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The core idea of democratic socialism is that working people deserve better. We have a right to the wealth our labor creates.
In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, many of us live in quiet desperation. Farmers are committing suicide, and so are taxi drivers in New York City. That’s why in the battle for the soul of our country, we must win.
Most of us are sinking, and there’s no bottom. This is the ugly face of capitalism. That’s why so many people have joined the Democratic Socialists of America.
Why do so many of us live in pain because of bad teeth or bad backs, unable to afford medical care because an insurance or drug company rations it to make a buck? It doesn’t have to be this way, but a small elite benefits from the status quo. They keep all the rest of us fighting and killing over scraps with talk of racial superiority or bathroom scares, or fear of poor and working people in other countries.
We deserve better. We have a right to the wealth our labor creates. We demand democracy. And we demand freedom from struggling and toiling to barely survive, while a small group of the super wealthy live like modern-day kings.
We joined the DSA to fight back, because these oligarchs depend on us, and therein lies our power.
We are the ones who through our labor make this country go. What would happen if we all stood together across our differences to demand better wages and working conditions, our own unions? Or better yet, cooperative ownership of our own workplaces?
We must make politicians serve our interests, instead of those of their wealthy owners. Republicans give massive tax breaks to the very rich. Republicans cut health care and attack Social Security. Even the Wall Street wing of the Democrats supports luxury development instead of affordable housing. That’s because we’re not holding them accountable.
But if we take back the power, there is no limit to what we can do. And it’s already starting to happen.
Americans are listening to nurses and learning that the United States is the only developed nation in the world without universal health care. People are waking up to the lies insurance and drug lobbyists are feeding us. Even more than half of people who identify as Republicans now support Medicare for all.
That’s why President Donald Trump is suddenly panicked about democratic socialism.
DSA chapters in all 50 states are building a movement, canvassing neighbors and organizing co-workers to take action at the ballot box and the picket line.
We’re not a political party, but we support candidates from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Zak Ringelstein running in New York and Maine for federal office, to Jade Bahr and Jovanka Beckles running for state office in Montana and California, and Franklin Bynum and Cliff Willmeng running for local office in Texas and Colorado.
And unlike most organizations, we’ll keep applying pressure long after Election Day.
Ultimately, we want a society based on equality, solidarity and freedom, not fear and hate. We’ve seen that every-man-for-himself fails the working class, and we need collective, democratic solutions. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos don’t create good jobs — they pay low wages so they can hoard the wealth their workers create.
Instead, we could have publicly funded college for all, democratically controlled public utilities, universal secure retirement, mental health care, freedom from police violence, clean energy and related jobs, fair trade policies and an organized union voice at work, and eventually owning and running our own workplaces altogether. We can make all these investments by taxing the filthy rich, reining in Wall Street, and running our politics for people, not profits.
None of us can do it alone, but together we can do anything. Joining an organization means joining a community that will give you strength for the struggles ahead. We know we can get it if we take on the billionaire class and their hate and greed Tuesday and beyond.
Maria Svart is the national director of Democratic Socialists of America. You can follow the organization on Twitter: @DemSocialists