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Turn Anger to Action — Your May Dispatch

Here’s your May Dispatch! This month, organize to support Palestine, build our Green New Deal work, learn about the history of racial justice organizing, and more. Read on to get involved. 

And to make sure you get our newsletters in your inbox, sign up here! Each one features action alerts, upcoming events, political education, and more.

From Our Co-Chairs — Turn Anger to Action

The contradictions of capitalism are always there, if you look for them, but they’re on full display this week. While the ruling class queues up in million-dollar jewels and priceless bespoke outfits for the $35,000-per-ticket Met Gala, Israel drops US-made bombs on refugee encampments full of children in Rafah with just a finger-wag from the President — who admitted for the first time that Israelis have used US weapons to kill civilians, and after 7 months of Israeli war crimes and 35,000 Palestinians killed, has finally suggested a basic step of conditioning US military aid. While college students across the country are brutalized by police forces called in to tear apart their peaceful encampments, yet another company was slapped with a fine — and nothing more — for employing 13-year-olds in overnight shifts cleaning slaughterhouses. 

These things aren’t new or even particularly surprising to socialists. But in a political moment where these sorts of tensions show themselves in profound and very visible ways, it’s our job as organizers to make sure we’re helping move people into collective action. We continue to demand a permanent ceasefire, an end to the genocide of Palestinians, and no money for massacres with our tax dollars.

More than half a million people have already showed up to vote Uncommitted in Democratic presidential primary elections already, and DSA members are continuing to drive the ground game in upcoming state primaries in Maryland and New Jersey — organizing voters to continue sending an unmistakable signal that the Biden administration must end these atrocities or face the consequences. From Santa Fe to Boston, we’re organizing our communities to pass local ceasefire resolutions. Chapters in Louisville, Kentucky, and Atlanta, Georgia are organizing to win electoral races with DSA cadre candidates who will stand up for our values in the South. Across the country, we are standing in solidarity with students organizing their campuses for Gaza. Highly organized labor unions are playing a critical role at this moment — just this week, DSA members in UAW 4811, which represents 48,000 academic workers at the University of California, are among those leading the charge in calling a strike authorization in response to the university’s fierce repression of pro-Palestine protests.

If you haven’t been involved in your DSA chapter or a national committee or working group lately, now is a perfect time to jump back into the fold. This year will only become more politically intense, and DSA needs your energy.

If you are an active member already, now’s the perfect time to assess how your chapter or working group onboards new people. There’s energy in the air and we need to capture it — how can we do a better job of making people feel welcome and plugging them immediately into work?

Looking for more ways to tap in right now?

Capitalism will never self-regulate its way out of violence and cruelty. We need socialism and we need it now. We’ve got a world to win. Let’s get to it!

DSA Stands in Solidarity with UAW 4811

DSA stands in solidarity with UAW 4811’s decision to call a strike authorization vote in response to the University of California’s fierce repression of pro-Palestine protests, including the arrest and assault of several union members. Unlike the student movement of the 1960s, campuses today have highly organized unions representing hundreds of thousands of educators, researchers, and other workers to fight back against the repression of anti-war student movements. DSA’s project of strengthening the labor movement is predicated on the idea that in moments of political crisis, unions will have the power, flexibility, and moral courage to stand up. Now such a moment has arisen, and labor militancy is critical for contemporary anti-war movements to succeed. 

UAW 4811—which represents 48,000 academic student employees, postdocs, and researchers at the University of California—has the highest concentration of DSA members of any union in the country. We encourage all of our members within UAW 4811 to prioritize organizing for strike authorization, and should they decide to strike, we encourage all DSA members in California to support them to the greatest extent they can.

We are proud of our fellow DSA members leading the charge in this historic struggle, and hope to see other unions across the country heed the call and strike for Palestine. 

Tonight Thursday 5/9 — Join Setting a Larger Table: Creating a World of Economic, Racial, and Social Justice

Join DSA’s Religion and Socialism Working Group for Setting a Larger Table: Creating a World of Economic, Racial, and Social Justice. This livestreamed event will be on Thursday 5/9 at 7pm ET/6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT. Hear DSA members Andrew Wilkes and Gary Dorrien in conversation with Dorothee Benz about their latest books!

