Proposed DSA Political Platform for 2021 Convention
Our intern, Wyatt Verlen, received this latest draft of the DSA’s newest platform from one of his connections on the inside of today’s Left. We chose to share it here with our American Mind readership, because it is essential for conservatives to understand the radical turn of today’s Democratic Party. For more analysis, see Wyatt’s salvo on how to understand and combat the spread of this organization and its ideology into American life.
This second draft is the baseline of what delegates will discuss at the 2021 National Convention. It involves many hours of work to incorporate input from individual members and national committees. Thank you to everyone who gave feedback through the form and in discussions at our Pre-Convention Conferences. Amendments may be submitted here.
- The deadline to submit amendments is midnight on Thursday, 7/15.
- Amendments require 250 signatures from members in good standing
- Each amendment may only pertain to one section of the platform
- An author may submit a maximum of 4 amendments
- Amendments must be politically substantive. Style edits, copy edits, or other languageedits that are not substantive will not be considered.
- Platform planks are listed in alphabetical order, with the exception of Deepening and Strengthening Democracy, which the Platform and Resolutions Subcommittee voted to place first in order to foreground our commitment to political and economic democracy as necessary conditions to achieve a democratic socialist society.
Preamble The Democratic Socialists of America are fighting to win a world organized and governed by and for the vast majority, the working class. We are socialist because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are democratic because we know that this transformation cannot be won from the top down, by a small group of elites who claim to have all the answers, or by even well-meaning politicians. This transformation can only come from the bottom up, when millions of working-class people stand together. DSA organizes to realize our working-class collective power, which stems from the reliance of the capitalist economy on our labor. Democracy is necessary to win a socialist society. Socialism is the complete realization of democracy. Our fight to end capitalist exploitation is inextricably tied to our fight to end oppression. A democratic socialist society must end all systemic domination, whether it’s based on race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. The historical development of U.S. capitalism was heavily reliant on the theft of people’s lives and land, through the enslavement of Black people and genocide of Indigenous people. Our legal, economic, and social institutions continue to perpetuate racialized oppression. We will never be able to unify a multi-racial working class without confronting structural racism.
Likewise, a democratic socialist society must end the economic subjugation of women in the workplace, violence and harassment affecting women and non-binary people, and the entire system of unpaid, gendered work. We strive for the emancipation of all people by forging the multiracial working class into an organized, fighting force on the terms of its most oppressed members. In overcoming the old, barbaric order of capitalism, the working class will not only liberate itself from its own shackles, but all of humanity from the parasitic death-drive of capitalism. As capitalism’s climate crisis ravages the whole Earth, the well-being of the working class is ultimately aligned with the survival of the whole planet.
In 2021, the U.S. socialist movement is on the rise for the first time in most of our members’ lifetimes. Millions of people have been inspired to seek out alternatives to the existing political regime, owing to Bernie Sanders’ two democratic socialist presidential campaigns, working-class electoral victories at all levels of government, massive popular protests and organizing for racial justice, an influential upsurge in militant labor activity, and strategic campaigns to build popular support for key issues, such as healthcare and climate change. In the four years of the Trump administration, DSA membership exploded and is currently approaching our goal of 100,000 members.
But this growth of the socialist movement is not nearly enough to overcome the devastating impact of four decades of neoliberal capitalism, let alone bring about a transition to socialism. Neoliberalism is the political project of lowering taxes for the rich and corporations, eviscerating democratic decision-making both in the workplace and at the ballot box, slashing spending on essential social services such as education and social security, deregulating industries across the economy, and opening up flows of capital across national borders. The success of neoliberalism has enforced a culture of hyper-individualism and alienation from the kinds of collective, democratic organizations necessary to challenge the power of the capitalist class.
This challenge highlights the insufficiency of “progressivism” as well as the critical task of DSA. Transformational change in society does not come from moral righteousness or a checklist of policy positions, but from growing and wielding power. It is therefore imperative that we organize the largest possible number of people to join DSA and work together with broader coalitions united around common goals. It is to these ends that we are setting out the platform that follows. We have a world to win.
