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To begin, let us have a much needed discussion on democratic centralism in Socialist Alternative; or, rather, Socialist Alternative’s very strange understanding of the dialectic between the horizontal decision-making of democracy, and the top down decision-making of centralism. A common theme in the debates surrounding the expulsion resignation of five comrades in Austin was the question of democratic centralism, and the democratic centralist structures of our organization. The official narrative went “Austin is trying to change SA into a multi-tendency organization by recruiting Maoists with identity politics!” and that “this is not a horizontalist organization of loose, federative structures but an organization that practices democratic centralism!” Austin certainly had some political differences from the leadership of SA, many of them irreconcilable, but the question of democratic centralism is far more complicated than “if you don’t agree with how we make decisions then you’re a horizontalist.” (Side note: I do not know what the word “horizontalist” means.)

I write this letter about six weeks into my second term as a member of the NC. Since fall 2014, I have been one of the people tasked with making key decisions shaping the strategy, focus, and political direction of this organization; at least I was supposed to be. Throughout my first term, however, I noticed a trend in the NC’s decision-making process: it being that, for all practical purposes, the NC has no decision-making process. Hell, the NC is such a symbolic, formalistic, vestigial husk of a leadership body that the EC hardly bothers to actually consult it for decisions. Tactics like the launch of Movement4Bernie and the adoption of the “safe states” tactic seem to have been formulated, discussed, and decided on solely by our Executive Committee, released on various internet forums and announced to the general public, and only after that brought to the National Committee for any serious discussion. Kshama’s 2015 City Council campaign endorsed five Democrats because “we had to in order to win,” though any NC member outside of Seattle would be hard-pressed to tell you when this “necessary decision” was made. It was only through a story on VICE News that many comrades, my-NC-member-self included, found out that an SA member was sent to the DNC as a delegate, meaning that she is a registered, active Democrat. Whether or not these very serious directives with far-reaching political implications necessitated a vote even at the NC level—much less among the national membership—apparently was not considered. The only reason given for this sudden need of expediency is basically “the EC has every right to do this because democratic centralism.”

full: https://blackandred83.tumblr.com/post/151810779747/letter-of-resignation-from-socialist-alternative
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