For the historically curious, an archive copy of our old FAQ page can be found here.

TL;DR What do you believe in?

A great place to start would be to read our Points of Unity or the LSC Founding Statement from the 2017 DSA National Convention. We work in DSA to promote three shared principles we see as inseparable from libertarian socialism: Freedom, Solidarity, and Democracy.

Are you all anarchists?

No. LSC is a caucus with a wide range of leftist tendencies and we consider ourselves a big tent within DSA’s multi-tendency big tent. We are home to hard anarchists, anarcho-communists, syndicalists, municipalists, communalists as well as Marxists, situationists, general anti-authoritarians and more. We welcome anyone willing to work together now to create the world we wish to see.

Do you all hate electoral politics?

No. There are diverse positions on this within the caucus, and in fact, some LSC members have been or are currently involved in electoral work, including successful ballot initiatives and candidate campaigns. We do object to pushing of electoral work at the expense of everything else and the presumption that electoralism on its own is a viable path to socialism. Some of us are not personally interested in electoral work at all, but are still glad we're comrades with those who are and expect there will continue to be space for them to do this work within DSA.

LSC did create an addendum for DSA's National Electoral Strategy in 2018 in which we argued:

  • Socialist electoral politics must prioritize direct, participatory democracy and encourage existing local neighborhood institutions to democratize or build new institutions where needed.
  • These institutions can exercise a dual power, contesting the power of the capitalist State while simultaneously generating local, accountable leadership that can become candidates for local office with a solid base of support.
  • Existing institutions such as block associations have large material impacts on the everyday lives of Americans. Successful socialist movements are built block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and are intimately tied to the communities they are organizing.
  • Transferring power to the local community should be a top priority for a DSA local.

Point 3 in the LSC Points of Unity covers our basic position on how DSA should relate to elected officials.

Why are you in DSA and not in another organization?

We are each in DSA for our own reasons. First, DSA is doing a variety of great work around the country to which we are proud to contribute our efforts. Also, we take DSA's multi-tendency commitment very seriously and wish to see it nurtured into the future. We cherish DSA's local chapter autonomy where many people can experiment with what works based on local conditions, organize around what they're passionate about, and build camaraderie with people of different political tendencies.

DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States since the Communist Party of the 1930's and we believe there is a welcoming space in DSA for libertarian socialists — we truly believe in a socialism that is radically democratic. Individuals might be this tendency or that tendency, but in the end, we are all socialists.

A brief history of LSC:

LSC was founded at the 2017 DSA National Convention as a caucus of delegates and DSA members in attendence. At that convention, LSC held its first general assembly, organized delegates for floor votes, fielded an informal slate for the NPC, and gathered around our shared values as established by our Founding Statement. One attendee noted that the LSC general assembly was the first session of the convention that she'd seen so well-organized that it covered all the topics attendees wanted to discuss, yet remained easy to follow and ended on time.

LSC members were essential in speaking from the floor against proposals that would counter our unofficial convention motto of "All Power To The Locals". Proposals that were successfully defeated included requiring DSA to plan an M4A March on Washington and allowing the NPC to take control of individual chapters. We also were proud to stand with the Disability Working Group getting language added into the Medicare-for-All proposal.

After the convention, LSC continued to grow while taking part in a variety of local chapter work, beginning the process of regional networking, trainings for chapters around the country with DSA Medics, and bringing attention to issues such as the FOSTA/SESTA bills, strikes by prisoners and teachers, and anti-fascist organizing. Several times LSC collectively wrote analysis of DSA policies with the intention of building the strongest, most democratic, and transparent DSA possible.

Since our founding in 2017, LSC has organized at 3 more National Conventions, fielded candidates for national leadership, proposed a wide range of resolutions and constitution and bylaws amendments with varying degrees of success, and worked locally in dozens of DSA chapters to build our shared organization. In 2022, LSC reorganized as the Horizon Federation to better accommodate the work our members were pursuing outside of DSA, but our work in DSA continues under the Horizon Federation's DSA Circle (which we've kept calling LSC for simplicity).

How does LSC make decisions and work together?

LSC operates according to our bylaws on a directly democratic model which emphasizes broad agreement. All LSC members can vote on every proposal made to the group. First, a proposal is made by a member, and then it is seconded. After a second, the proposal is given a 14-day voting period, in which members may discuss the proposal and put forward amendments. We use the platform Loomio for our votes. If quorum is reached (defined in our bylaws) and the proposal get 2/3 approval, it is passed.