- Deepening and Strengthening Democracy
- Abolition of the Carceral State
- Abolition of White Supremacy
- A Powerful Labor Movement
- Economic Justice
- Gender and Sexuality Justice
- Green New Deal
- Health Justice
- Housing for All
- International Solidarity and Immigration Justice
Deepening and Strengthening Democracy: The American political system was not made to serve the working class. Undemocratic institutions like the Senate and the Electoral College combine with the force of money in politics to make it impossible for the will of the majority to be expressed. The minoritarian right wing Republican Party uses Jim Crow-style racist restrictions on voting to desperately cling to power through reactionary white populism and their political domination of the South and the rural high plains, while mainstream Democrats are hopelessly compromised by their donor class of capitalists. The little democracy we have is currently under siege by the Republican assault on voting rights in the states and the apparent willingness of Republican officials to wholesale overturn results of elections. True change—abolishing the Senate and Electoral College, overturning the Supreme Court cases that hold that money is speech—would require constitutional amendment, made nearly impossible by our ossified Constitution. The nation that holds itself out as the world’s premier democracy is no democracy at all. We have no choice but to fight. We fight for a political system that empowers the working class majority to govern society in our best interests. We fight for a society where every person has the power to take part in collective self-governance, whether at the ballot box or in the workplace. We fight for democracy because it is a necessary condition to winning a world that works for the vast majority instead of a small group of capitalists. We fight for democracy because we all deserve a say in the decisions that affect our lives. The fight for socialism is the fight for true democracy—on the job and in all aspects of society. Our demands:
- A new political order through a second constitutional convention to write the founding documents of a new socialist democracy
- Get money out of politics and institute an effective and robust system of public financing for electoral campaigns at the local, state, and federal level
- Amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s rulings that campaign spending limits violate the First Amendment (Buckley v. Valeo) and that corporations are entitled to spend unlimited funds on independent expenditures (Citizens United)
- End minority rule
- Abolish the Senate and the Electoral College
- Ban prison gerrymandering, where prisoners are counted as residents of where they are incarcerated, boosting the political power of the rural communities where they are located at the expense of the urban communities they come from
- Abolish the filibuster
- Pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact in enough states to trigger its provisions and approval by Congress, which would short-circuit the Electoral College in favor of electing the president via popular vote
- Limiting the power of the undemocratic judiciary
- Supreme Court term limits and additional seats to break the countermajoritarian conservative majority
- Additional seats in the lower courts to ensure the federal judiciary reflects the political composition of the country
- Transition to a Parliamentary system
- End of single-member districts with first-past-the-post winners in state and federal legislative elections
- Democratic self-governance for all
- DC statehood
- Binding referenda in all overseas colonies of the United States on independence or statehood
- End all disenfranchisement based on criminal conviction
- Extension of voting rights to non-citizens who otherwise meet durational residency requirements for voting
- Guarantee the right to vote
- Passage of HR 1, the For the People Act, providing for nationwide online, election day, and automatic voter registration; providing for nationwide early voting; making Election Day a federal holiday; ending felony disenfranchisement upon a voter’s release from prison; public financing for Congressional campaigns with a 6:1 match; requiring independent nonpartisan redistricting commissions for Congressional districts; and reforming the broken FEC
- Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, reenacting and strengthening the Voting Rights Act
- No-fault vote by mail in every state
- Protection of voting rights for disabled and ill individuals who cannot leave their homes or care facilities, including universal use of accessible polling sites and voting machines, and secure ballot solutions for those who cannot mark, verify, and cast paper ballots privately and independently under the current system
Abolition of the Carceral State The power to create a truly democratic society is found in the organization and self-activity of the working class. The tools of our opposition, enforcing our exploitation and oppression under capitalism, are the repressive forces of the state. A vast, brutal machinery of police and prisons, security and surveillance agencies, immigration and border enforcement, courts and prosecutors all assembled to disorganize working class communities through the routine application of violence, intimidation, and coercion.
Incarceration, detention and policing are active instruments of class war which guarantee the domination of the working class and reproduce racial inequalities. The origins of policing and prisons and their present-day effects demonstrate that they are white supremacist institutions. Yet these same institutions, in their prosecution of disproportionate violence on Black, Indigenous and other people of color, have consequences for the whole of the working class—they widen divisions between people, legitimize the expansion of police power, and accelerate institutional incentives to violate and imprison millions of people.
For all of the working class to achieve collective liberation we must constrain, diminish, and abolish the carceral forces of the state—from prisons and police themselves, to their manifestations in all forms throughout society. Each step forward in reducing the size, power, and authority of the repressive forces of the state expands the space for mass, organized, and collective action of the working class, and clears ground for us to build the institutions of a society to serve our communities with real justice and equality.
DSA nationally endorses the 8 to Abolition demands, which are a basis for our own.
