At our membership meeting Aug. 12, our delegates to the national DSA conference (Chicago, Aug. 3-6) reported on this historic event, "with lots of important and hopeful info...especially how the national AND local org have grown in past year," said Lorraine Fontana. (L to R: Barbara Joye, Brad Lathem, Adam Cardo, Daniel Hanley, Jeb Boone, Anat Fintzi, Scott Douglas. Eric Robertson, Maxwell Ruppersburg, Matt Wolfsen, Tom Ladendorf and Reid Jenkins were also delegates. Photo: Lorraine Fontana)
The convention, which was attended by some 1,000 delegates, observers, staff and media, reflected DSA's growth; previous conventions had drawn just 150-200. The national blog (dsausa.org) lists some of the extensive media coverage and reports from our members, including a moving report by MADSA's Jeb Boone.
The convention passed a priorities resolution to guide DSA's staff in deploying national resources until the next convention is held in 2019. The priorities are: campaigning for Medicare for All (single payer health insurance); electing democratic socialists to office; and helping to build the labor movement. It will also be posted on the national website and blog. Chapters are urged to take action on the national priorities, but may pursue other issues as local conditions warrant.
(Left, above: Adam Cardo, Anat Fintzi, Scott Douglas (standing), Barbara Joye, Brad Lathem, Daniel Hanley, Matt Wolfsen, Cecily McMillan. Right, above: Plenary session. Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins)
(Photo: Lighting up Trump Tower in Chicago: Matt Wolfsen in Fort shirt, amid Texas comrades; Daniel Hanley at the projector)
Many other resolutions were debated and passed, including the establishment of an Afro-socialist caucus and a Labor Commission; endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign for Palestinian rights; and withdrawal from the fragmented Socialist International in favor of increasing ties with insurgent left parties such as Podemos in Spain, the Left Bloc of Portugal, the Brazilian Party of Liberation and Socialism (PSOL) and the Jeremy Corbyn wing of the British Labour Party, all of which sent speakers to the convention. Most of the workshops were geared towards training the hundreds of new members in basic democratic socialist theory and practice.
Chapter delegates also met in regional groups, including the Southeast, which birthed a Southern Caucus that supported Southern candidates for election to national leadership and pledged to maintain a network of mutual support following the convention. Our slogans: "Y'allidarity!" and "Y'all means all!" (Above: Atlanta delegates Maxwell Ruppersburg, Tom Ladendorf, Jeb Boone and Adam Cardo singing "Solidarity" at the convention banquet. Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins.)