How the DSA is responding to the pandemic emergency

by Jehu

I was listening to a speculator on one of the business channels this morning who described the stock market rally of recent weeks this way (paraphrasing):

The real economy is in dire shape, but we know this. The stock market is a discounting mechanism for this. It is looking beyond the present information into the future. In that future I see the UK stock market going to 7000 before it goes to 5000. (It is presently at around 6000.)

This made me think of the proposed People’s Recovery program of the Democratic Socialists of America that I read last night. It might help to look at the People’s Recovery program as a discounting mechanism and ask ourselves what members of the DSA are discounting.

Clearly, the authors of this document are discounting the present dire situation, which is only natural from their viewpoint. They are saying to the rest of us, essentially,

“No matter how the Trump administration and the other nation states screw things up, the system overall will survive.”

And, there is no doubt about it, the fascists have screwed things up. They have interrupted the capitalist accumulation process, they have shut down the global economy. Despite this massive fuck up, the authors of this program think in six months to a year or so wage slavery will basically be intact and functioning as before. The present pandemic emergency barely calls for any change in the DSA program at all.

So, everything listed in the proposed People’s Recovery program of the DSA is more or less the same as what the DSA demanded before the pandemic:

  • Medicare for All and total medical debt forgiveness.
  • A healthcare jobs program.
  • Workplace protections and a jobs guarantee.
  • A rent freeze and an eviction moratorium.
  • A homes guarantee.
  • Protections for all workers.
    • 30 days paid sick leave for each and every worker
    • hazard pay and benefits for all workers whose services will remain essential through the crisis
  • End the deadly Cuba blockade and drop all sanctions.
  • Close the border camps, end cash bail, abolish prison labor, and make inmate phone calls free.

The authors did add two demands, apparently:

  • Full staffing at the San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Safe staffing at the San Francisco Unified School District

But even these two demand assume the continued existence of SFDPH and SFUSD in an otherwise unaltered state.


There are two things to say about the DSA authors’ view of what this pandemic emergency has wrought:

First, the DSA authors are not saying the situation isn’t dire at present. Instead, they are saying that no matter how dire it is, the system as a whole will survive. Which means, Trump may be reelected or be gone; Biden may replace him or fail to win the election. In any case, no fundamental change will occur in the mode of production. It will chug along as before and stumble from one crisis to another as before.

Second, the DSA authors are assuming generally deteriorating economic conditions for the working class — including long-term job losses, persistent homelessness, a large-scale medical emergency, constant threat of job-related medical hazards, rising threat of war and international tensions and growing antagonism against migrants. This deterioration of the economic position of the working class is not inconsistent with the continued survival of the system, but an expression of the continued survival of the system.

In fact, the DSA program should not be thought of as a program at all. It is actually a snapshot of the United States taken three months ago and projected six months to a year into the future. Preexisting trends with which we are already familiar will be exacerbated, of course, but, aside from this, nothing fundamental will change.

We could call the proposed DSA program a description of the United States with unmitigated pandemic emergency measures.

Continued here