We are committed to the horizon of abolition and the path leading us there. Our demands:
- Defund the police by rejecting any expansion to police budgets or scope of enforcement while cutting budgets annually towards zero
- Fire officers with excessive force complaints and freeze new hires
- Eliminate funding for police public relations campaigns
- Suspend paid leave for cops under investigation
- End investment in police training or facility renovations
- Remove police from all hospitals and care facilities and prohibit law enforcement access to private patient information
- Repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, which protects police from discipline, nationwide
- End qualified immunity
- End all police contracts with social services, care services, and government agencies providing care
- Decertify police unions and associations
- Make police union contract negotiations public
- Expel police unions from labor federations
- Withhold pensions and disallow rehiring of cops fired for misconduct
- End the criminalization of working-class survival
- End all misdemeanor offenses, accounting for 80% of total court dockets, reduce jail churn by reducing arrests, and cut funding to prosecutor’s offices
- End all fines and fees associated with the criminal legal process, including ticketing, cash bail, court costs, and parole and probation fees
- Abolish all asset forfeiture programs and laws
- End mandatory arrest and failure to protect laws that lead to the criminalization of survivors of gendered violence; grant clemency to criminalized survivors
- Freedom for all incarcerated people
- Free all people from involuntary confinement
- Stop all funding of prison expansion, stop funding of new buildings, and close local jails
- End pre-trial detention, civil commitment, and imprisonment for parole violations
- Remove and repeal all restrictions on the organization, demonstration, and labor action of incarcerated people
- Make all communication to and from prisoners free
- Reject “alternatives to incarceration” that are carceral in nature, including problem-solving courts and electronic monitoring and coercive restorative justice programs
- Demilitarize the police and end colonial policing of our cities and neighborhoods
- Cease police occupation of Black and brown communities, ceasing and defunding all iterations of “quality of life” policing programs
- Disarm law enforcement officers, including the police and private security
- Decarcerate our schools by repealing truancy laws, ending all zero tolerance disciplinary policies, suspensions and expulsions, surveillance of students, and removing police—both public and private—from all schools, colleges, and universities
- Decarcerate our hospitals and care facilities, removing police and prohibiting law enforcement access to private patient information prohibit law enforcement access to private patient information
- End police surveillance and cease all funding for contracting, procurement, and in-house development of technologies including CCTV, biometric capture and databases, predictive policing platforms, AI, and risk profiling algorithms
- End all data and resource sharing with ICE, end immigration detention, end family separation, and let our undocumented community members come home
- Cease all police militarization programs and end federal grants that entangle municipal police entities with the Department of Homeland Security, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the FBI
- Prohibit training exchanges between U.S. law enforcement and global military and policing entities
- Freedom of working-class self-organization and democratic political action
- Repeal all legal prohibitions on concerted, organized labor action in the U.S. by workers in any industry, public or private
- Remove and repeal all restrictions and enforceable statutes that restrict the political assembly, democratic organization, and free movement in our workplaces, on our streets, on public land and property, and in the whole of the commons
- Repeal local ordinances that criminalize people involved in the sex trades, drug trades, and street economies; that criminalize homelessness; and that criminalize squatting and other productive occupation of unused housing
- Remove and repeal all restrictions on the organization and recognition of military unions, allowing service members to form democratic worker organizations
- Invest in community self-governance and care, not cops
- Institute neighborhood councils as representative bodies within municipal decision making, multilingual resources for immigrant and asylum-seeking communities, and community-based public safety approaches
- Ensure investment in community-based food banks and other community-based food distribution
- Allocate funding for free at the point-of-service social care infrastructure, wellness resources, neighborhood based trauma centers, non-coercive drug and alcohol treatment programming, peer support networks, and training for healthcare professionals
- Invest in teachers and counselors, universal childcare, and support for all family structures—resources that move beyond punitive models of care and discipline
- Invest in youth programs that promote learning, safety, and community care
Abolition of White Supremacy: We fight to abolish white supremacy and racial oppression because its destruction is in the interest of all workers, including white workers. Whiteness is a modern sociological construction, and its development and integration into the racial ideology of the United States is linked to the development of capitalism in the original European colonies. The fictions of whiteness and the ideology of race amount to a barbed offering. The apparent benefits of buying into white supremacy ultimately destroy the opportunity to build solidarity across differences. We cannot meaningfully combat capitalism without combating white supremacy and vice versa. At the 2019 national convention, DSA formally endorsed the “Red Deal” proposed by the Red Nation. We organize for the formal acknowledgment of Native sovereignty, and the reinstatement of treaty rights for indigenous people. The development of capitalism in the U.S. relied heavily on forced displacement of indigenous people, and therefore our political project must oppose settler colonialism. Ending white supremacy will require redistribution, institutional transformation, and expansion of legal rights. In the short term, we fight for policies such as reparations for Black and indigenous communities; in the long term, for the abolition of police and prisons, self-determination for all oppressed people, and to transform and expand constitutional rights and economic arrangements for a multi-racial, economic democracy. We won many of these constitutional and statutory rights along with a promise of full economic and social liberation during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Today, we fight to implement the full promise of that moment.
- Pass reparations legislation like the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.” Coming out of the commission, we would want budget lines for reparations at municipal, state, and federal levels.
- End workplace discrimination and impose harsher fines for workplace discrimination cases. This should include efforts to reduce wage gaps between different workers; end E-Verify and allow for legal employment to all persons regardless of immigration status; and employ a larger task force with a purview based on their municipality to address issues of structural inequality.
- Remove barriers to enforcement of civil and constitutional rights such as those involving racial or other class-based discrimination, including qualified immunity and limitations on filing and proving individual and class action civil and criminal lawsuits
- Increase funding to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) such as historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), tribal colleges and universities (TCU), Hispanic serving institutions (HSI), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI).
- Decarceration and eventual abolition of the carceral state, which disproportionately targets and impacts Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color.
- Enact “Ban the Box” nationwide, making it illegal to ask about past criminal history on a job application, and pass legislation that puts an end to the use of past criminal history as a criterion for eligibility for education, employment, housing, loans, and voting.