Gary Dorrien’s work documents the Black social gospel tradition’s tremendous role in the quest for justice. And in his forthcoming Plenty Good Room, Andrew Wilkes makes a case for anti-imperial, democratic socialisms, drawing on the traditions of Black social Christianity and the Black radical tradition. Moderator Dorothee Benz, a writer, organizer, and strategist, has spent decades on the frontlines of social justice struggles in the United States.

RSVP for Green New Deal Building for Power May Campaign Huddle!

Join Green New Deal’s monthly call to workshop problems, share wins, and collaborate on ideas when fighting for ecosocialism! The call will be on Wednesday 5/29 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT. RSVP today!

DSA at Socialism Conference 2024 — Early Bird Discount Until Friday 6/28

We’re excited to invite you to Socialism 2024 in Chicago this Labor Day Weekend! Socialism 2024 is the largest socialist conference in North America, and DSA is happy to be a co-sponsor. 

The last year has changed us all. As global crises deepen, social movements the world over are striving toward new visions and experimenting with new strategies. From Palestine to the US and beyond, radical politics have re-emerged as necessary for both survival and full liberation. At this critical juncture, the Socialism 2024 Conference will be a vital gathering space for today’s left.

Featured speakers this year will include: Noura Erakat, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Mohammed El-Kurd, Arundhati Roy, Ilan Pappé, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Nick Estes, Vincent Bevins, Derecka Purnell, Hanif Abdurraqib, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Rachel Herzing, Justin Piché, Jules Gill-Peterson, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Daniel Denvir, Silky Shah, Nyle Fort, Sarah Jaffe, Dave Zirin, Ashley Dawson, Rob Larson, and many more.

Registration is now live, and early bird discounts are available until Friday 6/28.

Welcome Our New Chapter!

A warm welcome to our latest chapter, Lancaster DSA in Pennsylvania!

The post Turn Anger to Action — Your May Dispatch appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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Solidarity with UAW 4811

DSA stands in solidarity with UAW 4811’s decision to call a strike authorization vote in response to the University of California’s fierce repression of pro-Palestine protests, including the arrest and assault of several union members. Unlike the student movement of the 1960s, campuses today have highly organized unions representing hundreds of thousands of educators, researchers, and other workers to fight back against the repression of anti-war student movements. DSA’s project of strengthening the labor movement is predicated on the idea that in moments of political crisis, unions will have the power, flexibility, and moral courage to stand up. Now such a moment has arisen, and labor militancy is critical for contemporary anti-war movements to succeed. 

UAW 4811—which represents 48,000 academic student employees, postdocs, and researchers at the University of California—has the highest concentration of DSA members of any union in the country. We encourage all of our members within UAW 4811 to prioritize organizing for strike authorization, and should they decide to strike, we encourage all DSA members in California to support them to the greatest extent they can.

We are proud of our fellow DSA members leading the charge in this historic struggle, and hope to see other unions across the country heed the call and strike for Palestine. 

The post Solidarity with UAW 4811 appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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Solidarity Encampments Are Changing Colleges Everywhere

Gaza Solidarity Encampments have sprung up on campuses around the country as student's protest genocide in Gaza. As the student movement grows and nationalizes, administrative and police repression have also escalated. The author talks with YDSA leaders about their experience in the movement and their plans for future mobilization.

The post Solidarity Encampments Are Changing Colleges Everywhere appeared first on YDSA.

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Weekly Roundup: May 7, 2024

🌹Tuesday, May 7 (7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.): Mutual Aid Priority Meeting (Zoom)

🌹Wednesday, May 8 (6:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.): May Chapter Meeting (In person at Martin de Porres House of Hospitality at 225 Potrero Ave and on Zoom)

🌹Thursday, May 9 (6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.): Palestine Solidarity Working Group (Zoom)

🌹Friday, May 10 (12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.): Office Hours (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Saturday, May 11 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Extreme Dean Door Knock Mobilization (Meet in person at the Panhandle on the corner of Baker and Fell)

🌹Sunday, May 12 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Jackie Fielder Campaign Mobilization (Meet at Holly Park)

🌹Saturday, May 11 (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.): Tenant Organizing Movie Night: “Boom: The Sound of Eviction” (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Monday, May 13 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): Environmentalism From Below: How Global People’s Movements Are Leading the Fight for Our Planet (Zoom)

🌹Wednesday, May 15 (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.): 📚What is DSA? (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Wednesday, May 15 (7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.): DSA Board Game Night! (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Jackie Fielder for D9 Supervisor Mobilization (In person at Holly Park)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Office Hours (In person at 1916 McAllister)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.):Kickball(s) for Abortion Access (Location TBD)

🌹Saturday, May 18 (1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.): Homelessness Working Group Platform / Education (In person at 1916 McAllister)

Check out for more events.

