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What the Right Can Learn from the DSA

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The Democratic Socialists of America, once obscure, are now one of the most powerful left-wing groups in the country. But Bernie Sanders’ humiliating loss in the Democratic primary casts doubt on the eventual triumph of the DemSoc utopia. Could the DSA just be a flash in the pan? And, most importantly for us, what can the Real Right learn from the DSA?

The media can’t resist publishing glowing profiles of the lefties. The Atlantic recently claimed the coronavirus is the DSA’s moment, with membership shooting up to 66,000 and economic turmoil energizing activists to organize. While 66,000 members is much smaller than the Democrats and Republicans, it is far larger than other activist organizations. Nothing on the Right can compare to that.

The DSA members interviewed are about what you’d expect. The lead subject is a “non-binary” person who goes by Abby, insists on “they/their” as her pronouns, and was laid off from a Denver board games store. This isn’t the paunchy steel worker of the past.

But it’s likely The Atlantic was too effusive about the DSA’s prospects. The Democratic Party is currently running a senile septuagenarian who hates socialism and loves big business. Many of their favorite politicians, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are submitting to the establishment for the shared goal of beating Donald Trump.

A more honest assessment of the DSA’s current state comes from the lefty website, The Bellows. Fellow Leftists know the real internal dynamics of the group and aren’t going to be awe-struck by their propaganda. They know what’s bullshit and what’s not. The article, written by one Briana Last, praises DSA for its growth and a deep commitment to Leftist issues. Last acknowledges that the socialists have made real progress in recent years, but the success has been overinflated by journalists. “The Left needs to build independent institutions capable of influencing elections and the DSA has yet to do so in a meaningful way,” she writes.

Last negatively compares the DSA to the Justice Democrats, which is a political action committee rather than a mass organization. The Justice Democrats raise money, recruit candidates, draft policy papers, and provide valuable staffers to a campaign. The DSA primarily just provides enthusiastic volunteers:

In electoral campaigns where money translates to power, DSA has no real bargaining chip. Except for the promise of media exposure and some volunteers, DSA has no mechanism by which it can substantively shape the policy programs of candidates and to keep them accountable to the organization. Thus, candidates (whose kickstarter capital and policy platform are determined by other more serious progressive organizations) only seek DSA’s endorsement for largely symbolic reasons. DSA’s limited resources also mean that few members within the organization feel capable of making a bid in the first place. This means that only those with the audacity and independently earned capital to run for office do so, rather than the candidates best poised to win with the support of the general membership.

Last believes it would be better for the DSA to “build power beyond the ballot box and shift political opinion through the long, slow process of political education.”

“This could make it a formidable force in politics, pulling the Democratic Party to the left, while at the same time building coalitions and playing an important role in class formation beyond the scope of any given election,” she adds.

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Toward a New Nationalism here

Last chastizes DSA’s democratic structure for not giving it sufficient focus and strong priorities. Its national convention focuses more on what positions they should hold on Palestine and trans rights rather than what issues they should campaign on.

Another major problem is DSA’s demographics. It’s not a working-class party at all — nearly a third of members earn over $100,000 a year. Most members are college-educated and only six percent of members are in a union. The DSA is less unionized than the general American population, and you have to remember that many of their union members are journalists and other white-collar workers. The affluent overrepresentation belies the DSA’s “working class” image. Rather than focusing on the issues of the working class, the DemSocs fixate on issues that interest wealthy millennials who see themselves as the proletariat. Last blames the Labour Party’s crushing defeat in the UK’s 2019 election on the dominance of affluent activists.

The writer is optimistic that the DSA can seize this unique moment and transform itself into a genuine workers’ party. The party needs to be more like Bernie’s simple agenda and less like a caricature of a college campus.

Last is probably wrong in her optimism. The kind of working-class she envisions doesn’t really exist anymore. Many of the proletariats are now service workers like non-binary Abby. Abby would like Medicare for all, but “they” also care deeply about all the social issues that befuddle middle Americans. People like Abby want trans rights and open borders at the forefront of socialism. This core audience would be lost if the DSA solely focused on workers’ issues. Some may say it’s worth the trade-off, but will enough normie workers be won over to compensate for the lost book store employees and trust fund radicals? Probably not.