- End racial and religious profiling of South Asian, Arab, and Muslim people by federal, state, and local police forces
- Establish community based response systems, entirely seperated from the carceral state, in order respond to targeted anti-asian, anti-latino, antisemitic, anti-black, anti-indigenous, islamaphobic, and all types of racist violence
- Expand disability benefits and protective legislation around sick leave and workers compensation
- Extend and expand sanctuary protections across the US to end cooperation between state and local law enforcement with ICE; prevent local state agencies from collecting or sharing an individual’s immigration information with federal agencies; ban state and local resources from being used to aid federal immigration enforcement; and guarantee access and provision of legal counsel to undocumented immigrants facing deportation
- Pass legislation that will work to end racial discrimination in the housing market
- Implement and fully fund programs for desegregation and integration for all publics chools
- Increase access to education for immigrants by increasing funding for prekindergarten through college education and funding for adult education, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), High School Equivalency (HSE), prep, and English Language Learners (ELL) and Multilingual Learners (MLL) programs
- Broaden language justice through making translation resources more widely available
- End the legacy of colonial violence against indigenous people through repatriation, and call for the US adherence to existing treaties and statutes upholding indigenous rights and sovereignty
- End environmental racism and ensure clean air, water, and soil for all
A Powerful Labor Movement: The importance of a vibrant, fighting labor movement to building socialist power cannot be overstated. In the first half of the 20th century, U.S. labor unions were full of rank-and-file socialists. They helped build more militant unions by training workers to organize and encouraging them to take on the boss. During this time, union membership grew and workers won many concessions from both capitalists and the state. Through class conflict in the workplace and in society more broadly, the American working class exercised enough power to win many of the rights that we still have today. Times have changed. The labor movement has been on the defensive for decades. Red scare panics resulted in the purge of socialists from unions and expulsion of left-wing unions from labor federations, forcibly separating socialists from the labor movement. The triumph of business unionism moved class conflict out of the workplace and into the legal system, with unions adopting no-strike clauses and union leadership cutting back room deals and making concessions to the bosses. Capital has undertaken an organized political offensive, systematically dismantling legal rights for unions and workers. The results are clear: productivity has risen exponentially while real wages and the material conditions of workers have declined. But we have some cause for optimism. The Red For Ed strike wave, union reform movements, and workplace organizing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic indicate the rise of a fighting spirit among union and non-union workers. It is imperative that DSA members fan that flame, by taking rank-and-file union jobs, organizing new unions in their workplaces, building reform caucuses that fight for democracy in their unions, and providing support to workers on strike. It will take a huge fight to win any improvement to the lives of working class people. An organized, militant working class is the only force capable of winning these fights. As socialists, we see every battle as an opportunity to cohere the class into that force: one that is capable of transforming the relationships of ownership and production, from the current system of exploitation and private accumulation, into a socialized system that serves the common good.
The socialist movement and the labor movement will rise or fall together. Our demands:
- Social ownership of all major industry and infrastructure
- Work for all who want it: full employment through a federal jobs guarantee
- A just transition for fossil fuel workers, as well as all other workers whose current jobs do not serve the common good, including fully funded retraining and transition to union public sector jobs or dignified retirement with robust pensions.
- A four-day, 32-hour work week with no reduction in wages or benefits
- International equality for all workers through enacting labor and trade agreements that mandate equal rights, a living wage, safe working conditions, and collective bargaining rights to workers around the world
- A dignified life for all, from birth through old age through universal, public child care, education, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, and pensions
- The legal right to a union for all
- Pass the PRO Act and fully repeal the Taft-Hartley Act
- Union recognition through a simple majority vote, “card check”
- Cover farm workers, street vendors, day laborers, domestic workers, and “gigeconomy” workers under the National Labor Relations Act, regardless of immigration status
- The right to strike for all workers
- End “at will” employment
- End “right to work” laws
- Immediately raise the federal minimum wage to $15, with no exceptions for disability, tipped workers, or any other reason, and index it to inflation
- Economic Justice Over the past half century, wealth, and therefore economic and political power, have consolidated in fewer and fewer hands even as the conditions of most people’s lives deteriorate. These changes resulted from governments’ and corporations’ response to a crisis of profitability that culminated in attacks on labor and social and economic protections. Private debt is growing; wages have declined in real terms or failed to increase with productivity; and public austerity and incarceration endanger communities and make it difficult for many of us to pay for rent, food, childcare, or housing. As class and regional disparities in health, education, and infrastructure have widened, the fundamental divides of racial capitalism have also deepened. An economy increasingly based around financial speculation will not provide for human needs or, specifically, deliver essential goods like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and safe transportation.
We propose a program of transformative regulation, nationalization, social ownership, and internationalism that builds the solidarity and democratic power necessary for us to succeed. We call for the nationalization of businesses like utilities and critical manufacturing and technology companies, alongside regulation of corporate, communications, data, and financial sectors. We seek to ensure social and worker control over these businesses. We support an expansion of worker cooperatives, mutual aid institutions, cooperative media, physical infrastructure, care work, and collective land ownership. To ensure the well-being of everyone, we also must secure adequate compensation and living standards, as well as effective infrastructure, healthcare, and institutions in our communities and abroad. We can fund much of this through public development and retail banks, socialized government finance, and taxing the rich and corporations. Wealth taxes, increased progressive income tax rates on the highest earners, and increased estate taxes can redistribute wealth from the billionaires who hoard it to the workers who made it.