🇵🇸 Solidarity with Pro-Palestine Student Protesters for BDS 🍉

DSA SF stands in solidarity with university student protesters across the country occupying their campuses to demand their administration divest from companies complicit in the apartheid state of Israel.

Israel and the United States continue to perpetrate genocide and enforce apartheid upon the people of Palestine. Universities that use their endowment to invest in and support military contractors and Israeli companies are also complicit.

In response to these protests, universities have called on law enforcement to begin the forcible removal and arrest of students. DSA SF strongly condemns the arrest, suspension, or expulsion of any participating students.

Universities must meet the demands of their students – fully divest from the companies profiting from genocide, apartheid, and occupation in Palestine; institute academic boycotts and sever ties with Israeli universities; and drop all charges against student activists.

Universities and police have allied to support the US’s imperialist ambitions and Zionist settler colonialism. We must all play our part in fighting for a free Palestine.

To support our local student protests, check for ongoing mobilizations, and follow your local universities for turnout and donation asks!

Extreme Dean Door Knock Mobilization This Saturday (5/11)

We’ll be getting together for some door-knocking for Dean Preston’s campaign this Saturday, May 11th at 10 a.m. at the Panhandle on the corner of Baker and Fell. We’ve had great early momentum in the campaign and we refuse to cede to our billionaire-funded opponent, so come out and help us make our weekly field goals by chatting with your neighbors about what you like about Dean!

DSA SF Chapter Movie Night presents: Boom: The Sound of Eviction. Saturday, May 11th. Starts at 5:00 p.m. 1916 McAllister (at Lyon). Tenant Organizing Movie Night.

Tenant Organizing Movie Night 🎥 Boom: The Sound of Eviction

Join the DSA SF Tenant Organizing Working Group for our next movie night on Saturday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m. at 1916 McAllister! We’ll be watching Boom: The Sound of Eviction. While our city’s rulers and the fawning media celebrated the Dot-Com Boom of the ‘90s, the reality was different for thousands of tenants who were evicted or priced out. From the dot-com party crashing at one end of the economic spectrum to painful moments with evicted families at the other, this documentary features interviews with dot-com workers, real estate developers, and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, as well as those who challenged the new economic order through community organizing, electoral politics, and direct action.

This event is free and open to the public, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Mobilize with Jackie Fielder! May 12th, Holly Park, 10AM, LFG. The Time is Now! For D9 Supervisor, @JackieFielder_

Mobilize with Jackie Fielder This Sunday!

Join the Jackie Fielder campaign for a mobilization this Sunday, May 12th at 10:00 a.m. at Holly Park. We’ll be getting out the word for Jackie’s campaign for D9 supervisor and talking to our neighbors about why she’s the best candidate for the job!

The 2024 Chapter Convention is Coming Soon!

It’s all hands on deck as we prepare for the 2024 Chapter Convention this June 15th and 16th! Here are some handy reminders for the next few weeks to help you get ready.

  • Nominations for Steering and Grievance Officers are open! Submit your nominations here. Nominations will remain open until the May 8th chapter meeting this Wednesday, and elections will be held at the convention in June.
  • May 8th – May Chapter Meeting
    • This is the deadline to submit priority resolutions to steering
    • Bylaws amendments concerning voting at Convention must be read to the chapter for consideration at this meeting.
    • Annual reportbacks from all chapter bodies
    • Nominations close for Steering Committee and Grievance Officers
    • First reading on proposed bylaws amendments
  • May 16th – Deadline to notify all members of the upcoming convention
  • June 1st
    • Deadline to modify submitted priority resolutions
    • Deadline to submit chapter body charters with co-chair names
    • Deadline to update active member lists
    • Nominations open for leadership of proposed chapter bodies and priorities
  • June 15th and 16th – Chapter Convention!
    • Elections for Steering and Grievance Officers
    • Reportbacks from outgoing chapter priorities
    • Annual reportbacks from all chapter bodies
    • Vote on 2024-2025 Chapter priorities
    • Vote on proposed bylaws amendments
    • Ratify chapter body charters and body-elected co-chairs
    • Elections for priorities and all chapter bodies (except CCC)
    • Nominations open for CCC co-chairs
  • July 10th – July Chapter Meeting
    • Elect Priority Leads, CCC Co-Chairs, and all other chapter-elected co-chairs and board members
Kickball(s) for Abortion Acce$$. Where: SF Parks & Rec (field TBA). When: Saturday, May 18th at 1PM. Friendly fundraising competition, kickball tournament, snack bar, & prizes! Open to all neighbors who support bodily autonomy. 💚🏳‍⚧ DSA membership not required to participate. Sign up because you want to learn more about our org, because you want to support basic human rights for our Texas comrades, or just because you love kicking balls! All proceeds will be donated to Texas grassroots abortion funds Buckle Bunnies and Frontera Fund.

