As Reagan put the great question in a speech to the second Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 1975: “Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”. A group called Build, which is not a formal caucus but an “organizing project,” is foundationally devoted to a diversity of tactics; “one foot in the institutions, one foot in the streets” is a slogan. Democratic leaders look alarmed, and Republicans have been reviving all the Cold War tropes about communism, updated with alarmist invocations of Venezuela. Agitation first came from intellectuals around the National Review, founded by William F. Buckley in 1955. Going back to the postwar roots of the Goldwater insurgency, the ideologues of the American conservative movement had a clear idea of what kind of society they wanted and how to get there. SWAN offers a space to discuss the impact of neoliberalism, marketisation and managerialism on Social Work and Social Pedagogy; the links between social work and social movements; the importance and significance of local social work traditions; alternative interpretations and practices of social work across the globe and how this affects our understandings of “international social work”. And they appear less interested in developing a national strategy, across the various chapters, than Bread and Roses is. The reversal has taken more constructive form in Britain and the United States, home bases of the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions. And the local chapters are fairly loosely structured as well. Six DSAers ran for the Chicago City Council, and all won. The strong presence on the NPC and the affiliation with Jacobin, the most influential publication on the American socialist left these days, gets people to talking about a sect with its own propaganda arm plotting to control the organization. Governor Andrew Cuomo was an ally of the IDC; the conference’s votes kept the Senate from passing legislation that was to the left of his tastes, without forcing him to take the potentially unpopular move of vetoing it. The New York City labor branch is actively encouraging members to get jobs in several targeted industries, like logistics and transportation (where strikes and other actions could seriously disrupt commerce, and thereby build working-class power), health care, education, and municipal government. (New York City has six geographical branches, as well as ones devoted to labor and youth.) It looked like everything, including local politics, was to be subordinated to the Sanders campaign. As Svart says, while DSA members have shown a diversity of attitudes toward the Democratic Party, they still regard it as a “capitalist party” and are determined to build “independent power.” Until such power blossoms into a historic force on the national political scene, however, there’s no substitute for the party’s automatic ballot line. Back in the 1970s, groups like the Socialist Workers Party directed members into industrial jobs with similar hopes, but they were mostly in basic industries that were in the early phases of a steep decline. For the most part, though, I’ll swallow my worries over the long-term direction of the socialist project for now and take pleasure in the vigor of the movement. This is highly problematic and has led to SWAN spearheading a social work campaign to have the NSPCC ... Swan statement on the Amnesty International report “As If Expendable”, NSPCC DISMISSES THE CONCERNS OF SOCIAL WORK PROFESSIONALS, IN THEIR DISAPPOINTING RESPONSE TO OUR LETTER. The saga of the group’s founding partakes strongly of one of the more notorious, and least appealing, features of political organizing on the American left—recursive infighting over tactical niceties producing one splinter movement after another. But other factions, as well as the unaffiliated, put electoral organizing at the center of their strategy. The 2017 gathering was quite contentious, but the organization emerged intact and continued to grow dramatically. This time, according to Laura Gabby, a union carpenter and member of the labor branch, DSA wants people “to take jobs they can stay in for the long term”—and the pay will probably be better than what solidarity-minded DSA members would make working for a nonprofit. Ten years later, Reagan was president. Delegate selection rules were rewritten to reduce the power of party insiders; primaries replaced the smoke-filled rooms of old. We need to find more effective ways of resisting the dominant trends within social work and map ways forward for a new engaged practice. And despite all the energy and organizing prowess of the DSA, we’re still a long way from any such urgent moments of reckoning. More recently, there was a dispute over how quickly DSA should officially endorse Sanders. Much of the group’s activism seemed likewise geared toward modest electoral goals—mostly working with liberal Democrats—and its membership resembled a naturally occurring retirement community. None of these outfits causes serious trouble for the larger trajectory of DSA organizing. 5 talking about this. Any mention of race or gender was regarded as a distraction from the “big” issues, meaning universal programs like Medicare for All. DSA—and I should disclose that I’m a member and attend occasional meetings in Brooklyn—is a descendant of the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, via a breakaway faction led by Michael Harrington. It supports grassroots campaigns across the globe. If so, the Gipper himself might appreciate the boldness, if not the results, of such a maneuver. There’s nothing like oodles of billionaire money to fund a network of think tanks and political operatives. It’s impossible to imagine the DSA of ten years ago going for an agenda like that. What’s more, the ostensible reasoning behind the Bread and Roses strategy also seems overblown: There’s little of the cultivated shapelessness of the Occupy movement within DSA, even among those derided as horizontalists—most active members are into serious political work. One senior union leader, who had become an organizer for Democratic candidates and was annoyed by DSA’s refusal to fall into line, sputtered: This is not Michael Harrington’s DSA anymore! deny she’s a socialist. For someone steeped in the politics of the pre-2016 American left, stepping into a DSA meeting—at least the ones I’ve been to in Brooklyn—is a strange and lovely thing. In February, a new DSA subgroup announced itself: Socialist Majority Caucus (SMC), which is an “explicitly reformist” group, in the words of Michael Kinnucan, one of its founders. It looked like everything, including local politics, was to be subordinated to the Sanders campaign. Attempts to make the party more organizationally and ideologically disciplined were batted down by insiders, but the other reforms opened up the party and made it what it is today. Fainan Lakha, a member of the tendency, denies the charges, though she insists any conversation about the “identity” issues should be linked to class. (The racial aspect of these tensions was the focus of a report in The New Republic by Miguel Salazar in December 2018.) And it is, to striking degree, the story of a once-marginal band of activist insurgents gathered under the banner of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Like elsewhere in Europe, in Denmark it arose as part of the working class […]. Socialist Worker is a revolutionary, anti-capitalist socialist newspaper based in Britain The report makes very difficult reading as ... Social Work Action Network co-founder discusses the coming the several crises impacting on society and social work. He’s now working on a book about the rot of the American ruling class. The issues under dispute—centralizing vs. decentralizing tendencies, for example, both internal to the organization and its approach to politics in general, or spontaneity vs. protocol—have plagued the left since the nineteenth century. office. In the United States, Hillary Clinton, one of the key architects, along with her husband, of the Democrats’ centrist moves in the 1990s, suffered a humiliating defeat, and her comrades in the party are urgently regrouping (while lifting some of Bernie Sanders’s rhetoric).
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