The Need for a DSA Anti-War Think Tank

Socialism cannot be reduced to fighting for scraps of empire. Socialism is the struggle for life after empire.

The matter is urgent. We have war without end, yet virtually no anti-war movement to speak of. The organs of multilateral international capitalist hegemony, such as the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are in crisis. U.S. dominance is in decline.

Liminal moments like these present serious opportunities for the transformation of society. But progressive transformation is not inevitable. It is at times like these that the maxim “socialism or barbarism” is most ripe — and unsettling.

It is our responsibility to rise to the crisis, to create socialism now. Yet the hour is late, and it seems so often that socialism is out of touch.

Instead of leading through this moment of systemic crisis, it is as if the entirety of our engagement with the contradictions of imperialism is simply to trade verdicts back and forth, to cheerlead or denounce this or that camp or sect as the world burns. We need clarity. And action.


The Purpose of the Think Tank

This think tank is a forum for collective deliberation, with the goal of tangibly moving politics in society.

When it comes to questions of empire, socialists do not presently have the means of producing decisive political momentum. That is a big problem. We have lost so badly that we are hardly even a factor at present.

The purpose of this think tank is to activate a broad range of people, both within DSA and beyond, to engage the contradictions of imperialism.

The DSA Anti-War Think Tank is a collective process, a way of facilitating public thought in common on these key political questions.


An Open Call for Shared Conversation

To begin the process of building a shared conversation, we need to first look at what an empire says about itself and its priorities.

To do this, we begin with a review of the U.S. government’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy:

Read “Trump’s National Security Strategy and the Decline of U.S. Empire,” and send responses to the DSA Anti-War Think Tank

This will begin our collective conversation. And that discussion must continue.

Let this open letter serve as a call to intellectuals, activists, and veterans to help us understand what is at issue.



R.L. Stephens, Director of the DSA Anti-War Think Tank


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