Kickball(s) for Abortion Access on May 18th ⚽

Connect with your neighbors on Saturday, May 18th at 1:00 p.m. while raising money for abortion access! 💚

San Franciscans don’t need to be reminded that the struggle for bodily autonomy is universal.🏳️‍⚧️ 🏳️‍🌈Or, that when someone is denied an abortion it’s more than a hardship for the individual and their family—it’s a test of our community and our commitment to basic human rights. So, let’s put our money where our mouths have been, are, and always will be: BALLS DEEP FOR ABORTION! ⚽

We’ll have a friendly fundraising competition, kickball tournament, snack bar, prizes & more! 100% of proceeds will be donated to Texas grassroots abortion access orgs Frontera Fund and Buckle Bunnies (recommended by our comrades at DSA Austin).

For more information about how to get involved, RSVP below!

Mark your calendars for DSA SF Spring Socials! Sunday, May 26th: Picnic, 12-4PM @ Dolores Park. Kids and dogs welcome! Wednesday, June 26th: Oakland Ballers Baseball. 6:05PM @ Raimondi Park, 1800 Wood Street, Oakland. The B's take on the Northern Colorado Owlz.

Spring Socials with DSA SF 🌸

Come hang out with your friendly neighborhood socialists this spring! For the next few months we will be having a variety of outings and you are invited – be sure to mark your calendars and watch this space for more details! Our next event is a picnic 🧺 at Dolores Park on Sunday, May 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and we can’t wait to see you there!

Chapter Movie Night: Battle of Algiers. Friday, June 7. Starts at 6:00 p.m., 1916 McAllister St. RSVP:

Chapter Movie Night: The Battle of Algiers 🍿

Join us for a film screening of “The Battle of Algiers,” which isn’t just a re-enactment of historical events but a powerful portrayal of the struggle for independence and the resilience of the occupied fighting against the occupier. It focuses on Algerian revolutionary fighter Ali La Ponte and his fight against the French occupation forces in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria, from 1954 to 1957 during the Algerian War of Independence. This film showing is as timely as ever as the fight for liberation continues in Palestine. This film was directed by an Italian communist who led the anti-fascist resistance against Nazi Germany and also had an actual FLN leader play as one of the characters, making this one of the most classic anti-imperialist films to date.

Food and drinks will be provided. Masks are highly recommended.

DSA SF Convention 2024 Bake Sale, 10AM to 4PM, UNITE HERE Local 2 at 209 Golden Gate Ave, Saturday, June 15th, 2024

DSA SF Convention Bake Sale 🍰

We’re holding a bake sale fundraiser at our upcoming chapter convention on June 15th. If you’re interested in contributing to the bake sale, you can access the sign-up sheet here!

The Chapter Coordination Committee (CCC) regularly rotates duties among chapter members. This allows us to train new members in key duties that help keep the chapter running like organizing chapter meetings, keeping records updated, office cleanup, updating the DSA SF website and newsletter, etc. Members can view current CCC rotations.

Questions? Feedback? Something to add?

We welcome your feedback. If you have comments or suggestions, send a message to the #newsletter channel on Slack.

For information on how to add content, check out the Newsletter Q&A thread.