We fight for the abolition of capitalism and the creation of a democratically run economy that provides for people’s needs. Our demands:
- Social ownership and democratic control of utilities and key industries including water, gas, electric, telecommunications, media, and internet service providers and other critical sectors of the economy through direct government support, public banks, and pension funds at every level of government
- Nationalize and socialize (through worker and community ownership and control) institutions of monetary policy, insurance, real estate, and finance
- Ensure that employees have the right to purchase businesses and are able to secure funding to facilitate their cooperative ownership in the event of a sale or closure
- Ensure public control of communications technology and expand infrastructure
- Implement public or commonly owned WiFi networks with high-speed broadband, internet management, technology services, internet service providers, and data storage to curtail the unprecedented power of technology companies over media, communications, and political life
- Extend individuals’ rights to data privacy, control, and portability with respect to all applications, providers, and devices
- Expand physical, green infrastructure such as transportation, technology and data centers, and building retrofitting
- Protect and expand social insurance and pensions:
- Fully fund public and private pension funds and allow them to consider interests beyond maximum profits in choosing where to invest
- Fully fund Social Security and disability benefits and introduce new and comprehensive public pension benefits that are under worker control
- Immediate increase to disability funds for individuals and families
- End means testing for disability-based Social Security Insurance, including an end to using spouse income to means test for SSI
- End the current state-based unemployment insurance and adopt a generous, universal dignified national unemployment insurance system that supports and is supported by organized labor.
- An expanded United States Postal Service, including postal retail banking to end reliance on check-cashing and payday loan facilities and expand services, public WiFi, and other appropriate public goods and services; fully fund the USPS and eliminate multi-decade pension pre-funding requirements unique to the USPS
- Create public development banks on the federal level, states, and cities to fund social and technological development for the benefit of all
- Ensure free and democratic public college and, where viable, free private college for all students and democratize and fund instruction inclusive of all students while minimizing testing at all levels of education
- Cancel all student loan and medical debt, reform bankruptcy laws to make it easier to file for individual bankruptcy, provide a right to counsel for all debtors facing litigation
- Disconnect property taxes from school funding and fully fund public education
- Regulation of the economy:
- Patent and copyright: end or limit counterproductive protections, particularly in medicine and agriculture, create a technology commons, and facilitate the transfer of technology through the non-industrialized world
- Financial regulation: strict regulation of the financial industry to roll back the over financialization of the economy, decrease the power of financial corporations, and help control runaway inequality and systemic financial and climate crises, including by reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act to separate types of financial institutions and limit their geographic scope
- Food and farming: regulate food prices and safety and protect small farmers through limitations on food commodity trading, pricing, and supply management
- Corporations: end corporate personhood, punish corporate bad actors by dechartering corporations, limit the size and power of businesses not susceptible to nationalization or social control, and limit maximum wages
- Treaties: Ensure that trade treaties and similar intergovernmental structures secure environmental, labor, and other civil rights and economic protections and legal enforcement mechanisms
- Taxation: Reduce and eliminate regressive sales and excise taxes that punish the working class; increase tax rates on upper income earners, institute wealth taxes, increase estate taxes, and tax financial transactions, capital gains, luxury purchases, and domestic and global corporations
Gender and Sexuality Justice: DSA is a socialist feminist organization. We organize people of all genders to fight against systems of oppression and exploitation including patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy. Liberal representation feminism is content with increasing the number of female faces in oppressive structures. A few women in positions of power, however, is not liberation. Liberation means all genders having freedom and control over their own lives and bodies through ending exploitation. DSA fights to build a feminism for and by the working class and all oppressed people. Capitalism specifically impacts women workers through devaluing of feminized labor, sexual violence in the workplace, unpaid housework, and the expectation of emotional labor. DSA fights for the democratization of domestic and care work, political and social liberation for all genders, full bodily autonomy for all, and the end of state recognition of the gender binary. We stand in solidarity with grassroots feminist movements around the world in their fight against capitalist oppression and exploitation.
We organize for the liberation of queer people, understanding that liberation – having the power to define our life choices, and fulfill our greatest potential—depends on achieving economic justice for the multiracial working class, and all oppressed people. We fight against violence against black transgender women, federal and state discrimination, and all political and social barriers to full control over our bodies and sexualities. We seek equity so that queer people, subject to discrimination and violence, have the means to live a liberated, fulfilling life.
We strongly oppose “rainbow capitalism,” in which banks, police, and corporations wrap themselves in Pride flags during June in order to make profit, all while exploiting queer workers. We likewise reject “homonationalism,” the process of using superficial support of LGBTQ+ people, such as US military propaganda featuring gay couples, to provide cover for the brutalities of the American empire. Companies in the military-industrial complex may march in corporate Pride parades, but we recognize them for what they are: enemies of the global working class, and of the international queer liberation movement.
