DSA and the Outside World
There are political threads running between the DSA NPC’s non-handling of Bowman, the LSCs debate in Chicago DSA, and the DSA NPC’s de-chartering of the BDS Working Group.
1. Treating electoral accountability as a *threat* to electoral politics
2. Treating electoral politics as *primary* over all other organizing methods or (worse) in competition with other methods
3. Treating DSA as the *primary* political actor on the Left
4. Treating other Leftwing political actors as either irrelevant or (worse) competition
The petitions and denunciations flooding in from pro-Palestine groups in the wake of the BDS WG de-chartering is one of the first major instances since 2016 when the outside world is weighing in on DSA. This moment is long overdue. Way too many members of DSA have only known it as their political home and are so disconnected from the outside world that they probably had no idea something like this could happen.
We are not the only fish in the pond. Based on *active membership*, we probably aren’t even the biggest fish. We need to re-evaluate our entire theory of change and how it affects our organizational structures and approaches to organizing.
The failure to understand that, as an organization, we are operating in the real world, populated with various people and organizations that are all active players on the political scene, will have long-term detrimental effects. Alienating ourselves from the very organizations we should be working with, like pro-Palestine groups, while also driving a paranoid fear that if the outside world is irrelevant, then any problems we experience must be due to “the enemy within”.
We need to re-evaluate our theories of change and how they affect both our organizational structures as well as how we approach organizing in the first place. I wrote up an article for Midwest Socialist at the beginning of March to start this discussion where I was tying in the Bowman affair and the LSC discussions. This discussion is more urgent than ever.