I'm a democratic socialist, but the DSA has lost its way

But the uproar over Louis C.K. was just the latest example of DSA members trying to cancel public events. Last year, the New York City chapter invited Adolph Reed Jr. to speak. Reed is an African American socialist who has been an activist for decades, who argues that socialists should focus less on racial disparities because this emphasis undermines multiracial organizing. It was a step too far for the DSA, somehow, and an uproar ensued, leading to the cancelation of the event. Cornel West, another African American socialist and fellow Ivy League professor, lambasted the decision. “If you give up discussion, your movement moves toward narrowness,” he blasted the DSA in the New York Times.

Sadly, today, narrowness is a feature of the DSA, not a bug. Video footage of the DSA’s 2019 National Convention shows a group of people beset by the terror of “sensory overload” exhorting each other to refrain from using “gendered language.” In another scene, a person in a communist red bandana lectures his “comrades” about the triggering potential of an “aggressive scent.”

“These kinds of moral stances are fine for a church congregation,” John B. Judist, a socialist active in the 1960s, reflected after the event in The Washington Post, “but not for a political organization that wants to win a majority of voters. The reality is that 80 percent or more of Americans who wandered into such a gathering would think they were on another planet.”