging from the presidential election in a significantly better position to help lead social struggles.

As the DSA National Director Maria Svart wrote in an email to DSA members on January 30th, “DSA has an opportunity to play an important role in supporting Sanders’s campaign — both by helping Sanders win the Democratic Party primary and go on to defeat Trump in the general election and by growing DSA as a serious, independent, socialist pole in the broader Sanders movement.”

Millions of leftward-moving Bernie supporters will want to act on Bernie’s appeal to not just vote for him, but to get actively involved. DSA’s dramatic growth the past 3 years is no accident; it is the result of a political shift in US society. There is a growing desire among the left wing of Sanders supporters and those radicalized by Trump to build a democratic membership organization that is proudly socialist and has a strategy of mass struggle.

This mood will likely spread and deepen as part of the struggle to elect Bernie. DSA is far better positioned to grow out of the 2020 Bernie campaign than it was last time he ran. DSA can maximize this potential through an organized campaign for Bernie that maintains a distinct political and organizational identity for DSA rather than DSA members volunteering for Bernie as individuals.

With this approach DSA can double or triple in size. This would represent a qualitative change in the size and weight of DSA that would, in essence, mark the beginnings of a mass socialist party.

A socialist force of this size could have a substantial impact within social struggles. It would allow the new socialist movement to have a common framework to work together in, share lessons of different struggles, and test out different ideas.

Such a socialist party would still be far from the mass working-class force needed to decisively challenge the power of the capitalist class both in terms of its size and program. Nonetheless, by providing an arena for discussion and debate, a new socialist party would play a critical role for the movement to collectively learn and politically develop at a faster pace.

An Independent and Critical Approach toward Bernie

Sanders is the strongest candidate who can reach tens of millions with a left-wing, pro-worker agenda, and the only major candidate who identifies as a socialist. In a step forward from his 2016 campaign, Sanders has been advocating racial justice more prominently, including calling for an end to mass incarceration, the War on Drugs, cash bail, private detention centers and for demilitarizing the police.

But that does not mean he now has the political program that is needed to achieve black liberation or the socialist transformation of society. The Columbia Falls Statement, expressing the views of a significant trend within DSA, makes an important point when it says, “we should support Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, but we should not take his platform as doctrine. Rather, we must agitate (knowing that we must compromise) for the furthest left platform that Bernie’s camp can successfully adopt… A healthy skepticism about his positions on a variety of topics… is critical as we move forward.”

The DSA campaign should not limit its politics to what Sanders puts forward. We can make clear our disagreements with Sanders along with specific proposals for what we think Sanders should do differently. Our DSA campaign needs to reflect this with a clear socialist message and demands in our door-knocking materials, rallies, public statements, social media, etc.

The Sanders campaign will be a site of political struggle, a contested terrain. There will inevitably be debate among Sanders activists over the best policies, strategy, and tactics. A moderate wing will argue for Bernie to subordinate everything to electoral considerations, push him to water down his radical demands and socialist profile, and seek to minimize conflict with the Democratic Party establishment.

In contrast, there is a need to bring together the left wing of the Sanders campaign into an organized force with its own clear agenda in order to answer the arguments of the more moderate wing and to have the maximum impact on the direction of the campaign. DSA can play a critical role in giving a lead to these elements.

Some dismiss the ability of DSA or others on the left having an impact on Sanders. But we should not forget that the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the demands of BLM activists specifically on Bernie, played a key role in pushing Sanders to adopt a far better anti-racist program in 2015 than he initially started with.

It is excellent that the 2020 Presidential Primary document adopted by the NPC says “we are not rubber-stamping Sanders, but instead [we] have high demands on him politically, and [we] will push Sanders towards our positions as much as possible.”

This needs to be concretized with a specific set of policies that DSA will promote in relation to Sanders’ campaign. To organize this, the NPC should begin a democratic discussion starting in DSA chapters and continuing at DSA’s national convention in August. Some proposals we would suggest are:

a) An Anti-Imperialist Foreign Policy: Bring the Troops Home and End the US Wars and Occupations!

Too often Bernie puts forward merely a left-wing version of a liberal foreign policy. We agree with the part of The Columbia Falls Statement that says, “As opposed to our organizational predecessors stances on war, we are vehemently, unwaveringly anti-imperialist... DSA must outright condemn the United States and its international partners in imperialist violence and repression.”

