After over four decades in DSA, one of the group’s founding members is leaving in sorrow and anger.
I am a life-long Leftist. I have been a bitter and persistent critic of Israel's occupation and settlement project for the past half century (and continue to be)--but like so many others, I do not consider the vicious and murderous attack by Hamas on Israeli citizens (and others) this past Oct 7 to have any excuses. And the torrent of Hamas-worshipping this whole event has unleashed among so many supporters of the Palestinians, along with the celebratory attitude of the world's "anti-imperialists" and "anti-colonialists" to reclaim all of historic Palestine, has been just as foul.
No one takes note that the Jews who established the state of Israel were not colonizing in the name of some mother country or locus (as per normal colonization), but were part of the flood of new national groups operating in the first half of the 20th century all over the world as old empires crumbled and newly emerging religio-ethnic-national groups from within those falling empires rushed to areas they deemed their historical territory and threw out, or massacred, all others in the dash for independence. Strange that the big anti-colonialists/anti-imperialists of today have nothing to say about all that violence and its lingering bitterness among many groups. Only Jews come to merit opprobrium for any of that. Strange that we all rue Columbus' start of Western colonization of the Americas in 1492 but have nothing to say about Turkish takeover of Greek/Christian Constantinople in 1453, nor do we hear any complaining of the Turks turning Agha Sophia (property of the Greek Orthodox Church) into a mosque.
And while we are on the subject, how did it come to pass that the Temple Mount--the major Jewish holy spot since deep into antiquity, came into the hands of non-Jews for so long--all the while the Jews had not disappeared from history? What do we call it when someone takes over some other group's holy site? Is that also colonization if the victims are not now classified as "people of color"?
The real phenomenon going on here, in this obscene and hypocritical selectivity of victim "support", is that only those deemed "people of color" merit this support. In the promotion for a single state of Palestine, there is blithe ignorance of all the Islamic or Arab supremacy that riddles the entire Arabo-Islamic world. (And I once was the only person screaming when a Palestinian woman was killed in an honor murder by members of her family--that was a Palestinian life that no one but me seemed to care about). The Turks are as "white" as the Greeks and Armenians they slaughtered--but the Turks are Muslims--so that makes them "people of color" in this weird calculus. Greeks and Armenians don't matter. Jews, of course, are also not "people of color" (even though they were long unaccepted in American university eating clubs which did accept Palestinian Edward Said, as per his memoirs of life as a Princeton student).
There is no principle here among the (often-white) anti-colonialists/anti-imperialists--just the quest for the feel-good sensation coming from taking part in beleaguered solidarity. It all feels good to be a part of a great (and now mindless) cause. It is a complete betrayal of socialist and Left-wing principles which I have always supported. I will continue to protest Israel's relgious/Right-wing travesties--but not with the mindless virtue-signalers I used to think I was a part of.
Marx and other Manichean religions have never really worked out. The idea of a world divided between oppressors (who can do no right) and the oppressed (who can do no wrong) is sterile and unproductive. This has come into stark relief in the Hamas genocide of Israelis as all subtlety, history and context is tossed aside in the mania to divide the world between good and evil. I should add that while I consider Marx failed political economy, I am impressed with its staying power as a religion.
"... both determined to learn from the political disasters of the 1960s."
Except clearly they (we) didn't. Why? Can we admit that we are just as much influenced by (quasi-religious) ideology as "the other side"? That in the end it's just about "our side" (virtuous and diverse and equitable, though we are; except for whoever is at the head of the "oppressor" line in whatever drama is before us) gaining power and "oppressing" someone else? That like any believer we eschew and rationalize away any evidence to the contrary, any obvious illogic that arises if we actually think through the consequences of our ideologies...
I've been growing so weary of "our side" for so long, since early on with the Emperor's New Clothes-level insanity of transgenderism and then the demeaning race essentialism of DEI... And I was really hoping we could have some insight into what happened to us, and be "determined to learn" how there's probably something fundamentally wrong with our position for it have gone SO wildly off the rails (without sliding over into equally - though in different ways - whack-a-doodle and harmful conservatism).
But we appear to just be doubling down on the dumbassery, and now are into just complete "anticolonialist" psychopathy. I honestly don't know any solution to this. It's appalling.
My own take is that DSA is neither Democratic of Socialist. The Democratic is most important to me in that in the same way that they apologize for Hamas they do for Maduro, Castro, etc. and that however they value democracy it runs second to their fight against business.
As to the socialism, which I dont support either, but socialism was never the social democracy strong welfare states as Bernie likes to offer Denmark as an example of, a capitalist country, but as an anti capitalist philosophy that calls for removing private or corporate ownership from industry. That is just Merriam Webster, although the right wing has labelled every social welfare project since FDR as socialism it wasn't until Bernie that this idea was taken up on the left, because there is little public support for nationalizing General Motors
"that doesn’t account for the singularly important role of Palestine in DSA’s rather short list of international concerns"
What does account for that, obviously and perfectly, is the fact that the level of support the United States gives Israel is literally unprecedented in human history, which makes it a unique priority of all Americans to stop enabling the racist oppression of 5 million people who are being held in apartheid cantons. You know this.