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Solidarity from DSA International Committee and YDSA to Striking Professors, Administrators, and Students in Brazil

The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) and the International Committee of DSA extends our solidarity to the University professors of ANDES-SN (National Union of University Professors), the administrative workers of Fasubra (Federation of Technical-Administrative Workers Unions in Public Higher Education Institutions of Brazil), and students of UNE (National Union of Students) who are currently on strike to increase the funding for public universities in Brazil. Professors at Brazilian public universities have faced a 40% decrease in their real wages since the Rousseff PT government was couped in 2016. This is on top of the austerity that has been imposed on the universities that has been cutting essential services for students and faculty alike. President Lula was elected, with the support of many professors and students, on the promise that he would support public education and end the funding cuts implemented by the neo-liberal and neo-fascist Bolsonaro administration. We stand with our courageous comrades and ask President Lula to make good on his campaign promises and negotiate with the striking unions in good faith, to ensure that the Brazilian public university system serves the working class.

We are engaged in the same struggle against the austerity our administrations and state governments impose upon our universities and other public services. They will cut and cut and cut, unless someone fights back and it has to be us. We must build a movement of university staff and students marching hand in hand to ensure that our universities and public institutions are able to serve the working class. We hope to emulate what you have built in Brazil and replicate your upcoming victories!

We also want to thank ANDES-SN specifically for their recent statement in support of the ongoing student protests against the Genocide in Gaza and the Zionist Apartheid regime of Israel. It is inspiring to us to know that we have the support of the international working class in our firm stance against our institution’s complicity in the mass atrocities that have been carried out both in this year and over the entirety of the 76 years of the settler colonial project of Israel’s existence. It will be through the mass action of the international working class that we free Palestine and put an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people. We are honored by your support and we will continue to fight for a free Palestine with our comrades here in the states. 

Solidarity Forever!

Solidariedade para Sempre!

The post Solidarity from DSA International Committee and YDSA to Striking Professors, Administrators, and Students in Brazil appeared first on DSA International Committee.

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Fighting the Security State at the Southern Border

The border wall runs through the city of Nogales, which is divided between Sonora, Mexico and Arizona, USA. February 4, 2019. Photo: Robert Bushell, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The border wall runs through the city of Nogales, which is divided between Sonora, Mexico and Arizona, USA. February 4, 2019. Photo: Robert Bushell, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Turn on the news, and you’ll find pundits and politicians claiming migrants crossing into the United States have created a crisis at the border. The motivations and context for migration are omitted, and the proposed (bipartisan) solution is always the same: to “secure” the border. Despite its opposition to Donald Trump, the Democratic Party, in its perennial attempts at electoral triangulation, its loyalty to corporate power, and its infatuation with the national security state, has dropped any pretense of opposing fascistic border militarization. They not only refuse to roll back Trump’s border policies, but recently doubled down on those policies by backing the Senate’s “Border Act of 2024.” The bill, marketed as a compromise with the GOP, included:

  • $7.6 billion of extra “emergency funding” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Another $7 billion in “emergency funding” for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), hundreds of millions of which would go to hiring more Border Patrol agents
  • Funding for 50,000 immigrant detention beds
  • Requiring asylum seekers to show greater proof to seek refuge, and giving asylum officers more discretion to close cases before they reach court
  • Granting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the power to shut down the border if crossings average more than 4,000/day for a week
  • Implementation of a “border emergency authority” which would automatically shut down the border if crossings reached 5,000/day on average or 8,500 in a single day 

Make no mistake; these measures are a complete capitulation to xenophobia and the Republican Party. Despite their claims of resistance to Trumpism, this bill (which ultimately failed to pass into law due to Trump’s personal opposition) publicly announced the Democratic Party’s explicit collaboration with the far-right’s fascistic border agenda. 

Both parties accept as fact that immigration is a national-security issue, but immigration and the border have nothing to do with security and everything to do with exploitation, dispossession, and imperialism. The expansion of the national-security state at the border threatens the rights and livelihoods of the working class in every country, including the United States. It’s important for every DSA member to understand that the social forces influencing migration and the methods of control migrants are subjected to are driven by the primary enemies of the workers’ movement: capitalism, imperialism, and state power. 

People do not uproot their lives and undergo a long, dangerous, journey to a foreign land simply because they feel like it. Migrants are displaced through state-violence, political instability, economic crisis, and climate change, all caused or exacerbated by the US government and corporations. The border regime is a reaction to a process set in motion by the same politicians and businessmen responsible for the dispossession, political chaos, and economic woes causing migration in the first place. 