DSA’s campaign should push Bernie to adopt an anti-imperialist foreign policy which supports the struggles of workers and the oppressed around the world. The biggest contribution we can make within the US is calling for bringing home all US troops from abroad, ending US military aid to right-wing regimes (such as Bolsonaro in Brazil, Guaido in Venezuela, the Saudi monarchy, Israel, etc.), and slashing the US military budget.

b) A Bold Opposition to Sexism and All Forms of Oppression

In response to staffers speaking out about harassment and pay inequity they faced in the 2016 campaign, Bernie has adopted significantly stronger policies for his 2020 campaign, including agreeing to the unionization of all his campaign workers.

Just as pressure from below pushed Bernie to bring racial justice to the fore of his campaign, we should call on Sanders to do the same regarding sexism, heterosexism, Islamophobia, and other forms of oppression. Bernie has a number of good feminist demands in his platform, but too often he does not highlight them in his speeches and campaign materials. We need to push Bernie to give more weight to this in his campaign.

Bernie also needs a more developed program to systematically reduce the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in our society. One such demand would be for an OSHA-type federal agency to which anyone could bring complaints of sexual harassment in their workplace. This agency would need to be fully empowered to investigate all such allegations and enforce policies and should also be run by unions and gender justice organizations.

c) Bring the Giant Energy Companies into Public Ownership as Part of the Green New Deal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken a very positive initiative with the Green New Deal, which Bernie has supported. However, the Green New Deal needs to address the reality that “just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988… ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies” (The Guardian, 7/10/2017).

Taking these big corporations head on cannot be avoided if we are serious about preventing a climate catastrophe. DSA should work to popularize the socialist case that it is time to end the tyranny of these giant energy corporations by taking them into public ownership and running them democratically in the interest of society as a whole. This is the only realistic way to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and massively invest in renewable energy alternatives.

d) For a Democratic Internet - Take Amazon, Facebook, and Google into Public Ownership

Elizabeth Warren’s call for breaking up Amazon, Facebook and Google provides another opportunity for DSA to better define its distinctly socialist politics. To implement a progressive agenda, we need to challenge the sanctity of private property with the socialist idea of public ownership of major industries. While Warren’s proposal would no doubt represent an improvement from the current situation, we should argue for running these giant internet platforms democratically as 21st century open source public utilities rather than breaking them up into smaller profit-driven companies.

e) A Socialist Vision for a Fundamental Transformation of Society

When Bernie explains his view of socialism, he calls for a major expansion of social welfare programs but does not link this to a transformation of society that puts an end to capitalism itself. Our campaign could go further than this.

We are likely heading toward a new economic recession which could dominate the presidential elections. Coming on the heels of the low-wage recovery, a recession will trigger a new wave of job losses, poverty, and despair. It will lead to a deeper questioning of capitalism, while also opening the door for the growth of far-right forces.

Trump and the Republicans will be putting socialism on trial throughout the presidential campaign. This is a huge opportunity for the DSA campaign for Bernie to proudly argue the case for replacing the chaotic, irrational capitalist system with a new society based on social ownership of the key productive resources, democratic and rational planning of the economy, and a radical expansion of democracy to our workplaces, schools, and communities. This would lay the basis for social equality and the uprooting of racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression.

Socialists and the Democratic Party

The most fundamental case against endorsement in the online DSA debate was made by Dan La Botz, a long-standing, committed socialist activist. While disagreeing with Dan, we welcome his contribution which makes valid points about the real dangers presented by Sanders’ campaign.

Dan stresses that: “Sanders 2020 poses the question of political subordination to a capitalist party or political independence.” He also writes that Bernie’s campaign “threatens to lead DSA deep into the Democratic Party,” a party whose “role in American society—as the lesser of two evils—is to periodically reform the political and economic system just enough so that it can incorporate and absorb those who begin to turn away from capitalism.”

As Marxists we agree that the Democratic Party is a capitalist party fundamentally hostile to the interests of working people and the left. A central task socialists have is to make the case to all those moving into struggle that the Democratic Party is dominated by capitalist interests. For working people to articulate a program based on their interests and to take state power to re-organize society, workers must have their own political party which is 100% accountable to them.

On this point, we are in full agreement with Dan. However, this does not exhaust the question of how to argue for it most effectively to win over those workers and young people who have not yet drawn that conclusion.

