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We are Democratic Socialists because of our commitment to democracy.

We are committed to building a movement which puts the needs of people and the environment before the demands of corporate profit, a movement which overturns oppression based on gender, color, nationality; fights the denial of civil liberties; and supports the rights of all peoples to democratic self-determination.

We are Democratic Socialists because we're angry that Americans spend so much on health care and get so little.

The United States is almost the only industrial country that does not have a national health insurance system. While the U.S. spends the most per capita of any country on medicine, we rank at best only middling on most measures of public health. It looks even worse if you control for income. We may have the "best" health care in the world, but it's mostly for the rich. This is not an accident but the natural outcome of a system that regards health care services as just another commodity. Chicago DSA has been a consistent player in building coalitions in support of a national health plan.

We are Democratic Socialists because America deserves a raise.

And the only way we can be sure of getting one is with a strong labor movement. Arguably as important as a raise is the respect and security that a strong union movement provides its members. DSA is a proud and consistent supporter of organized labor and the right to organize and to bargain collectively; nothing is more subversive of corporate rule than a strong labor movement.

We are Democratic Socialists because we are internationalists.

We are internationalists because free trade, without agreements to protect the right to organize free and independent unions, without agreements to protect the environment, without agreements to protect employment standards, is nothing but a prescription for an economic race to the bottom. We advocate fair trade not free trade. We are internationalist because true national security is born from stronger multinational institutions guaranteeing democracy and justice, not from fighting mercenary wars to defend feudal monarchs and multinational corporations.

We are Democratic Socialists because we need new ways of working and living.

The U.S. cooperative movement has its roots both in the socialist movement and in the agrarian populist movement of the Nineteenth Century. A cooperative is one way in which work can be reorganized democratically and it's one with a proven track record of benefit to its members and to the broader community. This is just one example of "real existing" institutions that can be used to transform the way we live. We believe democracy isn't just for the government at election time but needs to be expanded into how we live our lives and earn our living.

We are Democratic Socialists because racial inequality calls for more than overcoming "prejudice".

Racism is ingrained in our institutions and consciousness. Overcoming racism requires not only multicultural sensitivity but also changes in the distribution of power and wealth. Through our work in DSA's African-American, Latino and Anti-Racism Commissions, through our work in coalition politics, DSA works to build a progressive politics that unites all Americans around their common interests.

We are Democratic Socialists because we must be free and equal in our homes, bedrooms and doctors' offices.

Our radical democratic vision includes full equality for women and sexual minorities. We seek a world where women, gays, lesbians and bisexuals have equality at home and at work, and are free from violence. We want women to have real reproductive choices which include easy access to child care and a health system that provides free contraception, abortion, prenatal care and pediatric care. We envision a society where people are allowed to love one another and raise children in any manner of family they choose.

We are Democratic Socialists because disability is no excuse for inequality.

In a society wealthy enough to send astronauts to the moon and maintain a military strong enough to destroy the world several times over, there is no reason why the "disabled" can't be provided with the tools they need to earn a living and to have a life worth living. DSA supported the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and DSA member Representative Major Owens led its passage in the House of Representatives.

We are Democratic Socialists because we are proud to stand in a long American socialist tradition.

Our movement has roots in the Socialist Party of Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas. It includes former members of many other groups on the American left. Our founding chair, the late Michael Harrington, was known internationally as "America's Socialist". While socialism has been successful in the U.S. as an electoral movement only locally, socialists have been the cutting edge for union organizing, leaders in the fight for civil rights and civil liberties, proponents of campaigns for peace and democracy. DSA is firmly a part of this tradition, and our membership brings together activists and leaders from all parts of the democratic left.

We are Democratic Socialists because one Republican Party is enough.

DSA works to support progressive politicians regardless of their party label. Here in Chicago metropolitan area, we've supported candidates of the New Party, independent and progressive Democrats, and progressive candidates for the many "non-partisan" elected positions. Chicago DSA, for example, was instrumental in mobilizing support along Chicago's lake front for Harold Washington in his first successful run for Mayor of Chicago. We were a major part of both of Ron Sable's campaigns to be Chicago's first openly gay Alderman. Our strategy has been and is coalition politics: to bring together a broad range of progressive movements and constituencies to shift the political "mainstream" to the left.

We are Democratic Socialists because if you are for these things then that is what your opponents will call you, no matter what you say you are.

 

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