The Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee is officially urging its members to work for the election of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
“Kerry was hardly the first choice of our members,” said Frank Llewellyn, national director of the DSA. “Most supported Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean in the Democratic primary elections and would be very critical of Senator Kerry’s voting record on trade issues, as well as his support for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq; but the most important concern of our members now is to defeat Bush.”
The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the U.S., with 5,500 members and local organizations in many large cities. It is affiliated with the Socialist International, a federation of the world’s socialist, social democratic and labor parties. It was founded as a group determined to push the Democratic Party to the left and has worked closely with the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The statement urged DSA members to participate in get-out-the-vote and voter education projects with other progressive organizations.
“It is very important that progressive movements keep organizing and mobilizing so that we will be in a position to make demands on a new administration,” Llewellyn continued.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus is a socialist-leaning bloc of about 60 votes or nearly 30 percent of the minority vote in the lower chamber. Until 1999, the website of the Progressive Caucus was hosted by the DSA.
Following an expose of the link between the two organizations in WorldNetDaily, the Congressional Progressive Caucus established its own website under the auspices of the Congress. Another officer of the Progressive Caucus, and one of its guiding lights, is avowed socialist Rep. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent.
The Democratic Socialists of America’s chief organizing goal is to work within the Democratic Party and remove the stigma attached to “socialism” in the eyes of most Americans.
“Stress our Democratic Party strategy and electoral work,” explains an organizing document of the DSA. “The Democratic Party is something the public understands, and association with it takes the edge off. Stressing our Democratic Party work will establish some distance from the radical subculture and help integrate you to the milieu of the young liberals.”
Nevertheless, the goal of the Democratic Socialists of America has never been deeply hidden. Prior to the cleanup of its website in 1999, the DSA included a song list featuring “The Internationale,” the worldwide anthem of communism and socialism. Another song on the site was “Red Revolution” sung to the tune of “Red Robin.” The lyrics went: “When the Red Revolution brings its solution along, along, there’ll be no more lootin’ when we start shootin’ that Wall Street throng. …” Another song removed after WorldNetDaily’s expose was “Are You Sleeping, Bourgeoisie?” The lyrics went: “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie. And when the revolution comes, We’ll kill you all with knives and guns, Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie.”
In the last three years, the Progressive Caucus has been careful to moderate its image for mainstream consumption.
“The members of the Progressive Caucus share a common belief in the principles of social and economic justice, non-discrimination and tolerance in America and in our relationships with other countries,” the group’s statement of purpose explains. Most of the members of the Progressive Caucus, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, opposed authorizing the war on Iraq. In fact, most Democrats in the House opposed the war resolution. Then House Minority Leader Gephardt and 81 other House Democrats supported the move.
“The Republican monopoly over all three branches of government has enabled an unprecedented rightist attack and rollback of the economic, legislative and policy gains won by the social movements of the twentieth century,” said the statement by the DSA announcing support of the Kerry campaign. “The Bush administration has steadily gutted the democratic regulatory state begun by the New Deal and Great Society. This dogmatic commitment to rapacious corporate domination, combined with the administration’s hostility to civil rights, has led to outright attacks on environmental protection, labor rights, public education, and the living standards of low-wage workers. In addition, the right’s cultural war in favor of the misnamed “traditional family values” threatens to turn back the crucial gains of the movements for women’s and gay and lesbian equality. The Bush administration’s continued hold on power for another four years would be a devastating blow to the economic security and cultural freedoms of most Americans, as well as to the prospects for peace and stability in much of the world.”