Response to the April 2017 DSA Internationalism Report

The DSA Internationalism Committee released a report in April proposing that the Democratic Socialists of America either sever ties with or downgrade their status in the Socialist International. The rationale of the Committee can be boiled down to four arguments:

  1. That internationalism costs money
  2. That the DSA should disassociate itself from the policies and programs of the International
  3. That the DSA should disassociate itself from the austerity and neoliberal policies of parties affiliated to the International in an effort to appease competing parties outside the International such as Podemos in Spain, Die Linke in Germany and SYRIZA in Greece
  4. That the International and the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) routinely ignore the DSA and YDS.

These arguments are factually problematic or otherwise unconvincing.

By the Committee's own calculations, our international commitments will be around 1% of the DSA national budget in 2017 and 2018. By the Committee's own admission, budgetary considerations are not a substantial argument. This is a question of political will, not resources.

The Committee suggests that the policies and programs of the International should be rejected despite offering no example of any policy or program of the International that is objectionable. On the contrary, the XXV Congress of the International in March approved resolutions that call for the independence of Puerto Rico, call for recognition of the State of Palestine, call for ending the blockade of Gaza, call for ending discrimination against non-Jews in Israel, condemn Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, condemn undemocratic constitutional changes in Mauritania, amend the statutes of the International to have equality between men and women in all levels of the organization, call for Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide, condemn Trump's border wall, call for convening an Ibero-American Summit in Mexico to coordinate against Trump, call for the release of thousands of political prisoners in Turkey and so on and so forth. The DSA should be able to comfortably support all these policies plus others that the XXV Congress approved in March. The XXV Congress even approved a lengthy, detailed resolution of self-criticism condemning how neoliberal globalization benefited few in the name of many and calling on socialist parties to reclaim economic equality as their goal.

The picture that the Committee paints of the DSA becoming discredited by association with the austerity and neoliberal policies of some International-affiliated parties is factually lacking. Far from wanting nothing to do with the PSOE in Spain and the SPD in Germany, the main demand that Podemos and Die Linke have of the PSOE and SPD, respectively, are to be open to coalitions at the national level. The parties already form several coalition governments at the regional level, including some coalitions where Podemos or Die Linke head the governments. Moreover, Pedro SÃnchez just won the primaries in the PSOE this May on a platform of working together with Podemos at the national level and the SPD is now also open to a national coalition government with Die Linke for the first time since German reunification. Meanwhile, we have seen SYRIZA continue austerity measures and neo-liberal policies in Greece after taking power and we have seen the left wings of the Labour Party in the U. K. and the PS in France win the most recent leadership election in their parties. These developments discredit the notion that parties affiliated with the International have abandoned socialism and call into question the dichotomy that the Committee sees between International-affiliated parties and other leftist parties.

Finally, the Committee bemoans, perhaps rightly, a lack of interaction between the DSA/YDS and the International/IUSY. Lack of international coordination is not a reason to betray the core socialist principle of internationalism. Instead, we must make the investment to reengage with the International and celebrate internationalism at home. Let us not forget that our affiliation with the International is one of our best recruitment tools. We are not only the largest socialist organization in the United States, but we are the only socialist organization in the States affiliated with the International besides the Puerto Rican Independence Party. As a small organization, the DSA greatly benefits from the added legitimacy that affiliation with the International conveys.


Note to readers: The resolutions of the XXV Congress can be found here:

Here is a news article on last Sunday's primaries in the PSOE:


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