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The New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has plans for next year. Those plans include supporting a group of New York City Council candidates and—if enough of those candidates are successful—starting a “socialist caucus” on the City Council. As the New York Post recently noted, the DSA has supported several successful candidates in Democratic primaries this year. Because of the high number of vacancies opening up on the City Council at the end of 2021, the group sees an opportunity to create a beachhead on that body.
Who exactly are the Democratic Socialists of America? What do they stand for? The DSA is not a political party, but a nonprofit membership organization that typically supports the left wing of the Democratic Party. The organization’s website asserts that “to achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy…” Addressing the apparent contradiction between democracy and socialism, the DSA asserts that “democracy and socialism go hand in hand,” and adds that “all over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well.” Surprisingly, the DSA claims that socialists “have been among the harshest critics of authoritarian Communist states.” The DSA hopes to eventually eliminate “all but the most enjoyable kinds of labor,” and its members “are visible in the reproductive freedom movement, the fight for student aid, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations, anti-racist groups, and the labor movement.” More specifically, the DSA calls for Green New Deal, strengthened labor unions, a single-payer system of socialized health insurance, and—shockingly—a 50% cut in funding for police. The most high-profile DSA member is first-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx), who became a national left-wing superstar in 2018 when she toppled longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district.
New York City residents: Do you want your city to be “radically transformed” along socialist lines? If not, now is the time to get involved in your city’s political process.