We share a vision of a diverse working class, one that affirms a fundamental unity of both exploitation and oppression under capitalism, and from which struggle breaks out in many directions, for many demands. Each of these has their own validity and vitality; we must recognize and honor class struggle from below in all its particular expressions before we can begin to weave together a mass movement that fights for universal liberation.
There are some in our movement who believe that the urgent priority is for us to rally exclusively around class-wide demands. We believe that the diversity of our class necessitates the constitution of a universalism built from the range of experiences of those subject to capital’s regime, so that the struggle for our collective liberation is informed by the myriad particularities of exploitation. Racism, misogyny, transphobia, ableism, and every other form of oppression threaten to divide our movement and our organization; solidarity demands that we fight against these in their totality.
We seek the total abolition of the carceral state, making no allowance for any of its arms: legal, enforcement, legislative, corporate, security, or surveillance. In calling for its abolition, we demand head-on confrontation with the ideology that justifies it and conceals its true function: a machine of domination and political violence developed by the capitalist class. Incarceration and the police—historical and material extensions of slavery that disproportionately target black and brown people—are both products and tools of the capitalist state. In our struggle to defeat capitalism, we must fight for their abolition within New York City and for a world where such forms of domination are no longer possible.
The first step is decarceration: the emancipation of our comrades held captive to a system sustained by their suffering. Without decarceration—without those dehumanized by the state—the formation of a unified working class and our collective liberation is impossible.
We cannot build the future we want without a militant labor movement: a movement of workers as workers—waged and unwaged, professionalized and precarious—committed to class struggle both in the workplace and outside of it. Over the past half-century, American labor has been rendered largely toothless, thanks not only to the efforts of the reactionary right, but also to anti-democratic "leaders" more interested in compromising with the ruling class than widening the field of struggle. Union bureaucrats who deflect the energy of the militant rank-and-file must be swept aside.
The labor movement includes unions, but it is not limited to them. If we are to build a stronger, more vital labor movement in New York City, we must recognize the great swathes of our class who have no legal right to form a union at all. Farm and domestic workers are excluded from American labor law while undocumented and sex workers' very existence is criminalized. Other low wage workers, like those in food service, are all but ignored. Their organization is crucial to the revitalization of the labor movement as a whole—whether through traditional unions, workers centers, or other forms of self-organization not yet imagined.
As Socialist Feminists, we are attentive to struggles around social reproduction—the collective labor, waged and unwaged, which sustains people from one day to the next. From care work to service work, from education to healthcare to transit, struggles are breaking out in all spheres of life against our collective immiseration under capitalism.
Gendered oppression is expressed through the exploitation of socially reproductive labor enforced by violence, compulsory heterosexuality, and the gender binary itself. The new, militant feminist wave is a powerful front for class struggle, as we fight for the recognition, democratization, and socialization of reproductive labor and the abolition of gendered oppression, in other words, the reordering and restructuring of every sphere of life along socialist feminist lines.
The working class doesn't only need power on the job, but also when we clock out, on the train or the bus, at the bank, and in our buildings and neighborhoods. We believe in community-built and led civic institutions that reinforce the power people build when they organize at work, unmediated by a non-profit industrial complex that leads working class militancy down a labyrinth of bureaucracy.
We must resist the tendency to allow professional organizers to claim leadership; the interests of nonprofits and their funders inevitably diverge from those of the people they claim to represent. It is up to us as New Yorkers—neighbors, tenants, debtors, and commuters—to build a robust, counter-hegemonic culture of self-organization arising from and connected to local sites of emergent struggle.
Electoral work is critical for our movement, but it brings us into a field of struggle unlike any other. As socialists who seek control of the state, contesting in elections presents unique challenges, both because the state itself is charged with managing capitalist interests, including vehicles of oppression like courts and the police, and also because we must strive to represent those who have been disenfranchised.
We do not equate electing politicians with taking state power. Instead, we believe that socialists in elections and in office can expand the field of politics by drawing attention to organizing efforts outside the boundaries set by the capitalist state. Electing socialists is not an end in itself, but a means by which we enter the more decisive arena: that of class struggle.
Movement politicians, as tribunes of the people, can popularize demands, legislate to increase working class power, and expose the undemocratic and repressive mechanisms of bourgeois democracy from within. In so doing, they have the potential to transform their offices into sites of collective organization.
The existential threat of climate change is inseparable from the practices that built New York City’s wealth — violent expropriation of land, slavery, and the growth of an unstable financial industry — that continue to drive extraction and displacement from Standing Rock to the Bronx. We must not only respond to imminent unsustainability and unlivable conditions by building resilient infrastructure, but also by fighting the models of endless growth, financialization, and discrimination that have delivered us to the point of collapse. We must decommodify survival and move toward public and cooperative control over all resources and industries such as energy and finance.
Climate change is both hyperlocal and global. We support the National DSA Ecosocialist Working Group principles for a socialist Green New Deal and proposals for a Just Transition. We must work across national boundaries to rebuild the solidarity and systems destroyed by a centuries-long war on people and the planet, prioritizing frontline groups who have contributed the least to the destruction of the commons yet who pay the greatest price from disparate environmental pollution, rising tides, and growing threats of natural disaster. As climate catastrophes increase in frequency, we must build political power to confront disaster capitalism, establish mutual aid and disaster relief programs, and preempt the rising storm of ecofascism.
