Op-Ed: Why We Joined Spring Caucus

The following op-ed expresses solely the opinion of its authors and does not reflect the views of Midwest Socialist or any affiliated DSA chapters.

Who are we?

We are 13 members of Chicago DSA who share a political vision for growing and strengthening our chapter, DSA, and the burgeoning socialist movement in the U.S. Many of us are elected chapter leaders or otherwise deeply involved in Chicago DSA. All of us are committed socialists  who have organized around education, housing, electoral work, socialist feminism, labor, and healthcare.

What is DSA Spring Caucus?

Spring Caucus is an organized political tendency within DSA. We are Marxists who believe in a democratic road to socialism. We want to build DSA into a mass organization that can help revitalize working-class politics, build the power we need to fight back against the capitalist class, and lay the future groundwork for a new socialist party that represents the working class.

The Spring Caucus “Where We Stand” document outlines our specific political values and our commitment to building a democratic socialist world. It also outlines our vision for the caucus, DSA in general, and the greater socialist movement. These stances include:

  • The Centrality of Class Struggle
  • Against Oppression
  • Democratic Road to Socialism
  • Independent Political Action
  • Rank-and-File Strategy
  • Internationalism
  • Democracy, Not Horizontalism

Our national “Strategy for 2019” document details specific, actionable organizing tasks that we believe will advance class struggle politics in 2019, including democratic labor militancy and the rank-and-file strategy, mass action tactics and demands that address oppression, Medicare For All, Bernie Sanders 2020, and the Green New Deal.

On January 19–20, 2019, over 200 DSA members from around the country and nine of us from Chicago came together in Philadelphia to found Spring Caucus after a thorough and intentional six-month process of caucus member recruitment, monthly national conference calls to debate our political vision and structure, and in-person meetings. During this founding conference, Spring Caucus elected leadership and voted on the “Where We Stand” and 2019 Tasks founding documents.

The caucus also held plenary sessions on the possibilities of a Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, the recent teacher strike wave, and internal democracy in DSA. Chicago caucus members talked to socialist organizers from around the country about their successes and experiences, shared reflections on work in Chicago, and reflected on meaningful ways to strengthen Chicago DSA’s campaign work and internal democracy.

Why did we join Spring Caucus?

We joined Spring Caucus because we believe that we will grow the socialist movement and the power of the working class by strategically organizing around material demands to fight exploitation and oppression by the capitalist class. We also believe an organized tendency will clarify and enhance substantive political debate and strengthen internal democracy and transparency in DSA.

The intent of organizing this caucus is not to radically reorient DSA or to merely seek internal power (and it certainly isn’t to heighten internal conflict in the organization), but to strengthen DSA and make it the organization on the left that can have the strongest impact in the current political moment.

What’s next?

Curious about Spring Caucus? Want to learn more? Talk to us! We will be having an open house where you can come talk to Chicago caucus members on Tuesday, February 5th, 6-8 PM, at Cafe Mustache. In the meantime, you can read a longer introduction to our caucus on The Call.

Chicago DSA Spring Caucus Members

Abby Agriesti

Joe Allen

Will Bloom

Melinda Bunnage

Ramsin Canon

Marianela D’Aprile

Rachel Johnson

JP Kaderbek

Coleman Lukas

Lillian Osborne

Kenzo Shibata

Micah Uetricht

Rachel Zibrat