“Shutting down,” “closing,” or “securing” the border is popular political rhetoric, but every effort toward this goal fails. Each new piece of the border regime increases the number of dead without decreasing border crossings. There is a simple explanation for this: decreasing crossings is ancillary to the border’s primary function of increasing the exploitability of migrants through surveilling, categorizing, imprisoning, deporting, injuring, and killing them. The southern border acts less like a wall and more like a zone of exception, wherein human rights are erased. Those passing through the border are sorted into different categories and emerge stamped as “guest worker,” “asylum seeker,” or “illegal.” This social division of hyper-exploitable workers is a danger to workers everywhere.

Karl Marx himself wrote about the effects of dividing the working class this way. Describing 19th century Irish workers in England, he wrote, “The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker, he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation, and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself.” 

Then, as now, competition between laborers weakens working class power. The solution to capitalists undercutting domestic wages by paying immigrant workers less (i.e. that old nativist rallying cry “they took our jobs!”) is to organize all workers, domestic and foreign, to end their competition with one another and instead fight the capitalist class together. Workers seduced by nativist sentiment only strengthen the power capital holds over the entire class. For Marx, this situation is so detrimental he called it “the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organization.”  Modern US politicians continue this English tradition by weaponizing the border against labor, keeping profits high for the capitalist class while advancing their individual political careers through crass xenophobia. 

The border regime, in addition to dividing the working class, also manages the consequences of imperialist intervention and ongoing climate catastrophe, while lining the pockets of arms manufacturers, construction contractors, tech companies, prison operators, and more. The United States is constructing a “border-industrial-complex,”and like the military-industrial complex, this necessitates the expansion of state power, which, if the history of the Cold War and the War on Terror are any indication, will not remain within its initial parameters. Migrants are the latest profitable scapegoat for expanding state power over everyone, citizen and non-citizen alike. 

DHS and its constituent departments, like CBP and ICE, in partnership with local law enforcement and private companies, form a massive web of indiscriminate surveillance across the United States. Private companies are selling aggregations of personal data directly to law enforcement agencies, while predictive data analytics, facial recognition software, and other biometric systems are continually being developed for purposes of “border security.” This technology is used to funnel migrants into an archipelago of incarceration, often operated by private, for-profit companies paid by the government for each detainee they’ve imprisoned. The border is a lucrative business, and it’s being exported abroad. 

Every year since 2008 the United States has provided Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador with funding and a set of priorities which include remedying “border security deficiencies.” US agencies like ICE, CBP, and DEA, play an important role in supporting and training border patrol units in countries aligned with the United States. CBP has twenty-one attaché offices and ICE has forty-eight offices around the world. In this way, the US southern border is part of a larger border system radiating outward from the United States to make the hemisphere safe for capital-accumulation and to intercept people fleeing north from the consequences of that accumulation.

While the border cannot be fully abolished while capitalism remains, it is difficult to imagine the end of capitalism without a concerted and sustained attack on the border regime and the entirety of the state’s repressive apparatus. Border regimes are deeply intertwined with global capitalism, state power, and ecological catastrophe. Simply ending immigration controls while keeping everything else intact is not viable. There is no reason to believe the border regime will end while it remains a key piece in managing capitalism at home and abroad. 

We cannot dismantle the two separately. One follows the other. There is no future in which US Congress votes to, and then carries out, the breaking of lucrative contracts with construction, surveillance, prison, and weapons manufacturers, while abolishing DHS, freeing everyone from detention centers, ending deportations, granting amnesty for all, demolishing the border wall, and implements a drastic reduction of the visa bureaucracy. The state does not relinquish power that way, and capital will not abide an interruption to its accumulation. Neither will it dismantle a mechanism, such as the border, that is so useful in combating working-class unity. There is no single policy that will undo the border regime, just as there is no single policy that will end capitalism. 

So what should the relationship between DSA and migrant workers be? Solidarity. We should not arrive at this struggle offering the paternalistic humanitarianism of NGOs and nonprofits, which often ignore root causes. This humanitarianism distills people into saviors and victims while comfortably existing within the global structures and institutions of capitalism. Solidarity, on the other hand, does not conceptualize people as saviors and victims but as equals working together, through disagreements and contradictions, to actively fight against border regimes. Solidarity is participatory not technocratic, equitable not paternalistic, and universalist in that it brings people of various identities together to fight a common enemy. Solidarity is the headwater from which socialist politics flow. It is, essentially, a duty. A duty to organize ourselves alongside migrants locally, nationally, and internationally. A duty to fight together for an end to the oligarchic world system that forces people from their homes and condemns them for it. Without this solidarity, we can’t build socialism. 

