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Democratic Socialists added 1000 members in 2 days following election

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ALB
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Joined: 22/06/2011

I think he was just saying that our "immediate demand" is socialism.

gnome
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Joined: 14/10/2011

rodmanlewis wrote:

I fear our publicity is too tame.

The new EC has plans afoot to remedy this shortcoming.  Watch this space.

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

Our interpretation of language may well be one of our problems, ALB. When we consider ourselves part of the Impossiblist tradition, demanding the impossible, as we sometimes express it in our slogans, people will tend to consider us utopian. 

I am not so sure that playing the blame game on our fellow-workers, as Rodman suggests, is the proper strategy to follow. Do we preach that they are all sinners and must repent their sins?

I am concerned that we do not enbolden our fellow worker with the confidence that they themselves can and will overthrow capitalism but instead concentrate our attention upon their weaknesses rather than their potential strengths, which indeed would focus on the power of their revolutionary vote. Keep nagging someone with obesity that they are fat and eat too much merely causes them to don protective armour and go into denial, and makes them more immune to criticism. Isn't the task of approaching any addiction is to make the person themselves seek out the changes in behaviour needed and it is important how others help to make it happen.

I also wonder about who we direct our persuasion towards? Is it in a crusade to convince those who have already taken  the baby-steps to reject what they perceive to be capitalism or try to engage those who fully acquiesce to the the status quo and form the supporting pillars of present-day society?

Many socialists are active in resisting the varied myriad encroachments of capitalism, such as being trade unionists, and find it possible to be involved in defensive reform action as well as revolutionary advocacy. The political paradigm we propose is one of walking the tight-rope between what is possible within capitalism and what is impossible to achieve. And i wonder that where we fail is forging the links between class war and the requirement for social revolution. Don't we endeavour to make socialism, not some sort of far-off objective but a necessary immediacy and part of present-day politics, not something separate. . 

At a personal level, just how many members of the party came in contact through gaining the requisite socialist consiousness via the class struggle. Damn few, i would guess but instead accidentally stumbled across the Party having already acquired similar views independently (and we seem to neglect understanding that process)  or were introduced to its ideas by family or friend away from the battle-field of ideology.

Sorry but i have more questions than answers and it is one reason i continually belive that we need to address our concerns in some sort of dialogue with eachother within the Party and try group-think to come to some sort of conclusion and resolution, for lets face the fundamental fact - based on our present membership and the our recruiting trend, we are heading towards extinction as a political party and just maybe, we have been doing something wrong in our approach and don't quite realise what. Does it help the Party's future to believe we have all the answers and the failure of communicating and conveying socialist ideas has never been partially our own fault but an indictment of our fellow-workers ignorance. 

I'm not sure i can so easily give up introspection to discover how we manifest our ideas into actual actions, be they basic or grand. 

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

rodmanlewis
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Joined: 22/06/2011

alanjjohnstone wrote:

I am not so sure that playing the blame game on our fellow-workers, as Rodman suggests, is the proper strategy to follow. Do we preach that they are all sinners and must repent their sins?

I wasn't suggesting apportioning blame to the working class. I'm suggesting the opposite strategy to the trots. They try to manipulate workers to get involved in what usually turn out to be futile protests hoping, that after many futile gestures, the penny will finally drop and workers will seek revolution preferably through trotskyist leadership. The trotskyist policy seems to be to rub the workers' noses in it, and hope they will learn by their mistakes.

What I am suggesting is that we try to nip the protests in the bud, and persuade at least some workers to look at the alternative that socialism offers. The issue is which members of the working class do we target initially, rather than use a scatter-gun approach?

rodmanlewis

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

Rodman, I agree with you completely about the Trotskyist manipulation of anger and resistance. However, i don't want to throw out the baby with the bath-water. Protests, marches and demonstrations i feel are legitimate expressions of political activity, just as work-to-rules, strikes and picket lines are for industrial action. I'd like to see far more of this reaction. A compliant, passive, docile, acquiescent working class are "not worth its salt" in the establishment of socialism as i think an article in the Socialist Standard from the 30s (?) once said.

It is a matter, as always, of picking your battles, some for the reason that you can win them, maybe to keep open a local library or fire station, and others siimply to show solidarity and support for fellow workers, as perhaps in the case of the airport occupations when Trump introduced his travel bans.  

This can be done in conjunction with conveying the socialist message...that society should be built to fulfil peoples needs and that we are one people, one world (to relate to my two examples)

In practical terms of our limited resources, we do require to choose from the array of possible targets we have before us and we have to select our best tools. But what we possess more than any other Party is integrity and a belief that our fellow workers, given the correct circumstances, can lead themselves without a cadre elite in charge as those Trotskyists insist must happen. Our only effective weapon is ideas and how we spread those means finding the most suitable soil to sow them so i do agree with you in this sense that we can't simply use a scatter-gun approach, our messages must be aimed. It is a class war and how we conduct our struggles need tactics and strategies.

My only reservation, is that with our dwindling membership, we simply will  not have the adequate forces required to apply and exert our influence. Numbers do indeed count to be effective and that is one thing we must bear in mind when determining our plans...how we can punch above our weight and make our voice heard above the racket of all the competing chanting and sloganeering from the Left and Right. A simple decision we have made is that it is better that we "attend" protest rallies, rather than "participate" in them. I am not so sure people recognise the difference when our lit stalls and leaflet distributers are indistiniquishable from other parties present . And i am not so sure that this decision of distancing ourselves often from poitical sentiments we are sympathetic to should be carved in stone and not be changed.

I was disappointed by the recent decision not to actually join in with certain rallies such as May Day, which celebrate our class as a whole. The Trotskyists commandeer those marches because they are permitted to. The SWP placard-providing service is an example of this hi-jacking that is allowed to happen, so wouldn't it be nice to challenge it with a supply of our own protest-signs and red flags to distribute along with our leaflets. Our one resource might not be "foot-soldiers", but we do have cash to "buy" a presence. 

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

jondwhite
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Major news outlets were reporting earlier this week the DSA has tripled their dues-paying membership in the last year to 19,000 (in February it was 16,000 according to reports)

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-democratic-socialists-20170308-story.html

jondwhite
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Here's a 'Why I Joined the DSA'

https://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/69brph/why_i_joined_the_democratic_socialists_of_america/

gnome
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The thread might just have well been called 'Why I joined the Democratic Party' or any other party trying to patch up capitalism.

One thing we can be absolutely sure about is that the DSA should have no pretension in describing itself as socialist.

jondwhite
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DSA claim 25,000 members

https://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/6qsbk5/dsa_proud_to_announce_we_reached_our_goal_of/

May 2016 - 6,500 members

Nov 2016 - 14,000 members

Feb 2017 - 16,000 members

Mar 2017 - 19,000 members

Aug 2017 - 25,000 members

Wonder if anyone has audited these claims ...

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

Comparing ourselves with the DSA is apples and oranges.

There are various membership options - 8 of them, including family memberships. You can even purchase membership for other people to give as a gift.

https://dsausa.nationbuilder.com/join

 

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

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