We seek nothing less than liberation. Our demands:
- Reproductive justice for all
- Free contraception and birth control for all who want it, provided by the state
- Free fertility treatment for all
- Free abortion on demand
- Repeal of the Hyde Amendment and all legal restrictions on abortion access
- Reparations for all those impacted by reproductive and sexual violence committed by the state, such as those forced to undergo hysterectomies in ICE detention
- An immediate end to forced sterilization of disabled people
- Affordable representation of disabled people within family courts
- Protection and expansion of the legal rights of disabled parents regarding guardianship
- Paid parental leave for all people
- Universal child care, elder care, and pre-kindergarten
- Quality, age appropriate, and comprehensive sex-ed taught in schools
- End employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression
- Enact federal and state anti-discrimination laws, including passage of ENDA and the Equality Act, as well as the addition of “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” as a protected category in all human rights laws
- Require “just cause” for evicting someone from housing or terminating employment
- Enhance and strengthen equal pay guarantees, including by requiring the EEOC to resume collecting pay data from large employers, forbidding prior salary from being considered in setting pay rates, and increasing transparency and protections for workers discussing their own pay
- Housing for all and a universal ban on housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
- End anti-queer violence
- The establishment of community-based response systems to transphobic and homophobic violence, especially violence targeting black trans women, that is entirely separated from the police and criminal law system
- Put in place greater protections for survivors of sexual assault and abolition of the requirement that survivors file a police report to access funds
- Allow transgender prisoners to be housed in facilities reflecting their gender identities
- Guarantee queer-friendly and gender affirming healthcare
- Enact a single-payer Medicare for All system that provides free queer sexual health and gender affirming healthcare, including HIV care, PrEP, fertility treatments, birth control, abortion care, mental health care, hormone replacement therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries
- Allow trans minors to access gender affirming care without parental consent
- Prioritize funding for health centers that provide transgender healthcare, especially in rural and conservative areas, on reservations, and in underserved urban areas
- Guarantee that transition-related healthcare, including HRT and surgery, to all incarcerated people who request it
- End gender restrictions in insurance coverage, such as the practice of only covering contraceptive costs for women, and demand healthcare tailored to our actual bodies rather than our ID cards
- End gendered restrictions on medical care, including but not limited to services available to sexual assault survivors
- End the repression of sex workers and fully decriminalize sex work nationwide
- Repeal FOSTA/SESTA
- Increase consideration of the intersection of disability and sex work and provision of specific resources for disabled sex workers
- Dignity for domestic and care workers
- Increased wages for domestic labor and care work, including through a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation
- Require domestic laborers and home health aides to be paid for all hours worked
- The end of mandated 24-hour workdays
- End the state recognition of the gender binary and enforcement of heteronormativity
- Remove all barriers and requirements to changing one’s ID gender marker and legal name
- End all laws prohibiting cohabitation of unrelated people, which exist only to privilege the heterosexual nuclear family over nontraditional and chosen family
- End conversion therapy and provide stronger supportive care for minors whose families abandon them
- Grant all privileges afforded to married couples to all consenting partnerships
- Eliminate the financial and healthcare barriers for disabled people to marry freely
Green New Deal: Capitalism has created an existential crisis for humanity through endless extraction, exploitation, and destruction of our planet. By chasing short-term profits without regard for long-term impact, climate change is yet another challenge humans will have to overcome in the 21st century. Accompanying the changing climate is a crisis in biodiversity that is historic at a geological level, with an estimated 11.5 % of Earth’s species threatened with extinction. Instead of pursuing a rational strategy to tackle the climate and ecological breakdown, the capitalist class has used it to further already-existing massive wealth inequality, suppress democracy, make jobs precarious, foster racialized and gendered violence, militarize borders, and start endless wars. The members of global society made most vulnerable by colonialism are hit hardest and first, and the frontlines of the climate crisis are quickly expanding to threaten the whole working class. DSA is fighting for a social order that works for people and the planet, not profit. We’re fighting for a Green New Deal that shifts power to the working class, ends the domination of massive corporations over our lives, repairs our infrastructure, and regenerates living systems.
Our goal is a truly just transition to a sustainable worldwide economy based on societal and ecological care, that secures human flourishing for many generations to come. Our demands:
- Guaranteed free access to a healthy and clean environment
- Strictly regulate and/or eliminate the use of PFAS (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and like chemicals and enforce workplace safety and health standards and enforce workplace safety and health standards
- Expand environmental regulations involving clean air, water, energy, waste disposal and restoration, and natural systems and plant and animal life
- Ensure the rapid and deliberate replacement of extractive industries and energy production systems with renewable or sustainable alternatives
- Energy and transit
- Decarbonize the US economy in a rapid timeframe in line with our historical responsibility for carbon pollution and greatest capacity to afford the shift from endless fossil-fueled growth to regenerative systems. Work towards international solidarity and cooperation, building consensus throughout the Global North for decarbonization commitments that greatly outpace those of less industrialized countries.
- Democratize control and social ownership of major energy systems and resources, nationalizing fossil fuel producers to phase them out as quickly as necessary. Free access to energy and utilities.
- Public research and development of green technology
- Widespread adoption of clean, accessible, and free public transportation in all communities
- Widespread development and adoption of truly renewable energies compatible with regional terrain and safe for local communities and wildlife, (e.g.,geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, wind, and solar) to be publicly owned and operated.
