I suspect that few people in Ireland will have heard of the Democratic Socialists of America or DSA, arguably the most important political grouping to have emerged over the last four decades from the hive of minor left-wing organisations in the United States. In recent years, especially in the wake of the post-2007 recession in the US, the DSA went from ad hoc support for the Green Party of the United States, the Socialist Party USA or the Democratic Party, to pursuing a more coherent entryist strategy with the Democrats. That has paid dividends in terms of some influence for DSA members within the political mainstream, raising the profile of “democratic socialism” even among the habitually antipathetic American press. From The New Republic:
Future historians may well portray the second decade of the twenty-first century as the moment when American socialism returned from the dead. The collapse of the Soviet empire in the early 1990s had supposedly sealed the overarching terms of political dispute within the confines of the “end of history”—the abrupt cessation of ideological hostilities stoked over the long Cold War, and the wan triumph of liberal capitalism throughout the globe. Socialism, at least on the American political scene, seemed destined to join antiquarian curiosities in the annals of left-leaning political agitation, somewhere alongside the transcendentalists’ failed commune at Brook Farm, agitations over the Single-Tax, and the temperance movement.
No longer. As the trend-spotting brain trust at New York magazine bewailed in a cover story steeped in elite befuddlement: “When Did Everyone Become a Socialist?” Their predictably glib answer seemed to be that it all had something to do with Brooklyn millennials.
Louis Proyect does a good job of parsing this sudden media interest with the very mild version of organised socialist politics found in the United States, especially among the young metropolitan hipsterish types. Which of course stands in contrast with the equally youthful, urban and hipster-driven enthusiasm for the alt-right in the US.