Navigating Political Strategy in the George Floyd Uprising

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It’s been tricky to navigate our political strategy work in response to what feels like an unprecedented, constantly shifting, and very intense historic moment. In the Political Strategy Working Group we try to parse out the dynamics at work and how to best situate ourselves within the movement. 

Some questions we have discussed in Political Strategy meetings include: What impact has the uprising had on different elements of the political establishment? What is DSA’s relationship to the other organizations on the ground and protestors who are not part of an organization? How does our mutual aid and community defense work relate to our work as socialists? How do we adapt to the moment and not stick to demands that are rapidly getting left flanked? What is the best way to shift power away from the political establishment now that they are facing a popular uprising? What is the best way to build an efficient, active, and politically sharp organization within DSA? 

While we’re still grappling with many of these questions, a few things seem clear to me. For one, the uprising has made the capitalist ideology of the state and local government clearer than ever, as they call in violent National Guard and police reinforcements to quash peaceful protest and protect private property and the status quo. This is in especially sharp contrast to their failure to use state power to provide an adequate response that would help working people during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

I also think it’s clear that liberal co-optation poses a huge threat to the uprising right now. Individuals within the DFL are certainly going to call on protestors to calm down and let them handle the situation. Community leaders who are close to the DFL will amplify this message. If they are successful, this could take the fire out of the movement. Without accountability in the streets, the DFL will cave to pressure from corporations and the police to pass weaker concessions on a slower timeline. 

Looking forward to more discussions within the Working Group and chapter!

– Celeste R.

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