Winning the Battle for Democracy

With recent Supreme Court rulings further criminalizing homelessness and stripping government authority to enforce major 20th century reform legislation, we are belatedly publishing this resolution from our 2024 Chapter Convention on the undemocratic nature of the first US Constitution and the place of the battle for democracy in our organization’s socialist vision.


The United States is run by and for the capitalist class, and this class rule takes the specific form of the liberal-constitutional regime outlined in the Constitution.

This Constitution was imposed undemocratically by an alliance of slaveowners and capitalists in order to secure their property against popular democracy, and yet the working-class majority who would not even have been eligible to vote on it at the time of its ratification have been forced to live under its provisions ever since.

The political institutions established by the Constitution are intended to be an obstacle to democracy at every step, including, but not limited to: the outrageously unrepresentative Senate, the Electoral College, and the glut of the imperial Presidency and the surrounding bureaucracy.

The Constitution has allowed for further usurpations of popular sovereignty, including, but not limited to: judicial review by a panel of unelected judges who serve for life, the establishment of a repressive standing army, and the sale of elections, public officials, legal services, and the press to the highest bidder.

The process the Constitution provides for its own amendment is intentionally very difficult, stultifying, and anti-majoritarian.

The historical tendencies towards the concentration of capital in few hands and the concentration of people in few states has rendered any constitutional paths that may once have been open to the socialist movement forever closed, obstructing progressive reform and leaving those reforms already won through historical mass struggle defenseless as the political servants of the capitalist class conspire to strip them away.

The DSA has pledged to fight for a “a world organized and governed by and for the vast majority, the working class,” which is clearly impossible under the current Constitutional regime and cannot be won through the antidemocratic channels of reform laid down by the Constitution.

DSA’s platform affirms that DSA is an antiracist organization dedication to the abolition of white supremacy yet the Constitution was written by slaveowners and to this day serves to deny self-determination to Black, Indigenous, and other oppressed populations,

We understand that the fight for socialism is the fight for democracy but, with no democratic means of reforming the undemocratic Constitution, we must follow the revolutionary path to democracy in order to take the democratic road to socialism.

Therefore, be it Resolved, 

Cleveland DSA affirms, from the DSA Political Platform, that “the American political system was not made to serve the working class” and that “the nation that holds itself out as the world’s premier democracy is no democracy at all” by officially raising the demand for a new and radically democratic constitution, drafted by an assembly of the people elected by direct, universal and equal suffrage for all adult residents with proportional representation of political parties, and rooted not in the legitimacy of dead generations of slaveowners and capitalists, but that of a majority consensus of the working masses. 

Additionally Cleveland DSA urges DSA as a whole to take up a stance of opposition to the Constitution, openly indicting it as antidemocratic and oppressive, encouraging all DSA members in elected office to do the same, taking concrete actions to advance the struggle for a democratic republic such as agitating against undemocratic judicial review, fighting for proportional representation, delegitimizing the anti-democratic U.S. Senate, and advancing the long-term demand for a new democratic Constitution. We declare that to be a socialist is to fight for an expansive working-class democracy in which the state and society are democratically managed by the majority. In the U.S. this means demanding a new Constitution.

Be it finally Resolved, this resolution shall be published on the Cleveland DSA website.