Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a political and activist organization dedicated to the long-term goal of a society that is democratically run to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. DSA has an all-embracing moral vision, systemic social analysis and political praxis that are rooted in a quest for radical democracy, social freedom and individual liberties. It is entirely member-funded.
A small group of activists began organizing Central Florida DSA, the local chapter based in Gainesville, in early 2016. We are committed to democracy as a means to restructure society to make it more free, participatory and humane. Local DSA chapters enjoy a high level of autonomy from the national organization, so we can accomplish the goals most important to our local community. CFDSA’s work tends to focus on labor, immigration and prison reform, as well as Medicare For All, anti-fascism and socialist feminism.
Because movements require long-term, grassroots base-building, CFDSA is committed to working with other local organizations in the area to raise awareness of and educate people on the current solutions to remedying injustice and effect positive change wherever possible. Members believe that although the greater goal is years in the future, the work toward that goal must be done now, even if the solutions available seem small or insignificant.
One example is CFDSA’s ongoing brake light clinic, modeled on a program started by the New Orleans DSA chapter, where members change broken or nonfunctioning taillights for free. These clinics support people in our community who are most at risk for a negative outcome during a police stop or who lack the means to cover the cost of a ticket.
Education on a broad basis is necessary for any movement’s success, and CFDSA is looking to partner with other groups to provide the county library system with a comprehensive collection of literature on socialism. The current collection is pitiable, and a lack of information leaves people without a frame of reference for or understanding of the greater socialist movement today. As part of the goal to educate more people, CFDSA hosts The Leftorium the third Monday of every month at Third House Books. Open to everyone interested, this group explores readings and art on the broad spectrum of leftist political ideology, past and present.
Members believe that although the greater goal is years in the future, the work toward that goal must be done now, even if the solutions available seem small or insignificant.
Members also have the opportunity to become involved in working groups on specific topics at the national level. CFDSA is currently represented on the Veterans, Immigration Rights and Socialist Feminist Working Groups. Information on the scope of opportunities, as well as national publications and blogs, can be accessed at dsausa.org. •