As of last week, DSA’s National Political Committee began considering candidates for three appointments to the body, replacing members who recently stepped down.
Considering the delicate moment DSA is in, where trust between leaders and members is very weak, we believe that it is extremely important that NPC appointees represent the same general political tendencies as those who left.
Roughly speaking, to us that means bringing on someone representative of the perspective of the current DSA International Committee, someone from the libertarian socialist wing of DSA, and someone representing major constituencies Matt Miller was elected by. We realize people’s politics are complex and are unlikely to map perfectly onto those who stepped down — however, we think in this moment it is worth the effort to represent major groupings in DSA who elected those three NPCers.
Whether or not we agreed with the politics of those who resigned from the NPC, the political constituencies they represented remain part of our organization, and it would only further erode the legitimacy of the national leadership if we used the appointment process to shut out tendencies that had been represented on the NPC up to now.
As we’ve written in the past, DSA punches well below its weight. For membership organizations to be effective, members need to feel like they have some say and stake in the direction of the organization. If nominally democratic conventions have little to no impact on organizational priorities, or if disciplinary measures handed down by the NPC are seen as arbitrary, members become alienated and it becomes all the more challenging to build a collective sense of purpose for the organization.
It should go without saying that we also want to appoint people who will work with the rest of the NPC in good faith, are open and eager for honest political debate, and interested in building a strong, democratic DSA. We believe that such people exist in all tendencies.
Attempting to use this appointment process to change the NPC’s composition would likely lead to further crisis and demoralization. Maintaining the political composition of the NPC would be an important step in rebuilding trust between the NPC and membership.