Democratic Socialists of America
International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago. The police were trying to disperse a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday, when an unidentified person threw a bomb at them. The police reacted by firing on the workers, killing four demonstrators. “Reliable witnesses testified that all the pistol flashes came from the center of the street, where the police were standing, and none from the crowd. Moreover, initial newspaper reports made no mention of firing by civilians. A telegraph pole at the scene was filled with bullet holes, all coming from the direction of the police.”
Since then May Day has been the day of choice to celebrate Labor and the Working class despite that holiday at the other end of Summer :) In a time when many would turn the clock back, via “Right To Exploit” laws and other anti-Union legislation, to the days when only those with sufficent capital had power or even rights, I thought today would be a good day to offer some links for the education of Lizards everywhere.
First, what does Socialism actually mean in 2013, other than as a epithet for those who shout rather than think? From the Democratic Socialists of America’s “About Us” page dsausa.org
At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. For example, we support reforms that:
- decrease the influence of money in politics
- empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy
- restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.
We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.
A more in-depth document can be found here:
DSA - Where We Stand
The founder of the DSA was Micheal Harrington, the author of ”The Other America,” about the poverty of too much of America in 1962. The study, which shocked many with his argument that up to 25% of Americans lived in poverty, helped to kickstart the Federal Government’s War on Poverty. He was opposed to capitalism and communism alike as cruel and anti-libertarian social systems, Harrington advocated working for a realignment of the U.S. Democratic Party, away from an amorphous amalgam of often contradictory ideas towards making it a principled party of the left. From an interview quoted in his obituary:
”Put it this way. Marx was a democrat with a small d. The Democratic Socialists envision a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism and racial equality. I share an immediate program with liberals in this country because the best liberalism leads toward socialism. I’m a radical, but as I tell my students at Queens, I try not to soapbox. I want to be on the left wing of the possible.”
Additionally, wiki has a good article on the DSA as well en.wikipedia.org
Other interesting links:
The Industrial Workers of the World aka Wobblies
The Haymarket Affair - May 4, 1886
The Lattimer Massacre of September 10, 1897
The Ludlow Massacre of April 20, 1914
The ruins of Ludlow
The Battle of the Overpass, May 26, 1937
These are a but a tiny sample of what many did to secure our rights and freedoms as humans beings who work for a living. We can honor their memory this May Day by upholding the freedom they helped us gain.
As my own celebration of May Day, I renewed my membership in the largest actual Socialist organization in America, the Democratic Socialists of America. I urge everyone concerned with the future of America to find and support those organizations that reflect their personal values.