The labor movement of a single country, no matter how well organized, is useless if it views foreign workers as competitors and enemies. The only way forward is through international solidarity and coordination. If socialists lose sight of this fundamental principle, then there is no hope for socialism, or in the words of Eugene Debs, “If the principles of socialism have not international application and if the socialist movement is not an international movement, then its whole philosophy is false and the movement has no reason for existence.”

The post Fighting the Security State at the Southern Border appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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From Vietnam to Palestine: The Power of Student Solidarity

On this day in 1970, four Kent State students were murdered while protesting Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnamese war into Cambodia. This massacre further inflamed the anti-war protests on campuses across the nation which saw 4 million students strike for peace.

Today, we see history repeat itself with students occupying their campuses with the demand to cut funding to Israel’s apartheid regime as it slaughters ten of thousands and dislocates millions.

Today, we see that the leadership of the state and country has learned nothing as it continues to violently crush student protests while increasing funding for weapons of war being turned on the people of Gaza.

Today, we see Joe Biden has learned nothing from this experience as he smears student protestors and inflames violence against them by calling for order and obedience on college campuses

We stand with the student movement and demand an end to this genocide. We must continue fighting until the Palestinian people are free, just as the students of the 70s pushed on until Nixon was left with no choice but to sue for peace.

The post From Vietnam to Palestine: The Power of Student Solidarity appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America.

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Review: The Exhausted of the Earth

by Gregory Lebens-Higgins

Ajay Singh Chaudhary’s The Exhausted of the Earth: Politics in a Burning World (Repeater Books, 2024) comes at a much needed time. The world is now in an era of unprecedented man-made climate change. Meanwhile, socialism is finding a renewed strength in international politics, and confronting critical questions of strategy in coalescing its power. Chaudhary presents both the gravity of the moment, and a path forward.

Evidenced by record-breaking temperatures and climate-driven natural disasters, the fact of climate change is becoming increasingly undeniable. Although belief in climate change has often been the barometer for environmental political progress, this mere “acknowledgement” is not enough, Chaudhary argues. Seeking to take advantage of the situation, “right-wing climate realists” are fully aware of the coming catastrophe, but stand to gain from the concentration, preservation, and enhancement of their existing political and economic power.

“We’re not in this together,” says Chaudhary. Both reinforcing and reforming existing class structures, climate change is ultimately “about power.” Its winners and losers shape the global bourgeoisie and proletariat. For the bourgeoisie, climate security presents an investment opportunity as technologies of migrant detention, surveillance, and expulsion develop to deal with the regime’s growing underclass. They are given privileged access to the increasingly privatized emergency responses, insurance, and funding necessary to survive climate change. A matrix of private islands and penthouses from which they can hop by private jet or helicopter further insulates these “right-wing climate realists” from the rising waters.

Chaudhary conceptualizes a new international proletariat connected through nodes along a global “extractive circuit.” These peoples are designated as expendable, disposable. “At every node in the circuit there are two simultaneous and related phenomena: value extraction and nodal exhaustion.” Life today is an ever expanding cycle of intensified work and increasing consumption. Drawing on Fanon, whose colonized man “perceives life . . . as a permanent struggle against omni present death,” colonization has returned to the mainland under climate change regimes and is replicating in an ever-present race to not be among the expendable. 

Against this intensification, there is a cultural celebration of “resilience.” Putting in the extra hours, doing the hard work, suppressing stress, and self-reproducing to return to work the next day, is sold as the way to get ahead. But resilience is a management strategy and apology for the status quo, says Chaudhary. “Attachment to the ideal of resilience only maintains a world which demands it.” Instead of getting ahead, workers are on a stationary treadmill to keep producing profit for capital. What the situation demands is “not resilience but rebellion.” 

These “Exhausted of the earth” allow us to think about the outlines of a new revolutionary class outside of the traditional, and out-of-date, vulgar-Marxist depiction of Victorian factory workers. The revolutionary potential of the Exhausted exists in “affective aspects of class antagonism” (Lauren Berlant), or “infrastructures of feeling” (Ruth Wilson Gilmore). Resentment at our exhaustion will prod us into action, at first individually, then as collective sentiment. À la Fanon, Chaudhary predicts spontaneous outbreaks from global exhaustion. Then, this contagious stress will ripple through the nodes of extraction, creating a global protest movement. It is the role of socialists to organize and shape this energy into a coherent program. 