It is undeniable that there is not yet a clear conscious understanding among Sanders’ base, including even its left-wing, about the fundamentally capitalist character of the Democratic Party and the need to build a distinctly working class party. At this stage there is a mixed consciousness on this issue. There is a deep anger at the establishment politicians who dominate the Democratic Party, combined with hopes that the Democratic Party can be transformed into a progressive populist party, but only a small minority currently understand that we need a mass working-class political party.

However, the outlook of Sanders supporters is in flux and moving to the left. To effectively argue the case for independent class politics, we need to do so on the basis of the concrete facts arising from the actual experience of the living struggle to elect Bernie, rather than asserting general Marxist truths. Big events in the 2020 Bernie campaign have the potential to hammer home to millions of Sanders supporters the need for an independent organization separate from big business and lay the basis for a huge swing towards a mass workers party.

The contradiction of this political moment is that we are seeing a historic upsurge in support for socialism being expressed inside the Democratic Party, “history’s second-most enthusiastic capitalist party” as Richard Nixon’s former strategist Kevin Phillips aptly characterized it.

This peculiar historical twist is a result of the lack of a mass left political party in the US that could give voice to the growing opposition to big business and the desire for political representation for the 99%. Under these conditions this progressive sentiment is being expressed through Sanders and the new wave of left Democrats like AOC. This is a step forward given the concrete conditions of the US, although the politics of Sanders, AOC, and the other new left Democrats have significant populist and reformist limitations which Marxists should not hide.

This process whereby the new socialist sentiment is finding expression through the Democratic Party may not match the schema of how many Marxists expected events to unfold, nor how we believe they “should” unfold, but nevertheless it is how events are unfolding!

For socialists to stand aside from this real process and counterpose to it general Marxist truths would be a serious mistake. Marxist theory is a guide to action to change the world, not a dogma that we demand the world conforms to.

A different method was laid out by Karl Marx in one of his most important writings: “We do not confront the world in a doctrinaire way with a new principle: Here is the truth, kneel down before it!… We do not say to the world: Cease your struggles, they are foolish; we will give you the true slogan of struggle. We merely show the world what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire, even if it does not want to.”

It is in this spirit that socialists should approach the Sanders campaign. We do not try to divert the Sandernistas from the “foolish” struggle they have embarked on for Bernie to win the Democratic primaries.

Our task instead is to join in the real struggle that is developing in the Bernie campaign, which is drawing behind it the actual left wing of the US working class. We also need to spread support for socialist politics by drawing on the concrete experiences of the Bernie campaign to put forward the policies that we believe will be required to win – the building of a mass political party that is 100% on the side of the working class that will carry out a fundamental restructuring of society.

Millions of working people can come to understand that the Democratic Party establishment and their big business backers stand in the way of realizing the demands and aspirations of the Bernie campaign. But millions of people will not learn this from socialist doctrine by itself. Such a mass consciousness can only develop out of the actual experiences of millions fighting to elect Sanders and seeing for themselves how the Democratic Party and the capitalist class keeps sabotaging our political revolution.

This stems from the objective reality that there is a fundamental contradiction running through the Democratic Party today. The Sanders campaign will highlight again and again the question: “in whose interests will the conflict in the Democratic party be resolved, the left wing giving voice to the working class or the establishment wing representing the billionaire class?”

For example, 57% of Democratic voters now say they support socialism, but almost all Democratic politicians (minus Sanders, AOC, and Tlaib) declare their loyalty to capitalism. Nancy Pelosi famously stated, “We’re capitalists, that’s just the way it is.” More recently, Elizabeth Warren insisted that she is “a capitalist to my bones.” Kamala Harris said, “I will tell you I am not a democratic socialist.” And Beto O’Rourke also declared that he is a “capitalist.”

A key aspect of Bernie and AOC’s appeal is their rejection of corporate money. However, almost every other Democratic politician’s campaign is stuffed with money from wealthy donors. In fact, even most of the left-wing Democrats in Congress, including the vast majority of the Progressive Caucus, take corporate PAC money.

The coming battle over the 2020 presidential election will bring out this conflict between the overwhelming majority of Democratic politicians and the increasingly left-wing base who is rallying behind Bernie. With the 2016 primary still fresh in their collective memory, millions will experience firsthand how the corporate interests that dominate the Democratic Party will attempt to stifle their aspirations.

