by Jacob Wood
On Tuesday, June 25, the Austin chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) failed to carry out its phony “Socialist Night School” after being upstaged by a group led by revolutionary organization Stonewall Militant Front (SMF), who interrupted the presentation carrying a large banner which read, “Honor Stonewall, Wage Revolution! Stonewall Militant Front.”
This month being the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the DSA Queer Coalition had intended to discuss LGBT history at this iteration of its “Socialist Night School,” socialist in name only. They invited two speakers, Dennis Paddie and Toby Johnson, to share stories from their years as gay activists in the 1960s and 70s.
The event started with a screening of Sylvia Rivera’s famous speech at the 1973 Pride March. Shortly after this clip ended, a group of seven or eight activists entered the room chanting, “The system is in decay, DSA is not the way!” SMF members and supporters immediately took a position at the front of the room and a speaker using a megaphone began making criticisms of the DSA for wasting the masses time and energy with their phony socialism and duping people into electoral politics. One activist unplugged the projector as the speaker continued to make herself heard over several DSA members who tried to talk her down and block the group.
SMF was joined by revolutionary organization Popular Women’s Movement (PWM-MFP), who confronted and criticized the DSA at a previous “Socialist Night School” event earlier this year. Together, their numbers amounted to half of the people in attendance of the event. Despite this, the group was able to hold their position at the front of the room for over 30 minutes while DSA members and supporters tried in vain to make them leave.
Three DSA members along with Dennis Paddie himself attempted to agitate the militants by shouting in their faces, repeatedly redbaiting and copjacketing, tactics that attempt to criminalize people for being sympathetic to Communism or blindly accuse them of being law enforcement. Despite the fact that SMF and PWM-MFP came prepared with principled political criticisms of the DSA, they were met with nothing more than tantrums and wild allegations.
Audience members slowly trickled out of the room, eventually allowing it to be completely overtaken by the revolutionary group of activists, who remained inside with the same three or four DSA members, continuing to chant and speak. Eventually word spread that the police had been called to help them regain control of their event; the activists continued to hold their ground and make themselves heard until the police arrived and everyone was forced to exit. They left the building continuing to chant “DSA serves the ruling class, the workers will kick your ass!”