- Food systems and land use
- Socialization of industrial agriculture and the transformation of capitalist agribusiness to a sustainable food system with the goal of carbon negative farming, focusing on sustainable techniques on an industrial scale placed in the democratic administration of farmworkers. Reduction of onerous manual work through labor-saving technology without austerity and an end to paying farm workers by piece rate
- Expand federal conservation efforts of land, water, and wildlife. Public funding for restoration of wetlands, and reforestation of truly biodiverse forests rather than tree farms.
- Guarantee a job with union wages and benefits to everyone who wants one, achieving full employment by creating millions of public sector jobs in decarbonizing and low-carbon care sectors through the Green New Deal, focusing first on finding dignified and good paying work for workers in the fossil fuel industries.
Health Justice: We need a system of guaranteed healthcare that prioritizes the well being of working-class Americans over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives. We need a single, universal system with comprehensive coverage that is free at the point of service. We need to build a health justice movement to save lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands of people, exposed America’s massive racial and economic health disparities, and made clear the necessity of free healthcare for all. State-sanctioned police violence and socio-economic and environmental factors, along with co-morbidities rooted in the for-profit healthcare system, account for the disproportionate deaths from illness and disease including COVID-19 among Black and Indigenous people in the United States. Meanwhile, national oppression, racism, and colonialism exacerbate the consequences of the pandemic for the Global South.
Medicare for All provides the model for a society based on solidarity and caregiving, which re-directs resources and establishes healthcare as a public good. Food insecurity, environmental racism, mass incarceration, police violence, and the violence of mass detention of immigrants: these must all be addressed as interlocking public health crises that demand a comprehensive, transformative response. We must create a culturally competent healthcare system that listens to, honors, and responds to the experience of Black and brown patients.
Our government must ensure that everyone, regardless of employment, immigration, or insurance status, receives the healthcare they need—including free testing and treatment, mental healthcare, and long-term care for people with disabilities. Health care is 20% of the US economy: Medicare for All is not only the only moral choice, it will strike a blow against capitalist interests by eliminating a huge source of private profit and replacing it with a universal public good. Our horizon is a de-commodified, publicly run national healthcare system in which no one profits from the health or sickness of another person.
All patients, regardless of race, gender, medical history, income, or immigration status, must receive high-quality, equitable care. Our demands:
- Public ownership and funding of our healthcare system, including hospitals and other healthcare providers, pharmaceutical research and production, and other medical research and production facilities
- Medicare for All, which is:
- A Single Health Program: Everyone will be covered by one health insurance program, administered by the federal government, providing equitable medical services and treatments
- Comprehensive Coverage: All medically necessary services will be fully covered. Everyone goes to the provider of their choice. Dental, vision, mental health, reproductive health, long-term care, and pharmaceuticals are all included.
- Free at the point of service: All healthcare costs will be financed through taxes, predominantly on the wealthy and corporations; no copays, no fees, no deductibles and no premiums. Ever.
- Universal Coverage: Coverage for all United States residents—non-citizens included.
- Jobs: A jobs initiative and severance for those affected by the transition to publicly administered healthcare.
- Increased federal funding for community health centers, the Veterans Health Administration, the Indian Health Service, public hospital systems, disability care, mental health services, and other existing underfunded public health services
- Free medical school, nursing school, and other training for healthcare workers that creates a workforce that is trained and equipped to deliver healthcare equitably
- Guarantee home health care for all who need it to decrease institutionalization
- Establish an Office of Health Equity that produces annual reports on racial health disparities and an action plan to address them
- Training for medical workers to address racial disparities, treat the disabled and chronically ill with compassion, treat fat people with dignity, and provide conscientious care to all
- Eliminate the undue political influence of the healthcare industry, including hospital corporations, which must be returned to their community service mission
- Fund research into health issues based on human need rather than the potential to make profit
- Implement state-level Medicare for All programs in large states and expand Medicare/Medicaid funding in all states Housing for All The housing market, along with the workplace, is one of the key places where the working class experiences direct exploitation by the capitalist class. Home ownership has been the key way working-class people have been able to build a modicum of wealth in this country, but skyrocketing property values and the decline of real earnings have put that dream out of reach for many Americans. At the same time, residential segregation and redlining are the major driving force in perpetuating racial inequality in the United States. In cities across the country, rental prices have been driven higher and higher and homelessness has skyrocketed as a result. The COVID-19 crisis has made all this even worse, creating immense turmoil for people’s housing, highlighting and exacerbating these inequities. The pandemic is only one example of the escalating number of crises we are set to face as climate change increases the frequency of drought and other natural disasters, and climate migration becomes the reality for millions. As we emerge from the crisis, we face mass evictions and homelessness as millions cannot pay for their homes without state intervention. Relief from the COVID crisis and housing policy in general must prioritize renters and homeowners over landlords, private capital firms, and banks. We seek to counter the dangers we are facing by building on the insurgent tenant movement, and further decommodifying housing and land. This can be done through canceling rent, closing eviction courts, and, as landlords exit the market, using state action to acquire private property and transform into public democratically controlled housing. We seek to build more connected and inclusive neighborhoods and communities by building out tenant unions and other local organizing.
