Organization Is Our Principal Task! On Socialist Electoral Work

By Sam H-L

DSA caucuses have spent endless time squabbling at the national level about “the break” from the Democrats: when this break should happen, and how clean it should be. Regardless of where you stand, the question remains the same: what should our relationship to the Democratic Party be?

This question is emblematic of the kinds of arguments that DSA is having at this stage in our development: one could imagine this political question having real stakes behind it, but only if DSA were the type of organization whose decisions at the national stage mean much of anything at all. Without a clear and sober analysis of the actual conditions facing our electoral work — both the nature of the Democratic Party and the practical implications of DSA’s organizational structure — the question of our relationship to the Democratic Party will remain untethered from our practical activity. The political questions that we struggle through matter! But they mean nothing without a strong institutional coherence and scientific outlook. Our principal task is organization: building a robustly democratic working-class system to contest power and exercise it. We must not stray from this goal.

As students of history, we know that revolutionary activity

The Future of Work looks a lot like the Past and Present of Work

By Joseph H.

The creation of the proletariat, the wage-laboring working class, is the definitive characteristic of Capitalism.  As capital is accumulated, the working class grows, a mutually reinforcing process that powers the dynamo of Capitalism.  The number of people exploited in this manner, and the extent of the exploitation, grows in proportion with the growth of the wealth of the capitalist class.  This is the definition of Capitalism, and the ways in which this dynamic manifests are numerous.

One particular expression of this relationship of exploitation has been in the rise of Gig Work.  Particularly associated with “App-Based” work, and coming into prominence with the rise of Uber and its cadre of  “on-demand” companies, this work is characterized by its unpredictable nature, lack of company benefits, and piece-work pay.  In addition, it has characteristics that make it particularly corrosive to the worker solidarity that is supposed to accompany collective exploitation.  Gig Workers don’t ever see each other in the ordinary course of their work, and they are subject to “Algorithmic Management”; hired, fired and disciplined by a computer that reaches them through their phones.  The pitch for workers is flexibility and independence, but that’s really only true

Failed Techno-Utopias

By Cara H.

Living in the Bay Area means constantly being promised a better world by tech CEOs and venture capitalists, while simultaneously being constantly confronted by the failings of capitalism via astronomical rents, massive homelessness, and the failure of public institutions. If this better world is coming, heralded by historic advancements in technology, then why has it failed to materialize? If work-focused technologies like Zoom and Slack have increased productivity, then why are we still working 40 hours a week - or more - for essentially the same wages - or less?

Where did the money go?

Venture capitalists and tech boosters like to claim that, under capitalism, the global standard of living has increased dramatically. The lion’s share of that growth in the last 20 years has, however, been driven by China under the banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics — hardly an endorsement of a capitalist world order. And in the rest of the world, this growth has come at a tremendous cost and left a trail of destruction in its wake, with institutions broken by colonialism, conflict exacerbated by nationalism, environmental collapse, and all of society reoriented to the whims of the Market. But technology, and

The Coming Rupture and Our Tasks

I am told that there is no danger because there are no riots; I am told that, because there is no visible disorder on the surface of society, there is no revolution at hand… This, gentlemen, is my profound conviction: I believe that we are at this moment sleeping on a volcano.
Alexis De Tocqueville, January 1848

The left in the United States is faced with a stark situation - every day we witness the contradictions of capitalism increasing and sharpening, the signs of which can be seen everywhere. There is an unprecedented pandemic the ruling class not only tolerates, but makes record profits off of. The “economic growth” represented in the stock market is increasingly detached from real economic activity, and relies more and more on speculation. The climate crisis continues unabated, with only limp gestures offered to combat it. The last vestiges of American representational democracy are being shed. Despite the largest protests in American history against police violence, the structures of policing remain unchanged. The American empire is in retreat. The political center grows weaker, while a militant spirit in the labor movement and a mystical reactionary populist movement grow in strength simultaneously. All of these contradictions

Burning Questions in a Burning World

Making the Most of the Revolutionary Situation That Isn’t

By Eugene Violet

We must not turn away from the truth: we do not yet possess the capacity for revolution, otherwise we would have seen a unified mass movement come out of the remarkable revolutionary energy of the past decade. And yet, we have very little time to get there. This is the contradiction and the duty of our generation: decolonization or extinction.
The Red Deal (39).

I once worked closely with a communist who criticized me for using Climate Change in organizing conversations. They felt that the path to socialism is blazed through right ideas leading to right action, and that invoking the specter of Climate Change was “cheating.” They later became a COVID-denialist and anti-vax fanatic, and just like that, one of the most principled, committed organizers I ever worked alongside banished themselves to abject crankery. Revolution is not the product of correct ideas or even right actions: revolution occurs when those with good ideas and the courage to leap into the unknown recognize revolutionary conditions and make the most of them, using any and all tools at their disposal to help radicalize and redirect the masses towards

Announcing Zenith, a Journal from Red Star

Red Star is excited to announce that a project we've been working on for several months is nearing completion. Late last year, Red Star decided to solicit pieces from our membership to compile into a journal. Today, we are excited to announce Zenith, an occasional journal from Red Star. While there are still some finishing touches we have to put on it, we feel the writing we have put together provides crucial analysis and ideas for DSA members who share our revolutionary political horizon. To that end, we are releasing the first batch of pieces from the first issue of Zenith today.

This journal is the product of a number of discussions Red Star had over the course of 2021, where we took stock of our political project and refined our understanding of its objectives. These discussions resulted in new analyses and ideas that we worked to refine and eventually incorporated into our caucus points of unity. These theories are pertinent to the political challenges that we believe are widely felt in some form or another across DSA, and thus we felt it would be useful to share them. We decided to try to explain and apply our theories, and