A caucus of revolutionary Marxists in the Portland chapter of Democratic Socialists of America
Points of Unity
We are revolutionary Marxists that believe that socialism can only be won by the complete overthrow of the capitalist class by the working class, placing the working class in power. While we support many reforms that would immediately improve people’s quality of life, we believe that you cannot reform or elect your way to socialism.
Socialism will not be won until economic, social, and political power are solely in the hands of the working class. We are a multi-tendency revolutionary communist caucus— including Marxist-Leninists, Maoists, Trotskyists, and Left Communists, among others—who agree to comradely discussion, debate, and to work together.
We fight for liberation and against all oppression, including racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, discrimination against queer and transgender people, and discrimination based on gender identity or expression, religion, caste, citizenship, or place of birth. Struggles against these many forms of oppression are justified in their own right and must be confronted directly.
We reject a “class reductionist”or “anti-identity politics” viewpoint and will work to diminish this position within DSA in favor of a truly intersectional and liberatory approach of solidarity.
The fight against anti-Black and anti-latinx racism is ongoing, and must begin in our local community. DSA is currently a largely white organization that does not reflect the diversity of the multi-racial working class in our city or the country. In order to change this racial makeup, we must show up and assist People of Color-led organizations across the left political spectrum, in an effort to build working class solidarity across racial lines.
We must elevate people of color in our organization so that they may lead us, rather than tokenizing them while maintaining white leadership. And we must oppose the class reductionist perspective of some Marxist ideologies that pretends race is not a key battleground for revolutionary politics. To ignore race in favor of class-based politics alone is to reimplement the same white supremacist and racially incompetent politics that has prevented the left from being truly representative of our multiracial communities.
We are anti-imperialist internationalists. We oppose all US imperial interventions abroad as well as non-military forms of imperial domination such as economic warfare. DSA is situated in the heart of the global empire and we believe that DSA has a responsibility to take a larger role in anti-imperialist struggle. Furthermore, our socialism is international which means we stand for a world without borders and the free movement of all people.
We outrightly reject nationalist chauvinism and believe in radical international solidarity, and will organize in unity with socialist and communist movements around the world.
We believe the Democratic Socialists of America must found a mass working class socialist party. The Democratic Party is a capitalist party that cannot be transformed into a vehicle for working class power. We believe the electoral arena is an important space for us to spread the socialist message and recruit more people to the working class movement.
We believe that DSA should only run open socialists for public office, with a focus on local offices. The core role of a socialist in public office is as a disturber of the political peace, not a legislator. The passage of progressive demands that improve the conditions for working class people should be pursued; however, the elected socialist must not engage in vote-trading, back-room deals, or any action that promotes the idea that we will be able to reform our way into socialism. Open socialists in elected office should be held accountable to the chapter that elects them. They are not elected to vote their conscience, but the conscience of the revolutionary working class that forms around their candidacy.
We believe that the police are class enemies and will never be on the side of the working class. The police are not an institution designed for community safety; they exist to protect capital and terrorize people into subservience to capitalist interests. Police unions have no place in the labor movement, and their existence as unions should be challenged immediately. Active Federal, State, or Local Law Enforcement Officers should be barred from joining DSA.
We call for the institution of the police and prisons to be abolished and replaced with a restorative justice model.
We are socialist feminists fighting for a world without cis-heteropatriarchy and all forms of gender based oppression. Sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, transmisogyny, and anti-queer sentiments are rampant in society, and DSA and other leftist spaces are not free from these problems either. We must come up with both systemic solutions and create a better culture around these issues within DSA. If we do not then DSA will inevitably join the many other leftist groups that were divided, split, and sometimes destroyed over the mishandling of harassment and abuse from membership.
As socialist feminists we are also unapologetically pro sex worker, anti-TERF, and pro-abortion and believe that people who hold reactionary views on these issues have no place within DSA.
We recognize that capitalism was built on stolen people and stolen land. We stand for the self-determination of indigenous peoples in the so-called United States, as well as around the world. Recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination means that under no circumstance, whether it be building socialism or transitioning to a sustainable economy, shall we violate their self-determination. We also believe that the primitive accumulation of capitalism has left a lasting imprint on society that is still relevant to this day and not something that is only a historically significant fact.
We believe that anti-fascist work in DSA is important and valuable. We support comrades engaged in direct action to confront fascists because it is both a necessary form of community defense and an effective way to silence their hate and slow their organizing so that they no longer feel comfortable out in the open. Historically, moments of socialist success are often immediately followed by violent fascist reaction, and any experience in organizing against fascism now will be useful for the future.
We believe in the right of the working class, especially those with marginalized statuses, to arm themselves for community and self-defense against violent reactionaries. We do not support gun control measures that increase government criminalization and repression, disproportionately affecting black, brown, and poor communities.
We are ecosocialists and believe climate catastrophe is unavoidable under capitalism. We must create a decarbonized economy with democratic control over energy systems and resources as rapidly as possible. Immediate reforms are necessary, however regressive methods of funding a sustainable transition must be avoided; it is the rich who must pay to overhaul the capitalist system they use to profit off of environmental destruction. Ecosocialism also means recognizing the connection between imperialism and pending environmental collapse. Demilitarization is necessary around the world, but also at the local level in this regard.
We cannot envision a future in which we close off and safeguard our liveable land and natural resources to people fleeing natural disasters and unsuitable climates in the Global South.