R.I.P. Public Option?

The signals from the White House today don’t look promising:

Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama's administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system. Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

*** In one of DSA’s most viewed documents, our “What is Democratic Socialism?” flyer, the last question is the one that is most frequently posed by liberals. It reads, “If so many people misunderstand socialism, why continue to use the word?”  The response in the pamphlet is an articulate one:

[…] no matter what we call ourselves, conservatives will use it against us. Anti-socialism has been repeatedly used to attack reforms that shift power to working class people and away from corporate capital. In 1993, national health insurance was attacked as “socialized medicine”  and defeated. Liberals are routinely denounced as socialists in order to discredit reform. Until we face, and beat, the stigma attached to the “S word,”  politics in America will continue to be stifled and our options limited.

Hopefully a similar lesson will be learned by well-intentioned liberals who abandoned principled support for single-payer in favor of the more “pragmatic” public option.  This stance, shared by many members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Move On and the editors of The Nation, limited the spectrum of debate and made this scenario possible.

Populist anger that should be directed against HMOs and the corporate bureaucracies that truly are death panels -- denying care and access without concern for any quotients besides for profit -- have been directed at social services, unions and other segments of the progressive movement.

We don’t know what was promised during Obama’s closed door meeting with the health care lobby. What we do know is that no such meeting occurred with the representatives for the millions-strong popular lobby for genuine, socialized health care.  The best case scenario right now is a watered-down public option.  Not very good considering even a full-fledged public option would hardly be an alternative to single-payer. Outrage should be festering not on the Right, but on the Left.


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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)