Socialism is Not Presidential: LSC Statement on DSA’s 2024 Presidential Endorsement Debate

- Elections

Now that DSA’s National Political Committee has voted for members to debate a potential presidential endorsement, we in the Libertarian Socialist Caucus seek to express our position on the upcoming election and propose a course of action that makes the most sense for DSA and the broader socialist movement.

We salute the organizers of the “Uncommitted” campaign, who moved hundreds of thousands of voters to voice their opposition to the genocidal policies of the Biden administration. Along with direct actions, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and other pressure tactics, this campaign has proven to be yet another element of an increasingly effective political strategy. However, the question still remains of what actions we could or should take in the months leading up to the general election.

While we understand the value of debate, we fear that a strategic emphasis on presidential electoral politics would be unproductive at best and divisive at worst for our organization. In the context of worsening crises, the likely party nominees of 2024 offer no opportunity to challenge the hegemony of capital and empire. No vote, for Joe Biden, Donald Trump, any third-party candidate, or “abstain”, will further the socialist cause. In other words: our dreams as socialists will not have a place on the ballot. Just as we have seen in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, and well beforehand, elite social, capitalist, and political forces have a deeply-vested interest in obstructing the left’s role within American politics through fundamentally undemocratic tactics. Therefore, we understand that the United States’ electoral power structure is likely to offer few concessions to resolve known threats to systemic and social stability. No electoral response to the 2024 presidential campaign is therefore at all likely to address the real needs of the working class in fighting capital’s supremacy, achieve a lasting end to colonial bloodshed and genocide in Palestine and beyond, or break us out of the trap of choosing between two candidates who value capital over the lives of working people.

Though we welcome the successes of the “Uncommitted” campaign, we believe that maintaining this campaign’s approach into the general election will only reenact DSA’s previous failures in politically realigning the Democratic Party, which has only continued to further isolate itself from both the values of the working class and the established principles of international law. We see any potential presidential endorsement as a waste of our already strained political resources: ultimately, any endorsement or anti-endorsement will not build the grassroots of our organization or improve DSA’s position within United States politics. This is the case even with respect to any broadly aligned left candidates who are running messaging campaigns detached from social power or organizing projects. A presidential endorsement (or anti-endorsement) wouldn’t just prove to be controversial within an organization with an already divided electoral outlook; the costs of organizing toward the presidential election would further exacerbate a dire budgetary situation that our caucus has fought to correct.

While we have expressed disagreement with DSA’s electoral direction in the past, LSC does acknowledge the potential, as outlined in our 2018 addendum to the National Electoral Strategy Proposal, for electoral politics to contest the power of a capitalist state. Yet, rather than expending our energy airing frustrations about a presidential race that is a foregone conclusion for the working class, our finite capacity, time, and financial budget are best spent on building up the socialist movement from the bottom up and working towards goals which we know can create change. This range of goals should include militant labor and tenant organizing efforts, winning state and local elections with candidates who truly embrace our socialist vision, developing municipal power and institutions independent from capital through popular assemblies and mutual aid projects, and joining a united BDS campaign modeled after the successful efforts that dismantled apartheid in South Africa.

Our caucus thus recognizes that a debate process which may result in endorsing a genocidal capitalist politician or an unviable third party campaign is unlikely to aid DSA’s key political objectives. Our strength will be in leading organizing efforts that build working-class autonomy and power both inside and outside of the state. We believe strongly in DSA’s “big tent” ethos; it is this characteristic that defines us as the greatest hope for the socialist movement in our country.

For these reasons, LSC stands firmly against DSA taking any official position regarding the United States presidential ballot.

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