There is no socialism without internationalism. Imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism are deeply intertwined forces that can only be abolished by a working class movement that unites across borders in order to dissolve national divisions. Welfare nationalism is a chauvinistic masquerade that enables the ruling class. It pacifies sections of the US working class even as the tactics of imperialist domination overseas return as new forms of white supremacist social control. Capital is a global force; therefore, so is our class: we must be ready to fight through borders and beyond them, towards a truly hemispheric and global revolution.
We must also recognize that the United States is a settler-colonial nation-state. We must support the decolonization, self-determination and sovereignty of Indigenous, First Nations people, and all subjects of colonial violence.
Imperial violence smothers liberation struggles all over the world. We must oppose all such interventions, whether military, economic, or otherwise, and build material solidarity with socialist movements, people’s struggles, and all combinations thereof across the world, from the Zapatista movement in Mexico to the revolution in Rojava. This means forming real, international relationships through organizing, and prioritizing anti-imperialist projects within our work. The fight for the self-determination of Indigenous and colonized peoples such as Palestinians and Puerto Ricans are critical fronts in the struggle against imperial capitalist hegemony.
Democracy is not only an end, but the means of building socialism. We can only realize our vision by creating and developing participatory democratic structures that directly empower the people in our everyday organizing.
We must embrace the plurality of perspectives within the body not in name alone, but by providing the tools and spaces for deliberation. In order to move the mass of our organization towards the advancement of our goals through work, we must collectively determine a vision for strategy and action—a developed alignment of the majority, not merely to ratify discussion, but to continuously achieve an active mandate.
This requires a commitment to a transparent democratic process that guarantees shared ownership of both our desired outcomes and our best approaches to realizing them—the distribution of our labor, resources, and time in accordance with the emergent conditions of struggle. In doing so, we develop ourselves—our politics, our practice as organizers, and our bonds as comrades that will sustain us in the long fight we face together.
We unequivocally share the conviction that mass organizations are key to a triumphant anti-capitalist movement. However, we reject visions for our organization that enshrine a small core of activists who occasionally mobilize a larger inactive membership in mass actions.
We intend to build a mass organization of organizers. We must begin producing, at an unprecedented scale, fighters who are able to think dynamically and act strategically. We must create infrastructure and processes for member development and political education that are reproducible yet adaptive. A mass organization is an organization in which each member is a potential vector for socialism.
In order to recognize the connections between seemingly disparate struggles, we will build our members’ skills, further our political education, and historicize our work and our desire for a better world. Instead of pushing “the correct line,” political development and education should be a non-hierarchical project in which we are all teaching and learning. We are responsible for each other's growth. Membership development from below is an ongoing process that requires iterative yet accessible trainings that create effective organizers who can reproduce themselves.
In order to build a mass movement that can sustain itself through a lifetime of struggle, we must prioritize developing healthy organizational practices so that our spaces are safe, accessible, welcoming, and nurturing. We must be intentional about the development of our community, or we risk member engagement that is just as transactional and hierarchical as the system we fight.
Our fight for truly transformative justice requires us to deconstruct and abolish the forces of class society that manifest in our relationships with each other. Our existing models of interaction at points of conflict are often punitive, asphyxiated by the violent carceral structures of capitalism. We must build new forms of collective accountability and repair through the creation of local networks of holistic care to undermine the systemic forces that foster an environment of abuse.
The struggle to abolish all forms of social domination begins with our own organizational practices. We must build structures that guarantee social reproductive work, including administrative tasks, does not continue to fall into existing racialized and gendered divisions of labor. Without intentionally developing these skills, we will reproduce the same hierarchies we are fighting against.
This moment and the near horizon of our political work continues to be one of escalating danger. The bourgeoisie are willing to let the world burn if it means they can rule over the ashes. Our movement faces threats not only from the tightening grip of the carceral state, but also from fascist violence. We cannot afford to be blind to the genocidal capacity of our enemy.
Social welfare programs, however well designed, will not defeat fascism: white supremacist violence is the heart of American capitalism and must be ripped out. Our movement must develop a security culture and communal self defense, not only to protect our spaces and our neighbors in New York City, but also to be ready for direct action in moments of emergent crisis and need. These capabilities represent our ability to mobilize confidently and quickly to stand in solidarity with those resisting the onslaught of capital's enforcers. Antifascist organizing is fundamental to building bonds in the ongoing collective struggle and represents possibilities for revolutionary breaks.
The need for working class revolution in our lifetime is urgent. We seek to abolish capitalism and the capitalist state; we seek the reappropriation of wealth, and social ownership of property. We want to build a world free of all social hierarchies with democratic control over all aspects of our lives.
While the revolution necessary to realize this vision will inevitably involve some kind of rupture, it will be neither a single, explosive event nor will it happen of its own accord. Revolution is a process that we begin now by building a fighting organization with deep roots in the New York working class, a developed understanding of all forms of oppression, and unwavering commitment to class struggle.
We seek not only to better the conditions of the working class in the present, but to create another world—one free of social, political, and economic domination. Our collective struggle builds that horizon.