That is the process we use for all decisions, including public statements, affiliating with locals, organizing working groups, endorsing actions/protests, and more.

LSC statements and proposals are highly collaborative. Our statements most often come out of discussions which emerged organically until a member suggests the proposal or statement. A collaborative document is created (i.e. Google Docs) and members work together on crafting the statement, making comments and discussing along the way. In this way, we often have fewer meetings than otherwise would be necessary; members feel empowered to collaborate in a way that's most comfortable for them, and we remain transparent and accountable to ourselves and each other.

We also see the value in synchronous discussions, and have regular general meetings (usually monthly or biweekly, depending on interest and the tempo of LSC's work) at which members may discuss and pass proposals, provided they are submitted with sufficient notice.

How do I get involved?

Please fill out our intake form and we'll get you plugged in to LSC as quickly as we can! Membership in LSC is open to all DSA members who accept the Points of Unity. Applicants who are not members of DSA may still join the Horizon Federation. You can use the same form.

We process applications roughly biweekly. If you don't hear from us after applying, wait a week or two. It's possible we simply haven't processed your application yet. If after two weeks you still haven't heard from us, you can contact us at lsc.dsa.lux@gmail.com to inquire about the status of your application.

What is the DSA National Political Committee / Steering Committee?

The National Political Committee (NPC) is DSA's "collective leadership and the highest decision-making body of the organization between meetings of the Convention" according to the DSA bylaws, article VIII. The NPC currently has 16 members, with a requirement that at least half are women and at least five members must be people of color.

The Steering Committee (SC) is a smaller committee of five NPC members, chosen by the NPC, who are "responsible for decision-making between meetings of the NPC and for the supervision of all offices and staff of the organization" according to the DSA Bylaws, Article VIII Section 3.

What is a caucus?

A caucus is an informal, voluntary group of DSA members with a common interest, identity, praxis, or ideological commitment. Caucuses may be exclusively in a single chapter, regional, or national in scope depending on priorities. Caucuses may also form impromptu for events such as regional conferences and conventions, dissolving thereafter.

The political fortunes of DSA caucuses can change rapidly, and many available explainers refer to caucuses that have been defunct for years. For a guide to caucuses active at the 2023 DSA Convention, see this article by LSC member Bryce S: https://theprincetonprogressive.com/an-introduction-to-the-internal-politics-of-dsa/

LSC is the last surviving caucus of the pivotal 2017 convention, with the other staples of DSA's modern caucus landscape largely springing up in 2018 or 2019, which makes us the oldest continuously active caucus in DSA.

What are libertarians? Are you like those libertarians?

The word libertarian was originally coined in the 19th century as a term to refer to anarchists and other anti-authoritarian leftists after the word anarchist was made illegal in France. Even today, outside of the English-speaking world, libertarian refers to the anti-authoritarian left.

In the 1960’s, right-wing capitalists appropriated the word, on purpose, for its propaganda value. A leading theoretician of this right-wing tendency was Murray Rothbard, a founding member of the Cato Institute, who wrote: “One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy . . . ‘Libertarians’ . . . had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over...”

We are libertarian socialists because we believe in liberty and socialism. Not the so-called liberty to own the commons, or to exploit workers for private profit, but the liberty of each individual’s self-determination. Capitalism is incompatible with true liberty. According to Noam Chomsky, “libertarian socialism, furthermore, does not limit its aims to democratic control by producers over production, but seeks to abolish all forms of domination and hierarchy in every aspect of social and personal life -- an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.”

Point 1 of the LSC Points of Unity makes clear: we are revolutionary socialists first and foremost. Capitalist or right-wing "libertarian" applicants will be rejected.

What is dual power?

Dual power is a concept which was central to LSC's analysis and practice at our founding in 2017. It is a strategy that builds liberated spaces and creates institutions grounded in direct democracy. Together these spaces and institutions expand into the ever widening formation of a new world “in the shell of the old.” As the movement grows more powerful, it can engage in ever larger confrontations with the ruling class—and ultimately a contest for legitimacy against the institutions of capitalist society.

In our view, dual power is comprised of two component parts: (1.) building counter-institutions that serve as alternatives to the institutions currently governing production, investment, and social life under capitalism, and (2.) organizing through and confederating these institutions to build up a base of grassroots counter-power which can eventually challenge the existing power of capitalists and the State head-on. Counter-institutions can include, but are not limited to: community councils, popular neighborhood assemblies, worker’s councils, syndicalist unions, rank-and-file trade unions, worker-owned cooperatives, locally and regionally networked redistributive solidarity economies, participatory budgeting initiatives, and time banks. They also include collectives committed to the provision of mutual aid and disaster relief, tenant unions, community land trusts, cooperative housing, communal agriculture and food distribution systems, community-owned energy, horizontal education models, childcare collectives, and community-run health clinics, to name a few.

