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Old 06-24-2019, 06:24 AM
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Default Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Capitalism and consumer culture are antithetical to ecological survival, and incapable of responding to the climate crisis we are in, that impacts everyone and hundreds of thousands of species of life that we depend on to survive. Ask any scientist that studies this about how the future’s looking and the price of inaction: it is beyond dire.

We live as wage slaves on the precipice of war and disaster, in the most powerful country in the world, where we are expected to hand over to our children- and future generations- lives that will be harder, with a shorter life expectancy, on a planet being ravaged by climate extinction events.

Billionaires and multinational businesses live on the labor they steal from the working class. Neoliberal globalization schemes- inside the US and all over the world- guarantee the freedom of capital of the wealthy, and the enslavement and exploitation of the working and poor through austerity programs, and the transfer of wealth from the workers and communities to the richest 1%.

We’re right on another capitalism-as-usual economic bubble now, where every major economic indicator and reporting suggests 18-24 months until an economic collapse or depression: complex financial instruments, consumer debt, T-bill inversion, quantitative easing having nowhere to go- where the elite and powerful will immediately call for austerity- cutting access to health care services, food aid programs; cutting Social Security and Medicare. They will demonize basic human rights and needs and suggest people are unrealistic, unpatriotic, and greedy for wanting health care, or a secure retirement, or clean water and air, or an education.

Meanwhile banks and megacorporations will receive billions in government subsidies, and we’ll approve another record military budget larger than the next seven nations’ largest military budgets combined, and the media will not say much about the tax cuts for the wealthy, the drones over eight nations, the six trillion dollars and 500,000 dead as a result of the US War on Terror, or the 500,000 people sleeping homeless tonight in the US, of which over 40,000 are estimated to be US veterans.

We’ll criminalize humanity like political violence and climate refugees and force tens of thousands of men, women, children, and babies into concentration camps, what ICE and Customs & Border Protection are doing today. We’ll continue with wars like the 18-year war and occupation the US has been waging in Afghanistan, where soldiers arriving now were born after the conflict started; there are 15,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan today, right now, fighting a war that no one in the US says a fucking thing about- a war filled with war crimes and with dead, with maimed, with PTSD and traumatic brain injury survivors.

At home a militarized and unaccountable police force will continue to shoot, imprison, and terrorize communities of immigrants, people of color, homeless, LGBTQIA, and people with autism. A “justice” system will imprison 2.3 million people in the US this year, disproportionately persons of color. The US holds more prisoners per capita than any other nation in the world, while criminalizing women’s bodies, criminalizing abortion, and denying women equality at every turn.

This is not our present, let alone future, that will be solved by me voting every couple of years, or showing up once a year at a protest, emailing my representatives, or @-ing at somebody on Twitter. Electoral politics of voting has never been enough, and our relationship to politics in the US- specifically our general disengagement- my own acceptance of the lie that easy-mode participation is enough- is no longer defensible, if it ever was.

The elite own the sources of most media and actively dis-inform, omit, and propagandize for the purpose of dividing, dis-empowering, and confusing the people who would otherwise organize, rise up, and refuse to obey. We’ll be told to compromise, to give up, to think a minor concession is all one could dream of begging for, like scraps under a table.

This is a time of unparalleled importance in human history that decides the fate of billions, but billions are abstract. This time decides the fate of my life, the life of my spouse, everyone I know in the community around me- my coworkers, my friends- especially my 14-year-old son, the course of his life, and the lives of his peers and the generations to come.

Greta Thunberg and her peers understand their future is literally being destroyed in front of them, by generations in power claiming to have their best interests in mind, and sadly the youth have the biggest stake in this fight for a livable, real future. Will they stand alone?

We only get a future less-than-darkest timeline if we turn to organizing directly in our communities and rapidly building a cohesive, adaptable, and visionary social justice-class struggle movement, democratizing everything right where we live, and transforming what we can in this time of massive social, environmental, and political upheaval. Believing that a better world is possible through direct, real action in our communities- empowerment and praxis as an antidote to paralysis and despair. Starting now. And not stopping. In my opinion this is the mission of the DSA, and I can’t support it enough.

The Democratic Socialists of America, spring-boarding off of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run, expanded from 5,000 to 50,000 in two years- people creating chapters all across the US. A big part of this is the YDSA- the youth and student section of the DSA, organizing on campuses.

