March 22, 2022
SIGN ON TO THIS STATEMENT HERE: https://bit.ly/defend-dsabds
On Friday, in violation of DSA bylaws and resolutions, a slim majority of the National Political Committee (NPC) voted to de-charter our working group while also suspending our Steering Committee members from holding national leadership positions for one year. According to their internal statement, they based their reckless decision on our “failure to comply with the National Committee Criteria” by supposedly not giving them our social media passwords, and for refusing to take down a twitter thread that “contained misinformation.”
The NPC’s claims can only be described as verifiably bald-faced lies.
Not only did we give our passwords to National staff, we spent the past week working with them to ensure login capabilities, as DSA’s Communications Director can confirm. The tweet thread in question was a critical analysis that contained factual information that NPC are either pretending not to know or genuinely do not know after being misled by Rep. Bowman’s staff for months while shutting us and the rest of membership out of their process.
Indeed, it has been made abundantly clear to us over the course of the past few months, and especially the past few weeks, that our working group and steering committee are being targeted by a handful of opportunists on the NPC as retribution for our well-reasoned, principled anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist political stances as well as our relentless demands for transparency and accountability from leaders and celebrity members within DSA. Thus, we — the BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group — categorically reject the legitimacy of the NPC’s decisions and call for their immediate reversal at this critical hinge point in our organization’s history.
That this is all happening just months after the NPC decided to forgo any form of discipline for member Rep. Jamaal Bowman — a liberal Zionist who provided material support for the genocide of Palestinians and Israeli apartheid in September and crossed Palestinians’ BDS picket line in November — is central to understanding the full context of the NPC’s odious bid to decharter the Working Group.
Since our first meeting with the NPC regarding Bowman on November 8th, 2021, we have been subjected to an unyielding stream of lies (e.g., broken promises, undisclosed conflicts of interest, endless gaslighting of Palestinians, etc.) and increasingly brazen attempts to censor our working group as we have unflinchingly stood by positions in line with the Palestinian grassroots and active DSA membership — to both of whom we consider ourselves accountable.
The NPC’s attacks against the Working Group and Palestine Solidarity organizing within DSA recently came to a head when our working group posted a political critique on Twitter on February 17th, in response to victory laps from prominent DSA members, spearheaded by NPC members, who do not seem to know or care about Palestine beyond using it as a political prop to advance a myopic, domestic legislative agenda. In the thread, we also felt it important to relay the information to our followers that Bowman’s team had already committed to removing his sponsorship from the Israeli Normalization Act in our very first conversation with his Chief of Staff, and not as a result of “months of working” with NPC.
Importantly, this thread was also largely authored and curated by a Palestinian member with contributions from other comrades in the working group and Palestinian comrades in our grassroots network. It is not a coincidence that as our messaging has become increasingly driven by Palestinians within DSA and unapologetically in line with Palestinians in the grassroots, censorship efforts by the NPC have grown.
Palestinians are one of the most censored peoples in the world because there are few greater threats to the status quo than the unfettered thought and speech of a revolutionary Palestinian, who take relentless aim against all forms of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and capitalism to chart a path towards liberation. When such voices are uplifted by others who see their own interdependent struggles reflected in the Palestinian struggle, those in power have no choice but to take notice and eventually to take action against them. Consciously or unconsciously, these individuals wield their power with the kind of visceral recklessness that we witnessed over the weekend by the NPC, protecting their interests and proximity to power at all costs.
In our formal call for Bowman’s expulsion at the end of November, we said that NPC’s decisions at that time would be “important indicators for where [NPC] wants to take our organization, but regardless of their chosen course of action, where DSA goes next rests with all of us.” Four months later, the future of DSA is still very much at stake, and the question remains: will we be a socialist movement accountable to our anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist principles, or will we reinforce the same old structures of our collective oppression by allowing our organization to devolve into an appendage of the Democratic Party?
The outpouring of support and solidarity that we have seen from our comrades has given us a renewed sense of optimism that at the end of this political struggle may lie a more accountable DSA — one that is more prepared than ever before to truly commit to Palestinian liberation and the kind of principled internationalism necessary for any serious socialist organization to bring about necessary change.
In this vein, we call on all of DSA membership and our movement partners to continue to send a powerful message that we will not accept the censorship of Palestinian perspectives, nor will we accept a DSA leadership that actively targets those who dissent from within its ranks, particularly members from historically marginalized groups.
Join us in taking action to fight for Palestine and an Internationalist DSA by:
- Signing on as individuals, DSA bodies, and/or Allied Organizations onto this statement in solidarity.
- Click here to email the NPC and demand they reverse their illegitimate decisions to de-charter the working group and suspend steering committee members from positions of leadership.
- Organizing your DSA body to pass a dissent resolution (here is an example) and codify your commitment to continuing Palestinian-led BDS organizing within DSA.
- Joining our Emergency Forum on Sunday at 3PM EST.
We continue to show that the NPC cannot suppress what we stand for and all of those we stand with. If they have their way, DSA will eventually be relegated to little more than a congressional advocacy organization. However, we remain inspired by the conviction of so many of our Palestinian comrades and comrades in solidarity with the struggle for a free Palestine and a free world, who will not let that happen without a good fight. Neither will we.
Solidarity and Until Liberation,
BDS & Palestine Solidarity Working Group