Every person deserves a safe and dignified place to call home. Our demands:
- Public housing for all
- Repeal the federal Faircloth Amendment, which acts to prevent the construction of new public housing
- Cease sale of public housing assets to private interests
- Fully fund existing public housing, including maintenance and repairs
- Create and fund a Social Housing Acquisition fund that can intervene and acquire distressed assets and convert them to social housing using community landtrusts, tenant opportunity to purchase, mutual housing associations
- Housing relief for all
- Recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis by canceling rent debt
- Pass a universal tenants’ bill of rights that includes right to renew your lease, universal rent control, right to organize a tenants’ union in your home, and a universal right to free counsel in housing court
- Ensure universal housing voucher acceptance to prevent discrimination based on income source.
- Mandate increase accessibility requirements of new constructions and make funds available to remodel private housing stock for low or fixed income households to accommodate individuals with disabilities
- Abolish homelessness
- End homelessness in the United State by implementing housing-first relief programs
- End discrimination on the basis of gender, sexuality, race, and religion at all shelters nationwide
- International Solidarity and Immigration Justice
- DSA operates in the heart of a global capitalist empire that has wrought untold suffering on billions of people and the environment. Solidarity with comrades around the globe is essential to undo the bloody effects of endless wars, austerity, colonial exploitation, environmental destruction, stolen land, and other atrocities that make up the legacy of US actions in service of capital. As socialists living in the heart of the American empire, we must work to address, cease, and heal the harm caused by our ruling class. Only by listening to and aligning with those directly targeted by these policies can we begin to work towards a unified global vision of socialism. As democratic socialists, we also recognize that migrants experience the most damning and direct crimes of the neoliberal capitalist system. Militarized borders, xenophobic/racist immigration laws, and an abusive prison industrial complex aims to dehumanize and marginalize immigrants, functioning to both suppress wages and divide the working class. We seek to abolish these and any barrier to the social, labor, and political power of migrants through an organized decolonial movement.
Our response to this aggression is not reform, but full abolition of anti-immigrant policies, structures, and laws. Immigrants in the United States are living under apartheid conditions. Under the current legal framework, migrants in the U.S. are disenfranchised from basic legal protections.
- lEnd exploitation of immigrants
- Labor rights for all, regardless of immigration status, and inclusion of farmworkers, street vendors, day laborers, and domestic workers under National Labor Relations Board legal protections
- Advocate for state level legislation like NY’s Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act that implemented collective bargaining rights and other labor protections at the state level
- Fundamentally transform flawed guestworker and temporary worker programs
- Legalization of all living in the U.S. at this time, including voting rights and a path to citizenship for every US resident, and recognize the right to migrate and the right to stay home
- Protect the right to asylum and safe entry and resettlement
- Demilitarize the border and end all immigrant detention and abolish ICE
- End all deportations and enforcement actions, immigration detention, private prison contracts, and deputization of local police forces
- Create an immigration court system independent from the executive branch and allow for full federal court review
- Dismantle the U.S. empire
- Close all US military bases on foreign soil
- Close Guantanamo Bay and all sites used in extraordinary rendition and torture
- Normalization of relations with Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, and other countries targeted for resisting US imperialism and exercising self-determination over their resources
- End nationalistic posturing towards China, including the current trade war and aggressive economic, diplomatic, and military action.
- End all interventionist wars in support of capitalism and continued fossil fuel reliance
- An end to all U.S. military involvement around the world, including in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen
- Withdrawal from or full renegotiation of NAFTA and other free trade agreements that erode the ability of workers to realize the benefits of their labor
- An aggressive plan for nuclear disarmament, a commitment to no first-strike, and a long-term commitment to eradicating nuclear weapons
- End all sanctions on food and medicine
- Abolish or withdraw from NATO, the WTO, OAS, and IMF
- Abolish the FBI, DHS, the NSA, and the CIA and all other “security” agencies
- Self-determination for all colonized and oppressed people
- Full rights and equal protection for Native people, restoration of tribal sovereignty. Instruct the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work towards a program of repatriation of Native lands, particularly those owned by US corporations and environmentally destructive industries
- A commitment to self-determination for all modern US colonies, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and Samoa
- Forgiveness of all colonial and sovereign debt
- Direct support for colonized and oppressed peoples, including Palestinian and Kurdish communities, and all others facing ethnic cleansing and genocide
- Support for Palestinian self-determination against Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism and the achievement of full, democratic rights for Palestinians within historic Palestine and in the diaspora, including the Right of Return
- Continued support for and involvement with the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, eliminating U.S. military aid to Israel, and resisting the “normalization” of relationships between the Israeli government and other governments
- Support for a united Ireland
- Reparations for those impacted by U.S. imperialism
- Reparations for the human and environmental destruction caused by US corporations such as DuPont, Exxon, and Monsanto
- Reparations for US wars and destruction of the environment in countries such as Iraq, Cambodia, and Vietnam
- Support membership in the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, and regional courts to the extent that they operate in a fair and just manner
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.