In response to the posting of a troubling meme by DSA Director Maria Svart, the QCDSA Executive Committee has taken action by sending her the following letter:
Dear Ms. Svart:
We are extremely concerned about the meme you posted last week, which had an image of a white man with a Confederate flag hat, American flag shirt, and Marine Corps tattoo and a black man with long braids seeming to join forces while both heavily armed. This meme and the accompanying message about the need to organize the “white working class” is troubling for many reasons, including:
- It implies that people of color in organizations like DSA should be expected to work with overt racists, even if they don’t change their racist behavior.
- It implies that racist people with assault rifles are welcome in DSA, which sends a message to marginalized people that they can’t trust us. Already, we are hearing of people not wanting to work with DSA because they believe their right to be safe will not be taken seriously.
- It reinforces harmful stereotypes perpetuated by our adversaries about who the Left is, who the white working class is, who military veterans are, and who African-American activists are.
- It puts forward a false choice between compromising our principles and not “winning“. In reality, people who current subscribe to some type of right-wing ideology see compromise as a sign of weakness.
For these reasons, the meme and the sentiment do not represent our chapter. It is very important that those who speak for DSA understand the messages they are intentionally or unintentionally sending. We strongly recommend that all paid DSA staff receive training on anti-racism as soon as possible.
Quad Cities DSA Executive Committee