Peter Hasson & Joe Simonson, DCNF
- DNC chairman Tom Perez said Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “represents the future of our party.”
- DSA chapter chairs have agreed that “communism is good.”
- One DSA caucus calls its members “revolutionary Marxists.”
A far-left group behind rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is rife with Marxists and other far-left radicals.
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which includes Ocasio-Cortez, is creeping its way into the mainstream of American politics.
Ocasio-Cortez’ shocking primary upset of Democratic New York Rep. Joe Crowley on June 26 elevated both her profile and that of the DSA, which helped boost her to victory. DSA member rolls have skyrocketed since President Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, and Ocasio-Cortez’s victory appears to have accelerated that trend.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez said the 28-year-old socialist “represents the future of our party” on Tuesday.
What Perez didn’t mention is that the group behind “the future” of the Democratic Party is teeming with radicals openly dedicated to dismantling and overturning the economic and social foundations of the United States.
“As a DSA chapter co-chair I just wanna set the record straight for a minute: communism is good,” Portland DSA co-chair Olivia Katbi Smith wrote on June 30. Other DSA chairs quickly followed her lead.
The DSA’s Charlottesville chair quoted Smith’s tweet and wrote, “as a DSA chapter co-chair, I would like to cosign this pro-communist statement.” DSA chairs in Seattle and Hudson County, New Jersey added their support as well.
The tweets were first pointed outby Far-Left Watch, a website that tracks left-wing extremism.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the DSA for a statement on the chairs’ endorsement of communism, as well as for clarification of the DSA’s position on communism, but a DSA spokesperson declined the request.
A deeper look into the beliefs of the DSA’s members reveals that a communist faction isn’t an outlier in the group.
Members of the DSA espouse a kind of radicalism that has not been represented in mainstream American politics for generations.
A review of various subgroups, or caucuses, within the DSA and statements by its members show an organization more closely aligned with the more extreme Marxist views rather than any social democracies such as those seen in Nordic countries.
The constitution of the DSA proclaims its members are “socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power.”
Ocasio-Cortez is a dues-paying member of the DSA’s New York City arm, which demanded an end to national borders and private profit during a June 29 march — just three days after her victory.
TheDCNF called Ocasio-Cortez campaign spokesman Corban Trent on Thursday to ask if he was willing to answer a handful of questions in relation to this report.
“No, have a good day,” Trent said and immediately hung up the phone.
A major movement explicitly hostile to the economic notion of private profit has been unseen since the Soviet era.
Countries like Norway and Sweden are often held up as examples of socialist societies by progressive pundits and journalists. Although subject to high taxation and even occasional nationalization, businesses in both countries still freely collect profit and release dividends to investors.
The World Bank also ranks both Norway and Sweden as similar to the U.S. in terms of regulatory barriers to starting and maintaining a business.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the DSA from advocating policies far outside the mainstream of a ruling party in any major democracy today.
Ideological caucuses like Refoundation, the “Radical Left Caucus of DSA,” refers to its members “as revolutionary Marxists active in Democratic Socialists of America” and applauds the DSA’s dedication to “the abolition of prisons and police.”
Other groups, like the DSA’s Libertarian Socialist Caucus, preaches “total liberation” centered around a society constantly “recreated by its participants” and “decision making free from hierarchy.”
The emphasis placed on a classless society by the DSA’s various constituents conjures images of Marx’s “end of History,” rather than any successful government or economic system that an individual can identify in the world today.
“We believe this vision can only be realized through the abolition of classes, common ownership of the means of production, and its democratic management to meet the needs of all,” the Liberation Socialist Caucus says.
The DSA concluded its annual meeting last year by singing L’Internationale — a far-left anthem that for years served as the official song of the Soviet Union.
In the past, the DSA has hosted a number of reading groups and “online socialist schools” aiming to educate its members on Marxist economics and past communist leaders.
What is most significant for the DNC, however, is that the DSA is not interested in preserving the present Democratic Party.
In documents obtained by TheDCNF, a resolution brought up for vote at last year’s DSA convention shows open antagonism toward the present party apparatus.
Citing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ success during the 2016 Democratic primary, one DSA member said the current Democratic Party is “a sinking ship.” The DNC did not return TheDCNF’s request for comment.
“DSA is not tied to the Democratic Party. Why tie our strategy to a sinking ship?” read a statement of action from last year’s convention affirming the DSA’s independence. “DSA has the opportunity to create a major democratic socialist party in America capable of replacing the Democratic Party. DSA should lead this movement and define the party of the future.”
The DSA said it is open to running on the Democratic Party’s ticket when necessary, but the organization is clear that this is a means to further its hard left message and not an attempt to expand the Democrats’ tent.
“In its electoral work, the Democratic Socialists of America will aim to work with and help unite all forces and organizations of the progressives and socialist left in this common struggle for social justice and economic democracy,” a 2017 DSA resolution reads. “That together we can overcome the old sectarianism of the far left around the common project of ending the rule by the two-party system and capitalism as a whole.”
Julia Cohen contributed to this report