Democratic socialism will remain an affluent young person’s ideology. The white working class cares deeply about socio-cultural issues and will not go along with a movement that seeks to check their “white privilege.” Union guys are more likely to vote for Trump than for Ilhan Omar.

For what the DSA is, it’s a pretty effective metapolitical organization. It has helped make single-payer healthcare, open borders, and prison abolition mainstream ideas on the Left. The group has made “socialist” a popular label for Leftists and taken away the “bad optics” surrounding it. The DSA can organize thousands of people across the country to protest the far-right. It’s also separate from the Democratic Party and can effectively advocate for its principles without having to “support the team.” Most importantly, it operates as a community for like-minded individuals to organize, share ideas, and work together for shared political goals. The 66,000 number may look small when compared to major political groups, but that’s a large activist core that will be around for many years. That’s no small feat.

The main problem for the DSA, as hinted in the Bellows article, is that more professional organizations like the Justice Democrats will have more sway over future political candidates. DSA members want anti-establishment revolutionaries who will stick to their principles; Justice Democrats prefer more pragmatic lawmakers. Most politicians are more willing to listen to money than a few activists. The next great progressive champion will be less anti-establishment and less committed to DSA’s principles than Bernie. It will be harder to maintain a high-energy national organization if the great progressive champion is cozy with Joe Biden and supports Zionism.

Could the Dissident Right emulate the DSA model? Probably not.

Being in the DSA doesn’t cause you to be doxed, harassed, unemployed, and deplatformed. Being in a right-wing member organization does. If any of our groups get too large or threatening, the dogs of war are unleashed. Tech platforms ban your account, Antifa launches savvy infiltration campaigns, journalists dox and harass your members, and possible allies rush to disavow your group. DSA does not suffer from any of these advantages. It’s an easy way to be a “dissident” without suffering any of the consequences of being a dissident. You can post all day about guillotining capitalists and fascists without worrying about unemployment or lost reputation.

Member organizations are very tough to pull off on our side. They are important for networking and building community, but they are limited in how much they can influence electoral politics.

A Dissident Right campaign volunteer organization is out of the question and so is a political action committee. The best path is what Last suggested for the DSA to focus on: build power beyond the ballot box and shift political opinion through the long, slow process of political education. Our side has shifted political opinion through guerrilla activism. A few dozen right-wing Twitter accounts memed nationalism into a serious political force in 2016. The Groyper War last fall forced several mainstream conservatives to adopt immigration restriction and non-interventionism.

These were organic, grassroots efforts that didn’t require the backing of a member organization. The best way to build power and shift political opinion is through decentralized, rebellious, and fun engagement with mainstream politics. We don’t need 66,000 activists to accomplish what a few questioners can do to Turning Point USA.

The Dissident Right has the serious advantage of having relevant answers to our zeitgeist. Single-payer healthcare or more vacation time won’t solve America’s current woes. America is crippled by globalism and multiculturalism. Democratic Socialists offer no serious answers to these problems; we do. This is our moment, not theirs.

Coronavirus should bring a great reckoning in Western politics. More people will question the utility of mass immigration, globalism, and love of the other. We need to position ourselves to educate the masses on what really led to this disaster.

If you want to support our work, please send us a donation by going to our Entropy page and selecting “send paid chat.” Entropy allows you to donate any amount from $3 and up. All comments will be read and discussed in the next episode of Counter-Currents Radio, which airs every Friday.

8 Comments

  1. Posted May 19, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I fail to see how “anti-establishment” and “revolutionary” the DSA really is, when all they do is parrot essentially the same left wing social issue trope as does the NYT.

  2. Alexandra O.
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Socialism is immediately shredded by reading anything at all by Solzhenitsyn or Ayn Rand. Or probably by Evola as well, whom I have not read in depth yet, but am impressed by online posts here.

  3. Lord Shang
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Hampton says DSA’s 66000 members is more than anything the Right has. Really? The NRA has many more members than that. I’m sure there are both pro-life and tax limitation groups which do as well. What about neo-Confederate groups? Numbers USA? Or is Hampton merely defining the “Right” to be solely the “White Right”?

