Hot Revolution: Socialism
For decades, socialism was the domain of graying academics and gutter punks. But thanks to the insurgent presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the radical left is suddenly cool again. Shortly after the inauguration, comedian Rob Delaney told his 1.46 million Twitter followers that his account's "sole purpose now is to lure teens & millenials" to the Democratic Socialists of America, a group that fights to "weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people." Membership more than tripled this year to 30,000, and its nearly 200 chapters are rousing the grassroots – supporting striking workers, holding housing and tenants' rights seminars, and pressuring politicians at every level. As Delaney put it on Twitter: "DSA is not a political party. DSA is a #thick #organizing #muscle."
At the same time, a new crop of socialist media is subverting the status quo. Jacobin, a neo-Marxist quarterly, fills its pages with contributors like Slavoj Žižek, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jeremy Corbyn. The podcast Chapo Trap House features three "brocialists" bantering about everything from Ray Liotta to the history of the European labor movement. Denizens on Twitter have attached red-rose emojis – a reference to the Haymarket Affair of 1886 – to their profiles, an act of DSA solidarity, and a Facebook group, Seize the Memes of Production, disseminates clever nods to the soul-sucking reality of capitalism and pushes the movement's most dearly held conviction: Bernie would have won.
Online dating has even gotten into the game, with websites like DateaSocialist.com catering to alienated singles. "Put it this way," says Joseph Schwartz, who joined the DSA as a campus organizer in the 1980s, "the median age in the organization was, like, 60. We did a recent survey, and the median age now is 35." T.S.