I believe it is possible and want to build the DSA to 500,000 and then 5 million; and then 50 million. A vital, adaptable, unflagging force for social change. I want this to counter the incrementalism and obstructionism of electoral politics, and I want this to pull in young people instead of having them turn to fascism, nihilism, and hedonism when no positive, empowering alternatives are presented. An adaptable and visionary social force to counter fascists and supremacists allying with capitalist billionaires is required for survival, based on even the simplest reading of history.


The era of milk-toast liberalism and union-busting is ending. The adrift and detached aspect of meat-space community-lessness- where we know people online but not down the street- can be countered. Stand up and fight for a future worth having. What will it say in your obituary? What will you do with this, your life? I would like mine to read: threaded five impossible needles, to a future worth having, by joining together with other comrades to organize and fight.

Most of us are refugees of layers of patriarchy, capitalism, racism, bigotry, sexism, and liberalism we’ve been swimming in, and have transformations within to also manage, as we wake the fuck up. I’m no exception. I’m fighting because I hear the call, and because I want a future, and because if I don’t stand, how can I expect others to stand? I see that an utopian future is possible only if we fight for it- advocate for it.

That’s why I joined the DSA. If and when you hear the call, I hope we’ll stand together as comrades or allies and build a better world together.If you’re already fighting in your own way, salutations. If you’re working in the heart of the dragon, subvert that motherfucker. If you have a local DSA chapter, I double-dog dare you to check it out.

I am an ex-convict who spent five years in federal prison for a solo armed bank robbery in the 90's in Portland, Oregon, wherein I was shot (fairly) by the Portland Police; half political, half-suicide-by-cop wish, all tragic and foolish. I am the spouse to a woman whose love I've aspired to deserve for 21 years. I am the father of an amazing autistic teen. I am a baker of breads and pastries; day shifts, night shifts, hourly, salary. I am certainly an idealist, and a Gen-X weirdo Alaskan. A D&D Dungeon Master- of course. A nerdy cis-gendered white guy with opinions- of course. Often a mess of a human being. But I will navigate this and fight. I am telling you after seeing prison, living prison, and being “free” for these 16 years- brothers, sisters/ non-binary twisters: heart-attack serious, this society is a construct that only runs when you play along- shit’s getting real right now and the sooner we step up the sooner we can live in a world we want. Not that the struggle ever ends- that's the nature of the world. We can’t mince words and beat around the bush and hesitate, concerned that others might disapprove, in our perversely group-think society that also worships “freedom”. Because every day we aren’t organizing is another day we’re wasting. This is the time to speak plainly and stand. Not shamed into it, not coerced into it, not slyly hoodwinked or led down the garden path. If it’s not for you, that’s your jam. Maybe three-four years from now the landscape will be different and we’ll all be different, no? Maybe alliances is where we’ll find common cause in the fight that is here right now all around us; and into the foreseeable future. I swear to you the map is not the territory and the territory is changing for the better right now with you here. What if you went to a local DSA event, tabling, or meeting to find out for yourself?

Empassioned speechifying done; I’m actively working in my community to organize and empower through praxis as well as electoral means. Operational security (Op/Sec) in full effect at all times; love your comrades, adaptability, game theory, and organizing; hate class structure, injustice, ecological devastation, and the sick fucks who maintain this hellworld ship down the extinction slope for greed and profit.

-chunksmediocrites



“The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil...
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.”
- Albert Einstein, in his essay Why Socialism?, published in the Monthly Review, 1949.

“We need an economic bill of rights. This would guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work. It would also guarantee an income for all who are not able to work. Some people are too young, some are too old, some are physically disabled, and yet in order to live, they need income.
We feel that much more building of housing for low-income people should be done. On the educational front, the ghetto schools are in bad shape in terms of quality. Often, they are so far behind that they need more and special attention, the best quality education that can be given.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr., in his essay published in Look Magazine, 1968, shortly after his assassination.

"If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal." -Chelsea Manning, in her letter to Barack Obama, 2013.

“There are no emergency meetings, no headlines, no breaking news. No one is acting as if we were in a crisis. Even most climate scientists or green politicians keep on flying around the world, eating meat and dairy. … Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So we can't save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.” -Greta Thunberg, teen activist from Sweden, 2018.

‘Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.’- Greta Thunberg, teen activist at Davos, January 2019.

'You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones. Those who will be affected the hardest are already suffering the consequences. But their voices are not heard.... You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before. Like now. And those answers don’t exist any more. Because you did not act in time.'- Greta Thunberg, April 2019.
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2019, 02:18 PM
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rigorist rigorist is offline
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Avoid the official DSA forums like the plague unless you like the pettiest internal fighting about the dumbest shit.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Holy shit, rigorist! It has been quite a minute.

