Democratic Socialists of America

socialist organization

Democratic Socialists of America is a multi-tendency socialist and labor-oriented nonprofit organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labor-oriented members who instead of running candidates in elections, work for reforms to weaken the power of corporations and strengthen the power of working people. DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States in the 21st century. It currently is led by National Director Maria Svart and has endorsed three representatives in the United States Congress - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, and Rashida Tlaib.

Instead of running candidates in elections, Democratic Socialists of America work for reforms to weaken the power of corporations and strengthen the power of the people.
What really scares the pro-plutocrats on both sides of the political aisle about...Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and other democratic socialists is that they have... an actual vision — the simple idea that it’s up to government to intervene and equalize the playing field between the capital that owns the politicians, the system and the rewards, and the general public toiling to provide those rewards Krystal Ball


  • Capitalism is a system designed by the owning class to exploit the rest of us for their own profit. We must replace it with democratic socialism, a system where ordinary people have a real voice in our workplaces, neighborhoods, and society... We believe there are many avenues that feed into the democratic road to socialism. Our vision pushes further than historic social democracy and leaves behind authoritarian visions of socialism in the dustbin of history.. We want a democracy that creates space for us all to flourish not just survive and answers the fundamental questions of our lives with the input of all. We want to collectively own the key economic drivers that dominate our lives, such as energy production and transportation. We want the multiracial working class united in solidarity instead of divided by fear. We want to win “radical” reforms like single-payer Medicare for All, defunding the police/refunding communities, the Green New Deal, and more as a transition to a freer, more just life.
  • Young Democratic Socialists of America is the youth and student section of the Democratic Socialists of America, and a national organization of recognized campus chapters and several hundred activists. We are students organizing in our universities, colleges, and high schools to fight for the immediate needs of workers and students while building our capacity to fight for more radical and structural changes. We work with labor campaigns to organize student workers of staff. We organize to defend immigrants through campaigns for sanctuary campuses. We campaign to divest our schools from fossil fuels. We do anti-poverty work through local mutual aid programs in our communities, and much much more.

Quotes about

  • In the long run democratic socialists want to end capitalism... by pursuing a reform agenda today in an effort to revive a politics focused on class hierarchy and inequality... The eventual goal is to transform the world to promote everyone’s needs rather than to produce massive profits for a small handful of citizens.
    When democratic socialists choose reforms to rally behind, we favor battles with the potential to transform ordinary people’s lives for the better and teach millions of people the value of uniting to fight the capitalist Goliaths currently in charge of our society.
  • The thousands of democratic socialists in the United States who have been organizing and fighting for justice in political obscurity for years likely never thought their ideas would be the subject of heated debates on prominent talk-shows like "The View" or feature pieces in such establishment mainstays as PBS and NPR. But—driven in large part by the persistent popularity of Bernie Sanders' brand of politics and the recent landslide victory of self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York's congressional primary—the past several weeks have seen a torrent of news headlines, television segments, and hot takes on democratic socialism's rapid emergence into everyday political discourse, an indication that ideas previously defined as "fringe" by corporate media outlets, pundits, and politicians are quickly going mainstream.
  • It's easy to focus on the "socialist" part here, but the word "democratic" is also a part of the group's name, and members often stress that part of their ideology. They say putting workers in charge of businesses, for example, necessarily makes those businesses more democratic... In addition to skyrocketing growth, the group is benefiting from young American adults growing more open to socialist ideas. One 2016 Harvard poll of 18 to 29 year olds found that 33 percent supported socialism. Capitalism was only slightly more popular with that cohort, drawing 42 percent support. "Thanks to the economic downturn of 2008, which turned the millennial generation in a significant way to the left, it made them much more open to the idea of socialism," Isserman explained. On top of that, he added, movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street acquainted young Americans with organizing, making them more open to a group like DSA, with its ambitious agenda. And Bernie Sanders, despite not being a DSA member, claimed the label of "democratic socialist," helping the group gain visibility as well.
  • Socialism is no longer a dirty word in the U.S," noted the Guardian's Arwa Mahdawi in a recent column highlighting the massive surge of interest in socialism over the past several months, which has translated into a record-breaking membership spike for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Previously hovering below ten thousand members, DSA's membership exploded past 20,000 in the months following Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential elections. Now, just over a month after Ocasio-Cortez trounced corporate Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley, DSA boasts more than 47,000 dues-paying members....It should perhaps come as no surprise that Americans—and millennials in particular—are seeking a bold and humane alternative to capitalism, a system that has produced staggering and ever-growing levels of inequality, rampant poverty, an existential environmental crisis, and, of course, soaring wealth for the few at the very top.
  • The next generation of socialists believes that the intolerable cannot be tolerated. And if you believe that, you just might be a socialist yourself... The word “socialism” is becoming more and more mainstream. When Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his 2016 presidential bid, only a fringe few dared to use the label. To call yourself a socialist was supposedly a political death sentence. Now, in part thanks to Sanders, many are wearing “socialism” as a badge of pride. Dozens of socialist candidates have won seats all over the country, including two members of Congress, and membership in the Democratic Socialists of America has exploded. According to a 2019 YouGov poll, 70 percent of millennials now say they would vote for a socialist. But what is socialism? How do you know whether you’re a socialist? Could you be one already without knowing it? In fact, it can be difficult to answer the question of what precisely socialism is, because socialists themselves disagree over it. That’s not surprising; Democrats disagree over what it means to be a Democrat, too.

See also