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The Democrats: A Critical History, Study Series

March 14, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC-5

As part of our ongoing education series, please join the USM Socialists and the International Socialist Organization for our two part study series on Lance Selfa’s, “The Democrats, A Critical History.”

Selfa’s book was written first in 2008 in response to the election season between 2006 and 2008. The 2006 elections put the Democrats in the majority in both houses of Congress, yet many of those who voted for Democrats were deeply disappointed to see the party’s pro-establishment, pro-business agenda take precedence over promises made to working people during campaigns.

Lance Selfa’s book takes a critical look at the Democratic Party, arguing that the Democrats, both historically and in present day, do not serve the interests of the working class but serve the pro-capitalist, pro-war, agenda of the ruling class. Selfa argues these betrayals stem from the Democrats role as one of the two parties who serve the interests of the US establishment, not the broader public, or their “base” of women, African Americans, trade union members, and working and poor people.

So what does this mean for socialists? What is the alternative? What does fighting back against Trump look like electorally, in the streets, and organizationally? What is our relationship, as socialists and workers, to the Democratic Party? How do the Democrats relate to our movements? How do we build independent, left, organization? What do socialists say about elections?

Since 2006, Selfa has revised and updated his book and contributed a number of journals/articles to take up some of these questions, many of which were posed with the re-emergence of the left wing of the Democratic party, galvanized by the Bernie campaign. He has included an analysis of the Obama Era and recently contributed to the International Socialist Review, where he discussed the Bernie campaign and its significance on the left. Please join us for a discussion of these questions, and more at our upcoming study series! Please see a full list of required and optional reading and listening below.

Get your copy of the book here!
Ebook: $5.99
Print: $11.20
February 28th: The Democrats and Social Movements

Chapter 3 The Rise of the New Democrat
Chapter 4 From “Hope” to Hopeless: The Democrats in the Obama Era
Chapter 5 Social Movements and the “Party of the People”

Supplemental reading for those without the book (and suggested anyway for those who do!):
Post Election Socialist Worker Round Table***
Democrats and Social Movements, Ragina Johnson

March 14th: The Democrats and Elections:

Chapter 7 Can the Left Take Over the Democratic Party?
Chapter 8 Why Is There No Alternative?
Conclusion: Is the Lesser Evil Good Enough?

Supplemental reading for those without the book (and suggested anyway for those who do!):
Can Socialism Be Elected Into Power? Eric Ruder
Sanders and The Left, Lance Selfa
The Case for an Independent Left Party


March 14, 2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


International Socialist Organization: Portland, ME
University of Southern Maine, Payson Smith Hall Room 208, 96 Falmouth Street
Portland, ME 04101 United States
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