    Anyway, I totally disagree with the author’s pessimistic conclusions, which just happen to correspond to what writers and intellectuals like him (and others at CC and AR and similar places) do and do best. The way forward is via … intellectual discourse and internet exchanges! In an internet age constantly precipitating viral (sorry) movements, it is absolutely possible to build a mass dues-paying membership nationalist movement; to scale it up into the millions very quickly; and then to begin taking it offline and into real world activities of networking and civic engagement.

    There is only one catch. IT CANNOT AT THIS TIME BE A RACIAL NATIONALIST MOVEMENT. Anything overtly pro-white is, sadly, toxic. I myself could not afford at this time to be a member of a white nationalist organization, and I am better positioned than many. But until I retire, I just wouldn’t join a white nationalist activist group.

    OTOH, I feel 100% comfortable being an NRA member (and I don’t care what libtard knows about it), as well as advocating publicly for reductions in immigration. I do so all the time. A few years ago (during Trump’s campaign) I made some very critical comments about “sanctuary cities” [my city is one of them] policy to some leftwing ass lecturer at a business gathering I had to attend, and this in front of maybe 200 people, many of whom were my direct colleagues. Not only did nothing negative happen to me or my ‘precious’ career (only losers or the exceptionally successful place their career advancement above all other aspects of their lives), the only people who later broached the matter with me did so to express agreement with my comments. Hampton has a very weird perspective (is he a professor at a particularly SJW college? a municipal employee in NYC or Seattle or LA?).

    Anyway, the type of mass rightist movement I envision would have to be an America First civic nationalist movement. It would overlap with mainstream Republican conservatism except for a) staying agnostic on the abortion issue, and b) emphasizing a New Nationalist platform of immigration reduction; illegal alien deportation; physically securing the US-Mexican border; de-linking the US and China economies, and enacting tariffs so as to bring home strategically necessary manufacturing, and discourage future outsourcing of manufacturing jobs; terminating foreign aid (personally I would add “except for population stabilization programs”, but that would offend too many Christians in the heartland); retrieving lost US sovereignty ceded to a host of transnational entities; and fighting textbook multiculturalism in the public schools.

    I have been saying to people for twenty five years that such an organization could be self-sustaining, and extremely influential. And it would be “implicitly white” from the outset, only biding its time (probably, though, for a couple of decades more) until it could come out full on white nationalist. I have always opined since the early 80s that immigration restrictionism was potentially very popular. IT STILL IS! What is NOT popular even among Heartland Americans is the correct reason for opposing mass immigration, which is White American survival, and the maintenance of the USA as a White majority nation. I have advocated that to many people, including relative strangers, and beats me why, but it makes most of them “uncomfortable” (expelling nonwhites legally here from US soil, or putting them in Nazi gas chambers, should make people uncomfortable; why anyone should be bothered about the very modest desire to keep America the White nation it always has been is unfathomable to me). OTOH, merely discussing the many non-racial reasons why legal immigration should be reduced or halted has only elicited negative reactions in my presence on two occasions I can recall. I broach this issue all the time, and only twice did I have anyone start screaming about me being a “racist” (this was by some mentally unstable imo Hispanic, on one occasion, and by some white libertarian douchebag in the presence of his Palestinian immigrant girlfriend, on the other).

    Civic nationalism now, white nationalism when the time is right. That is the formula (for political activism, I stress, not intellectual advance) for our success.

    • Lord Shang
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      I’m adding here something relevant that I’d posted a couple of weeks ago on another thread:

      What is needed is a mass American nationalist / America First movement to become a center of people’s lives. This is possible because white Americans have become so atomized, which in turn has been a function of both deracination and dechristianization. So many whites, esp younger ones, have nothing social or civic in their lives (and often nothing at all). This flattening is part of why everything among even psychically healthier (non-liberal) middle-aged whites today is so family focused. Man is a social animal, but today for whites, the tiny immediate family is about as far as that social instinct can go. A mass nationalist movement that actually provided something – some focus of activity – for them to do could ‘scale up’ very quickly. I myself would love to get offline and connect with white nationalists in my area – that is, responsible and intellectual white nationalists (as here at CC), but not mentally unstable losers who “wear the swastika with pride”, and whom I would find dull apart from alarming.

