We asked NPEC members to share their thoughts on the following question:
Looking forward to 2022, what is the ONE thing (method, text, issue, debate, etc) you believe is going to be crucial to focus on in political education (broadly defined) in DSA?
Evan M, Mid-Hudson Valley DSA
Oftentimes, and especially in the pandemic, political education can lose its connection to material change. It can fall to critique in place of action, and become a tool wielded in the service of—instead of directly connected to—ongoing organizing work.
In 2022, political educators in DSA should seek out ways to integrate their work into active campaigns in their respective chapters. Educators should be agitators and organizers both, acting as a glue that binds DSA projects into a broader vision of the socialist horizon. Rather than leaving it up to the audience to determine what they’ll do with the education provided, a socialist education should make clear how theory connects to practice, and what paths to action already exist, or can be carved out. Rather than remaining an independent and distinct part of DSA work, political education should weave itself into the fabric of organizing. Every event and action is an opportunity to learn from and advance the socialist cause!
Sanjiv G, River Valley DSA
To increase our BIPOC membership and our multiracial organizing—one of the highest priorities identified in our convention—DSA’s political education has to go beyond truisms like “racism divides the working class” and “people of color are disproportionately harmed by capitalism.” We have to figure out how to deal with the social fact that in the U.S., your race at birth is, all by itself, a primary determinant of your occupation, income, education, wealth, type of residence, health or any other conventional dimension of class. Race is a relation of production. This is hard, not least because there are legitimate, serious differences among socialists about the relationship between race and class. But at minimum we need to confront those differences in our political education. Socialist history is littered with examples of parties, organizations and even governments who acted as if socialism is, by definition, anti-racist. Our education needs to be frank about this history, and about the analytical and political complexities of the relationship between race and class.
Daphna T, NYC-DSA
We need to educate about THE STATE: the role of the state, and how we organize within and outside of it. As a national organization, we can connect working class and labor organizing to political aims within the state. And we can theorize and strategize around how we defend the state against the most appalling attacks on democracy and democratic rights—in particular, the rights of people of color.
Rashad X, At-large member
Our committee will be putting on events centered around race and class this year, so it is crucial that our focus is not only on the impacts of US racism on the working class and the socialist movement in the United States. Bringing in an international lens could mean exploring the impact of US racism on:
The nature of US imperialism
The lives of working-class people and politics abroad
The development of socialism abroad
In doing this work, bringing in voices from those directly affected abroad by imperialism will be a must.
In addition, we will need to make sure we have the appropriate language accessibility accommodations to bring working-class people whose dominant language isn’t English. These efforts will also help us with building deeper relationships abroad, as well as growing our multiracial membership.
Read NPEC Round Up, Part One here.