Despite Sanders’ limited reformist agenda and methods, the capitalist class is determined to make sure he is not elected president. Bernie, and to a lesser extent Elizabeth Warren, have broken the unspoken rules of establishment politics by advancing an anti-corporate program that violates the prevailing neo-liberal dogma. The ruling class correctly fears that Bernie is raising the expectations of the working class and the oppressed, and that his election would set into motion a “dangerous” dynamic of mass struggle.

While the liberal wing of the capitalist class is bitterly opposed to Donald Trump, most of them will back Trump as the “lesser evil” if Bernie wins the Democratic nomination. The Democratic establishment, its media outlets, and their supporters within social movements would do everything in their power to sabotage Bernie in the general election.

It would be a serious mistake for socialists to stand aside and argue against trying to make sure Bernie wins. Instead, our job is to help the left wing of Sanders’ campaign be politically conscious of this conflict, get organized, and develop a program and strategy to defeat the Democratic establishment and establish a party that is 100% on the side of working people.

There are big dangers that come with Sanders running within the Democratic Party. One is Sanders being defeated in the primaries and then using his authority to provide a left prop for the establishment Democratic candidate. Another major danger is that the huge energy gathered around Bernie dissipates after the electoral campaign is over. But this underlines all the more the importance of DSA fighting for Sanders volunteers to get organized independently.

Forging a New Party

As Sanders consistently raises, the only way he will be able to overcome the obstacles that the Democratic establishment will throw in his way is if millions of working people get actively involved and fight. To win the election, Sanders will need an unprecedented grassroots uprising to reach voters and respond to the corporate media’s propaganda.

Our DSA campaign can champion the idea that these millions of Sanders volunteers should come together in their own organization with democratic membership structures. An active member-run organization of Sanders volunteers would greatly strengthen Bernie’s campaign. It could have chapters in every part of the country meeting monthly to discuss events and work out their views in response to the constant distortion and smears by the capitalist media. Each chapter could actively campaign in their communities, organize door-knocking, community meetings, etc. without having to wait for the official Sanders campaign to show up as the primary election date nears.

Such an organization would need to be funded by its own members and not take any money from corporations. It should be a membership organization with democratic structures and decision-making, which would facilitate the fastest development of a mass base of activists.

A mass organization of this character should not be limited to just volunteering for Bernie in this one election cycle. With a longer term vision it could use the platform of the election to systematically build up its membership to be able to continue fighting on different fronts long after this race — building real power from below.

If Bernie is elected, we will need genuine left-wing representatives in Congress and state and local offices to also fight for a political revolution against the billionaire class. Otherwise Bernie would be isolated, facing constant sabotage from Congress and the ruling class.

Of course, genuine left-wing representatives will not be handed to us by the establishment of the Democratic Party. Instead, the millions who will get involved in Sanders’ campaign are the force that can achieve this. But to realize this potential and not allow it to slip away, they will need to be organized in a mass membership organization throughout the country and run candidates from within their own ranks who are 100% on the side of the working class.

If Bernie is elected president, he will only be able to carry out his program on the basis of massive movement of working people to overcome the all-out opposition of the ruling class. This also poses the need for the supporters of Bernie to have their own, on-going, mass organization to most effectively wage such a struggle.

Unfortunately this is not the current conception of the Sanders campaign. Although Our Revolution has a longer term vision, it currently lacks the necessary structures for activists to join and fully take democratic ownership of the organization.

But our DSA campaign can raise this idea and build support for it. We should campaign for Bernie to form such an organization, or call on Our Revolution to develop real membership and democratic structures so it could play such a role.

If Sanders and Our Revolution are unwilling to take this step, we will be able to offer DSA as an organization for all those activists who agree that there needs to be a democratic membership organization of the left. As we argued earlier, there will be the space for DSA to grow into a small mass party of around 150,000 members in this coming battle. However, if Sanders and Our Revolution were to adopt this approach, they could build a significantly larger organization than DSA.

What is this, if not the de facto beginning of a new political party independent from big business? It is true that it would be built on the terrain of fighting within the Democratic Party – a party of US capitalism. But that is where the fight is unfolding and where millions of workers and young people are gathering and looking for a political alternative to corporate politics.

DSA can play a critical role in making sure that, out of this battle, the socialist movement emerges qualitatively strengthened, and that the idea of independent working-class politics is popularized among Sanders’ left-wing base.