Back in late march, some former members of the 1960s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) penned an article for In These Times titled The Dangers of Factionalism in SDS.

The article tries to use to alleged historical examples of “entryism” as a warning for blocking Socialist Alternative (SA) from joining The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) today. On reading the article, it required about 5 minutes of critical thinking to completely debunk it. The text below is copied directly from a social media post from April 8, 2021.

In spite of myself, I decided to read this article.


Sometimes, the best way to figure out a political question is to think about the end goal, then trace your steps backward from the end goal to the present circumstances: reverse engineering. I’d like to try and apply this to abolition.

An iceberg in the ocean
The [melting] away of the state

Define the End Goal

My interpretation of abolition is that it is the absence of prisons and bodies of armed men (i.e. the state), and the presence of a society that collectively and democratically organizes the production and distribution of wealth.

If the goal is to abolish the state, why does it exist in the first place?

The state exists principally to use…

I had the pleasure of helping author the Transparency & Accountability To Build Socialist Power proposal, along with other comrades. This proposal was hotly debated via Chicago DSA’s Slack and social media for a week before being voted on at CDSA’s first General Membership meeting in over a year.

There were two articles written to help and promote the proposal. Comrades even put together a beautiful set of slides and a “Smarties Guide” to the proposal! This has to be the fullest, most public approach to a proposal I’ve ever seen.

There were also two articles written in opposition.


A person walks past broadway billboard posters as NYC has lost two-thirds of art and culture jobs.

There is a polarization going on in the world right now.

It was represented by the election of Joe Biden, which should have been a landslide. Instead, Trump actually gained lots of ground.

It is represented in the fact that Rossana and Lori Lightfoot were both contenders in The Chicago Reader for the best politician in Chicago and Cook County.

Biden and Lightfoot represent a return to normal.

Rossana and Trump provide two opposing views of moving forward.

We are seeing these debates play out in all facets of life: our personal relationships with family, discussions with friends, workplaces, and…

Watching the police violence that triggered the uprising, and the police violence to quell it, reminds me that the state is first and foremost a tool for violence. Politics is just a way for the ruling class to try and politely exploit and repress us. But they are short on patience and will quickly turn to violence as needed.

Similarly, the burning of police stations and street fighting against the police reminded me that if the working class was in a position to organize and exert its own violence: it absolutely would.

There is a famous phrase that goes something…

What does victory look like?

The working class has built up an alternative government to the capitalist government. It is able to use that government for the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist government and begin building socialism.

Examples of alternative governments: Russian soviets (1905 and 1917), workers councils that spread throughout Europe (1918–1923), the cordones in Chile (1973), etc.

What is the path to victory?

The working class, guided by its different and contradictory organizations, engages in reformist struggles to:

  • Provide people with direct assistance as needed (mutual aid, community defense — which includes things like eviction defense and some form of rapid response to ICE or fascist violence)
  • Win immediate…

Currently, Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant is facing a right-wing recall vote to remove her from the council.

Sawant is a vocal socialist, a member of Socialist Alternative (SA), and an active supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. For standing up for her principles, she has faced waves of attempts by the rich to oust her from power. But this attempt is occurring during the pandemic of COVID-19, which prevents organizers from going door-to-door to raise awareness about her cause and rally support.

To that end, members of SA invited Chicago DSA members and alders Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, Byron Sigcho Lopez…

Taking the stage and transforming through struggle

We are finally nearing the end of 2020. The largest uprising in US history lasted from approximately June — August. During this three month period, we witnessed a multi-racial, anti-racist movement rise up and protest the police on a near-daily basis. It unleashed the masses in a way that this country hasn’t seen since the 1960s.

The protests changed the protesters, it steeled them. It couldn’t be any other way. The protests were fearless and relentless. They had to be because the protests were against the biggest armed gang in the country: the police. Not only were the protesters risking…

Note: I actually wrote this back in late January, early February of 2020. For whatever reason I never got around to publishing it. But I was thinking about it while trying to write a separate post and it seemed like the write time to publish this in order to reference it and skip a bunch of explanation.

About 10 months later, this all basically holds true.

Socialism is finally a legitimate political contender in the US. It isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The bourgeoisie has allowed Bernie Sanders to become the most popular politician in the US.

I originally wrote the article here, but it made sense to move it to Midwest Socialist instead.

Ken Barrios

Born and raised in Chicago to immigrant parents. A member of the ISO from 2006–2010. DSA member since 2018. Revolutionary socialist for life.

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