Let’s start a campaign to build toward a Democratic Socialist Party

National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America

To: National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, ask the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to take the following steps:

1) After the 2020 presidential election is over DSA should organize broad left conferences regionally and nationally in 2021 to discuss the idea of forming a Democratic Socialist Party.
This does not mean simply declaring a new party, but instead opening up discussions among DSA members and the left wing of Bernie’s base about the need for our own independent party.
A new party would not preclude the tactical flexibility of that party running candidates on the ballot line of the Democrats, while also preparing the ground to break free from the Democratic Party.

2) We recognize that a viable Democratic Socialist Party will need a larger base than what DSA currently has. Alongside growing DSA, we should call on Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilahn Omar, Labor for Bernie leaders, and many other individuals, unions, and organizations to join us in taking steps towards such a working-class, democratic, membership-controlled force to advance our political revolution against the billionaire class.

- end of the petition: -

:: Initial co-signers ::
(All in personal capacity unless otherwise noted)

Alex Davis, Columbus DSA
Alex Stout, Phoenix DSA Treasurer, Political Education Committee Chair
Alexandra Davis, Columbus DSA
Benjamin Watkins, Seattle DSA
Bobby Lambertz, DSA Seattle, Renton Education Association steward
Bridget Osborn, DSA Seattle, WSNA Union member (nurses union)
Bryan Watson, Seattle DSA
Carolyn Brotherton, PhD, Seattle DSA, Teamsters 117
Charlotte Gray, DSA Detroit
Chris Natale, DSA Seattle, Local Council
Christopher Daly, DSA Seattle/Twin Cities (Minnesota)
Constance Spoor, DSA Seattle
Daniel Leon, DSA Seattle
Daniel Ojalvo, DSA Seattle, Tech worker
Dave Benvenuti, Local Council Member, Seattle DSA
Emma Fletcher, Seattle DSA, Union Organizer
Eric Dand, DSA Seattle
Erik Shaw, co-chair Seattle DSA District 4 group, UAW 4121
Evan Seitchik,Boston DSA, Co-Chair
Jake Slagle, DSA Seattle
Jennifer Barfield, DSA member at-large
Jeremy Thornes, DSA Seattle
Jerry Liebermann, DSA Seattle, R&R Caucus
John Gallup, Austin DSA, International Association of Firefighters Local 975 member
John McLeod, Seattle DSA District 3
John Silkey, Phoenix DSA, Executive Committee Officer, HGO, Political Education Committee Member
Joshua Turnham, DSA Seattle
Justin Roll, Seattle DSA
Kenny Farver, Olympia DSA
Kevin Osborn, Twin Cities DSA, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Minnesota member
M. Janowitz DSA Seattle
M. Harris, Seattle DSA
Manuel Carrillo, DSA Seattle, UNITE HERE Local 8 Shop Steward
Mark Jenkins, Whatcom DSA, Union Steward working to organize T-Mobile
Mark Rafferty, Seattle DSA, UAW 4121
Meg Strader, Seattle DSA
Melissa Bowen, Olympia DSA
Philip Locker, Seattle DSA, Reform & Revolution editor
Ramy Khalil, Seattle DSA, SEA union member
Ruth Oskolkoff, Seattle DSA, Extinction Rebellion
Ryan Crimaldi, DSA Columbus
Ryan Grate, DSA Seattle
Sara Parent, DSA Seattle
Sarah White Kimmerle, Seattle DSA
Sean Case, Seattle DSA
Spencer Cox, Twin Cities DSA
Stan Strasner, DSA Seattle VP Seattle Substitutes Association (Personal Capacity)
Stephan Kimmerle, Seattle DSA, UAW 1981 member
Stuart Strader, Seattle DSA
Takeshi Takahashi, Seattle DSA, Queer & Feminist Caucus Co-Chair
Theo Wheeland, Whatcom County DSA, former Vice-Chair
Val Ross, Seattle DSA
Whitney Kahn, Seattle DSA, SEA union member
Zach Estela DSA Seattle

:: Why We Are Launching this Petition ::

As the global COVID19 crisis spreads throughout the world, Bernie Sanders’ message of free healthcare and emergency relief for workers is reaching millions of people, pointing in the direction of political revolution against the billionaire class. We continue to fight alongside Bernie for his program even though he ended is presidential campaign on April 8, 2020. Our efforts were not strong enough to win on the hostile terrain of the Democratic Party and faced with the biased reporting of the corporate media. However, we are winning the battle of ideas.

Bernie's campaign has revealed that millions are willing to support socialist ideas as a path toward economic, racial, gender and environmental justice. Bernie and all of us who supported his campaign are having a huge and lasting impact. We have fundamentally changed the political landscape of the U.S.

Our conclusion from this experience is: we need much deeper working-class and socialist organizing. We need our own organized, democratic, member-run party which systematically builds public support on a sustained basis during and after election campaigns and in social struggles. This project is bigger than any single election campaign.

The time to offer this bigger vision is now, as people are grappling with the successes and challenges of this campaign — although the time for more concrete action probably won’t come until after the general election in November 2020.

We need to expand our infrastructure by launching our own publications and media and building DSA over the next year to be in a position after the 2020 presidential election to launch a Democratic Socialist Party alongside other left-wing organizations, unions, and individuals.

Some on the left propose we simply declare a new party now. Others argue this is not the time and that we should just continue our efforts to run candidates within the Democratic Party until more favorable conditions arise.

We don't buy into the choice between a premature declaration of a new party now or the indefinite postponement of the task of forming a new party.

DSA is neither an insignificant nor a passive force. At the moment, there is no other left-wing working-class organization better positioned to lay the organizational and political groundwork for a future break with the Democratic Party.

The National Convention of DSA in August proclaimed: “DSA is committed to building political organization independent of the Democratic Party and their capitalist donors ...

In the longer term, our goal is to form an independent working-class party, but for now this does not rule out DSA-endorsed candidates running tactically on the Democratic Party ballot line.”

It's time to move forward in this direction.

The formation of a Democratic Socialist Party does not mean ruling out socialist candidates running tactically on the Democratic Party ballot line, but it would mean taking a step to overcome this situation by forming our own organization that would be able to systematically build its strength out of each election campaign. And in many cases we are already in a position to be able to run independent democratic socialist candidates, as Bernie Sanders has successfully done in Vermont.

Furthermore, a working class party is more than a tool for elections, but should be actively involved in workplace and social struggles.

In the meantime, one of the best tools to work toward forming a new Democratic Socialist Party is a recruitment campaign to DSA: We call on all Bernie supporters to get organized in a democratic, member-run, socialist organization. Let’s build DSA and organize the political revolution against the billionaire class!