Why Kshama is joining the DSA

Published on February 27, 2021

Councilmember Kshama Sawant just announced that she is joining the Democratic Socialists of America, while remaining a member of Socialist Alternative.

In her open letter explaining why she has taken this important step, Kshama wrote: “The reemergence of a socialist movement in the United States, and rapid growth of organizations like Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Socialist Alternative (SA), is of enormous historical importance. This is not only because Marxism is beginning to take root again on the hard soil of U.S. capitalism, but also because of the enormous challenges facing the working class in this period.

“Capitalism is in the midst of its worst crisis in nearly a century, and it is a compound one – not only do we face the deadly disasters of COVID-19 and the economic collapse, but also the coming climate catastrophe. The disasters we’ve seen in the past year could become far worse unless socialists and the working class rise to the historic tasks in front of us.

“The socialist left faces both challenges and opportunities. We need a mass working-class party, a stronger labor movement, and victorious struggles in our ongoing fight against the billionaire class. In my view, to move forward we need to advance the Marxist ideas that will be necessary to win both immediate gains in the present crisis and a final victory over capitalism’s exploitation and oppression. 

“Because of the urgency to build a wider socialist movement, I am now joining DSA, while remaining a member of Socialist Alternative. Other members of my organization are doing the same, as outlined in our article last December. Working class people are moving into struggle, and the socialist left will need to have patient debate to reach political clarity; I hope to contribute to this process in DSA and am excited to bring my experience as an openly Marxist elected representative.” 

You can read Kshama’s full letter here.

The growth in support for socialist ideas that we’re currently seeing didn’t appear out of nowhere. It’s a direct response to the deepening crisis that the capitalist system is sinking into. To address this crisis, working people and socialists need to join together to build a broad, unified movement on a principled basis.

One way that socialists are building that unity is through members of Marxist organizations like Socialist Alternative collaborating actively with the work of broader, multi-tendency socialist organizations like the DSA. Socialists and working people are also joining together to respond to attacks on our movements, in particular the right-wing, billionaire-backed recall attempt against Kshama Sawant.

Across the country, DSA members are lending their support to defend against this baseless recall attack on Kshama. Seattle DSA recently passed a resolution to endorse and support the Kshama Solidarity Campaign through volunteer work like phonebanking. If you’d like to volunteer to help defend Kshama’s office, you can sign up here. 

Many national DSA leaders have also endorsed the Kshama Solidarity Campaign, such as Founding Editor of Jacobin Bhaskar Sunkara, DSA National Political Committee Member Keon Liberato-Mercedes, and Chicago Aldermen Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Rossana Rodriguez.

In Seattle and across the nation, many working people and socialists are arriving at the same conclusion: if the right-wing and big business succeed in removing Kshama from office, this will be just the first in a series of attacks on the left and our movements. Kshama’s recall would spell a massive setback to the fight for better conditions for working people, and with the acute and multi-faceted crisis of capitalism we face, we absolutely can’t afford that. 

One great way to help build the movement to fight back against the recall effort is by donating to the Kshama Solidarity Campaign. The billionaires are preparing to go all out to try to remove Kshama from office. Ordinary people nationwide are chipping in because they know what’s at stake. Can you join our over 3,000 donors in supporting our grassroots campaign?