The Dissolution of DSA Refoundation

**DSA Refoundation is no longer a caucus and has been dissolved. All material archived on this site is for reference and historical purposes only.**

The purpose of establishing Refoundation was to cohere a Marxist left-wing of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The aim has been to build upon the growing radicalization within the broader membership of the organization, and to popularize the argument for an independent, working class party with DSA as a primary contributor.

To this end, we have had some successes. We have helped develop local caucuses across the country to implement our platform and ideas through both external organizing and internal political struggle. We have helped popularize base-building within DSA, with position papers that have generated discussion across the organization and the broader Left. Our electoral strategy debates have helped clarify the terms of an ongoing political question that too many assume is settled. We’re proud of some of our locals’ work in political education, organizational restructuring, base-building activity, and generating debate within their chapters.

From the beginning, we have declared that we are DSA-builders, committed to growing and strengthening our organization on its own terms. We have never hidden our intentions to push DSA beyond its current limitations and in the direction of “party building.” We see no contradiction between those two positions. We think that the project of base-building — of rooting organization in the myriad emerging struggles of the working class — is the road forward to the development of new socialist praxis.

The experience of Refoundation over the course of the year since its founding has taught us many hard lessons. On the basis of those lessons, we have decided to dissolve the caucus in order to seek out more effective means to build and transform DSA.

While Refoundation rapidly grew from around 40 to around 400 members, DSA has mushroomed to more than 50,000 members. The interest in socialism among young workers in this country is clear. The connection between this small caucus and the growing membership of the organization is considerably less clear. In fact, we feel as though we have cordoned ourselves off from the majority of new socialists by establishing an unnecessary demarcation by a somewhat spurious political distinction.

We believe that by first gathering people nationally under a banner of presupposed ideological unity, we have reproduced a number of the problems of the US left from the era immediately preceding the explosive growth of DSA, namely: sectarian isolation and an increasing difficulty in assessing the political terrain. Simply put, we have found ourselves in the opposite position we had intended. Our caucus has begun to feel like its own organization and in some cases it has behaved as such.

We need to seek out unity on a new basis. We need to put the national caucus behind us, and recompose ourselves, from one DSA chapter to the next, on a unity of not only politics, but practice. For the most part, we expect that the comrades presently identified with Refoundation — particularly those in established local caucuses —will have little difficulty cultivating existing working relationships that strengthen DSA.

We expect that over time and with patient step-by-step building from the local level outward, new national networks will emerge that will be more politically coherent and more effective. Outside DSA, we have observed this process underway within the Marxist Center network. We know there are comrades inside DSA involved in various projects who are similarly motivated. We hope to find them and work with them.

We recognize that some comrades may pivot away from DSA for different reasons. The organization is extremely uneven across the country, and the possibilities for effective practice within it are varied and must be analyzed on a local level. We strongly encourage former caucus members who remain in DSA to immerse themselves in day-to-day movement work within or adjacent to the organization, and to find common points of collaboration with those we find ourselves in political disagreement.

We hereby declare Refoundation dissolved. We intend to continue the work of DSA and to spread the spirit of the caucus’ founding, unencumbered by the pretense of a solid national bloc, which has thus far proven illusory and unnecessary.

In Summation:

  1. Refoundation was a worthwhile experiment which has run its course. Our basis of unity has proven to be hollow and somewhat sectarian in outlook, lacking practical cohesion.
  2. What’s needed is a new organic and programmatic unity, which necessarily will begin in numerous localized experiments in base-building, Marxist political education, and day-to-day movement work in DSA chapters.
  3. We cannot impose this from our position as an actually-existing-caucus nationally, which is too limited in its framework and strained by competing visions of how to conduct itself.
  4. Refoundation locals tend to be more unified and coherent as individual units than is the caucus as a national entity, and we hope they will continue to grow and work together as cadre.
  5. We should all seek out new methods of organizing and build up solid political centers across DSA, looking forward to when new networks of base-building Marxists might combine into a worthy caucus.

— Steering Committee, DSA Refoundation


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