:welcome3:
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

But chunks, yeah.

All my adult life, I've been this "this is it" kind of feeling. I remember with Reagan in particular, thinking that this was the beginning of the end. Then, things would even out a little bit and it'd feel normal or close to it for a while, and then it'd start all over again. But I was not wrong. This time, it's really really that bad, and just smoothing things out a little bit while continuing along the same trajectory is not OK. It's not going to work. It might not work no matter what.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

I was co-chair of our local DSA chapter and I stepped down because I felt unappreciated and misused. Your mileage may vary, but I got fed up with the sexism and ageism and had to walk.

Yeah, I'm still hurting over it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigorist View Post
Avoid the official DSA forums like the plague unless you like the pettiest internal fighting about the dumbest shit.
I am mostly focusing on being effective in meat space and appreciate the warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vremya View Post
I was co-chair of our local DSA chapter and I stepped down because I felt unappreciated and misused. Your mileage may vary, but I got fed up with the sexism and ageism and had to walk.

Yeah, I'm still hurting over it.
I'm sorry, that really sucks. It was one of my concerns coming into my local chapter (really any organization); and a thing to watch for and correct. I don't claim to have a total knowledge of our chapter but so far what I've gotten involved in has been pretty welcoming of all, with lots of ages, genders, orientations in the mix as well as leadership positions.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

I'm not going to bag on the entire DSA. Lots of good people doing good work.

But stay out of the internal politics unless you were a big fan of Atheism+

(This is probably the only place on the internet where I can make that comparison and be understood)
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:35 AM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Without making this about the DSA in my head Groundskeeper Willie is shaking me by the collar and screaming, “Ye lied to me, laddie! There is nae troo Marxist-Leninist!”
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Old 08-21-2019, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Co-chair of the Portland DSA Olivia Katbi Smith is interviewed on the DC Sentinel podcast, on the Aug 17 protest between antifascist and Patriot Prayer / Proud Boys / numerous out of state and in state militia, white nationalist, fascist groups... clearly supported by the police, and city government.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) - Workings towards a better future for all.
Quote:
Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.
“Go Live in a Cave if You’re Really Anti-Capitalist:” On Having a Smartphone and Hating Capitalism Too - Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Quote:
Whether or not you consider yourself anti-capitalist, you’ve probably heard that tired retort that socialists regularly encounter: “If you hate capitalism so much, why do you have a smartphone? If you were really against capitalism, you’d become an off-the-grid caveman instead of participating in the capitalist system.” The spirit of this argument has prevailed among critics who speculate about the allegedly expensive tastes of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one among a recent wave of democratic socialists to hold political office.

As a case in point, consider how she was ridiculed by one Fox News reader for making the modest suggestion that profit shouldn’t be prioritized at the expense of human lives and the planet:
AOC on the ideology that she calls capitalism: "We seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else and we seek it at any human and environmental cost... To me that ideology is not sustainable and cannot be redeemed"
Someone mocked her with "As she talks on her cell phone and flies in private jets and funnels money to her boyfriend while driving her high priced car. Don't forget her high rise apartment. Yeah, capitalism really sucks, AOC. Naptime."

AOC herself has talked about capitalism vs. socialism, and I find what she says rather muddled, as if she hasn't thought it through as well as she ought to have. I say that about someone who very much appreciates what she has done to US politics, bringing up a lot of issues that many mainstream politicians have been very timid about -- at best. I also appreciate her career and her moral character and her being very thoughtful.

She is funded by small donations, and I recall an interview where she considered the conundrum of some big donor who completely agrees with her. She decided that she would refuse, because that is a dangerous slippery slope.

She also thinks that we ought to think more about specific proposals than about ideologies, like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.

She herself has done some capitalism, it must be conceded. Back in 2012, she attempted to start a publishing house, Brook Avenue Press, one that would specialize in children's books that reflect the experiences of inner-city children. I recall a screenshot of a bit of one: M is for Metrocard, N is for newspaper, and the like. That startup flopped without any books ever published.

She sums up her political program as "In a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live."
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Old Yesterday, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Why I joined the Democratic Socialists of America

I like her because she's a sorely needed counterbalance to poorly thought through yet loudly promoted and ultimately passed in to law right wing propaganda juggernaut ideas. I like her proposals just to drag the margin left, practical or not. At least the practicality is up for debate.
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