The concept of dual power was first briefly elucidated by Vladimir Lenin in State and Revolution to describe the situation in Russia after the February Revolution. One power, the Provisional Government, held the State while another power, that of the soviet workers and peasants councils, organized outside of and in opposition to the State. In the October Revolution, those councils dislodged the Provisional Government and became the governing political structure of Russia.

For more information, we'd encourage you to read our policy document Dual Power: A Strategy to Build Socialism in Our Time.

What is horizontalism?

Horizontalism is a political concept that gained popularity after social upheavals in Argentina in the early 21st century. Marina Sitrin, writer of the book Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, stated: "Horizontalism is a social relationship that implies, as it sounds, a flat plane upon which to communicate. Horizontalism requires the use of direct democracy and implies non-hierarchy and anti-authoritarian creation rather than reaction. It is a break with vertical ways of organizing and relating, but a break that is also an opening."

In the United States, horizontalism is often associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests and its use of general assemblies, consensus decison-making, and non-hierarchical structures. Many of us in LSC participated in those protests around the country, bringing that experience and the lessons-learned to our work now.

Have you read The Tyranny of Structurelessness?

Yes. Yes we have. All of it. In conjunction with references to horizontalism, the essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman is often mentioned. The essay is part of our inspiration for why we believe DSA and all social institutions must be held to the highest levels of transparency, accountability, and direct democracy including recallable delegation. Many useful critiques are contained in the essay, but we also refer to the last paragraphs of the essay which state:

"Once the movement no longer clings tenaciously to the ideology of "structurelessness," it is free to develop those forms of organization best suited to its healthy functioning. This does not mean that we should go to the other extreme and blindly imitate the traditional forms of organization. But neither should we blindly reject them all. Some of the traditional techniques will prove useful, albeit not perfect; some will give us insights into what we should and should not do to obtain certain ends with minimal costs to the individuals in the movement. Mostly, we will have to experiment with different kinds of structuring and develop a variety of techniques to use for different situations... But before we can proceed to experiment intelligently, we must accept the idea that there is nothing inherently bad about structure itself -- only its excess use.

...When these principles are applied, they insure that whatever structures are developed by different movement groups will be controlled by and responsible to the group. The group of people in positions of authority will be diffuse, flexible, open, and temporary. They will not be in such an easy position to institutionalize their power because ultimate decisions will be made by the group at large. The group will have the power to determine who shall exercise authority within it."

When forming LSC in 2017, and again in reforming as the Horizon Federation and later the DSA Circle in 2022, we spent a great deal of time on our bylaws and always kept critiques from the essay in mind. We are not "unstructured" as our detailed bylaws for operating and making decisions can attest. At their best, structures can facilitate participation in a kind of substantive democracy which few people have an opportunity to experience outside of socialist organizing and provide opportunities for creating great socialist organizers and campaigns. At their worst, structures can stifle creativity, centralize power, and limit the horizons of newly activated socialists. An active, evolving analysis of DSA's structures and how they can best be made to foster a genuinely democratic, member-led organization is core to LSC's practice.

What is prefigurative politics?

We believe our current projects and pursuits must mirror—and, in mirroring, become—the world we want to emerge from the ashes of capitalism. In short, our method consists of embodying the world we dare to dream. That is the essence of prefigurative politics. We organize in a radically democratic fashion because we want a radically democratic world.

Important LSC docs:

LSC Bylaws

LSC Points of Unity

Democratize Everything

Dual Power

Addendum to DSA Electoral Strategy

Podcast interviews:

These interviews are from a 2-year period immediately after LSC's founding, 2017-2019, and are primarily reflective of the caucus's positions and structure at that time. However, we still consider them useful for helping to understand the caucus.

It's Going Down (10/1/2018) Topic: What is the LSC?

It's Going Down (2/3/2019) Topic: Mutual Aid during Chicago cold blast with Chicago LSC

The Robin (12/12/2018) Topic: Dual Power

Symptomatic Redness - Zero Books (3/22/2018) Topic: History of DSA

Friendly Anarchism (8/19/2017) Topic: What is the LSC?