      A mass WHITE nationalist movement is not viable at this time. A mass CIVIC nationalist movement is. But America Firstism, however, is a great entryist ideology. “AF” is already subversive to the Left, but it is unthreatening to most white Americans, esp on the Right. If a mass civic nationalist movement could get offline, I think over time most members would become truly redpilled. “Gradual radicalization” is the key.

      • Daniel Harris
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        I’ve also been thinking about some entryist, good-optics AmNat movement as the key to winning–MAGA on steroids, more or less. The Left will call it racist, but then again, they call everything racist, and this movement would keep a plausible deniability about the “end goal” or whatnot.

        All implicitly white nationalist movements have weaknesses, though. If it grows big enough to be a serious force, the government and establishment might overtly crack down on it–like how Father Coughlin got pushed off the radio right when WWII started, and the USPS literally stopped delivering his newsletters. Other tactics, like infiltration, subversion, violence-inciting, entrapment, and libeling pretty much destroyed overt movements like the 1960s-era Klan and those involved in Charlottesville.

        Or, donorism from Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson, plus Conservatism Inc grifters, may co-opt the movements, steal their names and energy and turn them into a neutered part of the Kosher sandwich. This happened with the Tea Party, MAGA, and on the left, Occupy Wall Street. “Wokeness” seems to be transforming Bernyism and Democratic Socialism into useless movements that spend all their energy getting pronouns right. Bankers and capitalists have nothing to fear from that.

        And in a way worst of all, implicit, coded movements have trouble sticking to their true, original purpose. A very convincing article, either here or at AmRen, argued that the Religious Right that started in the 1970s was an implicitly white reaction to forced integration and Civil Rights. Maybe initially, “we need to reverse the moral decline of America” was understood as code for “we need to bring the negro back to heel and stop race-mixing.” But the new generation of Evangelicals and religious rightists weren’t “in on it,” and they just took their movement’s stated goals at face value. The Religious Right then spent the next 40 years fighting–and gracefully losing–battles on gay marriage, abortion, transgenderism, porn, degenerate TV, secularism, and evolution. Today, the Baptist Convention’s biggest priorities are racial equality and defending Israel.

        Survivalism, Constitutionalism, and militia movements, all more or less the heirs of John Birchers and Cold Warriors, are also implicitly white movements founded on distrust of government. And I suspect libertarianism is where whites who can’t admit to themselves they’re racist go. The property rights angle is probably the strongest non-racialist defense against forced integration, and “If government does nothing but harm whites, we might as well just have no government at all” is a tempting thought.

        What do you think about these? I agree with you on the goal, but the conundrum is that it seems if we go explicit, we’re instantly destroyed, but if we’re implicit, no one need destroy us because the unstated purpose gets forgotten and we lose our way.

    • Alexandra O.
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      If we cannot organize a ‘population stabilization program’ in the Third World because of White Christian opposition, then a lot of WNs will seriously have to turn their ‘basement-dwelling’ lives around and start getting married (permanently to a nice girl) and having 3 or 4 kids themselves, in a suburban home with a nice white picket fence. We really can’t have it both ways. I vastly appreciate the incredible intellectual and/or scholarly posts and discussions I read here daily, and I realize a lot of work and time goes into producing these remarkable underpinning of our group. But the revolution we must create is not in the streets with placards, but — how to put this politely — in the bedroom — and along with enough of the bourgeois trappings of life to make the wife happy.

      • Lord Shang
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:48 am | Permalink

        I am 100% behind aggressive Third World population reduction programs, and I would be so even if I were a very committed Christian. Ultimately, Mathusian nonwhite fecundity is morally irresponsible and a global threat – and thus properly the subject of global pressure and regulation.

        But to every serious Christian I have known, evangelical or Catholic or Greek Orthodox, population stabilization aid is construed as support for foreign abortion, and that has become a nonstarter among both unthinking and even too many thinking Christians. So to build up a mass Am First civic nationalist movement as a precursor to a white nationalist mass movement, I think you have to just go with a total halt to all foreign aid, which would be an improvement over today’s situation.

  4. Vehmgericht
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Far left identity politics is more palatable to corporations than unionisation. What is the cost of hiring an office of diversicrats and the occasional affirmative action promotion versus less offshoring and better terms and conditions across the board?

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