With the rise of Democratic Socialist candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14 Congressional District) and Ben Jealous (Maryland Gubernatorial Candidate) it’s important for us to understand not just what Democratic Socialism is, but what it stands for. While we find today that most people cannot give a clear definition of what “Democratic Socialism” is, the Democratic Socialists of America seem to be no different in this aspect. The non-profit political group heavily backed Ocasio-Cortez in route to her defeat of 9-Term congressman Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic Primary this past June. Despite this, many of the ideas that are instilled in the organization’s constitution conflict with the ones of Ocasio-Cortez, and sometimes may even conflict with itself.
While reading over this document, there were many ideas that overlapped and contradict each other. The first obvious one was the last two sentences in Article II of the DSA Constitution which states:
“We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America. We believe that such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of American society and that this class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population”
While we see many on the left make this same argument that there is a “conflict of interest” in the class system in America, the DSA continues on after Article II by mentioning three different times that in fact people within their organization who have an economic advantage over others also have a political advantage within the Democratic Socialists of America. In Article III Section 5, there is a mention of yearly dues that need to be paid by members, while Article V Sections 3 and 4 mention that only “dues-paying” members are given representation at the organizations yearly convention, and only those members are permitted to vote or to run in elections. This is a direct contradiction of what socialism really entails. Socialism in a basic form is when the people equally share the means of production. In this case, the “means of production” is a voice. The opportunity to have your voice heard within an organization that has over 48,000 members, as of today. It is not a socialist ideal, and in many ways, not a democratic idea, to restrict someone’s voice due to their own financial status.
On the flip side of things, the idea of “Democracy” doesn’t really fall into the DSA’s strong suit, either. In Article VIII Section 2 of their constitution, the DSA sets a quota (yes, an actual quota) on the number of men and the number of “non-minorities” that can serve as a delegate on the National Political Committee. And in the case that these seats are not filled during their annual convention, then the seats must be filled up “only minority members of DSA” and voted in by the existing members on the National Political Committee.
This takes a step further in Article IX concerning a National Advisory Committee stating This concept is also a direct contradiction to their own constitution, due to the first sentence in Article II stating:
“We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.”
While in most democratic societies, people are given the same rights regardless of factors such as race and sex, the Democratic Socialists of America advocate for these same rights while also restricting the voting rights of many in their own organization based on their race and sex.
The Democratic Socialist platform is one that advocates not only for equality for all but also diversity within the community. It does this by blatantly excluding those who are either white and/or male (I’m pretty sure in some universe this is an example of both racism and sexism).
They also emphasized the need for a redistribution of wealth in society due to the “conflict of interest” between economic classes, while also asking for their own members to pay dues or else they cannot have a vote or say in anything that goes on within the organization. The Democratic Socialist platform is not only inconsistent, but it’s hypocritical. There is nothing “Democratic” or “Socialist” about the Democratic Socialism, and that’s the bottom line.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.