Against Escalation


The British journalist Johann Hari recently wrote a scathing critique of the fallacies underpinning official propaganda in support of continuing NATO military engagement in Afghanistan. As Hari notes, there are less than one hundred al-Qaeda fighters still left in that country. The Taliban is considered even by American intelligence services as primarily a localized anti-occupation force with no intentions of attacking the United States. Women’s rights and other freedoms have not been advanced under the corrupt Karzai government. And with every civilian casualty, NATO forces supply additional grist for the radical Islamist propaganda mill and new recruits for the jihadis.

Then why in the world is President Obama reportedly preparing to deepen the American commitment to that hopeless war by sending an additional 34,000 troops to Afghanistan?

Prolonging open-ended warfare in Afghanistan will likely do little to suppress the Taliban-led insurgency, and in the long run will probably make Americans less safe by further stoking Muslim anger toward the United States. The “surge” didn’t work in Iraq, and it’s not going to work in Afghanistan either.

While the deficit obsessed teabaggy right probably won’t make a peep about this, the kind of commitment that President Obama is looking for is going to cost us big time. Administration officials estimate that the kind of increased commitment to the war that they seek will cost the country about $1 trillion over the next ten years. That’s a trillion dollars that could more usefully and morally be spent on redressing our country’s hideous socioeconomic inequalities and creating new forms of clean energy – and there would probably be plenty of money left over to help develop countries in the Muslim world instead of bombing and occupying them.

Andrew Bacevich is entirely correct when he says that “if the United States today has a saving mission, it is to save itself.” In a time when the social fabric of our own country is fraying at the seams, we shouldn’t be looking abroad for monsters to destroy. The scariest, most dangerous monsters are much closer to home.

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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)