Official blog of the Greater Sacramento Progressive Alliance, one of the largest and most vibrant progressive activist groups in California with more than 7,000 members. We mobilize Progressives in Sacramento, the surrounding foothill areas, and at Sac State and Folsom Lake College.
Monday, November 16, 2015
DSA Advances Sanders Campaign
Members come from
around U.S., support Sanders
Chris Potter / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Orthodox Christian church retreat in Westmoreland County might seem an unlikely
place for the nation’s largest socialist organization to hold a national
convention. But then the American political map is being redrawn in countless
ways – not least by the organization’s favorite presidential candidate, Vermont
Sen. Bernie Sanders.
been pushing Bernie before he was running,” said David Duhalde, deputy director
of the Democratic Socialists of America. “We knew he would give a large space
for a conversation about democratic socialism.”
say 120 DSA members traveled from as far away as California to the Antiochian
Village retreat in Bolivar. They’ll be there through Sunday, talking about a
revolution that seems a bit more plausible than it did a year ago.
has already been such a mobilizing moment,” said Dustin Guastella, a
Philadelphia DSA member who co-chairs the group’s We Need Bernie Committee.
Mr. Sanders refers to himself as a democratic socialist, he is not a DSA
member. But the organization claims 6,500 Americans who are, and members say
the movement has attracted new interest since Mr. Sanders decided to run as a
Democrat this past spring.
does Mr. Guastella tell people who ask what democratic socialism is all about?
“I say we want to expand democracy outside politics and into the economic
sphere” – in part by raising wages, nationalizing critical industries like
health care, and ensuring free college education for all.
Sanders shares many of those values, but his campaign faces an uphill battle.
Polls consistently show him trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton by
to drum up enthusiasm in Pennsylvania, a state that picked Ms. Clinton over
Barack Obama in the 2008 primary, “is a real challenge,” admitted Joseph
Schwartz, a political-science professor at Temple University. “There's an east/west
split in the state, and the Clintons also have strong ties to leaders in the
there are DSA members scattered throughout the state, its only organized
chapter is in Philadelphia.
Mr. Sanders’ profile has given new visibility to a movement that, in recent
years, has almost dared not speak its name. To proclaim oneself a socialist,
said DSA member Natalie Midiri, “was like you were some sort of religious
fanatic. It’s very different now.”
members say they’re aware of the work ahead. During a Friday afternoon panel
discussion about the Sanders campaign, members discussed the danger of “bern
out” if Mr. Sanders loses, and of having their efforts entangled with the
Sanders campaign itself. Any such coordination could run afoul of federal
discussion also stressed the need to diversify DSA’s “overwhelmingly white”
membership and to reach beyond the often insular confines of leftist politics.
"What really matters is getting out there and talking to people and
getting out of your comfort zone,” said Rahel Biru, who co-chairs DSA’s New
York City chapter.
now, DSA members agree, the Sanders campaign is raising only the kind of red
flags that socialists like. "Bernie is making it OK to talk about
democratic socialism,” Elizabeth Henderson, co-chair of the We Need Bernie
Committee said during the panel discussion. “And we haven't seen that in the
last 40 years."
Welcome to the PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE. We are a multi-racial, multi-issue "rainbow coalition" dedicated to social justice, peace and building progressive power. Our key priorities include economic justice; equal rights and equal opportunities for all regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation; international solidarity; humanitarian service; eradicating poverty at home and abroad; environmental protection and sustainable development; and electing progressives to public office and then holding them accountable.
Founded in 2005, we have grown to more than 7,000 members and have emerged as one of the largest and most grassroots activist groups in California. We are proud to serve as a local chapter Our Revolution, the national movement inspired by Bernie Sanders' historic 2016 Presidential Campaign, and as a local affiliate of United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ), a network of several hundred peace and justice groups from all over the world.
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