This was a hard winter. And the future looks grim. Centrist Democrats will fail. In the face of a profoundly undemocratic system and with an allegiance to the owning class, they cannot build the broad electoral coalition we know it will take to beat the emboldened far Right. Meanwhile, in the economic realm, Joe Biden’s worker-friendly labor board offers only a short window of opportunity for us to expand our clout. We have our work cut out for us.
And there’s no better way to step forward than together. Conditions under this pandemic have prompted many of us to fight back, unite across our differences, and build power in our workplaces, whether at a school or a Starbucks. The future of our democracy and our planet is at stake. At work, in our communities, or at the voting booth, the only one who can enforce our rights is us—an independent mass movement.
But what does it mean to organize? To build power? To create an organization and movement strong enough to challenge and beat the ruling class in the political and economic realms? It means working with people even when you disagree on some issues, approaching every choice with a strategic eye, and analyzing every consequence for lessons to learn.
This year we celebrate DSA’s 40th anniversary, though the vast majority of our members joined in just the last few years. In our throwaway culture, there is tremendous pressure to discount our elders, but I always remember that we stand on the shoulders of the likes of Eugene V. Debs and Martin Luther King, Jr. There are many lessons for us if we but study our history and listen to those who came before us. And, in time, we’ll pass on our own wisdom to future organizers.
Besides learning from our collective experiences and engaging in good faith debate, we must open doors to bring in new people and grow our movement. This spring we’re going back to basics, and we need you to do your part in a massive campaign to reenergize our work. We will ask expired members to rejoin and current members to recommit. We will revisit the fundamentals of organizing and remind ourselves that this is all about building our power.
Now is the time for action. Too much is at stake. We have the world to win.