The History of Democratic Socialists of America

Democratic Socialists of America has its roots in the New Left movement of the 1960s. It arose from the Socialist Party of America and the New American Movement, under the leadership of Left activist Michael Harrington, who formed the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). The Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee emerged from the Socialist Party in the 1970s, from a left riven by the Vietnam War. Like many left organizations, we proved we could be against the war, and US military adventurism, while standing up against the bogus charge of pro-Communism.

Michael Harrington, author of The Other America, led DSOC as it joined with other left organizations to become DSA in 1980. Michael Harrington and socialist feminist author Barbara Ehrenreich served as DSA’s first co-chairs.

​Harrington’s enthusiasm and measured analysis still informs our politics today. DSA’s membership is currently the largest in our history, with approximately 25,000 national members and growing every day. While we continue to adhere to the vision presented by Harrington, our organization is ever-evolving to confront the challenges presented by capitalism, fascism, and systemic inequality.

A comprehensive account of our organization’s history is available the national DSA website.

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