DIRECTOR’S REPORT | Building Power in 2023

While chaos reigns in Washington, D.C., we’re building power for the long haul. Although 2022 was another difficult pandemic year, unlike many organizations we’ve survived to keep fighting. Door by door, conversation by conversation, strike by strike, and election by election, DSAers put in the work. We know that lasting collective action isn’t often spontaneous, it’s the result of many hands each doing their part to move forward a long-term plan we’ve created together. The ruling class would like nothing more than for us to give up and stay home, but we’re still here and back with a vengeance. DSA won 75% of our candidate and ballot campaigns in 2022 and expanded workplace and labor solidarity organizing, mobilized when the Supreme Court rolled back abortion rights, and is organizing local and state level campaigns with working-class demands.

We’re also returning to the kind of cross-chapter, in-person events that helped build unity and forge relationships before COVID-19 brought everything to a halt three years ago. The Young Democratic Socialists held an outreach conference and summer convention, and in October the Multi-Racial Organizing Committee (MROC) held the first MROC Institute. Finally, our staff Organizing Department held training weekends (Regional Organizing Retreats or RORs) for chapter leaders in the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast as well as Ohio and Kentucky, with more to come this year.

Coming up in 2023 are a national conference on labor, electoral, and student organizing in April and our national convention in August. One of DSA’s biggest strengths is that we know ordinary people transform society and that we have to teach ourselves to do so because the capitalists hoard that knowledge. These events are an opportunity for grassroots members to come together, share lessons from local organizing, and apply a national perspective.

The April conference will host YDSA members and interested students alongside some of our most active and experienced DSA organizers engaged in labor and electoral work. We will debrief our victories and losses and look ahead to a momentous year in the labor movement and to the 2024 presidential election cycle. The economy and the political system are the two places where the working class can make large-scale change through mass collective action.

Our national convention is the highest decision-making authority in DSA and the opportunity to spend an energizing few days with a thousand comrades old and new. All members have a responsibility in the next six months to consider important questions about organizational strategy, structure, and use of resources in relation to a sober analysis of the actually existing array of class forces. Look at the graphic on page 3 to see where you can fit in as convention plans develop and check in at for the latest updates. Watch for opportunities at the national and local level to discuss how our people are in motion, what the owning class is doing, and what that means for DSA’s next steps.