Over the past few months, It’s Going Down has talked to a variety of people both inside and outside the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the fastest growing socialist organization in the US, and certainly the biggest, with now over 50,000 members. The response to the first two podcasts has been very positive, especially as the theme within both is that the electoral tendency within the DSA to push towards becoming the left-wing of the Democratic Party, is by and large, a strategy with no future.
BBQ with Comrades! ????
— DSA-LSC OC (@LSC_OC) May 29, 2018
Wanting to talk to more people inside the DSA itself, we sat down with two people involved in the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, also known as the LSC. According to the two people that we spoke with, one based in the bay area of California and the other in Eugene, Oregon, for them the DSA offered a place where people activated under Trump and often new to organizing could come and easily get involved. They also stated that LSC is the largest caucus within the DSA, with well over 500 members within the larger structure. “We’re the big tent within the big tent,” says one of our guests, referencing the fact that within the LSC there are a variety of anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and communalists.
— Seattle DSA LSC ?? (@sdsa_lsc) May 2, 2018
Throughout our conversation, we discuss broadly what the group does, which seems largely to be organizing dual power and community organizing projects, from medic collectives to break light programs and beyond, to how they see themselves relating to the rest of DSA and also the wider anarchist movement.
Powerful action at the Gary airport. They deport about 200 people from there every week. Flights leave Friday at 11:30. They drive detainees there in vans and load them in shackles into the planes.
Today, they cancelled the vans and the flight because of our action. pic.twitter.com/rk9xHb6JVS
— Chicago DSA LiBOOtarian Socialists ???? (@cdsa_lsc) July 6, 2018
We think that that there is a lot to be critical about within the DSA. We believe that electoral campaigns need to feed off and recuperate energy and enthusiasm from social movements in order to stay relevant; and especially energize a base of support. This is something we saw with Bernie, who then predictably marched his troops into the arms of the DNC. Already, DSA darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pushing for people to support all DNC candidates in the upcoming election.
Folks,,, we've buttons.
Meeting 6:30pm this wednesday 4/5 at the common room of the IWW/DSA space at:
2249 E Burnside pic.twitter.com/FyI0uHlNNf
— PDX ? ? LSC (@pdx_dsa_lsc) April 2, 2018
At the same time, having a growing pole within the DSA is at least a sign that new ideas are popular and they are growing, as also evidenced by the growing list of DSA-LSC chapters spreading across the US. Where these groups go, or if they will be able to articulate an autonomous, anti-state, and anti-capitalist set of politics, remains to be seen, but their current growth points to continued interest in anti-authoritarian ideas even within organizations that are at least in part, largely opposed to those positions.