This path for green revolution is suggested in favor of what Chaudhary identifies as the “climate Lysenkoism” of the left. This is “a broad range of self-ascribed ‘left’ and ‘Marxist’ perspectives that subordinate both natural and historical realities to a quasi-mystical technophilia and an ahistoric romance of the mid-twentieth century Northern nationalist welfare state.” Salvation, for these theorists, depends on climate technology “that is always just about to break through.” But as Chaudhary details, the limits of these technologies do not provide any realistic expectation they can be scaled to divert from the worst of climate catastrophe. In the meantime, it remains business as usual; a preservation of the status quo.

Part of the value of Chaudhary’s work comes from its openness to a degree of utopianism that shows what “might” be. This provides the image of a positive program to fight for, rather than a negative program of climate doomerism. The project of left-wing climate realism, says Chaudhary, is “to carve out a sustainable global human ecological niche.” To do this, we must present mass climate adaptation and mitigation as something better. This is in opposition to strains of degrowth that offer a diminished standard of life—perhaps not a unifying message.

A high standard of living does not have to rely on the same disposable consumption that is currently valued. Chaudhary’s utopia borrows from ancient climate technologies to demonstrate lower-energy options for comfort. Architectural cooling techniques that have been in existence for thousands of years serve as a preferential alternative to noisy and power-hungry air conditioners. Although Chaudhary presents an attractive glimpse of his utopia, he avoids an overly detailed description of the transformed world. In this way, Chaudhary steers clear of the “utopian socialism” whose blueprints are disconnected from the material conditions of society and wherein the “historically created conditions of emancipation” are to yield to their “fantastic ones,” as decried by Marx and Engles in The Communist Manifesto

But this lack of detail also makes it hard to grasp concrete steps to escape our current situation. This is one area where Chaudhary leaves the reader wanting more. Although Chaudhary’s “minor paradise of a sustainable niche,” (captured in projects like the “Farming Kindergarten” in Đồng Nai, Vietnam), is evocative, it is difficult to get the sense of how these projects will scale. This solution is also a technological one, although perhaps employed under differing conditions than those of the growth-oriented “climate Lysenkoists” with whom he disagrees. 

Readers are also devoid of a roadmap to turn feelings of exhaustion into a socialist project. Indeed, Chaudhary admits that “for many emerging and vital constituencies of the Exhausted . . . the project of full socialism . . . is not necessarily desirable and has considerably less mass purchase than exhaustion.” While the exhaustion of our epoch leads to spontaneous action, one can see problems with turning this into directed action. Such horizontal feelings of outrage, as described by Vincent Bevins in Why We Burn, do not necessarily formulate into a coherent political project. One also wonders if it is not too much to hope for our collective emergence from depoliticized exhaustion. Medicalized responses to exhaustion (amphetamines, antidepressants, and sedatives), noted by Chaudhary, suggest instead the possible coming of a Brave New World dystopia. But hope we must. 

A final area where I take exception to Chaudhary is his assertion that “the ‘more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society’ is already here; it has been for a while; we’re just behind the times.” Although this model “doesn’t mean pitched mass battles,” it suggests an eruption of violence beyond the always-latent “class war” that plays out through both the slow violence of exploitation and flashes of brutal repression. “Civil war” is not an appropriate description of our present moment, and may be permissive of a political violence that extends beyond the bounds of what is prudent. Spontaneity is not always to be celebrated, and an overplaying of hands could lead to ruthless disruption before the army is ready to go into the field. 

Although some of the book is theoretically dense, it offers enough explanation that casual readers will still find something to gain. The importance of Chaudhary’s project is underscored by the serious threat of climate change to all life on the planet; a point he clearly illustrates. World leaders consistently overshoot their professed climate goals, and even “committed warming”—the future effects of carbon already in the atmosphere—haunts us like Marx’s “dead labor.” For socialist organizers, the book sets the task of finding ways to speak to these “Exhausted,” and to direct their spontaneous actions toward constructive ends. To quote Fanon, “things must be explained to them; the people must see where they are going, and how they are to get there.” Chaudhary’s The Exhausted of the Earth provides us a valuable explanation.

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